469 Its Institution (Kant with Luther)

no longer menaces souls. Anomie also no longer menaces transcendental freedom properly speaking, namely, the self as the initiating function of the categories. The self is the event of a relation which consciousness establishes with itself and from whence are born the a priori forms. It differs from these forms only as enunciating differs from what is enunciated. The self remains not only inscribed in the nomic fabric of these forms, it is the very texture of that fabric considered in terms of texere: being made {se faisant}. Anomie still menaces, diabolically,117 the will as free from submission to desires. “The willfulness of man is deprived of rules.” Like Luther before him, Kant detects “radical evil” in this tendency.

Before examining the torments and the pathos with which this evil affects originary freedom, let us raise, in Kant, a parallel to the polysemic concept of cause which we have just seen. The categorical act through which I measure a priori every maxim indicates a noumenal cause; actions are the effects of that act, and it lodges us in an “incomprehensible” world. On the other hand, the categorial act through which I measure a priori all experiences leads me to know phenomenal causes; the schema are its effects, and it renders our world comprehensible to us. But the self acts in these two acts. It is the transcendental cause, the effects of which are all the subjective functions, and which makes us comprehensible to ourselves as “determining.” Kant causes a rigorously parallel polysemy to be subject to the other categories. Take, for instance, the very first one in the table of categories—unity. A person is one, in the noumenal sense; in gathering together the sense manifold, experience is one in the categorial sense; consciousness is one, finally, in the transcendental sense.

I have said ultimate referents are distinguished from supreme referents through their relational nature. Perhaps God, man, and the world reign supreme in Kant. However, self-consciousness, insofar as it is refl ected and is determined through that relation as a transcendental cause—as self—reigns here as the fantasm of last resort.

Only, here again, the legislative strategy is inscribed in a differend with a transgressive strategy which is also a cause, with the ego.

On a pre-individual singularization: the ego reconsidered

“The willfulness of man is deprived of rules.” Eigensinn certainly has something to do with freedom. But the sense through which I seek what is mine, and in which one may see again a manifestation of the ego, is certainly of a nature entirely other than the transcendental self. The ego is no more posited as the determinate negation of the self here than it is in Luther. How, then, is it posited? How is it opposed to the self?

The emancipatory audacity of the project of autonomy can best be seen in the axiom “You should, therefore you can.” On the strength of that conviction, two centuries ago the West entered into the Age of Reason, an advance perhaps no less decisive than the Bronze Age following that of the age of the reindeer, inasmuch as henceforth we make the materials for mastering nature ourselves. . . . The moderns have ceased to endure the strange cavalcades consuming the subject unto death. The self and the ego are both born from our own freedom. There certainly was boldness in the Lutheran hero of faith who upheld, without natural assistance, the double bind—“You should,