FROM ANAMNESIS TO TESTABILITY: democratic versus traumatic approaches to the real

From the preceding discussion we can see, and fortunately so, that there is no dictatorship of the real, and that non-philosophy’s incipient foundationalism is to be rejected, along with its scientism and the politicist and religionist reductions. It is totally coherent with non-philosophical thought to see Laruelle’s text itself as heterogeneous assemblage of concepts belonging to different periods and linkages. There is no need to endorse the whole system in all of its phases, and I have argued that there are cogent reasons within that thought to reject the notion of “syntax of the real” as making sense only within the principle of sufficient philosophy.

 The expression “syntax of the real”is a dead counter that does no work. It promises an anchoring in the real that is devoid both of structure and content. A further weakening of its usefulness comes from the acknowledgement that this determining of our cognition by the syntax of the real cannot be absolute, but is a matter of degree, a question of getting as close to the real as possible, of an “impoverished transcendental”, of a transcendental minimum, of locating and preferring the most immanent concepts. All this implies a gradation and a hierarchy that is antithetical to the “democracy of thought” invoked by Laruelle elsewhere.

Yet, gradation could refer to scalarity rather than hierarchy, and so could repudiate an absolute all or none idea of “according to the real” (the traumatic hypothesis). But there is in Laruelle’s thought a normative element, a positive valorisation of minimality and impoverishment, so in this instanciation it is not just a descriptive scalarity.

One could consider this gradation as structural rather than oriented around certain supposedly “more immanent” concepts. The best that this structural minimality could do is furnish us with as a way of obtaining relative suturing to one condition or another, thus creating a stabilised and exclusive fiction, but this would only be able to get us as far as a structural pluralism, with the danger of introducing a hierarchy of fictions. Not to mention a new moralism of “more immanent than thou” (where “thou” can be inflated to include not just contemporary rivals such as Badiou, but also historical sources such as Deleuze).

However, my biggest worry is that this makes the structures impermeable to each other, unless one comes to authorise tunneling between different structures by means of the passage between minimal objects. This is the solution of non-standard philosophy, and it is both quantum and democratic. If  one does not take this step, one’s model remains both relativistic and traumatic. In place of the democratic hypothesis where experimenting with and testing a diversity of alternatives plays an important role, one remains imprisoned in the pathos, tied to non-philosophy’s ultimately unsatisfying framework of a transcendental hierarchy of immanence and a miraculous intervention of the real, where the archaic term of “miracle” is replaced by the more modern-sounding one of “trauma”. Anamnesis of the real is detached from its creative and futural role in the democratic invention of fictions.

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One Response to FROM ANAMNESIS TO TESTABILITY: democratic versus traumatic approaches to the real

  1. dmf says:

    I like this move of yours, reminds me of Lingis’ rejection of talk of Lacanian-Lack in favor of our rather/actually being creatures of excesses.
    you might want to weigh in on:


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