Direct Tangent 4.13: A Particular Addressing.

I have to admit, I had never encountered the understanding that I have come upon, nor this position from where I proceed into the world, in another author that is alive; that is until I came across Francois Laruelle and his non-philosophy. But I still have to wonder of authors. I myself am skeptical of understanding gained by mere learning. I have found that an organization of terms may appear to evidence a false veneer; but i remain open. Nevertheless, because of this feature, I am inevitably confronted with the possibility of tangible verification, in other words, validation, and it is this last possibility that I address through direct tangents.

Now, what this means is that if Laruelle and other authors have likewise been come upon by the same experience, I have an obligation to myself to doubt it. I have thereby only to continue with my exposition here in ‘Constructive Undoing’.

* *
The following quotes are from a quite accessible essay that describes Laruelle’s project, non-philosophy. Here’s the link:

“Laruelle tells us quite simply in his Dictionnaire de la non-philosophie that, ‘The philosophical decision is an operation of transcendence that believes (in a naïve and hallucinatory way) in the possibility of a unitary discourse of the Real.’”
– [François Laruelle et collaboratuers, Dictionnaire de la non-philosophie (Paris: Éditions Kimé, 1998), p. 40. See also Taylor Adkins draft translation of this passage and the rest of the Dictionnaire available online: . My own translation is modified from that of Adkins.]


“In order to overcome the narcissism that arises out of the hallucinatory splitting of immanence Laruelle situates the philosophical decision in its immanent cause – the vision-in-One. The vision-in-One is equivalent to the Real, meaning that when one thinks from (rather than about) the Real then one is thinking from the vision-in-One as radical immanence.”

— — Though these quotes are quite a bit more easily grasped, they still rely upon a certain priviledge. The aire or tone of the explanation, though muted from the orignial it proposes to explain, still lifts itself from the reader as if to call the reader by the usually obscure terms to his or her relative ignorance or intelligence; it beckons the reader to investigate further into the discourse so s/he may become more informed as to what the jargon terms really mean. The pull is created by the mysterious term rather than by reader sympathetic curiosity; which is to say, the reader is forced to consider his ignorance with reference to will, and to fall into an apparent void that the jargon leaves in the reader, rather than the reader being compelled by interest in what is being awakened within him through the presentation. (Though the ‘fall into the void’ would be the proper place to start, as in “thinking from the Real” – ironically, the situation right here assumes its counter-position, as if against a blind.)

One might ask what or how ignorance and interest can be in conflict; for is not interest often aroused because of ignorance? I intend to point to a willing with reference to these ideas, so much that it is an attitude of will that promotes proper method, and it is a lack of owning or having a supposed ability – for example, an ability to understand a sentence because of mere jargon as opposed to an otherwise explainable idea – that places the individual in a perpetual state of ignorance. This type of ignorance compels one into will, so much as one attempts to assert will over the objective world so as to dominate it through absolutely true understanding. The point here is that jargon is an infinitely deep pit of unknowing, yet proposed as if it is a true knowing – without the irony.

I use these passages (above) as a platform from which to depart or detach from the (sticking with Laruelle’s useage) philosophical rhetoric, the endless abyss; whereas Laruelle uses such terms of philosophical jargon, I insist that such forest front can be cleared to reveal the hidden stream, that though one may surely have to venture into the forest to find it, I can almost guarantee that only the honest intent for such a foray is required; a clearing need not be a decimation. Laruelle proposes a re-situating or a restating of philosophical discourse to find a more substantial, positive, ground within and in mind of the premises of modern (post-modern?) relativity; in other words, he proposes his project in a suspension that he calls reality, or Real. I propose to ground such jargon in the actual truth of the situation allowing for no suspension of plausible discursive denial of contradiction, at once, as an extended project, explaining the totality of what may be history as well as what can be known (what I would call) conventional history, as well as how this allows for reality and/or the Real.

First, as promised, I proceed with a more particularized addressing of the jargon.

In the first quote, Laruelle speaks of the ‘philosophical decision’. I submit it is this kind of jargon that tends distract one from the issue at hand, enough to make me think that indeed L is merely discussing a particular discursive arena ( a discursive arena is what is talked about around a particular topic or category of topics, such as ‘philosophy’, or ‘diabetes’, for example. ). Let me attempt to distinguish what I am indicating by first offering my take upon his “philosophical decision”: it is what i call the ‘conventional true object’.

The reason I have come to call what is typically known as philosophy (in L’s sense) ‘conventional methodology’, has to do with the true object: philosophy sees its motion as in an effort similar and correspondent with science, to discover the true object. As I have said earlier, in the same way that science is proposed with an object whereby science comes about, philosophy sees itself having a similarly manifested object. It is this similarity that has developed a common discourse about what is true, where science and philosophy are complicit with discerning the absolutely true reality. An ‘object’ is usually particularized, as in that lamp is an object and that tree is an object, but when we begin to think critically about objects, we will find that the philosophical generalizes objects into the question about the object, a category which now includes the possibility of the manifestation of things in the world. By extension and extrapolation, the discussion of the object inevitably concerns all reality; this object is called ‘reality’, ‘being’ and/or ‘existence’, or in more general speaking, the ‘world’ or ‘universe’. Philosophy’s effort is thus to come to a ‘general theory’ so to speak, the grand equation or explanation that accounts for a total sensibility of all objects. What Laruelle calls a “unitary discourse of the Real” – It is the same thing to say that philosophy concerns the effort to discover or find the true object: Real objects are true and Reality is the totality of true objects. I suggest that the effort to discover the true object is a conventional effort, and such conventional efforts that are seen to have somehow discovered or come upon truth are put forth and looked upon as proper, and are thus conveyed or communicated to others as a method by which to reproduce the results which are true and thus makes the method likewise true: hence, philosophy is a conventional methodology because it advocates a proper method by which to find or discover the truth – not just the truth of the matter but the matter of the true object which then has to be absolutely true.

It may now become apparent how Laruelle and I are addressing the same issue but along opposite vectors, such that one might say our discourses constitute a diametric survey.

See that the term ‘decision’ locates a transcendent. In philosophical discourse, a transcendent means ‘god’ but a sterilized form that is meant to be disassociate from any religious doctrinal predicates; that is, a transcendent is god without corresponding moral qualifiers or objective descriptors. Laruelle is saying that philosophy’s motions are based upon a god that is denied in and through, implicitly and explicitly, the very efforts of discussion and argument. This is to say that the act of philosophizing cannot (is incapable of) admit that its functions and operations stem from an impetus that avoids the analytic gaze of philosophy itself – philosophy functions through denial – and, philosophy tends to or usually begins its argument at atheism as a given or truism. In other words, the process of philosophy is based upon dividing and comparing, so this process begins in the de-cision: philosophy begins upon a moment that is not divided; this, and also, the process depends upon acts of analysis to place the distinction in order to create discursive sides by which to construct argument, and this progressive process occurs in mind of achieving a “unitary discourse of the Real”. L is saying that both of these types of ‘decisions’ rely upon a ‘philosophical decision’ (described here above) that is either relied upon or put off and never encountered in the act of philosophy itself: this element thus transcends philosophy, and thus grants philosophy a beginning and an end. It thereby seems obvious to me to ask: Where have we heard this before? “I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end”.

Now, for Laruelle the ‘decision’ indicates a situation a priori, or prior to philosophy and so thereby directs its motion upon a transcendent or a transcending element or aspect toward a unified theory. I, on the other hand, locate the term a priori the decision. More precisely, the term designates what the decision is: the decision, for Non-Philosophy, is true; the decision is a true thing: it is an object. The term is philosophy because it is then we have a situation that Laruelle describes as “narcissism that arises from the splitting of immanence”; the denial of the property of method reveals the philosophical maxim: to find the true reality. Yet, once this property is realized the issue of the term no longer can be a philosophical issue, it must be something other than philosophy: So much as L, the issue must be one of non-philosophy. Nevertheless, because L sees a ‘philosophical decision’ and not the term as the issue, because he has displaced the issue to a secondary or dependent clause, his Non-Philosophy appears as a ‘conventional methodology’. Conventional methodology proposes an ability to encounter the true object through a proper method and this proposal stems from the term. The term itself is a proposal of truth such that convention may have reality; true and false thereby become indicators of what is actually and absolutely true and false. What is false is false; it is not true that what is false is false, but it is not false either: it is paradoxical and contradictory in its process and thus indicates what is true, but again: not what is merely true but absolutely true. This conventional process does not allow for any other truth; it contains and has the ability to find what is true – and only convention has such capacity and ability: it accounts for the true reality.

Hence we have the real issue; hence I have suggested that Laruelle is in bad faith; hence I have come upon the poignant and significant issue: what does this mean? What does it mean that in the effort to situate and describe a space or element that is not philosophical, such effort is indeed philosophical ?

I will address the second quote more thoroughly in the next post.
For now; Im gonna go eat an orange.


11 responses to “Direct Tangent 4.13: A Particular Addressing.”

  1. Taylor Adkins Avatar

    As far as bad faith goes, I think one could level that assertion against Laruelle if he were merely claiming to be proceeding via a mode of sufficiency, i.e. via philosophy. I would say that instead of bad faith, what Laruelle offers us is the ‘good news’, and of course that saying comes with some irony. Since you are investigating the ‘religious’ side of Laruelle, I would urge you to look at how he speaks about heresy, and also how he takes up the question of gnosticism. You can find the heresy essay in a volume of his work that was recently published under the title “From Decision to Heresy”. I translated his essay on heresy for that volume, and it is quite awesome, so to speak, how he deals with, for example, the question of ‘schism’. Indeed, if you’re interested, the way Laruelle takes up philosophy is as a faith, and what he juxtaposes to that is heresy…

    I’m glad we could patch things up. I saw you mention Badiou in one of your posts, and if you’re interested, I translated one of his essays on Badiou (Laruelle’s). Of course, his book is out, but this essay was out in the 90s, and it is quite good. If you google ‘Badiou and non-philosophy’, it should bring you the speculative heresy link.


    1. landzek Avatar

      And thank you some more. It is another significance that my studies had lead me to Gnosticism and that I had seen somewhere that L likewise had also. And now you show me where exactly he talks about it.

      I have been currently developing a piece, not for the Const Undoing, around my thoughts on the Nag Hammadi Library. As I have nearly completed a long essay centered on the Gospels.


  2. Taylor Adkins Avatar

    I take back my rebukes then. I’m glad that you clarified that for me. No, I do not find you offensive. I thought, however, that I detected some disdain, but I believe you when you say that’s not what was being said. I will have to apologize for the dictionary online; that was put up in haste, and it contains many errors. It was never meant to be definitive, and I am happy to say that the dictionary coming out in print has corrected many examples of these errors. It should be much more readable now.
    Thank you for your quick response. I would love to be able to share passages with you, particularly from Phi and Non-phi, which I think goes a long way to dispelling some of the arguments you are putting forth, or at least some of your hesitations. I would not be too quick, however, to assert that you understand or know everything that Laruelle is arguing. His work is that for slow reading, and slow reading works only when one assumes that not everything one reads is familiar. I expect that you know this, but a step back from this ‘sufficiency’ would be necessary to see this.


    1. landzek Avatar

      From our exchange, I am seeing that what I say Laruelle “is saying” or “means” may not be what he has actually said or proposed. More it may be that I am extrapolating what “he is saying” from what he is saying; as the meanings that follow necessarily he may not have pursued, and thus has not really ‘said’, I am then saying – perhaps because I am excited.

      But I do believe that we meet at his definitions, his summary, and his stages.

      I am eager to acquire a couple of his books.

      But I think what I am proposing can indeed be offensive offensive to some if not many. And I account for this; but I have not come to that aspect of bad faith yet in my posts. Again, you have so far helped me to see that possibly Sartre has not “said” certain things that I propose is Bad Faith, but that his proposition has necessary implications that follow from what he has said.

      I speak pretty directly and with some irony, but my insults would not have to be inferred. (small chuckle).


  3. Taylor Adkins Avatar

    All I can say to that way of defining and redefining is that it is arbitrary and misplaced. I have enjoyed our discussions together, but I feel as though your goal is not to discuss Laruelle but to talk around him and without him. I will try to drop in now and then, but, without meaning to be derogatory, what you are doing here does not seem to add to the understanding of Laruelle, but merely obscures it. But you may want to reply that your goal is not to elucidate Laruelle. That’s fine, but it might help to dedicate some time to that task before making claims and suppositions about what Laruelle ‘means’.

    Also, your comments on Laruelle’s ‘should humanity be saved’ were wrongheaded, particularly since you do not seem to have spent time observing how and why Laruelle works with this question at the beginning of his Struggle book. Also, I was not trying to ‘educate’ you, I was merely trying to point out that you were misquoting. If you feel that that was an attempt on my part to browbeat you, then we obviously are also not on the same page. Whether you meant it or not, I detect a bit of sarcasm and condescension in that claim that I would be educating you. So, I will allow you to perform your thought experiments without any more input on my end. I can see where my interest in your project has become bothersome. In any case, I applaud that you are doing your own thing, and I think that you have good intentions. But I do not feel you are clear or concrete when you refer to Laruelle and his work. Moreover, and this is a symptom, it does not necessarily help to turn to a dictionary definition when Laruelle clearly defines his ‘first terms’ in a rigorous and formal way. If you choose to override that through conventional definitions, then you can do nothing more than butcher his language.


    1. landzek Avatar

      I realize that communication through text is sometimes problematic, but, No; your appraisal of condescension is not accurate. I did not mean ‘educate’ in a derogatory way; I meant it in a good way: that indeed I was educated by your correction. And I appreciate it. It is not a sarcastic remark. In fact it helped, though you disagree with my comment. I actually was thanking you by recognizing your intelligence and ability – and that I actually am having an interaction with one in the know about such a thing as translating the original source. Did you read this as sarcasm? I hope not. ( this reminds me of a South Park episode. Lol..)

      I apologize if I have offended you, but perhaps you are correct with my work.
      I have read your translation of the Dictionary of NP, and his “New Presentation of NP” by Laruelle himself, an essay by someone else about L’s stages, the Wiki entry, and Laruelle’s own “a summary of non-philosophy”. My engagement with Laruelle is because he echoes my thesis, and i have found through continued reading that there is nothing I have read by him and of him that does not confirm the understanding that I already know, and I am interested in someone else putting the same issue in different terms. I can explain everything he puts forth, even though i have not read all his stuff. Maybe you could offer me a passgae of his or a excerpt of his writting that you might see me missing or not understanding and we both can see if what I am saying here is true. Maybe i am wrong; lets see!

      Yet see that I have concluded this not from arrogance or contempt, but from investigation. How many times does one have to encounter a thing before he knows its true. How much do I have to read of his and already understand the next idea, that I begin to trust what I know is the same? But presently I do not have the time to reiterate all of his works for the purpose of eliciting approval of my ideas; in fact such an endeavor contradicts the project. All of his ideas stem necessarily from his premises; isn’t it obvious ? It is obvious to me.

      I anticipated this. I was hoping our interaction would grow, but I figured It probably would not. My discourse can indeed be quite offensive. And my thesis explains this also. It appears people will not hear a contemporary who will not play the game; it may be that they are actually incapable of hearing him. As a person would proceed to adopt the jargon, though, as i can and have at times, all of a sudden a whole bunch of people like him. You could see for yourself by my posts that talk about bad faith, hegemonic discourse, and feminism and oppression; everyone loves when a person is telling them something they already know; it is very similar with me: Just as i love that i found Laruelle. Indeed: the crowd is untruth.

      Perhaps when you do check in on the post, you can offer a rebuttal, and then a can rebut, and we can see that indeed we might have argument. I think you may take offence to what appears to you as arrogance, but indeed it is just truth. Does someone who has climbed Everest say “oh yeah, i took a walk onto some hill”? No. It is not arrogance; i think it could be the opposite. I do not take any comment on my ideas or form as a personal affront. Probably because I do not expect the truth is very fashionable. I suspect, though I doubt he will ever get to read my work, that Laruelle himself would see how our ideas are just two ways of saying the same thing.

      I have a lot to learn;
      Thank you for your feedback and interaction.


  4. Taylor Adkins Avatar

    Your claim about ‘reality’ and the Real is unclear. If we take reality to concern onto-theo-logy, in the Heideggerian sense of the totality of beings, what we might call the ‘physical universe’, then no, reality and the Real are not at all the same.
    The Real, or the One, is non-phenomenological, non-objectifiable, non-thetic, etc. etc. etc.


    1. landzek Avatar

      I am not in the business of developing a General Theory. Perhaps I have a bit of defining of terms to do myself.

      Reconciliation of subject and object is only tenable from the perspective of knowledge. Knowledge does not reside in things, objects. It resides in the subject.

      The subject of rocks, lets say, indicates an object through the lack of there being an object in-itself a rock. This is what Zizek means when he says the subject exists as a nil, a void; the subject is a conflation of objects.

      I have not read very much Heidegger; i need to. The physical universe: When we extrapolate such an object to include a whole universe or totality of objects, we are left to consider where the universe resides. The contradiction involved in knowledge residing in the subject, and the subject being void located at the convergence of a conflation of objects typically would indicate that either is incorrect and usually, conventionally indicates a relativity is needed, a negotiation of meanings. But this is exactly philosophical.

      Say I have a car engine and I’m attempting to remove a bad alternator, and I have a scissors to use in the attempt. Conventional methodology (philosophy) says that I need to adjust or otherwise change the scissors and the alternator so I can fix the problem. Philosophy says not that the tool is wrong, but that the tool in-itself and the alternator in-itself is incorrect, and that I should work to make the two compliant with each other.

      Contradiction indicates that the tool is wrong. It is not the object that informs knowledge/discourse, it is the knowledge itself that gives us the object, whatever the ‘physical’ thing is. The tool is knowledge, and because knowledge should be indicted as incorrect, but knowledge is all we have, this means that knowledge is not solute. It does not achieve a particularity with the universe: knowledge is arbitrary but it is used and actually enforced by the missing subject as necessary. Thus it is this contingency enacted as equity, as if the subject and object were equivocal, and that we are in a process of discovering this equivocality, this unity, this Truth of the universe – the apparent effect that precipitates out from the absurd contradictory idea of philosophical process: this is Laruelle’s premise, but he uses different terms.

      Because knowledge is indeed the only tool we have, but it is the wrong tool, we are left to consider how this may be so and what the solution is.


    2. landzek Avatar

      Oh, so far as my defining of terms: reality is determined as the philosophical result; philosophy reflects the designated proper method for coming upon truth.

      I may be somewhat at odd with L ‘s Real; I would have to read closer. But he is making a distinction in the way I have outlined. The One- Real, or the Real, or whatever his term is – he may be situating ‘real’ on the side of non-philosophy, where as I distinguish real as being of conventional faith.


  5. Taylor Adkins Avatar

    I’m trying to follow you along. I am not convinced that you have proved Laruelle’s axiomatic usage of language to be mere jargon. Instead, you assume your point and work back to proving it. On the other hand, your claim about bad faith is misplaced, and I still do not follow your lead here. Also, your claims about terms and decisions at the end here is fairly odd. I won’t attempt any sort of critique here, but I don’t necessarily follow you in your presupposition that Laruelle’s exposition is merely a clutter to be cleared, or a ‘decimation’ that should merely be a clearing. In other words, by taking the stratification of philosophy’s language, syntax, etc. as a decisional/positional matrix, Laruelle is not perpetuating jargon by taking up what is already given as ‘la philosophie’. In other words, I think you misrepresent Laruelle as a practitioner of bad faith but not appreciating the extent to which he has spent time not only thinking about this issue, but in putting the ‘clutter’ or jargon to work as material that can be submitted to processes governed by rules. This is what is at stake with axiomatization and generalization. It will not come about merely by avoiding terms that would be used in colloquial language.


    1. landzek Avatar

      I find it truly coincidental and significant that your comments have come at the same time that I have been considering the development and statement of my late posts. Many of the issues and or concerns you point out are the same ones that I have been pondering as to their effectivness. Hopefully the next post I publish will clear up some of the foggy details.

      The “mere jargon” I think you are mis-taking my meaning. I use ‘jargon’ in the very sense that comes up first in Bing:

      Definition of jargon (n) · Bing Dictionary


      [ jr gən ]

      1.specialist language: language that is used by a group, profession, or culture, especially when the words and phrases are not understood or used by other people
      2.unintelligible language: pretentious or meaningless language.

      My point from the very beginning of C.U. is that if philosophy is talking aboput something that is significant to all of humanity, why is it so hidden? Why is an idea that is undertaken or explored or explicated under a guise of having to do – not with some particular aspect of humanity, but indeed under a premise of having to do with The significant feature of all humanity, reality, existence, being, etc… spoken about as if to remove the possibility of it being known from those whom it is supposed to concern, which is everyone?

      My plotting is founded upon the basic premise that such considerations (ontology, etc..) are not of science, they are not of some ‘objective’ world, whatever that may mean. Such discourse is not concerned with the same quality of object as science. What I mean by this, and I have written about this in an earlier post, is that science Can and May have such discourse about things and be justified in the division of labor that accomnpanies the activities of living life, and this fact, this aspect of human existance (science, the latter) points to a significance of the former (critical discourse), and not the reverse; which is to say, science has nothing to say of significance as to the existance of critical discourse unless such discourse is determined by the laws of science – which I say does not hold water. I say that this latter idea is of a conventional religious-type faith.

      Laruelle, I see, has shown the significance of the above in detail. That philosophy in its proposal of being able to treat upon existance as if it an object of the science-type develops its unified truth (excuse me if I do not remember Laruelle’s terms and definitions) due to its upholding within its operation the transcendant object, which is indeed, an upholding of a True Object, or as Kant, I think said, an object In-itself: such discourse functions to supply the True Object. Laruelle says as much as this but has developed other terms – indeed, you yourself translated his NP Dictionary – there is no term in his dictionary that I have not already come upon or that does not necessarily follow from his premises that would be easy to situate, but I would have to address each, which takes away from my work. In sum, Non-philosophy is the possibility that may arise once philosophy-science is seen as complicit in the same agenda: the finding of the True Object: a Unified thoery; a General Theory; the explanation or formula that will explain the whole, One, universe – and that such an idea is generated out of an impetus implicit in the functioning and operation of this science-philosophy rhetoric, what I call “convnetional methodology”, that can be and has been found and described by Laruele, the binary/divisional rhetoric/ discourse that repeats its own arguments under different terms in its refusal and apparent inability to admit that the One Universe is a mythological entity, a transcendent true object, an ideological constraining aspect of humanity that can be called “reality”, which Laruelle ( I believe) calls the Real, but is that which denies basic actual (if I can use that term) existance. And further, that this Real is maintained through ideological-religious power structures.

      I cannot see how you cannot see that Laruelle is saying this also; or perhaps you do not see it in mine; perhaps you have not read my post from the begining (but I dont really expect you to). His terms are different, but his meaning is the same. My question thus has to do with why his discourse on Non-Philosophy is termed in such a way so as to seem to prohibit those who it would probably most benefit from understanding it. I ask: Is such jargon necessary to the meaning it contains? Paulo Freire at least tried to keep his discourse at the level so those who would need it could have access to it.


      Now, the issues we deal with in our conversation are not so black and white. But this appears to me to beckon even more the necessity and desire to have as many people understand as possible. Yet, even this has its probelms, its abiguities, if you will. It is these ambiguities with which I tango, because once we begin to understand the issue at hand, we begin to see that we are dealing with things that, as I situate them for terms, are not real, or, as I have noticed, some have put it: fictional: philo-fiction.

      I know I tend to ramble and talk around my point, and as you said “assume my point” at times, but this is a strategy I am working out. I am working on how to go about presenting my point; as I have said: the issue is how to put into terms the truth of the matter. Yes; no one, except in my anthropology undergraduate and an philosophy online forum, has ever read what I write, and I have had very little feed back on my work. I have been in a process of trying to write simply so as to be understood. And I am excersizing this in my blogs. So I do indeed appreciate your input and critique.


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