Direction 5.18: Recant and Reoccasion.

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:

https://53647d68-a-62cb3a1a-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/nsrnicek/DictionaryNonPhilosophy.pdf?attachauth=ANoY7coaPXFFbg2rrirj7f4YuacR_fpuh3ADXmiJjBgwOtD9RYyz9tCPvYW_Ajr8pyRsHCw6CToTWiqSCL9E4b4HOgPw1xI1J10qneAeVrrPIGKdvOcrgikqzY55Zzx7HIlsrqYwKburyOdKFJCPkK_UZ4RUHxUbZHkwb3-G-d57UdmFj-208t8J0H9u__0FTfXHn60cnph-5uBcvlK1T-FiEy99L7tf9Uobmg1f_N1obJtCjdGpvZ0%3D&attredirects=1

[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.

Tangent 4.12: Resonse to Mr. Adkins comment.

* * *

[This is an updated copy of my reply to Taylor Adkins comment on my previous post, Direction 4.10. Taylor Adkins has a WordPress site called “Fractal Ontology”‘ if anyone wants to check it out. There he has translated three or four of Laruelle’s essays on Non-Philosophy.]

Right off, I am not totally up on how all this interactive media intertwines, so far a commenting and answering and/ or knowing if the commenter gets the reply or what. So I will begin with doing it this way (actually replying and then also making the reply a new post) and then I will see what happens and then go from there.

Mr Adkins thank you. And, I was rude first so if you were rude that’s fine. I welcome critique in any form. Also, to what you pointed out, as to my “working through”, I will respond with Socrates, from ‘Protagoras’, in as much as I propose, that I do question:

“Do not imagine…that I have any other interest in asking questions…but that of clearing up my own difficulties.”

I appreciate how you rounded out your comment – but I do not think I have missed the point, and, at the end you add that you are not clear of my point.

You have brought up many valid, pertinent and correct observations. Indeed, I will endeavor to have a closer read of Laruelle. Perhaps I can suggest you read my earlier posts, since I am In the process of unfolding argument. In subsequent posts, I will address your points, and Laruelle’s, in more particular fashion.

I did not realize that You translated his work; I absolutely respect your ability and perspective. So I must assume that the discursive manifestation of your translation is a ‘best possible’ version; that is, that you did you best to remain true to not only what he is saying but also where possible his actual wording for English.

Thus
My position, as to Laruelle, and philosophers in general, is exactly this: is the wording – the high-speak jargon – necessary for what he is proposing? And, what, exactly, is he proposing?
And I say it is not; or, at least, it was necessary in so much as he had no other way to say it for his ability and situation, but also necessary so much as it has been presented to me to critique. So my blog, “Constructive Undoing” is an exploration of the possibilities of why it has been presented in the way is has been, as well, a rebuttal to what appears to be his meaning. In particular, I suggest that while he indeed marks a significant issue (the repetition involved in a discussion that sees itself making progress ), I am involved in the process of explicating the necessary results of his position: If his project contradicts these necessary ends, what does this (also) mean? It is not difficult given his premises, to derive the end run.

Also, if I have misconstrued what Laruelle is saying, it only goes to further my point: if what he is saying is significant, then why do I have to decipher it? What of Ocham’s Razor ((spelling?) if I can evoke this idea)? I submit that I can say as much with less jargon and be consistent with his premises, and if this be the case, then his jargonized presentation can be seen to uphold a type of privilege – despite himself – but not only that, a conventionally religious privilege, as if – as I have said – humanity is in a common effort toward the absolute truth of the universe, an effort that is subject to the economy of a division of labor, an ideologized religious structure of knowledge.

I also will take a better look at your essays; and please, if I comment and come off as rude, do not take it personal, for I do not; it is only in the spirit of truth, of learning, that I proceed.

Direction 4.10: Jargon, Bad Faith… Part 2

Since the previous post was rather long, and really could be seen as addressing different parts of the issue, I decided to re-post the second part of 4.5 as a part 2.

This part continues with my question of academic jargon, and shows how the jorgonizers are making things much too difficult. I have then to continue to ask, why?

*

Here is a bit of synopsis of Laruelle by another author

[Gabriel Alkon,1 Boris Gunjević2
1City University of New York, Baruch College, Department of English, 455 Fort Washington Avenue, US–10033 New York, NY
2Theological Faculty “Matija Vlačić Ilirik”, Radićeva 34, HR–10000 Zagreb gabriel_alkon@msn.com, boris.gunjevic@zg.htnet.hr]

PG. 213:

“According to Laruelle, the true event for philosophy is in fact the coordinated positing of relative and absolute, combined and separate, conditioned and unconditioned, as mutual presuppositions – there is no event apart from the philosophical “decision” that sets these oppositions in motion. This decision is the “proto-event”, which is the self-positing of philosophy as the discourse concerning the relation of the unconditioned to what it conditions, or of the transcendental to the given. This relation, which becomes an immediate unity in the event, is the presupposition that establishes philosophy’s adequacy to its other. The presumed correlation of actual being to a transcendental condi- tioning power is what allows philosophy to know itself through the other by moving beyond the other as given. It is the sheer being-given of what it knows that philosophy must resist; its skill is the derivation of the transcendental – the transcendental that is its unacknowledged presupposition. The event, which undoes the given in the immediate presence of its preconditions, is the true culmination of philosophy – the moment at which it need no longer depend on its objects, which are replaced by the transcendentals that are the preserve of philosophy alone.”

Now, my problem with Laruelle is primarily founded in the high-speak of philosophical jargon. Here is another author explicating what Laruelle has said and he cannot even remove himself from the necessary jargon. It is like a disease that is contagious, spread by the mere act of dense and vague verbosity, not even the person who is attempting to disseminate into, what I suppose is meant to be, simpler language, is able to tear himself away from the sickness, is not able to get simple. In simple but jargonized terms, the great thinkers who carry a philosophical plight with them that concerns being overdetermined, themselves are being and carrying on the overdeterminism that they are decrying. As I say: they are in bad faith in the effort to not be. And Laruelle, proposes a discursive method, a method of situating terms, by which he should be supposed to not be over-determining in the meaning he asserts.

Since I am not concerned with status, position or privilege, I find the truth of the matter in much simpler terms and thus come to a more solute ground of the issue (my wording nor word count does not have a dollar or a academic discursive value attached to its effort):

The issue is the term. Since the object can never be known in itself, we are left with only knowledge. Not knowledge of it the object, but only knowledge. Knowledge concerns the object, but because of its limitation (knowledge reflects only itself) the object thus likewise must be a condition of such knowledge, and not the converse. Such conditions designate reality according to discursive relations of meaning ( I will dispense with the Big-Name droppings since there is no profit in it in truth ), relations that correspond with Laruelle’s “coordinated positing”. Such relations cannot be known in themselves without, as Laruelle also finds, resting upon silent, or denied relations upon which the new relations are thus situated for their truth, and this is Laruelle’s philosophical “decision”. Thus, to be simple, we are not ever dealing with things in-themselves, but only terms; it is not that there may be such “decision” or “proto event”‘ but how one is oriented in knowledge toward those ‘things’. Terms are thus situated in consciousness and are revealed by the manner of their use by Beings as to their orientation upon existence- this orientation operative in the questions: Is the term equivalent to its object? Does the term express a true object? Does the Being see itself essentially integral with a common true reality designated by true objects that are conveyed through terms – what Laruelle calls “the world given to knowledge” ?

When we begin to understand the issue, we will see it is one of faith; in other words, terms always rely upon an ability to express absolute truths, an object in-itself, and thus implicate, in their role of expressing truth, a transcending element. Again: We are not therefore concerned here then with what the terms may be able to express so far as absolutely true objects, but whether or how one is so oriented upon the truth that is supposed to be expressed in such terms. Hence the polemical non-philosophical and philosophical projects – which I see as better expressed as ‘philosophical’ and ‘conventional- methodological’, respectively.

It appears that Laruelle in his efforts is like Sartre (and others) in that he is attempting to describe a true world. We may find over time and repeated returns to this type of philosophy ( or non-philosophy, as the case may be), that they are indeed giving us a comprehensive picture of reality as it is/was at the time of the position. We will have then another way to view reality in existence as another sort of style or fashion, and again be able to draw from the discourse (ala Laruelle) another overdetermined analysis and assertion of a true reality. So far, in as much as every expression is an exact reflection of existence at that moment, at least, we have Sartre’s description and now we have Laruelle’s, among a plethora of others.The problem is in their bad faith of being able to present a description of a real, true world; they end up only giving us a picture of a world that existed for a moment – but without the irony that would allow their proposal to give a picture of an eternally true world. It seems the history that fractal ontology, and other philosophies, rebuts is needing a little more time to fully realize its mythological basis.

* *

I am honored if indeed anyone has continued with me this far; I must assume that if you are still here then I have been speaking to the right person.

But chances are none have ventured this far… One is very hand to find; sometimes it takes a hundred and fifty years, or 2000, as the case may be.

Nevertheless, I have only to continue, regardless.

But right now, I’ve to go to the snack stand….

Direction 4.5: Jargon, Bad Faith and a brief explanation of the non-philosophical project, its problems and shortcomings.

The other problem with truth is that everyone already knows what is the truth. They encounter it everyday and what they know is sufficient for them to go through life with at least adequate contentment; the rest they can invest in church or their respective church-like elements of their lives.

*

I came off rather strong in that last post. If I have offended anyone’s sense of truth or reality then I have struck something significant with you. It then either beckons you to a question of your reaction or to a denial of the offending proposition.

Anyways, I have only to continue. Here is a sound byte of an author taking about what non-philosophy may be.

(I hope this link is a good link to a 7 minute spoken introduction to a book about non-philosophy that just came out. )
*
It is possible that some readers may have noticed a paradoxical aspect of my presentation. Somehow I disagree with Laruelle but yet in that I am discussing his ideas I appear to agree with him. In particular, I have pointed out that his use of jargon is contradictory to what should seem to be a humanistic effort; as well, I have accused him of being in bad faith. But I do agree that there is a generally “unrecognized” arena or basis of knowledge that is ignored or denied; this is the reason I can speak to his project: because I am addressing the significant issue, and not so much (yet) the veracity of his position.

I should make a distinction in terms between Laruelle’s and my own. Laruelle has coined ‘non-philosophy’ to distinguish his proposal from ‘philosophy’; I propose that what most people consider philosophy is not philosophy but what i call ‘conventional methodology’. Hence, his Non-Philosophy is what I consider as Philosophy, and what he points at and rebuts that he calls Philosophy, I call Conventional Methodology, because it functions the same as any other effort to solve problems between things. He has relinquished a quality of term to the masses so that he just thus frames Non-Philosophy to oppose what has been commandeered and called philosophy.

Ironically, I might say that another reason he uses such “high” jargon is so he might not offend anyone, so he might be thus able to (finally) implement or explain sufficiently the truth of the matter and thus gain some other honest seekers, but it is this futile effort that explains more thoroughly the issue at hand and the phenomenon of bad faith.

The distinction that both of us have come upon has not until somewhat recently (within the past couple hundred years maybe, but particularly in the past hundred – but maybe 4000! ) been noticed, or at least not in institutional or conventional discussion. The problem is located in the assumption of common effort, which is the idea that everyone who might be considering things is human and thus are involved in the same problems and solutions that collectively are known as progress. Nietzsche and Kierkegaard were the first to notice this problem, but they were caught likewise in the assumption: they still thought that people, once shown the truth, would thereby change; but this never happens because either no one cares or because they already know what is true. Again, what was clearly delineated in both their works as a break, a polemic, was and is taken up in conventional methodology, or philosophy, to be allegorical; as if K and N were really speaking of and to “individuals”, that their discussions were aimed at everyone so the individual might consider ‘new insights into existence as a human being’ – because conventional-methodological philosophy cannot have essential difference, it must reduce everything back into its common generality. I submit that such insight is entirely wrong, a misappropriation of meaning from what Laruelle would call non-philosophical, what I would call true philosophy, into philosophy, or what I would call conventional methodology. It is correct, of course, to the extent or in the belief as one is oriented in their Being towards a absolutely true, one, single, reality: as one is of an unquestioned faith.

The assumption of common effort is what Laruelle identifies as an understanding of a world given to knowledge: the understanding which philosophy ( I will now stick with Laruelle’s usage ) takes as its ground and purpose, a progress of and towards truth, a progress that Laruelle has eloquently debunked. Yet, it is also where religion gains its purpose. We should see that Laruelle is being strategic in his presentation; he is applying discursive tactics by focusing his attack on philosophy: the analysis and construction of the basic methodological approach for conventional thinking upon being human and existence (ontology and epistemology). But indeed such a critique and commentary cannot be confined without becoming that which it decries. As i have already indicated, conventional methodology behaves as a religion, functions through faith, and develops history along particular lines of control and power. If Laruelle truly sees his effort as particular to philosophy and not to reality in general, then in one instance at least, he is in bad faith. But this kind of bad faith is only of a lower type, and the more significant is being developed here.

* *

The description of the situation is only made available with or through the understanding that I have come upon, the understanding that Laruelle seems to expound. Yet we have merely come upon and agreed upon the issue; where we diverge is at his excessive and overtly positive asserting – because this seems to necessitate jargon. This is my third explanation for his excessive jargon. Laruelle is fixated upon reconciling the discrepancies of reality, and in so doing, I fear, he is really venturing no further than the philosophy he is supposedly critiquing. The positivity – that is to say, the orientation upon a one reality that attempts to describe a completeness, or total explanation of what occurs or is occurring – that Laruelle is involved in mimics Sartre: his description is so considerate of positive, historical possibility – even while describing it away in meta-synthesis – it seems plausible and credible.

*

Here is a bit of synopsis of Laruelle by another author

[Gabriel Alkon,1 Boris Gunjević2
1City University of New York, Baruch College, Department of English, 455 Fort Washington Avenue, US–10033 New York, NY
2Theological Faculty “Matija Vlačić Ilirik”, Radićeva 34, HR–10000 Zagreb gabriel_alkon@msn.com, boris.gunjevic@zg.htnet.hr]

PG. 213:

“According to Laruelle, the true event for philosophy is in fact the coordinated positing of relative and absolute, combined and separate, conditioned and unconditioned, as mutual presuppositions – there is no event apart from the philosophical “decision” that sets these oppositions in motion. This decision is the “proto-event”, which is the self-positing of philosophy as the discourse concerning the relation of the unconditioned to what it conditions, or of the transcendental to the given. This relation, which becomes an immediate unity in the event, is the presupposition that establishes philosophy’s adequacy to its other. The presumed correlation of actual being to a transcendental condi- tioning power is what allows philosophy to know itself through the other by moving beyond the other as given. It is the sheer being-given of what it knows that philosophy must resist; its skill is the derivation of the transcendental – the transcendental that is its unacknowledged presupposition. The event, which undoes the given in the immediate presence of its preconditions, is the true culmination of philosophy – the moment at which it need no longer depend on its objects, which are replaced by the transcendentals that are the preserve of philosophy alone.”

Now, my problem with Laruelle is primarily founded in the high-speak of philosophical jargon. Here is another author explicating what Laruelle has said and he cannot even remove himself from the necessary jargon. It is like a disease that is contagious, spread by the mere act of dense and vague verbosity, not even the person who is attempting to disseminate into, what is suppose is meant to be, simpler language, is able to tear himself away from the sickness, is not able to get simple.

Since I am not concerned with status, position or privilege, I find the truth of the matter in much simpler terms and thus come to a more solute ground of the issue (my wording nor word count does not have a dollar or a academic discursive value attached to its effort):

The issue is the term. Since the object can never be known in itself, we are left with only knowledge. Not knowledge of it the object, but only knowledge. Knowledge concerns the object, but because of its limitation (knowledge reflects only itself) the object thus likewise must be a condition of such knowledge, and not the converse. Such conditions designate reality according to discursive relations of meaning ( I will dispense with the Big-Name droppings since there is no profit in it in truth ), relations that correspond with Laruelle’s “coordinated positing”. Such relations cannot be known in themselves without, as Laruelle also finds, resting upon silent, or denied relations upon which the new relations are thus situated for their truth, and this is Laruelle’s philosophical “decision”. Thus, to be simple, we are not ever dealing with things in-themselves, but only terms; it is not that there may be such “decision” or “proto event”‘ but how one is oriented in knowledge toward those ‘things’. Terms are thus situated in consciousness and are revealed by the manner of their use by Beings as to their orientation upon existence- this orientation operative in the questions: Is the term equivalent to its object? Does the term express a true object? Does the Being see itself essentially integral with a common true reality designated by true objects that are conveyed through terms – what Laruelle calls “the world given to knowledge” ? When we begin to understand the issue, we will see it is one of faith; in other words, terms always rely upon an ability to express absolute truths, an object in-itself, and thus implicate, in their role of expressing truth, a transcending element. Again: We are not therefore concerned here then with what the terms may be able to express so far as absolutely true objects, but whether or how one is so oriented upon the truth that is supposed to be expressed in such terms. Hence the polemical non-philosophical and philosophical projects – which I see as better expressed as ‘philosophical’ and ‘conventional- methodological’, respectively.

It appears that Laruelle in his efforts is like Sartre in that he is attempting to describe a true world. We may find over time and repeated returns to this type of philosophy ( or non-philosophy, as the case may be), that they are indeed giving us a comprehensive picture of reality as it is/was at the time of the position. We will have then another way to view reality in existence as another sort of style or fashion. So far, in as much as every expression is an exact reflection of existence at that moment, at least, we have Sartre’s description and now we have Laruelle’s. The problem is in their bad faith of being able to present a description of a real, true world; they end up only giving us a picture of a world that existed for a moment – but without the irony that would allow their proposal to give a picture of the eternally true world.
* *

I am honored if indeed anyone has continued with me this far; I must assume that if you are still here then I have been speaking to the right person.

But chances are none have ventured this far.

Nevertheless, I have only to continue, regardless.

But right now, I’ve to go to the snack stand….

Direct Tangent 4.4: science and faith.

The main problem in finding the truth is that no one cares about the truth. And, even if one may, the usual outcome is that truth is located in two arenas of knowledge, found through their respective methodologies, science and culture, that reflect only a temporary-momentary truth called theory , or as a theory is played out time and time again and so confirmed, law, or tradition-dependent truth, which likewise develops law. The two are situated into arenas that may function exclusively but also cooperate. In other words, there is no ‘absolute’ truth, but only ‘relative’ truth except that the absolute truth of the matter is that there is only negotiated, or relative truth.

But indeed, I had a periodic and lengthy discussion with someone over just this feature of truth. His position was that there is an absolute truth but we just don’t know what it is yet, that science is in the process of uncovering the absolute truth of the universe. Further, he says, that we cannot know if what we know now is even a portion of this absolute truth, but through science, in the future, we will sort this out; for example, the theory of plate tectonics. He would say that the theory of plate tectonics is absolutely true, that indeed there are continental plates that float on a layer of magma, etc…

I countered that with Stephen Hawking’s idea that what we know as truth is really a scheme of truth based upon models, and that these models seem to work for practical solutions of apparent problems. I am not sure if Hawking would say that there is as absolute truth out there that we seek in science, I think he would be content with merely saying that there is a truth out there that we uncover through our investigations, but it is a human truth, and such truth is limited in its nature but it is all we can know, that there may be more to the universe than our knowledge, but we can never know it.

I do not stop on one side of things and proclaim it for the other; I say that such ideas, both my counterpart and Hawking’s, are based in faith, that this faith lends itself to a particular kind or scheme of knowledge, and that this scheme is intimately linked with the ethical standpoint of action, as this ethics develops a humanity to a particular kind of reality; a reality which is inherently false. That is, reality is inherently mythological at its base, and in so reflects only itself upon the unfolding of existence: it is not true, but only true in negotiation.

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I was watching a show the other night called something like “Steven Hawking’s: the purpose of existence”, or something like that. The grand culmination is, after going through all the theoretical physics and nifty science facts, after the tip of the ‘model’ limit of knowledge (above) and using the model idea to indicate, as counterpoint, the individual realities that go on inside of each of us, that, thus, we all make our own realities, and the purpose of existence is the individual’s.

Umm; what ? Such a platitudinous regurgitation of modern new age spiritual science seems hardly worthy of one of the supposed Big Minds of our day. I could only think that the poor guy must need money, or Cambridge does; I’m sure someone does, because if all the Big Minds can come up with after all this science, thinking and formulating and discussing, is that each individual creates his or her own reality and purpose for that reality – with such an act of statement they have moved from scientists into priesthood, so presumptuous they are to proclaim that their science has even taken one step into or toward investigating what they have proclaimed truth upon: it is an act of utter religious flagrancy and pomposity – indeed; the Big Minds have done nothing but propagate their faith, as evidenced by Hawking’s move here. Utter small mindedness hiding itself in grandiose bias.

What I am saying is that if i have come upon the truth of the matter, or at least the beginning of it, maybe there will be people who will investigate with open minds what the truth may actually be; but i doubt it, becuase the great thing is, no one or hardly anyone cares so faithful they are. It is the story of the ages.

* *

So back to what i see includes Laruelle in this whole thing.
Science does contribute; philosophy, now, is a wing of science, or at least tries to be; Laruelle sees this. I cannot comment right now as to what he sees as following from his project, but if he is to remain consistent, the project can only propose necessary outcomes.

Hence, I proceed.

The problem of science is that even if it is a model that grants humans a working truth, humanity and scientists such a Hawking, do not go about life as if it is a model; they go about life as if it is absolutely true. Hence a reiteration of what I propose above: the faithful humanity, guided by the priests of science (among other priests) views itself and determines its worth ‘individually’ with reference to this truth of science. It likewise cannot help but see itself in the reflection of scientific dictates, in particular, psychology. Psychology proposes to describe the true human psyche and everyone sees him or herself through a lens described by psychology. It is not difficult to see that if I am having a view of myself as a reflection of the science of psychology, as my mind may work in various ways, I immediately have self worth or not in view of the truth of psychology which is admittedly only a model of the truth – I am going to have problems that I cannot but describe either as stemming from a spiritual or psychological malady. It is no wonder that our most popular forms of spirituality and religion have to do with aligning oneself with some transcendent god or gods or what have you. Science, and by extension, psychology, creates the necessity for a transcendent entity by the contradiction involved in science being itself a model, the model being a basis for actual and absolute (relative) truth, and the assertion of individual realities – such a formula allows for the individual that hardly “knows thyself” because the self, in faith, is always relegated to the mysterious individual of free will.

Yet, this is not to say that such a faith based in a methodology of acting, of action, does not contribute, but it does so in the arena of social justice. (See my post on Feminism.)
* * *

So I must describe Laruelle as a passivist. Not a pacifist, but a passivist as opposed to an activist. What I mean by this is not that he is a pussy or that he has no principles that he will stand up for. I do not mean that he does not behave from a general standpoint of propriety or that he won’t punch someone who crosses that line. I do not mean that there aren’t things worth advocating actively. What I mean is, in so much as i understand what Laruelle is saying, I cannot escape from the position where every problem that involves the individual reduces to one answer, so I am unable to address myself ethically to solve one problem wholeheartedly without also addressing other problems that naturally and inevitably concern the initial problem. This does not mean that Laruelle or I do not live life and address problems; rather, such problems have already been solved by their reduction to one solution, which is my being consistent with myself in existence – and I am thereby activated.

On the other hand, we have the co-conspirator in the project: the activist.

The activist sees each problem as being solvable, at least potentially, and the hope that accompanies the activity of solving each problem is justified in the ethical default that at least one tried to solve that problem even though its solution may then present, lead to or have caused more problems. The activist is thereby passive, in that they pass by the aggregate of the world, the world which is inevitably the activist itself, for the sake of solving one problem, and in remaining active despite its own deficiency in solution, the activist finds itself in the solution of other.

Together, the activist and the passivist join in active praxis through their natures of having an ability to confront ignorance; ignorance is seen by both as the antithesis of an ethical human existence. The passivist confronts what ignorance there may be for the individual human itself by refusing to stop himself or herself at their own belief, and thereby the passivist might become an unbiased and un-violenced representative instrument of existence. The activist confronts ignorance by questioning others from the perspective of an ethical righteousness that takes its form from an initial individual reflection of service, which gains from an impetus toward a common human social justice.

Ok. Now before I get into the more juicy parts of the meal, Im taking a coffee break. We will return after these important messages…..

IDirection 3.20: The summary of Francois Laruelle’s Non-Philosophy, with further commentary.

The Direct Tangents of Constructive Undoing deals with the explanation of non-philosophy. In regular circumstance, this link would have been posted at the beginning of Constructive Undoing, but this is highly irregular, so, here is the link ( or at least the address, since it may not have transcribed the active link) to Laruelle’s own summary of non-philosophy:

Click to access laruelle_pli_8.pdf

That is the official summary. The Direct Tangents reflect a process of coming to terms with Non-Philosophy, since, what non-philosophy is is really part of the issue of figuring out how Francois Laruelle has situated his terms upon the point of contention. This post addresses the meaning of non-philosophy as a step in this process; Constructive Undoing is the revealing of the limitations of non-philosophical principles through aphilosophy. Please see my subsequent posts.

With that, here we are at an early phase of coming to terms.

Right off, I dare anyone to read the link and say ‘”wow, that was so clear as day; his meaning is so apparent”. Occasions aside; someone say that and then tell me what he is saying; that is, read it, understand it and then convey to me in regular language what he is saying. Please leave me a comment. The words appear to be simply laid, but as one reads the ideas seem to get tangled up somewhere. Even as one attempts to wrap their head around his concepts, it becomes difficult to really get ahold of what he is saying.

Now, my issue is why did he use such ridiculously dense and opaque language? I have to ask, why the Greek words? I have to open a dictionary and encyclopedia just to figure out the meanings of those words and then i have to ask why didn’t he just use the French, or in translation, English words. And what’s up with this ‘radical’ business? Its like I’d have to study his works or something, but, as I have been informed, not only that, I would have to study philosophy first in order to really understand him.

A question of mine that aggravates or disrupts this traditional method is: How is it that I understood him at first reading? But first, the more mundane or simple consideration, one that approaches non-philosophy from it’s ‘first’ stage, that of the usual subject-object duality.

I have stated my opinions earlier, but one more easily gotten reason is that it is because he is talking to academic or intellectual-ized idiots. Now, here I now reach: To back pedal; i do not mean that these people are stupid or unintelligent, I mean only to refer to a tendency for pomposity. Though in many cases the regular meaning might apply, here I prefer the ancient Greek, roughly in the sense of “one alone” or “ones own person”, and I extrapolate this to our issue: as one might will himself into the community, and thereby resemble Jean-Paul Sartre’s picture of the waiter as an analogy for ‘bad faith’, he thereby remains an ‘individual’ alone and separated: an idiot. Of course, idiocy abounds everywhere, but one must suppose that he is primarily speaking to an audience of academics. What I mean is, many of the people who would be interested in non-philosophy are so caught up in terms of privilege (read: educated jargon) that even the academics don’t know what they are saying beyond the jargon. They are actually speaking a language the meaning of which they cannot reduce to actual life; they are speaking of such high matters that practical application to being human and human knowledge has no baring in their purpose, except maybe in the sense of poetry. Yet, the idiocy is because it doesn’t matter; they are making a living or establishing a position or identity speaking this way and so it doesn’t matter if what they are saying makes any sense. In fact, it only makes sense because they are establishing an identity and or making a living doing it. Because they then have an identity by their jargonizing, their nonsense is very important, and the proof of this is they take no criticism from non-academics or people who may not appropriate the jargon, because they are ‘educated’ royalty who have worked so hard that they deserve to talk about nothing because it is very important – and because in many cases, all those other identical based thinkers turn to them for their great skill at thinking (such philosophy I call methodology because it has to do with coming up with methods based in an assumption of ethics that is invisible) all the more confirming to their own sense of propriety that they indeed – yup – are making quite a valuable and significant contribution to the world. As well; one can tell how important a person is by how many people they listen to; the deaf ear is a cultivated aspect of a truly skilled and deserving member of aristocracy. At least, this is most of them; Laruelle, I have found, is one of the exceptions, maybe. (See my earlier post.)

Anyways; to me what he is saying is clear, and the jargon does not hinder the conveyance; so I attempt to make clear in Direct Tangents his most significant contribution for the rest who do not have the patience or gumption to wade through his pudding, but who nevertheless would like to venture toward the truth of the matter. He is saying that we can know ‘more’ than what we think we can know, and that reality is larger than what we know as knowledge of typical reality, and – and this is key – and this atypical and unusual knowledge can be known. There; how clear is that ? Maybe about as clear as a sink full of dishes in dirty, soapy water? We might begin to get a glimpse of the problem before us then, as well as why Laruelle’s language appears illusively simple yet confoundingly dense: we cannot rest upon metaphysical or spiritual conventions.

See, many of the academics, intellectuals and philosophers who think they understand him really do not. But that’s ok because we really are only half way to seeing what the necessary implications of non-philosophy are. And a quarter the way, here, we find that the consideration of understanding is a mute point for Non-Philosophy, that it only goes off of what people who think they understand reiterate back in their involvement with the Project. The significance here is that we have to wonder about two parallax ideas: is any communication taking place, and then, what or what kind of communication is occurring. But see: these questions do not run into each other, they no not stem from either of each other to the other. They are parallel ideas that do not combine to coalesce, except in that their separation allows for the combination of meaning intended. (And again I have explained what a ‘parallax’ might be in the context of its description: two entities which are separate but which nevertheless combine to create a single impression or meaning. This meaning is gained through the converse of the definitional meaning; which is: a displacement of apparent position depending upon line of sight. )

Then again, some may just understand him. But there is only one position that has any barring upon the non-philosophical project: those who may understand it and yet disagree with it. In this case, we have two possibilities. Either they understand and merely confirm the point of what they disagree with, and thereby set themselves in a state of self-contradiction that they are in situ – that is, in their situation being as they are right then (see, I clarified my Latin (Latin ??)) – in denial of, and thereby confirm the situation whereby non-philosophy gains its credence. In this case, any rebuttal is a tragedy, since its so obviously comic efforts would be wasted on the seriousness of the rebuttal. Or, they understand and thereby set themselves in an apparent contradiction that they do not deny and are thus in a position to rebut non-philosophy. In both, one has to doubt the question of whether communication is occurring, and then figure just where, from what orientation, this question is coming from; this is an indication that we have to step aside in to another tangent, for someone somewhere is failing in the attempt to find truth, since he or she may have already invested the truth in relativity, which is to say, invested in denial. And, if they do not see this irony – that they cannot understand how there could be no communication, and yet they have not been communicated to through reading my posts – then I can only say that my proposition is true (Laruelle is in bad faith by the presentation of non-philosophy) and their doubt, again, is orientatively and concordantly wrong. But then I have to consider if a tangent on this point is even worth the compassion, since those I would be attempting to educate or enlighten have already decided against finding the truth of the matter, so accustomed and acclimated to darkness they have become. Yet, if there be light, what a comedy this has been!

We will see what post forms in the intermission.
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For a more thorough addressing of the issue at hand, check out “Non-philosophy and Aphilosophy”.  Avaliable in eBook here: Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Direct Tangent: 3.14

Somehow we have to get to the point of this whole matter. Physicists,I understand, have discovered the Higgs boson particle; which is, if I am correct, the ‘Higgs’ boson, as opposed to some other type of boson; I figure some guy named Higgs predicted that there should be this particular kind of particle – and now they have found one. It has something to do with being responsible for matter.

Now, I am no physicist, but I do understand one thing: I cannot possibly understand what a boson really is unless I’m a physicist. I can only estimate for my thinking – but I should be careful because any further postulatizing I might do about the boson will be based upon my near complete misunderstanding and so would be most likely false. As far as I know, there are particles that have no qualities about them except that they have a sensible effect somehow, and that these particles ( I have to keep in mind that though they call them particles they are in no way like a grain of sand or a cracker crumb on the floor) combine in such a way as to allow for parts of an atom that eventually (in theory anyway: in the theory that involves me using the term ‘eventually’ as if to imply a temporal movement that occurs out of time and only in the logical linkage of thoughts) become particles in the way I typically think of them: having mass and energy, occurring uncertainly as a wave in one instance and a particle proper in the next – but really at the same time.

*

Now, I’m using this example to attempt to indicate what Laruelle is proposing. He is proposing that there is something beyond our ability to have particular knowledge about, as to quality, of which we can only have knowledge about that it must be there. He is saying that there is a knowable aspect, if you will, of being human, that informs ones ability to know things, and because this aspect informs what can be known, it is not knowledge of the same quality as that of knowledge proper, that is, what we typically understand as knowledge and the object. By this move, Laruelle is indicating a distinction of knowledges.

But in order to make this distinction, one has to speak very carefully – and even then we still get the more keen observers who do wade through his rhetoric and ask him: ” how do you know this”. In as much a Laruelle is framing the possibility of reality by his distinction, he simply answers: “because it is real”.

Who is being the smart-ass? Is it the question or the answer ?

See, the question is asking: if knowledge is knowledge, is what we know, then how can you know of something apart from knowledge ? In other words: isn’t then such knowledge merely more knowledge? So they say: ” How do you know this.”

But then Laruelle’s answer, part of the postulates of Non-Philosophy, is the distinction; he proposes it by the evidence that knowledge ( which he limits and delineates as ‘philosophy’, in order to specify and example by confining his attack to a noticeable and specific target) never gains its object, in fact, it keeps arguing and asserting the same premises, objectives and conclusions under different terms. So, for one, there has to be something else, that can only be called knowledge, that is able to notice this fact: This noticing must be of a knowledge that is somehow apart from the rhetoric which it recognizes. Laruelle thus says: “Because it is real”, meaning because it makes sense logically, but also because he knows it prior to logic.

.

If one does not see Laruelle’s argument that philosophy repeats itself, then that one will rebut to Laruelle: how do you know this? Because such a one is caught up in the progress that is asserted by thoughtful problem solving, he thereby sees that there is nothing outside of knowledge and so Laruelle’s proposition too is but a situating of knowledge – and a situating that is incorrect, to boot, because it indicates a contradiction of terms, and contradiction indicates fallacy, falsity. Yet, ironically, it is the veracity of this argument that gives Non-Philosophy it’s credence.

* * *

For now, I will let the irony try to work its magic, and will return with more later.

Tangent 3.1: Feminism

Readers may be confused by my comment on feminism, like it came out of nowhere and then was shanghai’d and made into a strange, over-milked form. That’s ok; I intend to be clear, so I should take a moment to explain terms that perhaps are not widely understood. Also, I should be clear that what I am describing some may consider just one aspect of what feminism is, a narrow aspect, but I believe that no feminist worth his or her weight will discount my presentation here. ( And I do invite critique.)

In the common world of everyday, feminism means about the same as women’s rights, except maybe a little more hardcore. A feminist of this sort maybe has become a sort of stereotype, maybe wears her hair short, but maybe not; maybe she tends toward more traditionally masculine jobs such as tree trimming or the trades, or maybe is driven to achieve in business and become a CEO, maybe she is just one who is sensitive for typical traditional Western manners such as holding a door for a woman or letting her in first. Maybe, even, she is homosexual. But also maybe – and this could be the most modern form of common feminism – she is none of these. Maybe she is a he: men can be feminists too (but not really, because they are men – wink, wink, nudge, nudge). At minimum, though, feminism is usually associated with advocating for women.

Yes; feminism most assuredly arose from the problem of women as second citizens. But feminism is not just about women’s rights. Feminism proper (and I use this ‘proper’ as a designating term of propriety, of what an end-run of analysis would bring) sees itself more as a praxis. As I explained in an earlier post, praxis can be said to be an alignment of knowledge, thought and activity into effective practice; feminists and social activists like the term ’empowerment’. Feminism thus usually concerns social arenas of human interaction, but especially uses of power.

Feminism is rooted primarily in critical thinking, and along with this, discourse. One of the basic ideas that was brought out by feminism was or is, what can be called, ideological encoding. What this means is that power is supported just as much, if not more so, through talking as it is through physical force. Power is encoded into how we speak of reality, and is developed and maintained as a manner of speaking about what is true, and what is ethically correct; this latter part forms what is called ideology. Such encoded structures of power are called discourse. Feminism arises as marginalized, or oppressed people, people who do not or have little say in what they are to do in life, begin to question what it is that keeps them down. Feminists have thereby equipped themselves with the tools to subvert unjust wielding of power. They see that every discourse has an implicit agenda, and their role is to uncover what this agenda is and how it functions in the ideological reality for the maintenance of power. Much of feminist critique concerns how such discourse occludes itself, or hides its mechanisms, from a notion of power as a part if its effect, so the other half of feminist praxis is to awaken subjects of power, to educate them, the oppressed, to their actual situation within ideological power structures.

*

I mostly agree with feminist intent, though sometimes I think it is over applied.

My comment on feminism in the previous post concerns the implicit and explicit concerns of feminism and how, though they do often and mainly serve well for what can be known as ‘the good’, they tend to convey a limitation of this good founded in social justice, as if justice and fairness is the end, that one then can go on their marry way content that they have been empowered and achieved freedom in its most ideal and essential sense. My complaint is with the ideological structure in which feminism finds its true reality. For if the end run is indeed freedom and justice, once found through social action, they can not be taken as a Mercedes Benz that one has worked so long and saved up for, the prize having arrived. While they are noble things for which we must establish stalwart boundaries to guard against that which would more crassly and overtly impinge upon such freedom and justice, once established we must be obliged by such earned luxury to renounce it as individuals. We owe it to what is known as history not to become spoiled and lax, but to continue fearlessly into the void that is left inside the barricades, that we love, the void called freedom. We should not waste it on selfishly created despair and harbor together in support against the cold, gathering chemicals to ease us and things to appease us, sick minds to comfort us. We need continue onward. This is what I say.

Thank god for the feminist infantry who man the lines; but what they offer is not the goal, it is just the beginning.

Direct Tangent 3.1: Appropriation of the Rhetoric of Power, part 2

There is a book called “Castes of Mind” by a man maned Dirks. It is an historical analysis and critique of 19th century English colonialism through an overtly cultural difference, caste, and how this feature of Indian culture was dealt with both by the English in an attempt to rule, and the Indians attempting to assert cultural autonomy and agency. I do not remember what his argument is beyond a picture of this interaction, but what I inferred from his presentation was this idea of appropriation of rhetoric, what feminists and modern theorists and activists call, but from a slightly but significantly different view, ‘hegemonic discourse’. Dirks is giving us a picture of how ideology asserts itself through a process of discourse, where those who have the power, in the case of colonialism in India: England ( but colonialism in general), dictate the terms of the cultural negotiation upon the colonized, namely, the indigenous Indians. The scheme or group of terms and their definitional relations are seen as a mechanism or tool of asserting power (read: violence) upon those who are colonized, and, as a very light definition, this is called ‘hegemony’.

What this means is that those in power bring the terms by which those not in power may be allowed to exist. And this is literally the case. Dirks paints a picture of how this really means for us that people are permitted to exist through discourse. One example (keep in mind I am not doing a research paper here; I am merely recalling the book from memory – one can easily look up the book for themselves if interested) he gives is about some Indian ritual. If I remember correctly, Dirks is drawing his analysis from written material of the time of the events, from various sources. The significant point here, is that the English there had trouble making sense of it. When they would ask the locals what was going on, or their feelings about it or the reason behind it, the English had no context by which to understand them. The Indians were effectively silent; they could not be heard: they effectively did not exist. Because of this, the English could only act upon the events through the understanding they had, which was total misunderstanding. The English, because of their position of power, were righteous in their view, having little or no ability to understand that they perhaps did not understand the Indian context: the Indian context was exactly what the English thought it was. Thus, the Indian context, the reason and meaning of the ritual in this case, was ultimately written by the English. The Indians, in an effort to establish their cultural legitimacy thus, in various ways and circumstances, developed a position in relation to what the English were saying, and doing, and in this way the Indians began to exist, for if they did not respond to such rhetoric in that fashion, they would in effect ‘remain silent’, and would thus be forced, physically, existentially, out of existence.

This is the typical feminist reading, analysis and comment upon such a situation; there are many such analyses upon various cultural contexts. The feminists propose to reconcile this hegemony, to balance this abuse of power and infringement of human autonomy and rights, by advocating that the colonized people, whether it be women, blacks, Hispanics, Argentinians, Koreans, hair dressers, union workers, or what, raise their voices, as the Indians did, by asserting themselves actively into the discourse, what one could call, the priority discourse, or the discourse of power, what i call a ‘rhetoric of power’ for reasons I will develop later.

What I am saying is a critique of such feminist rhetoric. The Feminists say that one needs to appropriate the hegemonic discourse, so that there is enacted thereby a shift in power, so it loses its effective hegemony. See, hegemony is read to imply agenda that is not recognized or approved of by those who are the subjects of the hegemony. But I suggest that what occurs is not that the people are empowered to their agency, but rather, they themselves become subject of the rhetoric of power such that they then too get to partake in the spoils of – what has developed out of – the hegemony, of colonialism. The people who appropriate the priority discourse lose their identity as individual cultural agents, and instead become, as Paulo Freire might agree ( maybe, but his was not at this level of critique), oppressed: involved in the game of oppression, both the oppressor and oppressed likewise caught in play. The oppressed, who learn the ways of the oppressor, become acculturated such that they are rewarded for their complicity, and thereby sustain the game of oppression. Neither have enacted a true free agency, neither have come upon praxis; both are oppressed.

* *

This is the position Laruelle appears to be presenting, the position I present here. Laruelle has appropriated the rhetoric of power, the priority discourse, in order to present his minority view, which is exactly silent – but as opposed to the movement of feminist-colonialist theoretics, which present the possibility of pushing agencies out of real existence by virtue of the establishing reality of the hegemonic (priority) discourse. And, it is because of this feature of his proposing Non-Philosophy within or by the priority discourse that he appears to be in Bad Faith.

It is thus the explicating of this appearance that is my task at hand here. The existence Laruelle proposes is exactly real opposed to the reality of the rhetoric of power.

Tangent: Bad Faith, part 2

So what is really going on? According to the lowest common meaning, everyone is in bad faith until they realize that they have nothing to lose and so then they get on with maximizing their potential to basically do what they want, or exercise their passion. While this may seem a great out for ‘living the dream’, I say that if this is a great summary of what Sartre took many many more words to say then Sartre was small minded and hardly deserving the credit given him as a big name philosopher – moreso, if we can truly agree with the adage that the more popular something is, the more likely it is of low significance and value and probably really sucks, then maybe there is something behind his big name: he was telling the world exactly what they want to hear, and backed up by the great academy to boot! (Or, he said exactly what only could be said at the time!)

One could say that such an existential take is nothing less than another conventional religion. Another system by which to classify and justify one’s placement in the world. Another out, another excuse to avoid the fact of existence.

But now we are getting somewhere. When we begin to understand the confining and ubiquitous quality of religious type propositions, of un-analyzed ideas by which we support our identity as human beings, we just might be coming upon a glimpse of the issue here.

Laruelle is indeed onto something; he has called his project ‘non-philosophy’ and it has to do with an indicating, a designating of philosophy. In my last post, I dared so much as to imply that the effort of philosophy is in bad faith; in fact, I do not exceptionalize philosophy, I call it what it is and include it in the motion of the general idea of thought itself as represented in human communication: I say it is part of the general human rhetoric: I call it conventional methodology. Yet here is Laruelle claiming a non-philosophy – and I say ( unflinchingly ) that Laruelle, too, is in bad faith by his proposition.

I must be some kind of nut. I have said earlier that the problem I have with Laruelle is his excessive use of jargon. As well, the reason why I decry his is not his proposition: it is that he cloaks it, apparently for a select few of jargonesque status. And this is because I can say as much in simple terms. What is significant in this exchange (albeit one-sided at this point) is that my ability to know what he is suggesting did not arise through any intensive studying or deciphering of philosophical or cultural critical/ theoretical texts. ( I admit that, at this point at least, I gather he has been a career academic and that I do not really know what his process has been.) I know what he is saying because it is apparent to me. There was no organized class of information or presentation by which I was informed of the issue: I found the issue because of my experience. I comment and/or rebut authors because I understand whether they understand the issue by seeing how they organize their terms.

The truth of the matter is not then, any longer, the issue, but the putting into terms the truth of the matter. So when we begin to comprehend what is occurring in reality, we begin to get a grasp on the bare fact of existence, and this is where I find purchase to speak.

– By now, if anyone has been able to hang on or be interested or keep reading, there must be some who are saying to themselves, if not out loud, ” we’ll, get to the damn issue; what is you point?” And to them I must reply “Why in such a rush? Where are you going so fast?” For if we are to be clear we must take our time. Part of the problem is that everyone is in such a hurry, everyone wants the punch line before the setup. Everyone wants to know where to start so they can take it from there and “make a name for yourself”. No one wants to start from the beginning. No one has time. No one cares, and no one cares to care – but somehow those same people have an idea of ethics: they do not want to be pointed out as the hypocrite, they’d rather hang onto their feeble idea of freedom and agency, and live in denial, the whole time proclaiming their righteousness. They would rather hang their personhood on conventional religion.

Well, I have time; so you’ll just have to be patient. Besides, for those who are getting an inkling of what this is all about, I haven’t even begun yet, but I’ve said exactly what needs to be said to be clear. The problem is the problem itself: how does one reconcile duality in the objective real world?