CONCEPTUAL ASCENT AND NOT-BEING-IMPRESSED

Occasionally I find myself in the midst of rather tense situations on the internet (and elsewhere!). My reaction is to try to extract a conceptual core from the incident. and if it seems appropriate to give rapidly an intellectual context to render my own reactions and statements comprehensible. If someone involved thinks that this is all empty talk and that I make no intellectual points, then they are right to say so, and I feel sorry not to have been able to establish a link with their  own existential or philosophical concerns, but this is to be expected when I dialogue with some new acquaintance, as we barely know each other.

These phenomena of blindness to and rejection of the other who is operating out of an incommensurable frame are part of what my blog is all about. I think that they are also an important concern of the philosophers I discuss most often(Feyerabend, Stiegler, Latour, Deleuze, Badiou, and Laruelle). If I myself am guilty of bad behaviour, I apologise and try to make amends in my own terms (not necesarrily in those of the other)). In the case of “cronyism”, discussed in previous posts, I have acknowledged that I am myself guilty of the same fault that I impute to others. My sentiment is not one of universal culpability, but of bitter experience: if you think that such phenomena do not exist in your own behaviour and that of your friends, then you may be right, in which case you are very lucky indeed. You may however be mistaken, at least partially, and it would be a shame to miss out on an opportunity to reflect on such matters.

As anyone who reads my blog will know, I devote a good deal of space to the discussion of the “non-standard” philosophy of François Laruelle, whom many people criticise or ridicule for his “abstract, pretentious language” that they find pompous and empty. I do not believe that this is the case, and I think that he practices, in common with many other French philosophers, a method that I call “conceptual ascent” and that this is often a very fecund technique.

As an Australian living in France since 1980 and over all that time reading mainly French philosophy and still following (mostly online now) French philosophers’ seminars I think I have been “contaminated” by that style. Yet, unlike many of those I encounter online I am not a “scholar” and so I probably see things very differently from most of them and have different reactions. However, I do not go in for empty jargon and it would be a big mistake for someone more habituated to other academic protocols to assert, as some have, that I “make no intellectual points”. This in itself would be a singularly immodest proclamation. Yet, the positive side of such an affirmation is that it declares at the same time a sort of royal impassibility (“We are not amused. We are not impressed”) I am glad that my interlocuteurs are not easily impressed, and in this we are semblables, as I too am not easy to impress. This “not-being-impressed” is even a potent source of much that I write. Sorry for being so long-winded, but I was trying to “de-jargonise”, and I hope that I succeeded a little.

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