There
are lots of fictions around Non-Philosophy. We all know that this is a
necessary part of François Laruelle’s work results. One explicit goal that
can summarize both the way (the method) and the practice (the deed) of Non-Standard
Thought, being to set Philosophy free through the recourse of Philo-Fictions, or
through its metamorphosis/transvaluation into Fiction. And as far as we can
point to, this leads philosophical thoughts to both invention and harmlessness,
to leave both powers and shackles of Sufficiency, i.e. to recognize and to renew the usage of Decision inside Thought
through a process of weakening Philosophy, or, as Laruelle tells: a proposal to degrowth (Aksayam 2012)1.

 

Nonetheless
this freedom of invention, which can also be described, we now know this too
well, as a Redemption for the Hell of a World that we live in, has a price, the
price that has to be paid to Rigor. And when we are talking about an axiomatic
method, Rigor is the non-thetic name of Truth, although we might not be able
anymore to bear such a theoretical burden that comes nowadays with that name.
Assertions about Non-Philosophy are not assertions about the World, i.e. about Philosophy, and even less
assertions from Philosophy – at the
very least we should have to be careful, methodologically careful, about them
not to be so. But one trap that we always have to face inside the
non-philosophical matrix, is that we have to deal with two-sided descriptions,
and unsymmetrical. The unbalanced price of the rigorous Unilaterality that we
take in, that we greet as an eminent process of the Real, or as an emanating
effect that circumscribes it from the ground of descriptions…

 

Most
of us, especially since 1996’s Principles
of Non-Philosophy which opened, with Theory
of the Stranger, the third age of the philosophies that Laruelle used to distinguish
inside his own work, have welcome and even have acclaimed the statement that
Non-Standard Thought was the long-awaited device (messianic?) for setting
Democracy among thoughts. And that is precisely the meaning that we perceive in
the title of the rightly well-known essay signed by John Ó Maoilearca in 2015: All Thoughts are Equal. Yet, regarding
to the rigorous mechanisms that lead to this result, and keeping in sight the complex
two-sided descriptions that non-philosophical propositions always involve (or
import inside their utterance), we have to remember that Laruelle’s work, from
the very beginning of his writings, is more about Sovereignty, and releasing a
radical affect of subordination inside experience, than about Democracy or
equality of status inside Thought. We cannot ignore that Unilaterality is about undisputable hierarchy, or act as if not.

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Undisputable
at first because far from the reach of any contortion of Logos: the One forbids Agora, and incapacitates its pretentions to
rule any aspect of the Real. Impregnable because putting an absolute one-way
direction inside causality (but maybe rather “inventing” than “putting”, if one
would argue over lexicon); one-way in such an extent that what we now are used
to naming The Last Instance determines its effects without being even known as
a cause by whatever undergoes its determination. Here is the strict formulation
of what Laruelle early used to call, in an obvious Deleuzian reference and
continuity, the process of machinic
syntaxes, which were described according to the causality from the Other or
from the Differance: x distinguishes
itself from y which does not distinguish itself from it2.

 

Most
of the present-day readers of Laruelle, especially in the English-speaking
areas because of a lack of accessible translations, may feel this posture, or
this reading of Non-Philosophy’s statements, as being a little bit too much of
a Nietzschean taste. After all, Laruelle’s recent publications, especially since
the “amplification of Non-Philosophy” he has accomplished by quantum colliding
inside a generic matrix of thought, have implied a radical stepping beyond
previous formulations of his work (Laruelle 2010). But we could consider this
as a second trap that any attempt at catching up with Non-Philosophy’s
theoretical discourse has to face, but a more external trap than the genuine
two-sided complex representations at which we were pointing in the lines above.
This trap could be identified as a systematic-axiomatic illusion, the
temptation to receive the internal consistency of the axiomatic device, its
inside structural rigor, as having no genetic display or no historical manifestation,
i.e. the belief that the theoretical
building is given as a whole as such immediately and the denial that it is the
result of a long lasting work: a characterized confusion between the experience
and the production of its description which brings to the naïve belief in a
sheer elimination of one step of Non-Philosophy by the following one.

 

There
is no concept more Deleuzian-Nietzschean, although it is early dressed within
the Marxist name of Determination in the Last Instance, than the concept of Unilaterality
to describe the specific deconstructive causality that stirs Laruelle since his
initial publications3. The
unilateral syntax of sovereignty (already two-sided as it is implied inside the
Derridean protocol of supplementation) goes through the prior period of
Philosophy 1 until it coagulates with the problematic of Finitude, which
culminates with the question of Power and Mastery: how to articulate a theoretical matrix that embodies its own
finitude inside the laws of its machinic functioning with the initial Heideggerian
questionings which launched Laruelle’s research: which is the principle of production and reproduction of the various
meanings of Being? Which is the law of the authentic functioning of the
effects-of-Being, that combines the destruction of their metaphysical and
repressive forms with the production of these effects as such4?
(Laruelle 1974, 2)

 

The
turn into Philosophy 2, in the early 80’s, coincides with the renunciation
of formulating this principle of Finitude from inside Philosophy and with the
acceptance/discovery that this Finitude shall be absolutely immanent only if
received from outside Philosophy and Logos.
From the point of view of Philosophy, a turn from an internal Finitude to an
external Finitude. But from a non-philosophical position of vision, a
theoretical correction accorded with a lived and contemplative affect of
Indifference that defines in new terms a Science and its own Force (of) Thought,
a Science that turns Philosophy into a mere object which can be henceforth
treated as a material and can be incomparably invented from now on.

 

But
this affect as such is no affect of Democracy. As described as a pure affect
(of) impregnable self inherency without content nor predicate, it is an affect
of Solitude and Uselessness (Laruelle 1996, 168), an affect of division whose
Cut Philosophy cannot bear, whose sovereign inertia Philosophy cannot stand, especially
since Philosophy represses its transcendental need for this engine of Otherness
as a function in its own economy of movement and becoming (for instance, in
Laruelle’s Philosophy 1 case, the question of which energetic libido drives
any deconstructor at labour).

 

There
is no way which leads with means of equality to a theoretical position where
Solitude is freed from Reciprocity. How could we set unilateral freedom of
causality, unreciprocal determination, by any kind of democratic interplay?
Indifference is the very trait of Sovereignty. The Nietzschean luxury to choose
one’s enemy without being exposed to be chosen by anything, anyone, to be the
enemy accepting as valuable events the attacks that one undergoes (there are
countless metaphorical variations in Nietzsche’s writings about this elitist
causality).

 

Actually,
we cannot deny that Non-Philosophy provides equality and Democracy. But it is a
very strange kind of. As being a Democracy among Philosophies’ discourses and
procedures, it is more akin to a Democracy of Subordinates, the achievement of
equality among subalterns. From an aristocratic posture, in the way Deleuze
could have expressed this in his anti-Hegelian Nietzsche and Philosophy, we could say that all Slaves are equal (specifically from the master’s perspectives –
Deleuze 1962, part 1, chap. 4). Because if theory attains to make
Philosophies equal, this is only from a non-philosophical radical hierarchy, an
affectively lived one. In that sense, we probably shouldn’t talk about
equality, but rather talk about equanimity, which is one true name of
Indifference; “being equal” in French literally meaning “not mattering”.

 

Yet,
since Philosophy becomes inside Non-Standard Thought both an object of interest
for a new science and a raw material for experimenting invention through
fictionalizing Decision (especially as an art of axiomatics), we must be more
accurate in our formula; the right way to say, rather than talking of Slaves,
being: All Guinea Pigs are equal,
equal in front of a non-standard posture about which we cannot ignore the use
it makes since the turn into Philosophy 3 of a strange unquestioned
unethical metaphor to describe an effect of its immediate syntax of device: cloning. (as a reminder, Dolly the
famous sheep, now taxidermied and resting at the National Museum of Scotland,
was born by cloning, using the process of nuclear transfer, precisely in 1996;
this scientific issue was on everyone’s lips when Laruelle was writing – and
teaching – the Principles…5)

 

In
fact, and to get to an end with this matter, rather than All thoughts are equal, we should understand all Worlds are equal, because, in the frame of Non-Philosophy, all
thoughts are not. Unless we consider the Vision-in-One not to be a thought, even
though a very lonely and very hieratic one. Here lies a picky issue of
definition, concerning what Non-Philosophy considers as being Thinking,
concerning what borders it draws (if so) between Thought and Experience or
lived, concerning if it limits Thought to the only domain of Intuition or if it
confines the task of Non-Philosophy not to be anymore Heideggerian “thinking
Thought”, purposed to destroy the
onto-theo-logical repression of Being’s Sovereignty of production, the
oppression of Metaphysics which has always lived on the repression of these
productive effects-of-Being, and to derive from Being a brand new jouissance
(Laruelle 1974, 3).

 

At
least we already know that non-philosophical thought is described by Laruelle
as un-reflected, non-egological, without repeatings, and that it stands as a
whole with the given-without-givenness, as a consequence of the fact (the
lived) that the given-without-givenness shows itself rather (from) itself and consequently through the form of the
thought of which it is cause (Laruelle 1996, 122). And this thought,
without affirmation nor negation, without any kind of position, mere and
“neutral”, enjoys clearly a different status, because it invalidates every
objections brought by the philosophical thought. That is precisely the terms of
an essential asymmetry between obvious different kinds of thought, if not
different natures or essences.

 

The
only very reason why we stomach this blatant lack of Democracy in the
non-standard apparatus, the only reason why we tolerate it, and even are prone
to support it, is because the undisputable hierarchy that it builds places an
absolute lack of contents, a radical void of attributes and an indescribable
absence of self-consistency or self-sufficiency, at the position of unilateral
Determination, which is a position of absolute (auto)nomy, absolute
sovereignty, if not (precisely because it consists of no substance) absolute
tyranny. Is it what Derrida was tempted to see as a transcendental reign of
terror in Laruelle own practice?… (Laruelle & Derrida, 1988)

 

Admittedly,
being invisible, being intangible, being impregnable, being immaterial or
unsubstantial, i.e. being radically
elusive, cannot be described as an authoritarian position, or as an aggressive
potential, but neither can it be denied to be a radical power. The radical
power to drive anything or anyone powerless. There are numerous mundane
representations of such power, or of the endeavour to reach it somehow, from
the Marvel mutant character Kitty Pride to the fog-convertible Count Dracula,
from the martial art of Aikido to the unspeakable truth of Tao, from Christian
negative theology to the uncategorizable and unfigurable God within Muslim
traditions… In the ability not to support any predicate, i.e. in the capacity to avoid being an object in any way – even in
the dual and circular contemporary mode –, lies the power to thwart any
intention, to defeat any law, to frustrate any knowledge, even, in the epistemo(logical)
case of Non-Philosophy, to escape any intuition.

 

The
absolute hierarchy that such a power lavishes is tolerable in a democratic
device only because of emptiness, only because of an essential disruptive breakaway.
But on the other hand it is its tight (rather than hermetic) emptiness that
provides its utter power. Here we begin to catch some of its immanence exact
syntax. Yet we are also able to discern that this power, which deeply lies in
disappointment, is rather radical than it is absolute, in the sense that it
needs an occasion (an intention, the beginning of an attempt, the habits of a
practice or the reflex of a movement) to be exerted, to affect anything or
anyone. Indifference meaning nothing without a stimulus to experience it or to
sort of trigger it, to manifest it as an effect, even from a cause identified
with its foreclosure. With these lines, we attain precisely the terms that
redistribute the respective positions and functions of transcendence and
immanence inside the model that Philosophy 3 displays in the 90’s.

 

But
Laruelle goes further. Not only this Sovereignty gets its power and its
ultimate hierarchic position in the sequence of determinations from its
absolute weakness and inconsistency, its allergy or its immunity to any predicates,
any content, any objectification or any self-intuitive fold, – Laruelle also
prevents it from ever being privatized or appropriated – even by science itself
(as he acknowledges Philosophy 2 being too near to such a risk (Laruelle
1996, 59)).

 

Unilateral
Sovereignty, as a pure dispersive efficiency, as an absolute repulsive might,
as the causality of the unconditional Otherness that refuses ontological
determinations (of knowledge, of mastery, of Being as the ultimate frame of
Phenomenology…), has already been used and defined in former ways as a tool
of exception, in Levinas for example, enabling Jewishness to avoid the
requisition from philosophical Greekness (and here stands the messianic feature
of revolutionary discontinuity, as Ernst Bloch, for example, has shown about
Thomas Münzer6).
And we could somehow describe the same uses nowadays around Blackness and the
development of Radical Black Thought. Absolute Sovereignty is of great use, or
carries great positions of freedom, in the formalization of a process of
decolonization of thought and feelings. But from a Non-Philosophical point of
appreciation, these remain local deconstructive praxes, mid-term recourses, and
unrigorous depiction, if not fraudulent extortion of the non-mundane Force (of)
Thought in the name of one remnant predicate.

 

The
unilaterally sovereign One doesn’t share (or if so, only by an illusory residue
involving a theoretical incompleteness) its indivisible power (of) effect with
any predicate withdrawn from Logos or
from World, and it belongs to none. Even when Laruelle grants this Sovereignty
to ordinary man, or to man-in-man, he exposes Non-Philosophy to an accusation
of anthropocentrism (and what John Ó Maoilearca’s work raises in his book is
precisely the possibility of a non-human thinking from inside non-standard
matrix). The One, and its slightest epekeinomorphic divergence in regard to
Philosophy, holds sway, from an absolutely privileged position in a hierarchic
topology of thought, over the only empty cell (of) Real that it (is) among a
neutralized Hell of ideological mesh of illusions, of philosophical compound of
denials and of dizzying mixes of transcendences in which consists our
theoretical World. But what the One holds sway (over), prior to whatever and in
the last instance, is itself – because of its mystic inherence (to) itself. And
as such, it is subordinate, and at a pinch even coordinate, to nothing.

 

The
impregnable asymmetry and the absolutist haughtiness which characterize the
syntax of the theoretical structure described above might surprise many of
Laruelle’s present-day readers, especially those who had the chance to
encounter him and to get acquainted with the discrete and nice person he is,
even more the few who had the chance to listen to his teachings or to work with
him in anyway. Even when dealing with a highly technical point of metaphysics,
or explaining the traits of some thinkers which he would work to analyse or
criticise or deepen, Laruelle has always appeared to be far from arrogance,
self sufficiency or contempt. Yet there are obvious traces of prowess of
Nietzscheism inside Philosophy 1, and there is flagrant condescendence
toward philosophers’ self-deception or semi-blindness when he analyses (and
sharply abstracts) the mechanisms of their processes throughout most of his
books, and sometimes with an amusingly cruel shark pen. Let’s quote one of this
impressive purple patch to give a taste of the initial aggressive-affirmative
style which Laruelle was using in his prior works in the neighbourhood of
Deconstructionism and Differentialism; he is dealing at this moment with
ancient doctrines of liberation (Marxism, Pychoanalysm) which yet require the
apology, voluntary or not, of the Master (and the auto-position of Mastery) as
a visage of the reactive Other inspiring love rather than subversion:

1 All quotes, unless indicated, will be translated by myself, and all
references will be taken from French original editions and paginations.

2 This axiom is initially taken from The Decline of Writing (Laruelle 1977), but the oldest formulation
of this syntactic matrix can be found in Laruelle’s PhD dissertation: “the
series of emissions (noeses) only moves forward by following the traces of the
other of which it distinguishes itself at the same time it is identical to it,
but more powerful, more sovereign, never separated from what it produces.”
(Laruelle 1974, p. 183), and we can read the same syntax published for the
first time in Textual Machines and
applied to define the term machinic
as specifying a functioning of drives: “the effect of a drive distinguishes
itself from this drive which do not distinguish itself from its effect”
(Laruelle 1976, 10)

3 It is hard to identify quickly inside Nietzsche’s work, because
Nietzsche is quite obsessive about causality (just having a look at The Joyful Science, frg. 112, 127,
217, 360, 374… illustrates this clearly enough), but the easy reading of the 1st
§ of Deleuze’s Difference and repetition
Chapter I: “Difference in Itself” will convince anybody of what is taking place
at this very moment of European thought.

4 From an initial formalization of the syntactic essential processes
of Deconstruction through the ontological embedding of Decline (i.e. Finitude as a becoming) – Decline
of Writing, and thereupon of Hermeneutics –, Philosophy 1 can be
summarized as the ornery attempt to melt the esoteric transcendental device
shaped by both Nietzschean Will to Power and Eternal Recurrence (of the Same/as
the Other), with an active-affirmative interpretation of Finitude taken from
Levinas’ sharp demur to Phenomenology as an ethical ascendency of
powerlessness.

5 … and Laruelle has never spared in funny slightly cheesy references
in his discourse. In the 80’s, it was obvious for French ears that the acronym
for Non-Thetic Transcendence (Laruelle 1985) was referring to Trinitrotoluene,
T.N.T., an explosive; but nowadays it rather indicates Digital Terrestrial
Television… That is the sad becoming of humoristic otherness (though
non-autopositional) lost inside the coming and going waves of culture.

6 We sure wait henceforth for a serious publication confronting
Laruelle and Bloch on Utopia, Ethics and futurability.

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