Fire

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Fire

How can one hide from that which never sets?

Heraclitus of Ephesus

The method of the philosophical phantastic is complicity, that is to say conspiracy:

Not the creation of conceptual personnages, but the evocation of daemonic conspirators. Apeiron the Pirate. Apeiron the Co-Pirate.

Anaximander and Heraclitus – the co-pirate adventurers.

Pirates are daemonic conspirators, they know future means Hell, Inferno, a mass of magma where form and matter mingle in a monstrous alchemical alambic, over whose philosophical furnace looms, with face charred and sweltering, the daemonic divine blacksmith, Hephaestus/Vulcan. The inferno of the future is not before them, it is not forth-coming, it is inside, into the depths, down there; this is why the pirate-philosophers must descend like drills, like vertical spasms or like meteors, swooping upon the exploding planet, setting the whole thing ablaze. The blaze of the world. Everything is aflame. 

 

Everything is aflame: the world of flame

Ignis mutat res.

Πάντα ῥεῖ: everything is flux.

Πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει (Plato, Cratylus, 402a). That which is flux, which gives impetus to the flux of the world, is intensity and force: fire.

Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, or Miscellanies, Book V: ‘The same world of all things, neither any of the gods, nor any one of men, made. But there was, and is, and will be ever-living fire, kindled according to measure, and quenched according to measure.’

Everything is flux, therefore everything is aflame.

The worldly fire, the fire that drives the world, is not the divine fire, traversing and dissipating the darkness, the light of infinite and untouchable transcendence. Neither is it the fire of hell, the fire of divine justice and atonement. Likewise, the co-pirate element of the apeiron is not an element of the world, but dynamics that alters every basic element before it turns into substance; the element of altering dynamics. Fire is the principle of movement, the movement within the world: the world’s impulse, its rhythm, its force. Movement is immanent to the substance of the world: it is the world’s one and only substance.

The world is aflame: the world is but fire.

 

Philosophy: pyromania

Yes, the philiosopher must roam along boundaries: the one who swerves off the beaten track and away from the tamed sea-waves, the one who in the end diverts the course of the world, this diversion is the only possible trajectory of the world that cannot persist without taking the risk of diverting itself, of going beyond itself, of setting itself aflame, of transforming itself, of being the volcano of its own surging, and therefore its own hell, a forge, therefore its own future.   

‘How can one hide from that which never sets?’

The world is aflame: the world is but fire.

Everything is aflame.

 

Everything is aflame: horizons

Heraclitus, our contemporary. The far-sighted one who responds best to the obscure exigency of our times. In this world, ‘our world’, the world of the totalizing flux, the possibility of immanence of fire becomes a dire issue: how do we preserve the purity of its movement? By what means fire, which persists in constant flux and surges out of itself – the blazing tissue of the world, its constantly running shuttle – differs from the generalizing liquefaction, which could eventually submerge the world, even set it aflame? The crucial issue in this perhaps irreversible situation of transformation seems like the following: how do we persist within the totalizing flux, how do we resist the absorption of every possibility for transformation – of the transformative ability of life itself – without destroying the possibility for the emergence of the event (of justice, of freedom)? How do we maintain the polemic dynamics without letting it freeze under the impact of the tipifying statics of the generalized liquefaction (or liquidation)?

Let us not affirm the constancy of forms in the process of transformation, let us instead affirm the metamorphosis of subjects in opposition to the quasi-substantial fluidity of of the new totalizing powers, let us rediscover and mobilize anew the transfomrative force of the praxis, not in order to reenact the exigency of transforming the world, but with a view to transforming its transformation. 

* * *

Burn down all the bridges and set off to a new world? Set off to this world exactly. Pirates, acting at the very end of the world – at the very fore, bound to divert its course. There is no world without movement, there is no movement without a multiplicity of complex movements, without a disorganized organizing, which forces the movement along its course: there is no world without shock. 

The world is aflame, everything is aflame.

Everything is aflame here, where the sun weighs down like a sky of stones. Where the fire befalls us all.

Come forth, blazing storm, take us all into your eye, into the very heart of your element, within the vortex of your sway.

We, followers of Heraclitus, we – Homo Heraclitus – persist.

 

Excerpts from Boyan Manchev, The New Athanor. Prolegomena to Philosophical Fantastic (Sofia: Metheor, 2019/2020),  Book III: “Fire”, p. 103-105, 113-115.