What Is Speculation?
»Speculation becomes autonomous.« Heidegger on Hegel1
»The thing that differentiates man from animals is money.« Gertrude Stein2
»Money is a kind of poetry.«
In contributions that combine the perspectives of art, theory, and the poetics of economics (including Gertrude Stein’s remarks on the matter in a rarely-read book from 1936), the new issue of Inaesthetics ties the complex of motifs around money, finance, real abstraction to the philosophical question concerning the consistency or inconsistency that constitutes the nature of reality. Irreducibly noneconomic elements are obviously part and parcel of economy, and irreducibly unreal elements, of reality, just as philosophy includes an ineluctably speculative element. The current virtualization and fictionalization of the economy, the disconnection of the world of finance from the system of fixed exchange rates and the gold standard sealed by the abandonment of the Bretton Woods Agreements in 1973, its growing openness toward constitutively noneconomic factors and its self-dislimitation toward inconsistency, toward a “regime of free-floating signifiers without anchor or measure, unsecured by a transcendental signified,” that takes place with the “transition from commodity money to credit money, from backed to unbacked currency systems”:4 these correspond to the philosophical self-untethering of reason from any fundamentum inconcussum that describes the transition from the principle-based onto-theological metaphysics of ultimate grounds to the postmodern affirmation of the absence of a guaranteeing or stabilizing principle.
That God is dead, that the transcendental subject and the big Other do not exist, at least not as positive entities, means, before anything else, that the absolute guarantor of value and consistency—the bank holding inexhaustible reserves—does not exist, or exists only as an operative token in a world theater that negotiates its realities—its evidences and consistencies, its symbolic as much as economic valences, i.e., its complete set of facts—above the abyss of an ontological inconsistency, rather than manifesting them within an absolute horizon of meaning. However justified its aggressive critique of metaphysics and idealism, Nietzsche’s anti-Hegelianism, which hoped to bury the metaphysics of speculative palliation along with God, obscures the impulses toward a critique of metaphysics and idealism within Hegelian metaphysics itself: obscures the fact that the latter already opens up toward a disquiet—the “restlessness of the negative”—that subjects the concept of speculation, the core concept of absolute idealism, to an ambivalence which leaves no thinking, no subject, and no reality untouched. Conceptual metaphysics and financial metaphysics coincide in this concept, which fuses at least two aspects that seem opposites only at first glance: hyperbolism and totality.
Hegel’s definition of speculation and speculative thinking as grasping the “unity of the difference”5 and as “grasping opposites in their unity, or the positive in the negative,”6 in short, as the “power of unification,”7 correlates with the experience of a disunion and an abyss that is the fundamental experience of the modern philosophy of the subject. The ground itself—any kind of floor or plane of consistency—remains vaulted over the abyss of a negativity that marks the inconsistency, disunion, or diremption of a subject defined by its originary ecstasy, its self-transcendence and restlessness, its almost unstoppable turbulence;8 a turbulence that is part of the subject by definition, as the latter extends into the dimension of subject-closure, the sphere of everything that it is not and that, as this irreducible other, delimits its self. “The Hegelian subject,” Jean-Luc Nancy writes, “is in no way the self all to itself. It is, to the contrary, and it is essentially, what (or the one who) dissolves all substance—every instance already given, supposed first or last, founding or final, capable of coming to rest in itself and taking undivided enjoyment in its mastery and property.”9 Part of the Hegelian subject is an elementary being-outside-oneself. It is a hyperbolic subject of restlessness that is conscious of its self-alienation. It gains its dialectical meaning only by passing through its loss: the loss of meaning as much as of itself. “We cannot,” Nancy concludes, “say it often enough: if Hegel has appeared time and again as the thinker of a consummation of meaning in its totality, through which the spirit, passing through nature and history, returns to itself and becomes what it truly is, that is because the thinking of this consummation has opened up and exposed itself in him—but this opening-up and exposure is at once the suspension of any property and any appropriation of meaning.”10 It is a restless and hyperbolic totality to which this thinking opens, whose speculative nature recognizes both in equal measure: unity and diremption, identity and difference, by joining both in a higher identity. The speculative identity of identity and difference marks the dialectical concern of a thinking we grasp only if, as Heidegger puts it, we conceive of this higher identity as a “living unity.”11 “Speculation,” Heidegger notes in the manuscript for the lectures on the philosophy of German idealism he held in the summer semester of 1929, is “the operation of pure and universal reason upon itself.”12 The fact that speculation becomes autonomous in Hegel’s thinking marks the radical difference that separates him from Kant: the hyperbolic step beyond Kantian criticism, which ties the (irrational) dynamism of reason back to the forms of understanding and intuition. Speculative thinking immerses itself in the nothing of negativity, which is the “nothing of pure self-relating.”13
The speculative subject is the subject of this self-relating, which appears as the condition of the possibility of empirical self-mediation. In speculation, the subject overshoots its empirical status and all finite realities that weigh it down. Speculation is thus “infinity as self-referring negativity.”14 It is the celebration of nothingness or the void. It celebrates an abstraction that is a subtraction from the reality of events, a hollowing-out of the subject that leaves naked self-relativity. In speculation, the subject is subject insofar as it disregards its subjectivity—its social, personal, or otherwise concrete substance—in order to be nothing but naked substance and depersonalized subject, identity without qualities. The self of speculation is a “being that has nothing on which it is founded, nothing by virtue of which it can preserve or complete itself.” For “the ‘self’ is precisely not given, neither as origin nor as end.”15 And that is exactly what renders the speculative self or subject “infinite autodetermination and autoplasticity”:16 a being that overshoots itself and in this excess constitutes its self, a hyperbolic totality. The becoming-absolute of speculation is the becoming-absolute of the subject,17 which begins to break loose of itself as a real subject in order to approach the indeterminacy, the indefiniteness and infinity described by Hegel’s conception of “absolute knowledge,” or as Nancy puts it so aptly, the “immense tautology of the subject.”18
As open-ended play, speculation gives the subject over to a dramatic aleatorics that reveals the aleatory nature of its subjectivity. Like any aleatorics, it keeps in intimate contact with potential failure as well as real loss. The speculative self knows that its being remains open to its loss, for it is nothing but this opening, this passage between finitude and infinity, between being and nothingness. Speculation thus implies a factual demanifestation of real relations by disregarding them in order to open the subject’s eyes to a negativity that is the negativity of the self-referential subject.19 The speculative subject opens toward its reality by opening up to a negative that Heidegger, referring to the preface to the Phenomenology of the Spirit, calls “the ‘energy’ of absolute thinking”.20 We may say of this energy that it accelerates the subject’s exceeding itself at the very moment that it orients that subject toward itself so that it may be a subject thinking itself. It is the question of the self and its outside that mobilizes the subject. In the speculative appropriation of itself, the subject short-circuits itself with its other. It identifies itself as this short-circuiting, as a certain blowing of all fuses, it recognizes itself as unsafeguarded toward an ultimately irreducible otherness no sublation can neutralize, an otherness that a priori disturbs its self-pacification in a stable self that would be utterly with itself, would be entirely identical to itself. It is this a priori contamination with otherness, this primordial disturbance of the subject, of self-consciousness or reason, that Derrida gives us to think under the title deconstruction.
The most general undertaking of deconstruction is to convict reason of its implicit unreason, the cogito, of its disturbance or its madness.21 In Cogito et l’histoire de la folie (1963), Derrida laid out a conception analogous to Georges Bataille’s blueprint of an économie générale—an economy, that is to say, that includes profligacy and the profligacy of self, or in short excess, in its self-conception rather than excluding it22—evoking a “logos that preceded the split of reason and madness.” This was a logos “which within itself permitted dialogue between what were later called reason and madness (unreason), permitted their free circulation and exchange,”23 before posing as the yardstick of their distinction, of an utterly transparent and decidable difference. It is a logos divided within itself, a rent or split reason. And indeed Derrida establishes a connotation between the motif of this disunion and diremption and the “fission […] of the Hegelian Entzweiung,”24 which is also to say, with negativity and speculation, or in other words, with a problematic and indeed incommensurable logos that seems to oscillate between identity and difference while serving as the divided ground beneath the difference as well as the identity of identity and difference and, hence, appearing as universal reason.
In a 1992 lecture, this logos that is originally rent and, in that diremption, identical to itself is reflected in the concept of a general economics that knows to accommodate the Aristotelian difference between economics and chrematistics. Derrida explains this (distinguishable although ultimately undecidable) difference as follows: “Economics is the art of managing the goods of the oikos, the home, the family, the hearth, and even the city (nation or state), the technics necessary for acquiring or exchanging these goods in proportion to needs that are determinable and finite in principle. Chrematistics is not familiar with these limits. It refers to the art of acquiring goods or wealth for themselves, through commerce or speculation, according to the law of the market, without limit and behaving as if (this is, Aristotle tells us, the artificial, nonnatural, denaturing illusion of the chrematistic drive). Chrematistics behaves as if true wealth consisted in a quantity of money. And it is also the beginning of what will be called, starting in the eighteenth century, and by analogy, the fetishism of money. Chrematistics, were one to oppose it in this context or according to this convention to economics, and if one held it to be an art or a science, would be precisely that which forms both the spirit of the market [l’esprit du marché] and the market spirit [l’esprit de marché], everything in the market that exceeds—infinitely—the limits of need, of the useful, the natural, the reasonable, the calculable, the stable relation between production and consumption, between the chez soi and the chez l’autre, etc.”25 Let us note that general economics knows these two modes: economics (in the restricted sense), which Aristotle associates with the concept of the natural need, and chrematistics, which is the unnatural or artificial art of acquiring. “One of them is natural, the other is not natural, but carried on rather by means of a certain acquired skill or art.”26
Economics limits itself to exchange and the satisfaction of natural needs, whereas chrematistics exceeds simple economics, disregarding the laws of the oikos and leaving the house itself behind, for it seems to know no limits. It seems that this art “deals specially with money, and that its function is to be able to discern from what source a large supply can be procured, as this art is supposed to be creative of riches and wealth,”27 as Aristotle writes. Let us note, further, that Derrida associates chrematistics with (among other things) a certain boundlessness, with speculation, with illusion, with the fetishism of money, with a potentially infinite dynamism, and with the category of excess. It is obviously defined by a lack of moderation that commits it to the indeterminate, infinite, and boundless. It is here that it evinces its heterology to the determination, finitude, and delimitation of reason. That is ratiocinating reason. It keeps house with precision. Its economy knows no transgression, or only as what must by all means be avoided. Economic reason (in the strict sense) is self-restrictive reason, reason pursuing the dictates of needs detached from all desire. That assimilates it to common sense, which describes all excess as against nature, illegitimate, obscene, or perverse. It “preserves itself from the illusion, that is, from the chrematistic speculation that confuses wealth with money.”28 Derrida insists that there cannot be a place beyond economics nor a place beyond chrematistics, which is to say, that no event, no action, no incident is free of the restrictions of limited economics, but at the same time, nothing happens “without the least chrematistic vertigo.”29 This implies that economics has long transcended itself toward its outside, it has long been, and operated, outside itself, it is noneconomic and excessive, whether it will or not. It also implies that there is no absolute vertigo, no absolute transgression, no pure being-outside-oneself—just as there is no difference as such—that, in other words, a minimum of determinacy and economic restriction watches over even the utmost speculative madness.
The contamination of chrematistics and economics is reciprocal. Aristotle’s speculation aims, as always, at the métron, the due measure, a sort of middle. And yet the specific reciprocity between economics and chrematistics is a more complicated matter. We would have to speak of an uncertainty relation of economics and chrematistics: I either disregard the dynamic excess in favor of the husbandry of reason, or vice versa. Either way, it seems, I cannot do equal justice to both sides of the relation at the same time. In short, the unfairness of privileging of one side over the other is constitutive. The task remains of drawing the conclusions for a redefinition of reason or of the subject between economics and chrematistics. In that direction lies a subject that must identify itself between identity and difference, between presence and absence, between consistency and inconsistency, between commensurability and incommensurability; a speculative subject that acknowledges its characteristic excess by setting bounds to it, while at once also acknowledging this demarcation of bounds to be excessively delimited. The emerging autonomy of speculation proves to be the emerging heteronomy of the subject. If, as Vogl writes, speculation is “the normal case of financial-economic transaction,”30 that is also because it corresponds to the normal madness of a constitutively excessive reason.
* * *
The contributions to Inaesthetics-3 touch upon this uncertainty relation of economics and chrematistics from different perspectives and in a variety of registers—philosophical, economic, sociological, poetic, artistic. The question they all have in common concerns the conditions that make the creatio ex nihilo of financial capitalism possible, and the role that “money generating money” (Karl Marx), the “great leveler of all things” (Aristotle), plays in the devastation of society that entails31—especially in the course of the most recent potentiations32 of monetary abstraction, which give their blessing to a global economic flattening of real economic activity.
Money is a credo behind which nothing stands but the nothing in which it originates and into which it disappears again once it loses faith, for example the faith of the so-called markets that accredits its value.33 “Money is backed solely by (the faith in) money.”34 Money is “unbacked confidence-money,”35 no more and no less than a powerfully effective “advance of nothing”36—and one that is advanced for a limited time.37 The money of capitalism is “in one sense only a time given and taken back, anticipated and delayed.”38 Money transactions are time transactions, an “exchange of time, the exchange in the least possible time (‘real’ time) for the greatest possible time (‘abstract’ or lost time).”39 A monetary sign is “abstract” accumulated time, and as time stored up it may provide an advance of time, a loan of time. As credit, as credo, which is to say, ever since its invention, money has been a “bundle of time,”40 an “as-if commodity”41 that does something humans cannot (yet) do: travel through time. For most money, and financial capital in particular,42 comes from the future of anticipatory accreditations we charge to the future and redeem in advance in a creation of (un)reality based on present-day belief.
It is now more obvious than ever that money, as the accreditation of a time-travel of future energy, “is not a thing, it is a social relation.”43 It is a “thoroughly inconsistent medium”44 that nonetheless lends itself to “flexible” employment by virtue of is socially mediated vagueness and functional impurity—for example, as a means of exchange, a medium of the storage of value, or a unit of account—and this flexibility is what recommends it for the role of an “onto-semiological medium of record,”45 a medium of binding power relations that establish and sustain reality and that know no outside. In this sense, money, as capital money, is a power relation, a discursive mode among discursive modes that has managed to impose its rules on all other discourses, and under the universal criterion of economic rationality: the success of “having gained time.”46 A large part of the misery humanity suffers today is caused by billions of deliberately precipitate rapid-fire decisions (in thinking, in feeling, in action, etc.) people justify with the knockout argument that they “save time.” But money is yet other things. Beyond the pacification of violently unmediated transactions of exchange by means of time-consuming abstraction, an aspect that must not be underestimated, it is, for instance, also “a relation of the separation of desire from itself, an inhibition and a new impetus of libidinal energies”47. Capital money is an “operational delirium,”48 a time-consuming desire for appropriation characterized, among other features, by a systematic “confusion of intensities and identities”49. This confusion may, by way of vampiric encroachment, take on innumerable forms. For example, it may appear in the “garb of an emancipatory philosophy of history”50, disappointing orthodox teleologies to make them fruitful for its own purpose—and many more variants we seek to describe using the terms “appropriation” or “usurpation,” something that has always already taken place when we think we record it—no matter at which cash register. Capital is what it was: the director of all noises and silences. There is no outside capital. Lyotard even went so far as to say that “capital […] is the nocturnal name of the being that is”51. Still, and precisely therefore, we face the question whether, the patently uninterrupted immanence (of capital) notwithstanding, multiplicity and antagonism or differend,52 which is to say, difference in immanence, still exist. Is there unyieldingness, for example, the antagonism of childhood, of art, whose seed is the desire to feel irreducible, not reducible to a signification or an identity? At issue, even and especially in the face of money, are identity and difference, immanence and transcendence53—as always when more is at issue than nothing.
- ↑ Martin Heidegger, Four Seminars, trans. Andrew Mitchell, François Raffoul (Bloomington, In. 2003), p 18.
- ↑ Gertrude Stein, »Money«, in the present vol. p. 47; first published in Saturday Evening Post 1936.
- ↑ Wallace Stevens, »Adagia,« quoted in The Oxford Book of American Poetry, ed. David Lehman (Oxford 2006), p. 249.
- ↑ Joseph Vogl, Das Gespenst des Kapitals (Zurich 2011), p. 86–87.
- ↑ G. W. F. Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, vol. 1, trans. John Sanderson, E. B. Speirs (Bristol 1999), p. 22.
- ↑ G. W. F. Hegel, The Science of Logic, trans. George di Giovanni (Cambridge 2010), p. 35.
- ↑ G. W. F. Hegel, The Difference between the Fichtean and Schellingian Systems of Philosophy, trans. Jere Paul Surber (Reseda 1978), p. 12. Cf. Heidegger, Four Seminars, p. 10–12.
- ↑ Let us recall that the abyss of negativity in the thinking of Gilles Deleuze bears the name of chaos. It is above this chaos that all constructions of consistency are stretched like permeable sieves.
- ↑ Jean-Luc Nancy, Hegel: The Restlessness of the Negative, trans. Jason Smith, Steven Miller (Minneapolis 2002), p. 5.
- ↑ Jean-Luc Nancy, »Von der unendlichen Wirklichkeit des Sinns,« preface to the German edition of Hegel: Die spekulative Anmerkung. Die Unruhe des Negativen, trans. Thomas Laugstien, Jörn Etzold (Zurich 2011), p. 8.
- ↑ Heidegger, Four Seminars, 11.
- ↑ Martin Heidegger, Der deutsche Idealismus (Fichte, Schelling, Hegel) und die philosophische Problemlage der Gegenwart, Freiburger Vorlesung Sommer 1929 (= Gesamtausgabe, vol. 28; Frankfurt am Main 1997), p. 198.
- ↑ Slavoj Žižek, Tarrying with the Negative: Kant, Hegel, and the Critique of Ideology (Durham 1993), p. 131.
- ↑ G. W. F. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, trans. H. B. Nisbet, ed. Allen W. Wood (Cambridge 1991), p. 41–42.
- ↑ Jean-Luc Nancy, Le plaisir au dessin: carte blanche à Jean-Luc Nancy (Vanves 2007), p. 38.
- ↑ Nancy, Hegel: The Restlessness of the Infinite, P. 56.
- ↑ We should recall Alfred Sohn-Rethel in this context, who, in his efforts to elaborate a historical-materialist epistemology, discovered the transcendental subject in the commodity-form. Tracing an explanation for the origins of the pure understanding, he detected transcendental-economic congruencies, as it were, between the commodity-form and the form of thinking. Money, as the universal commodity, he believed, was »the form of reflection of the social appropriation of all commodities,« and he concluded that the identification of the money-owner with the money-function was »the original act of theoretical subjectivity.« Alfred Sohn-Rethel, Geistige und körperliche Arbeit: Zur Epistemologie der abendländischen Geschichte (Weinheim: VCH, Acta Humaniora, 1989), 211. »The theoretical subject is the money-owner« (ibid., 206), insofar as »the theoretical subject« (»this I distinguishing itself from the body as a thinking being«, ibid.) »originates in the identification of the human being with money« (ibid.).Money, Sohn-Rethel argues further, is »the face value of the a priori«; see his Das Geld, die bare Münze des Apriori (Berlin: Wagenbach, 1990).—We should consider the consequences, such as the fact that »subjectivity is where the identification of the exploiter with the human origin of exploitation« (ibid., 216) takes place and where the light of reason rises »as the human beings find their own being obscured« (ibid., 217), an obscuration that comes into being »as the socially indispensable means required to organize production according to the conditions of complete alienation« (ibid.).
- ↑ Nancy, Hegel: The Restlessness of the Negative, p. 57.
- ↑ Concerning the interrelation between philosophical speculation and capitalist finance, Vogl notes: »In analogy with the speculative proposition in philosophy, which performs an annihilation of finite phenomena, this commerce«—the »self-referential market activity« of the capitalist economy—»accomplishes an economic as much as semiotic act that culminates not in a representation but in a de-presentation of world, dealing with the things of the world only on the condition of their manifest absence or obliteration.« Vogl, Das Gespenst des Kapitals, p. 94.
- ↑ Martin Heidegger, Hegel (= Gesamtausgabe, vol. 68; Frankfurt am Main 1993), p. 27 (emphasis in the original).
- ↑ The complexity of Derrida’s conception of reason entails that it is not only reason that delimits madness or unreason (or non-reason); at the same time, a certain »madness« must »watch over our thinking.« See Jacques Derrida, »A ›Madness‹ Must Watch over Our Thinking«, in Points ...: Interviews, 1974–1994, ed. Elisabeth Weber (Stanford 1995), p. 339–64.
- ↑ To Georges Bataille’s mind, self-consciousness is the subject’s profligate use of itself as free expenditure, a »nonlogical difference that represents in relation to the economy of the universe what crime represents in relation to the law«; Georges Bataille, »The Notion of Expenditure,« in Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927–1939, trans. Allan Stoekl (Minneapolis 1985), p. 129. Yet it does not become aware of itself without economic rationality, its implicit other: »Men assure their own subsistence or avoid suffering, not because these functions themselves lead to a sufficient result, but in order to accede to the insubordinate function of free expenditure« (ibid.).
- ↑ Jacques Derrida, »Cogito and the History of Madness,« in Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (New York 2001), p. 45.
- ↑ Ibid., p. 46.
- ↑ Jacques Derrida, »On the ›Priceless,‹ or the ›Going Rate‹ of the Transaction,« in Negotiations: Interventions and Interviews, 1971–2001, trans. Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford 2002), p. 320–21.
- ↑ Aristotle, Politics, 1257a.
- ↑ Ibid., 1257b.
- ↑ Jacques Derrida, Given Time, vol. 1: Counterfeit Money, trans. Peggy Kamuf (Chicago 1992), p. 158.
- ↑ Ibid., p. 159.
- ↑ Vogl, Das Gespenst des Kapitals, p. 95.
- ↑ Whatever society may, might, or ought to be; and we should also consider that society is in the final analysis »only another name [...] of subjectivity«; see Heidegger, Four Seminars.
- ↑ See the essays by Jakob Arnoldi, Federico Ferrari, and Elena Esposito in the present volume. Esposito, for instance, examines the mysteries of money in light of so-called futures, »a form of money (Xenomoney) that creates its reference by itself,« »a sign that creates itself out of the future« (see p. 28). Futures represent yet another potentiation of money also insofar as they realize the exchangeability of all forms of capital (productive capital, credit capital, etc.), just as traditional money guaranteed the exchangeability of all commodities.
- ↑ The earliest money consisted of clay tablets on which the Sumerians recorded debts. Since these certificates of debt were transferrable, they became a currency. Money, that is to say, was from the outset a form of credit based on the creditor’s faith that it would be repaid, a credo (Latin for I believe). See Tomas Sedlacek, Die Ökonomie von Gut und Böse (Munich 2012), p. 109ff.
- ↑ Jochen Hörisch, Bedeutsamkeit: Über den Zusammenhang von Zeit, Sinn und Medien (Munich 2009), p. 298.
- ↑ Wolfgang Gebauer, Geld und Währung (Frankfurt am Main 2004), p. 27.
- ↑ Jean-François Lyotard, Libidinal Economy (London 2004), p. 224.
- ↑ Might this be the root of the progressive »skepticism of capital, its nihilism,« as Lyotard supposes? See Jean-François Lyotard, Dérive à partir de Marx et Freud (Paris 1973), p. 17.
- ↑ Lyotard, Libidinal Economy, p. 196.
- ↑ Jean-François Lyotard, The Differend: Phrases in Dispute, trans. Georges Van Den Abbeele (Minneapolis 1988), p. 177.
- ↑ Ibid., p. 175.
- ↑ Ibid., p. 176.
- ↑ See Sedlacek, Die Ökonomie von Gut und Böse, p. 114ff.
- ↑ Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy, http://marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/poverty-philosophy/ch01c.htm.
- ↑ Hörisch, Bedeutsamkeit, p. 296.
- ↑ See ibid., chapter iii: »Formierter Sinn—Zur Funktion ontosemiologischer Leitmedien,« p. 247–352.
- ↑ Lyotard, The Differend, p. 177.
- ↑ Lyotard, Libidinal Economy, p. 196.
- ↑ Ibid., p. 254.
- ↑ Ibid., p. 257.
- ↑ Lyotard, The Differend, p. 178.
- ↑ Lyotard, Dérive à partir de Marx et Freud, p. 19.
- ↑ »As distinguished from a litigation, a differend [différend] would be a case of conflict, between (at least) two parties, that cannot be equitably resolved for lack of a rule of judgment applicable to both arguments.« Lyotard, The Differend, xi.
- ↑ Near the end of Being and Nothingness, Jean Paul Sartre already suggests that ontology—assuming that it does not wish to maintain the old dualism of »consciousness« vs. »being«—venture to think the phenomena as »totalities in perpetual disintegration« and to speak of them »both in terms of immanence and in terms of transcendence.« Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: An Essay in Phenomenological Ontology, trans. Hazel E. Barnes (New York 1994), p. 208, 625.