Direct Tangent 6.9: A Word on Faith: An Appropriate Rendition of Francois Laruelle’s ‘Sufficient Philosophy’; The True Object, A Moment with Pierre Bourdieu and the Practice of Process.

As a close to the Direct Tangents and segue to the next, this essay is a simple and direct stating of a basic series of the matter at hand. By ‘series’ i mean to refer to the structure of argument: points that must be understood as true in order for there to be an discussion; what are called ‘premises’ usually do not have to be true, but only sufficiently understood for an argument, but then communication may not occur. I would say that it is the insufficiency of premises, and thus argument in general, upon which conventional reality is manifested. A practice of process involving a statement of series is the condition of truth; here, I cannot, that is, am incapable of coming upon a concept already proposed as if it should not be or not have been, as if i were then jealous or offended, against which i would then argue. In the process of truth, there is no exceptions. The issue is not so much about finding truth; it has to do with the situation of terms. What is the object?

We deal in two possibilities. If i am stating my position by my opinion, i can call it an argument, and I can start anywhere I please as long as I develop sufficient premises. Yet, because, here, we deal in truth, I may not approach as if I am speaking within a conversation already developed (considering my whole blog is really one essay). I must start at the beginning, not in the middle, every time. I thus do not ‘disguise’ my target through addressing what then appears to be particular arenas of discourse, though I may use such discursive objects as an occasion for what I have to propose. The tact that is taken by many writers, whether acknowledged by them or not, of opinion, is often deceptive at best, a type of withholding, and derailing for many who would otherwise be interested.

Though Francois Laruelle appears to come very close to being ‘honest’, a reader has to be somewhat informed as to the particular meaning of what terms he presents, cloaked as they are in a type of conventional-institutionalized deception (what I have designated as ‘jargon’), to be able to appreciate what he has to say; indeed, Laruelle produces his own “dictionary” of non-philosophical terms, an effort that i see as unnecessary. It is sufficient to convey his meaning, and necessary in that he could propose it in no other way for himself and be in line with his intent, but it is not necessary by virtue of the insolvency of the true object (see below). In his attempt to be transparent and approachable (I must grant this to every writer, at first), he ‘auto-excludes’ much of his potential audience, and demands of his audience a certain academic effort. In previous posts, I have addressed this by suggesting he is in bad faith by his presentation, since – is he not supposed to be speaking upon ideas that concern everyone? And if not, why not? I, on the other hand exclude all but none in that I approach through an intent to be clear to everyone as well as myself; my exclusivity is found by choice, as there is maybe barely one who would have never chosen to come upon my work. (Nevertheless, one should note: Laruelle’s manner is indeed appropriate, since he is attacking what can be seen as the ‘head of the beast’, the effectively institutional-religio-ideologicracy of conventional method called “philosophy”, the ‘bastion of the sacred method’ by which he is a self-proclaimed “heretic”. Just as Martin Luther, and just as noteworthy, Martin Luther King Junior, among many others, challenged the prevalent institution of their times by advocating and practicing what can be seen as the antithesis of the institution’s pro-motion, Laruelle confronts the similar element of our time, but in a ‘radical’ manner. Reader, please keep this in mind as I occasion Laruelle in this discussion. I am left to wonder if in his assault on the boarder gates he has become a citizen of his own pillaging and continues to build and climb an ever renewing ladder, or whether in his proposition he has thrown away the ladder.)

So, whether or not his intent is to also confront the greater reality, I see that when he says ‘philosophy’, and proceeds to address and direct his activity upon and through a supposed institution or discipline called ‘philosophy’, he is also talking about how people in general may have ‘philosophies of…’ the various aspects and circumstances of life and existence. In contrast, I suspend no presumptions; I am addressing and treating of truth, and nothing less than what it seems a life of experience has lead me to see of how myself and other regular people (including theorists) deal with life. What is ‘rigorous’ is the critical undertaking of experience, and less so, the experience of learning how I might approach an analysis of it and thus so to speak of it. I thus approach from a proposed basis of ignorance, because that is how I came upon the world, through doubt, and through a transparent process that shows frustration and contempt as well as assuredness and askance upon the issues (Constructive Undoing is a process) as most anyone earnestly interested would, attempt to shed light on the significant issues concerning reality and existence. Hence, I hope it helps with this purpose to say that Laruelle and I are parallel in our presentations, but moreso involved in a basic parallax upon the same point of contention.

To this end, a have located a (another) specific occasion. Laruelle’s “sufficient philosophy” suggests that philosophy sees itself sufficient by itself to indicate what is true in-itself, what is true of truth. Where Laruelle has coined this idea, appearing as proposing as he is addressing a specific discipline, as he may or may not be, I coin ‘conventional methodology’ to make explicit that I am indeed taking on truth and reality of the everyday sort, the ‘ordinary method’ of coming upon reality pertaining to agreement with accepted standards, and in this I submit that I step to where Laruelle avoids, as he has been invested in a (slightly) more conservative effort, a conservation of the clause – ironically, at least in appearance.

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Here is an excerpt from Pierre Bourdieu’s “The Logic of Practice” with my clarification comments in brackets, not italicized:

One has to escape from the realism of the structure {the true object}, to which objectivism…necessarily leads when it hypostatizes {makes, sees, understands or otherwise develops as foundational} these relations {true relations of conventional methodology} by treating them as realities already constituted outside the history of the group {an object ‘in-itself’ or ‘out-there’ as opposed to the individual thinking human being} – without falling back into subjectivism, {the individual thinking human} which is quite incapable of giving an account of the necessity of the social world { in so much as reality or the world can be argued as originating from the individual human being (subjectivism), it fails to account for the apparent arbitrary agency of random events and other conscious subjects}.” [1980 Stanford University Press; English translation, 1990 Polity Press. Pg. 52]

One cannot assume a common understanding. This is why there is discussion. But a discussion must find a common ground before there is true communication. This is the initial problem. The meaning of the terms of the issue have not been sufficiently disclosed, and it seems for our discussion, here, we are up against a very large obstacle: faith.

What I mean when I use this term is also part of the problem; through Constructive Undoing I have been attempting to indicate how faith is to be situated so communication might then occur. In this post I have presented the above excerpt because it describes the situation in a pretty good and clear manner, such that I might be able to elaborate and thus promote and get at a sensible, understandable and productive communication. In short, I turn the conventional meaning of faith, as having to do with belief and choice, on its head, or rather, back upon itself and its proclamations of truth, proposing that the conventional effort itself is based in faith, yet more precisely I propose faith as the containment that allows for the individual and conventional reality due to its ‘having’ choice and belief, but that the truth needs no faith.

Here is a more fluid reading (my rendition appropriate to ‘faith’) of the excerpt above:

One has to escape from objectivism, the idea of the true object, where objects exist ‘out there’ in the world and where the human being is likewise an object among objects of a true universe, the meaning of which allows for and maintains an absolutely true scheme that relates objects and establishes conventional reality. But also, one should not respond by falling into subjectivism, or the idea that reality stems from the individual thinker, or that whatever one believes is thus true, for this idea also fails to account for much of the aspects and activity of a social world.

Please note that Bourdieu is involved with a critique of anthropology and sociology, their theories and practices of approaching and analyzing cultures. Though his presentation is quite profound, I will not go into his particular argument here, except to say that his proposal is that one needs instead to look at practice, hence his book “The Logic of Practice”. At some point in the future I will discuss in more detail the relevance of his and others’ positions and activities. For now, his is a sufficient occasion to talk about faith.

In as much as Bourdieu proposes a solution of ‘practice’, I extract from his proposal and develop ‘faith’. The situation that he describes above, that one must “escape” from, represents how faith is constituted as reality. For my occasion toward meaning and in a manner of speaking, he is suggesting that what is necessary for truth is to relinquish ones faith in objectivism and subjectivism. It is not difficult to understand what a usual or common object is; we see them and interact with them every moment of our lives: the tree, the lamp, the box, the shirt, the person. What is not so easy is to see that these objects are not solute in knowledge, meaning, though they might be presented to knowledge, and may be re-presented by knowledge, such knowledge does not contain or correspond with any true object except that what is ‘true’ is likewise qualified or quantified to a ‘true’ meaning. What this means is that knowledge reflects only knowledge; it also means that what is at issue is where or how truth finds its ground, or its fundamental basis. Knowledge cannot, does not, ‘reach’ some ‘out there’ object, nor does the various qualities of such a true object (what can be known as an object “in-itself”, or what I call an “absolute true object”) influence knowledge or yield up information of itself that knowledge then ‘apprehends’ or ‘gains’ of it. Knowledge is not ‘knowledge of…’ so to speak. Admittedly, though, this concept seems to defy common sense, but it is apparent when one attempts to convey a truth without sensory confirmation, and without faith; hence, what is ‘common’ sense.

What we are dealing with here is a necessarily advocated separation of things in the world; we are dealing with what we see actually occurring in life and ones perception of life and the world. The method of theoretical reduction of reality to some ‘more real’ idea, such as Laruelle’s “Real” or “vision-in-One” as opposed to “reality”, is merely a situating of meaning based upon a presumption of the true object, and this yields nothing but a mythological ideology, as if one mythology might be better or more advanced or progressed than another. How is it possible for there to be a something more or less real? Despite all discursive gymnastics, only through relativity can we have a Real and then a reality, only in a world where terms are able to indicate something better than or worse than, ignorant and enlightened, essential as opposed to mundane: only in a world determined through a conventional methodology. To be more more precise, the issue is not of a discerning or discovering of (true) things based upon phrasing, clause or context, but quite the converse. It is not a mis-definition that gives us the mistake of belief in the true object, it is something infinitely more subtle and insidious: it concerns ones orientation upon the term; the issue has to do with a situating of terms for a designation of the object.

Bourdieu does an absolutely amazing job at putting into words the situation of reality as it pertains to this idea, how theoretical assertions fail, how exactly terms interact meaningfully, and how these issues resolve in, what he proposes, practice. Here, though, I am not so concerned with the particular discursive meanings of practice since we all practice every day. Our ‘inner’ thoughts and ‘outer’ physical activities are the manifestation of existence; so far as I am concerned, the world of practice just “Is”. The contemplations of what I shall do to day as well as how I actually do it as well as the thoughts about all this is commonplace, well worked and though interesting, not very significant. Things get done, I have my attitudes, my opinions, others have theirs – life goes on. But it is how one is oriented upon such ability to “practice” that is significant: it reveals ‘faith’, or how one is oriented upon reality.

Where it is possible for an absolutely true object to be correspondent with, or signify itself as, a person’s thought of it, there is faith, but also conventional reality. The theoretical reduction that would remove the incidence of meaning intended here, that would rebut again to reveal how “there is no absolutely true object”, has not grasped reality, but has asserted it; indeed, in that theoretical move, conventional faith has been restated. Such a faith is not of reflection, it is of direction; conventional faith is of the naive past toward a knowing of truth revealed as such, a superstitious past toward an ‘enlightened’ future. The direction is the conflation of sense and knowledge; the sensation combined with what ‘makes sense’, knowledge, amounts to the true object; so it is also with the ‘sensation’ based upon a ‘proper’ theoretical argument. The reflection that understands that the sensation only confers meaning through knowledge, and not along side of it or conspiratorially with it, is not in play for conventional reality: a TV is a TV, a doll is a doll, a tree a tree, a car a car, cells are cells, bricks bricks, a bird a bird, a dog a dog – a theory a theory – the assemblage or ‘world’ of such true objects, I call ‘conventional reality’, or simply ‘reality’. We should be not so concerned with some fundamental, more real, reality, which is to say concerned with how to describe (the true object called) reality for what it ‘really’ looks like, for this amounts to a metaphysical proposition; rather, our discussion here has to do with what is practical, what emerges as a result of ‘practicing the process’ life.

Absolute true objects rely on and are found by the possibility in equivocation of thought to the thing out there that is sensed and a subsequent negotiation with things out there or other; such objects rely not only on knowledge but on an indication – i say “tree” and i point over there and the person next to me sees the tree or touches it or smells it and nods “yes, i agree, that is a tree” and thereby we know that thing there is a tree in truth absolutely. By the term ‘absolute’ I mean to indicate an orientation one has upon reality, but this is difficult because in our discussion of faith there is no objective referential like a tree to point to; i can only describe situations from the occasioning of objects ( such as this ‘discursive’ object called faith). Again, even as I would argue the position that there are no absolutes, that such ideas gain their meaning as relation, which is to say, in the negotiation of meaning, i am arguing not only a truth, but i am asserting an absolute nature, aspect or thing of the universe, as if the universe has given me some piece of data or information of itself to my knowledge, as if the true one universe has relinquished or revealed itself to my knowledge. The irony of this situation cannot be overdetermined.

Conventional reality that rests upon the possibility of the absolutely true object is not true, but only true in knowledge; the reality that mistakes the ‘object of knowledge’ for the ‘knowledge of the (true) object’ is of faith. Only through knowledge can we know of what may be sense; the sense that orients sensation, as from the physical senses, that would distinguish it (sensation) from thought to show how they involve separate elements of stimuli and process, also uses such ideas to develop and reinforce the incorporated individual who is manifested, a human being, as a result of these elements. The idea is that thoughts can be distinguished from raw physical senses but the sense can influence thoughts and thoughts the senses, but that in fact they are intimately intertwined. The real human being is defined in reality and in this way is real. Hence, what i say is not real of the human being is that none of these situations can be recognized without knowledge, and thus knowledge is the total situation of being human. But, as pointed out, we should not take this to mean that we should look to subjectivity for the truth, as subjectivity usually denotes belief, not so much because, as Boudieu puts it, subjectivity fails to account for and actually avoids social contingencies, but rather because the rhetorical-theorietics of subjectivity is also informed by a particular orientation toward the true object, what I call the subject-object. We are thereby concerned with, and revealed unto, not the real subject, but rather, the true subject.

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I coin the phrase “faith makes true” to emphasize the difficulty of overcoming the mistake of (conventional) reality. Reality is qualified as such, as designating the arena of true things, because it is so prevalent and common: it is reality, the relations of things in reality are real. It seems frivolous and presumptuous to make a counter-distinction, as Laruelle does, and call his ‘the Real’, as if it is somehow more real than reality; it seems more consistent and logical to call a counter distinction “not real” – and this sensibility thus also re-emphasizes the difficulty of escaping the “realism of the structure”, as Bourdieu puts it above, since one inherently and apparently is bound to what is real, to reality, because the conventional methodology deems it real and true. Also, the ability to come upon ‘what has been chosen’ informs reality inso much as ‘one chooses’ of what may be come upon. In this the object, inanimate or animate, may behave and be interacted with the human being through the free act. Reality thereby confers upon the individual his situation as real in reference to what he may or may not have chosen of himself; thereby he may have illusions based in the choices he made and be brought back into reality. So it is that the conventional agent of faith is incapable and unwilling to relinquish what (to her or him) is true, because of his faith in the true object. Faith is sufficient for reality, but not for truth, and what is more real is only likewise of faith; nevertheless, the terms of reality are sufficient to convey the truth, but are not sufficient of themselves. The non-philosophical method itself is a sufficient philosophy, and can thereby pose some ‘more real’ reality (the Real), but it is insufficient to reveal the truth.

How can this be so?
What we have is a meaning of basic duality that precipitates from conventional duality, that is found through a simple doubting of everything; a precipitate that I call the conventional bias. The sufficient non-philosophy that would recourse to offer some progressed state of reality is rooted in bias. When what is needed to bring about such progression is needed, there is faith, because the hope is that what is sufficient for logic will be sufficient for the truth of progress; but alas, it is so difficult to relinquish ones faith.

Direct Tangent 5.31: Radical, Immanence and Faith.

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…

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This is a discussion of what may be ‘immanence’ and to this end, what may be ‘radical’, through an occasioning of non-philosophy.

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“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.”
Ibid. Laruelle.

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.

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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?

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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…