Presencing the writer: Jon Fosse and ecstatic communion

Posted on 16 Nov 2017.
A Clockwork Orange – film poster
A Clockwork Orange


An essay discussing Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse’s notion of the immanent writer in relation to film (A Clockwork Orange and Naked) was recently published by Vernon Press in a collection edited by Simon Smith and Anna Castriota: Looking at the Sun: New Writings in Modern Personalism. Get a 10% discount on the volume by using code 10PCAGNODH on checkout from the publisher’s website.

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Video essays on Badiou and Nietzsche

Posted on 23 Oct 2017.


We have now posted these two video essays on the Ereignis web-site:

To Alain Badiou salvation and redemption are meaningful terms to us even today. Badiou reads Ludwig Wittgenstein and Martin Heidegger to throw light on salvation as an event that allows reality to enter into our world.

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Praise for dressage and illusio

Posted on 14 Sep 2017.


Professor Sigmund Loland, former principal of Norway’s Elite sports college, has praised the book dressage and illusio: sport, nation and the new global body:

… enters directly into current philosophical and social scientific questions regarding sport – nation – body, and anchors the debate in strong, theoretical currents … rich in perspective and original analysis.

The book is available from amazon.com. More information here.

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More stuff and poems here...

Posted on 1 Sep 2017.


Follow this link to get to the blog that predated this site. There you’ll find summaries and links to essays, poems, short snippets on sundry philosophic topics, movies, language, and so on. Read about Wittgenstein, Schopenhauer, Heidegger, Spinoza, Foucault, Berkeley, Bourdieu, Descartes; read a poem by Sonnevi in translation. Plus video links, original texts, you name it. See you there!

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Everything you need to know about sport in the global media

Posted on 28 Jul 2017.
dressage and illusio
dressage and illusio


New book by Torgeir Fjeld out on Scholars’ Press. Among the key questions raised in this book are:

  • Has globalization come to an end or are we forever shaped by the centrifugal forces that bind us ever closer together?
  • Does nationalism break us apart or give us the power to hold out against attempts to deprive us of our singularity?

Nationalism and globalization shape the way we consider our bodies as mediatized by sport. Pierre Bourdieu claimed that mass-mediated spectacles render us passive. This book-length study of sports in schools and in the global media asks if Bourdieu’s view was too simplistic. Do not also sports enable us to imagine ourselves in new ways?

An in-depth study of current debates in media studies, philosophy and sports, this volume is suitable for students, scholars and everyone engaged in contemporary issues that reach beyond the commonplaces of everyday chatter. Available now from amazon.com. More information about the book here.

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Video lecture on Kierkegaard and Agamben

Posted on 5 Jul 2017.


This video is a recording of a paper presented at a conference dvoted to Søren Kierkegaard at the University of Gdansk, Poland, in April 2013. The paper discusses the notion of leaps that we find in Kierkegaard and makes links to Pascal and the recent work of Giorgio Agamben on power. The key question is how it is that we find ourselves unable to act meaningfully in the present conjuncture.

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Some recent publications

Posted on 3 Jul 2017.


“Out of time, or Anderson’s national temporality revisited” in Networking Knowledges, vol. 9, no. 1, 2016.

This peer-reveiwed paper discusses, among other things, the notion of Messianic time (Walter Benjamin), which is to be understood as a temporality where the moment of redemption is an ever-present potentiality. First, it can be considered as a psychological time, or a mind time, that is governed by traumatic encounters. This sense of time is rendered as a strictly logical time in the work of Jacques Lacan. Second, it is a time of grace, in the sense that it is governed by necessity. Blaise Pascal and the Jansenists went to great length to refute the dominant notion of grace as sufficient. If there is an instance that determines events, then the means by which this instance governs can only be a necessary cause. Finally, the work of Benedict Anderson, and particularly a later article in his corpus, is reconsidered. Here, Anderson argues that the effects of globalization have to some extent rendered the temporal linearity of nationalism obsolete. It is therefore apt to consider what a time after nationalism will be like.

“Clandestine Acclaim: how spectacles conceal our praise of power” in Oxford Left Review, no. 14, 2015.

This article investigates how it is that we tend to settle for negative liberties (liberation from obstructions, hindrances or impediments to our desires) even though we are fully aware of the limitations of such freedoms, and how a peculiar technique of governance – what we shall refer to as clandestine or hidden acclaim – underpins an emergent form of social domination, so-called ‘acclamative capitalism’.

“National, Authentic, Excessive: toward a globalized body of sports” in Altitude, 2014.

In this peer-reviewed essay, the implication of Pierre Bourdieu’s insight that sports are ways of knowing with the body that are to a large extent taught silently, transferred from the teacher to body of students, often without ever reaching the level of verbal utterances is under scrutiny. The body produced through the Physical Education curriculum is increasingly enmeshed in what Pierre Bourdieu referred as the “cult of the natural and authentic.” Such a body enables a more autonomous cultural field of sport compared to nationalism’s epic body, since it no longer places nations in a necessarily antagonistic relation to each other. Instead, the impure and unnatural pose as new opponents of the sporting body. Sports increasingly function to signify excessive and ineffable aspects of our existence. Bourdieu’s notion of illusio shows how sport participants can arrive at this understanding through an experience of the seductive character of sports.

“Spectacular sports as desire engine” in International Journal of Zizek Studies (IJZS), ISSN 1751-8229, Vol. 3, No 3., 2009.

In this essay, the notion of acephalic knowledge is discussed as a possible point from which to launch ideological critique. Acephalic knowledge is situated in a body that is without head and without heart, i.e. it is a kind of knowledge that is prior to reason and emotion. As Slavoj Žižek states, it provides a «thou art that», or a kind of recognition that the subject cannot but accept since it articulates the very kernel of the subject’s being. When we are stripped of our emotional and intellectual defenses – when we are placed in a state of subjective destitution – we are in a position to recognize this kind of knowledge. Here we ask if mass mediated sports can provide an experience of such subjective destitution.

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Schopenhauer’s lineage

Posted on 15 Dec 2016.
Heiligegeistgasse, Danzig
Heiligegeistgasse, Danzig: Schopenhauer’s birth place


Schopenhauer is well known for his assertion that what disappears with our demise is the most vulgar and uninteresting part of our existence: in other words, when we die our individuality goes away. That is not to say that everything that is us disappears with our final day of light. In the essay on “Immortality: a dialogue,” Schopenhauer puts it thus:

As far as you are an individual, death will be the end of you. But your individuality is not your true and inmost being: it is only the outward manifestation of it. It is not the thing-in-itself, but only the phenomenon presented in the form of time; and therefore with a beginning and an end. But your real being knows neither time, nor beginning, nor end, nor yet the limits of any given individual. It is everywhere present in every individual; and no individual can exist apart from it. So when death comes, on the one hand you are annihilated as an individual; on the other, you are and remain everything. (p.405 in T. Bailey Saunder’s translation)

What is less trumpeted is that Schopenhauer should have drawn some of his ideas from his colleague Spinoza, who wrote some 200 years earlier. Spinoza held that there really is only one substance – God – and everything else is part of this single substance. As Bertrand Russell noted in his History of Western Philosophy, Spinoza made this claim in distinction to  Descartes, who had made a clear separation between mind – which is the element that allows us to connect with God – and matter, our physical, machine-like substance. What sets us apart from the determinism of matter was to Descartes our ability to perceive ideas, or, in his famous dictum, our ability to think: I think therefore I am.

Russell notes in no uncertain terms that Spinoza would take exception from this view: God is not only omnipotent, but is in fact everything. Thought and extension are attributes of this single substance, and, subsequently,

Individual souls and separate pieces of matter are, for Spinoza, adjectival; they are not things, but merely aspects of the divine Being. There can be no such personal immortality as Christians believe in, but only that impersonal sort that consists in becoming more and more one with God. (p. 571)

What is crucial is to perceive the way in which Spinoza arrived at a conclusion remarkably similar to Schopenhauer’s well-known rejection of individual immortality some centuries later: individuality is nothing but an aspect of our “true and inmost being,” and this being is timeless.

It follows that, for Spinoza, logical necessity is not limited to the material domain (as noted in this blog post): “Everything that happens is a manifestation of God’s inscrutable nature, and it is logically impossible that events should be other than they are” (ibid.).

Our path to contentedness? To find peace in the wisdom of knowing that things are the way they are by necessity, and that they could not be otherwise.

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About Torgeir Fjeld
Writer, publisher, and educational administrator, holding PhDs in Philosophy (EGS, 2017) and Cultural Theory (Roehampton, 2012). Latest publications include Introducing Ereignis: Philosophy, Technology, Way of Life (2022) and Rock Philosophy (2019) and articles in Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, International Journal of Žižek Studies, and others. Presently serving as Head of Ereignis Center for Philosophy and the Arts, Publisher at Tankebanen forlag, and Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed journal Inscriptions. Fjeld has taught at universities across North America, Europe, and Africa. Here is section dedicated to poetry in translation. This page has a cookie policy.
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