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:

[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 5.16


I figure it prudent and sensible at this time to take a tangent, aside from the direct Laruelle-nonphilosophical discussion.

And back up..

What am I doing here in this blog, these posts? What am I addressing?
I have said the basic issue is duality. But though this can appear as a beginning, at times it can appear in the middle. So perhaps, a more beginning beginning.

As I proceed to live life, I merely live. I do, I think, I ponder, I solve problems, I interact with people and things, I process information, I have emotions, I encounter physical problems, I get sticks rammed through my toe when I step on them, I get scratches from my dog with untrimmed claws, I love my wife, I have sex, I love my child, I play silly games and hopefully give her a good basis by which to proceed into the world, I live life. Philosophico-crtiquo-thinkers seem to forget these basic aspects of life and the world; it is as if they live in a fantasyland, as if their fantasy is true.

As a thinker, I attempt to reconcile all these experiences to a sensibility, an understanding, reasons for things happening, I make decisions, I move into the world. I hear, feel and experience other creatures, human and not human, I discuss things big and small with others. I talk about sports, I talk about planets, climate change, culture, religion, politics, I hear opinions, I give them mine. As a critical thinker, I attempt to explain all these things and events. I consider how it is possible that there is someone else, what their opinions mean and what it means that I can consider their opinions; I attempt to describe the truth of the matter of life and existence.

Being involved in this process, I am inevitably brought to truth. I could lie or fabricate a sensibility, a description, and then I would be involved with literature or popular fiction. If I am programming a computer, I cannot string together random strings of code and have the computer do anything with it except reject it, or do nothing with it. I am not programming a computer here, but it is a good analogy: remaining with the principle of truth, I am limited in what I can say and have it be sensible.

In this process, then, I have to consider every facet of experience, I cannot leave out anything. I have to fully accept everything, and in this acceptance I further have to doubt it all. I have to put through the ringer every notion, challenging every idea with all possibility of rebuttal. I cannot cringe or run away from distasteful events or ideas. I have to account for my past, present and future, my idea of it, that this idea is an idea, and I have to be able to reconcile this to the fact that I am here now thinking about it, writing about it. I have to consider what a tree is, the meaning I have of it, what other people know of it, that there are other people, how this might be possible, and how this might be communicated.

My task is to make sense of it all, but not only that, I am in an effort to communicate it to others.

This is a most daunting task indeed.

One could say the biggest problem I have encountered has to do with what I could call ‘compartmentalization’. It has to do with being the event of doing. For example; If I am going to ride a bike race, I get the $5000 dollar bike. I also get the spandex clothes with the fancy color designs and the logos all over it. I get the tight shorts, the funky soled shoes that I cant walk properly in. I go to ride a bike race and I am a bike racer; I have the gear, I look the part. If I were to show up in cut-off jeans, a cigarette in my mouth, flip-flops on a beat up beach cruiser, other people would probably laugh; they might still believe that I was going to ride the race, but they would doubt if I was serious: they would doubt I was a bike racer.

Compartmentalizing activity in this way is not bad so far as it goes for the things we do. It identifies us, it allows for interaction along common lines, including dissent, it allows for the furthering of a activity by having controls against which we may discover better ways of doing things, such as, waring spandex clothes for racing reduces drag and allows one to go faster with less energy expenditure.

But honest, true critical discourse about life, existence and reality does not fall into a compartment in this way; in fact, in defies it.

The problem I have in presenting my ideas is that those who are in the business of considering such ideas have an idea of what one supposed to say and how one is supposed to say it. There is ‘gear and a look’ that one is supposed to have, or one is not taken seriously. And this seems to happen automatically. The serious bike racer looks at the cigarette clod rider next to him and writes him off before the race has begun, and his does this automatically. He makes no choice in this opinion, rather, his opinion is already made due to what a ‘real’ bike racer should be, how he should look, what he should be talking about. What discussion may occur between these two racers has more to do with the geared-up racer, if he has an open mind, suggesting to the cig-racer that, if he wants to win, he might want to not smoke, and he might want to get a better, lighter, more streamlined bike, and maybe get some spandex, suggestions for the course and how to take turns and certain hills. The discussion of the cig-racer telling his couterpart that he’s gonna ride real fast and kick your ass, means little or nothing to the geared-up-career racer. But this is not because the cig-racer might not win, it is because there is a history, a tradition, a science that has developed racing in such a way that it tells what a bike racer is, what they should do (if they want to win), what gear they should use, and all this translates into how they should look. And this is sensible so far as racing a bike has little to do with planting a garden, and when they are racing they are not considering what time of the season to plant tulips.

Of course this is an overdetermination, and there is no ‘winning’ in the critical discussion (or at least, maybe there is in some circles), but the activity I am undertaking is just like this: as soon as a person enters the arena, it is assumed that they are doing certain things and using certain tools, because the assumption, the given, the ‘supposed to’ is that the method and tools of investigating and discovering existence and reality have been developed in the same way as racing equipment. This understanding is automatic. It seems so automatic that the theories developed around such a topic soon have little to do with the life that was taken as the initial object of investigation. The theories and ideas become merely an identifier of a particular compartment of experience: just as if I may be talking about computers, I may be talking about existence. The discursive technology develops in the same way in both arenas, around a supposed object or activity that is distinguished from another.

Now to my point:

The problem is that the arena in which, and the topic about which the discussion is supposedly taking place is assumed. And, as we go about to define what it is, we move toward terms that supposedly identify a particular object of our consideration: but by then we have lost the initial reason why we are talking about anything. The arena becomes the defined object of consideration: it is redundant. The arena, the thing we are supposed to be discussing, has dissolved into the terms that we are using to frame the arena. Such terms do not thereby locate anything but the discussion itself. The problem is that describing reality or existence is not like another object like a car. The terms here, of existence, reality and the like, that are developed around a particular object of thought do not identify any object except the thought itself, that thought which has departed as soon as another person uses other terms to propose it. To assume the contrary is to rely upon an existence of a ‘thought-object’, which is to say, to rely upon a necessary correspondence between the thought and the object of discussion. The example of this is put thus: if such an object existed, I would only have to say something about it and the discussion would end, for everyone would know it was true (which is ironically the case for the few; see elsewhere in my essays).In so much as one might suggest that is what discussion ‘finds’ through its process, is likewise to rely upon some true object, as if there is some ideal form of sorts that exists between participants in the discussion. This is then the exact discussion of transcendence and immanence.

To propose that there is some ‘actual’ truth to the matter of existence or reality, because we have a history, a tradition, and a method that has given us logically reasoned out descriptions of existence and reality, as well as a method by which we can argue with old ones and propose new ones: this is exactly the proposal of a true object, as if thoughts, existence, reality, being, are things-in-them-selves that can be ‘gotten’ or understood, as if these aspects of life are actual true objects. Such discussions reveal, on one hand, nothing but metaphysical, religio-ideological postures, but on the other – and only for those who have stuck with the basic issue through the whole discussion, who have seen that the terms get nothing and nowhere – a description of existence and reality as it is presently manifested in discourse, a description of how the process of description is operating at this moment.


This last is indeed what Francois Laruelle has attempted to do, and has done very well. So, if this is the case, then inso doing, inso being able to describe in detail what or how the method of description is operating, the funtions and relations of its pieces, its terms, and how this scheme grants a particular picture that is the very picture we see including how such a description is presentable, the whole thing is thus called into question, and allows for the possibllity of a different… whatever term one wants to use.

Further, it is not just a theory, because the theory itself, the description, includes and/or realizes the lack involved in thoery, so it must be an actual lived practice, a praxis: the project of non-philosophy. This is not particularized, in fact, it is non-particularizable, non-campartamentizable. So it is that he becomes the occasion for my work.