Bernard Stiegler: Etats de choc and the way of individuation

I went for a walk yesterday and found this (States of Shock: Stupidity and Knowledge in the 21st Century, published in January 2012). Far more interesting and satisfying than Badiou’s stuff. I like the emphasis on stupidity, that for example any philosopher, or any book, can make you stupid, it all depends on how you use it – mimetically, to tell you what to believe or how to think, or as part of a process of individuation.

An individuating-oriented reading of Badiou is possible, and I read him in this sense (I am no masochist!). Stiegler’s idea of love is close to Badiou’s, he calls it a « process of co-individuation » which produces both propositional and non-propositional knowledge (knowledge of the world, but also tacit knowledge of how to live and how to love, what Dreyfus and Kelly call skills. Stiegler, unlike Badiou, specifically includes not just eros but also philia, not just conjugal love but also parental love and friendship. There’s something more human and less prophetic in Stiegler’s style, despite the verbiage and the jargon.

Further, the notion of processes of individuation, that Stiegler gets from Simondon and extends, is more human than that of Badouian « truth procedures ». There is no longer this strange hierarchy of practices and number magic (four truth practices, love as the production of a Two). Stiegler is always careful to think psychic individuation not just in relation to collective individuation but also to technical individuation. So, for example, Badiou has nothing to say about the whole process of blogging, whereas Stiegler’s concept of a pharmacology of digital practices gives us useful lines of thought instead of making us disappear in the way of the concept. The way of individuation has everything to do with why I took up blogging and why I talk about the thinkers that I do.

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