Posted by: HAT | August 17, 2009

Not Primarily on Invisible Doors

Miyajima Torii -- just the opposite of an invisible door, but responsive to the problem of the phenomenon

Miyajima Torii -- just the opposite of an invisible door, but responsive to the problem of the phenomenon

There are invisible doors in the world. Because they are invisible, they are hitherto unimagined. Unimagined until walked through, perceived as the irreversible crossing of a threshold, the irrevocable entry into a new dimension, much the same as the old, yet simultaneously radically different.

Whether the subject of change is the world, or instead is whoever or whatever traverses the invisible and hitherto unimagined threshold, or is both at once, becomes difficult to say, because difficult to determine.

Wouldn’t an example help?

A paradigmatic textual description of an invisible door and indistinguishable change occurs early in the “western” literary tradition. (See Genesis 3.)

Here is a personal, anecdotal and perhaps somewhat relatable example: a woman tells other women she is about to become a mother, and discovers the secret because hitherto undisclosed unimagined and yet always already ongoing and entirely undisguised company of other mothers and their qualitatively specific conversation. Invisible door in the world. Irreversible crossing. Still the world. The same world? Still “her.” The same her?

The next example is the problematic one: the one whoever or whatever traverses upon thinking they understand what Agamben means (roughly speaking) in Language and Death by the loss of the self in enunciation. And that it illuminates the subject matter of Adorno’s statement in Negative Dialectics “To want substance in cognition is to want a utopia.”1

1 Adorno, Negative Dialectics (New York: Continuum, 1995) 56. [the very bottom of the page, btw, easy to miss, as would have been apparent to anyone who had managed to see the increasingly frantic search going on immediately prior to adding this footnote, [[“It’s in the Introduction! Where is it??!]] and especially so in the event of discovering that the binding is coming apart thanks to overreading.]


  1. These two related references describe how to outshine the invisible mind-created walls.

    Plus a remarkable essay on Reality & The Middle via this page.

    Plus a unique critique of the now dominant zeitgeist of scientism in which w are ALL trapped–NO exceptions.

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