Following up my post on “Alomancy and the Act of Gluing” (see here), I would like to formally introduce Mahatma Gandhi as an experimenter and non-Laruellean non-philosopher. The next post in the series is entitled “The Weighted Limits of Gandhian Justice and Love” (see here), which continues the ideas developed in this one.
I strongly believe it is time to take his thought seriously in this particular theoretical capacity and especially in others related to direct action. To do so, I seek to begin a dialogue within non-philosophical circles on what one would think should come more or less naturally due to the repeated use of the “non-” prefix — which is to say non-violence. And yet, for all the talk of “non-”, it is increasingly strange that there has been no explicit thinking through of non-violence on its own legs, nor any discussion of Gandhi’s texts, nor even a conversation as it relates to the oeuvre of Francois Laruelle‘s non-philosophy.
In fact, throughout the history of philosophy at large, too, there has been a failure to appropriately address questions relating to “violence” as such, as well as its related concepts such as “trauma”. The difficulty of theorizing these concepts arguably comes with the failure to give non-violence and satyagraha an appropriate treatment in thought and in practice. To better understand these concepts, I propose that the time for active non-violent resistance has come and an ethos of non-violence ought to be appropriately generated among thinkers in the mutual pursuit of Truth.
The following post seeks to re-introduce Gandhian satyagraha in many of its simplicites and complexities, by way of recourse to his own short summaries as well as to higher category theory.
1. Gandhian Experimentation; Gandhi as Experimenter
Satyagraha, as conceived by me, is a science in the making. It may be that what I claim to be a science, may prove to be no science, may prove to be no science at all, and may well prove to be the musings and doings of a fool, if not a mad man. It may be that what is true in Satyagraha is as ancient as the hills. - Harijan: Sept 24, 1938
The Science of Satyagraha has not been woven out of my brain. It has come to me in driblets and by scientific research. It is the result of the hardest labour human beings is capable of. I have applied to this research all the skill of a scientist. I have worked at it unceasingly and unremittingly, and this is the result. - Conversations of Gandhiji: P.40
We first begin by applying our mathematical sheaf-theoretic approach to the physical gauge theory.
In ordinary language, a “sheaf” is a collection of items held or bound together, and its analogous conceptual gesture is the gathering together of the many “fragments” of Truth-Love. Likewise, a “gauge” is a standard or scale of measurement, whose corresponding signature is Life, and specifically its experimental balancing of the “integration” of these many parts. Appropriately, then, Gandhi titled his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth, so as to outline clearly from the onset the two major elements at play in his own life: Truth and Experiment.
From the onset, we may suggest that Gandhi was earnestly in the process of applying “sheaf theory” (see here and here) to gauge theory, and vise versa. In other words, he was continually examining the complex relationship between non-standard forms of math and experimental physics respectively. Here, the possible connections with the alchemical experimentation are also prominent. Therefore, it is appropriate to introduce Gandhi first as an Experimenter in this vein through his early encounter with the occultist Madame Blavatsky in November 1889 at the Blavatsky Lodge. This particular encounter cannot be be understated, among other reasons, because it is indicative of the kind of mood or general atmosphere in which the idea of satyagraha could eventually take shape.
I recall having read, at the brothers’ instance, Madame Blavatsky’s Key to Theosophy. This book stimulated in me the desire to read books on Hinduism, and disabused me of the notion fostered by the missionaries that Hinduism was rife with superstition.
From his early theosophical readings, and in particular his reading of the Baghavad Gita, Gandhi thus began to experiment on his own with the Truth by returning to his Hindu roots.
Put otherwise, the Gandhian arena of experimentation contains or is otherwise enframed by a certain ethos or conceptual frenzy of behavior which we may say is like that of the quark-gluon plasma. As with the Feyerabendian approach to science, this Gandhian arena carries a certain openness to possibilities, to mutual exchange and reciprocity, to the space of dialogue, and of course to many diverse forms of work, play, and experimentation across traditions and disciplines. It respects each on their own relative merits, and seeks to understand them in accordance with their own internal logic. In the same way as before, the quarks here are representative of many kinds of “fragments” of Truth contained in these many traditions, while the “gluons” facilitate the move towards “re-integration” of these fragments into a new Whole through their unique capacity as an exchange particle.
With these dual rhythms of “fragmentation” and “integration” set in place, the process of Gluing them together in a trans-disciplinary way may commence well after the initial Cutting separation. The process tends to follow in accordance with the alchemical Axiom of Maria: ”One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth.” We may say in kind that this rhythm of experimentation with Truth dances to a similar tune in that we are to move from “Non-Gluing to Cutting to Non-Cutting to Gluing back into One again”.
There are, to be sure, many connections with the Egyptian myth of Osiris, who was cut into pieces by his brother and later put back together by his wife Isis. It is no mistake that his brother who usurped his throne was named Set, perhaps not surprisingly sharing the name with elementary set theory. After all, the initial Cutting into fragments is not unlike the dividing of the world into one dominated for a time by the mastery of the category Set, and then seeking first to ground “philosophy” on that notion alone (as is perhaps the case with Badiou). Beginning here, we must take many steps back to the source – first into topos theory, and later into type theory and category theory – in order to begin the humble act of Gluing as Gandhi himself might have performed it.
To do so, we may recognize that there is an analogy here between the beginnings of satyagraha – in its capacity as satya - with the homotopy set (“h-set”) in type theory, which gives us to increasingly take on the “type” of an internalization of the notion of “set” and its many affects. Here, we realize immediately the significance of the “hermetic turn” (we may name it the “h-turn” in kind) by embedding extensional types into intentional ones. This is done through what I have come to call “entensionality“.
Internalization here means that there is a value acquired to thinking freely found in the pursuit of Truth, and this entails an arena of spinning and experimentation.
This is the value of individuation as such: it is a certain kind of free, autonomous, and creative thinking that passes predominately through the head (call it “h-thought” if you will). This is coincidentally also the site of trauma. In thinking, we begin to humble ourselves in our judgment as we become increasingly aware of the kinds of constructs we have entertained in our thoughts and actions, and how they may become weaponized by presumptions of mastery among other things. We also begin to enjoy the capability of understanding the more discrete spaces of our thought, as we better discern between various conceptual gestures or turns of phrase and the ways in which our words and actions can and do harm others, even if unintentionally.
“The seeker after truth should be humbler than the dust. The world crushes the dust under its feet, but the seeker after truth should so humble himself that even the dust could crush him. Only then, and not till then, will he have a glimpse of truth.”
In any case, due primarily to its property of “duality”, this application of sheaf theory to gauge theory may come to look like a certain center of gravity as it emerges at another level “up”; that is, after another abstraction or enrichment in the light of Truth. Though this is an illusion, Satyagraha is simply that which takes place in naturally in the anti-de Sitter Space. It is a n-dimensional, hyperbolic space of balanced thought and action.
This gravity however appears to be centered on furthering Life in the present as it enfolds in the span of the sheaf. It does not lose sight of the body in its radical immanence through what I have called a “vision of the Body“. This is to say we may arrive now from the previous “hom-set” and our internalized stance to the level of the “stack” or the “(2,1)-sheaf” in higher category theory. Here those who once possessed only satya finds the importance of conjoining it properly with something like agraha, or a certain “firmness” or material “insistence” which becomes a focus on the physical Body. Together, we are pointed to give credence to the value of Life in its overwhelming abundance. Gandhi, of course, had an acute understanding of how to use his body despite its vulnerability as the ultimate tool in his resistance.
At this “stack” level, we find much to our surprise that there are many parallels running through between the quark/gluon plasma and the conceptual logic of satya/agraha respectively. We are thus able to learn about a new dimension of Gandhi’s thought that was unavailable to us at lower levels. It is like the particles of satya and agraha (ahimsa), like quarks and gluons , now flow together in this special kind of plasma where they were once simply separate, disjoint categories which marked miscellaneous sheaf-ends and nothing more. With time and with care, they may soon come together in a disjoint union to build the gauge-like structure of satyagraha in its entirety, with all of its many complex forces set into motion if the conditions of experimentation are just right.
The idea is that Satyagraha and Life as such behave together like the two elements of AdS/CFT correspondence.
Satyagraha is soul-force pure and simple, and whenever and to whatever extent there is room for the use of arms or physical force or brute force, there and to that extent is there so much less possibility for soul force- Satyagraha in South Africa: P.113
Satyagraha is a method of carrying conviction and of converting by an appeal to reason and to the sympathetic chord in human beings. It relies upon the ultimate good in every human beings.- Incidents of Gandhiji’s Life: P.282
“The soul of religions is one, but it is encased in a multitude of forms. The latter will endure to the end of time. Wise men will ignore the outward crust and see the same soul living under a variety of crusts. (…..) Truth is the exclusive property of no single scripture. We may call ourselves Christians, Hindus or Mohammedans. Whatever we may be, beneath that diversity there is a oneness which is unmistakable and underneath many religions there is also one religion.”
Satya and agraha begin to communicate with each other in the sheaf, like an inter-faith dialogue of sorts.
Yet, as they speak together, a certain sensation of “weight” begins to take hold in our hearts which we seemingly cannot understand yet. This is the gravity of Life itself. Satyagraha continually seeks to act in the humble service of Life, just as Life allows for the furtherance of our collective experimentation with both Truth and Love.
2. Gandhian non-philosophy; Gandhi as non-Laruellean
It is a fundamental principle of Satyagraha that the tyrant, whom the satyagrahi, seeks to resists, has power over his body and material possessions, but he can have no power over the soul. The whole science of satyagraha was born from a knowledge of this fundamental truth. – Young India: May 21, 1931
With these experimental background conditions in place, we may introduce Gandhi as a non-Laruellean non-Philosopher.
Gandhi is first and foremost a non-philosopher because of the previously accounted for duality between satya and agraha – which we now understand as each being “collections of morphisms” in their own right. After all, morphisms are essentially gauge transformations, so the various analogies made here appear to work quite nicely. As a result, Gandhi maintains a dual posture or a hybrid stance which allows him to balance the multiple elements of Truth so that the fragments may be integrated appropriately and with care.
Moreover, he is non-Laruellean insofar as he does not limit his experimentation with Truth to just its “occasional” cause given by a determination-in-the-last-instance (DLI), but he also has the ability to incorporate certain elements of the “epistemological” status which Laruelle disavows from the onset. Gandhi’s unique arena of experimentation has neither solely “occasional” status nor simply “epistemological” status, but may enfold and employ both of these as the situation demands of him. Therefore, the internal logic of satyagraha is unlike that of the domain of “philosophy”, while it is at the same time unlike that of Francois Laruelle himself — it is something else entirely, something wholly other altogether in One.
First, again summarizing the dual orientation in thought and action of non-violence, Gandhi is given to write:
Satyagraha has, therefore, been described as a coin on whose face you read Love, and on the reverse you read Truth. It is a coin current everywhere and has indefinable value,-Young –India: May 11, 1919
In the same way, the Dictionary of Non-philosophy defines “Dual” as follows:
Fundamental matrix of non-philosophy that defines a general order founded upon the being-foreclosed of the One and the generator of irreversibility and unilaterality between the experience of the immanence of the One and the object to which it is foreclosed, the World. Whereas the dual is still not unilateral duality (which sets cloning in play), it is opposed par excellence to the mixture as form of philosophy founded upon reversibility and reciprocity.
While Laruelle would typically proceed by way of recourse to the idea of “unilateral duality”, it is clear that Gandhi’s non-philosophical approach does not make exclusive use of this Laruellean concept, but may only sometimes make-use of it as the situation demanded of him. Thus, someone like Gandhi would be quick to recognize that to make-use of unilaterality exclusively would be to effectively place limitations upon the aforementioned ethos of experimentation.
Therefore, it would sometimes foreclose upon possibilities of Truth by delimiting our experience of the One to whatever so happens to be determined-in-the-last-instance (DLI). While there is a Dictionary of Non-Philosophy required for Laruellean terminology, this is certainly not necessary for satyagraha:
In the dictionary of Satyagraha, there is no enemy. But as I have no desire to prepare a new dictionary for Satyagrahi, I use the old words giving them a new meaning. A Satyagrahi loves his so-called enemy even as his friends.- – Harijan: Sept. 16, 1939.
Satyagraha proceeds on the active principles of Love which says:”Love those that despitefully use you. It is easy for you to love your friends. But I say unto you, love your enemies ”. – Harijan: May 14, 1938.
While Laruelle believes this move towards unilaterality is necessary to set “cloning” into motion, by eschewing the “epistemological” cause entirely he is never actually permitted to know whether his act of cloning was indeed successful or not. In the process, he also loses some of his humility in the guise of a non-Badoulian form of semi-mastery.
While Laruelle employs topos theory, he does not look past to category theory, nor specifically to the enriched categories. In this way we may say Laruelle through topoi indeed takes a step closer to Gandhi’s thinking than Badiou who predominately utilizes sets. Yet, Laruelle does not, like Gandhi, effectively venture into the “abstract nonsense” which is also known as enriched category theory.
This kind of “risky” behavior or “careless” thinking (i.e. a thinking which does not have “care” or “enrichment” already in mind) may result in an approach which unknowingly and unforgivingly Cuts more than it Glues. It is no wonder then that it defaults in a kind of secularism which relies upon principles of sufficient Truth rather than principles of Truth as such. Meanwhile, for Gandhi, Truth is God and in turn God is Truth.
In fact, while Laruelle suggests that “Nietzschean politics is the remedy to Marxist political impotence”, Gandhi instead opts for another non-Nietzschean but still non-Christian and non-Marxist remedy that invites another “type” of trans-valuation of values to take hold this time in the site of the once empty place of Truth.
It is possible to see elements of both Nietzsche, Christ, Marx, and Laruelle (respectively?) in these following series of quotes:
Satyagraha abhors secrecy. It is the openest form of warfare I have known. Similarly, Satyagraha abhors cowardice, and he who preaches it with any selfishness about him.- Young India : Sept 15, 1927
Satyagraha is gentle, it never wounds. It must not be the result of anger or malice. It is never fussy, never impatient, and never vociferous. It is the direct opposite of compulsion. – Harijan: Apr 15, 1933
And when once it is set in motion, its effect, if it is intensive enough, can overtake the whole universe. It is the greatest force because it is the highest expression of the soul, – Thus Spake Mahatma Gandhi – I: P. 111
Satyagraha is self-dependent. It does not require the assent of the opponent before it can be brought into play. Indeed, it shines out most when the opponent resists. It is, therefore, irresistible.- Young India: May 11, 1919
We may say rightly that Gandhi’s thought, being non-Laruellean, also has the added possibility of “non-cloning”, which makes it much more, make-shift, off-the-cuff, fast-and-loose, and some might suggest even “messier” than that of Laruelle whose is voluntarily constrained by a non-psychoanalytic desire to clone the Real.
Instead, Gandhi’s thinking has a certain dynamism to it which allows it to hang on to Truth as it enfolds in what is often a non-linear, wild, and indeed mystical ride. Cloning, for Gandhi, would not be something to be desired, neither a means nor an end, but may still be achieved along the way in the humble pursuit of Truth. He would possibly inquire as to the intended use of these clones of the Real and carefully see whether or not they are acting in the service of Truth.
Certainly, Gandhi would understand the Laruellean perspective as a highly important, and certainly valid perspective among many others. In fact, compared to others. More specifically, a Gandhian thinker may recognize this tactic of “unilateral duality” as being at once Laruelle’s genius but also his weakness. It is likely she would realize that Laruelle’s modus operandi of sufficiency-insufficiency as ultimately being that which limits him, and would insist instead upon a modus operandi of non-violence in all things so that we may come to know whether or not something like cloning may be completed successfully in the process.
After all, Laruelle’s approach is not the same as that of satya and agraha, and does not hold to Truth but holds instead to something else entirely. That is, like Nietzsche before him who says “There is no Truth”, we are given to suggest that Laruelle is still committed in the same way to the proposition of Asatya, despite his concern for cloning the Real.
For Gandhi, a hopeful alternative emerges:
“The world rests upon the bedrock of Satya or Truth. Asatya meaning untruth, also means non-existence: and Satya or Truth also means that which is. If untruth does not so much as exist, its victory is out of the question. And Truth, being that which is, can never be destroyed. This is the doctrine of Satyagraha in a nutshell”- Satyagraha in South Africa: P.285
“It is a force that works silently and apparently slowly. In reality, there is no force in the world that is so direct or so swift in working” – Thus Spake Mahatma Gandhi – I: P. 111.
Whether or not there actually is or is not Truth, for Gandhi it is clear that there is indeed something most Truthful which comes to approximate Truth itself that may arise from the sustained, long-term, active struggle for non-violence. Satya and agraha become like “hom-objects” in their own right, to be conjoined by an “enriched functor” — called “satyagraha” — which can then itself be taken as an object of proper study on the “third” level up, whether as a bigroupoid, hyper-bigroupoid, or otherwise. Recall that we have first satya (MOA-1); second agraha (MOA-2); and now third satyagraha “plain and simple” (MOA-3).
After earnestly comparing the methodologies of these two thinkers, and providing a mature but still all too cursory treatment of Gandhi as a non-Laruellean philosopher, I allow myself to conclude as follows:
In my opinion, the beauty and efficacy of Satyagraha are so great, and the doctrine so simple, that it can be preached even to children, – Young India:Nov.5,1919
Satyagraha is a struggle in which the oldest and the weakest in body may take part, if they have stout hearts – Harijan:Feb,11,1939