Laruellian/Lacanian Clones

03Jul08

Of the various terms that Francois Laruelle utilizes in his non-philosophy, none is odder than cloning.

Non-philosophical cloning is the performative method by which and from which, the stranger (or alien-subject) utilizes the transcendental material which comprises the world in order to foster new decisions and break current philosophical horizons. Where all philosophical thought according to Laruelle is founded upon a decision where a datum and factum (such as actual/virtual) are auto-posited as reciprocally constituting and given, non-philosophical cloning operates by distinguishing the Real term from the ideal term thereby turning the loop into a one way street. That is, the alien subject liberates immanence (the Real as absolute cause) from the transcendent (as occasional cause). Instead of transcendence functioning as a position of evaluation, transcendence becomes the result of loosing immanence as such from its correlationist trap thereby passing through the transcendental material (as a kind of accelerant) pointing a meteor towards the world from which the subject was cloned from.

However, it is fitting that the stranger/alien-subject is created via cloning since any sense of ontogenesis or non-ontological creation is eschewed by non-philosophy in total. While Brassier would no doubt argue that any sense of origin is already deciding on phenomenology as the subject’s horizon, we might suggest that a theory which disregards intentionality (as does Michel Henry and Deleuze’s system) and also takes the un-decisional or unconscious into account, might disrupt the stranger as being merely a lonely clone. John Mullarkey’s Post-Continental Thought clearly indicates the formers vehement rejection of the unconscious.

To me it seems, by virtue of being born in a society, one is going to be pretty dinged up by the time the subject gets to the point of even possibly realizing their own solitude – that is, there seems to be an ambiguity between the coming to be of the alien-subject and always already being an alien subject in Brassier’s Alien Theory and Laruelle’s work on the whole.

Following Brassier, while every perceptual frame is auto-positioned with the real being grasped by a closed system of immanence and transcendence instead of being loosed as it is in non-philosophy – this does not negate the individual’s battered matter that occurs prior to knowing or even thinking it. Decision is a splitting which, via philosophy, is automatically sown back together but, despite Brassier’s critique of Churchland, there are decisions (that is to say unbindings followed by bindings) which happen by coincidence hence the neurological science saying ‘neurons that fire together wire together.’

Prior to the subject and the stranger that the individual would be of a different register where instead of inhabiting a world the world inhabits them – that is, where the passage from the subject to the stranger is the shift from ‘thinking of’ the Real to ‘thinking with’ the Real, the passage from the individual to the subject would be ‘from the Real’ to the Real. So individual-subject-alien would be parallel to ‘I am the Real (there is only immanence)’-‘the Real is not (there is only me via transcendence)’- ‘I am not the Real’ (I should think with it). That is we could look at Lacan’s progression of the Real in terms of Symbolic/Imaginary/Real in this sense.

Symbolic – Living in the chain of signifiers prior to self identification/limitation – gives one the idea that they are god (the infant sees all as part of their being) but they must still communicate sense they are born into the chain (eventually the mother can refuse their cries etc). This would be the un-decisional since there are signifiers and signified but no fixed set of meaning.

Imaginary – Once the self is articulated we see ourselves as more than ourselves the imago compensates for our broken (but never really existent) pre-Oedipal being. The introduction of the law (via the father or the transcendental material, the World) covers over the impossibility of godlike being with prohibition. Here we have the possibility of the transcendent view and hence the decisional.

Real – The very position of the subject (the economy of absence and presence is nullified) is obliterated in the wake of the real as a terrifying abyss/trauma (we could say actual immanence). We realize that our being from the beginning has always been this mute ‘isness’ and nothing more.

Of course these are deceptively neat cleavages – the imaginary relies on the symbolic by fixing and quilting signifier’s into pleasantly coherent fantasies. In other words, once we recognize our alienation from ourselves as well as the Other, the subject casts a complex phantasmatic net which restricts and allows their action in accordance with their contextual existence. The symbolic kills the very thing it tries to represent thereby digging a hole in reality instead of effectively grasping the always-already signified of the object qua object.

The Real is present at all stages as well and it would seem that it is treated with ignorance, then avoidance and eventually acceptance. I would argue however that such an acceptance, such as in the project of a Zizekian/Lacanian ethics, has stumbled primarily on the transition from the stage of the Imaginary to that of the Real. As exemplified in texts such as Lee Edelman’s No Future and Rey Chow’s The Protestant Ethnic, a politics of unbearable-being, of attempting to inhabit the drive, has appeared as the most common ethics of the Real. Alenka Zupancic’s Ethics of the Real is the is the obvious touchstone here though Lorenzo Chisea argues that she looses her way towards the end. Similair to Kolozova, Zupancic seems to fall onto the body, the remainder of castration, as the last guarantor of ethics – the stupid piece of meat.

The clone has an articulation, outside the non-philosophic sense, in Baudrillard’s scattered thought. In “Clone Story” Baudrillard argues that cloneing is the death of sexuality, it is the loosed death drive, that the clone does not encounter the mirror stage, for Baudrillard it is the death of individuation. Baudrillard’s collapse of the mirror stage supports Brassier and Laruelle’s jump from individual to alien subject. While most of Baudrillard’s account is a hysterical luddism, his conceptualization of cloning gains the most traction with non-philosophy in the non-genesis of the clone.

That is, Laruelle is clear that the stranger has no history, no sense of genesis, and it is here where psychoanalysis seems furthest from and closest to non-philosophy. Where some phenomenologists and deconstructionists have claimed that that psychoanalysis attempts to describe origins as such, it is always a hypothetical past, one of historical truth and not material truth. Thus, where psychoanalysis is almost obsessed with possible origins (in least in terms of effect) non-philosophy rejects them all together. Yet, at the same time, both non-philosophy and psychoanalysis are posited as meta-discourses (operationally) while denouncing meta-languages (as Mullarkey suggests in Post-Continental Philosophy). In both cases the question is to what extent do these parasitic discourses (or perhaps just symbiotic) as always already conditioning all philosophy, all thought and the Real itself?

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2 Responses to “Laruellian/Lacanian Clones”

  1. This is a very interesting piece. I’m really glad you decided to post on cloning, because, oddly enough, it does not appear as a term in the Dictionnaire. Speaking of which, I have added translations of three more definitions onto fractal including: non-epistemology, material ontology and formal ontology. I look forward to pooling our thoughts together in a joint blog soon.

    All the best,

    Taylor


  1. 1 Laruellian/Lacanian Clones (via Naught Thought) « Minimal ve Maksimal Yazılar

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