top of page

The Trois Fontaines Interviews: And then After, it Commences

Ali Hmiddouch, Serge Valdinoci, Foutre de Dieu, trans. Sylvia

Pictures and original text from: Et puis après ça commence, INgens.

Et puis après ça commence.jpg

A. Hmiddouch: You employ this term immanence, which comes up a lot, which, in fact, belongs to philosophy’s technical vocabulary. One has the impression that in the past it functioned in opposition to transcendence, then in the twentieth century, since the phenomenologists finally, it was emancipated and signifies something quite different…


S. Valdinoci: There is one thing that is very important: the end of Europeanism, the twentieth century. That is, we went to the side of Asia, we went elsewhere, and we understood that immanence was very important there and that it had to come anyway, not solely in an informed fashion but a transformed one. This is a considerable point.


A. Hmiddouch: How this term has gradually come to signify—notably with you, one has the impression it is a synonym of—real, affectivity…


S. Valdinoci:  This is exactly the case, yes. It is the reason why, indeed, it is something that sends back to Asia but is not Asiatic: therefore, it is not about, once again, importing a civilization, or to be left deported by a civilization… You are right, immanence, impact, etc. are givens, the new givens of a mystical thought which is, it was your word, which is real—which supposes a mystical adventure and which supposes, secondly, that this adventure be a moment of entry into the real: thinking is  entering within the real—it is not thinking the real: therefore, it is the end of Husserlian intentionality, we are not there at all.

Presently, you said, on transcendence, “immanence comes back”; one can nonetheless say that someone like Derrida functioned on transcendence, notably on Hebraic transcendence—there’s a good little book by Laruelle on it, on the phenomena of Difference, the thinkers of Difference, which says well what there is to say: Derrida, that’s transcendence. Be careful. Especially since Derrida has an effect around him, which you know well. And transcendence is much more profound than Deconstruction, with him, whereas one would expect the contrary.


A. Hmiddouch: And this term immanence, what is its exact meaning, the etymology…?


Serge Valdinoci: I try not to create a sense of the word: maneo, “remaining”, that sends back to the house also, being in presence of oneself—that is why someone like Derrida helped me, if I can say, because the concept of presence is one of his refusals…

But contemporary philosophy (I say this because I speak of Derrida) is a philosophy which is rehashed—professionally; there is nothing more to say—and that is why, if something is still said, it is politologically…


A. Hmiddouch: Therefore, an invitation to immanence, this would be the art of inhabiting [habiter], of remaining…?


Serge Valdinoci: Yes, but inside [en-dedans] oneself. And a “self” which is immense.


A. Hmiddouch: A “self” which is imaginary no more, with its identifications, its… But this “ego”, this real “ego”, if we can say—you were talking about method earlier:  how is it given?


S. Valdinoci: Oh well, it’s simple (well, “it’s simple” must have bothered a lot of people… well, the few people who read me…), I can answer you simply: it’s the real that is real; it is not the “ego” that is real. The “ego”, whatever Descartes thought—but hey we’re not going to come back to Descartes—, the “ego” is unreal, profoundly unreal. People like Lacan got to this, almost. Voila, I push, simply.


A. Hmiddouch: We have the impression that that introduces a duality, the fact of postulating the unreal…


S. Valdinoci: It is unreal to please us, to give us a chance to communicate with each other, if you will.

In fact, there isn’t—there’s a comet, which advances, and that’s it.

We speak of it because we have effects in us of the unreal (we have effects: clothes, psychic, sexual effects, others…) and we believe that there is a duality; but there is no duality—only for a sociology, a psychology, etc. (it implies the method, afterwards…)


A. Hmiddouch: Therefore, in the real, it’s the principle of non-separability that governs… of non-localization…


S. Valdinoci: Yes, indeed. It’s the “unity principle” of the Greeks, but completely transformed: transubstantiated, I would even say. This is where a civilization advances.


A. Hmiddouch: But for someone that opens one of your books, who hears of immanence, real, and who in his everyday life feels caught in a form of unreality, how can the shift take place?


S. Valdinoci: Mystical experience.


The passage through mystical experience.


There, I think the great mystics can help us a little bit. Otherwise, we are captured by identifications… We have our quotidian problems which are, you are right, extremely strong, we have our pains, our tears, our fears, well, that exists…


A. Hmiddouch: These are nonetheless… formidable captations, …


S. Valdinoci: Yes, there’s the word, Lacan’s word, these are captations


A. Hmiddouch: For millennia, we have developed techniques to try to unstick these attachments a little.


S. Valdinoci: You are right, in Chinese thought, we invent ultimate techniques to try to undo… samsara… We try, indeed.

I think something is going on, since… —I don’t know how to date, dating seems to be a huge problem as well—, it seems like something is going on, now, which has nothing more to do with this distinction between the real and the unreal.


But then one has to go through what you call the terrible, the difficult, the tense… One must, at first, get high [défoncer] on oneself.


And then after, it commences.


And it’s altogether different. It’s no longer the happiness of the eighteenth century, the central concept of the eighteenth century, it’s no longer all of that, it’s no longer Revolution… I believe I’m making myself understood…


A. Hmiddouch: Besides, writing can be one of these techniques…


S. Valdinoci: So, a writing which, understand me well, is not the writing of literary prizes; a writing which is a mystical exercise. I am not sufficiently a writer to speak of it, but a writing that has a relevance… But personally, I am not a writer, so I can’t respond to the question sufficiently… Speech can be important too…


F. de Dieu: Exactly, when you sometimes evoke the fashion in which you draft, you have said that, for example, for each book, you work in parallel with a psychoanalyst which precedes: a personal analysis which precedes the writing of a book, like doing housework, or which succeeds it, to amortize the ringing of the writing. Within what type of ascesis do you seek to enter when you write? Because we sense that from the moment that you engaged towards europanalysis, it was no longer academic [universitaires] necessities, a thesis, entry in an institution, … which motivated you to write. It’s a writing that is autonomized from the University… In what type of discipline did it bring you? How did you have to function to write your books? What personal exigencies?


S. Valdinoci: Indeed, there are no more academic imperatives in the habitual sense of the term. I knew that I was not a writer to be read. Perhaps it’s my mea culpa. But I voluntarily made a pedagogical effort: the relation to x or to y that I made… I tell myself: I take the hand, “give me your hand, and then we’ll leap together”; that’s how it worked.

It’s a simple pedagogy, which has no pretensions, I mean. I try to communicate. By saying things that already announce, that aren’t placed there at random, that are introductions in the puissant sense of the word “introduction”.

Otherwise, all my books would have forty, sixty pages, but nobody could… La Traversée de l’immanence, that has three hundred pages, but I don’t know anyone that has read La Traversée de l’immanence.


F. de Dieu: For reasons of aridity, difficulty…?


S. Valdinoci: Yes, indeed. But like the last book, which seems more anodyne; it’s a book that cost me enormously and which said—to my mind, for sure, I could be wrong—which said an enormous amount of things, from the concept of ecumene

bottom of page