Lacan, Kristeva, Qohelet: Securing Wisdom (Part III)


In my last post, entitled Misreading Wisdom (see here), I will certainly confess that I have said or mis-said a lot of things in a deliberately sharp and especially quick-tongued manner.

That is because now we have made it to what I believe is the “cutting edge”, and we ought to seek to move beyond it into the realm of potentialities. Now, let us turn ourselves in and offer ourselves up for something more substantive. Or, as Sloterdijk writes in You Must Change Your Life, we must now “allow ourselves to be operated upon” from without. We are at this stage Wounded, incredibly Wounded by the cutting, and accordingly we are concerned quite fundamentally with matters of (non-)cutting.

Just as Gilles Grelet declares a war on war itself, I wish to effectively make a cut against cutting itself. Arriving at this point, what Laruelle refers to as “the Maxim of Saint Gilles” has been kept firmly in place: “Say anything as long as it cuts”. From here, however, what constitutes the content of “anything” in this gnostic controversy (see here) at present remains undecided.

In contrast to saying “anything”, Lacan through his notion of “full speech” famously aims to say the “nothing” itself in his discussions on Poe’s The Purloined Letter. I believe Lacan’s formulation, unlike J.L. Austin’s performative speech-acts (see here), steps beyond Derrida’s reduction of  ”full speech” to the prized “metaphysics of presence” in his text The Purveyor of Truth, by “truly” opening a Beyond… (see an interesting video here) of the text. He does so by traveling deep into questions of the Real, and by beginning to attend to questions of trauma as such.

However, he sees only the affects of the Real and that is all. Trauma lingers always after-the-fact. Ask instead: What are the facts themselves?

One may say that “The Ding is the true secret”, as Duane Rousselle writes in a very concise article (see here).

It is, or so we are told, a secret like all secrets, a secret that must be told eventually, a letter that must be stolen … you know the standard drilling sequence. After all, it is ultimately a matter of drilling inasmuch as it is a matter of cutting. More importantly to me is stopping the drilling itself, stopping the cutting itself. Perhaps you will join me in considering new ameliorative maxim, which is if only temporarily in order given our Woundedness:

“Say (the) nothing as long as it stops (the) cutting, as long as it stops (the) drilling” …

Speaking truly, the “nothingness” in Lacan’s text is in fact his own psychosis which we have determined to be manifest in his entire project of knotting (see here). I have intentionally maneuvered myself into this tricky place, this Wounded place, and the waters have picked up as anticipated. We are left, just as we are leftists, with this (non-)concept of “the One-Real”, but we momentarily know not what to do with it now that we are without Lacan-our-Master.

“Hallowed” be thy name indeed.

In tandem with the music of my previous posts, I have willingly auto-positioned myself as somewhat of a rebellious and in any event stubborn “anchorite” character.

That is, as a sailor seeking to anchor - wisely as it were – in this difficult cove-like “portal of discovery” of which Joyce wrote that becomes the archetypal genius. This give-and-take relationship or overlap between “wisdom” and “genius” will, or so I believe, be key to settling upon the kind of desired resonance with the Real, as I ended in my previous (mis)reading of wisdom.

Theological hills and non-standard thought

In the domain of philo-sophy there is quite literally no wisdom, there is only the love of wisdom.

In other words, there can only at most be genius as suchThere is only the active knowing of an ever-present love, a love which consists of both knowledge and cutting (that is redundant). It is thus from without of “philosophy”, perhaps even from without of Laruelle’s “non-standard” philosophy, that we begin to “get” Wisdom as such. From “God” or from “the Heavenlies”, maybe. From a place I know not where, nor am I even able to know where. We are just supposed to simply “get” it.

Psalm 121: A song of ascents. 1 “I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

That I am not allowed “to know” from where does my help come: Is this not precisely the point of theology? Who is this Anonymous organ donor, anyways? Help simply comes when there is pain, it is simply given in Crisis, from a place I know not where. It just comes, comes from this non-place as if from above. We “get” a non-answer, but nonetheless it – as though miraculously – helps us as we look towards the hills in the midst of our pain. Never-minding here the powerful Nietzschean reading that could be given from the phrase  ”A song of ascents”.

Rather than philosophizing it into existence, the beginning of Wisdom we come to understand without questioning, is quite simply this: Get Wisdom. It is already there, standing before and from the without of “philosophy”.

At what point does the love of knowledge become too intense? At what point does an innocently-minded love cut both ways so deeply? At what point does the passion of the lover (often unknowingly) harm the lovee? If something must give here, then it is not the lover but the lovee, the levee which gives way under the pressure of the drilling. The lover never knows if the love is returned in spirit, or if the love is actually crushing the Other silently.

Drilling procedure

Consequently, it is revealed to us that the stability and the security of this ship named Sophia (write: Σοφíα) is now at stake in these post-Lacanian waters.

I sense initially that there is a fundamental fault of even the most advanced stages of non-standard philosophy, that non-philosophical clone-maker of the One-Real. It fails to take into account the safety and security of the One-Real before effectuating it. You cannot “clone” that which is already under attack, that which is under siege, that which is suffering, that which is being-drilled, that which is in Crisis, that which is being-cut, that which is in pain, that which is in exile or on the run, that which feels hurt or is being-hunted, that which is being carpet-bombed or sanctioned away…

Cloning takes place in a pacified lab, in a sanitized hospital, under monitored conditions which are not the conditions of the World. The World is, on the contrary, revealed to us as a place of Crisis. One, the One, our One, cannot sail its ship when it has a big hole inside of it and water rushes in, or when the hospital is flooded. One must become … ◔ne, ◑ne, ◕ne … until it becomes increasingly Whole again like the Moon, until the Wound is healed. Then, and only then, may such a process of cloning take place.

For if it does not secure Wisdom then the clone is still effectuating the Lacanian nothingness, but this is still the same nothingness which may not stop the blows, or worse, which may even increase their frequency like a virus or parasite spreading. The second part, the condition of speaking, is always forgotten “…as long as it stops (the) cutting, stops (the) drilling”. Clone, yes, but only under safe and clean conditions else there may arise infection and illness. I think Ben Woodard generally has the right idea (see here).

To his credit, Laruelle is hyper-aware of his position when speaking. He knows how to speak truly, but does he know when to begin, what to say, or when to shut up? He is like a genius aware of the performative form we should take in an intervention of Crisis, but then the moment of effectuating Wisdom comes: Does he know what to say — substantively — when, for instance, somebody has passed away?

Sometimes I miss Derrida because of his kind eulogies and absolutely nothing more.

From where does my help come? I would almost rather Wittgenstein be my nurse than a clone-man. Sometimes having the sensitivity to remain silent is in fact preferable than saying too much. Where there is a suffering, there is always a looking-to-the-hills, and the truth of non-violence is always found there…

Let us not forget that non-violence, Gandhi writes, is a truth which is “…as old as the hills”.

Non-religion and “the Riding Sail”:

Note for a moment the recently recurring tropes of (sound-)waves, of psycho-acoustics, of vibration, of frequency, of intensity, of song, and of resonance among many others.

We have moved here precisely to over-come what is perceived to be the overwhelmingly dominant visual missteps in the Lacanian tradition with non-visual or “non-standard” performative and aesthetic counterparts, as found also in projects like non-musicology (see here).

Consider the following, from Julia Kristeva: psychoanalysis and modernity by Sara Beardsworth, as she writes on page 58:


In other words, we have only determined so much as to say that the Lacanian-Joycean “stroke of genius” needs to be supplemented by the careful enfolding of Wisdom, whose key inspiration I find in Kristeva’s Bakhtinian-inspired work on the semiotic, on chora, on the grotesque, on heteroglossia, on metonymy, and on the “shitty” side of life in general.

This is not only because the matter is explicitly related to instances of suffering, trauma, and dissociation; but also, it is because there is in the traditional (sorry, I meant “dynamic” as Bryant prefers) Lacanian position a lack of vigilance due to the aforementioned psychosis revealed in the inheritance itself. Specifically, there is a lack of a Vision-beyond-vision in the process of unfolding which ultimately does little to eliminate violence and may indeed as we have seen intensify it.

As an aside, Lacan’s seminars here share with Badiou’s oeuvre a certain lack of construct awareness (see here). Construct awareness can simply be restated as an awareness of the facts. Suffice it to say: Concerns of violence I have come to hold firmly at the zero-level of “the facts”, but even then there is still a problem of having the ears to see them at work as manifest in their affects on the Body.

In addition to those preliminary remarks, and perhaps more importantly than inter-traditional bickering, I asked to what extent, for instance, is the “revelatory anchor” (see here) still dragging behind us. I also made it clear that, when sailing for example, sometimes the anchor should or in any case will be dropped, and in other cases it should or in any case will be raised once more as we “gloss” over the waters.

There is again a certain flexibility or endurance that we must have in response to any given “force (of) thought”. For “sailing at anchor” as you know can be an incredibly violent and not to mention sickening motion at times. This “sickening” feeling is one I have begun feeling quite often when engaging with texts.

Looking for an escape, looking to the hills as it were, it is as though I find myself in such a shaky oscillation in-between the positions of Francois Laruelle’s non-philosophy and Gilles Grelet’s non-religious gnosis with regard to the Real. That is, I try to move between the twin perspectives offered by both philosophy and theology (see here).

I am in search therefore for the equivalent of a “riding sail” (see here and below) so as to hopefully stabilize my navigation in the wind and waves, preventing an otherwise habitual relapse into the post-modern prison once more.

Riding sail

In the account of Laruelle, the nothing does not leave a mark but is instead cleanly cloned. In the latter, as with all things “religious” or “traditional”, there is a certain mark which is left behind.

I believe by making this distinction, by highlighting the background or mise en scene, I have found this desired riding sail in a resolute emphasis on non-violence and non-harm. This allows us to mediate where possible between what is perhaps the Principle of Sufficient Religiosity and the Principle of Sufficient Specularity/Secularity [the "sufficance s(p)eculare", as Grelet notes contra Laruelle].

Effectively, this like a Principle of Principles and Principalities. It may well prove that, as far as such cutting is concerned, the issue is a lot more complex than an Either/Or, than either Laruelle or Grelet …

What qualifies as a cut, which cuts leave marks, etc. is all open here for discussion and requires much thought.

Boating Safety 101:

Though this discussion is to be had here on the [third] table (see here), if only we could determine its poly-valent existence for what it is. More important than tables, I think, there is the question of turning them. Therefore, I wish to follow the line of thought raised by Didier Moulinier, myself in accord with his reading (see here) of Grelet’s 2002 work Declaring Gnosis.

I have left the passage untranslated as follows:

Il serait intéressant de comparer en scrupuleusement cette théorie gnostique avec ce que François Laruelle a développé sous le chef de la Non-Religion, notamment autour du concept d’Hérésie, dans son livre Le Christ futur. Une leçon d’hérésie. Il est clair que les attendus de Grelet ne ressortissent pas stricto-sensu à la non-philosophie :  l’Autre-sans-Etre (le Réel, le divin, etc.) ne revient évidemment pas à l’Un laruellien (qui en aucune manière ne se divise, par exemple – “Un se divise en Deux” écrit Grelet p. 82, c’est le dualisme -, qui est radical et non absolu, etc.), d’autre part l’attitude insurrectionnelle est rigoureusement seconde chez Laruelle (même si elle existe), au regard de l’hérétique dont l’être-victime précède la condition de rebelle.

De ce côté ci la théorie de Laruelle - en l’état - paraît plus conséquente et plus puissante que celle de Grelet, auquel on peut justement reprocher d’être trop… gnostique au sens religieux du terme, ou bien à l’inverse trop… philosophique, trop proche par exemple de L’Ange, ou encore trop… anti-philosophique à l’enseigne d’un certain lacanisme). Mais d’un autre côté, il se pourrait bien que les imp(r)udences de Grelet ne finissent par faire ressortir les limites de Laruelle, et l’appartenance éventuelle de la non-philosophie au théoricisme… philosophique. Rien n’est joué ! Ce qui paraît indubitable, c’est que le concept de Non-Religion - au-delà des ambiguïtés néo-religieuses de Grelet et de l’usage finalement restreint qu’en fait Laruelle (puisqu’il l’englobe dans la non-philosophie) – me semble porteur d’une contestation inouïe, non seulement de l’ordre philosophique mais de l’ordre politique dans son ensemble, d’une guerre qui reviendra effectivement à la culture.

While Laruelle devotes much effort in Struggle and Utopia at the End Times of Philosophy to critiquing Grelet’s stance, the value of the non-religious work must be highlighted and should not be understated. I wish to here demonstrate why this is the case.

My import to this continued discussion I wish to be recognized as a consideration, however poor, of  a fundamental, that is, pre-non-philosophical, question of safety, non-violence, and non-harm. Grelet, whose work has me utterly re-enchanted with the World, is himself a skilled sailor who surely knows the value of the anchor and possibly of riding sails when out at-sea. As such, there are several more or less basic safety guidelines to follow when anchoring (see here), such as:

  • Look for sheltered, calm water where there is not much wind or current. Never anchor in a channel.
  • Check the chart to make sure there will be enough water under your keel at low tide.
  • Choose a spot with enough room to swing without hitting other anchored boats, obstructions such as submerged rocks and shallow areas, or swinging too close to shore.

The limits of non-religious gnosis and non-philosophy alike, or in any case of a “trans-”religious non-theological as opposed to a “post-”religious non-philosphical orientation alike, are to be understood analogously. With the “sea” or “ocean” understood obviously as the Jungian archetype of the collective unconscious (series here), and with questions of “depth” and “spatiality” now plainly in our view, it is clear that non-religious gnosis does indeed have a definite practical application.

And which one is this?

Collective unconscious

Grelet’s end, maybe against his protestations to the contrary, I see as embodying the possibility of Wisdom. I find there is at heart of his work a certain plea for a dialogical “openness”, for “saying anything”, as evident through our shared understanding of the oscillatory, ever-restless Spirit. On the other, that of Laruelle, instead embodying genius, I see that there is questions of dialectical “justice” at stake. With this riding sail I hope to be able to spin them together, just as one might spin together wisdom and genius to strike this resonance.

Catherine Keller, who is perhaps my favorite living theologian, leads into the passage below, from Apocalypse Now and Then: A Feminist Guide to the End of the World, with a similar critical appraisal (see here) of Hillman as I have made in the past (see here). She speaks boldly of the life-force on page 296:


That is, is there a certain closure due to “unilateralism” which kills this polyphonic conversation?

If Laruelle calls Gilles a “Saint”, let me suggest it may be only because Laruelle still sees himself as a “Sinner” by comparison. If the Future Christ still must come to forgive him for his sins, then I wonder who is really in fact pro-”religion” after all. Which of the two actually has the sinful conscience? Read Gandhi’s The Story of My Experiments with Truth:

“I do not seek redemption from the consequences of my sin. I seek to be redeemed from sin itself, or rather from the very thought of sin. Until I have attained that end, I shall be content to be restless.” 

Back on our shaky course, in some instances of Crisis, a strategic re-anchoring to the “non-religious gnostic” attitude may well [at least intermittently] save one’s life from dark nights and otherwise stormy waters.

It may prompt us to stop cutting or to stop drilling, to look up towards the hills in-the-last-instance, when non-standard thought otherwise keeps its eyes fixed forward on the goal. It is in this important sense that I am absolutely delighted to give a strongly “pro-gnosis” review of Grelet’s work. It is only with our shared love of the open water that I have come to this understanding, and I wonder now whether or not Laruelle is too much of a land-lover.

Or, if he is likewise a sailor in a sense, then I wonder how experienced he is when it comes to such fundamental matters of boating safety.

For full disclosure, a year or two ago I received my boater’s license, passing a mandatory boater’s safety course along the way. Perhaps I am wrongly stubborn and still follow too many rules at the expense of “having fun”, or perhaps I am just a good-for-nothing an-chora-ite at heart. This lesson nonetheless remains fresh in my mind as I try to understand with greater clarity the mysterious nature of the Qohelet, who ever more continues her unfolding of Wisdom.

Securing Wisdom, attending to a thoughtful enaction of non-violence, resisting even the most non-standard of violences, healing where there is both Trauma and Wounds. These tasks must be recognized as our first-order of business if we are to be able to do anything else — let alone cloning!

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One thought on “Lacan, Kristeva, Qohelet: Securing Wisdom (Part III)”

  1. Years ago I read most of the works of Corbin on Islamic Gnosis as covered in his works. The idea of an intermediate realm just beyond the material realm, what Jung would have termed the Imaginalis and would become part of the Jungian Active Imagination was always interesting. Sometimes I think these extreme mind worlds flow out of certain extreme religious visions and practices that open the mind up by breaking down the imprisoning filters that lock down our minds in the ratios of reason. Even one such as Harold Bloom who has followed both gnosis and certain forms of the Jewish kabbalistic scholarship it seems logical that what little we know of these histories should inform our lives as forms of mentation that break the house of reason. Rimbaud, and earlier Romantic poets etc. have all followed these paths of escape…  it seems that you are trying to find a way between this religious heritage and the streams of philosophy as they touch base with the unfounded. It seems to me that philosophy will never lead beyond those limits except as such philosophers as Deleuze point toward… Laruelle seems to obfuscate rather than clarify with his thick obtuse language which, at least for me, turns me off so find it difficult to confront his works in any depth. I am more attuned to someone like Zizek whose humor and avowed atheism is congenial, yet he, too, seems to wander in the same circles over and over… not really producing anything other than the same iterable set of questions without answers from physics to Hegel and back again… Of course, for me as a nihilist who affirms that the slate is blank, that whatever meanings have come down to us from ancestry, culture, etc. are of no use to us anymore in helping us face the traumatic truth of what is coming at us… of our own self-destructive civilization that is locked into a death-drive race toward the void… it’s like a juggernaut that we can all see on the speedway, but we’re all in the grandstands watching it as it heads toward the cliff, shouting, cajoling, hoping against hope that it will stop before it hits the final barriers to oblivion. But, in truth, we all seem powerless before its onslaught… so we each, alone, are with friends, alone, watch on and like the two main characters in Beckett try to keep the conversation going… even as the wasteland grows around us…

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