Reply to  Hickman.

This is a comment reply to a short discussion I was/ am having with HC Hickman over at Alien Ecologies. If you would like to see how it got here, go check out the comments.

Somehow your blog is still interesting to me. It might appear that I am merely stating my position and not hearing anything else, that I want to prove to you something true, or whatever. This is not the case. Though this may sound odd, my purpose is to be proven wrong. I do not state things to prove anything to anyone; I state things to open the possibility for someone to show me where I am incorrect, to prove to me that I am incorrect. I look for people who have the time, but as well the temperament to have an exchange that challenges not only their view, but my view. So I apologize if I push you to answer me. All my statements are questions in the search for an answer.

Oddly enough when I first read Laruelle, and I began to discuss it with a translator of his, our discussions proceeded quite similarly to the way that yours and mine does. I would talk about how apparent the meaning of Laruelle’s books were and are to me and I would convey to him the meaning that was so obvious to me. And he would say basically that I don’t understand what Laurelle saying, and asked me if I had read his books, and indeed offered to take me through one of his books I could kind of study. We barely got through the first paragraph of the first chapter, for even the first paragraphs were blatant to me what he meant. I would tell Adkins (If you are interested in the details of that discussion, but also a more general basis from which I approach click here.At the time, I had only read a few of Laruelle’s essays ( one was here, but at the time Im pretty sure there was a version in english.) but since then I have read four of his books. To me he merely says the same thing over and over in different terms, while also understanding that the different clausal structures will arouse certain particular (what I call ‘subsequent’) questions, and then addressing those questions.

It appears that I am coming upon meaning of authors that appear obvious to me and that pan out to be consistent through not only the one book or essay, but indeed all their individual works, but no-one else seems to have come upon the same meaning, and in fact, they seem to be quite antagonistic to the meaning that I came upon.

The first of this strange (weird) phenomena of coming upon a consistent meaning of text happened with was Kierkegaard’s “Either/Or”. I shall take a moment a recount this weird event:

My roommate who was a grad student in women’s studies, I believe, had left this book “Either/Or” on the living room table. I remember coming home one night and seeing it and thinking to myself that I should probably read it since it is a philosophy book and I hadn’t really ever really read anything by any philosophers, though I (strangely enough) fancied myself a philosopher; Though I was an Anthropology undergrad, I figured I should start to get knowledgable about ‘proper’ philosophical issues. I have only heard of Kierkegaard’s name before this and knew nothing of him or his philosophy.

I figured I would just start at the beginning; sans intro, forward and any other extraneous commentary. I started at the “Diapsalmata”. I read a few pages and was stuck by how evident his meaning was, which is to say, ‘where’ he was starting from and why. But at the same time, I remember thinking “How odd that it would be so obvious; I must be wrong.” So after reading maybe a page or so, I skipped to the first chapter and began reading. Within the first couple chapters again I had the strange sensation I knew exactly what he was addressing, in what manner, what vector, what would cause him to choose this vector, and other sensibilities. This was so odd to me that I was compelled to keep reading. I could not believe that the obviousness that was coming through to me was so. I was incredulous to this odd situation. Yet as I read on, I was more and more confirmed in my estimation and interpretation of his text. I would pause an consider how strange it was; I simply could not believe how obvious his writing was and kept telling myself that my estimation was wrong.

It was at least 15 years ago, but Im pretty sure I read probably the next 10 pages or so until I was too flabbergasted to continue along that line. I took a chunk of pages in my hand and opened randomly to some section further in the thick book and started reading again. Within the first few sentences not only did I know again exactly what I he was talking about, but I looked back to the inch or so of pages that I had skipped and I knew how the argument had developed from the beginning to that point, the vector of reasoning and the vector of logical sense of order. Again, I could not believe what I was coming upon. So to prove to myself I was wrong, that I was not reading what he was saying correctly and that I was being way too presumptuous, I skipped back some random amount of pages — and as I read i could not shake the annoying and mysterious worry that I was right, and that he was discussing points and concerns appropriate to the estimation I had made just moments ago. So I skipped ahead of the last section, to near the end of the book. And he was wrapping up with what I had already known he would talk about and his questions and conclusions. I understood why he was taking the tack he was.

I remember sitting there thinking that I am crazy.

When I reaproached, I entertained some of the authors introduction (Hong and Hong), and started at the beginning, keeping in mind that I was going suspend my idea of what he was saying. I found through “Either/Or a further confirmation that my original estimation was — not only sometimes or generally correct — but entirely correct. Yet even as I read the whole book and was confirmed in my initial view, I still doubted that my appropriation of his book was correct, figuring it was some sort of fluke, some sort of weird mass coincidence, that I was holding on to some incorrect view and conforming the reading to my preconception. So I decided to read another of his books to see. Again I was confirmed, and indeed through reading his books (I count about 10 over the years) I continued to uphold the idea that I was delusional somehow, and that at some point he would talk about something in a certain manner that would show me that I was incorrect in my estimation of his work, as well as prove to me that I was correct in my doubt of the meaning I had gained from his works. I was to find that this was irony indeed.

I approach each author with an open mind ready to apprehend what the author might be saying in itself, through the words there in front of me contained of the book and what theoretical and historical contexts the meaning that the author (might have) intended, but I often find rather quickly, even as I try to fend off and argue against the idea, that I’m gaining from whichever author, a repetition of ‘the central idea’ in different terms; it is as if all these authors are talking about the same thing.

Strangely, this occurs to me through reading many other authors. I just happened upon Zizek’s “Parallax View” one day 10 years after the Kierkegaard happening ( I had no idea who Zizek was; his book was in the philosophy section of Barnes and Noble and so I took it home. I liked his name) and the same thing happened, though with a little less ease; Zizek likes to put in a bunch of contemporary anecdotal examples; I have to wonder just how much theory there would be without all the pop examples (lol). Badou I hadn’t heard of either and just happened upon one of his essays somewhere and in one sentence that I just overheard (over-looked ? read-over?), I knew the whole presentation of “Being and Event”, but I had to actually go through the book (of course!). At some point I want to write a book where I go through “B and E” and describe just what is occurring there. I went back to Sartre and again was confirmed; Wittgenstein; Hegel; Faeurbach; Neitzchze; Adorno; and even Graham Harman. I went back to Plato, mainly because everyone says Plato is ‘the great philosopher’, but also at Kierkegaard’s prompting with Socrates. Aristotle. Kant. Spinoza. Hume. And even Heraclitus. Foucault stems from this consistency, and Delueze and Derrida reek of it. Heidegger is saturated in it; I am going to read Husserl very soon and we will see what happens there. Every new author and book is an adventure. Some authors merely touch their pinky toe in it, while others are submerged in it. Though it takes now a little effort to see various authors’  approaches upon what I (now) call the point of contention, at some point I just had to admit there is no escaping this ‘lens’ through which I see things. My only hope through all this is that someone will explain to me how I am incorrect.

I call this a first philosophy, because this is the issue that strikes me of all these authors first. My work thus concerns the dichotomy involved in the obviousness of the thing that they are talking about, the single thing that they are addressing through the various topics, approaches, books etc., and how when I go to convey the meaning that is common through all of these authors and all of these books, to whoever I am talking with ,who are usually people who know these authors fairly well or the individual authors at least (all the people that I have discussed with are usually privy to a different set of authors then other people I discuss things with) these knowledgable and informed people always tend to not only disagree with me, but more so shoot me down as some sort of incompetent. They usually become aggravated and impatient and end the conversation. And what is very weird is that this is the talking point of Lyotard’s “The Differend”.

While Lyotard tends to defer the situation (again strange) to a possibility of ‘essential differences’, if I’m allowed to use such a term for him , even while I may understand that this indeed may be the case , within this situation I feel compelled to explore every facet of a single voice of this strange plurality . So, The way I usually explain this strange reaction of people is that they are not involved with finding truth. They do not care about the truth and have already decided what the truth is; I call this faith. I may be incorrect in this appraisal, but I see myself as willing to address the issues, and that they are not. I see myself in an effort of wanting to find the truth; I seek and yearn for argument. I want people to take their best shot and then address themselves to what I say in rebut, but I have not found anyone who will stay the fight; but I do consider that it is my approach, and not theirs that is problematic, but I can’t really know because no one will engage with me thoroughly enough. I have found that the discussion often becomes personal, and they leave the discussion for the personal insult. I truly hope this is not the case, but almost every time, it seems, I come across the same reactions. In all my short time, only two people have been open, and one of them is Christian. He does not take my arguments as personal insults, nor has he insulted me personally though I do not hold back in my appraisal of Christianity.

Its pretty fkg silly, I gotta say, but also perhaps that is just a curse of mine. No-one seems to want to tell me where I am incorrect (well, they want to tell me, but they do not want to put forth an argument that proves to me I am indeed incorrect, one that stand up to critique),  what argument I am putting forth that is incorrect; most often they simply want to refer to arguments that are pre written without really putting forth a defense of it. It appears to me that they get short in having to address whatever issue to what is actually occurring, and that they’d rather just talk about distant ideas and assert their personal truths/opinions.


Ok well. if thats my plight, then so be it. I can only do what I do. And thats all I can do.

Ahhhh kay.



7 thoughts on “Reply to  Hickman.

  1. I understand somewhat your experience of seeing a “First Philosophy” in various different philosophers, and I’m curious as to what your First Philosophy is. Care to share? 🙂

    1. I imagine that it is similar to what other philosophers have called first philosophy. Yet I note that it appears other people that have attempted to make way into this Area , that their efforts I’ve been compromised somehow. The noticing of this compromise is part of what I’m calling first Philosophy, but also it is in this noticing that we have to be careful and how we proceed.

      So I have to admit I do not have some sort of distinct formulation of what the first philosophy may be, because I am leery of falling into the same traps into which other philosophers. Have fallen. All of the strange situation can be said to fall into the first philosophy, and as you read my essays and posts you might get an idea of the difficulty involved in my work.

      It has to do with what I call conventional philosophy. I’m attempting to distinguish where the problem lay.

      All of my latest posts have to do with the situation and I think probably give a good outline of an answer for your question. Most of my posts concern the issue and how to go about presenting it.

      And actually my book ‘the moment of decisive significance’ shows The scene where in the problem occurs.

    2. … Sorry to be so vague and mysterious. 😄. To be very simple my question involves much of what Kierkegaard considers; but I find the answers he gives are based in a kind of lack that he doesn’t see. Specifically in philosophical crumbs he talks about the contemporary; my question Texas small step beyond what he considers and I ask how it is possible. Not so much what the possibility Entails for I think his description of the contemporary is really describing the situation; I ask more how it is possible assuming that the situation is solute.

      I hope that’s a more tangible answer 😁

    3. … But I should say I think what I’m calling first philosophy really suggest a starting point into a science that stems from the inclusion of the situation of the contemporary. Because I see that what I’m calling conventional philosophy the lady like to see themselves as addressing Kierkegaard really in a fact have said him aside and placed his issue in a category that I think is inconsistent with the category that he himself is talking about.

      Or use the word colonialism in reference to that situation.

      As Laruelle, I see that conventional philosophy perpetually and consistently leaves something out, and indeed conventional philosophy notices of it self also but then uses a disclaimer within its arguments to say that what it is A sort of natural limit, this limit I say indicates not some sort of Omni present and ubiquitous truth of existence or even human existence or even the necessity involved in human knowledge, I am saying that this limit evidence is a certain type of ontology that is based in an offense. That this limit also is capable of notiing cthat what conventional philosophy wants to shunt into ubiquity, is really a religious posture. Due to this posture which is really just a power-play, A meaningful universe defending itself against the offense of its lack, I propose that the only way to proceed, The only way that we have a possibility of including that which is historically pushed out or left out and justified against, it’s to draw a partition of sorts, and consider the possibility that discourse does not refer to a common human potential for understanding. Similar to how engineers deal with the mechanical world that is totally foreign to the living of my daily life, The inclusion of what is been historically marginalized needs to be partitioned off in a way similar to how physicist measure quantum particles. This is to say the Thierry in the science behind quantum particles do not involve the regular activity of me feeding my cat. And some sort of stratification which is indeed a real effect that I cannot avoid, of course I consider the modern ideas of quantum particles and extrapolate them into my daily life as a part of our reality. But the actual science of finding and understanding these particles necessarily involves a partition in the designation and functioning of knowledge.

      I am still a little tentative in unclear how to present this situation; but my whole blog and both of my works concern the issue that I’m speaking about presently.

  2. … I mean I feel like when you talk with anyone who knows philosophy and it appears to me like people who are academics might be most guilty of this: I mean every time I listen to some philosopher giving a talk while I understand what he saying I can’t help it sitting there and go what is he talking about? And I mean specifically like if I say grass, or that tree is green and it is 35 feet tall and has two squirrels in it, you know what I’m talking about. When you get with some philosophers , like for example I just listen to the Graham Harmon talk that was posted somewhere, and everything he’s saying is in reference to what someone else said. My question is what happens when you reference so far back that there’s no one else to reference? And why does it matter what these people said in a certain way or not? But more pertinent is too what are they referring? And what is the philosopher referring to when is referring to that other philosopher? So part of this duality I talk about is also concerning that I know what they’re talking about but I can’t help but ask what the hell they’re talking about because it seems that it’s all just Siri it’s all just figured of language and has nothing to do with anything substantial, except that they argue it theoretically what is substantial. It’s a never ending circle and their argument argues the circle in lot of cases. If that ain’t correlational , I don’t know what is. But you can’t even bring up the term correlational ism with any One who knows contemporary philosophy without them jumping back into the whirlpool of what I consider is basically nonsense.

    Anyways this voice dictation really allows me to rant. Lol.

    So I’ll shut up now, for now.

  3. > Ok well. if thats my plight, then so be it. I can only do what I do. And thats all I can do.

    Wow – That kind of zygotic lethal zeal is truly fantastic, Lance. I was just reminded of “A Voyage to Arcturus”. (That’s some 216 Trillion + miles away!) Have you ever watched/read at least the plot-line?

    Actually, I just love; Your work, without thinking too much now, is generally what it indeed wishes to accomplish. Lol! Perhaps – if you are feeling unsure about something extremely specific, I might if i muster a Try be both willing & able to, again, actually assist, in your ‘lanzek-dimensions’ a bit regularly. Very powerful & skilled writing, you’ve displayed in this otherwise “/blah-post”.

    This is the first time Ive gotten the strong general sense that you’re wanting / striving for seriously-serious-serious critical engagements, aside from just knowing that you’re very serious about what you love to do … Usually, I generally allow you to just clear & have the floor, so I can see the effects & learn from these great things, although I can – Maybe – focus & write better, very thorough “critiques/attacks” (as you say) of your stuff, especially, if that’s the kind of thing, what you’re looking for. I agree, with a lot of it – if not all, if I think about it. It’s vast, from what I’ve accounted. Been rather busy with other things, so haven’t so so seriously revisited anything, but I will make these changing things now a priority.

    And I’ve been humming along, as you go, learning so I got a ‘goodish’ idea of your background (at least, as your writing is concerned) & a feel about what kind of galactic star-stuff you’re made of. Ha. Anyhow: I just ordered K.’s last published writing volume in the series, #25, the documents & other writings portion. I might write a thing, in not merely creatively avowing your work, alongside a musing upon K’s, since that is obviously near to your heart. Don’t worry: I know the focus now.

    I’ll be actually writing & possibly working a lot over around that area, at the ‘culturalfoyer’ (i.e. afterblends, all “under construction”). More in a bit. Be well.

    1. Thanks Dave I really appreciate the ‘fan zine’. 😝 I definitely do want critical input. Our interactions a couple years ago were totally instrumental and actually if I hadn’t apologized yet I feel like I want to apologize in being so critical of your essays. I think I was very attacking, more than considerate. And you know and reflection in hindsight I was a little bit blinded to what you were saying. Being so ready to defend myself . But enough of that backstroke.. !

      It is strange to me your interest, and I totally appreciate it. I absolutely welcome every piece of input you have including like hey dude that fucking sucks and that’s the lamest thing I’ve heard ever in my life, and things like that of course. But I suppose what I’m saying is with Hickman because I already have an idea of where he’s coming from, I want to somehow except his angle and have him understand mine such that we really can discuss things. But as it is and not just with him I find more often than not that in these situations I’m the one that has to understand and except the other person because for some reason it doesn’t seem like they are able for me.
      That sounds so self righteous and stupid, but that’s how fucked up I am that it’s true. And maybe it’s just that fucked up notice that I want people to challenge?!?


      I see you’re replying from in the salt mine again . far out.

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