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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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  (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:
- Events in nature are probabilistic with predictable probabilities P.
- 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 associated with every history leading to the event.
- The quantum amplitude associated with a given history is the product of the amplitudes 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.
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.