Tangent 4.19: what gives? The possibility of Communicating.

What gives? This is the question.

In partial thanks to Mr. Adkins, his site translation of some of Laruelle’s writings, that these came up rather early in a Google search for ‘non-philosophy project’, as well his willingness to actually read a post of mine and then to comment on it, I am lead to more and more sites with non-philosophical excerpts, comments, takes, explanations, and even some of Laruelle’s less formal essays on his own ideas. I would give a bibliography but one need only search the Internet and find as much as I have.

I am finding that I am having a certain sympathy for non-philosophy. This I come upon reading many of these excerpts and finding that my initial impression of non-philosophy, that impression I got from reading Laruelle’s own Summary of Non-Philosophy, the link to which is found in my own Direction 3.20, is correct. With apologies to those who struggle with him: a more thorough reading of his premises are sufficient to spell out everything that appears subsequently, and, everything that follows can be said more succinctly and clearly. What he has to say and has said is apparent; that is, ‘should be’ apparent. I read some of his less formal essays and it is confirmed, but his “non-philosophy dictionary” and other more academic papers – My question all through my essays is simple: why is his language so complicated. I have offered a few reasons and continue to do so, but a significant reason has to do with what could be called ‘evangelism’ – his question of “should humanity be saved” is implicated in his use, in his appropriation of the priority discourse of philosophy, though his appropriation also has to do with the necessity of existing (see my posts: Direct 2.28 and Direct Tangent 3.1 and more on this later). One should notice in conjunction with this idea that my argument uses Laruelle ironically, as the occasion for his argument as well as his for mine: this is his position and mine and possibly others – but this is the issue, isn’t it. What the hell is he talking about? For that matter, what the bejesus am I talking about? Well, I am talking about how complicated the issue can be made to appear, and he is complicating the issue. What?

Further, once we see this we can only conclude that it is contrary to the philosophical premise and method (the proper conventional method: that extraneous details can be ruled out of the explanation offering the truth. So I must also ask: what gives of non-philosophy? Is it really different than philosophy? Only one person can answer that sufficiently: this is the point of the project.

* *

Through my investigating Laruelle himself, as well by other authors various synopses of Laruelle, I cannot get by the overwhelming drudgery and weighty cumbersome language used to convey proposed non-philosophical thoughts. I can get through it, but I cannot get by it. I cannot but help to be hit by the question of why would someone wish such entanglement upon themselves that they would have to resort to such – shall I say – unwieldy conceptualizations and to boot have them must be reflected in writing. I should think that the most simple iteration of a concept would be the more true of conveyed ideas. Are the concepts that Laruelle wishes to convey truly so complicated?

Whereas before having delved into the pit I could only almost reprimand Laruelle himself for his abuse and his evidently misleading of putting into words the obviously troubled thoughts, now I have sympathy for a soul that would have to try so hard for something that for me is so utterly simple. But yet also, I should see that Laruelle must be putting it into the simplest presentation he knows. Understandably one has to wonder how much is bogged in the French-English translating, but even accounting for this – then I have to wonder about the French as a culturally influenced discursive-traditionally trodden group of individuals who cannot help but make a discursive mess of complication out of simple truth. I only say this after reading Sartre also, never mind Badiou and the others. But I cannot blame it on being French; they just have their own way. Still I am left with other non-philosophical authors. Slavoj Zizek has a great way also, but Zizek has a different way, a talent unto himself of being non-philosophical without being non-philosophical: if there ever is a man who can act, that is perform radically immanent it is Zizek (But ill get into the radical sensible nonsense in the later).

Every one ( because maybe there is at least one ) reading my blogs should already know that it is about describing the emperor’s new clothes: his new clothes here is the non-philosophical jargon.


All this here leads me to wonder about mass hysteria. I wonder how just sounding important makes importance. Shit; new modern music of all sorts is all about production. One has the right look, the right sound, the right stage presence, the right lighting, the right sound engineer – it hardly matters if the music is any good because the quality of the music is all these things: and so people love it and it thus becomes good music. Of course the modern philosophical thought-ers and hipsters will counter: well, what do you think is good music? And of course we live in the relative age, where very one’s opinion is valid, especially if you apprehend the details and can talk the talk. If you can talk the talk then of course everyone thinks you are walking the walk, even if you are not . Its so great we can at any time conveniently mark away ideological, theoretical, philosophical, critical and psychological ideas of power and control, and reduce the high thinking to the lowest common reality. Thank god for individual freedom and personal preference; individualism will surely find us the right way.

As long as I am using big words, and big concepts jammed into condensed terms, and as long as I am name dropping enough I get to be important and what I say magically becomes imbued with deep significance; it hardly matters if I am saying anything significant at all because I am one of those so hysterical. I cannot help but thinking I am saying something really cool and deep because I am modeling my coolness and depth after someone I admire because of his or her complex discourse that I deciphered or was taught to decipher. Now I have something to say and I propose to be perpetuating or contributing to the great complicated idea by further complicating the issue.

If this isn’t exactly what Laruelle is decrying then his project means nothing. But this is what he is saying philosophy does. He is saying it kindly and subtly – as I said in an earlier post, he is trying not to offend anyone – because this is what he does also!

But here is a man who is indeed saying something significant. And thus my query of “Direct Tangents”, and thus my “Constructive Undoing”. Laruelle cannot have come upon such an idea and not have known the outcome, that is, the point, by the time he was beginning to write: his problem could only have been how to put it into terms. Since he must at least by now know that his premises are contradicted in its manifestation, his project must include the possibility of its being taken over, commandeered, by the masses who think they understand him; he must have already considered the possibility involved in the limitations of communication. It is obvious that what has been termed ‘philo-fiction’ stems from a particular conveyance of this limit. Indeed, in, what I believe is the preface to his book “Struggle and Utopia at the End Times if Philosophy”, he even says that non-philosophy by its mode of communicating risks being made into another philosophical object.

And it is here that we come to the only result of his project. Either he sees this and remains consistent in his argument, thus he admits his bad faith, or he does not and thus is essentially in bad faith. No amount of discursive acrobatics can alleviate this paradox. No amount and no type of argument can wind its way out from this web. The project must involve what is not real, i.e. fiction. This is one way he designates his departure from traditional philosophy, but also how he implicates philosophy to the rest of reality, and not just some part of it, some discursive arena.

Part of the answer lay in his discerning of radical immanence.

So, what gives? Does he understand the issue or does he not? What gives? ( Hint: if his question “should humanity be saved” is any indication, I would say he hopes he does.)

And so, next up: some more particular addressings….


8 responses to “Tangent 4.19: what gives? The possibility of Communicating.”

  1. Taylor Adkins Avatar

    I would also say, quickly, that however it reads in Burke and Smith’s translation, that phrase from Struggle and Utopia, the very first sentence, does not read ‘can humanity be saved?’, but ‘should humanity be saved’? I know Drew and Anthony translate it as ‘should we save humanity’, but that’s not accurate vis-a-vis Laruelle’s French. It’s not about the potential for humanity to be saved, via religion, as you seem to imply that Laruelle himself is incarnating, but about the conditions of possibility of salvation, which, in the end, are not theological, but real and human.


    1. landzek Avatar

      This is significant. “Should we..” Thank you for this.


  2. Taylor Adkins Avatar

    I don’t think Laruelle was ever worried that ‘non-philosophy’, and by extension, since it is not unitary, ‘non-philosophies’, would be appropriated by the masses. For the most part, there are already plenty of non(-)philosophies out there, but none that have formalized, axiomatized and generalized the ‘non’ and the hyphenation in the way that Laruelle systematically lays out. Those are open multiplicities, and he has always said that non-philosophy is ‘for’ philosophy, even if it takes the latter as its object.

    On the other hand, the reason why Laruelle precisely moves to formulating a non-philosophy is so that he can move beyond simply rearranging, displacing, reversing, inverting, manipulating, etc. the hierarchies within philosophy moves and has life. It was precisely not to merely imitate and regurgitate the decisional matrix, not to merely critique Deleuze/Derrida or outdo them, that Laruelle moves to non-philosophy, which is a systematic undertaking that submits philosophy to a heteronomous ‘discipline’ or ‘science’. It was precisely not to stay in this double bind that you think you find him caught that Laruelle formulates non-philosophy in precise, and not ambiguous or unthematized, modalities.


    1. landzek Avatar

      …yes; I have not finished my discussion. Laruelle has found, so to speak, ‘freedom’. I would say, he uses conventional terms by which to express the philsophical truth. He is letting the concept come into existance through the phenomenon. There are no other toys with which to play, but the tools have been designated for certain and particular games, or the One game, to be used in particular ways, in a Particular Way. Laruelle is using them differently, attempting to thereby change the game by illustrating that the tools are not absolute in thier use (meaning).

      I am curious what other non-philosophies there are. Do you consider your sites resevoirs of non-philosophy? This is new to me.


      1. Taylor Adkins Avatar

        What you say about games, toys, above makes no sense. To be clear, Laruelle is not trying to intervene in philosophy to change it.

        On the other hand, what I meant about non-philosophies in the plural is twofold: one, nonphilosophy, with or without hyphenation, has always been an undertermined term that has floated around in a vague sense…Plato may have called it ‘opinion’…
        On the other hand, Laruelle’s axiomatized non-philosophy does not claim to be unitary. For him, the process of generalization, axiomatization, and hypothesis can lead to a proliferation of non-philosophies (in L’s sense of the term).
        That’s all I meant by that.


      2. landzek Avatar

        Toys, Metaphor.

        the question: is there more than human knowledge ? If so what is it?
        Does human knowledge reflect the truth of the universe? What is it?
        Is something false not of the universe?

        Philosophy is that arena of knowledge that is determined by a process whereby things are known through dissecting or dividing, through taking a unity, so to speak, and finding its truth (proposed method) by finding constituent aspects of it. The unity is always assumed. There is no analysis of the given. All analysis that proposes toward truth as a progress is based upon, in one sense, a ‘philosophical decision”, a prior moment supposed as solved by which to base subsequent steps of knowledge toward the ‘grand truth of the universe’: the One. The prior moment is never solved but always given as solved for the purpose of proposing truth. This process/method is what Laruelle calls ‘philosophy’.

        Likewise, this proposed truth, the given of before the analysis, functions in philosophy as the cohesive element, granting ground from which to enact the method of truth (the given), as well as the ground that grants the purpose of the method (the truth of the One universe); these are transcendent elements. They both may be called ‘philosophical decisions’ in the sense Laruelle uses.

        Philosophy, through determining the one true universe through such scheme of relational oppositions, given, solved, absolute, relative, necessary, sufficient, etc…grant the world not through such definition in themselves, but through an implication (the ground of philosophical decision) that the terms are solute, that they have been determined by The true method that considers and finds truth, as to a specific quality that is universal. Thus, the philosophical decision has likewise granted all the ‘toys’ by which to construct this true universe. The relations of terms of the true universe are limited; this is the shortcoming of philosophy, that it sees itself as un-limited, as having no limit. Thus, non-philosophy proposes to ‘upset’ or ‘de-center’ this limiting ignorance.

        Laruelle uses different terms but right now I do not wish to go through his whole dictionary.

        My point with the metaphor of the forest is that one would think that in order to get to the meaning of Laruelle one would have to ‘clear’ away the exterraneous (sp?) and unnecessary jargon, or at least the terms that are not understood ( like if I went through his dictionary and simplified his definitions), a work that might seem very tedious and difficult, much like if one had to chop through a forest. But this is not necessary, for, when one can be honest in looking, he will invariably find that such a clearing is not needed to get to the truth, he will not need to ‘decimate’ the forest (he will not need to chop through the NP dictionary), because the truth will become apparent and Laruelle’s meanings likewise can sit as a part of the project (non-philosophy/philosophy) instead of having to be conformed to some universal standard (philosophy/conventional methodology).


    2. landzek Avatar

      Hello. I wanted to say that in re-reading some of your replies: you have offered many, many valid points which, because they are so numerous, it is difficult for me to address them all and still stay on, what I consider, task of my work. I hope to address them as I continue, as a matter of course. So I apologize if I seemed to be ignoring you I this regard.

      But I came across something I thought significant to your reply to On April 28th; specifically, “I don’t think L was ever worried about Np… Would be appropriated by the masses”.

      I see this following quote as addressing the above issue from a converse attitude:
      “On the other hand, to the search for a discourse that would no longer be the logos and whose resources (despite this discourse being appropriated by the causality of the One) would be provided by philosophy alone.” [from “A New Approach…” By L]

      In context discussing his process and considerations of ‘philosophy’: The “causality of the One” I see as exactly what I call ‘convention’. That he is saying that in solving his problem, he could not avoid having to use the discourse of ‘the One’, the “resources” provided by philosophy, what I call ‘conventional methodology’, or “conventional discourse” even.

      Just thought I’d clear that up.


      1. landzek Avatar

        Oops, I’m sorry, the piece is called “A New Presentation…”


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