The other week I read a post that I believe was by Donna Haraway ( I could ne wrong) that was addressing something to the effect that was “the cresting and crashing of the Speculative Realism wave”, and again I was left in an odd sort of state. I don’t remember just what exactly her point was – probably due to the lurch I find myself in when I read about the philosophical turns and phases; but it doesn’t matter. The significance of coming across the essay has been an occasion to speak: What, exactly, ‘crested and crashed’?
The Entry into Discourse (the very first posting of Constructive Undoing) and the subsequent essays of the Direct Tangents concerned one thing: Why is Francois Laruelle using such complex and verbose language to express such a simple idea? Why did he have to have a “Dictionary of Non-Philosophy”? A better question now, one that goes to the point of this essay here, one that answers the obviousness of the mistake inherent of Haraway’s proclamation, is why would readers need such a dictionary?
It seems obvious that what prompted the Dictionary (of NP) is people did not understand what he was saying, or maybe that it was difficult to keep his definitions in order to be able to make sense of it, to thereby understand what he is saying. It is this that indicates that indeed a divergence in the estimation of occurrences is needed. My position has always been that I understood him at first read. Now, of course, those who need the Dictionary, those who in this specific case feel that NP is/was something really cool, but also those who delve and delineate and smash and ponder others’ ideas to get to what that other is actually saying, but as in this case with Laruelle, will say that I do not understand him. The same with Alain Badiou. I will not go into the whole of my dealings that are the first half of the Constructive Undoing posts; suffice it to say that no matter what I might say to paraphrase in the attempt to describe how I understand Laruelle, those so well read and versed in the Dictionary will always retort with the the definitions. In fact, they have learned the definitions so well (probably better than Laruelle himself) that they will string together Laruelle’s terms into sentences that propose to describe to me what he is saying, or what Non-Philosophy really is, or is really saying, to tell me how I am wrong in what I have gleaned and understand of Non-Philosophy. My question back is what exactly do these definitions they are flouting mean; just what are those definitions referring to? Invariably I get in response more of Laruelle’s Non-philosophical definitions. In other words, they offer me no substantial nor tangible meaning, no basis from which or for which the terms they are using have any meaning for me that says they understand what he is saying. They are incapable of telling me ‘straight’, for a colloquialism, but constantly refer to terms that have a meaning of which one needs to be informed as to a particular meaning that further has no meaning without again referencing terms that occur to meaning along a line a clausal order that lay, some how, outside regular experience. What they do use in place of this substance I seek, this relation to my direct and very real everyday experience, is more philosophical jargon, referencing various other philosophers as to their usage of terms that relate to Laruelle’s usage either through some academic and or traditional lineage, or philosophically historical lineage of ideas.
Their defense can come from an equivalence they see of their philosophy and physics. Specifically, they take the presentation of thesis measured against a common human’s informed ability to reason, as this ability is gained through the learning of just what it is to be informed to the issues of the reasoning. In short, it claims the same type of privilege that physicists claim. They call their philosophical ‘science’ metaphysics, as if to emphasize not only the ability of reason to create a path, as well as potential for development of a method, but also the ability to apprehend a truth, much like physics, that goes beyond, deeper or higher than pedestrian or regular everyday reasoning. The difference, though, between physics and metaphysics is that physics holds its claim as a science because it only gains and proceeds by what is offered of objects. The scientific tradition is verified due to its offering nothing, but only that which is offered to its method. The problem with the supposed philosophical science of metaphysics is located in the fact that what is offered to the supposed philosophical reason has no common object, but rather the assertion of such a common object occurs only within the assertion itself, of the supposed reason that is proposing to be come upon by what is offered of the common object. This is to say, there is no object that is offered to philosophy but what philosophy makes for itself. Whereas physics developed its method through response to what was and is given by the common object, philosophy problematizes this very same object through an assertion, but then justifies its method by avoiding this very fact, as if the object treated by physics and metaphysics is indeed the same object. This move is why we can attempt to identify what is or was ‘modern’; modernism has been identified as having to do or otherwise concerning a number of ideas that can tend to appear similar or of a common type. This type has been ‘of ends’, teleology, concerned with oneness, involved with meta-discourses that propose upon a proper and correct manner of the universe.
Yet, when we begin to look at philosophy we begin to see there is an insidious persistence about its presence on the scene, so to speak. For example, it is not difficult to see that any move that proposes to be done with such meta-discourses is itself an assertion toward an encompassing meta-discourse. What we can see, and say, then, is that the only thing that happened with the exposure of the ‘modern’ philosophical problem, in so much as this problem may have been already exposed, at that, by the post-modernists, is that we now have a situation of many people proposing meta-discourses who are hoping to propose the meta-discourse that ‘wins’. In short, we see that the post-modern proposals went heard but unapplied, unrecognized as to their meaning and or the origin of their meaning; rather, the application was upon a mistaken appropriation of the meaning. This is to say that despite the post-moderns’ supposedly exposing some ‘problem’ with some ‘previous manner’ of coming upon World, it appears that in response to this exposure, ‘philosophy’, or the designation of the operator of the modern philosophical metaphysical method, is still occurring, still behaving in the same manner only now ‘hiding’ it, or at least attempting to obscure the fact that indeed nothing has changed in how the modern philosophical method functions, and whether it is realized or not, the philosophical operator is still involved with the attempt to establish a true object through an investment in the fetishized commodity; which is to say, concerned with establishing identity through capital marketing. What we have now, of this situation, is what we may call a “pass”; part of our effort is to look into what is occurring with these ‘passes’. It is the description of the event of Being that even reveals Being unto itself, and the movement that occurs with the description in hand evidences such passes.
When one looks at this, it is not difficult to see that such ‘philosophers’ (the ones I’m in a discussion with, the ones who ‘know’ about Non-Philosophy, but also many modern philosophers) are lost in dialogue, what I’ve noticed has been categorized as an intellectualism. They are caught up in terms, in complex ideas, in historical schemes of sense, in lineages of meaning that are supposed and proposed to be talking about fundamental, basic and or essential ‘Truths’ of reality. In fact, when you discuss anything with such heady philosophers, it is rare that you can get them to admit anything that can relate to everyday experience. They are incapable of speaking to reality without recurring disclaimers and conditional terms on one hand, and then without constant referral to what other people think or have thought or said. This is the overt aspect of the conventional route. They are ready to announce their prodigious intellect and memory of various authors and their individual contributions and how these ideas relate to other authors and their ideas. Papers and book are written which are nothing more than comparisons, proposals of established and novel ways such ideas might intertwine and make distinction, which end in the authors offering their great syntheses of their opinion of what ideas might be better or worse, and or how various ideas might be applied to various social and political occurrences and events. This overt conventional manner is quite analytical as opposed to what has been coined as its philosophical counterpart, continental philosophy. Thus it is really the continental school that offers the greater obstacle to the overcoming of conventional route, for one’s interest is often insufficient to find what they are looking for in the continental library, especially if they are busy colliding ideas to see what comes out.
The question concerns the view by which such modern practices, as an embodiment of what is modern, are able to be questioned, since if we understand Zizek we should not be able to have such a view, that the view itself is a symptom of that which it is viewing. What we are seeing, though, or beginning to see, what the post-post moderns (Laruelle, Badiou; I feel Zizek and Latour deserve their own catagory) revealed by their descriptions, now that certain philosophers are offering their own estimation of what is ‘new’ (Brassier, Harman, Meillassoux, Bryant, to name a few) is that the historical traditional philosophical designations fail in their conventional estimations: That the speculative and practical designations fail, and are unsuited anymore to any precise discussion of what is occurring. The aggregate of philosophical wisdom has been reduced to a discursive fashion, of sorts, such that we need now diverge from the philosophical fad that obscures the truth of the matter as it asserts the proper manner of coming upon the situation by the mere over-concern (what has been called in certain circles overdetermination) that people have with establishing themselves as an identity. What we are calling out is just this reflexivity of the Zizek sort: Zizek should be properly classified with the identity he presents by the presentation of his ideas; namely, he argues the exact position he exhibits through his proposals, and that what is occurring is not as much what he proposes except in as much as he occupies a particular historical niche, so to speak, a historical position that coincides with the post-post-modern. It is once this is acknowledged that what is divergent can be revealed as to its own presence, which is to say, its own ontological basis. This is the difference that is always negated in the conventional determination, by its assertion of omniscience and omnipotence.
The essential question one needs ask is: What about such over-reaching philosophical assertions is apparent in my daily life?
Leave a Reply