“Why Gnosticism? And, what does this shift toward heretical religions mean in our strange philosophical times?”
“Through our commemoration of Christ’s incarnation we feebly accept God’s assurance that, not anything–not our flesh nor its death–could possibly avert our onward journey to roost in God!
(From a Jesuit mentor of mine)
Why Gnosticism? A good question yet one that has already haunted knowledge ever since the human of the World (Laruelle’s notion of the World as always already capitalistic in the beginning) has acquired the know-how to stand-apart from ‘immanence.’ Where immanence has become indifferent to its own work, the work of occasioning immanence, be it ecstatic (Heidegger) or pathetic (M. Henry), the kenotypes that have always and ‘in all historical circumstances’ offered themselves to some sort of isolation also always take a life of their own.
Is there anything clearer, more novel in this destinal appropriation of immanence, in terms of reversibility and convertibility, other than to re-conceive a beginning? Already seductive for thought, it is in view of this becoming-plastic of the beginning that Malabou would insist rethinking our relation to our brains as the very site of historical tension between the neuron and the mental, the site of Thought as the unlikelihood of everything that we are now.
One may recall Leibniz’s attempt at universal calculus in order to resolve the crisis of communication, a crisis no less of Thought whose plasticity is next to bad karma, always enfolding belatedly. But for all the gospel of seduction it is still very much like the effect of untutored male speed on an octopus. Madame Edwarda would have asked the same of the flush of youth as of the unworldliness of the narrator of Bataille, That’s all there is to it?
What is seduction if not a function of alterity. The Deleuzean becoming-animal, the becoming-other of seduction itself? The becoming-flower of an absentee in Mallarmean bouquet? Perhaps, at this point we should be asking if this already signals the becoming-virtual of the future in light of the singular manifest plasticity of the kenotype, the non-type? And what of the non-type? Does it illustrate the proper expression of seduction that demands absolute futurality?
That the absolute of the future is the cold stunning vacuity of the real/death, stigmatized by Freud but glorified by Heidegger in the fullest sublimation of philosophy, would still surprise many to be too naive.
Notwithstanding Leibniz has become virtual in the sense of philosophical sublimation, of triumphal ignorance of persisting against the background of Desire that endows philosophy the drive and the youthful push to sublimate but not before an encounter with the feminine, the Madame Edwardas of the World, there is this other of sublimation, a human-other (compared to the sprightliness of philosophy it is infinitely old ) that points towards what withdraws, that is to say, irrespective of philosophy.
What withdraws is presentable but unpresentable as being-one, in Badiou, always being-multiple, expressing itself in the non-singularity, the proper non-expressibility, of its humanity. This must be the It, the gnosis that withdraws! But we are running the race so fast.
In Laruelle, it is the in-One that philosophy always without fail fails to point at whose ways, whose pointing, this in-One that is a stranger, remains irreducible to any form of ontology. At its most incorrigible fashion, in mute derision of philosophy that makes itself unheard, all the more that philosophy seeks to silence the unheard (what philosophy is since the beginning of the World), the in-One takes to task the-philosophy and all its ‘goods’, its goodness not to mention, the normalities of the difference that the-human makes, the human as thought-word of the-World, or precisely the difference that philosophy invents for the World, the world that is nothing but its world.
Everything is non-differential for this humanity which explains its non-competitive spirit, but also, so much for the obvious, its malleability.
When Spartacus revolted against the Romans, not his enemies but simply responsible for the murder of his family, they who must likewise be murdered, the gnosis was spelled out. No philosophy was up to the task of spelling the dreaded word, the most individualistic word, the most an-archic. Spartacus was secretly giving birth to a new humanity, one-without-hope, without official direction. For the interest of the World, this hero must be killed. Agamben is right about the non-sacrificial logic of his murder–the revolt of Spartacus approaches the thin line between the code and the exposed. The code, gnosis: a seven-letter word, freedom that exposes the unilateral an-arche of the Real. The exposed: the power to die as Bataille originally intoned. Spartacus exposed the gnosis of the power of death which is the secret to defying the force of the Void to come.
The gnosis is exposed and it is not coded: Because we can die, the language of the gnosis, that which protects our existence from being protected by something more than zero, the zero-plus as the code that spells total imprisonment by the Void, yet also the zero-plus that for this eternal imprisonment to take place also spells the possibility of living an eternal life, death cannot perfectly imprison us. Death is not-All, otherwise, we must also be capable of living in eternity, an imagined logical necessity that is absolutely prohibited by the logic of absolute contingency.
Isn’t this what Meillasoux has so far asserted?
Because everyone can die, no one can sacrifice the code. This is the absolute of not-All, of death. Death demands that the code not be sacrificed. At least, it is an absolute demand on the human. Once the code is sacrificed (when resurrection is deemed impossible, when all Spartacuses are legitimated by laws, when individual freedom is rendered incontestable, when murder no longer solves anything) it will be the death of the absolute, this time death takes the form of All, leaving no window for life. Absolute contingency therefore also means that death is not-All, even for the executioners, that it is simply a terminus of necessity.
It would seem then that the cosmos demands despite itself an other necessity, other than its own blind necessity, the absolute contingency that destroys everything, that is to say, the necessity of the illusion of life as resurrection. It is the correlation that cannot be sacrificed, to say the least.
One can see perfectly where all these amount to. Meillasoux is saving the necessity of this illusion against nonphilosophy, against Laruelle who like Pascal has refuted the illusion that the Real imposes a demand. On the one hand, it is simply the demand of philosophy on Meillasoux (Laruelle). On the other hand, it is nonetheless a continuation of articulating, in bizarre display of the syntax of the Real, the Pascalian thought-at-the-back.
Bertrand Ogilvie writes of Pascal:
“….Pascal suggests that we make use of the “thought from behind,” a process of elucidation which (…) progresses to the point of bringing out in return their basis…To think true, therefore, is to bring out the meaning of the false…This idea is fraught with consequences, since it leads to the discovery that every truth… is a falsehood full of meaning” (from “Truth in France,” in Keywords [Alliance of Independent Publishers: France, 2004], 1240.
Meillasoux has intuited this ‘thought’ in terms of ancestrality and arche-fossil (After Finitude), which in Pascalian terms should rightly make him a “clever one.” Ogilvie adds:
“The clever one is not a hypocrite; he does not say anything other than what he thinks. He is the one who succeeds in thinking of two things at the same time, illusion and its necessity…It is this network of illusions and conventions that goes into the making of the world (in Laruelle, hallucinations but real in-the-last-instance), making it function, through which he finds legitimacy. This legitimacy that reveals the thought at the back has nothing absolute about it. It does not have a basis by right” (Ibid., 126; parenthetical emphasis mine).
The last two propositions would certainly not fit with Meillasoux.
Laruelle must have Meillasoux in mind when he issued a challenge–Invent philosophy! And Pascal–he prefers really clever ones.
But that is another matter.
See an interesting discussion on Meillasoux at http://darkecologies.com/2012/12/24/kenotype-meillasoux-and-the-meaningless-sign/