RHIZOME the missing paragraph – text and translation (i)

This post contains a translation of the first half of the « missing » paragraph of RHIZOME (first published in 1976 as a separate book). For the French text see below.

TRANSLATION

« We no longer talk much about psychoanalysis, however we still do talk about it, far too much. Nothing is going on there any more. We were thoroughly fed up with psychoanalysis, but unable to stop [talking about it] immediately. Analysts and above all analysands bore us too much. This matter was slowing us down, we had to accelerate it for our own account – without any illusions as to the objective scope of such an operation – we had to impart to it an artificial speed capable of bringing it to the point of rupture or to the breaking point for us. It’s over, we will speak no more about psychoanalysis after this book. No one will suffer from this, neither them, nor us » (my translation).

COMMENTS

French uses the same word, « nous », for subject (« we ») and object (« us »).

The passage in question begins and ends with « nous ». Further RHIZOME itself begins with « nous » (« We wrote ANTI-OEDIPUS together ») – this is obscured by the published translation: « The two of us wrote ANTI-OEDIPUS together »).

There are 23 occurrences of « nous » in the first two pages of RHIZOME. In comparison, ANTI-OEDIPUS begins with « ça » (« it » – not to be confused with other words for « it » having different grammatical functions), and uses it seven times in the first two pages.

Thus, while ANTI-OEDIPUS can be seen as the book of « it » and of machines, RHIZOME is the book of « we » and of subjectivation.

For an in depth treatment of this passage see the video in the previous post.

TEXT

Here is the (first) missing paragraph in RHIZOME. The book begins page 7, with the first paragraph as we know it in A THOUSAND PLATEAUS. Then on page eight and the first four lines of page nine we have the text that was omitted in the ATP version. For my commentary I have cut this missing passage into two parts.

Publié dans Uncategorized | Laisser un commentaire

RHIZOME (2): The Missing Paragraph – Psychoanalysis

In this video I continue my discussion of the original version of Deleuze and Guattari’s RHIZOME, published as a separate book in French in 1976.

Here, I consider the first half of a paragraph that was omitted in the later version published in 1980 in MILLE PLATEAUX (A THOUSAND PLATEAUS).

This video about the first half discusses Deleuze and Guattari’s relation to psychoanalysis, their criteria of evaluation, noetic acceleration, deterritorialisation, incommensurability, and possible commonalities between Deleuze and Guattari’s schizoanalysis and Zizekian psychoanalysis.

Publié dans Uncategorized | Laisser un commentaire

LARUELLE AND THE SHIP OF THESEUS (2): Autobiography of an ordinary philosopher

I consider that François Laruelle’s critique of sufficient philosophy is primarily, and in the last instance, autobiographical and endo-referential.

In his dialogue with Derrida, Laruelle forbids the use of “retorsion”, i.e. criticism that replies “you too are guilty of the same thing”. Derrida complies both politely and, I think, ironically.

By what right, except that of his own self-validated meta-sufficiency, can Laruelle, the intransigent critic of philosophical sufficiency, invalidate such criticism? Especially as he himself constantly practices it on others and against himself.

As argued in the preceding post, the “tu quoque” (you too) of retorsion is an ordinary (and scientific) device of argumentation.

The “ego nunquam” (me, never – e.g. I never use retorsion) and the « ego ipse solus » (I, alone – as in I am the only non-philosopher, or non-standard philosopher, or etc.) are authoritarian devices of propaganda and ideology.

Publié dans Uncategorized | Laisser un commentaire

LARUELLE AND THE SHIP OF THESEUS (1): torsion, retorsion

This post arises out of reflecting on two strands of argument as they play out over time in Laruelle’s texts

1) The evolution of the status of “science” in Laruelle’s work

2) Laruelle’s ways of escaping critical debate by his sweeping invalidation of objections (however persistent and recurrent) and in particular by his prohibition of arguments by retorsion (or tu quoque).

I find these two strands contradictory.

Supposedly « retorsion » is an inadmissible philosophical device, and yet Laruelle practices it constantly in Philosophy III when he says to his previous self « you too are subject to the authority of science and to the philosophical spirit of ‘hierarchy ».

This objection has regularly been addressed to Laruelle by his critiques at each stage or phase of his evolution and has consistently been rejected by him.

However, Laruelle himself has repeatedly addressed to himself the same sort of objection, criticising at a later date the presuppositions of the previous phase. The fact that these are cases of self-retorsion can not prevent us from concluding that here Laruelle is retrospectively validating the retorsions of at least some of his critics.

Provisional conclusions

1) Retorsion is not to be excluded as inherently subject to the principle of sufficiency. Its use, or non-use, cannot be a criterion of demarcation between philosophy and “non-philosophy”. It is in fact a powerful procedure of theoretical evolution, a method often employed in scientific debate.

2) Nor can the use or non-use of “polemics” or controversy, procedures that Laruelle rejects, serve as a criterion of demarcation. Polemics are omnipresent in the work of Laruelle, cf. his ongoing polemic against philosophical sufficiency. Polemical procedures, too, are integral to the pursuit of scientific progress.

3) There is no inherently philosophical operation. In particular, retorsion, controversy, and polemics are not always and everywhere “philosophical operations”. To affirm it as a universal rule would be to give primacy to semantics over pragmatics.

4) The demarcation between science and philosophy can only be pragmatic. Consequently, it cannot be principial, nor saturating. It can only be case by case, prudential and pragmatic.

4) The evolution of Laruelle’s thought, if we are attentive to his explicit or implicit self-criticisms, implies that much of his old exclusions, rejections, polemics and demarcations cannot be maintained. His followers tend to ignore this implication.

4) Non-standard philosophy and « forced » philosophy, Laruelle’s replacement disciplines for philosophy and non-philosophy, proceed by pluralisation, extension and enrichment – not by reduction, exclusion, and prohibition.

5) The prohibition of the procedure of “retorsion” is therefore null and void. It is contradicted both by Laruelle’s own practice and by the constitutive framework of his later philosophy.

6) The rejection of philosophical sufficiency has not only intellectual but also affective roots: horror at the idea of ​​setting oneself up as the Grand Censor of arguments.

7) The « force (of) thought », or thought-power, is expressed in work and not in its reduction or avoidance implemented by means of universal principles and lazy prohibitions. Noetic labour-saving devices.

8) The refusal in principal of arguments by retorsion is the mark of a thought without the force proper to thought, of noetic fatigue, of the decline of thought-power into sufficiency.

9) My final conclusion is therefore that the field of dialogue in Philosophy V is freer, richer, wider, and more open than its origins in non-philosophy allowed.

Publié dans Uncategorized | 1 commentaire

Deconstructing Jan Rehmann’s NEO-LOSURDIST MARXO-ANTI-NIETZSCHEANISM (8): Deleuze, Hegel, pluralism

I do not think it is insightful to oppose Deleuze and Hegel. Deleuze was reacting against Hyppolite’s reading of Hegel: Hyppolite was one of Deleuze’s teachers and he « rhythmically beat out Hegelian triads with his fist » (DIALOGUES, 12). The result was « I could not stand … Hegel, the triad and the operation of the negation » (14).

This reading of Hegel (thesis, antithesis, synthesis) has been shown over and over again to be a radically misguided misreading, most recently by Zizek and Malabou. But you still get « Deleuzeans » uncritically endorsing Deleuze’s critique of Hegel and combating Zizek’s ideas.

While I am all for « creative misreading » as a heuristic tool, it should not solidify into a caricature taken as definitive. Deleuze was not only demonstrably wrong, but his erroneous take on Hegel discourages curiosity, inhibits thought, and contains the seeds of current Deleuzean doxa.

I argue on this blog that Deleuze has no real concept of negation, but only a vague all-purpose notion that gets to grips with nothing in particular.

My more general argument is pluralist, there is no obligation here. Many lines of thought are possible. I argue that the thinkers targeted by Rehmann absorbed what lessons they could from Nietzsche and then moved on in their own research programme, abandoning Nietzsche to scholarly debate. Nietzsche is by no means obligatory, nor even a necessary stepping-stone. Neither is Hegel.

Losurdo and Rehmann do not have the conceptual tools to analyse Deleuze’s « Nietzscheanism », as an ongoing research programme that is not terminated in his book on Nietzsche but that goes through quite a lot of development.

Losurdo and Rehmann do not think to establish a connection between Nietzsche’s concept of innocence and what they both stigmatise as Deleuze’s « hermeneutics of innocence ». This so-called « hermeneutics of innocence » that they stigmatise in Deleuze and Foucault is in fact a pluralist hermeneutics, so another name for « innocence » is ontological pluralism.

There are many shades or nuances of ontological pluralism. Bruno Latour has given a useful overview and pedagogical introduction to these degrees in his lecture “What Is the Recommended Dose of Ontological Pluralism for a Safe Anthropological Diplomacy?” https://blog.castac.org/2014/01/2013-gad-distinguished-lecture-bruno-latour-2/

I adapt Latour’s typology to an understanding of Paul Feyerabend’s development, although I change the order somewhat: Pluralist’s Progress (1): Feyerabend and Latour | AGENT SWARM (wordpress.com)

A more worked out version can be found here: Feyerabend’s Cosmological Pluralism

Losurdo and Rehmann do not have the conceptual tools to analyse Deleuze’s « Nietzscheanism », as an ongoing research programme in ontological pluralism that is not terminated in his book on Nietzsche but that goes through quite a lot of development.

Publié dans Uncategorized | Laisser un commentaire

Deconstructing Jan Rehmann’s NEO-LOSURDIST MARXO-ANTI-NIETZSCHEANISM (7): on the value (and price) of public philosophy

On Jan Rehmann’s « DECONSTRUCTING POSTMODERNIST NIETZSCHEANISM Deleuze and Foucault »

For me the price analysis is central. I paid 30€ for Badiou’s IMMANENCE OF TRUTHS (700 pages), 39€ for Laruelle’s TETRALOGOS (600p), 29€ for Bourdieu’s MICROCOSMS (700 p), 26€ for Latour’s INQUIRY INTO MODES OF EXISTENCE (500p), etc. etc. – all by major creative thinkers.

Badiou, Laruelle, Latour are published directly in paperback form for a price that is times cheaper than the Historical Materialism Book Series books, they address a general audience, and although they are difficult they are not inaccessible for the lay reader.

I consider myself to be a lay reader, belonging to the targeted general audience. François Laruelle has done a good job making explicit what such a lay audience and its mode of reading are like in his book A BIOGRAPHY OF ORDINARY MAN.

I was a senior high school English teacher for three decades, living in Nice, and I certainly wasn’t paid, or accorded much time, to read and meditate these texts and to blog about them. Before that I was living in Paris and I attended the courses of Gilles Deleuze, Jean-François Lyotard, Michel Serres, and Michel Foucault, and believe me those classes were packed! Most of the attendance were genuinely interested non-students and had no time for sub-noetic relativistic language-games. They were there for substantial conceptual content.

There was a real thirst for concepts then, and I don’t think it has gone way!

This thirst for concepts has not gone away, it is not limited to France, but it is not served by such bullies of bloat as Losurdo and the smug « radicals » that have been promoting him. I am only at the beginning of my reading of Rehmann’s book, but I can provisionally class him among the de-concepted ideologues.

Over and beyond the relative price and the presence of philosophy in the school curriculum I think this market is larger in France because the books are offering something more, more « conceptual charge » than the corresponding Anglophone derivatives. Nonetheless, this conceptual charge is not a static thing and the work of assimilating French post-structuralism is heightening that charge, while academic debunkings such as Rehmann’s book strive for entropic flattening.

In sum, these books are not the narcissistic products of esoteric mind-games and linguistic exhibitionism

i – these French thinkers aim at and are read by a general audience,

ii – the price of their books is affordable for such an audience,

iii – French readers who have been to senior high school have studied philosophy for one year,

iv – French due to its Latinate roots has a more abstract vocabulary when seen through Anglophone eyes, and is less esoteric than it may appear in English translation,

v – far from justifying some élitist sort of textual purism, these considerations suggest that these thinkers are getting better with time in the English-speaking world.

vi – What the French gain in explicit abstraction they tend to lose in implicit limitation of scope, and these limits can be exploded in English. (I am no purist!)

vii – in conclusion, public philosophy is not some special concession but a widely felt common need.

Publié dans Uncategorized | Laisser un commentaire

Deconstructing Jan Rehmann’s NEO-LOSURDIST MARXO-ANTI-NIETZSCHEANISM (6): against the regressive/progressive sophistry

On Jan Rehmann’s « DECONSTRUCTING POSTMODERNIST NIETZSCHEANISM Deleuze and Foucault »

On this blog I have been working on the debates concerning epistemological and ontological pluralism, as articulated in the recent past (Deleuze, Foucault, Lyotard) in its latest developments (Badiou, Latour, Laruelle, Zizek) and I have begun reading Jan Rehmann’s book and live-blogging my impressions as relaxation.

I am giving my thoughts as I read, and I find Rehmann’s presentation of French « post-68 » philosophy of very low quality.

My own interest is in how « post-68 » thought evolved, as I read these thinkers in the1970s, and then moved to France in 1980, where I followed these thinkers and those that carried this sort of thinking further.

For me Rehmann is like Zeno trying to prove that movement is impossible when it is there before him, staring him in the face. I am interested in the movement.

The only mystifying being done is not by Rehmann, not by those he is « deconstructing ». He achieves this mystification by means of a two-pronged argument.

1) The first, or regressive, prong is constructed out of a series of pseudo-genealogies:

Rehmann mystifies contemporary rival philosophies by incorrectly describing them

he then traces them back to French « post-structuralist » thought,

he extracts from this thought a rudimentary relativism,

then he traces this relativist caricature back to Nietzsche.

Every step of this regressive prong is built on sand, the quicksand of Rehmann’s conceptual confusions and conflations.

2) The second, or progressive, prong is constructed out of a series of fallacies:

because Nietzsche’s orientations are to be rejected (based on Losurdo’s bloated historico-political considerations)

then « pluralism » is wrong,

so post-structuralism is wrong,

so rival contemporary currents of thought are wrong,

so we need more (and more sophisticated) Marxist critical thought to orient ourselves today.

Every step of this progressive prong is a non sequitur.

Publié dans Uncategorized | Laisser un commentaire

Deconstructing Jan Rehmann’s NEO-LOSURDIST MARXO-ANTI-NIETZSCHEANISM (5): innocence, perspectivism, and the spectre of relativism

On Jan Rehmann’s « DECONSTRUCTING POSTMODERNIST NIETZSCHEANISM Deleuze and Foucault »

ARGUMENT

First I consider the propaganda function inherent in the book’s publishing model, pricing, and review process.

Second I examine the method of conceptual confusion, and hermeneutics of amalgam, already apparent in the title.

Third, I deconstruct the implicit prescription for a binary decision Nietzscheanism versus Communism, Nietzsche vs Marx, and show that behind the scholarly mask the method is one of free association and metaphorisation.

Lastly, I examine the incipit of Rehmann’s book and its opening recourse to the misinterpretation of a fallaciously described, in fact fabricated, cinematic example.

I am actually surprised by just how bad Rehmann’s methods and arguments are.

Rehmann recycles Domenico Losurdo’s moralistic charge of leftist Nietzscheans employing, culpably, a « hermeneutics of innocence ». Neither Rehmann nor Losurdo seem to realise that « innocence » is actually a hermeneutic concept for Nietzsche, and not just a cosmological or ethical doctrine. Its hermeneutic dimension figures in key aspects of his thought such as « the innocence of becoming ». « Innocence » is one of the names of perspectivism.

Rehmann and Losurdo address an audience that already believes in their own « rightness », both moral and theoretical, and are eager to support any arguments that confirm their pre-existing prejudices.

The aim is to create the impression that a definitive critique has been proferred by a bloated book (Losurdo) of over a thousand pages offered first to vanguard academics who prepare the masses via reviews that orient their reading or allow them to take their word on trust. Rehmann can then build on that « foundation »to take on explicitly what were already the implicit ideological enemies of Losurdo’s book.

In this blog series I am analysing Rehmann’s arguments for the potential contemporary relevance of his and Losurdo’s technical theses on Nietzsche. Losurdo gives away the ideological motivation of his own 1,000 page work only towards the end, Rehmann makes it clear from the very beginning.

Losurdo’s makes a series of unsupported remarks on Deleuze and Foucault in the latter part of his book. These are not mere « asides », they are shameful examples of shoddy scholarship supposedly propped up by the preceding bloat.

Losurdo repeatedly i.e. (in his book on Nietzsche and also in conferences in French that can be found on youtube) makes reference to a quote from Foucault in order to disqualify rival approaches to his own as being based on a relativist « anything goes » arbitrariness.

Here is the quote: « The only valid tribute to thought such as Nietzsche’s is precisely to use it, to deform it, to make it groan and protest. And if commentators then say that I am being faithful or unfaithful to Nietzsche, that is of absolutely no interest ».

I myself see no arbitrariness in Foucault’s maxim, but only an engagement to take thought further by using influences (e.g. Nietzsche) rather than merely by studying them.

First, Losurdo and Rehmann do not take thought further.

Second my analysis of Jan Rehmann’s method shows that he is the one indulging in arbitrariness (not Deleuze and Foucault). As long as it is in the service of the greater cause Rehmann does not hesitate to use a hermeneutics of free association and metaphorisation to « read » his enemies.

It is simply not possible to reduce French post-structuralist philosophers to thinkers of the « philosophy of difference » or of « relativism ».

All these philosophers criticised their own and the others’ ideas, including the error of difference and the spectre of relativism, but in a creative way that makes each later work similar to but not identical with the one before. These family resemblances and multiple conversations allow us to group them together in an ongoing creative meta-research programme.

In contrast, Losurdo and Rehmann rediscover the wheel, but in a sterile way. Their nostalgic quibbling repeats arguments that were already going on in the 70s in France and that mercifully faded away for a while, as they would have inhibited new thought rather than inspiring it.

Publié dans Uncategorized | Laisser un commentaire

TIME TRAVEL, MULTIPLE WORLDS, AND JASON STANLEY’S DELETED TWEET: can science fiction help us understand?

Jason Stanley, apparently a famous American analytic philosopher, recently tweeted: « I would regard myself as an abject failure if people are still not reading my philosophical work in 200 years ». This tweet cannot be read even now, yet alone in 200 years, as he deleted it. But it is still being discussed.

The best reaction to this sort of will-to-future ambition is through a science fiction sensibility, and Eric Schwitzgebel makes a proposition in this sense. He considers predictive SF utopias and dystopias, but I find his envisioned futures, even the « utopias », all dystopian.

Despite giving an SF-tinged analysis Schwitzgebel does not even consider time travel, whether physical or mental, nor does he envisage the possibility of the future influencing the past. I have argued that all these are perfectly valid, and readily available, mental acts (see my review of TENET in relation to the thought of Zizek, Deleuze, Stiegler: Christopher Nolan’s TENET: Absolute Knowledge as living with temporal paradox | AGENT SWARM (wordpress.com)

However, the question is not one of prediction, anticipation, or projection, but one of desire. Jason Stanley is clear about his desire, and I find it to be dystopian. This desire to imprint one’s mark on the future in SF is often the mark of the villain.

Personally, my own motivation is the opposite of Stanley’s. I write so as to prevent the ambition evinced by intellectuals such as Stanley from ever coming to pass. As was the case for my intellectual educators Friedrich Nietzsche, Paul Feyerabend, Gilles Deleuze, Pierre Bourdieu, François Laruelle.

I agree with Deleuze’s aim to write not for people in the future, but for « a people yet to come » who are already here amongst us. Perhaps they have, even unknowingly, come back from the future to warn us about Stanley. Such people can be found in dreams, conversations, and moments of insight.

My favourite science fiction image to describe and motivate my own writing is to write for people in multiple divergent worlds. Please let’s not call them « parallel » worlds, that is still too much uniformity to my taste. Nor should we call them « possible » worlds, they are very real. Think not David Lewis, but Deleuze’s multiple worlds, Badiou’s logics of worlds, Bourdieu’s microcosms.

I write for people in multiple worlds, and I try to give them the resources I have found that may help them prevent the Convergence that Stanley desires and works towards.

An inspiring SF image of that sort of process would be Adrian Tchaikovsky’s novel THE DOORS OF EDEN – see my review: A DREAM OF DIFFERENCE: Adrian Tchaikovsky’s THE DOORS OF EDEN | Xeno Swarm (wordpress.com)

To sum up: I write to help people both keep the worlds divergent and keep the passages between the worlds open. I have no desire to mark the future, but I hope people will continue to favour divergence and passages over convergence and linear history.

Further reading:

For Schwitzgebel’s discussion see: The Splintered Mind: Will Today’s Philosophical Work Still Be Discussed in 200 Years? (schwitzsplinters.blogspot.com)

Daniel Tutt has a very interesting discussion on his blog: https://danieltutt.com/2022/04/26/how-are-philosophers-remembered-in-the-age-of-meltdowns-and-pile-ons/

Publié dans Uncategorized | Laisser un commentaire

Deconstructing Jan Rehmann’s NEO-LOSURDIST MARXO-ANTI-NIETZSCHEANISM (4): the incipit

On Jan Rehmann’s « DECONSTRUCTING POSTMODERNIST NIETZSCHEANISM Deleuze and Foucault »

In my earlier posts I established the broad lines of Jan Rehmann’s polemical method as outlined in his introduction. It must be emphasised that the book itself is a composite work, whose core (devoted to a scholarly critical reading of Deleuze and Foucault’s « Nietzcheanism ») consists of his postdoctoral thesis that has been supplemented and repackaged with a less scholarly « Introduction » whose purpose seems to be to articulate the wider social contemporary relevance of his academic work on French philosophical thought of the mid 60s to mid 80s of the last century. Nostalgic academic cherry-picking is re-purposed and re-packaged by a Brill sub-dependance (Historical Materialism Book Series) as an instrument in the new ideological struggle: to protect the position of Marxist academics against

« a fashionable ‘superannuation’ of Marxism that turned out to be harmful for the anchorage of critical theories in academia in general » (21).

Note: for « critical » read « Marxist ».

In the introduction Rehmann begins his book with a striking cinematic image, that of a philosophically confused neo-Nietzschean ex-radical leftist blowing his brains out, thus demonstrating the nihilist consequences of postmodern Nietzscheanism in the strongest terms.

Oddly enough, this image is taken not from a recent film analysing contemporary alienation, but from a 1980 film by Marco Tullio Giordana, titled Maledetti Vi Amerò (To Love the Damned). According to Rehmann, in this scence

« a young man named Ricardo … torn between leftist terrorism and yuppie culture, spells out a new variant of post-leftist political correctness just before his suicide ».

Further, our anti-hero Ricardo declares

« Eroticism is left, pornography is right. Even penetration is right, whereas foreplay is left. Heterosexuality is right, but homosexuality has deep merit as transgression & is therefore left. Hashish is left, but amphetamines, coke and heroin are right. Nietzsche has been re-evaluated and is now left, but Marx is right ».

After spouting, and in Rehmann’s account endorsing, this pitiful pastiche of the new doxa Ricardo « sticks the pistol in his mouth ». The moral is clear « postmodernist Nietzscheanism » kills, it is pure nihilism.

Rehmann concludes his analysis of this scene:

« This ‘re-evaluation’ of Nietzsche, which scrambled the film hero’s brain before he finally destroyed it and himself, is the subject of the following investigation ».

The problem with this striking beginning is that it is an unfaithful account. Rehmann conflates in fact two scenes

One scene shows Ricardo confiding to a police commissar acquaintance his disorientation in returning to Milan after spending 5 years in hiding:

Note: it is ambiguous whether the diatribe about left and right is a summary of his own opinion but of a new doxa that he is confronted with on his return.

The second scene comes at the end of the film, where Ricardo forces the commissar to kill him in self-defence:

Rehmann concludes that Ricardo’s tragic death is the fault of « postmodernist Nietzscheanism » and blames Deleuze and Foucault for the « reassessment of Nietzsche » that has poisoned our spirits and practice with nihilism.

The film-maker himself, Marco Giordana, conceives of the film’s portrayal of death as a (Nietzschean) metaphor:

“It is necessary that one experience death in order to have a new one born: the suicide cancels the adolescence, the incapacity of growing, so that a new figure emerges from death. My film invokes the necessity of dying if living means paralysis within the schemes of the economic ebb.”

Far from critiquing Nietzscheanism universally, Giordana shows the self-overcoming of a nihilist neo-Nietzcheanism into the potential for an affirmative Nietzscheanism.

He has, in advance, critically examined and rejected Rehmann’s central thesis, on the way making important distinctions that Rehmann’s incipit glosses over.

Publié dans Uncategorized | 1 commentaire