I figure it prudent and sensible at this time to take a tangent, aside from the direct Laruelle-nonphilosophical discussion.
And back up..
What am I doing here in this blog, these posts? What am I addressing?
I have said the basic issue is duality. But though this can appear as a beginning, at times it can appear in the middle. So perhaps, a more beginning beginning.
As I proceed to live life, I merely live. I do, I think, I ponder, I solve problems, I interact with people and things, I process information, I have emotions, I encounter physical problems, I get sticks rammed through my toe when I step on them, I get scratches from my dog with untrimmed claws, I love my wife, I have sex, I love my child, I play silly games and hopefully give her a good basis by which to proceed into the world, I live life. Philosophico-crtiquo-thinkers seem to forget these basic aspects of life and the world; it is as if they live in a fantasyland, as if their fantasy is true.
As a thinker, I attempt to reconcile all these experiences to a sensibility, an understanding, reasons for things happening, I make decisions, I move into the world. I hear, feel and experience other creatures, human and not human, I discuss things big and small with others. I talk about sports, I talk about planets, climate change, culture, religion, politics, I hear opinions, I give them mine. As a critical thinker, I attempt to explain all these things and events. I consider how it is possible that there is someone else, what their opinions mean and what it means that I can consider their opinions; I attempt to describe the truth of the matter of life and existence.
Being involved in this process, I am inevitably brought to truth. I could lie or fabricate a sensibility, a description, and then I would be involved with literature or popular fiction. If I am programming a computer, I cannot string together random strings of code and have the computer do anything with it except reject it, or do nothing with it. I am not programming a computer here, but it is a good analogy: remaining with the principle of truth, I am limited in what I can say and have it be sensible.
In this process, then, I have to consider every facet of experience, I cannot leave out anything. I have to fully accept everything, and in this acceptance I further have to doubt it all. I have to put through the ringer every notion, challenging every idea with all possibility of rebuttal. I cannot cringe or run away from distasteful events or ideas. I have to account for my past, present and future, my idea of it, that this idea is an idea, and I have to be able to reconcile this to the fact that I am here now thinking about it, writing about it. I have to consider what a tree is, the meaning I have of it, what other people know of it, that there are other people, how this might be possible, and how this might be communicated.
My task is to make sense of it all, but not only that, I am in an effort to communicate it to others.
This is a most daunting task indeed.
One could say the biggest problem I have encountered has to do with what I could call ‘compartmentalization’. It has to do with being the event of doing. For example; If I am going to ride a bike race, I get the $5000 dollar bike. I also get the spandex clothes with the fancy color designs and the logos all over it. I get the tight shorts, the funky soled shoes that I cant walk properly in. I go to ride a bike race and I am a bike racer; I have the gear, I look the part. If I were to show up in cut-off jeans, a cigarette in my mouth, flip-flops on a beat up beach cruiser, other people would probably laugh; they might still believe that I was going to ride the race, but they would doubt if I was serious: they would doubt I was a bike racer.
Compartmentalizing activity in this way is not bad so far as it goes for the things we do. It identifies us, it allows for interaction along common lines, including dissent, it allows for the furthering of a activity by having controls against which we may discover better ways of doing things, such as, waring spandex clothes for racing reduces drag and allows one to go faster with less energy expenditure.
But honest, true critical discourse about life, existence and reality does not fall into a compartment in this way; in fact, in defies it.
The problem I have in presenting my ideas is that those who are in the business of considering such ideas have an idea of what one supposed to say and how one is supposed to say it. There is ‘gear and a look’ that one is supposed to have, or one is not taken seriously. And this seems to happen automatically. The serious bike racer looks at the cigarette clod rider next to him and writes him off before the race has begun, and his does this automatically. He makes no choice in this opinion, rather, his opinion is already made due to what a ‘real’ bike racer should be, how he should look, what he should be talking about. What discussion may occur between these two racers has more to do with the geared-up racer, if he has an open mind, suggesting to the cig-racer that, if he wants to win, he might want to not smoke, and he might want to get a better, lighter, more streamlined bike, and maybe get some spandex, suggestions for the course and how to take turns and certain hills. The discussion of the cig-racer telling his couterpart that he’s gonna ride real fast and kick your ass, means little or nothing to the geared-up-career racer. But this is not because the cig-racer might not win, it is because there is a history, a tradition, a science that has developed racing in such a way that it tells what a bike racer is, what they should do (if they want to win), what gear they should use, and all this translates into how they should look. And this is sensible so far as racing a bike has little to do with planting a garden, and when they are racing they are not considering what time of the season to plant tulips.
Of course this is an overdetermination, and there is no ‘winning’ in the critical discussion (or at least, maybe there is in some circles), but the activity I am undertaking is just like this: as soon as a person enters the arena, it is assumed that they are doing certain things and using certain tools, because the assumption, the given, the ‘supposed to’ is that the method and tools of investigating and discovering existence and reality have been developed in the same way as racing equipment. This understanding is automatic. It seems so automatic that the theories developed around such a topic soon have little to do with the life that was taken as the initial object of investigation. The theories and ideas become merely an identifier of a particular compartment of experience: just as if I may be talking about computers, I may be talking about existence. The discursive technology develops in the same way in both arenas, around a supposed object or activity that is distinguished from another.
Now to my point:
The problem is that the arena in which, and the topic about which the discussion is supposedly taking place is assumed. And, as we go about to define what it is, we move toward terms that supposedly identify a particular object of our consideration: but by then we have lost the initial reason why we are talking about anything. The arena becomes the defined object of consideration: it is redundant. The arena, the thing we are supposed to be discussing, has dissolved into the terms that we are using to frame the arena. Such terms do not thereby locate anything but the discussion itself. The problem is that describing reality or existence is not like another object like a car. The terms here, of existence, reality and the like, that are developed around a particular object of thought do not identify any object except the thought itself, that thought which has departed as soon as another person uses other terms to propose it. To assume the contrary is to rely upon an existence of a ‘thought-object’, which is to say, to rely upon a necessary correspondence between the thought and the object of discussion. The example of this is put thus: if such an object existed, I would only have to say something about it and the discussion would end, for everyone would know it was true (which is ironically the case for the few; see elsewhere in my essays).In so much as one might suggest that is what discussion ‘finds’ through its process, is likewise to rely upon some true object, as if there is some ideal form of sorts that exists between participants in the discussion. This is then the exact discussion of transcendence and immanence.
To propose that there is some ‘actual’ truth to the matter of existence or reality, because we have a history, a tradition, and a method that has given us logically reasoned out descriptions of existence and reality, as well as a method by which we can argue with old ones and propose new ones: this is exactly the proposal of a true object, as if thoughts, existence, reality, being, are things-in-them-selves that can be ‘gotten’ or understood, as if these aspects of life are actual true objects. Such discussions reveal, on one hand, nothing but metaphysical, religio-ideological postures, but on the other – and only for those who have stuck with the basic issue through the whole discussion, who have seen that the terms get nothing and nowhere – a description of existence and reality as it is presently manifested in discourse, a description of how the process of description is operating at this moment.
This last is indeed what Francois Laruelle has attempted to do, and has done very well. So, if this is the case, then inso doing, inso being able to describe in detail what or how the method of description is operating, the funtions and relations of its pieces, its terms, and how this scheme grants a particular picture that is the very picture we see including how such a description is presentable, the whole thing is thus called into question, and allows for the possibllity of a different… whatever term one wants to use.
Further, it is not just a theory, because the theory itself, the description, includes and/or realizes the lack involved in thoery, so it must be an actual lived practice, a praxis: the project of non-philosophy. This is not particularized, in fact, it is non-particularizable, non-campartamentizable. So it is that he becomes the occasion for my work.