BADIOU READS RENÉ CHAR (2): an amalgam of singularities

“Fragment 223 from HYPNOS

“Life which neither can nor wants to fold its sail, life that the winds blow back exhausted to the slime of the village, nevertheless ever ready to soar over the hebetude, a life ever less garnished, ever less patient, designate to me my share if there even is one for me, my justified share in the common destiny at the centreof which my singularity stands out but retains the amalgam”.

As in Rimbaud’s Sunday, we have here a contradiction between what could be called the élan of life which does not want to fold its sail….ever ready to soar over the hebetude and the fact that it is always brought back to the slime de la situation. It must be acknowledged – it is an axiom of equality – that in each of us the irreducible capacity for the adventure of the true exists.

One cannot say that someone is intrinsically and absolutely evil, because that would be to deny in them the potential universality of this capacity. If you deny that, you do not maintain the universality, because the universal address requires that one acknowledge that it can be received by anyone. Life ever less garnished – one must understand: less and less dense, less and less charged with veritable signification – less and less patient in Beckett’s sense, i.e. less and less capable of organising its own duration of obeying the imperative « continue ».

What is demanded by Char in the second part of the fragment, is the share (of truth) in which the individual that I am can participate that is such that one’s singularity will not be abolished but will stand out, will be affirmed, all the while maintaining its fusion with others : it retains the amalgam. So one could say that what characterises a truth procedure is that far from effacing differences, it affirms them inside itself (this is a key point of immanence) and that the affirmation of differences will constitute the force of the unity itself.

JI would like to conclude with another sentence by Char, from a text entitled” Vagabonds :

“Undertake in all sincerity of spirit to restore each vagabond to their primitive state of child of the Sun”.

This could be a maxim”.

Note: Badiou attributes this last quote to Char, but it is by Rimbaud, from “Vagabonds” in the Illuminations.

From Badiou’s seminar THE IMMANENCE OF TRUTHS, first class October 24th 2012, my translation.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to BADIOU READS RENÉ CHAR (2): an amalgam of singularities

  1. maylynno says:

    There is something I don’t understand: why the élan of life (the virtual in Deleuze’s philosophy) is seen as evil?


    • terenceblake says:

      The élan of life is not seen as evil here. It is contrasted with exhausted life. Absolute evil would be when a life is taken to be essentially exhausted, unable to soar, confined to the slime of the situation. Badiou argues that we must not essentialise evil, that the axiom of equality requires that we consider even the basest life as still capable of the good. Noone is essentially reactive, a becoming-active is always possible.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: BADIOU READS VICTOR HUGO (1): the blue thistle and dis-enclosing the finite | AGENT SWARM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s