The Utopia of Non-Analysis

François Laruelle, trans. Sylvia

from: Revue Philosophique de la France et de l'Étranger, Vol. 195, No. 2, L'ALTÉRITÉ (April-June 2005), pp. 163-74

An Analytic Re-Writing of Non-Philosophy


            We can replenish the future of psychoanalysis with new sciences, still unknown miscegenations [métissages], and still more refined concepts than the current ones. But non-analysis is another thing. It is not a metapsychoanalysis, a new metapsychology of the Unconscious. It is a conjectural theory that explains that the Real of the unconscious is susceptible to receiving several equivalent interpretations, particularly different psychoanalytical models. It is not a supplementary theory which would say what analysis should be and enter into competition with already existent theories. On the contrary, it is the only universal theory and in a certain manner not constituent or not sufficient and which in this measure poses the equivalency of all the theories which present as positive decisions on the practice of analysis. Nevertheless, it is not a simple space of neutral possibility which would not have effects on the practice supposed to be an irreducible clinical kernel. It has effects on the theories of the fact itself that it deprives of their spontaneous pretention of omnipertinence or sufficiency—and, consequently, of effects on the practice. There is certainly an invariant clinical nucleus, but this invariance should not be empirically conceived as static but as transcendental and therefore admitting variations. This clinical invariance, made of traditional rules experimented and informed at length by theories, is rather as a material for non-analysis, material of objects and practices that it transforms according to an entirely other rule founded on another conception of the Real.


Revision, Reduction, Democracy


            Let us commence by complicating the problem, simplifying its givens but giving all of it to it. The realtions of philosophy and psychoanalysis are doubly unsatisfactory. From one side, if the epoch is no more for the assimilation of Freud’s revolutionary discovery, it is more than ever for its safeguarding. The principal adversary of psychoanalysis is “revisionism” or “revision”; that is why it was and remains philosophy, it is the most serious and dignified but it is also the most dangerous and twisted, and in any case the return guide from analysis to culture. From the other side, the inverse and complementary position is just as unsatisfactory and contradictory. The principal adversary of philosophy is reductionism, and it is here that psychoanalysis leads the struggle. Against the trenchant of the unconscious, revision by the generalities of the human sciences and philosophy. Against the ambitions of philosophy, a certain reduction by the materialism that analysis drags in its wake. Otherwise said, if a return to Freud is still necessary for putting his discovery in the shelter of the revisionism of philosophy and reciprocally for putting philosophy in the shelter of its analytic reduction, it is urgent to quit their traditional relations of struggle and to change terrain, since this war is not very interesting, it is above all repetitive, of passing over a terrain which is no more that of the classic Unconscious but which however permits a veritable analysis of philosophy. Neither one of Being nor of Logos but which however permits a veritable thought of analysis.

            Our problem is not therefore that of a new miscegenation between disciplines that are or are not human, of a new savage capture or of a still provisory peace treaty but of the principle of these miscegenations. Which principle? That of democracy between these disciplines, therefore of the principle which somehow a priori regulates to equality their association in the exercise of thought and not only, as per usual, in the lone object of thought. Democracy is no more here the object of a theory or an ideal of political reason, but the essence of theory. It signifies the equivalence of validity of philosophy and psychoanalysis in view of the Real, this equivalency of methods having a sense of the “non Euclidean” metaphor, hence the term “non-analysis” and not only “non Freudian” or “non Lacanian”.

            Which is this not empirical Real capable of valuing for philosophy without reducing it and psychoanalysis without revising it? Which leads neither to a new philosophy of analysis nor to a new psychoanalysis of philosophy? By its “Real” side, this will be a new “unconscious” if it still merits this term. A clear determination of the objects of philosophy and analysis is required but moreover an elucidation of this new object (in the broadest sense) of which theirs will now be a symptom. Hence a global displacement of these two disciplines and their reposition on a new terrain. In view of this Real that we still hesitate to baptize with the term “Unconscious” or “Being”, these two disciplines acquire the equality of both being symptoms and of no more valuing or pretending to absolutely value one against the other. This instance should give lieu to a universal analysis or interpretation of philosophical and analytical statements. It cannot be of the order of the Unconscious of the psychological type and therefore reductive of philosophy to the imaginary of the same type. As symptom, illusion or phantasm, it is not of the same type as those of the psyche. Analysis furnishes a possible model but subject to an adaptation or a renewal of its theoretic tooling [outillage], concepts and procedures. More than an adaptation, a true changing of terrain of the Unconscious itself is necessary.

            This project is less that of a meta-analysis than of a non-analysis. The first would proceed by addition, excess and philosophical surpassing of analysis combined with an analytic surpassing of philosophy, a sort of reciprocal potentialization of the two discourses in the manner of Deleuze and also Derrida. The second proceeds rather by subtraction of philosophical sufficiency and analytic power from a changing of terrain of concepts of philosophy and analysis. The new “terrain” is the Real-in-person, that is the One as simply in-One, therefore immanent and empty, immanent Void, inasmuch as it is subtracted from the philosophico-analytic complex. And it is justly not, in all rigor, a positive terrain or ground in the philosophical manner. The Real-in-person is a conjectural and “negative” condition, necessary but without sufficiency, for an analysis which would finally value for philosophy without reducing it, for analysis without revising it, for the mélange or the miscegenations of the two without opposing them face to face in an adverse manner. The fundamental axiom of non-analysis is that the Real of the Unconscious and of Being is foreclosed to all discourse, to the discourse that it manifests itself or gives, it is justly this foreclosed being which determines a not analytic discourse and practice.


A Unified Theory of Philosophy and Analysis


            Non-analysis schematically founds itself on the regulated rejection of the myth of homo philosophicus and homo analyticus. More than an analysis for philosophy, a philosophy for analysis, we seek to put them in a non-relation. There is no relation of analysis and philosophy, the Real wants it thus. How to determine a unique theory which de-links them in a unique practice? All these exigencies (a new definition of the Unconscious, of the practice that it implicates and the usage or status which results of these two disciplines) depend on their introduction to the Real. This puts us in a “utopic” situation, which is not of a return to Freud (Lacan and Althusser) or to Plato (for certain philosophers) or even Marx for example. It is having to go for the first time to Freud, to discover, inventing the language of this discovery, the instance which can transform philosophy and analysis into symptoms of a new genre undefinable in philosophical and analytic terms. Concepts and practices are not more than symptoms for which we seek a new intelligibility which neither philosophy nor analysis knows. We go to Freud, we do not return there, we have them transforming-cognizing as new symptoms, not recognizing or repeating them as old symptoms.


Philosophical Desire


            Why now a special analysis of philosophy which passes for the lucid consciousness of itself? Existent analysis has anyway already suspected the little truth of philosophical consciousness but in an all in all vague and psychological manner, thus proceeding step by step, reductive anyhow. The problem is not to save philosophy a new time from the analytic competition and proceed to a retaliation as was the case with Ricoeur, Henry, Derrida, Foucault, and Deleuze. One should identify an ill or malaise proper to philosophy and perhaps more considerable than analysis imagines it because it is not of psychological origin. But also a positivity and a consistency which does not let it reduce and dismember as easily as analysis would think. Neither in critique nor in the safeguarding of philosophy, our project does not overlap with that of philosophers cornered to a rather sterile posture of self-defense.

            Philosophy is not operatory in the scientific sense on the World. It specularly projects onto it by means of an identification to, scientific for example, cognizance [connaissance] and of its capture. Philosophically intervening, it is to operate in this manner and believe that it is about a “veritable” practice. Its problem holds for what we will call a specularity of the fund which has three effects. The first is an immanent all-functioning or all-englobing which impedes the quasi-objectification of the theoretic examination. An analysis of philosophy cannot but suspect this spontaneity which refuses to be theoretically examined and which only examines itself according to its proper rules, criteria, and tribunals, and scurries to reappropriate every attempt coming from elsewhere than itself. The second is a practice of hierarchy and domination, of surmounting and mastery of itself and others, a constant activity of surpassing sometimes curbed or delayed, or even inhibited, but never really analyzed in a theoretical manner in its properties. The only practice of philosophy, insofar as it has one, is not theoretical but political in a sense of the term which entitled to be called “fundamental” and not solely metaphoric. Philosophical desire does not give lieu, neither does it allow it, neither to a practice nor to a rigorous theory or a cognizance. The third is a certain sterility linked to the autocontemplation and ideality that it supposes, an idealism and a theoreticism which makes a system and is consumed in acts of domination of itself which, void of all cognizance, disperse in effect in hallucinations and appearances. Philosophy is therefore a desire which has theoretical, practical, above all political aspects, but nothing more, therefore effects or appearances.

            We can thus make a quasianalytic reading of philosophy. We are fascinated by and prisoners of philosophical faith at least as equal, but the principle is the same, by the natural attitude according to Husserl. We found our judgements and our highest objectives in philosophical evidence without having interrogated this in the reasons and above all the scope of its desire. It is the force of philosophical desire as jouissance of the Real comprehended as the Absolute, of justifying itself, and philosophy is an expert among all in matters of legitimation. All the philosophical resistances should be concentrated in just one form, just one principle, as Lacan in the jouissance of the Other, the supreme illusion which conducts the imaginary. This will be the jouissance of the Real, to be exploited in all the concepts and registers.


The Fundamental Concepts of Non-Analysis


            It is the famous RSI tripod that should be taken as guiding thread, not only because it makes a recognized place for the Real, but because it is globally analytico-philosophical. Its systematic triads are the ineliminable residue of the philosophical system in Lacanian theory where they appear with more clarity than elsewhere. We are condemned to languages from two sources, condemned particularly to imitating Lacan speaking of the dimension of the Real as essential to the Unconscious.


1. The Real


The types of reality are at least three. Consciousness with its modes, the Unconscious and its black ontic transcendence, finally the Real as being-given-in-person or radically immanent. Consciousness and the Unconscious are modes of transcendence, whether ideal for the first, or real for the second, ontic, where the object absorbs the ideal movement of objectification and its projection. As for the Real, it never has the form of transcendence of the object, whether ideal or real. These are three types of manifestation which are only comparable in general but basically heterogeneous. Non-analysis consists of determining the two possible imaginary forms of the object by the radical being-given of the Real.

            This is Lacan’s tardy and hesitant great invention, one of his major discoveries painfully torn from the revision of psychoanalysis, that it places at the fund of and beyond the symbolic. It is to have drawn the Real from its confusion with the Unconscious even symbolic and reciprocally. When its concept will be transformed in the sense of its radical immanence, the Real will form in its turn the rock of non-analysis. The Unconscious is rather of the general order of a syntax. The distinction of the Unconscious and the Real, of the causality of this one on that one is nevertheless a preformed discovery in philosophy. The Unconscious as, moreover, Being in philosophy maintains with the Real and the One, and between them, the most narrow relation but without confounding. The unary trait is the essence or rather the Real determinant of the signifier, and the Real as we will understand is being-separated or Other than… determinant of the new concept of the Unconscious as of Being. The Real therefore will not confound, and here less than in Lacan, with the signifying chain.

            The problem to which the Real responds is that of the cause. The philosophical cause is either present or posed by the Logos, with all the mirages of positivity which still impregnates nothingness or nothinging [le néantir] and until difference, or absent or lacking as in structuralism and Lacanism. In the two cases, it is a mode of transcendence, the correlate of an alterity, the term of its nothingness or lack. We will say that it is determinant in first instance. Now we will pose a certainly negative cause but because it is necessary and not sufficient, negative rather than absent or even lacking, and we will say that it is determinant, but only in-last-instance, of transcendence.

            The Real is well of the order of the One but not of the transcendent One and the unary trait, of which analysis and religion have mastery. Neither of the transcendental One, of which this time philosophy has mastery. It is difficult to define the Real as holding the Unconscious (because it excludes or is without-(the)-consciousness and without-the-object as ideal). And as holding Consciousness (because it excludes the opacity of the Unconscious as erased and crumpled knowledge). Such Ones, “unary” or transcendental, are not phenomena, they find their phenomenality either in a division and a redoublement, in another still more elevated One at least in right, or in a trait, mark, or trace said “One”. So that the One is finally an attribute and is not phenomenal through and through. On the contrary, the One through and through phenomenon, which is its proper phenomenon, is said here “One-in-One” or “One-in-person”. Before speaking of the unary trait, one must know what the One of the “unary” is and cease to make of the One an adjective or a property. It is the only means of explicating that the Unconscious is not even a logical thing, an exterior knowledge ex machina for an analyst, and that the analysand as human being and not only as logician can have despite all, certainly with some help, access to their unconscious. Wanting to avoid biological thingism, Lacan gave in a logico-linguistic thingism and in general conserved, giving it another content, the ontic transcendence of the biologico-philosophical Unconscious. It must be admitted that there is a form of knowledge proper to the subject or at least to “man” and irreducible to Logos and phenomenology for example. The Real-in-One is thus an apparent tautology but, to the difference of logico-philosophical tautologies, this one is effective as a radical immanence and not as the duality or equality of the Principle of identity such as it is deployed by redoubling in transcendence.

            This cause, the Real, is therefore “by immanence”. It is that which explicates that it is universally heteronomous for the two disciplines of which we make our imaginary. The cause is radically univocal, therefore indifferent or foreclosed to all thought, but universally valent for each of those two. The One is thus Other than… or separated, other-than… the two discourses all while reporting them, taking them for object or determining them in a manner that one would say, being given this real indifference, in-last-instance only. It must be comprehended that this real indifference, this being-separated or foreclosed in its essence to language, is not the separation of a philosophical Absolute but can be at the same time a transcendental indifference and report to a given of language. Thus effectuated by the imaginary of the two discourses as transcendental, it is evidently the cause of the floating of analytic attention and suspends every taking of position or judgement without at all neglecting the given discourse which serves it as material. Floating attention is not a “rule”, it is transcendental indifference such that the Real can assume it.

            The Real as identity of the One-in-One therefore exhausts neither Being nor the Unconscious. From this point of view, it is insufficient, but it determines them by imposing a certain syntax on them. This is not the “unary trait” which remains transcendent and finally philosophical. We just said it, the One includes an alterity but immanent or an Other-than… by immanence, not relative to the symbolic for example. It is a being-separated but such that it is not the result of a separation.

            The true mutation of analysis is in its ultimately through and through phenomenal becoming, certainly not in a phenomenological manner, without it being a surreptitious return to philosophy. It is not in the passage from a biological and mechanist Unconscious to a logico-linguistic Unconscious, but more generally in the substitution of an immanent Unconscious in a radical manner for a transcendent Unconscious, indeed “transcendental” if it is possible. Psychoanalysis as rigorous science perhaps does not at first pass by a conceptual and mathematic rigor but by a struggle on a front which is double, philosophical and scientific-analytic.


2. The Imaginary


            What would the imaginary of non-analysis be? Certainly not that of metaphorically relieved psychism, but the philosophico-analytic imaginary, its structures which combine those of analysis and philosophy in a reciprocal enterprise. This imaginary is quite consistent, it is detectable by a (philosophical and analytic) resistance to the Real-One. Inversely, resistance is supported by this most universal imaginary, this one which now assumes the double and unique form of the discourse which is our object. This imaginary is no more intraphilosophical but constitutes the secular arms of philosophical sufficiency itself.

            Which is this structure at the origin of the most universal resistance? It is auto-englobing, philosophical auto-position which overflows every theory of Consciousness and even of the Unconscious. The radical conception of the Real permits to conciliate at a time the absolute illusory autonomy and the relative autonomy of the imaginary as sphere of reality.


3. The Phenomenal Apparition of the Unconscious, or the Unilateral Symbolic


What then is the Unconscious now qua determined by the Real? We comprehend it provisionally compared with analytico-philosophical language which is one of its sources and without distinguishing between the two languages. Its structure will be that that One-in-One extracts or withdraws as a filter on the Three of the analytico-philosophical discourse. The Unconscious of non-analysis will be the intersection of this Three and of the One.   This will be the Two but a special or “unilateral” Two. Here still, Lacan discovered the differential or minimal binary nature of the Unconscious, but he rushed to effectuate this binarity in the signifier and above all to put it under the law of the signifying chain, of its continuity and chain legality, whether from the unary trait. But, in non-analysis, it is determined by the Real which leaves there not a mark but its proper immanence of One under the form of a this time transcendental Identity which is the Unconscious properly said or, at least, its essence. The Unconscious comes here now in second position by its transcendental essence (in a new sense) and no more in first as is the case in the historic constitution of Lacan’s thought.

  1. With the Real, the One as in-One, it is in a relation of unilateral duality because the One affects the original discursive material of its immanence, of its identity and alterity. The symbolic is rejected by the real One which is foreclosed to it, but at the same time it also becomes identity or One separated but which says of a transcendence and which is therefore transcendental. We will call essence of the symbolic this One which says immediately of a transcendence and takes the form this time of a transcendental Identity. The symbolic is of the discourse determined by the Real without it confounded or alienated in itself, and which communicates at the same time its being-separated compared to its original material. Otherwise said, the Real is foreclosed to primitive imaginary discourse but also to the symbolic insofar as it holds this imaginary. We will say that the imaginary but also the symbolic are in a relation of unilateral duality with the Real.

  2. As for its internal form, it is that of the mixed duality or binarity. It is only a quasi-signifier or a unilateral signifier compared to the One, we just said it, but it is also in a relation, a non-relation which is no more of difference finally reversible with an other. To the symbolic corresponds no more a form of signifying difference but a static and floating duality, a Two. One must describe this entity which is definitively no more of the liguistico-logical order, otherwise by its imaginary material.

  3. As for the subject, it is the (effectuated or complete) articulation of the Real and the Unconscious as this unilateral symbolic. The unconscious subject therefore has for essence the real-last-instance non-relation which realizes as transcendental Identity, while its internal logic or existence is rather mixed, the phenomenal characteristic Two of the Unconscious become universal.


Future Analysis: The Language of Utopia.


            We give the appearance of being to the search for a utopia, but it is the genre of utopia that we would not seek if we had not already found it. More exactly, we seek to inhabit by language and thought a utopia that we, the humans, already are and which, to inhabit or effectuate this habitation, will not make it cease to be a utopia and realize it, or to make it the simple realization of an imaginary utopia. Thought-world, the World-in-person is exactly our imaginary, reality itself, while the Real-in-person is the utopia that we are as humans, us determining it in-last-identity, the real presupposed of thought which has for object the reality or “materiality” of the imaginary.

            We can induce the language with which we inhabit it, requisites posed. If philosophy and analysis are symptoms, they are necessarily symptoms themselves not analytic and they have therefore a universality itself not philosophical. Hence the question: this hyperbole which uses these thoughts by exceeding them with their proper means how is it, has it been possible? This past participle justly signifies that we already have the response, that this discovery is already made and that we even avail of languages for saying it but still in the state of symptoms. Philosophy and analysis are thoughts of the “total” type and deserving even of being put in the principle form, Principle of philosophability of experience and Principle of analyzability of experience. These two principles are not of the same nature, but it is essential here that each in its own way matters [vaille] for thought-world, at least such as it defines it without leaving any remainder, philosophy and analysis being possibilities more universal than their effective realization. How can we exceed universal principles or possibilities? There must be an instance definable without doubt in the terms of the two existent discourses but undefinable in the sufficient and dominant usage of these terms. Otherwise said, one needs a not philosophical usage of philosophical terms and a not analytic usage of analytic terms, inasmuch as the philosophical and analytic designate, they, a usage of language, doubtlessly spontaneous but which proposes to render impossible or contradictory this unknown instance of the Real. It is the instance which transforms this dominant usage into a symptom. An unknowable instance in the philosophical and analytic mode but a utopia inhabited by us, that is to say designable or thinkable with our languages.

            It is no longer necessary to think the future of philosophy and analysis from their historical past, of what they were and what they can still claim to be in history, since from this point of view they only want themselves and their repetition as death and survival. One must think/transform them from the future or the conjecture that is foreclosed to them. Not below their proven and reconstituted history, or from a mythic eternal return, but as a function of a radical future. Future-in-person which is not itself a detachment of the repressed past. The problem of an analysis of philosophy is of making this advent to the instance of the Unconscious rather than bringing the Unconscious to philosophy. The philosophical vision of the usage of analysis must be renounced, whereas the true relation in-last-instance is inverse, as Lacan said for the relation of the Unconscious and the subject. Philosophy should advent to the non-lieu according to which it will be. And so non-philosophy takes psychoanalysis itself by surprise.