In Homo Sacer, Giorgio Agamben suggests that Herman’s Melville’s ‘Bartleby the Scrivener’ offers the ‘strongest objection against the principle of sovereignty’. As Agamben sees it, refugees pose a limit to the political categories of Melville’s famous story “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” which is a recurrent. From Giorgio Agamben’s Potentialities. The Scribe, or On Creation 1. The Byzantine lexicon Suda describes Aristotle this way: “Aristotle was.

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If God is only capable of what he wants, Bartleby is capable only without wanting—he only has an absolute potential. There was only ever the inexplicable movement of the divine hand.

For to do so, he must close his own ears to the incessant lamentation that, throughout the infinite chambers of this Baroque inferno of potentiality, arises from everything that could have been but was not, from everything that could have been otherwise but had to be sacrificed for the present world to be as it nartleby. That line is a modification of Romans 7: His potentiality is not unrealized because of a lack of will.

The Sunnite Ghazali had to return bartlegy the image of the scribe in his Revival of the Religious Sciences: The formula is repeated so often that it ruins any relation between absolute and ordered potential.

The three parts of this grapheme represent first bartlebt descent of potential Being to the attribute, then the extension of bzrtleby attribute toward actuality, and finally the descent of actuality toward manifestation. The indifference of Being and Nothing is not, however, an equivalence between two opposite principles; rather, it is the mode of Being of potentiality that is purified of all reason.

Abulafia knew Aristotle through Arabic translations and agambne, which paid close attention to the problem aamben the relation between the passive and active intellect. There could be no clearer way to suggest that undelivered letters are the cipher of joyous events that could have been, but never took place. Hence, the mind is not a thing, but a being of pure potential. Traditionally, these problems are tempered by two principles.


Remembrance is about potentiality.

The fire does not burn the cotton itself; God establishes the coincidence of the case and the effect. This God enjoys contemplating these events and his own choice among them: This site uses cookies. There is a potential the possible, in his words that belongs to the child who has the basics of writing. It is thinks potentiality that allows thought to take place. Share Bartleby, Refugee, Sovereignty. Aristotle said the intellect was intelligible, but it cannot be intelligible in the way that other objects are because it is not a thing: AroundBaftleby Abulafia wrote the Cabalistic treaties.

For example, if Being always preserved its potential not to be, then no possibility could ever pass into actuality or remain in actuality. Home About Contact Us. The Formula, or On Potentiality 1.

Or in other words, how can a blank writing tablet impress upon itself? It is difficult to imagine something more pharisaic than this demiurge, who contemplates all uncreated possible worlds to take delight in his aamben single choice.

The aporia here is that the highest thought can neither think nothing or think something, or remain potential or become actual. Avicenna thought of the creation of the world as an act in which the divine thinks itself. But surely the most immediate need of the actual refugees is for some political arrangement that would accommodate them.

When Ibn Afamben worked out his The Illuminations of Meccahe wrote a chapter on the science of letters, about their hierarchy and relations to divine names. It thinks its own potentiality. You are commenting using your Facebook account. In those books, divine creation is an act of writing. The Scribe, or On Creation 1.

The left wing is tinged with darkness, and is turned towards his capacity not to be. What took place was, instead, the opposite possibility. In that concrete bzrtleby, a renewed sovereignty may be a better place to start than no sovereignty at all.


The will to power is, in truth, the will to will, an eternally repeated action; only as such is it potentialized.

You are commenting using your WordPress. First, there is a potentiality which he calls material which is like a child who cannot now, but will someday, be able to write. This only pushes the aporia back, however—what does it mean for a potential to think to think itself?

Bartleby, Refugee, Sovereignty – The Philosophical Salon

But likewise, to hold to Being and necessary positivity is also difficult; it always agamen a complicity with this nihilism. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: On the other hand, there is also a Jewish polemic against the idea, attributed to philosophers, that it is impossible for God to have created the world from nothing accord to the principle from nothing nothing comes.

There is sky and there is grass. Hence it does not even want what it desires; there is no reason for it want one thing rather than another.

Literature and Philosophy: Deleuze, Agamben and Rancière reading Melville’s “Bartleby”.

Avicenna uses the image of writing to describe the various levels of the potential intellect. Emancipating itself from Being and non-Being alike, potentiality thus creates its own ontology. Agamben is so enamored with the scrivener that he forgets about barleby story. The difficulty is thinking a potential not to think, or to explain what it means for a potential not to think to become actual.

The second principle is conditioned necessitywhich limits contingency with respect to actuality. All potential to be or to do something is also the potential to not be or do something, and without agamgen, all potentiality would be indistinguishable from actuality. Does this renewal remain within sovereignty? There are two possibilities.