‘The unobtainable Beginning shows itself in the way the All shows itself to be finite and limited, and in how it allows to be intuited the alterity in which [the Beginning] consists beyond the borders that the single thing necessarily bears with it. The manifestation of an all, where things touch one another and where … the true is intuited via contact with the thing. Their contact is possible if things are, in a certain sense, the one with the other and hence in con-trast [con-tro] to the other, in a manifestation of multiplicity that might rightly evoke the meaning of Heraclitan éris, where everything is continuous conflict. Being would thus be the kaleidoscopic and ordered being-given of an entity, in its being, reflecting the other than itself and its relation with that other’ (L. Mauceri, La hybris originaria, p. 46).
Cacciari’s argument is strongly Schopenhauerian, affirming the singularity of the thing, of the web of inter-related things, as that which can only show itself against an unfounded, abyssal ground. ‘This standing-in-contrast [stare-contro] is the way that entities contra-dict one another, show their truth in speaking of this relationship of shared temporality and spatiality.’ Underpinning this is a reflection on the pre-Socratics, and specifically Heraclitus, as bringing together the two aspects of being, ‘freedom and necessity … [and] offer a vision of entities as related to the other, reflecting the other in their stable being themselves, like things in their singularity [that] are freely offered by the Beginning to the order of time and of the necessary’ (p. 48). But such entities are de-limited by their conflict, the striving of the one against the other, that reflects the other at the same time as defining itself. Their struggle persists because neither the one nor the other surrenders to the other, and their struggle is what permits them to not succumb to the ‘“obscure” principle of the foundation’ (M. Cacciari, Dell’Inizio, p. 117). There is, therefore, a phenomenological excess of the entity in the unfounded Beginning that surrounds and accompanies the entity as an abyssal condition: ‘Free is the gaze that understands itself in the web of necessary relations of the world and that intuits the abyss from which it proceeds and that lies behind it, which has thrown it into that being’ (p. 35). The foundation is here the nihil that supports them, underpinning them in their irresolvable conflict. This is a dialectics of nothingness, in which the relation between finite, de-limited entities is at once undetermined – in terms of ground – without being indeterminate in terms of relations. In fact, all there is is determination, as in the finite reflecting within itself its opposition to the chain of the finite in terms of their inter-de-limitation, defined thus by conflict that needs to be maintained and organised. Politics then is a giving-form to conflict upon a negative ground, and thus an action that is forever incomplete:
‘Hamlet is the decisive figure who casts doubt on the possibility that doing means giving complete form, bringing to an end, arranging [disporre], deciding. Doubt goes to the ultimate limit: it throws its “pale pith” over dying itself. Being, or rather, doing is incapable of accomplishing itself in death. Death does not belong to it, nor do the effects of its acting appear to be. Hamlet did not aspire to great enterprises, he had no interest in the crown, nor does his vocation for study in the (Lutheran) Wittenberg seem particularly intense (might he and Horatio have discovered traces of Bruno’s sojourn there?). If the past had not condemned him to inaction, the problem of the meaning of acting as ordering-arranging-accomplishing would never have posed itself. Neither would that of a death that is truly de-cision from the tumult of life. Others “decide” on the basis of inherited orders that, not being produced by them, cannot in truth be known to them. Hence, theirs is never a true decision. Hamlet understands this. He could not deceive himself on this matter. Even death happens to them. Hamlet seems to seek it but, unable to call his action his own, does not make death his own. Revenge itself takes place due to the chain of events of which he is “innocent” because of the law that dominates historical existence, as if it were its gravitational law: the heterogenesis of ends’ (M. Cacciari, Hamletica, pp. 21-2).
Cacciari, M. Dell’Inizio, Adelphi, Milan 2001.
Cacciari, M. Hamletics, Adelphi, Milan 2009.
Mauceri, L., La hybris originaria: Massimo Cacciari e Emanuele Severino, Orthotes Editrice, Naples-Salerno, 2017
All translations are my own.