Philosophy Series 6

Philosophy Series Contents (to be updated with each new installment)

Philosophy Series 1 – Prelude to the Philosophy Series

Philosophy Series 2 – Introduction

Philosophy Series 3 – Appendix A, Part 1

Philosophy Series 4 – The Pre-Socratics – Hesiod

Philosophy Series 5 – A Detour of Time

Philosophy Series 6 – The Origin

Philosophy Series 7 – Eros

Philosophy Series 8 – Thales

Philosophy Series 9 – An Interlude to Anaximander

Philosophy Series 10 – On the Way to Anaximander: Language and Proximity

Philosophy Series 11 – Aristotle and Modernity: The Eternal and Science

Philosophy Series 12 – Levinas and the Problem of Metaphysics

Philosophy Series 13 – On Origin


Philosophy Series 6

The Origin

To reiterate, here is what Hesiod tells us about the origin:

First of all Chaos came-to-be [genet’, γένετ᾽]; but then afterwards Broad-breasted earth, a secure dwelling place forever for all [the immortals who hold the peaks of snowy Olympus], and misty Tartara in the depths under the wide-wayed grounds and Eros who, handsomest among the deathless gods a looser of limbs, in all the gods and in all human beings overpowers in their breasts their intelligence and careful planning. And from Chaos came-to-be both Erebos [ρεβος, the god of deep darkness, shadow] and dark night, and from night, in turn, came-to-be both Aither [the god of upper air, the mist of bright, glowing light, home of the gods] and day, whom she conceived and bore after joining in love with Erebos. But earth first begat, as an equal to herself, starry sky, so that he might cover her on all sides, in order to be a secure dwelling place forever for all the blessed gods, and she begat the tall mountains, pleasing haunts of the goddess-nymphs who make their homes in the forested hills, and also she bore the barren main with its raging swell, the sea, all without any sweet act of love; but then next, having lain with sky, she bore deep-swirling ocean,1

This first is not born except in the covering over (the musing of the Muses) and doubling of the question which already assumes origin2 but differentiated as chaos, wide open, gap or perhaps fertile void (Śūnyatā in Buddhism) in indeterminateness. It is important to note that chaos is not the ontological difference of beings and Being. In the disjunction of “but then afterwards” the first, chaos, is further differentiated from differentiation without determinations to a radical other, differentiation with determinations. It would appear that in Hesiod, Greek beginnings do not begin in unities, God, matter (hulê, ὕλη), Being (from ὤν (ōn)), form, idea, creation but with chaos thought as gap, yawn (as wide open), void not spatial as difference but not yet differentiated into determinations as “Broad-breasted earth” (home, place, shelter, nurturer, foundation of all), “Tartara” (murky, undifferentiated, indeterminate), and Eros (in-between, middle voice, the middle of opposites or binary, desire, need, want). However, but then afterwards, the first as spoken in the covering over and doubling of the question (logos)…as the origin, the archê, is earth, Tartara and Eros. This doubling of chaos is perhaps Plato’s chora from the Timaeus3, the opening in which afterwards is earth, Tartara and Eros.

Hyland goes on to suggest:

Difficult as it may be to understand, however counter to our intuitions that if Chaos is a gap or separation it must somehow separate something, I suggest we should take Hesiod’s Greek in the passage under consideration to be indicating this truly remarkable thought: that Chaos, gap, separation, comes before, is prior to, any pairings that it might subsequently separate. Difference precedes and is the condition for sameness or identity. The “between” somehow precedes the binaries that it distinguishes. At work in Hesiod’s words, I suggest, is a thought that goes deeper than the argument over which are the first two entities that in fact get separated and distinguished by Chaos-earth and sky, or earth and Tartaros. At work, in addition, is the crucial if very difficult ontological principle that difference somehow precedes sameness or identity.4

I would go further to suggest that the “difference” may be pre-ontological. A few years later in Greek thought differentiation without determinations came to be thought by Anaximander as apeiron (ἄπειρον) 5, translated as indefinite or infinite. Anaximander was also the first in ancient Greek thinking to think of the unity of opposites or the ‘sameness’ or ‘identity’ in opposites. It might be said that Anaximander was the first to think identity in difference. Apeiron has been thought as the alpha-privative of peirar (πεῖραρ) or in the Ionic Greek form peras6 which is translated end, limit or boundary. In this case, the alpha-privative, ‘a‘, makes apeiron without end, limit or boundary. There is also some discussion that apeiron may be related to the alpha-privative of perao7 (“to experience,” “to apperceive”) which would make it without experience or perceptive understanding. In our most reliable fragment of Anaximander found in three separate sources necessity [could we say necessity of determinations] was a kind of injustice which required penalty or retribution. The most simple determination of apeiron as an alpha-privative is that apeiron is opposite of peras or perao. Some scholars have suggested that in Anaximander, apeiron generates and destroys opposites perhaps in a similar generative and destructive way which may have predicted what later Latin thinkers extolled theistically as “from him and through him and to him are all things”8. In this sense, end, limit and boundary was from apeiron, through apeiron, and to apeiron. Aristotle makes some comments that indicate a sort of generation/destruction idea of apeiron but Kirk and Raven9 have issues with some of these sources and with the idea that Aristotle was specifically referring to Anaximander as he did not name Anaximander in these fragments. In more recent scholarship10 the notion of generation and destruction in the most reliable fragment is thought to have been added in later by the Neo-Platonist, Simplicius. If this is true, the notion of origin may not be a part of Anaximander’s intention in this fragment. The question which emerges from this is, is apeiron the opposite of peras or peraoor is apeiron the source or origin of limit, boundary or experience or is apeiron more like the gap of Hesiod’s chaos? This will be discussed in more detail a little later but for now let’s take note of what Aristotle had to say about apeiron.

Everything has an origin [archê] or is an origin. The Boundless [apeiron] has no origin. For then it would have a limit. Moreover, it is both unborn and immortal, being a kind of origin. For that which has become has also, necessarily, an end, and there is a termination to every process of destruction. (Aristotle, Physics 203b6-10).

This passage indicates that Aristotle echoing the Muses and Anaximander could have understood the riddle, the conundrum, of apeiron. It appears he reasoned that apeiron “has no origin” and yet was a “kind of origin”. Could this difficulty be explained in terms of our discussion of chaos in Hesiod? Could it be that he might have thought this doubling of chaos as differentiation without specific determinations? Hegel certainly could not accept this contradiction.11 Additionally, if apeiron is itself an opposite (i.e., to end, limit or boundary) then it could not be the source (origin) or sink (destruction) of opposites. In latter Latin thinking apeiron came to have a more oppositional meaning to end, limit and boundary. We also have an early account of Anaximander by Diogenes Laertius which suggests that apeiron did not distinguish “air or water or anything else“.

Anaximander son of Praxiades, of Miletus: he said that the principle and element is the Indefinite, not distinguishing air or water or anything else… [Diogenes Laertius n, 1-2 (DKi2Ai])

We also have this account from Aristotle:

We cannot say that the apeiron has no effect, and the only effectiveness which we can ascribe to it is that of a principle. Everything is either a source or derived from a source. But there cannot be a source of the apeiron, for that would be a limit of it. Further, as it is a beginning, it is both uncreatable and indestructible. For there must be a point at which what has come to be reaches completion, and also a termination of all passing away. That is why, as we say, there is no principle of this, but it is this which is held to be the principle of other things, and to encompass all and to steer all, as those assert who do not recognize, alongside the infinite, other causes, such as Mind or Friendship. Further they identify it with the Divine, for it is ‘deathless and imperishable’ as Anaximander says, with the majority of the physicists. (Physics 3.4; 203b)12

These accounts tend to disqualify apeiron as origin (archê) or opposite. For Anaximander, in the most certain part of this surviving fragment, it could be that the necessity of determinations as an injustice requiring penalty13 would indicate an allusion to the chaos of Hesiod. It is interesting to note that in two of the three sources (see the forth coming section on Anaximander for more details) for this fragment tell us that Anaximander was the first to use the term origin or archê. In one account of this fragment it does write of apeiron as the cause of coming-to-be and destruction. However, both of these sections of the fragment are in doubt by Heidegger14 and Kirk and Raven15 as coming from Anaximander. In any case, an interesting question is, did Anaximander think of chaos as a kind of justice? Could it be that differentiation without determination [a-peiron] would exact a penalty for determinations, for “but then afterwards”?

It could be that for Anaximander chaos and apeiron may have had some early similarity in the sense of indeterminate and yet, differential. Both terms could be thought in a Greek sense as a covering over and doubling of origin. Certainly for Hesiod, chaos is thought more from the disjunctive, as “but then afterwards”. Additionally, there appears to be a disjunction in Anaximander’s thinking of apeiron at least in Aristotle’s thinking with how apeiron could give rise to archê. This original confusion could be a result of the Muses playful answer to Hesiod with does not or perhaps cannot answer the question of the first and chaos in a positive relational fashion except with a radical disjunction.

This notion of apeiron would appear to add another hint of an-archy, no origin, and bring it closer to Hesiod’s notion of chaos. The disjunction of chaos and differentiation from determination as origin in earth, Tartara and Eros may have well been at work in Anaximander’s notion of apeiron. This would mark a difference in the later thinking of apeiron as generative, as origin, or as an opposite. It could also explain how archê came to mean rule or authority in Latin much later. It may also mediate some of the mythological indignation that traditional scholarship has wanted to assign to the first Milesian philosophers. While the classic Greek era philosophers may have thrown off the poetic trappings of the mythological heroic era, they may have still been influenced by its theological concerns. I would note that this would not be unheard of for modern philosophers and their sometimes ambiguous relationship with Christianity.

It could well be that Hesiod and perhaps Anaximander are telling us of a radical disjunction, a gap other than distinctions of light and night, being and beings and neutrality and desire. It is important that earth, Tartara, Eros are not begotten, generative or originated by Chaos; there is no conjunction. The odd way in which Hesiod presents them grammatically in the text is first chaos as differential, a gap or void but not yet determined; only then afterwards earth, Tartara, Eros with no explicit or implied causality. Hesiod does not write, as he could have, that chaos was generative of earth, Tartara, Eros. The only relation given is temporal as ‘then afterwards’ but not causal. Chaos does not give birth to earth, Tartara, Eros but first chaos and then afterwards earth, Tartara, Eros. If “the first” is meant as irony and jest of the Muses given the question posed in the Theogony then the temporal meaning of ‘then afterwards’ could also indicate the doubling of this first irony. This could indicate further the radical break of chaos and determination. If the question can only be answered by covering over what cannot be said, perhaps cannot be thought, except by poetic musings the temporal allusion may be more an indication of disruption or quality as kairos rather than a causal, sequential answer to cosmogony.

Xenophanes would remind us of earth and Tartara that “The upper limit of earth borders on air. The lower limit reaches down to the unlimited. [i.e. the apeiron]”.16 Let’s also remember that earth, Tartara and Eros are dwelling (sheltering, abode, home, lime, boundary), darkness (night, indeterminate, unseen) and desire (the in-between, what Plato tells us of Eros discussed in the next section). Classic scholarship would tell us that, “Strictly speaking, mythical time is timeless, but its sequential flow can articulate qualitative relationships and ontological distinctions”.17 Therefore, the temporal relationship given by “but then afterwards” may not indicate some kind of pre-existing temporality but rather it marks difference and establishes a primacy. It may be that chaos gets mythologized, taken up, origin-alized or storied in metaphor as earth, Tartara, Eros. Let’s remember that earth gives place or dwelling, Tartara as underneath earth is murky and dark but also undergirds earth and Eros is in-between, incessantly the middle. Eros is desire because Eros is not one or the other but hovers in the midst as some indeterminacy between binaries and opposites. Eros then as desire, would be the necessary condition for polemos (Πόλεμος; “war”) or conflict and strife.

In 414 BC, Aristophanes tells us that

At the beginning there was only Chaos, Night (Nyx), Darkness (Erebus), and the Abyss (Tartarus). Earth, the Air and Heaven had no existence. Firstly, blackwinged Night laid a germless egg in the bosom of the infinite deeps of Darkness, and from this, after the revolution of long ages, sprang the graceful Love (Eros) with his glittering golden wings, swift as the whirlwinds of the tempest. He mated in the deep Abyss with dark Chaos, winged like himself, and thus hatched forth our race, which was the first to see the light.18

In Aristophanes account, a ” blackwinged Night (Nyx) laid a germless egg” in the “bosom of the infinite [apeiron] deeps of Darkness (Erebus)” and “after the revolution of long ages, sprang the graceful Love” Eros. Our genesis, “hatched forth”, is from Eros who mated “in the deep Abyss with dark Chaos”. According to Aristophanes, our origin is strife (polemos) as chaos, “deep Abyss with dark Chaos” and desire, Eros; not in idea (eidos) or Concept (bergriff).

Philosophy Series 7 – Eros 


1 Hesiod, “Theogony”, Translated by Drew A. Hyland; “First of All Came Chaos”, Heidegger and the Greeks: Interpretive Essays (Studies in Continental Thought) (p. 9). Kindle Edition; For text see Link, Hes. Th. 115 to 135;

2 Doubling is a concept developed by Jacques Derrida. Without getting too technical, think of meaning, transcendental significance which gives place and origin to humans (thus what Derrida calls “transcendental arche”), as ideas, beliefs and values which keep us from falling into a neutralizing emptiness, as Levinas would suggest il y a, the ‘there is’. The necessity for meaning is a command that we must respond to perhaps without ever really thinking about it as a command. In Derrida’s language the requirement for meaning is a restricted economy. An economy measures, judges and appropriates to achieve its goals. This command comes from an other; the other being absolute meaninglessness, the neutralization of all transcendental significance, absolute nihilism. This retreat from the neutral ‘there is’, relegated to our unconscious, shows a more general economy. The general economy is based on repeatable symbols, graphemes or phonemes which are written or spoken fragments of language, signs which can only and always point to other signs and can be reassembled and repeated (iterated) in a myriad of ways. The way a computer processes computer language might illustrate a system of signs which only refer to other signs without any such meaning and significance that humans must find in language and thought, from a restricted economy of these signs. The more general economy is relegated to a trace from the perspective of our restricted economy, the irrevocable commandment for transcendental significance. However, the trace of difference (Derrida names as ‘differance’) always keeps us from hermetically (and hermeneutically) isolating ourselves within our own transcendental ‘metaphysics’. The trace of differance plays at the margins of our restricted economies. Derrida makes this comment in Of Grammatology (see link) about the transcendental metaphysics of origin (archê):

What I call the erasure of concepts ought to mark the places of that future meditation. For example, the value of the transcendental arche [archie] must make its necessity felt before letting itself be erased. The concept of arche-trace must comply with both that necessity and that erasure. It is in fact contradictory and not acceptable within the logic of identity. The trace is not only the disappearance of origin — within the discourse that we sustain and according to the path that we follow it means that the origin did not even disappear, that it was never constituted except reciprocally by a non-origin, the trace, which thus becomes the origin of the origin. From then on, to wrench the concept of the trace from the classical scheme, which would derive it from a presence or from an originary non-trace and which would make of it an empirical mark, one must indeed speak of an originary trace or arche-trace. Yet we know that that concept destroys its name and that, if all begins with the trace, there is above all no originary trace.

This means that in the search for transcendental origin, we can understand that origin, from our restricted economy, is driven not from some absolute origin but from a general economy of signs, signifiers and signified. If transcendental origin was absolute there would not be any difference which would make us aware of any such thing as origin. Only in the face of absence, of our undoing, does transcendental origin come up as an object of concern. Only because underlying origin is the trace of ‘no origin’, an-archy, are we compelled to need or require that ‘the first’, as Hesiod might tell us, is origin and not the incomprehensible gap of chaos (thus the ‘nonsensical’ musings of “First of all Chaos came-to-be”). In this sense differentiation without specific determinations could be thought as Derrida’s general economy. Any restricted economy will work to displace its other, the general economy that would interrupt, rupture, transcendental significance. Therefore in our attempt to master origin we become a slave to the commandment in the trace of ‘no origin’ (to use a Hegelian metaphor). To even think of ‘no origin’ our restricted economy requires us to think of ‘no origin’ as ‘underlying’, giving rise to origin, and therefore, make ‘no origin’ into another functioning origin. This is why he writes of the “arche-trace” which is an absolute impossibility (“there is above all no originary trace“) but also an absolute requirement from our restricted economies. Hence we get this peculiar writing, origin. To continue a little further with Of Grammatology:

The Living Present (lebendige Gegenwart) is the universal and absolute form of transcendental experience to which Husserl refers us. In the descriptions of the movements of temporalisation, all that does not torment the simplicity and the domination of that form seems to indicate to us how much transcendental phenomenology belongs to metaphysics. But that must come to terms with the forces of rupture. In the originary temporalisation and the movement of relationship with the outside, as Husserl actually describes them, nonpresentation or depresentation is as “originary” as presentation. That is why a thought of the trace can no more break with a transcendental phenomenology than be reduced to it. Here as elsewhere, to pose the problem in terms of choice, to oblige or to believe oneself obliged to answer it by a yes or no, to conceive of appurtenance as an allegiance or non-appurtenance as plain speaking, is to confuse very different levels, paths, and styles. In the deconstruction of the arche, one does not make a choice.


Therefore I admit the necessity of going through the concept of the arche-trace. How does that necessity direct us from the interior of the linguistic system? How does the path that leads from Saussure to Hjelmslev forbid us to avoid the originary trace?


In that its passage through form is a passage through the imprint. And the meaning of difference in general would be more accessible to us if the unity of that double passage appeared more clearly. [Of Grammatology, Jacques Derrida (1967), See Link]

The double passage is the inability to say “yes or no” to origin. There is no choice involved in a commandment. However, to face the impossibility of escape from our restricted economies of transcendental signified, to understand difference which plays outside our specific determinations of meaning is to gleam trace, the impossibility of the “arche-trace”, and its doubling in the restricted and general economy.

Another motif Derrida used was writing. Ordinary writing is what Derrida called the “vulgar concept of writing”. Derrida wants to get at a more fundamental dynamic of writing he calls “arche-writing”. In Of Grammatology Derrida lays out a case for how verbal speech, the ‘original natural’ language, required the presence of the speaker to come to its aid, to validate the veracity of the speech, to ‘sign’ and authenticate itself. Writing, on the other hand, displaced the intent of the speaker. Writing reproduces and allows iteration but without a conscious speaker present with the content. Writing serves as a kind of autonomous unconscious from conscious validation, conscious truth, and conscious meaning of the speaker. In this way the speaker serves as a restricted economy and writing as a general economy. Think of the general economy of writing more as signs, graphemes, which only and always refer to other signs, signifiers and signified. Writing plays at the margins of the text (consciousness). Writing is the ‘other’ of speech. It is speech without a speaker. Therefore, it is a double of speech. Since speech is the presence of the speaker, writing is the absence of the speaker, the absence of presence. In this way writing exceeds presence.

I would wish rather to suggest that the alleged derivativeness of writing, however real and massive, was possible only on one condition: that the original,” “natural,” etc. language had never existed, never been intact and untouched by writing, that it had itself always been a writing. An arche-writing whose necessity and new concept I wish to indicate and outline here; and which I continue to call writing only because it essentially communicates with the vulgar concept of writing. The latter could not have imposed itself historically except by the dissimulation of the arche-writing, by the desire for a speech displacing its other and its double and working to reduce its difference. If I persist in calling that difference writing, it is because, within the work of historical repression, writing was, by its situation, destined to signify the most formidable difference. It threatened the desire for the living speech from the closest proximity, it breached living speech from within and from the very beginning. And as we shall begin to see, difference cannot be thought without the trace. [Of Grammatology, Jacques Derrida (1967), See Link]

Speech, historically, has asserted its primacy over writing. It has wanted to show writing as an extension of the speaker, a faithful reproduction, a double that preserves the original intent. One need only look at the Bible to see how Christian history has tried to preserve the truth of the Bible only to unearth a vast plurality of widely varying interpretations. The conscious intent to preserve the presence of God in the Bible has historically been undermined at every step. Particular denominations have denounced ‘other’ interpretations. They have attempted to undermine the truth value of other interpretations. What is at work in this historical dynamic is the written word. The written word can no longer come to the aid of its speech. It cannot clarify and correct directly to the listener. Some Christians have even gone so far as to proclaim protection of the ‘word’ with the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost functions as the clarifier and corrector in the absence of the speaker. A consciousness, the consciousness of God, is present in the written word. Those who ‘hear’ the speaker, the Holy Ghost, will interpret the Bible correctly, according to orthodoxy, and those who cannot ‘hear’ the ‘voice’ of the Holy Spirit will fall into error and heresy. What shows itself here is that the written word is no longer guarded by the immediate presence of a flesh and blood speaker. Therefore, those vested in ‘true’ Christianity must continually supplement the unchecked dispersion of the written word to ensure that the ‘true’ meaning is conveyed by the spirit that haunts the book. It is precisely because the written word always exceeds the conscious intent of the spoken word that supplementation is constantly required. This excess functions as absence, as withdrawal, or perhaps as what the ancient Greeks thought as privation.

Perhaps some simpler ways to think about this is the historical notion of the monster. The monster is relegated to outside consciousness. The monster is horrible and inescapable. And yet, in Frankenstein, we have a human double. Frankenstein is on the edge of humankind. Frankenstein is a grotesque double of human life. It undoes humankind by playing at the edges of what is human. Frankenstein mimics (doubles) human kind but is other. This other is terror incarnate which faces us and threatens to extinguish us. The underside of presence is absence. What Frankenstein is cannot be spoken; it can only be feared.

The Gnostics of early Christianity were declared apostate and heretics by orthodoxy. They were outcasts historically in Christianity. Later, in the dark ages, apostates and heretics met with severe punishment and death. Witchcraft was considered the monster of early Christianity. It was relegated and functioned outside the restricted economy. It was the anti-Christian, the arche-trace, which refused the transcendence and metaphysics of ‘true’ meaning. And yet, orthodoxy’s alleged negation of Christianity, heretics, both validated orthodoxy from within its restricted economy and gave a face to the damned other, the other that failed to recognize the face of Christ. Therefore, the “arche-trace” functions as the double, the other and the excess of a restricted economy. This excess cannot be faced only re-appropriated as further confirmation of the restricted economy. Therefore, even though the archê (origin) of the trace is impossible as its absence can never be squelched into presence, it must be made to appear as present, as an origin, a monster, an apostate, a heretic to appease the necessity of determinations, of restricted economies, in the face of the other, the excess, the gap, the chaos, indeterminate difference which would undo it and, of necessity, require retribution for injustice.

3 John Sallis, Chorology: On Beginning in Plato’s Timaeus (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999)

4 Drew A. Hyland; “First of All Came Chaos”, Heidegger and the Greeks: Interpretive Essays (p. 13). Kindle Edition, page 13

5 apeiron; see Link; also an interesting discussion here]

6 peras; See Link

7 ἀ-πείρων; See Link

8 Romans 11:36


10 Heidegger, The Anaximander Fragment, page 595, See link

11 See Link, Section 86

“When thinking is to begin, we have nothing but thought in its merest indeterminateness: for we cannot determine unless there is both one and another: and in the beginning there is yet no other.”[Hegel, The Logic]

Hegel thought it incomprehensible for differentiation without determination; for him “in the beginning there is yet no other”. Yet, the Muses tell us, “First of all Chaos came-to-be”. If chaos is taken as the gap, differentiation but without determinations we do indeed have otherness. The confusion, also echoed by the doubling of the question of the Theogony, is thinking the first, “the beginning”, the archê with the gap. The “transcendental arche” in Derrida’s words must necessarily think origin with determination. This “restricted economy” cannot think otherness, differentiation without “one and another”. Thinking differentiation without determination as the “arche-trace” which “…one must indeed speak of an originary trace or arche-trace. Yet we know that that concept destroys its name and that, if all begins with the trace, there is above all no originary trace” (see link).

Derrida quoting Bataille in Writing and Difference (see link), “From Restricted to General Economy A Hegelianism Without Reserve” states that Hegel should have “considered laughter first”. Hegel, as master of the Absolute, should have taken his own master/slave paradigm seriously. The master, the sovereign, cannot be such without giving up his to freedom to the slave, the dialect, the work. Thus the absolute Idea, the begriff, which starts from ‘the first’ and proceeds to the last, the Concept, never takes leave of its origin. As such otherness can only arise within the bounds of its triads, its negations and prohibitions. Nothing exceeds its movement. All is taken up and mastered by the dialectic. Its end, telos, can only be itself, it’s self-determining self. The progression can never exceed the movement of universal dialectic, of negation and Aufhebung. In the end, it must deny differentiation which fails its determinations and prohibitions, which fails to think Hesiod’s chaos as gap, as difference without determination, as “arche-trace” which plays and laughs at its Gordian knot that binds its ‘freedoms’ to its own self-determined chains. The other which cannot begin without “one and another”, without determinations, without its determinations cannot exceed its archê, its beginning, to find the trace of an other. Thus Hegel’s dialectic succeeds in binding itself to itself, prohibiting and prohibition preserve its enslavement. The master of the Absolute has become the slave to its transcendental signified…and, as Hegel himself predicted, but failed to see, the Notion of his own slavery.

The Hegelian Aufhebung is produced entirely from within discourse, from within the system or the work of signification. A determination is negated and conserved in another determination which reveals the truth of the former. From infinite indetermination one passes to infinite determination, and this transition, produced by the anxiety of the infinite, continuously links meaning up to itself. The Aufhebung is included within the circle of absolute knowledge, never exceeds its closure, never suspends the totality of discourse, work, meaning, law, etc. Since it never dispels the veiling form of absolute knowledge, even by maintaining this form, the Hegelian Aufhebung in all its parts belongs to what Bataille calls “the world of work,” that is, the world of the prohibition not perceived as such, in its totality. “And the human collectivity, in part devoted to work, is just as much defined by prohibitions, without which it would not have become the world of work that it essentially is” (L’erotisme). The Hegelian Aufhebung thus belongs to restricted economy, and is the form of the passage from one prohibition to another, the circulation of prohibitions, history as the truth of the prohibition.[Writing and Difference (see link), “From Restricted to General Economy A Hegelianism Without Reserve”]

12 See Link

13 Heidegger, The Anaximander Fragment, page 595, See link

14 Heidegger, The Anaximander Fragment, page 595, See link


16 DK 21 B 28

17 (Bussanich, 213); Drew A. Hyland;John Panteleimon Manoussakis. Heidegger and the Greeks: Interpretive Essays (p. 14). Kindle Edition.

18 Aristophanes, Birds, lines 690-699. (Translation by Eugene O’Neill, Jr., Perseus Digital Library; translation modified.)

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