READING LARUELLE’S CHRISTO-FICTION (2): the Gnostic Matrix, Quantum Deconstruction, and the Birth of Equals

At the beginning of the Introduction following the preface Laruelle states his objective clearly: “to conjugate science and theology totally differently than they have been up to now, in a gnostic spirit that this time would draw on quantum theory”. The idea is to suspend the sufficience of science and theology as traditionally understood, to reduce them to the state of materials, and to recombine them in a new way into a matrix, so that they can “serve to modelise together the Christic message”, which already exists, and so to “re-orient its use as a function of the humans to whom it is addressed”.

Laruelle deepens the opposition between belief and fidelity, and opposes the “vision-of-the-wold-in-world” to the “vision-of-Christ-in-Christ”. The guiding principle is the “fusion of Christology and quantum physics “under” quantum physics in its generic power, and no longer under theology”. This is the matrix that “serves to determine…the knowledge – our faith – of that X that we call Christ-in-person” on the basis of the materials (images, parables, sayings, concepts) made available by the suspension of theological and scientific sufficience.

The application of this matrix is guided by a “method” that Laruelle has tested elsewhere:

“The method, more than ever intricated with its object, treats all separate hermeneutics, axiomatics, or dogmatics as properties of the same object, become complex from the integration of these dimensions”.

It is to be noted that his method is not itself hermeneutic. It is “non-hermeneutic”, yet includes hermeneutics as one of the dimensions of the object. This is the case in particular for the object “Christ” and for his message, which is

“intelligible if Logos and Torah are conjugated canonically as variables, i.e. properties posited for the Christ, but which are only determinable without when not mixed together, as mutually exclusive”.

Christ, which we have seen to be the same thing as the “science of Christ” and as the “Christic message”, is declared by Laruelle to be the founder of a generic science of humans, This genericity is the essence of  Christ and of his message “which is to make humans idempotent, i.e. that each verify through Him his equality with any other”.

At the end of the Introduction we have a new member in the series of contrasting pairs, as Laruelle opposes the Cross (“the apparent or objective movement”) and the Resurrection (“the real movement”):

“The apparent sacrifice of Christ is really the sacrifice of God, the end of the rivality between God and Sons, the birth of Equals”.

Comment:

1) NOETIC COST: we are entitled to ask if the conclusion is worth the effort. Do we really have to struggle through not just the non-philosophical reductions but also the anamnesis of Christ across the many Christological, theological, historical, and traditional distortions projecting a bad “world” produced by an “evil God”? Laruelle seems to think that this path is necessary:

“The renewed non-Christian gnosis proceeds by the substitution of contemporary knowledge (quantum theory as model of thought) for the purely conceptual science of theology. It could, from this angle, arguably be called a quantic deconstruction and a generic transformation of theology”.

2) SCIENTISM: why is privilege given to science, and to one particular scientific paradigm, quantum theory, elevated into “model of thought”? Is this not another example of the scientism that Laruelle acknowledges in PRINCIPLES OF PHILOSOPHY to have been a defect of his earlier thought, and that he claims to have overcome in that book and its sequels.

3) PLURALISM: the question remains of the exclusiveness or not of the “leap” into Christ. Is the name of Christ advanced as the only way for everyone of exiting the worlds projected by the Principle of Sufficiency in all its forms? Or is this obsessive clinging to a familiar name an equivalent in the realm of religion to the defect of scientism, a Christocentrism? What about the names of the Buddha, of Brahman, or of the Tao? Each of these has been combined with quantum physics in many ways, from popular to sophisticated, for many decades now. A “quantum Christ” seems very much a rearguard action.

4) NON-LARUELLIAN NON-PHILOSOPHY: to what extent is this strategy of thought new? Gilles Deleuze talked of using the materials of philosophical systems outside the system’s linkages, and made much use of quantum physics. Slavoj Zizek has also taken the way of “non-standard” (Zizek’s term) philosophy and quantum physics. Feyerabend talked about how concrete philosophical materials were linked together by an abstract system imposed “from outer space”, and of the need to liberate the materials from the system’s confines. His work contains an extended reflection, over 40 years, on the lessons for thought to be drawn from quantum phyics. Much of Bruno Latour’s effort in developing his modes of existence project is devoted to freeing materials from philosophical sufficiencies. His concept of the religious mode of existence goes even farther in de-suturing than Laruelle’s self-conflicted attempts, given that Latour manages to avoid any admixture of scientism.

Each of these thinkers has gone much further than Laruelle in distancing themselves from scientism, and in creating the non-standard philosophy of the future. In contrast to the timid innovations of Laruelle, in their case the relative proportion of non-philosophical anamnesis to non-standard abundance is tilted more in favour of the second term, that of pluralist abundance.

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One Response to READING LARUELLE’S CHRISTO-FICTION (2): the Gnostic Matrix, Quantum Deconstruction, and the Birth of Equals

  1. inthesaltmine says:

    I am curious whether this kind of science Laruelle describes can be alternatively considered as that of Goethe/Novalis and their subtle “universal science” as part of the Romantic Encyclopedia project, rather than as a gross scientism plain and simple.

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