Direction 2.28: Appropriation of the Rhetoric of Power

The impetus of this blog page “The Direct Tangents of Constructive Undoing” concerns the question: In the explication of his project called ‘Non-Philosophy’, why is Francis Laruelle so bogged down in high-speak jargon?

Now, be prepared; this series of essays is gonna drop some super bombs on your ideal reality. Granted, probably next to zero people are following along ( though I write as if some one person is), but the explanation is simple, as I said earlier: people care nada. Most people do not care about anything but their own idea of what is correct. If I can coin a term I just picked up from another blogger: the sheeple make up 99.99 % of the population, the cattle-people, and of that .01 that may care, hardly another .001 of those will be able to burden themselves with such a weighty, hard-hitting conceptual explosion. They only want to do their skill set and proclaim their ethics upon the world from their porch while they drink margaritas and bar-b-que steaks on their days off. There is no getting through to most people.

OK. Now that I’ve alienated what audience I had left, as i eat my steak and drink fruit smoothies, you fraction of a minutiae, you one people, you zero-percenters, get to see if you can hold on, because I am speaking to you. It is among you that the point of this discussion may find root. What I have to offer should be heard by academics, but I’ve probably insulted them too much already and their career typically doesn’t allow such boldness. One must remain timid, pliable; which is to say, conventionally acclimated.

* *

One might be easily drawn to the conclusion that Laruelle is an academic, and has been involved in academic circles so has been long acclimated to such linguistic weather. Sure. I am sure that this is the case. The idea behind this, though, is that academia hold the path to answers and that these answers, as well as the route, can only be understood through jargon. This is one explanation: it was the only language he knows/knew ( he is still alive at this point in time).

Yet the nature of his non-philosophy belies this explanation, for its message, the message that necessitates the ‘project’ aspect of his proposition, is saying as much as I am. Whether he sees it or not, there is a contradiction involved in his using the jargon to speak, or attempt to convey a reason and a proposal for action, against the proposal that is implicated by his use of such jargon. Hence, non-philosophy and philosophy, respectively.

The point of his project, though, is exactly that he sees the contradiction, and is in an effort to make it consistent. This is his project. To be clear: he must assert the project because it has to be more than a theory because the theory contradicts itself in its presentation.

* *

What we are seeing here is a trick of mirrors. See, what I am offering here is a description of what Laruelle is up to all the while showing through my description what he is actually saying; I am presenting a picture of what he must mean by not only explaining his ideas, but presenting the moment of understanding as the process of reading this essay.

What we have with non-philosophy is a juxtapositioning of rhetoric, as this juxtaposition thus indicates the rhetoric of power. One would not be wrong in calling it also a discourse of power, but more so its significance is found in a particular rhetoric that usurps meaning unto itself.
In the same way feminists speak of hegemonic discourse, such as, colonialist discourse, or as Paulo Freire might call the discourse of oppression, Laruelle’s proposition is based in the notion that there is a manner of speaking that appears on the scene as reality, as if it is indicating a true reality, but that it really is indicating mere one particular reality. By his non- philosophy, he is saying that this particular rhetoric is the only way of speaking that can be used, but that indeed, it is being used (by non-philosophy) in the attempt to convey another reality: one that is not subject to the rhetoric in power, but one that has no other rhetoric to use for its conveyance.

Author: landzek

My name is Lance Kair, a philosopher, a counselor and a musician who is being questioned.

15 thoughts on “Direction 2.28: Appropriation of the Rhetoric of Power”

  1. I’m not going to agree or disagree with your questions, which as I said are not the issue. And I refuse to answer from a non-philosophical perspective because you don’t really care about that.

    I will however say back to you that, no, the speculatively indescribable is not ‘reality’ or whatever as ‘unspoken’.

    There is no equivalence between the mystical in a Wittgensteinian sense and the One-in-One.

    Lastly, if the effort were merely bringing out of silence, then the effort would be misplaced. Michel Foucault has already shown the paradox and the violence inherent to the enlightenment project, and beyond, of making silence speak or of bringing to light out of the shadows…

    Lastly, and I’m almost blue in the face from saying it, you keep thinking that Laruelle merely ‘changes’ philosophical terms, and then that’s all. Well, I suppose Laruelle would be the equivalent of a transcendental Humpty-Dumpty.
    He merely chooses the sense of what he says when he says it.

    Do we share a world? Not in radical immanence, no. But the latter makes it such that we can be separated-without-separation from the World, i.e. not alienated in it. Furthermore, Laruelle doesn’t merely describe the ‘subject’ in the last instance, he also radically distinguishes between man as One and the Stranger-subject and force (of) thought. This, of course, is what is called cloning.

    Lastly, to what you said about being ‘in’ non-philosophy…This reminds me of what Laruelle says about the Real and philosophy: Marx had thought there needed to be an Ausgang, an exit or out-going, from philosophy in order to leap back into the real…and, as Laruelle shows, the idea that one would exit philosophy and ‘re’-enter the Real is absurd. One never has to re-enter because one has never exited the Real or entered philosophy… And, in any case, it’s not a fold or a clique, so to say I’m in/out makes little sense. I’m merely aligned with it in-the-last-instance. Nevertheless, it’s not ‘my’ discourse. However, in my replies to you I have taken an explicitly non-philosophical path to elaborate Laruelle’s work precisely because I felt that you could use a voice, if not your own, to articulate Laruelle in a manner that’s relevant for understanding him.


    1. How is he not changing meanings of terms? Is there a difference between ‘reworking’ and ‘redefining’? If he is not merely doing this, then he is denying that he is even using terms. !?! The questions I ask goto the heart of how it is possible that he came upon his idea. Nothing occurs in the past, except what we have defined, or has been given us as the ‘past’. If he is reworking other authors meanings, it is because those meanings are entirely his-not-his, because he is in ‘the last instance’ totally but incompletely, of the past-present-future, localized but not localized in his being, his existential presence generalized into the possibility of other and not other. No? Terms can be made to make any sense, like, yes, Witts language games.

      How can he dismiss himself as a thinker writer person human being ? does the terms he uses or the meaning he means remove him from himself? Are we, you and I, not interacting? How do you situate the possibility of our interaction, of you there yourself, and me here myself? Through radical immanence. Do you not agree? Or must you resort to philosophical polemics? The discursive manner by which I tell, or L tells or describes does not remove the fact that I mow my lawn by putting gas in the tank and choke and start and push. And what if people who have no idea that L exists or written anything ? Nothing is irrelevant in the description L gives. One cannot arbitrarily designate what gets to be included in a talk about what is real or existence. To do so degrades the discussion to a segregated reality. Hence his meaning denies the vehicle of its presentation. Yet his meaning is solute- in as much as he and it considers and addresses the present moment. He has extrapolated ‘is’ into its extended discursive form of reality as it is now.

      I do not propose this as an example of what is wrong: it is the facts. he likewise is dealing with the facts. Nothing more or less.

      I have come across hundreds of versions of what is real and reality and existence and being is, and how it all fits together, from the religio-spritual, metaphysical, physical, scientific and just plain weird. Every person holds to their truth. It makes sense to them so much that you cannot tell them it is any different, except if you are using their dictionary, their situated terms. In what way is L painting a different picture? only to the extent that his terms are taken as representative of what is true. How can you deny this? Through more terms? One must include everything, even this weirdness.

      Perhaps I am defensive, but it doesn’t prove me wrong. Ironically, It only points to another segregated reality. Lol.

      Sent from my iPhone


    2. Btw: you have a very good mastery of his terms ( that’s good) and what you describe of what he means I totally see and understand and agree with. It makes sense; you say it better. And these speak to the issues I speak of.

      Sent from my iPhone


    3. I guess you just have to believe me when I say I understand you references to Marx and what L shows and such. Every time you explain L I understand it. I suppose I’m trying to get you to see how we relate, as if you could understand what I’m saying, then you’d be able to see how my and L are parallel. And I do need to read more if him; that part may also contributing to my lack .

      Sent from my iPhone


    4. Perhaps i did get off track there a little bit.

      I enjoy how you situate cloning. i would like to offer you another impression I get of Ls distinction between binding and cloning.

      Philosophy is involved with binding. It’s world is one that is bound together by the discourse of the Universe, of the one true reality. It’s operations develop from and propose further development through a proper method of determining what is true. L, as I see it, elaborates what this method is. (Hence I call it ‘conventional methodology’)

      But, again as I see it, L has come upon the possibility of another reality, an “artificial” one that he describes through his quadripartite. This reality includes philosophical reality while the philosophical does not include L’s non philosophical reality. He thus calls the greater reality, the one that is more inclusive, the actual or more real one and he calls it thus Real. He indicates the relation, or non relation as the case may be, as ‘cloning’ to distinguish it from the philosophical that wants to bind everything to itself.


    5. My point with the ‘silence’ bit is exactly that the silence is predecated upon a ‘speaking’, that this speaking is actually getting somewhere, that this ‘getting somewhere’ is actually a project of conventional methodology ( Ls philosophy), and that it is the equivocation of discourse to thought and thought to discourse that reveals and sustains ‘the enlightenment’ as you put it of Faucault. The silence is exactly the absurd (ironic) notion that there are no ‘internal’ thoughts, or rather, no thoughts of that sort that can be conveyed.

      Sent from my iPhone


      1. Thus the issue, my issue with L, is exactly the term. Perhaps, though, I have indeed not read enought of him to see how he situates it.

        Your interaction with me in this regard is invaluable. Thank you, once and once again.


    6. I have began reading “Future Christ”. I see that my refusal to learn all of L’s terms has left you fed up with me, but i wanted to give you another little bit.

      If one reads the intro to Future Christ, and then my posts, one can plainly see that we are parallel in our ideas. If you have already read my latest post “recant and Reoccasion” I will offer you more:

      Both L and I speak of “philosophical faith”
      L’s “Real” is what I call the “not-real” or “existence”
      His ‘vision-in-one’ is the ‘truth in existence’, or what I believe is a more accurate and precise term, the ‘ironic’.

      His “principle of sufficient philosophy” I call “conventional methodology” .
      I orient ‘reality’ as that of the conventional true object. It is of a faith in the One universe; philosophy/conventional methodology “binds” all truth to itself; it claims propriety upon all that is true and real.
      L therefore sees non-Phil as a ‘cloning’.

      My argument with L, though I have not reached it in my essays in the blog, is that I do not agree that his project is solute. The fact that he refers to his “vision-in-one” evidences his conventionality in that he refers to it as a “vision”, where there is no ‘seeing’, no -shall i say – ‘enlightenment’ ??? Only by his radical immanence is it so: but not in conventional reality. Conventional reality will always misunderstand and misapply that which was proposed as/from/toward the radically immanent, that is, the consistency of meaning. I say, only through a change in definition of terms can such change come about, and then the only thing that would have changed is how we define reality: this is exactly his ‘philosophy’, my ‘conventional methodology’.

      His position, his premise, that due to which he is able to propose, I agree with; but his extrapolation, his project-beyond-the-premise is unrealizable in reality (This is consistent with my situating of ‘reality’). The only change would be in how conventional reality is termed. Immanence, radical or not, as an essentialized meaning, is mutually exclusive with reality.

      In as much as L “risks” non-philosophy becoming a philosophical object, he is exactly ‘hoping’ that it won’t be; all discourse occurs upon and toward the true object: he cannot ‘will’ that which is not willed: his ‘radicality’ precludes the possibility he hopes for: and this is exactly of the conventional faith in the true object. His hope is not inconsistent with Platos ‘philosopher kings’.

      Until we meet again…


  2. Again, you are conflating reality and the Real. I have said as much again and again. This is not at all about being ‘in’ non-philosophy, but precisely about seeing things ‘in-One’, i.e. vision-in-One. Again, Laruelle’s point in non-philosophy is to be able to describe the speculatively indescribable without contradiction.

    You fail to see that the descriptions of the One or of the Real are not essential, i.e. they are determined-in-the-last-instance by the One/Real. So, your statements about putting thoughts into words is completely fallacious, and it also belies a certain image of thought, a certain philosophical residue…In other words, thought is not determined by the propositional form.

    So, again, discourse is inessential to the One. Discourse, or language, or description, is need only if we wish to describe the One and to think accordingly. The One is completely indifferent, however, if we choose to describe it.

    If, for example, you are writing me off because I’m ‘in’ non-philosophy, then that’s fine. But I have been challenging you from the start not to outwit you, but to bring you to a more concrete engagement with Laruelle, because I sense that you rely too often on abstractions.

    And, in any case, I am glad that you have continued to respond. I appreciate your cooperation. On the other hand, I do not think I am misunderstanding for lack of reading your posts, which I have read and reread now, or for misunderstanding your premises.


    1. I agree, the ‘speculatively indescribable’. Isn’t that what I said but in different terms: that which goes unspoken. The effort is toward bringing that which ‘remains silent’ into discourse without contradiction. I submit it cannot be done, or, it can only be done in so much as it describes only the present state of knowledge, which L does, but the contradiction remains, between his meaning ( I have said this many times) still contradicts the mechanism by which it is conveyed. His meaning is only true in as much as that which is still ‘speculatively indescribable’ still is: no matter how one describes it, the meaning of terms always rely upon an ‘undisclosable but effective’ element or aspect. Thus, in order to be able to avoid the philosophical critique, the further making of NP an object, he has the NP project. Changing or redefining terms does not make their propositions any less philosophical; this is why I choose ‘conventional methodology’ as referent to such dyadic realities. If the term ‘real’ were sufficient to convey a certain and specific idea, there would be no need to discuss what we meant.

      Sent from my iPhone


    2. Zen Buddhism. The deescrption of reality or the Real reduced to the subject of experience; but attempting to a lid the typical philosophical arguments that denies this, Laruelle situates terms to describe the subject in the last instance.

      Sent from my iPhone


    3. No. In not dismissing you with ‘in’ nonphilosophy. And I am trying to consider your input thoughtfully. Do you agree or disagree that there is some ‘world’ some ‘arena’ some ‘common’ some ‘stage’ some ‘platform’ upon or in which all of humanity ‘plays’?

      Sent from my iPhone


  3. I’ve read DT 3.1 and now this direction. Your quote:

    “Laruelle’s proposition is based in the notion that there is a manner of speaking that appears on the scene as reality, as if it is indicating a true reality, but that it really is indicating mere one particular reality. By his non- philosophy, he is saying that this particular rhetoric is the only way of speaking that can be used, but that indeed, it is being used (by non-philosophy) in the attempt to convey another reality: one that is not subject to the rhetoric in power, but one that has no other rhetoric to use for its conveyance”.

    This quote makes no sense it all. First, non-philosophy is not itself a rhetoric, which would leave it in a philosophical position. Instead, non-philosophy generalizes rhetoric and its usage in philosophy. This is the ‘sense’ of ‘non-rhetoric’ as it is defined in the Dictionnaire.

    Also, Laruelle is not referring to a reality or a ‘true reality’, precisely because non-rhetoric aligns rhetoric with the uni-versality and uni-laterality of the Real, which is neither true nor reality. It is not that the One ‘is not subject to the rhetoric in power’, but that the One determines in-the-last-instance any rhetoric whatsoever in accordance with vision-in-One.

    Also, your claim that their is a manner of speaking ‘that appears on the scene as reality” does not make sense. There is no opposition between a “true” reality and a “particular” reality, precisely because all these ‘realities’ have been transcendentally reduced by the first rule of non-philosophy, which is the chora that emplaces decisions in a transcendental chaos or equivalence. But this first rule can only be considered operative in line with the other rules that accompany it, and it is only operative when we consider non-philosophy at work vis-a-vis particular materials, i.e. philosophical decisions, positions, etc….

    This is why, to bugger your phrase in a non-philosophical way, if you say everything is in discourse or some equivalent turn of phrase, then one can only say that ‘everything is in discourse, with the exclusion of everything’, i.e. everything is another way of saying the One-All, which is not at all the case when we speak according-to-the-One as One-in-One, nothing-but-One, vision-in-One…

    This is why I think you come at Laruelle’s appropriation of ‘jargon’ from the wrong way. You assume that Laruelle has jargon that needs to be cleared, but you don’t articulate or elucidate (or perhaps you fail to see) that Laruelle has not only generalized and uni-lateralized the terms that he reworks as ‘first terms’, but also that the terms are all contingent on vision-in-One’s uni-versalization; in other words, rather than Laruelle proliferating terms for the sake of terms or for the mere sake of intellectual masturbation, he has trekked out and sketched out the path along which all terms, syntaxes, utterances (etc.) of philosophy can be reworked and aligned with the last-instance. In other words, Laruelle’s ‘jargon’ is contingent upon the effects of suspension that they indicate: hence terms like One-without-Being, or God-without-Being, non-ontology, non-thetic Transcendence, etc. etc.


    1. I think the difficulty we are having here is that you are ‘in’ nonphilosophy, so to speak… I understand what you are saying, I think, but that you do not see the polemic (which is needed to come upon the premises) by which L and myself have come to the ability to speak about the real in such the way he (we) do. Once the premises are understood, the rest follows necessarily.

      -of course, Laruelle and I are speaking to different aspects of the necessity of premises- but perhaps I can use a quote of his, for the excerpt which you prompted me to, from the gnosticism, end of times ( sorry, I can’t exit out of this window to see the actual title ) piece:

      “Non-philosophy risks taking this same path, of confusing what it believes to be the real with its phantom double, contenting itself to working on the thematic level of philosophy, not its surface objects and its idle chatter (we stopped talking about this a long time ago and in any case they are merely simple materials for inducing a work of transformation), but the transcendence-form of its objects. In the end it risks, through precipitation, taking back up the heritage of philosophy, a heritage of a misunderstood presupposed, even more profound than the play of transcendences. This is what the imperative of the radicality of immanence meant, to treat immanence in an immanent manner, not to make a new object out of it. And from here we get non- (philosophy) and its refusal of the Platonic chorismos, symbol of all abstraction, and thus all transcendental appearance.”

      I have said as much in different terms. He is saying nonphilosophy in its presentation risks “taking back up the heritage of philosophy…” So as to NP is meant and might be mis-apprehended or not comprehended for what it is saying, it also risks being made into a “new object”. It is this phenomenon, this effort, which I have brought into occasion to speak about bad faith.

      As to my question of discourse: I submit that if there is another reality that discourse does not contain, you are incapable of describing it to me without discourse. It is this absurd feature that Laruelle is addressing through non-philosophy. Thus, I think the issue you and I are having in communication is that you may be (just a suggestion, I don’t know for sure) ‘in’ non-philosophy, such that you possibly ‘miss’ what the quality of the “Platonic chorismos” is.

      L is not addressing some compartmentalized arena of discourse, as if there are many discourses. He is using the idea of particular arenas of discourse, taking advantage of it, motivating NP by ‘philosophy’, but he is speaking about existence, about reality. He is undertaking the real world. This is not a mere discussion: he is addressing all that is possible, finding that what has been deemed as ‘possible’ is merely a way of speaking about reality: philosophically.

      Tell me something that is real that does not fall within the rubric of the dyad? That does not open up and culminate or degrade through a process of dissecting and dividing which does not rely upon a third break of immanence and transcedence? These are not terms that identify true, local, identifiable things in-themselves (as if we could define so perfectly, so terminally, so precisely the ‘thing’ called transcendence that we would find a meaning that was somehow its essence) . These are terms that function totally at all times in reality, every time we speak. They are terms that indicate operations of the real. But they do not speak of the truth, they only come close to describing elements of reality, reality that functions from unidentifiable elements or forces that always avoid the eye that wishes to know. L is attempting to bring this ‘avoided aspect’ into the discourse of the real (philosophy) and calls this effort (obviously) non-philosophy, but he calls the whole thing, unknown and unknowable and knowable, all, ‘the real’ in the attempt to destabilize or re-stabilize what is ‘enforced’ as real behind the mere discursive workings that establish reality through the ‘philosophical’ process: the process that proposes to have All reality as its object, so as to find truth, but thereby also functions as The Condition of truth, as philosophy-science deems what is real and true, deems for all humanity and existence what the true universe is and how one is supposed to go about in it for finding truth – but all it finds is a reality of dyadic negotiation that it deems ‘Truth’.

      Addressing this philosophy-science, the discourse that encompasses all reality in the process of the multiplying and infinitely reducing dyad, L came upon a second duality, an “artificial” reality…


    2. So far as ‘appears in the scene’: do you have thoughts that are independent of what you say? Do you have thoughts that you can’t quite put into words? Reality appears ‘on the scene’ as Reality through the negotiation of terms: discourse. What might be the ‘left ‘unspoken’ is the topic of NP.


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