Non-Philosophical Knosis

Nothing can, except through illusion, substitute itself for man and for his identity. And man cannot, except through illusion, substitute himself for philosophy, for the Other,etc. Man is an inalienable reality. There is no reversibility between man and philosophy…. Francois Laruelle: Theorems on the good news.

First fiction:

There is one world. It is behind us, as it were, out of sight, foreclosed to conceptualisation. We are of it and in it (up to our necks) in the last instance. We are non – thetically at one with it. Call it, axiomatically, The One or The Real.

The world before us, the world-for-us, origin of our problems and solutions, our oppression and liberations, that Big Other we must confront as “over and against us” – that is the world we see, know and in-habit. The We, (the I, and the Thou) is conditioned on that world, arising out of a multi-dimensional vortex of interdependent singularities, a world incomprehensibly birthed out of chaos and contingency (so we say). All of our knowledge is the result of a high wire act in which we try to hold ourselves in being by power of concepts reified as identities, institutions and relations. We make our world and are made by it in a complex feedback loop. In an act of outrageous bravado, part comedy and part tragedy, we order chaos into a series of increasingly simplified functional logics.

At base our knowledge relies on a vast array of local knowledges and practices interdependently originated. We cope with this complexity by a process of simplification in which we create hierarchies of knowing and being. Some way up on this hierarchy are the sciences, always singular instances of theory/practice – physics, biology chemistry etc. – and the arts. Each tries to wrest knowledge from it’s particular object. Philosophy stands at the apex of this hierarchy, (looking down upon science and art) from where it proclaims it’s foundational postulates -Being, Becoming, Substance, Change, Duration, Knowing, Man, etc. These postulates return to base via increasingly complex patterns of conceptualisation, textualisation, contextualisation, ideological imposition, social habituation – the dynamics of ordinary life – until they dissolve again into the realms of the infinitely complex from which they arose, at that level escaping once more our attempts at epistemological capture.

This “Globalised World” renders the planet, its eco-systems and the life forms that inhabit it, as “natural resources” to be divided out and plundered for profit. That is to say the living energy of humans, the very flesh of animals, the very materiality of the planet, is harnessed and exploited to extract a surplus measured in units of labour time quantified as this or that amount of money to be accumulated by “private” individuals.

The spurious “One World” is in fact an imposition in which false separations, lines of demarcation, divisions of labour, boundaries and borders of one sort or another are erected between living bodies. This regime of divide and rule is compatible, however, with the idea of One World, but only as the One-of-Capital whose destructive power fragments and diversifies even as it reunites by power of the commodity/exchange/ money form. And so it is that the “One World” seems to be coming apart but never quite comes apart. The denouncement is forever postponed.

This World sustains itself by the imposition of a structure of concepts, social practices, institutions and authorities originating in an a delusional transcendent “outside ” reified as the “natural order of things”, an order under the rule of philosophy, or under a science taken up into philosophy and practised under it’s power.

This is Knowing and Being; or the World-according-to-Philosophy.

It is the only world we can conceptually know. We can know it in multitudinous ways, all of them in the last instance under the rule of philosophy and it’s postulates, since the world has been rendered by way of the cuts already and always decided for by Philosophy. These cuts or lines of demarcation are arbitrary, following this or that philosophical logic. They cleave through living bodies and ecologies, separating mind from body, man from nature, order from chaos, knowing from being. Having made the cut Philosophy applies an arbitrary suture to the wound – here this unification, there that synthesis, remaking the Real in it’s own image. The result is as incompetent and ugly as it must be: one cannot render the living, reconstitute it under a logic, and expect beauty or graceful functionality. The world is, in essence, a Frankensteinien monster made of bits and pieces sown together by a deluded fabricator. The rule of the philosopher and the capitalist has this in common. They render the living by a division (of labour) and extract the surplus as in principle constituting either a material or a virtual capital of their own making. State and capitalist —  Succubi in thrall to the dark force (capital) that creates and recreates the world. “All that is sacred will melt into air”, says the prophet.

But it is not a world we have ever entered into, since we ourselves are the condition on which it is founded.

Second fiction:

The “we” is not constituted by the world but is given to thought by power of the Real as the transcendental Knower of the World. This transcendental Knower is  usurped by the Philosopher, who in turn gives us the Philosophical thought/World. The world (the we, I and thou) is twice given : once by and as the Real, a given-without-givenness, and secondly as the World constituted by an act of Philosophical postulation. This doubling of the already and always given just is the series of cuts that renders the world, and the humans and animals who inhabit it, as undeniably captured according to philosophy’s self-posited logic.

 This operation on thought just is the corollary of the capitalist operation on human energy and the material of the planet – an appropriation of thought to the service of the economy of philosophical production and exchange.

Against this transcendent illusion Non-Philosophy invokes an axiom on behalf of the human: Man is an inalienable reality. There is no reversibility between man and philosophy. It is the- Real-of- the-Human which conditions the Thought-World, the World as constituted by Philosophy and, subsequently, the superstructure of ideologies, ideas, norms, thought systems and world-views which by philosophical inversion become the golden chains in which the human binds itself. The relation of the human to the thought/world is one of unilaterality:  This philosophically heretical thought is Gnostic in character, since it charges Philosophy with a spurious doubling of an already given-without-givenness. Let us say it is a Gnosticism shorn of its religious context, beyond nostalgia for religion or the mythological.

If primitive Myth was taken up into monotheistic religion, a form of Monism was taken up into Philosophy. To the religious statute was added the Ontological Statute, to the authority of the gods and the authority of the One-God was added Philosophical Authority.

Non-Philosophy is a heretical rebellion against the primacy of Philosophy and it’s One World, in the name of the “lonely threshold of man”.

Francois Laruelle: Theorems on the Good News.

One response to “Non-Philosophical Knosis

  1. Pingback: Non-Philosophical Knosis – The Philosophical Hack·

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