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: http://speculativeheresy.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/smith-anthony-paul-history-of-non-philosophy.pdf.
“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.