i acknowledge and recognize. we are all in this together.
When we are too close to an event, we talk about it as from a distance. That is, what we say is automatically distanced from the event, a maximum distance. The event is thus, by this occurrence, an object. As opposed to our psychotherapeutic model, the closer we are to an event, the more dishonest we are about its true bearings, that is, the truth of the matter, why it is that the (the wholeness of the) event has occurred the way it has. The impetus and the reaction can be come upon as an included item, a truth in-itself, only when we are distanced from the event. The truth of an object, as opposed to the True Object, can only be viewed in its truth from a distance. The equation is thus of inversion, of ratio.
Here then we may have a basis upon which to properly view foundational post-modern writers, namely, Derrida, Deleuze and Guittari, but others also. To wit: Their descriptions were from a basis too close to the event, such that they attempted to quickly and finally establish a ground for the event; the event being thus so profound and significant, they were compelled to offer a reason.
They were not wrong, only rash.
It is analogous to an explosion. We have now the data from the explosion, having encountered it ourselves, but also come across the initial first hand rationalization and fact crunching reports of the explosion itself – with that, subsequent explosions, and now the reports and experience of the aftermath(s) of explosions, we can now safely report upon the truth of the whole event.
Contrary to Hersserl and those phenomenal agents, intension is not centered in some thoughtful subject; it is centered in the object. This is the essence of the meaning of multiplicity. There is no origination of thought in a central, unitive subject agent of transcedence. There is only the fullness of imminent existence taking place in an infinite mulitude of objects.
Perhaps a little bitty on postmodernism and the, what could be labeled of our current situation, post-post-modern-modernism.
Here are a couple links that roughly define the conventional problem I will address in this essay. The first is a little less ridiculous than than the second. The first offers us an argument for why postmodernism is not dead, but is rather the condition upon which people find a new agency. David Foster Wallace is talking from so far down the conventional hole – at least, that he was at some point- his polemic reveals how deep his confusion is or was, as the case may be ( no disrespect intended).
This is not to say that there was not this postmodern thing-era that these authors are talking about; it is also very interesting, and possibly ironic, that postmodernism has been seen as first represented in architecture (so says the first link). Nevertheless, the era was the conventional reaction to a large misunderstanding that continues.
It is not difficult to find a link between Constructive Undoing and postmodernism, especially with the irony/convention duality that has arisen here. So, in light of this parallel, and that irony is too often defined to postmodernism through deconstruction, sarcasm, posed apathy, withdrawal, multivocality and the like, as well that irony does not stem from any sort of reaction (though pm may) as it merely takes the proposed new as old hat, as already given before it became new, one has to hit it straight on, as a tangent, one might say. As the post of the link says, with “arms folded tight” one continues to lift; irony works, despite the conventional reaction.
We should look into this reaction. To do this, we will use the framework of the definition of irony, taken from Dictionary.com ( as of spetember, 2013) since the typical conventional misunderstanding involved with the coupling of irony and postmodernism is at play; the reaction allows postmodernism to be placed outside of its ironic bearings.
[Note: This essay is a shortened version.]
1.)the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: the irony of her reply, “How nice!” when I said I had to work all weekend.
A.) a technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated.
(especially in contemporary writing)
B.) a manner of organizing a work so as to give full expression to contradictory or complementary impulses, attitudes, etc., especially as a means of indicating detachment from a subject, theme, or emotion.
3.)Socratic irony. (which is defined as feigned ignorance.)
4.) dramatic irony.
5.) an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.
6.) the incongruity of this.
7.) an objectively sardonic style of speech or writing.
8.) an objectively or humorously sardonic utterance, disposition, quality, etc.
Generally, all the definitions reiterate the fifth definition; basically, the opposite of what is expected expressed in the various arenas. (A) and (B) are literary devices of turning plot or meaning. (3) is an idiomatic expression of the complete misunderstanding of Socrates, a one-sided view. (4) is little more than (3); (5) restates all the definitions. (6),(7) and (8) are the key definitions, the ones that have been elicited from the most offense of irony, in the postmodern sense.
The really interesting thing about irony is the absolute comedy of its seriousness; in all seriousness, this is the most offensive aspect of irony, and is the reason postmodernism has become a kind of stigma in philosophy, a kind of joke for modern thought so much that it had to ‘die’. Where do I laugh? Where do I nod? How can I tell if what is being said is really meant for what it says? The irony never ends, and everyone wants ends. Most every one wants to be told the punch line – but not overtly; everyone wants to be in on the joke. But the joke and the deep meaning are one in the same; if you have to guess or wonder, then you get embarrassed: you are offended.
Though I can’t be sure about the intent of definition number 6, I assume it refers to definition number 5. In fact, unless it is a type-o, the definition is probably intended to mean irony as the incongruity of what is expected and what actually occurs, in distinction to def. 5 where irony is the “outcome”. If I say I am a liar, and then I lie, the irony could be not very ironic or be very ironic depending on what has been signaled, but the incongruity of this is that one would have to guess, that is, unless the liar while telling the truth were indeed poetic as he lay, for then he would indeed be lying. But what if he were telling the truth?? As it is, the definition number 6, as a definition for irony, is quite ironic, because none of the other definitions reference the other definitions, but we are expected to see that number 6 does. It is a simple pleasure then to think that the authors of this definition included just this presentation (of 6) as a particular definition of irony because probably the best definition of irony is the incongruity of this, as it is not only a definition, but also an example. And just as such a simple pleasure could be a proclivity of some people, this paragraph itself will find many quite fed up and see no humor or pleasure in this exposition; they find it corny or even lacking in a certain finesse or refinement, or perhaps they find it too subtle. Yet it is just this kind of insensitivity or intolerance that seeks ends, that, if not indicated to the punch, will develop a position highly distanced from it, the ironic move so lowly and indistinctive as it is patronized.
Such a humor is of the most inside that one can fathom, so it is no wonder that most cannot help but develop a resentment concerning its irony. To them, they are being made the butt of a joke; like some sort of transcendent wit they miss, they maintain their seriousness as they pull the heavenly act down to their mundane decisions and proclaim and accuse and dismiss. It is not a wonder postmodernism has a bad rap; the dense can hardly hold a tune, let alone wish to appreciate the finest symphony in the world without the liner notes. Grinding their teeth together they talk lightheartedly and then seriously about this and that fashion, all the while truly being the object of ridicule that was never intended for them except that they made it such. “We are not laughing at them, we are just laughing,” and they have much more serious things by which to set their recreation.
(7) and (8). The definition of ‘sardonic’: characterized by bitter or scornful derision; mocking; cynical; sneering: a sardonic grin. In other words, the distasteful, ‘dark side’ of irony: “objectively sardonic”. The attitude behind this irony is an anxious individual, almost despairing of the world. The irony is a type of ‘sick’ humor; his denial is palatable. This one has come close to his theoretical, indeed actual, demise and spits out his fate upon everyone and the world (the objects) because it is the world. Ironically, the world has let him to know, and he doesn’t like it; he doesn’t like being dominated but he has found his distance from it in one of two ways: a) The world is shitty. The world of history is not the place of his childhood dreams; it has brought everything opposite childish happiness had more than hoped for. He wants to be free, but his conscience tells him its all a sham, and this is known to him due to the world’s history coming upon him. The oppressive world. b) His attitude is justified in righteousness. The offense of the shitty world is countered by the nobility of human presence: the world is great, it is working in his behalf. This nobility is held in countenance for the world, but soon the world rejects it, it counters every move. A suitable image must be maintained; the oppressive individual. In both, the object is prominent; in (a), it is the object proper to convention, in (b), the individual, the subject-object, the subject of convention. Whether it is in reference to some ‘childhood dream’ or the ‘grown-up’ approach to reality before him or her, the motion is that the nobility rejects the rejection and the world crumbles; it deconstructs because the individual is no longer complicit with the world, but again, offended by it. The individual perpetually lives in a fear of his own making, cast upon the world that is surely going bad from the activities of himself – if only he could just leave, or, can he save it in time!
The reaction here is ironic; the ironic-sardonic postmodernist and the individual that sets postmodernism to a proper era are both implicitly involved in the conventional reaction. Consciousness, by its very nature, is a retreat from the world; perhaps more precisely, the world is consciousness’s retreat from existence. The individual who is being ironic by realizing that the world of the great (at least, modernist in the last, but conventional in its beginning) human history has brought itself to destruction, is reacting not to the world, but to her inability to reconcile it to her knowledge; her knowledge does not ‘reach’ the object. The reaction is completely of alienation, which is to say, the individual is not alienated due to some historical social motion where she is offended at the state of the world and so withdraws from it, but rather the individual is alienated from herself due to her rather un-ironic belief (faith) in the oppressing thing of the world, that is, that there is this world, which is reality, the conventional world of the true object. This is not so much that the world brought itself to its own destruction, but that the world did not destruct, and this is to say that the world did not find solution, but that the world is insolvent. The result of the world finding a new way due to the old way not working, or bringing itself upon destruction, is not finding a solution in this new way, the result is that the new way is exactly the same as the old way, that the two ‘ways’ could not but have caused and resulted from each other necessarily, that the causes will be found conventionally. The reaction is thus not of the world but of the meaning that the individual has derived from it, which contradicts that the human was ever part of the world in the first place. Then the reaction becomes dismissive, yielding the ‘that’s just life’ tail. Asserting the priority of beliefs and their function for finding ‘the good’, the reaction wields the power of resentment in hopes of stifling and ending all dissension.
The belief itself, the act or motion the term ‘belief’ signifies of faith, is what creates or allows for the alienated individual; the condition of the human being in reality is the separated individual. This separation, basic to the individual, is what constitutes freedom, the great future of progress, as well as its complimentary spiritual form of union (yoga) and ‘return’ (Christ, messiah, or ‘anointed one’; the motion as ‘to anoint’ connotes a uniting of separate substances, yet where one significant or uncommon element is rubbed on a regular or common element, and in this moment the two are transformed; the blessed oil becomes merely oil, the common, significant. The misused idea of ‘karma’, so prevalent in the West, falls in here also.) Nevertheless, it is recognition or realization, a coming into knowledge, that develops ‘alienation’ as a lived experience. But the inherent and unavoidable condition of human consciousness is separation.
Anxiety and despair over such a realization is usually understood to be relieved by two moves, though there are really three; the first two are conventional. The first is denial, where the realization is avoided. This reaction replaces the old with the new as part and parcel of willed, reasoned progress. The initial problem here is replaced with the solution that is human agency, the negotiation of parties, be it spiritual negotiation or mundane. The second is insanity. Both of these reactions are complicit in the resolution to the problem, since there is no true overcoming of the discrepancy; faith in reality accomplishes this feat through denial; hence, denial and insanity are the only real options. I emphasize real options, in the sense that I have already been developing conventional faith; anything else is absurd, insane. Thus the third option is the non-conventional, the ‘not-real’ option (Francois Laruelle might call this the Real option); the reconciliation that can come only does so with existence, through the experience of irony: denial and acceptance become not mutually exclusive.
The human being in existence cannot but help behaving in the only way it can: ultimately determined in every activity. But this activity, this existence, is also human consciousness; it can only behave the way it does. This is to say on one hand that consciousness does not behave or operate in any way separate from the behavior of existence, but also on the other that its operation is to have a world that is sufficiently separate from itself by which it can then perform its functions, and these are exactly formed and allowed for through the partition we call free will, that is, choice. Human consciousness must have a true object, it cannot function without it, but in order for there to be a true object there must be a correspondant of at least equal stature, and this is the individual thoughtful human being. The evident aspect of consciousness is thought, and is itself a mode or motion of the existing universe. Thought thereby retains an effectively universal operational structure as part of its nature, which is to say, the processes and features of knowing resonate the very motion of the universe as course, which is unity. Yet unity, unfortunately for the individual, can only exist by separation; only in the condition of separation can a notion of unity have meaning. Separation and unity have a significance for the meaning making existent human being; the tension or motion thereof, which is vacillation, is not allowed in the progressive reality: reality relies upon the equanimity of subject and object as real things, absolutely true objects, and its privileging of either dependent upon the circumstance at hand as the circumstance is foundational in indicating progress.
Stepping back from this, we can say nevertheless, once the equilibrium, or symmetry, of the statures of true object and thinking subject are upset, existence effectively takes over its proper imperative, that is, the sanctity of the true object begins to fail for knowledge, and knowledge likewise is compromised of its ability to ‘hold off’ the encroachment of the operation of thought upon itself: consciousness then must uphold its existential operation, as its foundation is the differend between thought and object, and the reduction of the knowledge of the object to the object of knowledge eventually brings thought into a consideration of itself, as an object of itself. Only in the balance that holds the (inner) subject and (outer) object at sufficient distance in consciousness can one say that the objective dominates; psychology is the conventional method that attempts to keep the distance of thought and object, to maintain the balance. Once this symmetry is lost, however, the motion never falls toward the object, the motion is always toward the knowing subject, falling in upon the subject of knowledge until consciousness almost comes upon itself and faith is reestablished; this can be called, what is typically known as a ‘psychological breakthrough’ or a ‘spiritual experience’. Where it indeed truly comes upon itself, we call this insanity or death. Where the individual is incapable of functioning constructively in the group of humanity, conventional reality is upheld by the group through a faith that functions to keep the balance and maintain the symmetry of the subject and object in knowledge, as an objective aspect, and thought, as a subjective aspect, which is to say, in knowledge that such an individual is insane defined as a true object for the purpose of establishing the standard for the individual: the subject (subject-object), and in thought for the purpose of establishing the objective standard of reality: the object.
The usual reading of postmodern exposition is contained thus far; not for a reiteration of it, but to a step from it. Though more than a few authors either contributed to the development of postmodernism, or step from it, to offer their version, I address two authors here: Jean-Paul Sartre and Francois Laruelle. Through a particularly conventional lens, each offers a stating of the point of contention, a reiteration, as well as a reconciliation of the ironic problem, while saying, really, ironically, the same thing. The punch line: the discrepancy (the individual is established in separation) is solved through an assertion of essential freedom. Again, this is to say that both proposals arise through a denial of existence and an assertion of the true object. This, in effect, is the definition of what Sarte terms “bad faith”, as I have argued of Laruelle in the Direct Tangents of Constructive Undoing.
Sartre’s points are foundational. The reduction of thought to an object of itself opens meaning to an ‘abyss’ of freedom, where meaning comes to its own essential lack. To (here now) reiterate the foregoing, the essence of meaning (if we can say there is such a thing) is seen to be vacant, void, nil, as Slavoj Zizek has said of the subject. This knowledge of contradiction, meaning that is no meaning, causes the individual angst, or Kierkegaardian ‘despair’; in my terms, the individual understands that the reality through which he or she was moving, that has been established and motivated through basic, what was before thought, true tenants of reality, true objects, is found to be not true. Sartre’s move then is to ‘revolt’ from this ‘nothingness’, since the individual supposedly sees now that meaning is arbitrary, and thereby find true freedom because the individual sees that he is no longer constrained by any essential, determined, or otherwise actual truth of any matter whatsoever.
Laruelle, if we are able to set aside the conventional-temporal object for one moment, where Laruelle builds his non-philosophy due to Sartre’s and others’ ideas before him, we may find his address through what I shall use as his basic idea. While all of his terms interact and compound upon one another to indicate the same thing, which is the point of contention, his ‘unilateral duality’ works to indicate the last conventional object. The ‘future Christ’ he terms as a culmination or basic differential which allows or accounts for the total meaning of, what I call, the scheme of meaning that is conventional reality, the meaningful organization of true objects. By summoning total meanings of significant oppositional objects, his critique of philosophy proper reduces its operational terms to explain conventional reality; he limits conventional reality to the arena of ‘philosophy’ for strategic reasons, and calls the consequence or result of this reduction the ‘Real’. Using the idea of future Christ, his reconciliation poses some sort of radical agency – mind you, ‘agency’ has been likewise re-situated in non-agency – that, one is to gather, comes about through a proper understanding of reality. The reason he can appear, as we say, ‘in the last’, is the real and the Real remain for him ‘lateral’ or maybe better, parallel but are situated more properly upon a parallax. The freedom of Sartre is similarly re-situated with the ‘radical’ form of knowing and proposes some more evolved state of humanity.
Again, keep in mind that I am presenting a typically conventional reading of these authors, that the fact of their presentations are routinely and faithfully, in Laruelle’s terms, ‘made into another philosophical object’, a representation of the point of contention. The problem is at all times conventionally upheld for reality, Real or free. The problem is not the presentation that these authors enact, but the re-presentation: the overcoming of the true object is impossible for conventional reality.
Hence, perhaps a better rendition of the matter at hand can be better situated to address the impossible. To put it directly into conventional grasp, we might then see that to confront the impossible is a matter of insanity.
Yet before we venture into the impossible, I would like to offer a small quote from Thomas Nagel, and his effort from the possible, of staying in the possible:
“However, I do not find theism any more credible than materialism as a comprehensive world view. My interest is in the territory between them. I believe that these two radically opposed conceptions of ultimate intelligibility cannot exhaust the possibilities. All explanations come to an end somewhere. Both theism and materialism say that at the ultimate level, there is one form of understanding. But would an alternative secular conception be possible that acknowledged mind and all that it implies, not as the expression of divine intention but as a fundamental principle of nature along with physical law?”
~ ‘Antireductionism and the Natural Order’, in Mind and Cosmos, p.22.
One should see that Nagel’s situation is nothing larger than what Soren Kierkegaard offered 160 years ago: Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical? For the question Nagel asks here is nothing greater than conventional, though he might be trying to indicate something more (we shall see). Nagel is asking if there is a way to bring the remnants or basics of the bifurcated real meaning wherein we have idealist subjectivism and religious transcendence/immanence versus materialist objectivism, into a scheme of meaning that does not indicate upon such distinction, which is to say, does not reify the insolvency. The answer is: conventionally, no. All human reality depends upon the duality of meaningful categories; the real is the universal is the ethical. The answer ironically is: yes.
If we are steadfast in our undertaking we will not labor our attitude of righteousness. Yet, we likewise must not fall back into the comfort of the easy way. The challenge is to indeed be challenged, and not to again be presented with another variation of puzzle, for by now the puzzles are seen to be transient extensions of our own process. Where they are not seen as transient, there what is critical is merely somewhat important, or at least the importance that makes for another puzzle. Let the big minds remain big, their importance emphasizing how important they are -how great their problems are! The purpose of critical thinking is to reach beyond what we believe, to question that which we are represented by, to not flinch when our status as an individual is threatened, go headlong into that heart of darkness, willing to give all unto the unknown.
Do I ask too much? Too often, I think so. The beginning of the Constructive Undoing admitted that barely anyone if no one will be up to the task of challenging reality, the nobility of individuality, that common of the hoard. Maybe it will take another two thousand years, but maybe only 150, maybe only 30. It is not for me to say. Maybe it will take no time at all. But how we love to have so little time.
The nonsense that appears to have been represented here and in the previous essays (Extreme Dialectic, in particular) either invites or it mocks. I am sure most everyone will have felt mocked; and many will suffice it to think that it has already been said and disproven. They have the next problem to solve. It is easy thus to tell one who has been mocked: they put up a defense, and assert their problematic identity. Indeed, I am talking about them but I am not talking to them. I am talking to you, you who have been thus invited. We thus depart.
Though this departure may be a bit sudden and crass manner, metalepsis is just this feature of communication that departs to leave parted and not to rejoin but to offer. Sudden, crass as a hit to our sensibility but delightfully ironic, the individual is challenged where the distance that typically intervenes for reading, between the author and reader, suddenly loses its quality; the boundary that flies up is noticed as the fault that it is, and fades. The words no longer are seen as coming from some ‘other’ human being, offending us, but are come upon as arising to your experience. What was unknowingly held as precious has been obtruded upon. Your will has been superseded.
Some may wish to classify this perceptive move a type of poetic mechanics, and perhaps, in the end, this is what ultimately we are involved with, a bringing about the function of poetry but without all the subjective interpretation, that is, without the need to bring what may be poetical (aside from the lyric) or metaphorical into the conventional definite; a specific intention apart from the material science. If I have found something to show you, and I want you to know of it, do I need to tell you of all the details about it when you are here? I can paint you a picture, even if it is with words, and you can see it how I see it. Can you not know what it is when I show it to you and smile with you in that coupling of mutual recognition? But when I show you, will you know it like I know it? How do you know? But I know. Barring all the conventional possibilities, the only problem that remains is then how to speak of it.
It is not necessarily a sales commercial or an advertisement like on the TV and magazines that invite you. Too much, perhaps, now do we take the you at a distance, so keen and suspecting we are, so witty and defensive. It is not ‘me’ it is speaking to, or if it is me, it is because I just happen for that need; I have been called, but not called upon. I have needed before, but such a call is beyond suspect; everything else becomes suspect. I have not heard myself in you. Not in collapse of reality but a restating of reality.
More may want to call this unto a type of spiritual-ness, and perhaps it is a type of spirit that arises, but the one who hears that ‘spiritual’-ness has done so only ‘in the spirit’ of spirit, so to speak. Who then will fall back into what they already know, and at this, for the sake of keeping us independent, individuals, common only in our strife? And not question it? Spirituality and thingFs of the spirit are so routinely spoken to be transformed into a type of feeling that one attempts to achieve, it is no wonder intoxicants are the way of the world; it is no wonder we behave so selfishly. No one really wants to work for it, but we are lead to believe that one must do just that: work to achieve a spiritual feeling to life. Perhaps, in such a discussion, we should speak of two kinds of work. This is not to say that the spirit may not be moved in that way, of a spiritual feeling; it is only to say that too often what is called ‘of the spirit’ is merely a feature of being human that allows for a plausible denial of the truth of human existence. Of the spirit should not push us back into our individual strife to hope, and we should not be forced to define ourselves in any manner. Call it ‘synchronicity’ ? But how much, even in our situating an experience in that way by that term, do we passively settle back into some unknown that only included us for a moment, to be defined. Or if we take it to heart, what of this heart isolates us? Deja vu? How do we still observe this moment? And hope? Even if we have a sort of spiritual center that takes such moments in stride as a part of the greater spiritual universe, how often do we still speak of gods and goddesses, elements, energies that define us for the world against which we can thereby be righteous and proper, maybe even the teacher of those seeking fulfillment? Again, it is not so much that such moments lack significance, but rather how we situate the significance in a difficult dialectic. Here then we might have gotten a clue.
Far too easy do most live. Yet, the other type of easiness, so usually missed, is then put into a derogatory difficulty or category of apathy or laziness, a defensive assertion perpetrated by those who have no clue. Everyone wants to be extreme except in the very activity by which they are even able to be extreme. We stop when the extreme just begins to get difficult. Everyone wants to work hard but everything in moderation. No one really wants to work, but they do want to call it work, to say they worked hard, especially when they are just playing around; when one really has to work, there is no calling it anything but doing – at least, the work that accomplishes anything. So we have those complacent who calculate risk and work at it so that everyone knows, and those who actually do risk, as their work is nothing more then they must do, that most everyone cannot help but being offended by because they do not say “I worked so hard”, even though it was the hardest work anyone could ever do.
“He who works, gets the bread.” But as we already know, this is not usually the case. Often it is he who does nothing, or he who takes the easy way, or he who scams another who gets the bread. Basically, he who loves deception and its conventional method typically gets the bread; the rest of us blindly uphold the goodness of humanity and maybe we get some bread and maybe we don’t – so is there really a difference? It seems just as well that we join them because we cant beat them.
In the world of the spirit, the spirit that is not spirit, though, Master Kierkegaard tells us, he who works gets the bread every time. So why is it that we work so hard for the spirit and only sometimes get the bread? Well; what bread are you after? Probably you are not merely wanting bread, but a specific kind of bread, or you already have an idea of what the bread is or supposed to be. This latter is what causes all the trouble, for usually we are not looking for the spirit, but merely what everyone seems to be meaning when they speak of the spirit. But not only this; because we are taking on faith what this spirit is from what everyone seems to be saying about it, we inevitably figure if we do what they do then perhaps we will get some bread. So we prod them for their method, practice it, yet still it comes at times and other times not. Then we work still harder for it, and the results are the same. Soon we just compensate for the inconsistency, the apparent failure, and the spirit becomes the method, a real practice of life. Like working out some spiritual muscle, we figure over time we will gain, most likely in retrospect, something along the lines of spiritual food. What we have actually done is given into the con game of those who would scam us so we can get the bread for ourselves – but the joke is that the method doesn’t work for them either – to get the true spiritual food: the bread of life – so we gain what we can and resort to calling it spiritual; we degrade (downgrade) the spirit into the mundane. For the truth is, he who works, gets the bread, every time. And what it means to work has been falsified: it should rather be said of it, “he for whom functions the spirit, gets the spiritual food”. If I am practicing a method, I have not allowed the spirit to function, but have only allowed the idea of spirit to behave as a thing to be had. One cannot be so timid; one must ‘go big’, as they say, and going big is to risk all that would create me from the methods of spirit, which is to say, the methods of men who have great ideas of how to achieve the spirit.
For those who do risk, we cannot balk at anything, even our own destruction. We are not satisfied with spiritual platitudes. You who are here now for this have just risked it all without even knowing it. The object has been compromised, and the subject has been blurred. The words become occasions for experience. Now, we just might be communicating. If not, well, you can keep reading too.
We continue beyond the tape – to hell with the safety protocols, the standing back – so that the aphilosophical discussion of non-philosophy may come about for their truth. It is a vacillation that occurs of being one then the other, of opening rather than fixating.
From here, we can begin to see how the usual configuration of duality, the subject and object, and or the one and the other, the one and the many, is disrupted and a more basic duality precipitates out of a necessary matrix of meaning; I have called this a situation of ‘conventional’ and ‘ironic’. This motion is similar to how Francois Laruelle’s non-philosophical quadripartite actually comes into play for aphilosophy. This can be formulated in the following manner: (1) subject-object basic duality; (2) reduction of duality to knowledge, which yields a ‘subsequent’ duality, the ‘subject-object’ reality in contrast to the reality determined in knowledge: the elimination of the objective; (3) the elimination of the subjective; (4) the radical and non-philosophical or the aphilosophical: the result of existence removed of the subject and object yet retaining effective human presence on the scene. The fourth move is an extension of the third but it should not be seen, as Laruelle seems to see, to be necessary; indeed, the secondary duality emerges in this restated duality as significant rather than radical. Hence, the first move is a non-philosophical repetition of convention, the second an aphilosophical reiteration of it.
Laruelle’s non-philosophical contribution can be seen as the last, or the ‘most minimal’ type of conventional overdetermination that can be permitted by convention, thus he determines his, what could be called, ‘passive-activism’, or maybe ‘active-passive-not-to-be-confused-with-passivity’, his radical unilateral duality, as the ‘end’ of philosophy. His terming of ‘radical’ this and that further shows this effort most poignantly; that it is an attempt to reconcile ironic and conventional realities but without acknowledging irony.
To appeal to the conventional methodology so as not to offend the conventional reality; most everyone is looking for or enjoys an Idea of a ‘more real’ reality, and Laruelle offers just that. Instead of the philosophical decision, which is argued, that informs philosophy, philosophical reality, or what I call conventional reality, that founded upon a dyadic structure, this base a methodological cision, Laruelle offers a ‘joining’, so to speak, a radical unity that he situates through destabilizing terms, succeeded through his much labors of hyphenation (See my Direct Tangent 6.9). By his situating ‘radical’ as the basis of his proposed coming to terms with what he ventures is Real, that is, of a more fundamental or more true reality, he evidences his position in conventional reality, having missed the ironic for the ‘vision-in-one’. Where the quadripartite misses the mark is by that which is polemical to the first, or usual subject-object duality, which thereby indicating a tripartite thus moves to a fourth. These then are upheld in an asserted more true reality that is described by him through a giving and then taking away, a, as I have said, disruption of usual conventional definition, as this is all proposed as a method of thinking or coming upon reality so as to be able to teach or otherwise make one aware of the more real Real, the true Reality. Irony is the complete and not repeated cision (aphilosophy reiterates the decision) of philosophy that conventional philosophy as well as non-philosophy refuses to respect. Irony is exactly the iteration of what is not conventionally real; it is the instatement of the Truth of unequal citizens in the world, where each is empowered to their own existence, as opposed to the universal Law of equality where each is disempowered to another’s reality. Where non-philosophy fails, as method, is in the teaching of inequality through a method implicit in equality: a ‘democracy of strangers’. Perhaps aphilosophy is more analogous to a republic.
Aphilosophy accepts the existential maxim of basic duality that resolves non-philosophically in unilateral duality: two truths at play that do not resolve in the other, but the one accounts for the other where the one excludes the other. Aphilosophy reiterates the conventional history; it speaks the same under a different rubric. The irony of a critique of non-philosophy should not be missed; there is no Real opposed to reality, but what is Real is indeed reality as they are different. Having missed it within the method of non-philosophy, the reader should not believe that non-philosophy ends anything, but rather announces aphilosophy – unless the ending and the announcement indicate the ‘poles’ of the unilateral duality. The ‘Future Christ’ of non-philosophy, itself a vision or conclusion of philosophy as utopia, the ‘man-in-man’, has all too conventionally taken the risk of offering the view of the ‘remainder of the term’ (see my essay “Aphilosophy, Convention, Faith and God”) yet from the quite secure position that is set in the last vestiges of the conventional boarderlands. To use an adage: Laruelle has not thrown away the ladder, but has stepped to the second from the top rung and from there is looking out beyond; but, of course, he should then only be able to see the ‘last’ true (subject-) object: the Future Christ. The irony comes when one understands that the proposed method is an effort of faith, of hope in the promise of humanity coming to terms with itself in existence; this is evidenced, as I have repeatedly said, in Laruelle’s statement or rhetorical question: “should humanity be saved”, for only a conventional methodologist would frame any meaning in such a manner, but likewise, it is evidenced by those non-philosophers who believe in the proposal of method as they attempt to stick to the method and end up speaking a poetry that they see as substantial and not metaphorical. The irony sets in when one sees that non-philosophy has merely used the wrong terms to situate the point of contention, but has indeed situated it due to its complete description of the issue and its proposed method; non-philosophy thus necessitates the ironic move that cannot contain nor is capable of presenting a method beyond its necessary re-presentation in conventional reality.
The Future Christ is thus the situation of meaning that stays in line with Spinoza speaking about God, miracles and nature as if he was simply addressing universal static situations of historical true objects. In contrast; when Spinoza is seen to be addressing a basic feature of the existing human being, then we can also see that Laruelle’s Future Christ is a term that gains reference from conventional reality, a particular scheme of meaning, an intrinsic mythology(we will discuss intrinsic and extrinsic mythology later), and that such a Christ is really an inevitable future manifestation or organization of humanity that is only Christ-like from the perspective of the conventional orientation upon the true object, progressive temporality, and that such a perspective is inherently unsuited to view the truth that stems from the point of contention, which is ironic, to say the least.
I can never say enough of my belief, but I can say that when I have said enough I will no longer have any beliefs except so much as I might need to still refer my daily decisions. Am I Christ, the Future? I don’t think so, but some might take it to mean an analogy, so they could be that Future Christ – oh – but only in a figurative way, here, let me describe to you the many intellectualized facets of non-philosophy. Ridiculous. Life goes on; human life goes on. We should not get too caught up in our Christlinesses of metaphor. Once you know you will never forget and you will begin to do only that which you do, though you may speak of it. But then, then again; how many will speak of it as if they do more than just do?
They have sat down for dinner. The philosophers are at the first table, the conventional methodogists at another. The philosophers are having bread and water that are hardly distinguishable from prime rib and Cabernet Sauvignon, and they are having a wonderful time. The methodologists have the best of the house and their conversation revolves up and down and meanders around the length of their noses, so fond they are of humbling themselves before the lack of their banquet. Now, all ears have turned to the host. We have joined the party.
…“Let us begin,” a voice rises from the din, “this episode with a philosophical proposition, and see what unfolds.”
– From Table 1: “All human beings fall but under one maxim, that they are human, and thus accountable only to their being so. There is no other.”
– From Table 2: “What do you mean when you say that human beings are accountable to being human ?”
– 1: “As different than being accountable to God.”
– 2: “But, to what, or to whom is a human being accountable? And for what? The word ‘accountable’ implies a standard. It suggests that, as a human being, there is a way I should be. If I’m not accountable to God, to what or whom am I accountable? And, as a human being, for what am I accountable? Can you be more descriptive than ‘being so’?”
– 1: “What is God? Or what do you mean ‘God’?”
– 2: “Ah, but it was you who mentioned God – but we’re game, though I think it derailing to the instigating statement; but say when I refer to God, I’m referring to the God of The Bible.”
A philosopher shoots the tube and scoops up the strayed attentions.
“I understand that we are having a little sub-conversation in these messages, and much of how I would respond to your line of questioning is already addressed, is being addressed, and will be addressed in my Constructive Undoing. I also know that there are those who akin themselves to philosophy and have a certain grasp on the methods involved, of logical argument and the like, as well as the arguments upon ideas great and small as put forth by thinkers of history. But I submit, unfortunately for some, such methods do indeed lack but only so much as they are caught and founded in a limited and rather planar way of thinking upon such things. It is a basis of resistance against being presented with instead of to. So, its a little trying for me, because I feel we might communicate better if you had been listening to and partaking in the movement of my letter; Mozart can not be underestimated, nor Morrison, even Mr. Cave and many others. But, in so much as I have been accused by other people of the same thing I am accusing you of, I will try a short version here.
When we speak of truth, we can no longer, in good faith, speak about the true object, but the effects of truth, for it is the effect by which we might succumb. Besides, the project of revealing the true object and the attempt to assert or explain its re-appropriation has, as we speak, for history’s sake, already failed, except as one may have faith, and the hope of faith, as well as maybe lately in as much as, at least, post-modernists were merely describing rather than prescribing a motion that was already occurring – these are the possibility presented us as it is re-presented. Having purportedly entered into multiplicity, complexity, the fractalized ontological view, if you will, the true object is already seen for what it is, or was, but the intensity or saliency of its meaning has merely been added to or allowed for the ‘new’ matrix of objects; to be blunt, the faithful have usurped the meaning of the decentralized, diversified, or multiplicated object and invested it into another object – the centralized object called decentralization, the equivocal object called multiplicity – that remains just as true as the old one, just as real. The linguistic turn of pre-twenty-first century thinkers was just as insufficient for its purpose as any other moment, however it may be adequate, but at least necessary for presentation. It is the Idea re-presented that lay at the heart of the issue; the capitalization upon it has failed where the history of ideas is tagged as a substrative, progressive analysis. The re-presentations that exemplify the new succeed only where they are presented simultaneously, hence the issue also concerns this progress in difference. If we are to get anywhere must speak of truth as effect.
Another angle is required; this is the aphilosophical approach. This manner places the justification of reality firmly in faith, and by this situation is able to speak of effects of truth, rather than further attempting to justify a true object that perpetually eludes grasps even as it has been presented sufficiently, or rather, is perpetually announced as gained and overcomed (?) somehow in the abandonment of monolinguistic, modern-ideological proclamations, through advocating spiritual remedies and or activating activist political approaches for ‘better’, ‘neo-modernist’, more freedom supporting, agendas. If re-presentation is routinely mistaken for presentation, then we need also at some point to address this apparent marriage of philosophy and ideology, and how his might constitute a religious basis of reality, for it seems the only thing we can really speak of anymore is how an idea can be used to socially activate. So, admitting this imperative, aphilosophy presents in irony, again a retreat from this ‘neo-modernist-post-modernist’ repetition; irony, which is, in the last, the eternal repetition that admits while it avoids.
My notion of ‘faith’ can be situated by the result that occurs within the statement of the question and the answer: What do you mean by God ~ I am referring to the God of the Bible. Though it would not have mattered what I had said to be accountable to; the result would be the same: Either, I have not specified sufficiently what I mean by the question, and you have not answered my question, or, you have not answered sufficiently the question I posed; no communication has occurred. Only if we had a reasonable symmetry between our meanings of the term in question, in this case God, would the possibility of communication take place. Symmetry is present when the same outcome is supposed as a basis of the discussion; for example, that there is a real possibility involved with God that reduces to yes or no. When the situation that allows for the possibility is itself questioned, that is, when one party is playing the either-or game and the other is not, which is to say here that the answer does not lay in affirming or denying God, the discussion may be said to be asymmetrical. There being no such symmetry evidenced in our situation by the simple fact that I may question your answer without offering a replacement suitable to your reply, i.e. a rebut upon the veracity of the Bible, and if I am merely being obstinate then it is all the more asymmetrical, so then I could ask: What is ‘the God of the Bible’? Here, the question concerns not whether God exists, nor whether the Bible is a credible or suitable criterion. Based in the assumption of symmetry, in the same way God responded to Moses when he asked what he is to say to the people when they will ask ‘what is his name’, such as Exodus 3:14-15, “I am that I am” would be quickly referred to the objective qualifier and you might respond: “The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham…Issac…Jacob…”. Still, I do not know what God is but a sort of belief that some ancestors had, that you have. You could go on; you could tell me some things from the Old Testament and the New, and you could tell me about Jesus. In fact, you could tell me a bunch of stuff, and still I would be able only to think of some object of belief that is the center of an ethics. You might direct me to some ‘inner’ thing of my own feelings, but while I could identify with such ideas, I would have no need to refer them to any relation as ‘of, relating to or otherwise indicating God’. Synchronicity, déjà vu, dreams, coincidences in life, seemingly miraculous bennefactuous happenings, healings, ‘spiritual’ experiences – to none of these things referred would answer my question sufficiently, nor necessarily cause me to have to relate them to God. Your answer to my question ultimately relies upon not only your faith in some common aspect of humanity, but your faith that I will be able, through considering such avenues of thought and feeling and experience and ideas, to have the faith that you do – probably, likewise does it not take into account the possibility that I have indeed encountered or experienced such happenings with reference to ‘God’, and still am able to speak as if I may have not. Such a faith completely assumes a unilaterally correspondent meaning to dishonesty due to its basis upon a real true object, namely, God.
To elaborate; in this event described above, God, which can only be considered by and is thus limited in the term ‘God’, if I may take your answer as an indication of belief, your position upon things, has only been investigated partially, and then ended with faith. Now, I am not saying that there is no God of your belief. I am saying that when you go to communicate it to me, you are relying upon a truth granted by the faith that partials out meaning to subsequent categories as if these categories were substantial, basic, or otherwise referring to absolute true objects between us; for example, your faith tells you that I have the same quality of ‘self’, Being, or maybe consciousness, as you do, the same capacity, and or, the same basic foundation of being human. Your faith negates the possibility that my ‘faith’ may be true – and more, because I may use different terms for its expression. As I have said recently, the issue is the term, which is, the terming of such categories.
Hence, I do not say that I believe in God. The term God is or has become nearly a useless idiom, that is, unless I seek only to justify myself against or by another, and by extrapolative inclusion, the world; if i seek to justify another, then i must speak very, very carefully and completely reject myself in the face of that other by a move of infinite compassion, if such a move is indeed possible. Yet, if I am looking for truth that includes every possibility that can be presented within my interaction with the world, concordant with what I have already just pondered, the term God is an ambiguous determination to say the least. Accordingly, admitting that I may appear to contradict myself, I say that God does not exist, but may be real; and this is to say that reality is exactly of faith. In this way, the operation of faith makes true reality, by stopping investigation at certain limits or parameters of consideration. From these limits, of faith, are construed individuals who rest at their limitation for personal identity.
Likewise it is the faith that communication takes place and that individuals may be convinced of universal truths based in a negotiation of definitions, aka. conventional discussion, that establishes what is real: reality. In certain avenues of conventional reality, God does not exist: atheism; in others, God does exist: theism. And we should see that these real truths function or have the effect of being true for the believer, but such that their belief resides in convention they are thus compelled to argue their validation, sometimes at the risk of conversion of their own belief. In theism, various discussions ensue about what God’s role is, what and how truth is ordered, how people are supposed to behave and live, etcetera. Within atheism, there are discussions about the same ideas, i.e. what the role of humanity is in the universe, what or how the universe is ordered and how people should behave and live, etc. Between theism and atheism there are discussions that basically attempt to disprove the other, but they are really a power play of what one can easily say are religious ideologies. Agnosticism also involves these discussions. In fact, every aspect of reality comes into play along various lines, at certain points, in the real discussion. But none reveal any truth except that there is a negotiation of reality, and a faith that through the negotiation truth will be found. The negotiation, the ‘rules’ by which it may develop and or proceed, amounts thus to a proper method for the discernment of true things, a conventional method. The particulars are only localized at particular places, at particular times; the discussion gets nowhere beyond a justification of the particular event occurring at the time of the discussion. The progress imbued in the situation is real; the justification only working to place the individual, ironic.
Further; reality denoting a progressive stature or motion is due to the ‘infinity’ that lay beyond the limits of investigation, the terms of faith, to coin a phrase, the infinity behind which faith establishes or knows of … God, or whatever object of faith is placed in the ‘un-investigated beyond the limit’, such as, the ‘physical universe’ for science. Progress is thus the real movement of existence as purpose. Thus in every conventional arena progress is understood to be made, or not being made as a ‘progress’ that ‘retreats’ or works against the ‘preferred’ progress that lay at the base of the particular discussion, the particular object, or subject-object, as the case may be.”
…Unsettled mumbling can be heard from the conventionalists’ table. “Yes, yes,” a self appointed spokesperson of the conventionalists speaks up, “but the initial statement mentioned being accountable; to what or whom then are we accountable, and for what? Sounds like you are splitting hairs; what conscientious citizen of the world would say that we must not be accountable to each other, and by extension, a larger group of humanity? And just as well, one must be accountable for or to themselves at minimum to be accountable for or to others. Is it so terrible if we hold our actions and beliefs in these regards accountable to a power higher or greater than our admittedly lacking knowledge? Is it so unreasonable? May not we designate this idea and call it ‘God’? Yours sounds like so much atheism, and pompous.” The timbre from the table of methodologists resonates the point scored.
Undaunted, the philosopher takes a long relishing draft of his water, and rejoins.
“Conventional reality gains credence against the limit of faith when that limit is denied, whether as itself, the veracity of the limit, or as a marker of faith, to denote that there is no limit, basically to establish that reality is just reality, regardless of labels, conventional or otherwise, and that there is nothing other than reality. But this, as I have said, is to assert a ‘proper’ or absolutely true reality, one that finds itself in relativity, in negotiation. This is why people can equate ‘faith’ with ‘belief’: Because we can talk about them as a negotiation of ideas. Such denial allows such a statement “I believe in God” to be of equal stature or real quality as the statement “I believe that chairs have legs”: both can be debated – and likewise the statement that equates them can be debated. Kant dealt with such discursive features with his analytical and synthetical, and his imperatives, but here I am indicating what he called a neumena, which is what I call a ‘true object’, but should just as easily be called an ‘absolutely true object’ because the effect of terms, or role of terms, in a conventional discussion is to indicate a fixed element. If I say, ‘the tree is green’, I am indicating an absolutely true object, a tree, relating it to another true object, green, and implicating a particular position that is also an absolutely true thing, a point in time, the absolutely true object called eternity, as well as the place in the world, there across the yard, by the fence, as well as indicating the truth of the situation we are about to discuss, the true thing that is the assumption or presumption of our common human understanding. These features can be framed as: the addressor, the addressee, the referent, and the sense, where the addressor and addressee is implicated as you there, the tree is green, I say; or more simply: I say,the tree is green, to you. I will not continue along this expository here, one that will concern a differend of dialectics, but for preliminary orientation, I merely point to their function and effect in communication as true objects. Nevertheless, all of these elements of discussion cannot be defined absolutely at one instance in a discussion; and this means that in order for there to be a series of true objects in relation, at least one of the elements must remain transcendent to the object of the discussion for the discussion to operate, at least one term must remove or loosen itself from its definitional baring, and that this must be ignored. This situation is ironic, through the question which element? The answer then further emphasizes the situation we are treating here of the initial statement.
Memory, in this respect, is not sufficient, for the term would have to be privy to a true object for the mind to have reference to; this is of course to say that the object to which memory holds is a conventional object. Beyond convention we are incapable of saying anything about memory itself for likewise memory becomes a true object capable of attaining or detaining absolutely true, fixed ideas; this is not the memory of psychology or neuroscience. As to our example: If we were to argue of its color, the fact of the tree being a tree is left alone; the argument proceeds upon if that tree is green. We thus discuss the green-ness in relation to the tree being green, as the tree becomes a given – never minding the green-of-the-tree also being given – an object of faith for the discussion. It is impossible to fully and simultaneously explore and be presented with each object in the discussion. As one object is explored, discussed or considered, that object relies upon the given contextual relation of terms that have been effectively left behind in a transcendental state for knowing; it has been re-presented not as an elaboration or deconstruction of itself, but as an object of different meaningful contextual relations of terms. The overcoming of this transcendency is achieved through faith.
This is to say that it is the conventional orientation upon reality that equivocates the objective quality of terms throughout the discussion to justify progress; conventional reality relies upon true objects. The discussion begins upon common true bases or a state of knowing, and proceeds along lines that build meaning as if such subsequent meanings, stages in the discussion, have now been revealed as reflecting a progressed state of knowing. Only if none of the terms ‘leave’ the conventional reality can such a progress occur. But it has been shown by other philosophers that in the assumption of a progressing communication at least one term in every phrase must occupy a placement of meaning that behaves or acts as a given that is unknown, undefined; every phrase. If one wishes to place God in that transcendent position, as if to say there is where God acts, so be it, but the effect is the same that perpetuates and is perpetuating in that very moment the motion and situation of the discussion as we have come upon it here. God may be said to be of that ‘passive’ or what I have said, given moment or element of the discussion, the object as might be to memory, an effective transcendent element, or, God might be said to be involved with the ‘active’ moment, and thereby acts as an immanent catalyst for the conversation, if you will. Similarly one could treat the passive moment as immanent, as objects are held in place, so to speak, and the transcendent as that which compels, impels or otherwise motivates the discussion as the object towards which the discussion moves. But these moments are not to be compartementalized to their situations prior or posterior to analytical or synthetical consequences. Such an analysis is enacted when the point of contention is misunderstood, and the truth of reality is thus sought in an extrapolating of meaningful repercussions of each moment that, when delineated and compared, is supposed to reveal which is actually true. Such route reifies the conventional method as a means to escape or redirect reality, but ironically, the result reveals the repetition inherent of reality: the mistake inherent to faith in the true object.
Hence I have explained faith and its relationship to God. The term functions for conventional reality through an incomplete investigation that denies the ‘remainder of the term’, which is that which eternally links with it ad infinitum stopped in faith so as to ‘produce’ the remainder, and stakes its reality upon a transcendent aspect, be it called ‘God’ or ‘physical universe’, for the purpose of allowing for and establishing a truth, which is in effect the justification of the individual, subject-object, in the world. And, within the functioning of the phrase in discussion, at least one term must become transcendent in meaning. What is immanent is thus that which brings symmetry in the discussion. Together, faith is relied upon and required for the purposes of the real individual in the world. In other words, when the quality of discursive features are denied of their inherent quality as existent, that is, when the otherwise transcending and immanent operation of terms is mitigated and equivocalized into a negotiated reality, the effect for consciousness is a true object. A true object is that which is displaced from the human being of knowledge to account for or justify the individual in reality; hence, conventional reality, conventional truth, conventional faith, etcetera. The individual thus is accountable to and for whatever true object(s) is situated to justify the individual, i.e. God, the world, the government, my son, my school, my church, community, country, nation, humanity, that song, that signal, that satellite, NASA, science, the universe, my self, my interests, my mind, his or her whims, their motives, her or his dictates, etc. The individual exists for reality through a scheme of meaning that relates true objects; thus, I may be accountable to my boss, but I am accountable for my work, or, I may be accountable to God, and accountable for spreading His message.
Yet, when discourse is included as existent, existence being the only knowable thing that may account for all reality as it is presented, then one can begin to see that such true objects are merely ‘aspects’ or ‘elements’, ‘features’ of existence appearing and or presenting to me in the only manner through which I likewise can exist: I am accountable to my knowledge as existent, and I am accountable for my self as I am constituted in reality through a situation of terms, and vice-versa. Such real true objects are, in effect, thus me in existence. Here then we can describe the conventional world as universal as ethical, for our existent situation does not prescribe an ethical Law, but the only reasonable course a person can take being one who has accepted every possible ramification of knowing through doubting, who accepts his or her existence and thus cannot any longer live for dying in fear, so to speak: That as I move to proclaim a truth of a true object I only do so against another object’s failure, and in so doing I only damage myself and maintain and establish the problems of reality I see around me in the world. But also that I cannot overestimate this knowing due to the same situation; the only possibility that results is an ironic one: that I am that I am, and can only do what I do in existence.
Thereby again duality speaks of the conventional orientation that presents reality as a problem to be overcome.”
The silence that marked the end to the talk deepened in the awareness of table two. A glass was set down, a cough, a fork clinked on a plate, a hiccup, a smile, some looks, a voice from a philosopher “well, that went well…” a relieving reply, a reconciling sit, clearing throats, a sipping, a couple chairs slide back from the table, some napkins on plates, a slurry of a glass filling, the smoke of a cigarette, of a cigar, a pipe, the scent of medicine, and the table conversation churned up the motors of company again. We were all glad you are here.
Overheard from the conventionalists’ table:
If I am saying so myself: this title is pretty fkg great; hilarious.
My reply to a comment by Mr. Adkins came out pretty good, so I’m posting it (with some editing):
Mr. Adkins: – “”There is no contradiction where there is radical duality”.
Also, the excerpt above is interesting, the one about there being ‘no illusions’. This may be true for non-philosophy and from the perspective of vision-in-One, but philosophy’s own belief-in-itself-as-in-the-real is the source of its transcendental Illusion, and the latter is veritably the same thing as its resistance, which is what non-philosophy, as science of philosophy, takes as its object.””
Direct Tangent 5.31: “- I submit that due to this doubling-back upon the “tatters”, non-philosophy will remain ‘unheard’ due to the persistent confusion that is the discussion of the philosophical object. Yet neither can be excluded since there are no illusions; I would say illusions only occur with the conventionally oriented.”
Yes, again: from your comment, it is difficult to believe that you are considering that what I write has any merit, since it appears that you only have glanced through my essays. For i agree and have said as much as your paragraph reply.
There may indeed be no contradiction where there is radical duality, but the appearance of the explanation of it cannot avoid a contradicting duality. Even as I come upon the occasion of L’s work, I can only see it in reference to my particular experience, as an occasion-in-the-last-instance, so to speak, and this is a sublimated or reconciled form of duality in that i want or attempt to mean ‘my whole experience’. (I will address Slavoj Zizek’s comment on ‘love’ – we “do not love the whole world; we pick and choose what we love” – in a later post.) I see that L uses ‘radical’ in an attempt to release, or distinguish his meaning from what other typical or usually-philosophical meanings may be or have been proposed. The fact that he uses the term ‘radical’ must imply something that everyone commonly knows of the ‘usual’ meaning of of radical-ness or he would have chosen a different term.
Yet, I have problems with the ‘vision-in-One’. No matter how this is situated in meaning, he would not use the term ‘One’ if the usual meaning of ‘one’ was not operative somehow; neither would he have used the idea of ‘vision’. Any proposition of unity is a transcendental form (I will make my argument around this in an upcoming essay, I think); there is no situating a meaning of “oneness” without implicating some sort of “oneness” – that is unless he is speaking ironically. If his intent on using such ideas is to identify where such meaning lacks, and in this lack show exactly where non-philosophy resides or functions, then his idea is ironically solute: But I do not think he leaves his rhetoric open for such repetition; I think he is attempting to re-iterate a type of Hermeticism or ‘early’ Gnosticism so as to verify some sort of evolutionary progress of consciousness. The difference between what he is saying and what I am saying is quite a fine line, and I am working out how this line can be. ( with your help it seems 😉
The fact that I have come upon such presentation is revealed in duality, but unified by its being presented to me is a radical project; as i take it back to relinquish it again, without but absolutely with, transformed by my positional-absence (if i am also allowed to make up hyphenated terms and we can speak of it this way) – this is an ironic project. To deny duality through some assemblage of meaning does not negate duality, the meaning accounts for it. Hence philosophy and non-philosophy respectively, but my conventional methodology and philosophy, again respectively.
In this respect, I cannot expect a conventional agent to understand non-philosophy unless it is some thing to be comprehended, and not occasioned.
I may apprehend or comprehend that any and every manifestation and or presentation is really some sort of radical immanence, that I am included as instigator-receiver as well as passive catalyst and active resistor in the total scheme of meaning that includes what may be other-ness, that I am included totally just as what I may see as other beings are really part of my own radical immanence, but in a way that excludes the possibility of philosophically situating myself inclusively as that having providence or of ownership of other or others, or they me, and in such a way that we all thus co-participate in the democracy of strangers on or of or in a (non-)planar (non-)dimensional unilateral non-particular situational loci-circum-stance – it seems to me he is in a discursive process of describing a situation of positing without the necessity of its positing, attempting to describe how position is really movement and movement really position, like some quantum discourse or something. He is arranging giving terms, and this situating of meaning appears on the scene as contradictory; he is resolving innate philosophical contradictions through presenting “positive-negation”, of posing terms as if they are completed by including a negative with the positive, thus his preponderance of hyphen-terms. The need for such hyphens is due to dividing what is necessarily complicit and involved; where there is auto-polemic, hyphens are needed to overcome the division, to merge the dyadic meaning, for example, ‘non-philosophy’; where there is a suspended meaning, a meaning cleft from its counterpositional situation, hyphens are needed to emphasize the divisional position, such as, ‘vision-in-One’. But all of these terms, by their discursive manifestation, appear as positive. If the proposal is seen as not contradictory, that is, the situating of terms that supposedly encompass and thereby resolve the contradiction of ‘positive-negative’, then he is involved in the promotion of a particular method of truth, one that argues a true universe and by extension or reduction, the true object. The true object is a mythological proposition: its meaning is exactly transcendental, not immanent; yet, immanence is the mode of the mythological. There are no people who can behave radically in a radical sense who also can be known by others as such, it denies the very idea of radicality – except by two mutually exclusive moves: irony is in play, or, in as much as ‘radical’ is known in the same way or mode as one might be known as, say, a republican or democrat, passive or active, or short or tall. But if this latter is the case, then non-philosophy has no more or less baring upon truth, reality or existence than any other floating idea concerning proposed bases. Hence, the issue of non-philosophy’s presentation apparently contradicting is meaning. This is the summation of my accusation of Laruelle being in Bad Faith (see my earlier posts, and below).
When attempting to speak of the truth of reality and existence honestly and openly, there is usually, conventionally, no situating of meaning that avoids this; each situation carries the accounting-for element and the exclusive element. Indeed, Badiou, Lyotard, Foucault, even Bourdieu – probably all the postmodernistical French, all see this and express themselves against or in consideration of this phenomenon. Zizek does very well with this also. When the contradiction is taken as an indication of where truth indeed lay, instead of indicating where it falls short or fails, then we can begin to understand what is Radical: that non-philosophy is but one manner of situating terms to account for the truth, what Laruelle implicates by saying ‘knowledges’.
Though he would release himself from the philosophical imperative by ‘non’-ing everything, his result gains a re-circumscription, which is exactly an ideological assertion. When one sees that Laruelle part of a philosophical tradition, and his proposition is just the latest assertion-in-the-last-instance of what theorists in a certain tradition have been already developing using their various terms and attitudes (‘attitude’ like that of a flying plane’s angle of attack against the air) then his lack can be seen in obvious relief.
Bad faith is the condition of not seeing that ones object of faith is not true, a situation evident in a presentation the meaning of which is denied by the presentation. As i have said elsewhere; If Laruelle knows his proposition is true, then he is in bad faith by his presentation, or, if he agrees with the subsequent efforts that claim non-philosophy, then he is in bad faith due to his conventional orientation upon the term. Hence, I see my situating of terms to describe the situation as more precise and more inclusive of the facts. His jargon is unnecessary and forced, though it may be sufficient for the presentation. Unilateralization only resolves ironically, that is to say, it cannot be known or enacted and remain radical, unless, as I have said above, non-philosophy has no more or less validity than the reasons someone likes the Steelers better that the Dolphins in American football. And thus, it is very pertinent and revealing that he would even notice a question that has to do with whether or not humanity should be saved, because he sees his effort as a part of progress towards the true object.
My question has to do with this aspect of L’s work: what does it mean when a meaning accounts for is own lack? And, how is it possible to uphold or suspend the contradicting motion of appearance ? The answer is ironic. Hence I eagerly await the arrival of “Principles of Non-philosophy”, and “Future Christ”.
I hope you have a good appetite. We are at a table in a restaurant. Laruelle is my dinner partner in the seat next to me. He is having non-philosophy as his main dish; ironically, I have have opted for the buffet. There are others at our table but they have not been introduced. Many people come by our table and say hi, comment on what we are having or how nice the restaurant is, or the weather, and then disappear back into the restaurant. As I look around, I see other tables ordering ‘what he has’ and pointing to our table…
* * *
This is a discussion of what may be ‘immanence’ and to this end, what may be ‘radical’, through an occasioning of non-philosophy.
“There are no illusions. The message will leave a heritage in tattered pieces and interpretations. But it was difficult not to dispute the differend to its core. There will be complete confusion of the multiple, possible, and necessary effectuations of non-philosophy with its interpretations.”
from “Struggle and Utopia in the End Times of Philosophy” by Francois Laruelle.
“In so much as there may be a radical non-philosophical agent, its appearance in reality never is apprehended for what it is, except by those who see the truth of the manifestation, where it therein becomes the mere occasion for radical agency.”
from “Direction 5.18: Recant and Reoccasion” by Lance Kair.
“This is what the imperative of the radicality of immanence meant, to treat immanence in an immanent manner, not to make a new object out of it.”
Laruelle is the occasion for my work here. The significance of his premises are apparent, and the rest follows necessarily: once the issue is understood, the rest is obvious. Many, many, many will read me and argue that i do not thereby understand him, or will ask me to prove it. I will ‘prove it’ by stating the facts. Laruelle has also considered the facts; we are addressing the same issue but approaching it in different terms. What emerges subsequently is of the individual, and does not pertain to the truth of the premises necessarily, though it does sufficiently. The one who sees the parallax conjunction evident in these initial statements will need no discussion on the matter; his or her work will see in ours an occasion that verifies to them that they indeed know the truth of the matter. My problem with Laruelle was never that he is incorrect; my issue with L centers on why his is so shadowed in jargon and dressed in flattery – and if he himself is subject to the mirage (but I tend to think he is not). The truth does not disguise itself, nor does it appeal to tastes. But this does not mean there is no discussion to be had…
Some comments on the opening excerpts:
-In the first excerpt, Laruelle tells us that he recognizes that his effort, non-philosophy, will be taken as a philosophical object, that what may be an actual meaning of non-philosophy will be lost in the confusion, that non-philosophy’s “effectuations” will be commandeered by “interpretations”. The heritage that non-philosophy will leave in pieces will double back with interpretations of what occurred.
– I submit that due to this doubling-back upon the “tatters”, non-philosophy will remain ‘unheard’ due to the persistent confusion that is the discussion of the philosophical object. Yet neither can be excluded since there are no illusions; I would say illusions only occur with the conventionally oriented.
– The non-philosopher, what I could call the ‘radical agent’, is only comprehended by one who already understands what non-philosophy may be, but who may not have called it ‘non-philosophy’, and this one thereby has no need to present an interpretation of it, to make a philosophical object out of it, but instead sees non-philosophy as an occasion that verifies – not ‘tells it the way it is’ – the truth of the matter; that is, unless, as I see it, non-philosophy is proposed as, which is to say that L’s intension fulfills or otherwise acknowledges, an ironic ‘object’ of sorts.
-The question involved in the occasion here, then, is the discrepancy involved in the meanings inherent of these statements (above) taken individually and together. What can Laruelle be meaning by “immanence”? What does it mean for immanence to be treated in an immanent manner?
Most thoughtful people would say that immanence concerns or means, somehow, consistency or acceptance of or within oneself. The problem with such an idea is it means everyone already is behaving in this manner, and that the issue has to do with if they know, acknowledge or realize it or not. Then the question would be how is this possible; how can there be a bifurcation of the same movement? How can there be a ‘one being’ at odds with itself? We can get into the scientific convention of quantum physics later, but the question has to do with the usual answer. Rather, it is really the individual involved and concerned with a proper method that yields an inability to come upon immanence; that then brings a consolation that says immanence is attainable if one does the right things and applies the proper method. This method of consolation justifies the individual lack by reducing immanence to a religious, metaphysical or psychological idea that really means and has meant all along that one just needs to ‘be one’ with oneself, whether it is taken in a religious measure, such as atonement or confession or adhering to certain rituals or practices, or whether it denotes the individual coming to terms with his or her past, or doing some psychological work on the various issues and/or neuroses that are causing one to behave in a manner that is inconsistent with how one would rather be, is causing various problems in one’s life, or is otherwise preventing or hindering one from being comfortable in oneself or in other cases ‘being successful’. Noble and heartwarming as this intent and these activities may be, the proposed end result (objective) does not come close to immanence. It smells a lot like the super-mundane, utter ideological metaphysical pedestrianism, if not outright propaganda. But those so human-healthy will usually be the first to suggest that such activity is a spiritual exercise. What has occurred, though, is that what may be or have been true of ‘the spirit’ or the ‘spiritual’ has been deemed a type of misinterpretation, all this or that time just needing of discussion to figure out what it actually means or is. The discrepancy between the individual and his idea of himself thus marks a failure of the idea rather than the individual, or vice versa, instead of a failure of the scheme of meaning that has brought the idea as well as the individual to contradiction, which is to say, at odds. The method for correcting or reconciling the discrepancy is thus sought through the very scheme that establishes the problem in the first place. This is the method of philosophy, of bringing what may be various knowledges under one knowledge, of binding experience to a particular method of meaning, the discourse of the One Truth, the Universe of the True Object.
I would suggest then, that it is the negation (but not nullifying) of this type of thoughtful activity that Laruelle is up to with his non-philosophy (or at least he should be). Also, this is not my interpretation, rather, what is radical is that which is supposed to be the solution to the problem inherent of the scheme itself, and immanence is that condition that is thus let to knowledge once the scheme (of and in which the problem resides) has been fully renounced (the Name has been relinquished). But the question remains: How can this be?
Many will say this whole line of thought is ridiculous, but what we have here is exactly the condition of letting the concept come into existence through the phenomenon, rather than relying upon an equivocality of concept and phenomenon. It is not a matter of the term being solute with reality, but that such a solution denies other solutions. Hence my “conventional” and possibly Laruelle’s “philosophical” reality; yet, I see the real issue as centering on the ‘term’ and ones orientation upon the object. This cannot be estimated; that is, the reliance upon the equivocality that brings thought into a correspondent relation with (real) objects reveals the inherent over-determination already invested in the effort to produce a viable solution to the problem of reality: This over-determination is exactly transcendence and not immanence, radical or otherwise. The determination of reality must be precise in order for a true relation (or non-relation, as the case may be) to have any meaning at all: the determination must be not real. Otherwise, the meaning is exactly faith. For once the determination is true, no longer do we have reality equated to thoughts except through a mistaken willing of belief – but there exactly do we have difference. It is thus the ‘sameness’, the in-distinction that qualifies the philosophical movements that at once understand but still play the language games as if some progress can be or will be made due to the recognition, within which discussion abounds upon a transcending truth as everyone wills themselves into reality.
Thus, to come back to the individual’s inability to come upon immanence, this means that the individual is routinely unable, does not have the capacity, to renounce the problematic scheme wholesale, and so, as a human ideological-cultural motif, has deemed such ability, as well as any terms that might denote, refer or indicate such ability, to be false. The proper method – right action, right thought, etc…to mediation and yoga, to therapy, exercise or even medication, but also methods of negotiation, philosophical but also including economic, cultural and sociological methods – thus emerges in history toward the true ‘objective’ that has been determined in denial to never be a reconciliation of discrepant objects, but always the creation of problem within a posed solvent future, the mistaken past corrected by the future, which reveals precisely the ideological agenda of the conventional agent, as well as offers routes into cultural critique. Immanence at once is deemed an anachronistic and/or religious-metaphysical (read: false) notion for the sake of the transcendent truth, as well is absorbed into the conventional rhetoric to justify its reductive and unifying motion; immanence becomes an ideological justification of activity localized in the conventional agent. This last is why, i believe, Laruelle had to introduce radical immanence, to admit and assert poignantly and decisively what should not ever be confused -though it typically, habitually and persistently does – with, what I submit is a more precise terming, the conventional methodology.
My research has found that other authors have and are indeed addressing reality through the same understanding, but that often the authors and their conventional agents quibble over the use of terms. So it is from this perspective that I join the discussion. As a substrate to my proposals, I must ask: How is it possible that I have come upon such knowledge?
My posts have been growing rather lengthy. So I have decided to chop my essays into more easily digestible portions. This helps me to keep to more specific points, as well as develop a more sensible and consistent proposition.
So I will have a drink, and return from the buffet in a moment…
I am a bit hard-headed. I think most critical thinkers/philosophers are. I find this the best basic method for my endeavor, which is a grounding of my experience in discourse. In this effort I have come across, what I could call, using the most true, and possibly non-philosophical sense of the term, guru that have allowed me to make strides, such that one could make a certain sense of Socrates, “‘When two go together, one sees before the other” (Protagoras; 348d). Indeed, as of late, such a guru has made himself known to me through these posts; and i could say to him, nameste, but be mindfull not to get too caught up with conventional religious inferences, for beginning this essay with such a salutation forebodes a philosophical object over which I could become quite nauseous. Though i have not yet reached the primary, or grounded meaning of my argument, I have spent much of the foregoing essays and posts upon the secondary, or what could be called the conventional-objectival appearance of bad faith, and it is of the assertion that Laruelle is exhibiting this kind of bad faith that I recall. So I can say I withdraw my accusation that Laruelle is in bad faith, so far as one needs a philosophical basis by which to propose anything, since Laruelle does indeed admit the inherent polemical appearance of non-philosophy.
My proposal is that Laruelle is in bad faith by the presentation of his Non-philosophy. Many times I have reiterated what this means: the meaning of non-philosophy is denied in its presentation. More precisely, I was saying that the method, the proposing of terms through a scheme of definitional relation, contradicts the meaning of its premises, that it is inherently, hermenutically (ah ha!) contradictory. Basically, I was proposing that his non-philosophical ideas are philosophical in nature – a proposal based overtly in the secondary orientation – for my argument recedes where many probably see it as marching forth – an ideal motion which flies in the face philosophical effort, the sense of which I call Conventional Methodology.
So i reiterate as i recant; In the process of beginning is repetition. Perhaps all this might be more clear if I refer to the Preface of his Dictionary of Non-Philosophy, pages 1 & 2; here is the link:
[Wow; that’s a very long URL.]
If anyone has been following my posts, and watching the development of my argument – I have asked the question: does Laruelle see this contradiction that I see? It is of a true irony as well as justification of my process of doubt that I would have come upon the answer to this question in the first words of the preface of the first piece I had come across and read of non-philosophy, this Dictionary of the link above. I can only blame myself; I was curious and when i began reading at random places, just to get a rough idea of what non-philosophy could be, i became excited and within a few minutes i knew the basis of his whole presentation; I skipped the preface for the meat of the definitions. I moved from one to another of his terms and had little difficulty in seeing his points and how they might have come about. But indeed, if I would have started at the very beginning, I would have seen that Laruelle and I have not only a common understanding, but that indeed, both of us, have come across the significant issue. And as I have said before – but it could be that I am somewhat unread – I have only encountered a proper addressing of the significant issue in authors that are dead. The significant issue is reality and existence, and a proper addressing is something that what is usually understood as philosophy does not do or has not done. This is why it is significant that a long time before I ever even heard of non-philosophy, I coined a term to refer to my work: aphilosophy.
Aphilosophy was a tongue-in-cheek indication of my position through a stab at what i see as philosophical lack, but I assert that what I, and I might include Larurelle, am doing is philosophy, and by this confidence I then call what is typically called philosophy “conventional methodology”.
Again, to be clear with the elements termed: Laruelle has non-philosophy and philosophy, I have philosophy and conventional methodology, respectively. The reason why I use the term ‘philosophy’ in a proprietary manner, rather than a dismissive manner, has to do with how I am oriented upon reality. Conventional philosophy, as I merge the terms, as Laruelle also sees, never ends. This is so much the case that I cannot speak to say ‘reality’ without a persistent and continual rebuttal from the informed philosophical mind that the term ‘reality’ is problematic. The rebuttal will then proceed to present the various problems, which simply round out to “what do we mean by reality”, but will never find an end, never find a solution to the problem. The discussion thus starts in an arbitrary place, like, when I make a statement about reality, and then only develops, and this discussion has continued and will continue ad infinitum, resolving only with various momentary systems of thought that seemingly define reality in a scheme of definitions that appear solute or terminal, but then inevitably someone will problematize the scheme, and the whole discussion, that then appears to begin again, continues, developing a proper history and scheme of relations. This is exactly philosophy; it is a scheme of definitional relations that develop, present and rely upon a proper method of finding or coming to the truth.
I situate my work differently than Laruelle. Again; I see that Laruelle and I am in an effort of philosophy, of finding and presenting what is true, and because what is typically and usually known as philosophy (Laruelle sticks with this given term for his situation) never finds truth, but always claims to be (what is called truth in negotiation, or relative truth), I call it a conventional methodology, rather than philosophy.
Again, if one refers to the link, specifically pages 1 and 2, one will see that Laruelle uses the same term, methodology, but has chosen to call the element “doctrinal” what I have determined as “methodological”. His “methodological and disciplinary” he brings against the given of philosophy, and thus calls his position non-philosophy. I see that he uses the term “doctrinal” to indicate a type of religious type of effort, since doctrine is taught, or likewise able to be learned, but also it indicates that what is taught is promoted as good and true, if not right and correct. Thus our distinctions further conflate; such philosophy-doctrine/conventional methodology promotes a particular scheme of definitional relations as reflecting what is true and proper.
Our position, our premises are parallel; not the same, but stemming from the same basis of experience, or what one could say is the same experience of knowledge. Once this experience has become foundational, then the only issue is the term; that is, how to speak of it. Hence, one might see where or how I came across my initial provocation: why is Laruelle using such a complicated and jargonesque presentation?
Nevertheless, I seek here to explicate my terms as parallel to what he outlines his Preface, as i have been doing with other terms of his (see my posts on radical immanence and the quadripartite) that some may see that Laruelle and non-philosophy is not to be made into another philosophical object over which to debate, but to show or bring in the possibility that non-philosophy is but one way to speak about a basic, common issue; fundamentally then, the significant issue is not so much whether it is ‘philosophy’ or ‘conventional methodology’, ‘non-philosophy’ or ‘philosophy’, but rather the term, and one’s ontological existential orientation upon it.
I will attempt to explicate Laruelle’s Preface and coordinate his meaning with what I have come upon, including describing non-philosophy’s appearance under the primary rubric of bad faith.
“Non-philosophy is constituted under a double aspect: doctrinal, with the objective appearance of a philosophical type of thought; methodical and disciplinary, with a more theoretical than systematic will of extending its modes of argumentation and its vocabulary to all fundamental knowledges.”
Here it is: he evidences that he understands the contradiction of non-philosophy, as he spells it out as a polemical reality: the “methodological and disciplinary” indicates activity, as in method and type of activity, and the “doctrinal” indicates that the activity of non-philosophy necessarily appears as a philosophical object; which is to say, it appears on the scene toward a true object of discussion. Further, non-philosophy is more-like theory than a system that one can coordinate into understanding as its theoretical nature actually addresses what can be seen as the possibility that there is more than one type of knowledge, contrary to philosophy which brings all possibility of knowledge into its single, but segregate-relative domain; which is to say, philosophy binds all discussion in a motion of itself, to itself.
This much is sufficient to show that Laruelle appears an effort to bring about change through a proper communication. In as much as he affirms his position by determining his non-philosophy as a sort of ‘more correct’ description, as a correction of the philosophical mode, he is asserting righteousness as a sort of proper way of doing, which is to say, a proper method of thinking about reality and existence. It is thus through this ‘discipline’ of non-philosophical ‘method’ that he is promoting a way into reality-existence-being: it “extends its modes of argumentation” into all possibility of knowledge, and therefore is claiming to have a more complete or better comprehension or ability of application than philosophy.
I have difficulty with this presentation. I say that no distinction can be made without transforming itself – either distinctions – into a philosophical object: Laruelle risks nothing except his hope, that is, his faith that what he is saying will not be turned into a philosophical object. If this is the case, what we have is an element of conscious agent who is involved in a project of deception due to the inherent qualities involved in the activity of presenting it. What we have with L then is an agent that has taken total responsibility for the world and thus can do nothing but that he does, but is in denial of the capacities of the mode of non-philosophy as subject to the determinations of philosophy. The very fact that I am discussing what he may be saying makes non-philosophy de facto (as Laruelle says above) a philosophical object. In as much as non-philosophy is capable of being communicated with its meaning intact we have a radical agent, one that defies all philosophical modes and operations, including that there are other comprehending agents who might learn how to apply non-philosophical methods. It becomes obvious, then, that Laruelle is involved with a positive orientation upon the world, an effort that seeks to change the parameters or representations or meanings of symbols that sustain the world. But in as much as he may be a radical agent, he is speaking nothing more than what is being said, and putting out into the world the world that he cannot but help in manifesting as a radical agent.
Basically, such a world that seeks to discuss the radical agent, the non-philosopher, as if he or she may have discussable qualities as a philosophical object, thus finds that the radical agent only manifests against a common agent, what one could say is a conventional agent, and it is here we have the repetition of the categories of this discussion: one includes, one excludes – is a world that is unified under a common rubric of meaning such that they might discuss the various possibilities of non-philosophy. Such a world cannot be some sort of illusion; it is reality, but, in that it has missed the radical agent for the object-agent, such a world is a “conventional” world. It is generated, manifested and perpetuated through such discussed terms, and thus proports a proper method. Hence, this world, that cannot be said to be a world because of the philosophical discursive determinants which reject such a conception due to its dissecting and incising contingent protocols of truth for what is real – I say such a world is real by virtue of conventional methodology, what Laruelle calls ‘philosophy’ or the ‘philosophical reality’.
While Laruelle situates his position to indicate the distinction, the distinction must necessarily collapse in on itself. This is the primary meaning of bad faith, and it is admitted in his Preface. His meaning indicates a position that cannot be discussed for its truth is manifest, but the manifestation of the description of the position cannot help but incite discussion as to its proper meaning. The orbiting discussion concerning non-philosophy that ensues reduces what might have been ‘radical’ to not only a proper (must I say: conventional) truth, but assumes as it indites the proper way to come about non-philosophically: it thus falls firmly in the realm of conventional methodology.
Hence, what he has situated, because his situation is that of indicating only this dyad, the one and the two, and that his situation is that of promoting a discussion along particular lines such that there is discussion that is particularly non-philosophical by definition, his contradiction is entirely with the conventional methodology, and reveals nothing more than a correct method to those who supposedly understand him. Yet, if he is to say that his understanding is confluent with the discussion about non-philosophy, then he is in bad faith since the meaning of his non-philosophical “theory” would denote that there is nothing to be discussed about it, i.e. that it reflects the truth, such that those who do indeed understand what he is saying really thus take it as a statement of the truth that verifies and confirms to those who already had come upon the truth that they are indeed correct and likewise have nothing to do than what is and has been set before them. For as Laruelle says himself: “Non-philosophy does not attach itself to a particular tradition, for it is a theory and a pragmatics of all actual or possible philosophy, past or to come.” It does not even attach itself to itself, but is indeed an occasion, an observed thought and action based in truth, that reaches out toward nowhere but the objective that is patent in the truth of the matter at hand as expressed by, what Laruelle would call, the non-philosopher, as what I would say is more accurately, for the position Laruelle attempts to present but only inadvertently indicates: the ironist.
It is the effort to grasp or otherwise explain as a truth the real or actual truth, as a definite and solute common object and to propose such findings as truth, that is exactly an effort of bad faith. And as well, ironically, this is the case: these are the facts of the matter at hand. The issue, then, concerns the primary situation of bad faith.
In so much as there may be a radical non-philosophical agent, its appearance in reality never is apprehended for what it is, except by those who see the truth of the manifestation, where it therein becomes the mere occasion for radical agency.
Its about time I get to the point. I have spent plenty of time talking around the issue. I have talked about Bad Faith and mentioned the issue, I’ve talked about aspects of the issue and indicated that all this has to do with the reason why Laruelle seems bogged down in jargon. I feel i have explored the elements of the issue, i myself have even begun to get sucked into speaking the ‘high speak’ and leaving many of the ideas to linger, un-de-mystified, contrary to my intentions i came out with at the beginning. so now its about time i clear up the weed garden: what, for crying out loud, is the issue?
The issue is what we deal with in philosophy: duality, what is it, what does it mean, but more so, the issue pertains to everyone in that everyone deals with and come to terms with duality in some way. The problem has to do with the fact that every philosopher is dealing with the same issue, basically saying the same thing, but are taken and understood as saying something different. Because there has to be a separation of things in order for there to be an observed thing, philosophy cant rightly analyze itself, so Laruelle proposes an analysis of this feature of philosophy, that he calls non-philosophy. Generally speaking ,I say that he is in bad faith because he proposes the issue then denies it in the act of developing a positive discourse about it, because the issue implies what we can call the negative as well. I will explain and address the repercussions of this later.
The crazy thing is, it is absurd: the content of the issue is not real. Again, this is why I say that Laruelle is in Bad Faith all the while agreeing with what he is saying; it is the contradiction involved in the working out of what bad faith actually is that establishes what is true.
See, in order to find truth one cannot stand in what one believes. A belief is conditioned by relativity. A person would not need to assert what s/he believes if everyone believed it; a belief only has validity if someone else believes something else. It is as I have already said: one must doubt everything. One must doubt his own beliefs, and then turn and doubt not only the result of doubting, but the very idea that one must doubt or is capable of doubting, including doubting if there was anything to doubt to begin with. Where one does not doubt, there exactly does s/he stand in faith. So, it can be said that where one doubts, one is in bad faith because he is not seeing faith as a good thing in that case, at least so far in the endeavor for truth. But also, and this seems paradoxical, where one has questioned and doubted and come to a truth of a matter, where he stands in that truth he is in faith, but it is bad because he has not doubted everything, but only some things. Yet, if a person has indeed doubted everything (if this is possible) then he is in an odd sort of position, and this position has to do what what he says about it.
* [NOTE: Please try to ignore the obnoxious underlining that has occurred in much of this text. I do not know why it has formatted this way. ]
The issue has to do with what can be spoken about :
The question at hand can be said to have to do with what is real and what exists. What is actual might also be said to be involved, but the significant issue has to do with definition and many authors and thinkers have offered various terms in various ways of definition to make their point. Perhaps I am no different I this way, but, if you will bare with me, I will make my point after I give you here a definition of ‘real’ and ‘exist’ from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary:
Definition of REAL
: of or relating to fixed, permanent, or immovable things (as lands or tenements)
a : not artificial, fraudulent, or illusory : genuine ; also : being precisely what the name implies
b (1) : occurring or existing in actuality (2) : of or relating to practical or everyday concerns or activities (3) : existing as a physical entity and having properties that deviate from an ideal, law, or standard — compare ideal 3b
c : having objective independent existence
d : fundamental, essential
e (1) : belonging to or having elements or components that belong to the set of real numbers (2) : concerned with or containing real numbers (3) : real-valued
May I draw your attention to definition 2b(1), which refers to ‘existing’. This definition seems to equate ‘occurring’ with ‘existing’ and that something real thus occurs and/or exists. Also def. 2b(3), here the definition implies that something real already exists.
Definition of EXIST
a : to have real being whether material or spiritual
b : to have being in a specified place or with respect to understood limitations or conditions
: to continue to be
a : to have life or the functions of vitality
b : to live at an inferior level or under adverse circumstances
Strangely, def. 1a. refers to something ‘real’. Here, though, what is real has to do with ‘be-ing’.
Of course, we use these ideas interchangeably and freely given various circumstances that often lie outside of these definitions, but usually if pressed we will come to a distinction between them, and a bit of time and philosophical rhetoric has been spent on finding some truth through the defining and situating of meanings of ‘real’, ‘exist’ and ‘actual’. If we attempt to find a ground or basis for a true meaning through using these definitions, we would come to something like:
1. occurring or having real being whether material or spiritual, in actuality, not artificial, etc.;
2. To have being in a specified place or with respect to understood limitations or conditions as a physical entity and having properties that deviate from an ideal, law, or standard, not artificial, etc. –
– or any number of like configurations that derive from replacing the various definitional clauses in place of the term within the definition we are looking at. As it is, the extended definitions seem to be saying something sure, but what it is exactly is still rather vague. If I were to continue to search for truth in this way, through definitions, I would have to look up ‘being’ and ‘actual’ and a bunch of other words, I would spin in a festering cycle of endless looking-up, but I would inevitably find definition that use the terms ‘actual’, ‘real’ or ‘exist’ and like-meaning terms – well here you go:
Definition of BEING
a : the quality or state of having existence
b (1) : something conceivable as existing (2) : something that actually exists (3) : the totality of existing things
c : conscious existence : life
: the qualities that constitute an existent thing : essence; especially : personality
: a living thing; especially : person
So what we find, at least in this dictionary, is a certain redundancy where, extrapolated, terms also refer only to other terms which redouble back upon their proposed meaning.
But of course the righteous will clamor, “we’ll it depends on context”, or “such definitions are only an attempt to describe usage”, or “it’s only referential; a dictionary is not supposed to, nor should be assumed to, define actual life or existence”. And I then have to ask: “what do you mean?” And they will give me a further elaboration of what they mean – and of course often never stopping to realize that I know what they are talking about, because they have missed the point entirely.
I am looking for the truth. It is not foreign to any intelligent person of our modern civilized societies to refer to a dictionary, or even get into philosophy, for truth.
And they (albeit unknowingly) quote Pontius Pilate, “What is truth?” Meaning, truth is relative.
And I will ask, “how do you know this?”
The point here is not so much about what is real as it is about what is not real. How does one talk about what is not real? Well, someone could say that Pegasus is not real, it is mythological. And I would have to ask them to define what ‘real’ is. But more significantly I would have to ask them that if Pegasus is not real, then how is it that it is effecting their life? How are you able to describe features of a Pegasus if it is not real? For, if something is not real, it should not be having anything to do with your idea of what is real, by the bare fact that it is not real. But indeed, here we have something which is proported to be not real influencing and effecting what is being discussed, eliciting and causing various ideas to be spoken and elaborated upon, inherently forcing certain thought patterns and drawing expressions and behaviors. We can only say then that what is not real is conditioned by what is real and that these ideas do not come about independently, that is, without the other idea formed simultaneously, intact for what we can possibly know as real. The anthropoloist/theorist Claude Levi Strauss (if i am correct) developed his Structuralism on this very fact: that realities are conceptual structures that hinge upon binary formulations of meaning developed and supported by culture, but because of this cultural component we cannot say that such structures are true, but only relatively true; this is where we get the contemporary notion of Cultural Relativism where we need understand that people have different realities. ( I do not believe that Strauss came up with cultural relativity though.)
Yet, if such relativism is true, and not relatively true, then it somehow must be something that is not cultural. It’s truth must reside somewhere outside the relativity of cultures. But this is not the case: cultural relativism is a culturally encoded truth that is, right at this moment, giving us truth that is not relative: it is a culturally developed idea of truth that does not conform to the relativistic maxim. This idea is known as contradiction in action. This idea too must not be true. It is this type of ‘non-truth’ upon which Laruelle bases his non-philosophical critique of philosophy.
As well, I myself am a product of the culture into which I was born and continue to live, so the concepts that I am thinking, the categories by which I come to know reality must be culturally produced and not inherently developed by anything that can be said to be of my own, since even these categories by which I know myself have been developed and determined before I exist.
Nevertheless, As I continue to live, it is proposed in modern critical thought that I am not determined entirely by culture but have an ability to negotiate the given categories and develop my own sense of my self, the world and reality; in this way reality is a negotiation of conscious individuals, agents, living their lives.
Hence, in so much as I may be only partially conditioned by culture, I should ask from where or what does the other part of myself, or likewise reality, come from? This is also the issue: how do I speak of that which informs reality but is not determined by the known elements that establish reality, for as soon as I speak about it, I have effectively nullified that it indeed was or is part of the aspect informing reality that is not contained in knowledge, as soon as i speak about it, i am conforming what is not known into the cultural condition of discourse that functions by the implicit philosophical cision. This possibility, as i see Laruelle – to paraphrase the 19th century philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, is allowing the concept to come into existence through the phenomenon. We will get more into this aspect of the issue later.
There are many ideas and discourses that develop in this way I have described above; in fact, Laruelle suggests as much of Philosophy. (Note: The meaningful critiques that precipitate from such discourse do so along vectors that indicate necessary results; results that can be seen to be described or presented in the activities of various thinkers: Paulo Freire, particularly of his book “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed”; Jean-Francois Lyotard, in his book “The Differend”; Francois Laruelle and his Non-Philosophy ((the topic of these Direct Tangents)); Slavoj Zizek’s whole demeanor and presentations; as well, others. See my other essays in Constructive Undoing.) The point is that the fundamental, or basic, distinction precipitates from this situation, the point I describe: such discursive, structural, cultural truths are indeed real. Such a reality is a suspension of truth; it grants truth through holding at bay the fact that what is understood as true is in fact not really true, but only true in reality. So, in truth, what is real and not real comprises the truth in reality; the composite reality that is of relative cultures’ realities, but is not contained by them, is thereby the really real, big-R, reality. This way of logic indicates, but has not yet come upon, the non-philosophical project.
Now, I cannot say this unless I have been dismissed from such (cultural real and not real) reality so much that I can understand it. I cannot understand this if such reality is all there is; if reality and the discourse and discussion about reality is indicating and arising from what is actually true, and this is to say that existence and reality are one in the same as revealed by and to knowledge, then I cannot say that the truth of reality is that there is a sort of ‘extended’ cultural relativism (one that determines what is real and not real) without suspending what I know about cultural relativism for the particular case of truth that is my knowing. This, my friends – the suspending of truth for the sake of justifying ones own idea of truth – is what is known as faith. I call the reality of faith “conventional“.
I will come back to the necessary ideas that follow. For now, it is well enough to say that we have outlined the problem of what is not real; again, the only way I can say this is if I have encountered something that is not real, which is to say, not of conventional reality. Now, if reality is comprised of concepts based upon binary formulations, it would seem I am delusional or lying, because then whatever I may think is not real is really already contained in reality as its binary counterpart. This is indeed the case, but in a way that is absurd. The issue is no longer a describing of the truth of the particular matters of reality, of things or objects, of a synthesis of real things, true things, that are conveyed into or by terms for knowledge; reality thwarts such a production that moves beyond an immediate presence: truth is manifest, so it is rather a situating of terms: the issue is how to speak of it.
Laruelle has coined the conscious precipitate of this situation by his term “radical immanence”, by which he proposes a ‘crazy’ idea, an idea which departs from the typical rhetoric of self/other, or real/ideal/not real, or human/god, or any of many other discourses that ignore the binary confinement of their conceptions; he attempts to by introducing the “radical” element.
I have been informed that Laruelle’s question is more correctly translated as “should humanity be saved”, And not, as i supposed earlier, “can” it be saved. This question can only stem from a sense that somehow humanity is in a precarious position. Such a question rightly framed must take from a position that has the possibility of saving within it: “should” propses that humanity can be saved- but should it ? It is useless and patronizing, if not downright theological, to pose such a question and not already have the potential to save within. The question thus naturally arises: “should it be?” ( more on this, also, later.)
But the ‘saving’ will not be excersized on the small scale; as he rightly notes, his is a displacing of conventional rhetoric, a radicalizing of the traditional base of binary conceptualizations, a decentering of real value. The value that is being displaced is that value that works toward its own destruction. But indeed, it is this value that only exists in reality, and not in truth. The question of “Should humanity be saved” already displaces the “humanity can be saved, if only…” rhetoric; but indeed the Real, as L might put it, answer is ‘maybe’, whereas the true, as i would put it, answer, the answer that has not yet been reached – evidenced by the effort in bad faith – is, ‘humanity cannot be saved’. This last is the ironic.
The fact that I might have come upon Laruelle emphasizes such a displacement.
But though L might say that this indicates the Real, I simply say that such a discourse is not real; It merely exists.
* * *
With that, I retire to the smoking room ( the outside) and ponder my next move.