This is a critical look at Laruelle’s recent “science in christ” material, which I argue does not attain a generic background but rather foregrounds sub-generic vocabulary
No name is generic in itself nor is any name necessarily deprived of genericity, so incrusted in the rigid sedimentations of pre-existent limitative significations that extracting it into generic freedom is impossible. However, such an operation of extraction into genericity has no guarantee of success. François Laruelle in his most recent work wishes to extract two nouns from the bounds of doxic paradigms of signification in the hope of creating a new type of thought that would be both philosophical in aspect (and in its points of departure) and something else, both freer and more ordinary.
Laruelle has tried to free science from its own principle of sufficiency and from the principle of mathematical sufficiency., to make of it something generic rather than reductive. However, in doing so he has taken the word “science” to a very great distance from its habitual sense, to the point that his texts are virtually unreadable to the uninitiated, displaying a surface meaning that is in grand part indistinguishable from vulgar scientism.
Viewed from the perspective of the ordinary man or woman this operation, the extraction of the word “science” from its context of sufficiency into a generic sense, is a failure. It can even be argued that Laruelle’s own texts often do not live up to this generic redefintion of science, cycling around in a vain repetition of the vocable “science” as a poorly disguised replacement for original thought.
Laruelle’s attempt to liberate a generic meaning by means of the word “Christ” has met with a similar fate of failed genericity. The historical , geographical, and theological sedimentation is too strong here. “Christ” is the wrong word to designate the generic background common to all religions, unless it is given a radical redefinition, and unless Laruelle himself manages to stick to this generic sense of the word. This is what he tries to do with his identification of Christ and the quantum, in the hope of freeing this word (“quantum”) from the grip of scientific sufficiency.
However, colliding two insufficiently generic words together in the hope of generating a more generic result is a risky business, and I think this detour of the quantum via Christ is a failed operation. The word “Christ”, however algebrised and quantised, is not pertinent for freeing the generic content of religions such as Hinduism, Taoism, and Buddhism, which are already more generic, and which could be used to locate and to extract the imprisonned generic content of Christianity.
Inside the Christian worlds Laruelle sometimes conflate Jesus the “religious personality”, the hypothetical historical human being whose life is supposedly recounted in the gospels, and Christ the “founder of a new religion”, whose physical and or historical existence is not evoked by Paul. Further he operates a further conflation of this “Christ” and the “author of a “logia” which must be read as the protocol of a new human science” (Angelaki, volume 19 issue 2, A SCIENCE OF CHRIST, 25-26).
In consolation, we can say that the experiment was worthwhile, as it looked good on paper.