aliquid quo nihil maius cogitari possit


…from the MVA-Exchange is a small ‘zine’ titled “Aliquid Quo Nihil Maius Cogitari Possit” which is a partial Latin quote translated into English as: “A something, a greater than which cannot be conceived.” This medieval quotation is from St. Anselm of Canterbury’s “The Proslogian” (ca. 1070 CE). [God is the] ‘something, a greater than which cannot be conceived.’ This is said to be St. Anselm’s ontological proof of God. Let it be noted again that the title is without any reference to god, so we have the ontological proof without god, without a deity, then the proof can be said to be godless.  This god omission cannot be overlooked without a nod to Nietzsche’s famous ‘God is dead,’ declaration. With this said, it is unlikely that this god topic is what Grant Leuning & Eric Carlson’s zine, booklet, chap-book &/or pamphlet is entirely about, although there is an oblique reference by Carlson about a “…middle-ages [sic] Christian monk occurring in the contemporary…” The booklet is actually a tripartite artifact. Overall the dimensions are 7 ½” x 5” with a smaller 6” x 5” over-booklet. The larger interior booklet is a reprint of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Time-Atom Theory: Zeitatomenlehre, Nachgelassene Fragmente, early 1873”

The smaller outer booklet is divided in half (holding, protecting & enveloping the Nietzsche) with Leuning’s writing featured in the first third & Carlson finishes the booklet’s last third. The publication also contains illustrations/graphical signs as with: ▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆ on one unnumbered page in the Leuning text, & two ●● (each separated by a ‘frontispiece’ & the ‘Time Atom Theory’ title page), this also includes Nietzsche’s original & elegant ‘Timeline’ running towards the end of the fragment:


& in another part of the fragment, a series of punctuation-like dots that appear to represent ‘time-points’ that are also considered ‘interrupted timelines’:

:                     :
:                     :
.                     :
.                     :

The inside of the back cover on the smaller booklet has a reproduction of a well known “redacted torture file” from the CIA file on water-boarding of Iraqi detainees/prisoners of war:

waterboard torture redacted page

It should be noted that “[…] these enhanced techniques include […] WATERBOARD […]” from the CIA file have been removed from the Leuning/Carlson page. Instead we now have a double redaction. Leuning &/or Carlson have signed the 100 editions under these redaction/s. Finally, the outside of the back cover has “hl x hl” for Hardland / Heartland followed by “Problem When Humans / MMX.”

All cynicism aside, the whole product makes for a micro/macro reverential/referential artifact. The size of the object is small, whereas the expansiveness of the ideas in the book are universal as with the Luening/Carlson’s prose/poetry included with Nietzsche’s fragmentary notes on time & space. Leuning’s writing is characteristically aphoristic, recondite & notational. Re-imagine his odd line: “Thinking is the problem when humans.” We’ll chose to read this thought as: ‘Thinking is the problem when humans ▁▁▁▁▁▁▁▁▁▁▁.’ Later in a section of ‘aphorisms’ Leuning has: “7. What it is about thinking is ― nothing more.” More notions & propositions of subtraction, omissions & indeed other redactions, meaning implied from something that is not t/here.

Leuning/Carlson simultainously evoke Nietzsche’s text exampled with Leuning’s “…only like a body & not like a spirit…” & Carlsen’s “Human consciousness is only the relation of relations happening in meat, the body occurring in the necessary spot to plug the string on consciousness.” Compare these thoughts to Nietzsche’s line in the fragment: “We cannot think anything that is not sensation & representation.” & “I cannot represent non-being.” which might have a clear reference to the mind, in the body that experiences the world spatially & temporally enough to think of our relationship to past, present & future. We are thinking beings that experience time not as separate moments, rather as Nietzsche writes:

1. An effect of a sequence of time-moments is impossible: for two such time-moments would coincide. thus every effort is actio in distans [action at a distance], i.e. through jumping.” 

Keith A. Pearson wrote a paper on “Nietzsche’s Brave New World Force” on the “Time Atom Theory” fragment, with the suggestion that these ‘notes’ are closely related to Nietzsche’s interest & study of Roger Boscovich (1711-1787) a Dalmatian scientist/mathematician (Nietzsche of-course was looking to others, including Arthur Schopenhauer, Spinoza &c.).  The fragment is said to have special importance with Nietzsche’s key (then incipient) concepts of ‘the will to power’ & “eternal recurrence.’ This was  Nietzsche turning to science to find ‘proofs’ for his more elaborate philosophical theories.  Pearson writes on the significance & questions of the fragment:

“In the 1873 fragment Nietzsche is working through one of the most
important problems that have characterized all modern thinking on time
and which continue to characterize thinking today. This problem comes to
the fore in his treatment of sensation and imagination/representation in
relation to the problem of time. The question which continues to bedevil
thinking can be expressed as follows: is duration, involving the
prolongation of the past into the present and the virtual movement of time,
a subjective phenomenon of consciousness? Or can we also say that
external things endure too, in other words, that duration is a phenomenon
of the material universe itself?”

This “Zeitatomenlehre-Time Atom Theory” booklet is undoubtedly cryptic & is included within the Leuning/Carlson text without any word on its inclusion. We might posit that it is a simple homage to the expansive scientific & philosophical limits of Nietzsche’s thought. Overall, the “Aliquid quo nihil maius cogitari possit”  booklet is at its core an exploration of art with philosophy & physics. A sui generis micro-specter of honorific expression/s.

Aurelio Madrid

2 thoughts on “aliquid quo nihil maius cogitari possit

    1. …please? please, should nobody make money on their creative products? the production values on this ‘zine’ are of high quality, including the writing. also, I am slightly annoyed that the only thing that you find worthy of commenting on is the price. this is like someone walking into an art gallery to complain about the high prices, without any regard for the work & effort involved in making such things, surely you have more wisdom than that. …all cynicism aside, your blithe observation is cheap.

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