Laruelle, Deleuze, Badiou: Construct awareness (Part III)

Construct awareness:

We broached the subject of a coming-together of Laruelle, Deleuze, and Badiou in conjunction with the emerging universal mathematical language of quantum set theory. This conjunction entails a logic of constant oscillation of thought, like a sheaf logic (see here), which contains two poles: the first being roughly dialogical, and the second synchronic. In this undifferentiated continuum lies possibilities for a collective integration of our Fragments of knowledge into a more Unitive or Univalent whole.

With the spirits of both Deleuze and Badiou held in mind, a certain formal multiplication of Laruelle takes place, as dualysis quickly became trialysis, quadralysis, and so forth. This movement continued until we moved across the “med-” mediating field to arrive at paralysis (see here) as a new potential human agency in the last instance. If one was skeptical of Laruelle because he looks like a dead-end, then one would do so rightfully. He is a dead-end in “the One”.

Yet, he sounds otherwise to me. We may see with our ears instead of our eyes in order to demonstrate, if possible, the real sense in which is his thought is actually a closure. Could it be a closure to one direction, and on the contrary, an opening in another which we have not looked?

For what ends here is only the World as we know it, but do not be afraid of this apocalypse! It is the World of violence which comes to an end as as we begin to pass through the “critical passage” that proves to be key in moving beyond the trope of the “foreigner” or “stranger”. I continued by suggesting that the “hermetic turn” is not a turn like any other; rather, it is a turn inward on our very act of turning-in-itself.

It seems to be the consequent culmination of the previous turns in continental philosophy to date.

 

For when one has no where left to turn, in a dead-end — no turns: neither phenomenological, nor linguistic, nor religious, nor even speculative — one is left with no choice but to turn inward and meditate on their previous turning, on this particular turning as it unfolds. It is as though one leaves the comfortable sphere of locality and becomes planetarily, globally, and then cosmically inclined, seeing from as close to the place of “the One” which sees everything.

The difficulty of managing multiple complex systems or groups at once comes to light, and in this performance, to be paralyzed is to absolutely withdraw from the violence of the World at-present, and begin to generate a new one which is habitable. It is as though we are now trying to foresee the effects of our turning before they even occur. Our vision is not one of the eye, but instead as we have demonstrated of the ear and, perhaps, of the mind’s eye.

This dead-end only marks a half-way point. The positive project of action against-the-World-for-the-World is still to burst forth as the actual Infinite within is to be released. While for the philosopher it is necessary to create concepts at-will; the non-philosopher is now charged with the impossible task of creating unitive non-concepts, or creating those orientations that create concepts.

CookGreuter2

This dead-end is revealed as a particularly useful one, insofar as we now have no option but to ascend vertically instead of horizontally.

From our present ego-centric stage, let us move with-and-beyond to a more post-autonomous and post-dialectical mode of thoughtaction. With Laruelle, and with Deleuze to a degree, alongside Novalis, we have already recognized or otherwise captured a mere glimpse of the need to adopt a vision-in-One or let us say more accurately a Unitive approach in our thought and action.

This term “construct awareness” which strikes us as critical at this point. It may have been there all along, latent in the ashes of post-structuralism. Most notably, it is there in the kind of hyper-sensitivity and ethics of hospitality in the work of Jacques Derrida and others, waiting to rise like a volcanic phoenix. We may say in our passing that luminous grounds are the foundations of the Wilderness.

Dr. Susanne Cook-Greuter, in EGO DEVELOPMENT: NINE LEVELS OF INCREASING EMBRACE (see .pdf here), from whom the previous diagram was taken, writes the following of “Construct-awareness”:

Construct-aware individuals are people who have become aware of the pattern of development that encompasses an ever broader realm of experience and thought. They realize that the “ego” has functioned both as a central processing unit for all stimuli and as a central point of reference and self-identity. Once they realize this fundamental ego-centricity, it is felt as a constraint to further growth and understanding. Construct-aware people start to wonder about the meaningfulness of more and more complex thought structures and integrations such as can be imagined with a fifth or nth person perspective. They start to realize the absurdity or automatic limits of human map making in the representational domain.

Unlike earlier stages, Construct-aware persons are aware of the ego’s clever and vigilant machinations at self-preservation. This is the first time in development that the ego becomes transparent to itself . Final knowledge about the self or anything else is seen as illusive and unattainable through effort and reason because all conscious thought, all cognition is recognized as constructed and, therefore, split off from the underlying, cohesive, non-dual truth.

By turning further inward, Construct-aware persons start to see through their own attempts at meaning making, and become aware of the profound splits and paradoxes inherent in rational thought. In many ways, they individually rediscover the Korzybski’s notion (1948) that “the map is not the territory.” The linguistic process of splitting into polar opposites and the attending value judgments can become conscious. Good and evil, life and death, beauty and ugliness may now appear as two sides of the same coin, as mutually necessitating and defining each other. Moreover, the constant judging of what is good and what is not creates much of the tension and unhappiness so prevalent in ordinary waking consciousness. Construct-aware individuals generally have a dynamic and multi-faceted understanding of human nature and the complexities of human interaction. They want to face their own profound need for theories and explanations. They hope to unearth the limits of the rational mind, and to unlearn their automatic, conditioned responses based on memory and continuous, everyday cultural reinforcement.

CookGreuter1

We realize that such a paralysis, an identification among other things with the alchemists, is now becoming.

The tendency moves away from exclusion, and towards an unconditional embrace and universal compassion. Onto-cartographies, for all their wild popularity in SR/OOO, are but a temporary stage in the natural unfolding of thought which is to be overcome at last by their Irony.

Ars combinatoria:

If it is worthwhile to proceed into the caverns of German Idealism, it is primarily to retrieve from the salt mine one gem of an idea: the notion of Witz. It is mostly for this reason that I became drawn to the life and works of Novalis in particular. The connection between such irony / alchemy shines in these dark, poetic recesses of Romantic thought, articulated here by Jochen Schulte-Sasse in a book aptly titled Theory As Practice: A Critical Anthology of Early German Romantic Writings, on page 30:

NovalisWitz

Arguably no conversation of the function of irony may begin without the following Kierkegaardian insights (see here) from On the Concept of Irony with Constant Reference to Socrates:

In our age there has been much talk about the importance of doubt for science and scholarship, but what doubt is to science, irony is to personal life. Just as scientists maintain that there is not true science without doubt, so it may be maintained with the same right that no genuinely human life is possible without irony (p. 326).

We may actively bring about the creative synthesis of two of Kierkegaard’s further notes, that “Irony is a qualification of subjectivity” and that “Subjectivity is Truth” by affirming that “Witz is a qualification of Truth”. By entering in the salt mine, if one is lucky, one comes out with much Witz.

This is perhaps Novalis’ most precious thought, as articulated by Jean-Luc Nancy in his book in a chapter The Birth to Presence, entitled “Menstruum universale”, on page 251:

NancyWitz

If Schlegel describes Witz as the ars combinatoria, Nancy continues on page 261, it is because of what is ultimately generated by this kind of good, controlled irony.

SchlegelWitz

Many-worlds interpretation:

In the course of our studies of quantum set theory, we have perhaps inadvertently committed ourselves to the absolute generation and regeneration of Witz.

That is, following the various motifs of universal mathematics, the menstruum universal, and the true lingua caracteristica universalis, it seems as though when it comes to quantum interpretations of reality we have little choice left but to begin from non-standard forms of the many-worlds interpretation.

To repeat again an excerpt from Sheaf Logic, Quantum Set Theory and the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics by J. Benavides [2012] (see .pdf here):

This approach results to be more constructive, showing a direct relation with the Gelfand representation theorem, and revealing also the importance of these results with respect to the interpretation of QM in close connection with the Deutsch-Everett multiversal interpretation of quantum theory. Finally it is shown how the collapse via generic models of this structure of quantum variable sets can help to explain the emergence of classicality also in close relation with the Deutsch-Everett perspective. [...]

Not only does “construct awareness” refer to our own limited awareness of the inertia of the constructs we produce, but also to its double structure of thought.

It reminds us also of the other emergence of “construct awareness”: that the collective unconscious permeates reality with a kind of non-agency of its own. One need not take this detour through quantum theory to arrive at this understanding; however, this time we recognize that Badiou’s pursuit of philosophical “mastery” is a highly problematic trope. We may face it first on the inside his own mathematical turf, not merely from without.

For a political aside, it is not the individual pseudo-Maoist such as Badiou-the-Man which is my concern, but it is the violence of a de-personalized Maoist (or a de-personalized “Christian” one for that matter) collective unconscious which captures my attention. While Maoism becomes the non-standard addition of this “creative synthesis” to standard Marxism-Leninism, or the injection of this much-desired construct-awareness into organization and philosophy, it is also much more localized. It is like the injection of construct-awareness into M-L organization and philosophy, most notably in the Third World. These qualms are to be situated with respect to the kernel of faith in Marx’s Das Kapital itself, and his own construct awareness or lack thereof.

A more powerful critique of the global phenomena known as “capitalism” is still forthcoming, supplemented by its “retributivism”. Can we think of a construct-aware analysis of “capital” that cuts a level below Marx’s insight, but which integrates and accommodates it in our World? If Laruelle’s “non-Marxism” is relevant, it is given for the remembrance of these lonely and cast-aside Fragments before they become lost. Their “weak” potential seems to make all the difference in the World.

Back on track, David Wallace and David Deutsch at the Oxford School provides a persuasive vision of the many-worlds “interpretation” (see video here), especially given this reading on set theory. In particular, I thoroughly enjoyed his article Decoherence and Ontology: or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love FAPP (see here) and “Everett and Structure”. In this first article, the abstract reads:

I make the case that the Universe according to unitary (no-collapse) quantum theory has a branching structure, and so can literally be regarded as a “many-worlds” theory. These worlds are not part of the fundamental ontology of quantum theory – instead, they are to be understood as structures, or patterns, emergent from the underlying theory, through the dynamical process of decoherence. That they are structures in this sense does not mean that they are in any way unreal: indeed, pretty much all higher-level ontology in science, from tables to phonons to tigers, is likewise emergent. Unitary quantum theory is therefore a “many-worlds” theory without any modification of the mathematical structure of the theory: the Everett interpretation does not consist in adding worlds to the formalism, but in realising that they are there already. Our grounds for accepting the reality of those worlds is no more, but no less, than our grounds for accepting any other not-directly observable consequence of an empirically very successful theory.

To grasp this “branching strcuture” is to notice that, like the mechanism of path integral formation, action is largely a matter of a sum over histories (see here).

As follows, Richard Feynman‘s formulation reads:

  1. Events in nature are probabilistic with predictable probabilities P.
  2. The probability P for an event to occur is given by the square of the complex magnitude of a quantum amplitude for the event, Q. The quantum amplitude Q associated with an event is the sum of the amplitudes tex2html_wrap_inline1605 associated with every history leading to the event.
  3. The quantum amplitude associated with a given history tex2html_wrap_inline1605 is the product of the amplitudes tex2html_wrap_inline1609 associated with each fundamental process in the history.

If there is an argument to support the insistence upon non-violence on pragmatic (rather than simply moral) grounds at all, it is likely to arrive on these bases. The long-term effects of non-violent action  - the subtle nuances of our individual actions – “add up” in the collective unconscious as it changes over time.

Granted a heightened degree of construct awareness, our new-found Witz may allow us to carefully determine first-in-the-last-instance the future we will encounter. We are called by Crisis to Wander in new paths on the luminous ground of the Wilderness.


Works Cited

Greuter, Susanne R.. Postautonomous ego development: a study of its nature and measurement. 1999. Print.

Kierkegaard, Søren, and Lee M. Capel. The concept of irony, with constant reference to Socrates.. New York: Harper & Row, 1966. Print.

Kierkegaard, Søren, and Howard V. Hong. The essential Kierkegaard. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2000. Print.

Nancy, Jean. The birth to presence. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1993. Print.

Sasse, Jochen. Theory as practice: a critical anthology of early German romantic writings. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997. Print.

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6 thoughts on “Laruelle, Deleuze, Badiou: Construct awareness (Part III)”

  1. Excellent work! I have to admit that I need to spend a little more time on your site… I know we have differing views and almost oppositional formulations, yet you have some valid and intriguing renditions that will need more in depth analysis. thanks…

    1. I will admit I come into my life with generations upon generations of Quaker pacifists and women’s suffrage activists in my family background, and so I am, after all, in the last instance, a “preacher’s kid” – what a tormenting identity if there ever were to be one! Perhaps one might wish to say that a not-so-subtle bias is present, but as is often said of PK’s, there exists something to the effect of “…no, to the contrary, my friends, it is for this reason that I have resisted all the more!”

      I look forward to our collaboration! Your posts are very stimulating for the development of my thought. Yours truly, David.

    2. Also, if there is to be a source for our disagreements, it is surely to be found in our various experiences in the Wild(erness). I do not doubt that, despite the possibility of perceived differences, we shall find that my hypothesis of “wilderness theology” and your incoming formulation of “wild materialism” may well converge on the border between two possible Worlds. From one Wanderer to the next, I wish you the best.

  2. It is so ‘synchronous’ that my experience conspires with my times of getting to read further in your posts. It is such a refreshing life-ing that confirms all we speak of, that I, and you it must seem, work for.

    Your incorporation of Laruelle is good. Yes. The ‘future Christ’ is a terming of ‘what is beyond the discourse of the past-future history’, the seeing and the hearing. You and I do meet in this regard, as you have indicated in our interactions.

    In a very colloquial way, his is the culmination of the individualist agenda, the ‘in the last instance’, the last overdetermination that can be spoken about. What is next? I think this is where you and I part in our plans: the actualized ‘next moment’ where two of such ‘radical individuals’ meet. For I see that it is not under some ‘now common’ or ‘new’ encompassing rhetoric or knowledge, but merely an acceptance of individual individuality; when it comes to such a move, the individual is come upon unto himself and the world, but that other individuals have likewise also, not under some ‘one true’ world, but the true multiplicity of worlds.

    I do not concur with Badiou (I think he has said) that there needs be a ‘new situating’ of philosophy, as if some new world is now being revealed to ‘Us’, that we can join in human brotherhood now that we have understood the ‘truth’. For how is this to occur? If we see that discourse itself is what keeps us in the real historical repetition, what about discourse can be altered to overcome the limitation of discourse? It is not meaning; if there is a common meaning, then it its successful consummation is thwarted in the discourse that must be used to convey it.

    If I am mediating some divine motion, it is only me, and its communication is always lacking. Our, yours and mine communication, is evidence of this. Here we are, two individuals who seem to have understood the situation and are thus supposedly communicating, who are nevertheless still discussing the aspects of the issue as we both know it. In essence, we have not revealed to each other the necessary repercussion, but only the sufficient reasons. We are not exposed to each other; our exposure has been mitigated by the terms we are using to communicate, more so the meaning that has allowed the search to fold back into the ‘proper’ meaning that excludes – which rebuts that a radical project is indeed salient and occurring.

    At this level, though, if there is to be a true manifestation of radical agency between us, so as to allow this ‘new world’, we would need to expose the meaning that is informing the theoretical discussion. Feeling of commonality is not enough, for such a feeling is discerning to commensurate and discrepant feelings, those who ‘join’ in this feeling I have, and those who do not, which really then denies again that such a radical ‘agency’ had occurred, since then it is really a substantial reaction based in offense of the ‘radicalized’ individual that would allow for such a new world to manifest, at that, only under the particular meaningful scheme that is being used to discern who may be a part of the movement. It becomes nothing less than the ‘One’ of a modernist Hegelian dialectic.

    But say that Laruelle does indeed see how his project is in bad faith, say that the acknowledgement is included in the project; how then can this manifest? How does a world of radical non-individuals take form ?

    I do not see such radical-ness as some new thing, like some new way for humans to ‘reach beyond’ their humanity – like some wonderful new world is just around the corner (utopia) – it is ‘new’ in the discourse of progress, but this, alas, is but a discourse ‘about’, it says nothing of humanity as humanity, it speaks of the overdetermining of humanity, the faith that humans can be more than human, that what we are talking about actually gets somewhere, as if what we are saying is actually referring or reflecting a True Object. This is why I wonder if Laruelle sees himself in bad faith or not, for the truth of his project is ironic in its base, yet he never mentions anything about it, rather, he appears to be very serious and intent on conveying a method for bringing about a new reality.

    Social activism is one thing, but it is a real thing. I am concerned with the human being that makes up social constructs. Laruelle is so caught up in his own talk, it is difficult to know what he is really saying, but I think he is a little saturated in his own juices.

    1. Regarding that “actualized ‘next moment’ where two of such ‘radical individuals’ meet”, I accept your framing. It does seem that there exists a real difference. Moreover, I am not in the least bit opposed to the idea of acceptance of this individuality, and the consequent “true multiplicity of worlds” that obtains. Like you, I also do not concur with Badiou’s vision of St. Paul, either, and I am growing ever-more suspicious of “new” encompassing rhetorics, especially those of Christianity(!), or at least their enforcement, as again they remain closest to “me”; they are local. I welcome with excitement, as always, your remarks and questions about Laruelle. Phew! – look at all of this “granting” or “conceding” I have to do in order to ensure in the first place that we are still on the same page. Now, let’s turn the page, or maybe rip it up entirely.

      In fact, I accept all you said, especially: “If I am mediating some divine motion, it is only me, and its communication is always lacking.” You say that it is only me, yes, well, I say there is also God. You agree, and acknowledge a “spiritual oneness” in humanity. I agree, too, but then what if I say, after so long of getting to know you and dialoging with you, that “…you want to know something about me? I am (despite all appearances) a Christian”. To say “only me” after this point is to, I think, fail to see that I bring not only this unitive “spiritual oneness” with me, but also something else entirely. The information that I am a Christian really does communicate something to you: that I also bring Christ and the Triune vision of things in general. Yes, please let’s resist all-encompassing rhetoric – clearly you see the messiness and energy I am putting in to convey what should otherwise be quite simple.

      Perhaps that “additionality” that comes with me being a Christian amounts to nothing for you, but for “me” it is, well, everything in a way. This non-communicable/non-functional/non-action ultimately, I believe, informs and renders intelligible, communicable, etc. my own faithful action in the world. I speak most of the time about what is closest to “me”, even as I try to expand the horizons of this “me” that acts and speaks and, maybe occasionally, has something worthwhile to say to others. What else can I say to you – somebody with whom I am in complete agreement? Let’s together form an organization of some kind or talk about a specific issue of violence or – well, what do you think we should do? Will you join me in some action? That’s a strange thing to say, but we are just communicating as things stand. We are not really acting at all, at least as we speak here together. At least these posts are not going to have a large impact on others, beyond maybe meeting a few eyes other than our own. This is effectively a private space, so I might as well speak about “something more” that, maybe, can push our limits of understanding even further than we have both clearly pushed them already.

      In any case “only me” does other things in the world without acting in public or speaking there, too… things that are only understandable to you vis-a-vis my personality and particular expression of this agency. If you looked through my window and saw me praying, for example, what would you think if you had once thought I was completely one way, maybe atheistic or secular? “Oh, I didn’t know he was religious” – how might that occasion inform your action towards “only me” as an individual? My motivations in action are born of these private or mystical and specifically Christian depths. Perhaps you cannot fully understand “me” as a person unless you see my personal commitments to God. You can only ever understand “only me” among billions of other “only me’s” each with their agency since that is what you see as communicated. Yet I am trying to communicate to you something additional or even “super-” as in “supernatural” about me, even as it is not at all communicable except in loving action. It is about more than “only me”. That is, at this point, since we are not really acting here, we might as well blabber on about these additional things.

      Yes, it is “only me” speaking here. It is, as Augustine says an issue of “my peace” – not yours, but mine. It is deeply personal, and perhaps also it is better off being-private as a general rule. But with you, having gotten to know “only you” and your great mind a bit, I am willing to share this inner peace, this feast as I said, with you in the, er, secrecy of this public forum of discussion. There is, of course, “the functional”, the “communicable”, the “conveyable” and the many other terms you use to direct my attention elsewhere, e.g. in humanity. We can look there, if you want, but then we should probably take to a kind of public action together in some way. Laruelle, yes, he is an ironist… but perhaps, I am now wondering, if he is not in “bad faith” after all is said and done. Because it is just him speaking, after all. He does not speak on behalf of an organization, for instance, or in any case a societal institution – does he? It would certainly be bad faith if he was speaking in public as a representative of, well, humanity or his constituents if he were elected to office. It is “only him”. But what if he says “these are my personal views (about the Future Christ, etc.), and I wish to communicate them with you my friends through this performative formality…” We of course both understand him since he does not proclaim, as I do, something ungraspable.

      It seems that he could be effectively tempering “action” with its unbound truth in “non-action”. This isn’t so much an oscillation inasmuch as it is a recognition of different behavior being proper in different places. OK, so I still lean to his being in bad faith, but I am inclined to believe that he could also be in good faith, too. I trust he is in good faith, but you could be right as I could very well be mistaken. In other words, he has also, as a non-Christian his own kind of “additionality”, “his peace” in the One or this “spiritual oneness”. For me, this “spiritual oneness” is very good indeed AND there is also a feast next door which may taste even better.

      It seems to be the mark of Christians to not hold on so tightly, and indeed to be quick to let go of the consequences of action. It is important to loosen one’s grip on “action” and its consequences if and only if one is to have a personal relationship with God, “in private” as it were. Do you see what I am trying to do with this “public/private” distinction? Now, if I am sharing with you something which I say privately is ungraspable, can you still really share it with me? I think so. Even as it is so deeply personal, I believe we can together, in common, actually share in its mysteries, i.e. without necessarily breaking “spiritual onness” with others. I have faith that we can share in this together, if you are willing to let-go of “the functional”, “the communicable”, “the conveyable” and enjoy in the Triune or three-in-one course meal. :P

      But this is all “super”, isn’t it? If you want to talk about humanity without these (as you perceive it) excesses, then let’s think about how to act together. Except, in acting together, know that my actions may sometimes differ from yours (perhaps not.. it is unlikely) because my motivations are not the same even as they converge and become equivalent at most times. As your friend, and I established first that we were friends, a kind of special commitment if I can say so, “only me” is just trying to challenge you to grow beyond the communicable in a way that still can be shared with others even as it is ungraspable. The Trinity, I think, while all too easily recognized, however ironic, speaks to a certain truth about functional and communicable vehicles that even “spiritual oneness” may lack, even despite all of our best efforts and successes in communication and discussion. It is a bare vulnerability, a faith that does not need defending (through theology or otherwise), but whose depths are inexhaustible and give “only me” the peace to act for justice. I am looking to do BOTH true multiplicity AND something more than that, and this BOTH/AND openness is, for “only me”, motivated by my EITHER/OR Christian faith.

      Perhaps this is still muddled, I don’t know – how do you want to take this discussion from here? If we can get rid of “cluttered thoughts”, you say – do you want to go somewhere together? Or, do you want me to continue trying and maybe failing to speak of these mysterious things like the Trinity? Would you prefer we work together on something a bit more constructive? Remember that I speak of these things as they are closest to me and they inform my experience. I just have the long-run in view, and I fear that even “spiritual oneness” may not be sufficient for humanity. I have increasingly been taking part in social activism, and I know that what is communicable/functional/conveyable, etc., clearly, without muddling, as you say is something of a “best practice” (perhaps you should write a post on this issue next?) in those arenas since the subject is “humanity”. I just do not believe you and I are in one of those arenas right now as we speak as friends in, well, the way way bottom of this blog post.

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