Basically, delimitation instantly creates infinite proliferation.
But Western or Occidental metaphysics, which is basically ancient Greek metaphysics, doesn’t like infinity. The ancient Greeks liked odd numbers, not even numbers, because they thought even numbers led to infinity.
Occidental thought didn’t find infinity to be thinkable or desirable.
So, Western theology and metaphysics were reduced to the language of this lack of understanding.
There is a sequence of Western sociocultural presences in which signs of the infinite are permitted and even encouraged. Usually within the formalisms of mathematics and the mysticisms of religious and fantasy, cultures and genres.
Even in contemporary times, the infinite is usually considered in terms of its operational values within contexts of mundane practicality.
It’s within such contexts of mundane practicality, that the West discovered its raison d’etre and it’s within such contexts that it developed the obsession with reality, with what was real and what wasn’t; what could be done and what couldn’t.
It led to what could be called, ‘Promethean theology’, to coin a phrase.
The West or Occident is always trying to do creation ex nihilo.
Always trying to mimic the only God conceivable from its characteristic brand of stubborn ignorance.
That characteristic brand produces as corollary, the characteristic impulse of Western theology and its subsidiary social and disciplinary expressions.
The brand and impulse of the metaphysical model of creation ex nihilo – that “out of nothingness” – is the so-called, “nihilism”, which is the characteristic metaphysical sign of “modernity” and other cultural formations of the Occident.
The chance to “begin again”, as the blimp advertising “off world” emigration, declares, in the film, Blade Runner.
But the chance to “begin again”; “to be reborn” as evangelical Christianity would have it; to “watch out for worlds behind you” as Nico sings with the Velvet Underground; all of these constitute the usual existential semiotics of modernist rupture, which itself is the corollary of Christian apocalypse.
The West does all of this because the counterposition of nothingness enables the positioning of totality for “full-spectrum domination”, as the USA likes to say.
It’s only from the position of nothingness that the totality becomes available.
If the totality is desired, then there is nothing “left over”, so to speak, from the object of desire.
Nothing except the desirer, of course; but the desirer, consumed by a totalitarian desire because of the desire for totality, necessarily forgets itself as an object and is consumed by the totality of its desire. It loses itself in the principle of its own conquest; in the principle of “full-spectrum domination” to which the totality is expected to submit.
It’s probably the case that the European mind never recovered from the so-called, Dark Ages, and the mediaeval period wasn’t exactly a picnic, either. I’ve written, or mentioned, before, about the characteristic “deprivation anxiety” afflicting Northern European psychology.
Looking at the crucible of historical forces it becomes possible to discern the incubation of such affliction and the inculcation of a hysteria of avarice which finds contemporary expression in the spectacles and stagings of consumerism – in consumer society and consumer desire.
The West has been so busy trying to disingenuously deny its “anxiety of influence” (see Harold Bloom) with respect to non-Western cultures and to always “begin again”, that it has got stuck in a cycle of constant and whimsical renewal, stuck in the treadmill of ever-ending trends reflecting only the superficiality of the Occidental mind and that Occidental culture is an oxymoron, the culture of no culture.
This is because its essence is stalled at the nihilistic moment of its totalising mission.
Totalising can mean both destruction (in the vernacular) and summing.
Destruction is commonly said to result in nothing.
It’s the subtraction of a structure.
Summing is the summing of all structures, leaving “nothing” as the remainder.
The nihilistic calculus of destruction is positioned with regard to the voluntary, to Occidental voluntarism, by Heidegger: “Rather than not will, it wills nothing (destruction) at all” Heidegger
Schopenhauer, however, short-circuits the Heideggerian quandary of Occidental voluntarism:
“On the contrary, we freely acknowledge that what remains after the complete abolition of the will is, for all who are still full of the will, assuredly nothing. But also conversely, to those in whom the will has turned and denied itself, this very real world of ours with all its suns and galaxies, is – nothing.
This “nothing,” however, “is also the PrajnaParamita of the Buddhists, the ‘beyond all knowledge,’ in other words, the point where subject and object no longer exist.” (WWR, pp 41112)
It’s an interesting roundabout of metaphysical motifs that have gathered themselves together in this disquisition on delimitation and its history of metaphysical effects, one of which is the very notion of history, itself. So, anachronistic retrogression or retrogressive anachrony?
History is contingent on time; time is contingent on temporal delimitation.