AMBIVALENCE AND PERPLEXITY ABOUT BERNARD STIEGLER

Stiegler gets the notion of individuation from Simondon, who got it from Jung. However, I myself got it from Jung. This is my (unsystematic) precautionary criterion for adopting elements of Stiegler’s system: I adopt those aspects of thought and jargon that I can cross-validate with other thinkers I admire.

Simondon was a freer and more open thinker than Stiegler, as he did not get stuck inside the Freud-Lacan crystal palace. Simondon read Jung and was favourable to some of his ideas. Stiegler says Simondon didn’t understand Freud. I think rather that Stiegler doesn’t understand Jung.

On the question of Freud, as on other questions, Stiegler is halfway between Derrida and Deleuze, but still can’t quite get to Deleuze. The problem is more general: in France Jung is overshadowed by Freud. Stiegler shows no grand originality on that point.

However, Stiegler has been referencing and using Deleuze’s concept of « quasi-causality » quite a bit. He often discusses Deleuze or uses his concepts, and that for me is one of his most interesting aspect. My thought is not that « Stiegler should discuss Deleuze », as he already does that. It is rather: reading Stiegler has transformed my reading of Deleuze in a far more useful and inspiring way than the Deleuzians and Deleuzian scholars have done. This enriching reading of Deleuze is accomplished despite Stiegler’s continuing recourse to Freud and reliance on him for his own theoretical basis.

The idea that Stiegler’s thought is halfway between Derrida and Deleuze is not so much a summary of his trajectory as my positioning of his thought in trying to explain both my enthusiasm and my dissatisfaction. I have been following Stiegler intensively for seven years, listening to all his online classes and seminars, and reading the books and articles he publishes in conjunction with them. So I am fascinated by his ideas and find therein much theoretical satisfaction, but I discuss his work only rarely and briefly.

I have trouble finding the language to talk about Stiegler’s work. I do not try to assimilate his thought to some implicit system of my own, but I do resist being assimilated by his thought and jargon, because this is a very real danger, as Stiegler himself admits and warns against.

Given that I find much to criticise in the thinkers I discuss one is entitled to ask what are my criteria of satisfaction-convergence. I have none. I do not seek convergence but divergence, multiple perspectives.

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