François Laruelle, like all of us, has been influenced by the thinkers he has read and met, by the discussions he has had, by their power of inspiration, and by the disappointment that remains once the infatuation has ceased. Philosophy is a love story, and the affects it makes us live through can be some of the most intense and important in our lives. Saying goodbye to our educators is not a simple matter and it can not be accomplished once and for all. Laruelle, as we see in this book, is still saying goodbye to some of his elders, like Gilles Deleuze and Michel Henry, and to settle his accounts with some others, like Alain Badiou.
This problem resonates with me today, since I am experiencing a similar process of saying goodbye (or not) to Deleuze (my greatest influence) for a projected change in trajectory, and perhaps already begun.
My analyses of François Laruelle’s book TETRALOGOS are conducted from this point of view. As I have explained several times on my blog, the last book of the collaboration of Deleuze and Guattari, WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY?, is a brilliant work, but fundamentally flawed.
When I read Badiou’s THE IMMANENCE OF TRUTHS last year, some of my misgivings crystallized. Deleuze and Guattari in WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY? constantly speak of « the absolute », « the outside » and the « infinite », but their thought of the infinite remains too poetic and intuitive, and therefore cannot resist fully relativism.
Reading of Laruelle’s TETRALOGOS further consolidated this problem for me. My general impression of the process of saying farewell to Deleuze and to others, lived and recorded in this book by Laruelle, is that by showing his own movement of thought, he provides us with a series of concepts and perspectives useful for revisioning Deleuze, or any other philosopher, and for highlighting the limits of their thought.
It is this attempt by Laruelle to isolate, identify, and analyse certain problems and limitations in the thought of his predecessors, to go beyond that, which I hope I have demonstrated in my reading of TETRALOGOS.
In following this process, everyone can be one of the protagonists in his own cosmic epic. We would be like the dolphins at the end of another space opera, THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, leaving Earth, and its inhabitants, to its demolition, with this final message to humans: good bye, and thanks for all the fish!
We could take flight leaving Deleuze, or Badiou, (or any other philosopher educator of our understanding, even Laruelle) behind us saying: « Farewell and thank you for all the concepts ».
I hope you will do the same with this text.