The impression of lexical obfuscation that I describe comes after reading several of Stiegler’s books or after listening to several of his classes. One feels illuminated and inspired at first, but then the repetitious but un-illuminating use of an abstract jargon becomes the dominant impression.
In particular in the courses and seminars, a major part of the talk is is taken up by the task of reducing any other discussion to these abstract tokens, and repetitively tracing the connections between the tokens.
When I say that my criteria of satisfaction with a theorist as based on divergence rather than convergence, I am not talking about a theoretical satisfaction based on divergence within the text examined, but about divergence in my evaluations.
I am successively and/or simultaneously satisfied, dissatisfied, perplexed, by what I read. So you will never see satisfaction-convergence in my meditations. The thinkers and the ideas you love are also your traumas. That’s what pushes you to think, and not just to follow.
On the trinome of reduction: I do not accuse Stiegler of technological reductionism, nor of any mono-reductionism, I say explicitly the opposite. My point is his self-revendicated avoidance of technological reductionism is flawed, in that he falls into trinomic or triadic reductionism.
Here I fully adhere to Stiegler’s self-defence. He admits to misreading his sources, but he reminds us that all these thinkers (Nietzsche, Foucault, Canguilhem, Simondon, Derrida, Deleuze) were in favour of individuation and thus of creative misreading. He argues that we must become the “quasi-causes” of our influences and not their banal retranscription.
I do not effectuate the standard moves of standard philosophy, with its dualisms and its unilateral valorisation of cognitive thought. This is one point where I wholeheartedly adopt Stiegler’s vocabulary: the substitution of “noesis” for “cognition” is no mere verbal tokenising, and it helps us avoid the reduction of thought to cognitive processes and the sterile contrast between emotional thought and cognition.
My own writing, like my talking, is neologistic in both French and English. My problem is not with Stiegler’s theoretical vocabulary resorting to neologistic tokenising, for we need its power of re-conceptualisation. There is also an abbreviating and time-saving quality to such a jargon, allowing us to go faster.
However this abbreviation-effect of idiolectal tokens can become mere stereotyping, and the speed-effect can move from acceleration (whether good or bad, vis-à-vis stereotypes) to time-wasting obsessive ritual retracing of connections between tokens.
Further, there is a temporality in thinking which means that one’s reflections belonging to a phase prior to serious engagement with an oeuvre, in this case Stiegler’s, need to be treated with prudence.
IMMANENCE AND REVISABILITY
This prudence is associated with another of my satisfaction-criteria (in this case of my degree of satisfaction with my own analysis of a thinker’s work): immanence, including that basic form of immanence that is immersion in the oeuvre. Our first impressions do not satisfy that criterion of basic immersion, and so they can only be prolegomena.
I believe that prolegomena are not first principles, neither temporally nor logically, and that they must continually be revisable.
Note: I wish to thank Artxell Knaphni for a stimulating discussion, which helped me to clarify the ideas expressed in this post.