NON-PHILOSOPHY, DISAPPOINTMENT AND ENCHANTMENT: relative pluralism is not enough

In his preface to THE PRINCIPLE OF MINORITY, published in French in 1981, situates his thought in relation to the philosophical context. He talks of working towards a possible encounter between pluralism, in danger of being conflated with relativism, and a thought of the Absolute, away from idealist entrapment in the relative and the constructed. Such an encounter would permit the extraction of a non-relativist “essence of Multiplicities”. The formula for this non-relativist pluralism is the reconciling of the “thought of the multiple and of becoming, of dispersion and of dissemination” at work in the “contemporary hopes of an overflowing of Greco-Occidental Representation” with a “thought of the Absolute … a thought of the One, but of the One without unity, beyond the Idea, the Logos, even of Being”.

This project, while quite logical and necessary in its attempt at deepening and radicalising the post-structuralist research-programmes of the 70s, may seem very abstract. Yet Laruelle insists that its “methods, goals, and results are only apparently merely theoretical”. Not only is it suffused by “diverse emotions” but

It is itself from beginning to end an emotion, it is always born from an encounter, the encounter between a disappointment and an as yet unknown demand that the emotion envelops as a certainty higher than itself, sustaining and maintaining it.

This disappointment is one of the strongest driving forces in non-philosophy, but it is bearable and fruitful only by “letting oneself be convinced by the Absolute, by allowing oneself to be seized and enchanted, by not resisting the non-power of this emotion”.

(Note: all translations from LE PRINCIPE DE MINORITÉ are my own).

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