The Topos of the Earth

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“Since the modern system of knowledge is understood as a multimodal system of navigation endowed with universal orientation, the question of the topos or the site of the local is linked to the question of epistemology and knowledge both in its analytical and synthetic dimensions. It will be argued that the local – like the global – is not a datum given a priori. Instead the determination of the local is a procedural task always threatened by the impotency of the generic perspective and the localist myopia of the particular. We shall argue that the task of localization needs to be understood as an oblique procedure that operates by means of certain ‘perspective operators’ and ‘epistemic mediators’. These perspective operators or navigational tools are able to interweave depth and surface, the generic and the vague (particular) and diagonally connect the diachronic to the synchronic (telescopic view), or cohere various depths such as the scientific and manifest images of the local (stereoscopic vision) so as to bring into focus the local and determine its relation to the open, the space of the Universal or the real. The dual task
of ‘focalization’ and ‘depth-tracking’ of the local constitutes the panorama of what should be called a vertiginous enlightenment – i.e. inferring the horizon of the local from both generic-to-particular and vague-to-generic, universal-to-regional and regional-to-universal perspectives. The vertiginous enlightenment is but the reading of the local according to and within the abyss.”

From The Topos of the Earth: Telescopic and Stereoscopic Visions of the Abyss-in-One by Reza Negarestani