The One, A New Condition of Thought
Serge Valdinoci, trans. Sylvia
from: La Décision philosophique 3, 1987, pp. 39-49.
1: The Intervention of Evidence
“Not to destroy philosophy, but to change our rapport to it and to multiply its usages…”. The Program of La Décision philosophique works like a Galilean principle of relativity, transposed into ideas. Against the Aristotelian immobility of a philosophico-divine Thought that arouses the circularity of the Kosmos of ideas, the intervention of evidence encloses an experimental principle: the philosophic (philosophy, we say commonly) must be thought in relation to an invention of evidence. The term “invention” is not weighed down by magical connotations. Inventing is to find, in-venire, in coming to evidence, or experimenting. This entry into evidence also signifies that evidence is imposed of itself and that, as opposed to what advenes within the philosophic, it is perfectly opportune to theorize it, or to make it a problem. Evidence intervenes as soon as we experimentally invent our access into it.
In this sense the logos of the philosophic is not destroyed; it is operatively placed to the side. Neither in deposit, nor in reserve, nor residue of reduction… The “putting aside” enters the true into an experimental process. The philosophic is the point to be lifted of a condition that is leveraged. The determination of two last points will thus be proposed, i.e., the fulcrum, immobile, and that on which the pressure destined to the “putting aside” of the philosophic is exercised—the ensemble sketching an Archimedean spatialization of ideas. Of it, first of all, we have to judge.
This type of intervention, however experimental, is not satisfactory. The Archimedean schematization (in lever) of the process of the “putting aside” of the philosophical, pushes a physicalization of ideas. Now, the Archimedean deployment of evidence that makes a reality incontestable in its register, can nevertheless not be valid for every real; since incontestably, apart from hallucinations, the perception of the real opens to evidence. Thus, the model of the lever takes an exemplary signification: the difficulty lies in the mechanical demultiplication of evidence, that contents itself with idealized appositions.
With Une biographie de l’homme ordinaire (Aubier, 1985), François Laruelle conceives his work as an experimental intervention, in the sense that we treat in this essay. The entire book is charged with transmitting the invention (in-venire) of evidence. It firstly shows that the Archimedean schema is destituted and dephysicalized. Henceforth, in the “outside of the philosophic” and the outside of the modeling idealization still, the real of evidence is given within the One. In the One, or authentic real, reality is fruitfully bared in real. We mean to say that the reality theorized in the sciences, that are certainly not hallucinations from which knowledge is commonly lifted by the philosophic, sends back still to a—transcendental—nucleus of the real that signals an ultimate operation in the One. Beyond contemporary principles of Husserlian reduction and Spaltung with all of its connotations, the One is the X in which the abductive and adductive traceds are conceived. The One is X; not the unknowable thing in itself, but experience (of) experience, every exemplification of which is induced unilaterally. We indeed see that the One is not this and that, this or that, this against that, etc.
Why this presentation, semantically too fast and short, of the necessity of the One? F. Laruelle’s work, as opposed to every naïve theoretical optimism, founds according to a new condition of thought. Thought knows a new condition in the precise sense where the “human condition” can be renovated after being upset. Condition loses its Kantian, critico-theoretical sense. We pass from the reality of phenomena to the absolute real of the One. A first notation follows, moreover crucial for what touches the “pedagogy of the One”: the absolute One, —that therefore only suffers unilaterality and is not conditioned by anything—, is not susceptible to being deduced from a pedagogical preparation. No prolegomenon conducts by the necessary way to Inscience (science within the One). More radically, a theory of the One, with its mediating conceptual frame, as well as the projection of a problematic of the One, is not envisageable. The too educated [instruit] reader, who awaits a progressing methodical demarche throughout a linear way, is ineluctably astonished—an astonishment which does not fail to be produced. The reader thus intervenes against the invention (in-venire) of evidence, by bringing to “invention” a technological, artificial, signification which is not in the texts, on the contrary. In sum, the domain of the ordinary is theorized, naturalized says Husserl. Violence is done to sense.
This first notation in return permits to better comprehend the expression that we advance: that of “new condition of thought”. The remarks that follow moreover aim to establish, with Laruelle, the scope of a changing within thought, and that arouses A New Theoretical Spirit. In the One, theory “makes a problem”, according to the consecrated formula; the problem as theorization is returned against itself. Which brings us to pedagogy: in effect, we would like to indicate, for our account, that the pedagogical intransmissibility of the One sends back to the status of man that is in the quest of initiation. For an Institution, the ideal of a successful pedagogy reposes within the defactualization of the pupil, even if, de facto still, the operation cannot succeed. The directive ideal persists: the reader would very well like, from this point of view, to examine the critique effectuated by Bachelard of the empirical Montessori method. However, the pupil is de jure ineliminable; the pupil is in no way reducible to a set of knowledges, or potential theories, that are integrated in pure schemas of learning (with a pedagogical destination). More generally, the spectator is not a potential theoretician; they are theoros, i.e., a spectator that participates in the spectacle. There is no “disinterested spectator” (Husserl). The theoros enters within the One—real, that does not homologically coincide, like homologous figures, —with the reality of savants. Let us conceive that reality is eidos (visage); then, the theoros is already envisaged by the real spectator: there is an “internal relation”. And we propose the idea that the pedagogical intransmissibility of pure pedagogy reposes on an ignored (or rejected) given, that of intrinsic transmission by the Internal as body, that sends back to the Insignia (both non-sign and sign within) of all the exterior signs to one another. The Insignia is the One or Lebenswelt (lifeworld). Henceforth this idea should be experimented by progressively introducing, by controlled slippage. So that the accession to the One, that leans on a theoros and not on a theory, would repose within the Insignia—body. This proposition is for sure to be backed up.
The question of the language that will be validated for conveying this enterprise destined to live within the Interior insignia of signs is dressed forthwith. Language itself is a structured set of signs. We also have a strong interest to proceed to a langue the semantic background of which is the least badly circumscribed possible. What is important is to come to an invention of evidence, exactly by struggling against philosophical language. Returning philosophical habits, integrating them in the variations of another conceptual game, such is our point [propos]. Furthermore, it is not that the new vernacular language imprisons us within its system but that it on the contrary introduces a more ultimate, more univocal “saying”. Freudian language could serve as the provisory vernacular background for several reasons: 1) firstly Freud disidealizes the philosophic, evacuates the traditionally pertinent opposition of the soul and the body. Freud introduces a new “condition of thought”. Thus, his concept of “psychic apparatus”, that becomes “psychic body” with Henry Ey, leads us to conceptualize a “body of thought”. We will raise an insignia within the signs. Complementarily, our attempt, initiated in a Freudian vernacular, is indeed an “experimental intervention” as we prescribed it at the start. 2) Freudian vernacular is acceptable insofar as the pseudo-interventions of contemporary French neophilosophy have at least proved one thing: their will to colonize the philosophical territory through a differentialism that, without being reduced to that of Freud, is at least consonant with the latter, and leads to imposing Freudian metaphyscologic and allied logics to the unitary register of the philosophic. The philosophic is gangrenous, henceforth identified in relation to this metapsychologic. Thus, Freud prepares our work. The Freudian vernacular is a legitimate toothing stone. It is up to our research to prove by its existence that it does not let itself immerse within the “background” of the metapsychologic.
Our demarche’s argument has been sketched in the preceding lines. We now have to be brief. We will propose to the reader’s wisdom a simple line of development, that, we wish, will nevertheless maintain its interest despite our non-demonstrative presentation.
2: The Problematic Empire of Signs and Contemporary Non-Philosophy
How to proceed by controlled slippages towards the Insignia? One must start from contemporary philosophers that still belong to the philosophic despite their roles as critics. We are thus in neophilosophy. Their Kritik is lodged within a fund of philosophical Krisis. Thenceforth, one cannot exercise a pertinent Kritik, a veritable work of distinction, which makes the tribunal in general, and more particularly the Kantian tribunal. The Kritik works within a Krisis of a pathological style (cf. the etymology of Krisis), in the breast of which a situation degenerates. Neophilosophy is captured by the empire of the philosophical malady. Freud says that the philosophic is a successful paranoia. This illness can be recognized by signs, which are given again in a neophilosophic logomachy of the sign. Across the signs transits a pathos, a sense-function irreducible to the versus of the linguists. Such is the affect of neophilosophy, in which the pathological advent of the philosophical genre is recognized. It is the index of a problem: what is the law of semantic trans-ition that works within the difference of signs?
Could there have been a thought in neo-philosophy that was ignored? In what sense would it be useful to install and radically modify the Freudian concept of the unconscious? Briefly, let us write that idealization—in the Husserlian sense of the term—of the One structures philosophical thinking. This is the sense of Husserlian intentionality: every thought is thought-of-something. At the limit, thought is a vis-à-vis constituting natura (cf. Experience and Judgement). Thought constitutes the idealized natura and not the living, Bergson already said. After the object of thought, let us examine the thinking within thought, so as to bilaterally well-mark the dislocation of the One. The thinker within thought is the relay of physis, just as the object of thought is the relay of natura. Physis and natura have a Heideggerian sense. Physis-thought is phänomenon, irradiant manifestation, while natura-thought is sublunary, pallid, and absorbent. From the point of view of the One outside-philosophy, not idealized, physis and natura are identitarian. But in the register of the philosophic, this dislocation of physis and natura leads to the distinction of two principles: that of the “same”, and that of “difference”. Repetition and difference structure (within idealization) the theorization—as it happens, ontological—of the philosophic by itself. Metaphysics is the Krisis engendered by this double articulation. The “same” is privileged there without an autonomous critical spirit. The neophilosophy of writing, and of becoming, privileges “difference” within the same conditions. Nevertheless, neophilosophy cannot recognize the statics of “difference” within signs because it presupposes the “same”, that assures the transit of the philosophic within the history of the philosophic.
This presentation is assumable within a Freud-thought: the iteration of the “same”, despite its neophilosophic retraction, induces the organization of a “Totem and Taboo” effect. The revolt against the full symbolic of the same—it being assimilable to a continuously stable or homeomorphous state of nature—produces, within the movement of revolt, the violent emergence of a symbolic considered as authentic. The full symbolic is exorcised within the perforated symbolism of difference. Nevertheless, neophilosophy is the victim of a return of the repressed: the shadow of the philosophic still cuts it and arouses a “symbolic violence” (cf. Bourdieu). Neophilosophic symbolic violence is reactive, passage to the act. It multiplies the puissance of the philosophic spearhead against the thought-One. Neophilosophy is death (cf. Freud) at work.
Death, symbolic violence… these terms are still fuzzy; they only deliver an approach of semantic trans-ition that works within the syntactic difference of signs. However, the Freudian vernacular is efficacious; it supports the thesis of violence as the essence of neophilosophy, a simple department of the largely demultiplied contemporary philosophic. And the neophilosophic retraction, that therefore has no value but language, or style, —and has no sense—is expressible within the language game of rhetoric. The syntactic revolt is a palinody that, to deny the same, always comes back however to the same. Freud’s language is therefore not sterilizing for our presentation [exposé] since it works towards another dimension of investigation.
The empire of signs is therefore progressively identified beyond the problematic that serves as a manifest argument to neophilosophy. There exists a neophilosophic unconscious, of which we will come to see how it is not reduced to the Freudian unconscious. Palinody is the work of signs by a sense that is not yet said. The opposition of the manifest and the latent is only of the Freudian order. However, it would be futile to affirm that the unconscious within thought is only an exercise of style. In effect, thought equally arises from the thing itself. It is also useful to come back to the term “thought”, to “violence” as well, by refusing the dis-locating idealization of the One. In the One, physis-thought, or the intentional and convex phänomenon, is superimposed exactly onto natura-thought, or the receptacle and concave phänomenon. The proeminent is identical to the curved. Thus, becoming-signitive, which is dis-scripture [é-criture], is in-scription as well. In other terms, the code is intrinsically inscribed within a codex (tablet). Thought does not go without “thickness”. Thought is precomprehended within a field of inscription and reinscription after the scraping of the prime inscription. So that the palinodic exercise is only the local possibility of a fundamental palimpsest. And the unconscious is not consequently an idealized unconscious, i.e., the Freudian unconscious-for-thought; the unconscious is inconscient-within-thought. Thought is the thickness of the anti-idealizing real.
How to speak of violence? Bourdieu’s expression: “symbolic violence”, is for us only a semantic aggregate without real force. Violence is physical, in the brutal sense of the term. The palimpsest is a violated parchment. What is more, violent force is invested within the parchment. The latter is an inclusive milieu. This signifies that the violent signs “make a sign” in the interior of it, this insignia. In sum, our demarche slips towards the absolute interior milieu, the theoros before every theory; it is about the body inasmuch as it is not philosophized. Violence symptomatically affects the theoros-body, preliminary to every theoricity. The One-body is the requisite of the body without organs (BwO), of serial machines, of the archive, of the trace, of forgetting. Within the One-body, the idealized figures are metabolized; it is the impassibility that responds to no violence although violence is received “in” it. The corporal palimpsest is, unilaterally, inviolable. We can call it the immune body, or the real as Lebenswelt and implying a biography of the ordinary (Laruelle). We propose to strongly distinguish this immune body from the idealized body—be it the proper body according to Merleau-Ponty. The philosophized body difficultly escapes the cleavage, however crippling, of the body and the spirit, a cleavage moreover complementarily sends back to an alloy (a mixed, Laruelle would say). The philosophized body is the Husserlian body, a body undergoing violence.
The simple line of exposition that precedes gives the sufficient occasion to take the following conclusions, in which the question of the real-One and philosophized reality is reapproached more richly than at the start.
The perspective of the immune body breaks the phenomenon of transit of a philosophical sense within the signitive difference of the neophilosophic. In the immune body, semantic exportation is importation as well, just as the centrifugal is no more the contradictory of the centripetal. Semantic transition is circular, in truth. We will not forget it. Thus, as opposed to the philosophized body, the immune body of the lebenswelt is the One for whom “concentration” equals “dispersion”. As Ruyer said, the immune body founds a “flyover hypersurface” [« hypersurface de survol »] that “transversally” escapes space and time. The real is One, codex, palimpsest, and body. Reality is the One barred by codes. Let us neatly announce that, for all that, we in no way adhere to the Deleuzian thesis of the real as deterritorialization, or skinny becoming without thickness. The One goes hand in hand with a principle of the One. The One is not becoming-escape, but the conspiration of resistances to the philosophic and neophilosophic.
A simple notation: the opposition between the real and reality will demand that we dress a tableau in mosaic of the cultural situation of sciences and knowledges.
The sciences cognize the real. They are transcendental beyond their empirical presentation. It would nevertheless be good to relativize—to unilateralize—the directive idea of a framing as mathematical formalization. Formalization is only a second modality of the invention (in-venire) of the real. Within the sciences in effect, the One = real; the formal unification more or less springs from the philosophic, that excludes by its fantasies the pactization of sciences with the real.
Within the corporal palimpsest, where the Lebenswelt is written in profundity as biography, the absolutely minoritarian One (Laruelle) is delivered. The minoritarian One is emphatic before every intersubjective idealization, the universal copula of intimacy, the primitive Earth, the element immunized against impacts. The One-body is pathization, primary symbolization, co-nascence to the sensible and articulation of sensible signifiers (series of sounds, color, odor, topological form, etc.). By transposing Laruelle, let us write that the minoritarian One is the “mystical nucleus” of the real.
The coded, barred, or assigned One—finally—, is the perpetuation of the philosophic by signitive neophilosophy. The philosophical decision is the mediation of immediation within the primary symbolization at the heart of the pathizing One-body. The philosophic is the thetic enunciation that introduces exteriority within the mystical nucleus of sensible signifiers. In this sense, the philosophic is the antibody of the immune body. Reflection, the discrete round-trip [aller-retour], the ghostly presence of the reflexive subject (then of the lieu of the subject within neophilosophy) are species of the invasion—that is neither a scientific pactization, nor pathization by the minoritarian One-body—of the real by the unreal, the unreal being the essence of what is named: reality.
The second notation calls for a third. The state of knowledges and sciences is strictly unproblematizable. Here is what springs from the mosaic-situation, where each of the three states is displaced by the two others. More radically, the One would not become majoritarian like the invasive inclinations [velléités] of the philosophic and neophilosophy. Thus, the theoros-body commands that its acceptation be duly enlarged. The states of knowledges and sciences (there are three) are the signs of a pathognomic Krisis. And the signs require their insertion within an Insignia where the Lebenswelt, and the palimpsest function, is absolutely universalized. Within the body as universal and concrete a priori, plays an emblematic of the In that relays the unproblematizable character of the One. Here is the ultimate slippage towards a large Insignia, that commands that the body be re-elucidated in a spirit of absolute continuity with the acquired of the theoros-body, by better yet including the in-conscient body within thought, that is, by dephilosophizing it—without appeal—by its total exclusion from the logic of signs.
3: The Emblematic Emprise of the Insignia
The line of development that succeeds is only an indication. The status of the body, at first, will be taken from sciences and the crucial status of a scientific experience. The efficacy of the body will then indeed be experimented, as we wrote at the start. The 20th century is governed by physics through a well-known situation-princeps: Bohr and Einstein’s aborted dialog, apropos the existence of particles, is clarifying. Bohr defends access to the real; Einstein maintains the philosophical exigencies of reality. We suppose their discussion known. One can say that the real—the observer-particle rapport—is contemporaneous to their “interaction”, which makes Bohr’s superiority. We write that there exists an intr’action, or an internal transaction, that signifies the abyssing [mise en abîme] of traditional—and exteriorizing—perceptive frames of space and time. The latter are “scraped” and to be reinscribed. There is a fading of perceptive supports, in the name of the establishment of a new condition of thought.
This thought is real. The experience of interaction is totally contrary to an “Aristotelian experience of thought”. What is more, the methodological dualism of the undulatory mathematical continuous and the corpuscular discontinuous, be it scandalous, is perfectly heuristic within the real. It seems to us that scandalous dualism could be reconsidered under an identarian chief. In effect the dualism connotes the figural aspect (corpuscular) and the formalized aspect (wave function). We state the hypothesis that the body-role intervenes in this register, on the condition of pushing the thought-body rapport further.
Until now, the body is palimpsest, or the truth of the inconscient within thought. Now, it is henceforth to be thought that the palimpsest-support is submitted to a fading; in other terms, the theoros is not confined within a generalized Merleau-Pontyan semantics. In lieu of saying with Merleau-Ponty that thought is “in puissance” within the body, it is more radical and real to state the validity of a body of thought, which is the absolutely real One. Thought thus loses its philosophical unreality and “makes a body” with the necessities of experience of interaction. It is in this sense that it is according to us possible to exhibit a transcendental parting from empirico-deductive sciences. The hypothesis of the body of thought is only a useless hypothesis within the problematic of the savant. It is far from being whatever in the eyes of a purified transcendental science that is interiorly connected to an emblematic.
In sum, scientific interaction sends back to the internal transaction, to the Insignia of a body of thought. The palimpsest-role loses every supportive empiricity: it is a support-carried-away-with-thought. The ensemble arises from circular semantic transition, altogether different from the syntactic transition that, in neophilosophy, regresses within the philosophical corpus by relaunching the signifiers. The originary of thought is the body of thought. Before being written, a thought is inscribed in its invisible body. We propose to name it incipit body, or body as “infans thought”, this emblematic lieu of circular, or incorporal, semantic transition. Let us attempt to test the pertinence of terms: incipit or, infans thought. Let us however firstly note that the solidity of our presentation leans on two necessities that are to be recalled: 1) a return to psychoanalytic vernacular to avoid absorption by the philosophical logos; 2) a refusal of the psychologization of our concepts, so as to not undergo the effect of the psychoanalytic bar. The status of the body has indeed responded to this double exigency. The concept of “body of thought” should be submitted to the same test, that obliges to test the validity of “infans” and “incipit”.
From this point of view, circular transition, that affects the interior emblematic lieu of the body, consonates with Winicott’s transitional space, a “neutral” field of experience, intermediary, or emblem without idealization of a problem. There is a fading of supports: objective space and time are dissolved within experience. The real is not degenerate, or realized in reality. The infant (infans) is supra-speech without speech. Nevertheless, it is with Winicott himself that we find from what to relegate psychoanalysis in its exact measure. The transitional “illusion” is essential and goes to maintain the infans-function throughout creative life. The transitional has an intrinsic rapport to thought. Thenceforth we prefer to banish the dangerous ambiguity of “illusion”, the negative Freudian connotation of which is too pejorative. Let us write that the, apsychic, body of thought is the emblem, the Insignia, by which the non-thetic transition of the real is effectuated.
It is always infans, which signifies that it carries away with it the Interior of the One, or the In (of) the One. Infans is without stabilized ex-pression: its direction is emblematic and non-problematic. The infans body is the transitional as veritable incipit, an incipit unscathed by every idealization. The theoros of the infans body is the theoros of every fully real theory.
It is now possible to characterize this theoros employed in theory. Transitional, the emblematic theoros-body exits from the empire of the logos-of-reality. The theoros is not seized in analogy with thought. In contrast, it must be said that the theoros-body is analogon, or center-One of every logicizing analogy. In this sense the body of thought works in the domain named by Laruelle: the non-thetic-Other. The thoughts interact non-thetically through their body of thought, which is the non-thetic transcendence of internal relation: in different terms, non-Thetic-Transcendence is another term for the Insignia, or the emblematic domain of the real. To come back to Freud, but to a transvaluated Freud—from whom Laruelle moreover borrows the term—let us say that the thought-body is thought-drive [pulsion-pensée]. Through the bias of the latter term, every psychologization that artificially cements the “physico-biological” and the “mental” is refused according to us.
The work that precedes has attempted to rule on the body in the wake of sciences and a particular experiment in quantum mechanics. This is supposed to illustrate the status of thought as incipit, that is, the body of thought. We have discovered the universal and material (body) condition of possibility of thought. In what nevertheless would the body of thought, the universalized theoros-body, conserve an internal rapport, or insignia, with the individual theoros-body of each human individual? The question is important since it links our essay’s points of departure and arrival. From a pro-blematic point of view, there is a simple analogy of the individual theoros and the universal theoros, that is, abyssing and discontinuity. Within the emblematic frame, by contrast, the body is analogon-One, before its distinction idealized in particularity and generality. The speech-without-words [parole-sans-paroles] (infans) is a transitional that structures a non-thetic transcendence. It is a continuum.
We think that it is necessary to not confound the approaches: science poses/resolves pro-blems. In this measure, science theorizes neither the individual nor the individual’s process of universalization. Science deduces individual cases of universal laws; or else it induces the universal from what is, within the individual, not specifically individual, but with a universal vocation. Doing so, it operates all the same within the real, outside of philosophico-pathological reflection. Science in effect refuses the validity of (Aristotelian) reflection of the particular within the universal, and inversely. Thenceforth science constitutively forsakes individual questions—notably those that touch the humanity of each man.
In an intrinsic complement to the science of problems, is imposed the inscience of the real as emblem: the universal becomes the uni➞versal, or uni➞version. The particular individual is imposed; it is not proposed for a problematic. Each individual is solitude (cf. Laruelle) as “uni➞verted” One. The uni-versal and the particular are no longer problematically opposed but are emblematically imposed and ordinated within the Insignia. Science and inscience: we come to this result without looking any further here. Let us announce all the same that the absolute real, the One without conjunction of unifying coordination (the “and”) will be touched from the moment that, in the place of coordination, a transitional will be proposed, better yet: a theoros-transitional, in which a last fading of two residual supports (science, inscience) will be concretized. And thought will enter within an ultimate condition, the realest.