In practice, the path of retreat crosses the same territory as that covered by an earlier advance. By ‘retreat’ we understand a condition of defeat, the gesture of relinquishing that which once had been held, and a corresponding regression in one’s claims upon (and presence within) the world. There is, in the practice of retreat, the implication of a restoration of the beginning on terms not of one’s choosing - we are presented with the wasted expenditure of energy on that which has not been secured. Didn’t attritional war result in deadlock, or rather, in a repeated return to the earliest point?
That is the practice, a rule for life, but in the process of conscious reflection, retreat is not tied by any association with return. One may recoil from certain concepts and principles to the beginning and very far beyond it.
Defeat is not at all implied by withdrawal, even if recoiling from another’s arguments involves a sort of energy transformation and thus their conservation. At the level of awareness, the territory retreated across does not at all resemble that of the propositional, or where the antagonist’s argument has been advanced. In the flight from named concepts a different manner of world formation is activated - it convolving and elaborating as an interior.
From within the whorled structuring, or anti-structuring, of withdrawal it is revealed that there is no final recess, no last chamber, and no back wall. In flight from the values of the other, we may turn away from reality, and retreat forever.