Home > Alain Badiou, filosoofia, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, sündmus, subjekt > Alain Badiou “Deleuze: The Clamour of Being”

Alain Badiou “Deleuze: The Clamour of Being”

Badiou, Alain 2000. Deleuze: The Clamour of Being. Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press.

The Outside and the Fold

It is certain that,  “as  long as we continue  to  contrast history directly with structure, we can believe  that the  subject conserves  a  sense  as  a  constitutive,  receptive  and  unifying  activity”  (ibid.;  translation  modified).  Foucault’s  great  merit  (but  Deleuze,  in  using the free indirect style, makes  it his  own)  is to have constructed  thinlcing configurations  that have  nothing to  do with  the  couple  formed  by structural objectivity  and constitutive  subjectivity. (82)

Thinking a situation always  involves going toward  that,  in  it,  which  is  the  least  covered  by  the  shelter  that  the  general regime  of things  offers  it,  just  as in order  to think the  situation  of France today one must  start from  the  “dis-sheltering”  by  the  state  of those  who  are  without  papers. This is what, in my own language, I  name  (without needing for this  either the virtual or the Whole)  an event site. I determine this ontologically (with all the required mathematical  formulations)  as  that which  is  “on  the  edge  of the  void” -that is to say,  that which is  almost withdrawn  from  the  situation’s  regulation  by  an  immanent norm, or its state.5 In a situation  (in a set), it is like a point of exile where it is possible that something, finally,  might happen. And  I must say  that I was very  pleased when, in  detailing in depth  at the start of 1994 the  “political” similarities between his  thesis  of dis-sheltering  and my  thesis  of the  event site,  Deleuze  compared  the expression “on the edge  of the void” to  the  intersection between the  territory (the  space of actualization)  and  the  process  of deterritorialization  (the  overflowing  of the  territory by the event that is the real-virtual  of all  actualization), which is to say that it is the point at which what occurs  can no longer be  assigned  to  either the  territory (the site)  or the  nonterritory,  to  either  the inside  or the  outside.  And  it is  true  that the void has neither an interior nor an exterior. (85)

The  outside cannot be confused with anything so commonplace as  a  sort of external world. The automaton (thinking in  its  ascesis)  is  a  simulacrum that  is  without  any  relation  to  other  simulacra.  It  is,  itself, the  pure  assumption  of the  outside. (86)

But what is the underlying principle of all animation?  What populates  the  impersonal  outside;  what  is  it  that  composes  forms  therein?  Let us  call this  “element”  of the  outside  “force.” The  name  is  appropriate  for,  inasmuch  as  it is  translated  only by  a  constrained  animation  or  by  a  setting  into motion  of the automaton-thought,  the outside is only manifest as the imposition of a force.  One of Deleuze’s most constant themes is, moreover,  that we only think when forced to think. Let  this  be  a warning to those who would see in Deleuze an  apologia for spontaneity: whatever is spontaneous is inferior to thought, which only begins when it is constrained to become animated by the forces of the outside. (86)

[…] the element that comes from the outside is force. (86)

The  diagram  of forces -pure inscription  of the  outside – does not entail any interiority;  it does  not as yet communicate with the  One  as  such.  It nevertheless causes the disjointed objects  (or the regimes  of objects, such as the visible  and the  articulable)  to  enter into  a formal composition, which rests  characterized by exteriority,  but  as now activated by its  “forceful”  seizure.  We  pass  from a  simple disjunctive  logic  of exteriority to  a  topology of the outside as  the  locus  of the  inscription  of forces  that,  in  their  reciprocal  action  and  without  communicating  between themselves in any way,  produce singular exteriorities as a local figure of the outside. (87)

What  does  matter is how the intuition  goes beyond  the  setting up  of the  topology of forces toward the act of its identity with the  One. This movement of the intuition involves  topological concepts ­ concepts  that profoundly think the  outside  as a  space  of forces. […] It  is  at  this  moment  that  thought,  in  first  following  this  enveloping  (from the  outside  to  the  inside)  and then  developing it (from  the  inside  to the outside), is an ontological coparticipant in the  power  of the One. It is the fold of Being. (87)

For my part, I am Mallarmean:  being qua being is only the multiple­composition  of the void, except that it follows  from  the  event alone  that there can be truths of this void or empty ground. (89)

For what the fold presents  as  a limit on the sheet as pure outside is, in its being, a movement of the sheet itself. The  most profound moment of  the  intuition is, therefore, when the limit is thought as  fold, and when,  as  a  result,  exteriority becomes reversed into interiority.  The limit is no longer what affects the  outside,  it is a fold of the outside. It is auto-affection of the outside (or of force: it amounts to the same). […] That there  is  a  fold  of the outside (that the outside folds itself) ontologically signifies that it creates an inside. (89)

We can therefore  state that the intuition in which  Being coincides with thinking is the creation, as the fold of the outside, of a figure of the inside. And it is then possible  to  name this folding  a  “self” -this  is  Foucault’s  concept -and even,  if one insists,  a  subject.  Except  that we  must immediately  add:  first,  that  this  subject results from  a  topological  operation that can  be  situated  in  the  outside,  and  that it  is  thus in no way constitutive,  or autonomous,  or spontaneous; second, that this subject,  as the  “inside-space,” is  not  separate  from  the  outside  (whose  fold it is),  or yet  again, that it is “completely co-present with the outside-space on the line of the fold” (ibid., p.  11 8;  see the selection of texts [Appendix:  “The  Thought  of  the  Outside”]);  and, third, that it only exists  as  thought,  and  thus  as the process of the double ascesis (in which  one  must  endure  the  disjunction  and  hold on to  the  imperceptible  thread  of the One), which alone renders it capable of becoming the limit as fold. On these  conditions, we can say that  the subject (the inside) is the identity of thinking and being. Or again,  that  “To  think is  to  fold, to  double the  outside with a coextensive inside”  (ibid.). (90)

The fold makes every thought an immanent trait of the already-there, from which it follows that everything new is an enfolded selection of the past. (91)

As  for  myself,  however,  I  cannot  bring  myself to think  that  the new is  a  fold  of the  past,  or that  thinking  can  be reduced  to  philosophy or a  single configuration  of its  act.  This is why I  conceptualize  absolute  beginnings  (which requires  a  theory  of the  void)  and  singularities  of thought  that  are  incomparable  in their  constitutive  gestures  (which requires  a  theory -Cantorian,  to  be precise -of the plurality of the types  of infinity). Deleuze always maintained that, in doing this, I  fall  back into  transcendence  and  into  the  equivocity of analogy.  But,  all  in  all,  if the  only way to  think a  political  revolution,  an  amorous encounter, an  invention  of the sciences,  or a creation of art as  distinct infinities – having  as  their  condition incommensurable separative events -is by sacrificing immanence (which I do not actually believe is the case, but that is not what matters here) and the univocity of Being, then  I  would  sacrifice  them. (91-92)

A Singularity

Whereas  philosophy’s  task  is  to  determine  in  the  concept  that which is opposed to  opinions,  it is  nevertheless  true  that  opinion  returns,  such that there exist philosophical opinions. These can be recognized by the fact that they form sorts  of referential  and  labeled blocs,  capable of being harnessed by almost any ideological operation whatsoever, and that all the fuss  around their respective positions (which is where the  small fry come to  the  fore) only serves, in  fact,  to  shape,  under the heading of ” debate,”  a sort of shoddy consensus. (95)

[…] for  those like myself who rule out that Being can be thought as All, to say that all is grace means precisely that we are never ever accorded any grace.  But  this  is  not  correct.  It  does  occur, by interruption  or  by  supplement, and however rare  or transitory it may be, we are forced to be lastingly faithful  to it. (97)

But perhaps the imperative is completely different:  that it is not Platonism that has to be overturned, but the anti-Platonism taken as evident throughout the  entire  century.  Plato has to  be  restored, and  first  of all by the  deconstruction of “Platonism” – that common figure, montage of opinion,  or configuration that circulates from Heidegger to Deleuze, from Nietzsche to Bergson, but also from Marxists  to positivists,  and which is still used by  the  counterrevolutionary New Philosophers (Plato as the first of the totalitarian “master thinkers”), as well as by neo-Kantian moralists.  “Platonism”  is  the  great  fallacious  construction  of modernity  and  postmodernity alike.  It serves  as  a  type  of general negative  prop:  it only exists  to  legitimate the  “new” under the heading of an anti-Platonism. (101-102)

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