There is no right or wrong place to be. Jean-François Lyotard was an academic, but he was a-typical. He affirmed that he was at war with the institutions of his own mind. Lyotard refused easy partitions, he wanted to be a “good” conductor of intensities, in whatever context. This is a good maxim for an ethics of individuation.
I do not call to leave academia, or to depreciate it. Like Lyotard I call to de-institutionalise oneself. The problem is not the universityy, but academic arrogance and the refusal of real discussion, a marketised selection on the basis of money, status, power and an ethics of cronyism. Many academics work hard to make the university an open society, including in their own practices and relations to others.
Bernard Stiegler is true to Lyotard’s inspiration when he calls for a “surrealist cosmology” and for a practice of noetisation based on waking dreams and their exosomatisation (in the last class of his 2016 seminar on “transvaluing Nietzsche”). This call resonates with China Miéville’s recent novel THE LAST DAYS OF NEW PARIS (review here).
Stiegler tells us that Nietzsche is a pharmakon, reading him can individuate or empoison you. This is true of any philosopher, Stiegler included. One form that this empoisoning can take is the reduction of thought to conformity with de-noetised stereotypes. What Stiegler calls de-noetisation corresponds to my notion of “concept-blindness“. De-noetisation well describes the concept-blindness of OOO.and to the self-cloning practiced by proponents of Laruelle’s non-philosophy.
Stiegler’s neganthropic hermeneutics attempts to avoid such de-noetised self-cloning and concept-blindness by means of individuating interpretations:
“An interpretation is always a bifurcation emerging from the pre-individual potential that is a work”
Note: this and subsequent quotes translated from Bernard Stiegler’s seminar, July 2016.
“When I read a book, for example, the book I am reading is for me a pre-individual field with a potential, from which – in which – by my interpretation I will make bifurcations emerge”.
In his pursuit of bifurcative, as against repetitive, thinking Stiegler calls for a “speculative cosmology” that we can project as “the improbable possibility of the neganthropocene”. A difference between Stiegler’s sensitivity to ambiguity and Laruelle’s monovalent project is that for Stiegler hybris in its excessive dimension is a pharmakon that can produce either negentropy or entropy. For Laruelle this ambiguity is lost: philosophy’s negentropic hybris (one meaning of the French word “suffisance”) is treated as synonymous with its entropic sufficiency (second meaning of “suffisance”).