Archive for the ‘vabadus/emantsipatsioon’ Category

Alain Badiou “”We Need a Popular Discipline”: Politics and the Crisis of the Negative”

April 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Badiou, Alain 2008. “We Need a Popular Discipline”: Contemporary Politics and the Crisis of the Negative. Critical Inquiry, 34(4): 645-659.

Philosophy has as its condition and horizon the concrete situation of different political practices, and it will try, within these conditions, to find instruments of clarification, legitimation, and so on. This current takes seriously the idea that politics is itself an autonomy of thought, that it is a collective practice with an intelligence all its own. (646)
I think it is necessary to distinguish Marxism from communism. I don’t think it is absolutely necessary to keep the wordcommunism.But I like this word a lot. I like it because it designates the general idea of a society and of a world in which the principle of equality is dominant, a world no longer structured by classical social relations—those of wealth, the division of labor, segregation, persecution by the state, sexual difference, and so on. That is, for me, what communism is. Communism in the generic sense simply means that everyone is equal to everyone else within the multiplicity and diversity of social functions. (648)
Both the insurrectional form of the party and today’s electoral form are articulations by state power. In both cases, the party is subordinated to the question of power and the state. I think we have to break with this subordination and, ultimately, engage political organization (whatever form it may take) in political processes that are independent of—“subtracted” from—the power of the state. Unlike the insurrectional form of the party, this politics of subtraction is no longer immediately destructive, antagonistic, or militarized. (650)
The problem for emancipatory politics today, however, is to invent a nonmilitary model of discipline. We need a popular discipline. I would even say, as I have many times, that “those who have nothing have only their discipline.” The poor, those with no financial or military means, those with no power—all they have is their discipline, their capacity to act together. This discipline is already a form of organization. The question is whether all discipline can be reduced to a military model, the model that dominated the first part of the twentieth century. How can we find, invent, exercise, or experiment with—today, after all, is an age of experimentation—a nonmilitary discipline? (650)
“At a distance from the state” signifies that a politics is not structured or polarized along the agenda and timelines fixed by the state. Those dates, for example, when the state decides to call an election, or to intervene in some conflict, declare war on another state. Or when the state claims that an economic crisis makes this or that course of action impossible. (650)
Distance from the state therefore means that the political process and its decisions should be undertaken in full independence from the state and what it deems important, what it decides to impose as the framework of the political. I understandstate here in the large sense, including the government, the media, and even those who make economic decisions. When you allow the political process to be dominated by the state, you’ve already lost the game because you’ve abdicated in advance your own political independence. (651)
On the political side, every revolutionary or emancipatory politics will have to be a certain adjustment or calibration between the properly negative part of negation and the part I call subtractive. A subtraction that is no longer dependent on the dominant laws of the political reality of a situation. It is irreducible, however, to the destruction of these laws as well. A subtraction might well leave the laws of the situation intact. What subtraction does is bring about a point of autonomy. It’s a negation, but it cannot be identified with the properly destructive part of negation. (652-653)
Our problem today is that the destructive part of negation is no longer, in and of itself, capable of producing the new. We need an originary subtraction capable of creating a new space of independence and autonomy from the dominant laws of the situation. A subtraction, therefore, is neither derived from nor a consequence of destruction as such. If we are to propose a new articulation between destruction and subtraction, we have to develop a new type of negation or critique, one that differs from the dialectical model of class struggle in its historical signification. (653)
It is necessary, then, to have a new articulation of the destructive and subtractive parts of negation so that destruction or violence appears in the form of a protective force, capable of defending something created through a movement of subtraction. (654)
The United States, for example, this nation of immigrants, is today constructing a wall and reinforcing its border security system against immigration, an action largely agreed upon by the Democrats—not necessarily concerning the wall but the need for a substantial increase in the border patrol. In France, this rhetoric has poisoned political life for some time now. It feeds the extreme Right, but, ultimately, the Left always aligns itself with this rhetoric. It’s a very interesting phenomenon because it shows that these destructured masses, poor and deprived of everything, situated in a nonproletarianized urban environment, constitute one of the principal horizons of the politics to come. These masses, therefore, are an important factor in the phenomenon of globalization. The true globalization, today, would be found in the organization of these masses—on a worldwide scale, if possible—whose conditions of existence are essentially the same. Whoever lives in the banlieues of Bamako or Shanghai is not essentially different from someone who lives in thebanlieuesof Paris or the ghettos of Chicago. They might be poorer and in worse conditions, but they are not essentially different. Their political existence is characterized by a distance from the state—from the state and its clients, the dominant classes but also the middle classes, all of whom strive to maintain this distance. On this political problem, I have only fragmentary ideas. It’s a question that is as difficult as the problem of organizing workers in the nineteenth century. I am convinced it is the fundamental problem today. (657)
To return to Spinoza, the situation is no doubt one in which the masses have sunken into what he calls sadness, in which the negative aspect prevails. The political, instead, is always a trajectory toward someone different. And it is an essential condition. In both directions at once. After May ’68, I myself set out to engage workers in an exchange that required both of us to assume this type of trajectory toward someone else. This is missing with the youths of the banlieues, shut up in a collective isolation. (658-659)


Elizabeth Balskus “Examining Potentiality in the Philosophy of Giorgio Agamben”

April 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Balskus, Elizabeth 2010. Examining Potentiality in the Philosophy of Giorgio Agamben. Macalester Journal of Philosophy, 19(1): 158-180.

Both Aristotle and Agamben maintain that anything potential is capable of not existing in actuality, and that “what is potential can both be and not be, for the same is potential both to be and not to be”. (160)
Aristotle states that nous, or the intellect, “has no other nature than that of being potential, and before thinking it is absolutely nothing”. This statement leads Agamben to establish the intellect as the perfect example of pure potentiality, a potentiality “which in itself is nothing, [but] allows for the act of intelligence to take place”. (162)
When viewed as the ability to know or reflect, pure potentiality of the intellect becomes extremely important. This potentiality can exist apart from the actualization of any thought of a particular object because it is, in fact, this potentiality itself that allows for an object to even be thought. Therefore, the potentiality of the intellectnot only allows for thought to maintain a supreme position ontologically, it is also the foundation of thought in general. (163)
“Inoperativeness… represents something not exhausted but inexhaustible—because it does not pass from the possible to the actual”. The reason that Bartleby is so disturbing to his employer (who is the narrator of the short story) is that, in removing himself from the constraints of reason and, indeed, the constraints of society as a whole, he is the paradigm of the inoperative, of “the other side of potentiality: the possibility that a thing might not come to pass”. And because Bartleby never offers a reason for his refusal to work and never actually denies the requests made of him, the authorities at hand are completely bewildered as to how to deal with the scrivener. (167 – quotes „Agamben: Critical Introduction”)
Through his phrase “I would prefer not to,” Bartleby challenges the principle of sufficient reason. If the laws of reason do not apply, then there is no legitimate justification for why this world exists and the infinite number of potential worlds were never actualized. This is why Agamben refers to Bartleby as a messiah who has arrived to “save what was not”. Because the laws of reason do not apply to him, Bartleby asserts the right of those possibilities that have never and will never exist to be actualized. (172)
In decreation, contingency is returned to all events, causing us to rememberthat, along with the few potentialities that are actualized, there are an infinite number of potentialities that will never be and, yet, will continue to shape and influence our lives. (174)
The sacred realm of capitalism is, according to Agamben, consumption, and capitalism in its most pure, extreme form is concerned with making experience unusable or unprofanable by separating our actions from ourselves and presenting them back to us as a spectacle, to be observed and not used. A good example of this attempt to alienate ourselves from ourselves is pornography: the human form is appropriated, filmed, and then presented to us as something that can be watched but never experienced. Agamben calls this phenomenon “museification.” “Everything today can become a Museum, because this term simply designates the exhibition of an impossibility of using, of dwelling, of experiencing”. (175)

Nathan Coombs “Political Semantics of the Arab Revolts/Uprisings/Riots/Insurrections/Revolutions”

Coombs, Nathan 2011. Political Semantics of the Arab Revolts/Uprisings/Riots/Insurrections/Revolutions. Journal of Critical Globalisation Studies 4: 138-146.

But why exactly is the term ‘revolution’ so politically=charged in comparison to others such as ‘revolt’, ‘uprising’, ‘riot’ or ‘insurrection’? Let us propose that it is because of all the above terms, ‘revolution’ is the one that implies the deepest content. It does not simply  describe  mass  political  actions,  crowds  on  the  street,  or  governments  falling. Instead, it announces an affirmation of the systematic overhaul of existing socio=economic conditions,  within  which  the  popular  mobilisation  plays  an  essential  role  even  while  it remains  insufficient  to  represent  the  overhaul  itself […] (139)

Hence, our first Badiouian axiom regarding revolutions is that the complete social overhaul indicated by the word cannot be fully predicted: a revolution relies on the introduction of novelty that reconfigures the sense of what is possible. (140)

Revolutsioon tugineb uudsuse sissetoomisele, mis muudab võimalike tegevuste välja. Kas seda ei tee ka mäss/ülestõus? Või on siin mõeldud pigem seda, et revolutsiooni käigus organiseerub uudne tegevusväli (korra haaramine, ülevõtmine ennustamatu poolt), mille kuju ei ole võimalik ette ennustada. Ilmselt viimane.

Instead of presenting the idea of the event  as an abstraction, he conceives it as a subtraction, and likewise for the subjective process of affirming an event. The essential difference can be put as follows: the revolution conceived of by social science is one based on  the  accumulation  of  knowledge  of  the  phenomenon  filed  under  the  signifier ‘revolution’,  whereas  for  Badiou  the  event—in  an  ambiguous  mathematico=epistemological register—is the occurrence of the void: the empty set of inconsistency asserting itself as a momentary, vanishing, partitive excess over belonging (see Badiou, 2006, meditations 16=20, pp. 173=211). Or, dropping the quasi set=theoretic language, the difference is that Badiou’s event occurs and recedes as quickly as it happens, leaving only an  indelible  mark  on  those  subjects  given  the  choice  to  affirm  it  and  see  through  its consequences to the end.  It disrupts the regime of knowledge with an irreducible novelty. (140)

Sotsioloogiline revolutsioon: subjektitu ajalooline sündmus; filosoofiline: ainult subjekti toel toimuda saav protsess, mis hõlmab truudust sündmusele.

Let us first mark the most crucial difference: namely, that the term ‘event’ operates as an idea,  whereas  a  revolution,  on  the  other  hand,  consists  of  a  concrete  set  of  factual occurrences. (141)

In rendering the possibility for splits like these into formal language, we have to go beyond Badiou to make the distinction that a revolution has to be both a revolution (a term of itself, much the same as how Badiou constructs the matheme of the event), and also must contain at least one event thought separately from the revolution itself. (141-142)

[…] for a non=subject, a specific revolution Rx is solely the sum of what is known of revolutions past framing the contemporary evental site X. This expresses particularly well non=subjects’ inability to perceive anything more than contingent spatial and temporal variants  in  each  revolution,  and  also  the  social  science  methodology,  which  conceives revolution by cumulatively adding the features of each past revolution to just modify the definition,  controlling  it  within  the  encyclopaedic  regime  of  knowledge. (142)

Mitte-subjekt, ehk revolutsioonist väljaspool seisev pealtvaataja/ajaloolane/sotsioloog jne, kes loendab sündmusi kui fakte, teeb üldistusi, loob entsüklopeedilise revolutsiooni “keele”, mille põhjal saab hinnata/ennustada tulevaste sündmuste “revolutsioonilisust”. Ent subjekti jaoks, kes praktiseerib truudust, ei ole taolist keelt olemas, sellist hinnangukriteeriumit: subjekt on see, kes mõneski mõttes tegutseb pimeduses, tundmata iga järgneva teo tagajärgi.

For  the  non=subjective sociological understanding of revolution, there would probably be no problem in labelling events  in  the  Arab  world  as  revolution  as  long  as  they  match  an  adequate  number  of features present within the sociological knowledge. (144)

Todd May “The Political Thought of Jacques Rancière”

February 13, 2013 Leave a comment

May, Todd 2008. The Political Thought of Jacques Rancière: Creating Equality. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.


Active Equality in Contemporary Politics

It is a framework that does not speak to the elites of their obligations, but to the demos of their possibilities. It is not a discourse of duty, nor is it a discourse of rights. It is a discourse of emancipation. Unlike mainstream polit-ical theory, Rancière’s articulation of active equality is not commis-sioned by a tradition whose discussants are those who have a part. (142)

Democratic politics “is a matter of interpreting, in the theatrical sense of the word, the gap between the place where the demos exists and a place where it does not, where there are only populations, individu-als, employers and employees, heads of households and spouses, and so on.” (142; Rancière, Disagreement, 88)

Distributive theories of justice, because they concern themselves with what is owed to people, can offer people nothing more than the obligations of others. Whether those obligations are material, social, or, as with Nozick, simply obligations of non-interference, they come to us rather than from us. (144)

In a democratic politics, since the moment of active equality is at the same time and in the same gesture the moment of self-creation, hope is folded into political expression. It is a politics of hope, rather than a politics that offers the resources out of which a person may, if she overcomes her role as recipient, create a bit of hope. (144)

Hope, we are told, is economic, not polit-ical; private, not public. (145)

Democratic politics is not a spectator sport. We do not watch the theorist in reflection and become emancipated. (145)

Rancière claims that the politics of active equality cannot be institutionalized, which denies all permanency to democratic expression. (145)

Rancière writes that consensus democracy, or what he sometimes calls post-democracy, is „the paradox that, in the name of democracy, emphasizes the consen-sual practice of effacing the forms of democratic action. Postdemocracy is the government practice and conceptual legitimization of a democ-racy after the demos, a democracy that has eliminated the appearance, miscount, and dispute of the people and is thereby reducible to the sole interplay of state mechanisms and combinations of social energies and interests . . . This is the actual meaning of what is called consensus democracy.“ (146; Rancière, Disagreement, 101-102)

While in the U.S. the paring away of state services (except those associated with the military) leaves people to their own devices, Europe is more oriented toward a social safety net. Nevertheless, common to both is the view that the political sphere is subservient to the economic one. Otherwise put, capitalist economic development is the answer to questions that once may have seemed political, and the role of the state is to help create the conditions for the efficient (and, in Europe, minimally humane) functioning of a capitalist market. (147)

The technological approach to politics is not far from the traditional liberal political philosophy we considered in the first chapter. It is concerned with the distribution of goods rather than with the par-ticipation of people in the creation of their lives. (149)

Instead of acting in solidarity with those who struggle, humanitarianism places those who might struggle in the position of recipients of aid or intervention. They are to be helped because they cannot help themselves. As with Levinas’ view, it is the vulnerability of the victims that obliges us rather than their equality to us. (152)

Humanitarian assistance is, while certainly necessary at moments, profoundly apolitical. It is a counter-movement to democratic politics. And to the degree to which it substitutes itself for such a politics, the ability to act in solidarity under the banner of equality is com-promised. (152)

In any case, the intervention of states is not  with or alongside peoples (as anarchists have long recognized, states cannot do this), but for them. (153)

First, what terrorism aims at is what has been called our way of life. That way of life is defined by capitalism and liberal freedom. The struggle against terrorism is waged on behalf of a historical legacy of markets and, to one degree or another, individualism and personal liberty. Neoliberalism is, centrally, the object to be protected in the war on terrorism. (155)

He sums up this recent suspicion regarding democratic individualism as a „triple operation: it is necessary, first, to reduce democracy to a form of society; second, to identify this form of society with the reign of egalitarian individualism, subsuming under this concept all sorts of disparate properties from rampant consumerism to claims of minor-ity rights, passing along the way trade union struggles; and finally, to cash out (verser au compte) the “individualist society of the masses” thus identified with democracy in the quest for an indefinite growth that is inherent in the logic of the capitalist economy.“ (156; Rancière, La haine de la democratie, 26)

By reducing all values into market values, everything becomes a matter of personal choice. (157)

That is why, as Rancière points out, when the people do resist, as for instance when the French voted against the European Constitution in May, 2005, this is con-sidered not so much a matter of opposition as of ignorance. We can be more specific. The inequality ascribed to the people is an ignorance about economics. In a world dominated by neoliberalism, those who are not conversant with the workings of the market need to yield their political involvement to those who are. Where pol-itics is a matter of proper economic administration, only those with economic expertise are qualified to participate fully in the political realm. (159)

Rancière points out that a mobile population does not necessarily include those who have no part. (169)

The question of institutionalization is not so much of the present as of the future. It bears upon the character of what we can hope for from a democratic politics. So far, the conception of democratic pol-itics that has been proposed treats it in the context of resistance. A democratic politics, in the present but also in the past, is a dissensus from the police order. But this dissensus is not simply reactive. It does not amount only to a refusal of the police order. It is, more signifi-cantly, an expression – the expression of equality. (176)

Given the complexity of dominations, what guarantee do we have that the results of a democratic politics in one area will not result in a new form of domination arising in another? None at all. (177)

The argument is not that there cannot be a democratic political utopia, but that to envision one in any specificity (that is, aside from the general idea of expressing equal-ity) neglects both the various registers along which domination operates and the contingency that characterizes political struggle. (178)

Alain Badiou “Being and Event”

January 3, 2013 Leave a comment

Badiou, Alain 2005. Being and Event. London, New York: Continuum


The One and the Multiple

What has to be declared is that the one, which is not, solely exists as operation. In other words: there is no one, only the count-as-one. […] In sum: the multiple is the regime of presentation; the one, in respect to presentation, is an operation result; being is what presents (itself). (24)

I term situation every presented multiplicity. […] Every situation admits its own particular operator of the count-as-one. This is the most general definition of a structure; it is what prescribes, for a presented multiple, the regime of its count-as-one. […] One must not forget that every situation is structured. (24)

It is therefore in the after-effect of the count that presentation is uniquely thinkable as multiple, and the numerical inertia of the situation is set out. Yet there is no situation without the effect of the count, and therefore it is correct to state that presentation as such, in regard to number, is multiple. (24-25)

I will maintain, and it is the wager of this book, that ontology is a situation. (27)


The Void: Proper Name of Being

Any situation, seized in its immanence, thus reverses the inaugural axiom of our entire procedure. It states that the on is and that the pure multiple – inconsistency – is not. (52)

To be sure, there is no antecedence of the multiple which would give rise to presentation because the latter is always already-structured such that there is only oneness oneness or consistent multiples. But this ’there is’ leaves a remainder: the law in which it is deployed is discernible as operation. And although there is never enythong other – in a situation – than the result (everything, in the situation, is counted), what thereby results, marks out, before the operation, a must-be-counted. It is the latter which causes the structured presentation to waver towards the phantom of incosistency. (53)

A situation never proposes anything other than multiples woven from ones, and the law of laws is that nothing limits the effect of the count. (54)

The nothing names that undecidable of presentation which is its unpresentable, distributed between the pure inertia of the domain of the multiple, and the pure transparency of the operation thanks to which there is oneness. The nothing is as much that of structure, thus of consistency, as that of the pure multiple, thus inconsistency. It is said with good reason that nothing is subtracted from presentation, because it is on the basis of the latter’s double jurisdiction, the law and the multiple, that the nothing is the nothing. (55)

I term void of a situation this suture to its being. Moreover, I state that every structured presentation unpresents ’its’ void, in the mode of thus non-one which is merely the subtractive face of the count. (55)

I will establish later on (Meditation 17) that for the void to become localizable at the level of presentation, and thus for a certain type of intra-situational assumption of being qua being to occur, a dysfunction of the count is required, which results from an excess-of-one. The event will be this ultra-one of a hazard, on the basis of which the void of a situation is retroactively discernible. (56)

Naturally, because the void is indiscernible as a term (because it is not-one), its inaugural appearance is a pure act of nomination. This name cannot be specific; it cannot place the void under anything that would subsume it – this would be to reestablish the one. The name cannot indicate that the void is this or that. The act of nomination, being a-specific, consumes itself, indicationg nothin other than the unpresentable as such. In ontology, however, the unpresentable occurs within a presentative forcing which disposes it as the nothing from which everything proceeds. The consequence is that the name of the void is a pure proper name, which indicates itself, which does not bestoq any index of difference within what it refers to, and which auto-declares itself in the form of the multiple, despite there being nothing which is numbered by it. (59)


The  Mark Ø

The  solution to the problem is quite striking: maintain the position that nothing  is delivered  by  the  law  of  the  Ideas,  but  make  this  nothing be through  the assumption of a  proper name. In other words: verify,  via  the excedentary choice  of a  proper  name,  the  unpresentable  alone  as existent;  on  its basis the Ideas will subsequently cause all admissible forms of presentation to proceed. (66-67)

The unpresentable is that to which nothing,  no multiple, belongs; consequently,  it cannot present itself in its difference. To  negate belonging  is  to  negate presentation  and therefore  existence because existence is being-in-presentation. The  structure of  the  statement that  inscribes  the  ‘first’  existence  is  thus,  in truth,  the  negation  of  any

existence according to belonging. This statement will say something like: ‘there  exists  that  to  which  no  existence  can  be  said  to  belong’;  or,  ‘a ‘multiple’  exists  which  is  subtracted  from  the  primitive  Idea  of  the multiple.’ (67)

In  its metaontological formulation the axiom says:  the unpresentable is presented, as a subtractive term of the presentation of presentation. Or: a multiple is, which is not under the Idea of the multiple. Or: being lets itself be named, within the ontological situation, as that from which existence does not exist. (67-68)

We  thus arrive  at  the  following remarkable conclusion:  it is  because  the one is  not that the void is  unique. Saying that the null-set is unique is equivalent to saying that its mark is a proper name. Being thus invests the Ideas of the presentation of the pure multiple in the form of unicity signalled by a proper name. (69)


The Point of Excess

[…] even  if for commodity’s sake  we  sometimes  use  the  word  ‘part’  to designate a  subset, there is no more  a concept of a  whole,  and thus of a part,  than  there  is  a  concept  of  the one.  There  is  solely  the  relation  of belonging. (83)

The  non -coincidence  of inclusion and belonging signifies that there is an excess of inclusion over belonging; that it is impossible that every part of a  multiple belongs to it. On the other hand, it is in no way ruled out that everything which belongs to a multiple is also included in it. (89)

[…] in set theory,  what  I  count  as  one  under  the  name  of  a  set  a,  is  multiple­of-multiples. It is thus necessary to distinguish the count-as-one, or structure, which produces the  one  as  a nominal seal  of the multiple,  and  the one as effect, whose fictive being is maintained solely by the structural retroaction in  which  it  is  considered. (90)

I  can thus consider that the set  {0},  which counts-as-one the result of the  originary count-the one-multiple which  is  the  name of the  void is the  forming-into-one of this  name. Therein  the  one  acquires  no further being than that conferred upon it operationally by being the structural seal of the multiple.  Furthermore,  {0}  is a multiple,  a  set. It so happens that what belongs to it,  0,  is unique, that’s all. But  unicity is not the one. (91)


The State, or Metastructure, and the Typology of Being

All multiple-presentation is exposed to the danger of the void: the void is its being. The consistency of the multiple amounts to the following: the void, which is the name of inconsistency in the situation (under the law of the count-as-one), cannot, in itself, be presented or fixed. (93)

The  apparent solidity  of the  world  of presentation  is merely a result of the action of structure, even if nothing is outside such a result. It is necessary to prohibit that catastrophe of presentation which would be its encounter  with  its  own  void,  the  presentational  occurrence  of  inconsistency as such,  or the ruin of the One. (93)

[…] something, within presentation, escapes the count: this something is nothing other than the count itself. The ‘there is Oneness’ is a pure operational result, which transparently reveals the very operation from which the result results. It is thus possible that, subtracted from the count, and by consequence a-structured,  the structure  itself be the point where  the  void  is  given.  In  order  for  the  void  to  be  prohibited  from presentation,  it  is  necessary  that  structure  be  structured,  that  the  ‘there  is Oneness’  be  valid for the  count-as-one.  The  consistency  of presentation thus requires that all structure be doubled by a metastructure which secures the former against any fixation of the void. (93-94)

[…] all situations are structured twice. This also means: there is always both presentation and representation. (94) – structure and metastructure

Any ordinary  situation  thus contains  a  structure,  both  secondary  and supreme, by means of which the count-as-one that structures the situation is in turn counted-as-one, The guarantee that the one is is thus completed by the following:  that  from which its being proceeds-the count-is,  ‘Is’ means ‘is-one’, given that the law of a  structured presentation dictates the reciprocity of ‘being’ and ‘one’ therein, by means of the consistency of the multiple. (95)

[…] I will hereinafter term state of the situation that by means of which the structure of a situation – of any structured presentation whatsoever – is counted as one, which is to say the one of the one-effect itself […] (95)

A structure  is  precisely not a Term  of  the  situation,  and  as  such  it  cannot  be  counted,  A  structure exhausts itself in  its effect. which is  that there is  oneness, Metastructure therefore cannot simply re-count the terms of the situation  and  recompose  consistent  multiplicities,  nor  can  it  have  pure operation as its operational domain; that is, it cannot have forming a one out of the  one-effect  as  its direct role. (95)

[…] the theorem of the point of excess. This theorem establishes that within the framework of the pure theory of the multiple, or set theory, it is formally impossible, whatever the situation be, for everything which is included (every subset) to belong to the situation. (97)

The definition of the state of a situation is then clarified immediately. The domain of meta structure is parts: metastructure guarantees that the one holds for inclusion, just as the  initial  structure  holds for belonging.  Put  more precisely,  given  a  situation  whose  structure  delivers  consistent  one­multiples,  there  is  always  a  meta structure-the  state  of  the  situation -which counts as one any composition of these consistent multiplicities. What is included in a situation belongs to its state. The breach is thereby repaired via which the errancy of the void could  have fixed itself to the multiple,  in  the  inconsistent  mode  of  a  non-counted  part.  Every  part receives the seal of the  one  from  the  state. (97)

We should note that the state is a  structure which is intrinsically separate from  the  original structure of the  situation. (98)

On  the  other  hand,  the  state  is  always that  of  a  situation:  what  it presents, under the sign  of the one, as consistent multiplicities, is in turn solely composed of what  the situation presents; since what is included is composed of one-multiples which belong. As  such,  the  state  of a  situation  can  either be  said to be  separate  (or transcendent) or to be attached (or immanent) with regard to the situation and its native  structure. (98)

Once  counted  as  one  in  a  situation,  a  multiple  finds  itself  presented therein.  If it is also counted as  one  by  the  metastructure,  or state of the situation, then it is appropriate to say that it is represented. This means that it belongs to the situation (presentation), and that it is equally included in the situation (representation). It is a term-part. Inversely,  the theorem of the point of excess indicates that there are included  (represented)  multiples which  are not presented  (which do not belong). These multiples are parts  and  not  terms.  Finally,  there  are  presented  terms  which  are  not represented,  because  they  do  not  constitute  a  part  of the  situation,  but solely one of its immediate terms. I will call normal a term which is both presented and represented. I will call excrescence a term which is represented but not presented. Finally, I will term Singular a term  which is presented but not represented. (99)

Singular terms are subject to the one-effect. but they cannot be grasped as parts because they are  composed, as multiples,  of elements  which are not  accepted by  the  count. (99)

Thus it must be understood that:

– presentation,  count-as-one,  structure,  belonging and element are on the side of the situation;

– representation,  count  of  the  count  metastructure,  inclusion,  subset and part are on the side of the state of the situation. (103)


The state of the historical-social situation

[…] the essence of the State is that of not being obliged to recognize individuals-when it is obliged to recognize them in concrete cases, it is always according to a  principle of counting which does not concern the individuals as such. (105)

The State is simply the necessary metastructure of every historico-sociol situation, which is to say the law that guarantees that there is Oneness, not in the immediacy of society – that is always provided for by a non-state structure – but amongst the set of its subsets. (105)

[…] the State is not founded upon the social bond, which it would express, but rather upon un-binding, which it prohibits. Or, to be more precise, the separation of the State is less a result of the consistency of presentation than of the danger of inconsistency. (109)

[…] politics can be defined therein as an assault against the State, whatever the mode of that assault might be, peaceful or violent. It ‚suffices’ for such an assault to mobilize the singular multiples against the normal multiples by arguing that excrescence is intolerable. However, if the government and even the material substance of the State apparatus can be overturned or destroyed; even if, in certain circumstances it is politically useful to do so, one must not lose sight of the fact that the State as such – which is to say the re-securing of the one over the multiple of parts (or parties) – cannot be so easily attacked or destroyed. (110)

[…] politics  stakes  its  existence  on  its capacity  to  establish  a  relation  to  both  the  void  and  excess  which  is essentially different from  that of the State;  it is this difference alone that subtracts politics from the one of statist re-insurance. (110)


Evental Sites and Historical Situations

It is rational to think the ab-normal or the anti-natural, that is, history, as an omnipresence of singularity – just as we have thought nature as an omnipresence of normality. The form-multiple of historicity is what lies entirely within the instability of the singulat; it is that upon which the state’s metastructure has no hold. It is a point of subtraction from the state’s re-securing of the count. (174)

I will term evental site an entirely abnormal multiple; that is, a multiple such that none of its elements are presented in the situation. The site, itself, is presented, but ‚beneath’ it nothing from which it is composed is presented. As such, the site is not a part of the situation. I will also say of such a multiple that it is on the edge of the void, or foundational […] (175)

The border effect in which this  multiple touches upon the void originates in its consistency (its one-multiple) being composed  solely  from  what,  with  respect  to  the  situation,  in-consists. Within  the situation,  this multiple  is,  but  that  of which  it  is multiple  is not. (175)

One of the profound characteristics of singularities is that they can always be normalized: as is shown, moreover, by socio-political History; any evental site can, in the end, undergo a state normalization. However, it is impossible to singularize natural normality. […] history can be naturalized, but nature cannot be historicized. (176)

[…] the negative aspect of the definition of evental sites – to not be represented – prohibits us from speaking of a site ‚in-itself’. A multiple is a site relative to the situation in which it is presented (counted as one). A multiple is a site solely in situ. In contrast, a natural situation, normalizing all of its terms, is definable intrinsically, and even if it becomes a sub-situation (a sub-multiple) within a larger presentation, it conserves its character. (176)

[…] there are in situation evental sites, but there is no evental situation. (176)

I will term situations in which at least one evental site occurs historical. I have chosen the term ‘historical’ in opposition to the intrinsic stability of natural situations. I  would insist  upon  the  fact  that  historicity is a  local criterion:  one  (at  least)  of the  mUltiples  that  the  situation  counts  and presents is a site, which is to say it is such that none of its proper elements (the multiples from which  it forms a one-multiple)  are presented in the

situation. A historical situation is therefore, in at least one of its points, on the edge of the void. (177)


The Matheme of the Event

Ordinarily, conceptual construction is reserved for structures whilst the event is rejected into the pure empiricity of what-happens. My method is the inverse. The count-as-one is in my eyes the evidence of presentation. It is the event which belongs to conceptual construction,  in the double sense that it can only be thought by anticipating its abstract form, and it can only be revealed in the retroaction of an interventional practice which  is itself entirely thought through. (178)

In natural or neutral situations, there are solely facts. (178)

[…] the existence of a multiple on the edge of the void merely opens up the possibility of an event. It is always possible that no event actually occur. Strictly speaking, a site is only ‚evental’ insofar as it is retroactively qualified as such by the occurrence of an event. (179)

I term event of the site X a multiple such that it is composed of, on the one hand, elements of the site, and on the other hand, itself. (179)

If there exists an event, its belonging to the situation of its site is undecidable from the standpoint of the situation itself. (181)

In our hypothesis, the event blocks its total singularization by the belonging of its signifier to the multiple that it is. In other words, an event is not (does not coincide with) an evental-site. It ‘mobilizes’ the elements of its site, but it adds its own presentation to the mix. (182)

To  declare that an event belongs to  the situation comes down  to saying  that it is conceptually distinguished from its site by the interposition of itself between the void and itself This interposition, tied to self-belonging, is the ultra-one, because it counts the same thing as one twice:  once as a presented multiple, and once as a multiple presented in its own presentation. (182)

The undecidability of the event’s belonging to the situation can be interpreted as a double function. On the one hand, the event would evoke the void, on the other hand, it would interpose itself between the void and itself. It would be both a name of the void, and the ultra-one of the presentative structure. And it is this ultra-one-naming-the-void which would deploy, in the interior-exterior of a historical situation, in a torsion of its order, the being of non-being, namely, existing. (182-183)


Being’s Prohibition of the Event

[…] the ontological situation originally names the void as an existent multiple, whilst every other situation consists only insofar as it  ensures  the  non-belonging  of  the  void,  a  non-belonging  controlled, moreover, by the state of the situation. The result is that the ontological matrix  of  a  natural  situation,  which  is to say an  ordinal,  is  definitely founded, but it is done so uniquely by the void. In an ordinal, the Other is the name of the void, and it alone. We will thus allow that a stable natural situation  is  ontologically  reflected  as  a  multiple  whose  historical  or foundational term is the name of the void, and that a historical situation is reflected by a multiple which possesses in any case other founding terms, non-void terms. (188)

In non-ontological situations, foundation via the void is impossible. Only mathematical ontology admits the thought of the suture to being under the mark Ø. (188)

[…] an event is ontologically formalized by an extraordinary set. We could. But the axiom of foundation forecloses extraordinary sets from any existence,  and ruins any possibility of naming  a  multiple-being  of the event. Here  we  have  an  essential  gesture:  that  by  means  oj’  which  ontology declares that the event is not. (190)


The Intervention: Illegal choice of a name of the event

I term intervention any procedure by which a multiple is recognized as an event. (202)

An intervention consists, it seems, in identifying that there has been some undecidability, and in deciding its belonging to the situation. However, the second sense of intervention cancels out the first. For if the essence of the event is to be undecidable, the decision annuls it as event. (202)

[…] if the essence of the event is to be undecidable, the decision annuls it as event. (202)

The essence of the intervention consists – within the field opened up by interpretative hypothesis, whose presented object is the site (a multiple on the edge of the void), and which concerns the ‚there is’ of an event – in naming this ‚there is’ and in unfolding the consequences of this nomination in the space of the situation to which the site belongs. (203)

The Revolution of 1789 is certainly ‘French’, yet France is not what engendered and named its eventness. It is much rather the case that it is the revolution which  has  since  retroactively  given  meaning-by  being  inscribed,  via decision, therein-to that historical situation that we call France. (203)

The initial operation of an intervention is to make a name out of an unpresented element of the site to qualify the event whose site is the site. […] The name of the event is drawn from the void at the edge of which stands the intrasituational presentation of its site. (204)

The intervention touches the void, and is thereby subtracted from the law of the count-as-one which rules the situation, precisely because its inaugural axiom is not tied to the one, but to the two. As one, the element of the site which indexes the event does not exist, being unpresented. What induces its existene is the decision by which it occurs as two, as itself absent and as supernumerary name. (205)

‚The’ term which serves as name for the event is, in itself, anonymous. The event has the nameless as its name: it is with regard to everything that happens that one can only say what it is by referring it to its unknown Soldier.(205)

This nomination is essentially illegal in that it cannot conform to any law of representation. […] Given a multiple of presented multiples, its name, correlate of its one, is an affair of the state. But since the intervention extracts the supernumerary signifier from the void bordered on by the site, the state law is interrupted. (205)

Intervention generates a discipline: it does not deliver any originality. There is no hero of the event. If we now turn to the state of the situation, we see that it can only resecure  the belonging of this supernumerary name, which  circulates at random, at the price of painting out the very void whose foreclosure is its function. (207)

Every time that a site is the theatre of a real event, the state – in the political sense, for example – recognizes that a designation must be found for the couple of the site (the factory, the street, the university) and the singleton of the event (strike, riot, disorder), but it cannot succeed in fixing the rationality of the link. This is why it is a law of the state to detect in the anomality of this Two – and this is an avowal of the dysfunction of the coutn – the hand of a stranger (the foreign agitator, the terrorist, the perverse professor). (208)

[…] the possibility of the intervention must be assigned to the consequences of another event. It is evental recurrence which founds intervention. In other words, there is no interventional capacity, consitutive for the belonging of an evental multiple to a situation, save within the network of consequences of a previously decided belonging. An intervention is what presents an event for the occurrence of another. It is an evental between-two. (209)

Time – if not coextensive with structure, if not the sensible form of the Law – is the intervention itself, thought as the gap between two events. (210)

One  important  consequence  of  evental  recurrence  is that no  intervention whatsoever can legitimately operate according to  the idea of a primal event,  or a  radical beginning. […] This thought is unaware  that the event itself only exists insofar as it is submitted,  by an intervention whose possibility  requires  recurrence-and  thus  non-commencement-to  the ruled  structure  of the  situation;  as such,  any  novelty  is  relative, being legible solely after the fact as the hazard of an order. What the doctrine of the event teaches us is rather that the entire effort lies in following the event’s consequences, not in glorifying its occurrence. There is no more an angelic  herald  of  the  event  than  there  is  a  hero.  Being  does  not commence. (210-211)

[…] its [event’s] sole foundation lies in a discipline of time, which controls from beginning to end the consequences of the introduction into circulation of the paradoxical multiple, and which at any moment knows how to discern its connection to chance. I will call this organised control of time fidelity. (211)


Fidelity, Connection

First, a  fidelity is always particular,  insofar as it depends on an event. There is no general faithful disposition. Fidelity must not be understood in any way as a capacity, a subjective quality, or a virtue. Fidelity is a situated operation which depends on the examination of situations.  Fidelity is a functional relation to  the event.

Second, a  fidelity is not a  term-multiple of the situation, but, like the count-as-one,  an operation,  a  structure.  What  allows  us  to  evaluate  a fidelity is  its  result: the count-as-one of the regulated effects of an event. Strictly  speaking,  fidelity  is  not.  What  exists  are  the  groupings  that  it constitutes of one-multiples which are marked,  in one way or another, by the evental happening.

Third, since a fidelity discerns and groups together presented multiples, it counts the parts of a situation. The result of faithful procedures is included in the situation. Consequently, fidelity operates in a  certain sense on the terrain of the state of the situation. A fidelity can appear, according to the nature of its operations, like a counter-state, or a sub-state. There is always something institutional in a fidelity, if institution is understood here, in a

very general manner,  as what is  found in  the  space of representation, of the  state,  of the  count-of-the-count;  as  what  has  to  do  with  inclusions rather than belongings. (233)

What must  be  retained  and  conceptually  fixed  is  that  a  fidelity  is conjointly defined by a situation-that in which the intervention’s effects are  linked  together according  to  the  law  of the  count-by  a  particular multiple-the event as named and introduced into circulation-and by a rule  of connection  which  allows  one  to  evaluate  the  dependency  of any particular existing multiple with respect to the event. given that the latter’s belonging to the situation has been decided by the intervention. (234)

A fidelity, on the other hand, discerns the connection of  presented  multiples  to  a  particular  multiple,  the  event,  which  is circulated  within  the  situation  via  its  illegal  name. (236)

For my part,  I will call subject  the process itself of liaison between the event  (thus  the  intervention)  and  the  procedure  of  fidelity  (thus  its operator of  connection). (239)


The Folding of Being and the Sovereignty of Language

[…] if one assumes that every multiple is constructible, the event is not, the intervention is non-interventional  (or legal), and the un-measure of the state is exactly measurable. (304)

With  the  hypothesis  of  constructibility,  everything  changes. This  time one can actually demonstrate that no (constructible)  multiple is evental. In other  words,  the  hypothesis  of  constructibility  reduces  the  axiom  of foundation to the rank of a theorem, a  faithful consequence of the other Ideas of the multiple. (304)

At base,  the  sovereignty  of language-if one  adopts the constructivist vision-produces the following statement (in which I short-circuit quantitative explanation,  and  whose  charm  is  evident):  the  state  succeeds  the situation. (309)

Everybody can see that the constructible universe is-in its refined procedure even more than in  its result-the  ontological symbol of knowledge. (309)

The  ethic  of  knowledge  has  as  its  maxim:  act  and  speak such  that everything be clearly decidable. (314)


The Thougth of the Generic and Being in Truth

‘Generic’ and ‘indiscernible’  are  concepts which are almost equivalent. Why play on a  synonymy?  Because  ‘indiscernible’  conserves a  negative connotation, which indicates uniquely,  via non-discernibility, that what is at stake is subtracted from knowledge or from exact nomination. The term ‘generic’  positively  designates  that  what  does  not  allow  itself  to  be discerned is in reality the general truth of a situation, the truth of its being, as considered as the foundation of all knowledge to come.  ‘Indiscernible’ implies a negation, which nevertheless retains this essential point: a truth is always that which makes a hole in a  knowledge. (327)

Knowledge is the capacity to discern multiples within the situation which  possess  this  or that property;  properties  that  can be  indicated by explicit phrases of the language, or sets of phrases. The rule of knowledge is  always  a  criterion  of  exact  nomination.  In  the  last  analysis,  the constitutive  operations  of  every  domain  of  knowledge  are  discernment (such  a  presented  or  thinkable  multiple  possesses  such  and  such  a property)  and classification  (I  can  group  together,  and designate  by  their common  property,  those  mUltiples  that  I  discern  as  having  a  nameable characteristic in common). Discernment concerns the connection between language and presented or presentable realities.  It is  orientated towards presentation. Classification concerns the connection between the language and  the  parts  of  a  situation,  the  multiples  of multiples.  It is  orientated towards representation. (328)

We shall posit that discernment is founded upon the capacity to judge (to speak of properties), and classification is founded upon the capacity to link judgements  together  (to  speak  of  parts).  Knowledge  is  realized  as  an encyclopaedia. An encyclopaedia must be understood here as a summation of judgements under a common determinant. Knowledge-in its innumerable  compartmentalized  and  entangled  domains-can  therefore  be thought. with regard to its being.  as assigning to this or that multiple an encyclopaedic  determinant  by means  of  which  the  mUltiple  finds  itself belonging  to  a  set  of  multiples,  that  is,  to  a  part.  As  a  general  rule,  a multiple (and its  sub-multiples) fall under numerous determinants. These determinants  are  often  analytically  contradictory,  but  this  is  of  little importance. (328)

Remember that  knowledge  does  not  know  of the  event  because  the name  of  the  event  is supernumerary,  and  so  it does  not  belong  to  the language of the situation. When I say that it does not belong to the latter, this  is  not  necessarily  in  a  material  sense  whereby  the  name  would be barbarous,  incomprehensible,  or non-listed.  What  qualifies the name of the event is that it is drawn from the void.  It is a matter of an evental  (or historical) quality, and not of a signifying quality. But even if the name of the event is very simple, and it is definitely listed in the language of the situation,  it is supernumerary as name of the event,  signature of the ultra­one, and therefore it is foreclosed from knowledge. It will also be said that the event does not fall under any encyclopaedic determinant. (329)

[…] every finite part of the situation is classified by at least one  knowledge:  the  results  of  an  enquiry  coincide  with  an  encyclopaedic determinant. This is entailed by every presented multiple being nameable in the language of the situation. (331)

It is as though  knowledge  has  the  power  to  efface  the  event  in  its  supposed effects,  counted  as  one  by  a  fidelity;  it  trumps  the  fidelity  with  a peremptory  ‘already-counted!’ This is the case,  however,  when these effects are finite.  Hence a  law,  of considerable weight: the true only has a chance of being distinguishable from the veridical when it is infinite. A truth (if it exists) must be an infinite part of the situation,  because  for  every  finite  part  one  can  always  say  that  it  has already been discerned and classified by knowledge. (333)

The general idea is to consider that a  truth groups together all the terms of the situation  which  are positively  connected  to  the event. (335)

Our problem is finally the following: on what condition can one be sure that the set  of terms of the situation which are positively connected to the event is in no manner already classified within the encyclopaedia of the situation?  We cannot  directly  formulate  this  potential  condition  via  an ‘examination’ of the infinite set of these terms, because this set is always to-come  (being infinite)  and moreover,  it  is  randomly composed  by the

trajectory of the enquiries: a term is encountered by the procedure, and the finite enquiry in which it figures attests that it is positively connected, that it is an x(+). Our condition must necessarily concern the enquiries which make up the very fabric of the procedure of fidelity. (336)

Thus: if an infinite faithful procedure contains at least one finite enquiry  which  avoids  an  encyclopaedic  determinant,  then  the  infinite positive result of that procedure (the class of x(+)’s) will not coincide with that part of the situation whose knowledge is designated by this determinant.  In  other  words,  the  property,  expressed  in  the language  of  the situation which founds this determinant,  cannot be  used,  in any case,  to discern the infinite positive result of the faithful procedure. (337)

The  fact  that  the  procedure  is  generic  entails  the  non­coincidence  of  this  part  with  anything  classified  by  an  encyclopaedic determinant.  Consequently,  this part is  unnameable by the resources  of the language of the situation alone. It is subtracted from any knowledge; it has not been already-counted by  any of the domains of knowledge, nor will be, if the language remains in the same state-or remains that of the State.  This part, in which a truth inscribes its procedure as infinite result, is an indiscernible of the situation. (338)

For what the faithful procedure  thus rejoins is none other  than  the  truth  of  the  entire  situation.  insofar  as  the  sense  of  the indiscernible is that of exhibiting as one-multiple the very being of what belongs insofar as it belongs. Every nameable part. discerned and classified by  knowledge,  refers  not  to  being-in-situation  as  such.  but  to  what language  carves  out therein  as  recognizable  particularities.  The  faithful procedure. precisely because it originates in an event in which the void is summoned. and not in the established relation between the language and the state. disposes, in its infinite states. of the being of the situation. It is a one-truth  of  the  situation.  whilst  a  determinant  of  knowledge  solely specifies veracities. (339)

1 have to say that philosophy does not generate any truths either,  however painful this admission may be. At best, philosophy is conditioned by the faithful procedures of its times. Philosophy can aid the procedure which conditions it. precisely because it depends on it: it attaches itself via such intermediaries to the foundational events  of  the  times,  yet  philosophy itself does  not  make  up  a  generic procedure.  Its  particular  function  is  to  arrange  mUltiples  for  a  random encounter with such a  procedure. However,  whether such an encounter takes  place,  and  whether  the  multiples  thus  arranged  turn  out  to be connected to the supernumerary name of the event, does not depend upon philosophy.  A  philosophy worthy  of the  name-the name  which  began with  Parmenides-is  in  any  case  antinomical  to  the  service  of  goods, inasmuch  as it endeavours to be at the service of truths;  one can always endeavour to be at the service of something that one does not constitute. Philosophy is thus at the service of art, of science and of politics. That it is capable of being at the service of love is more doubtful (on the other hand, art, a  mixed procedure,  supports truths of love). In  any case, there is  no commercial philosophy. (340-341)

The ultimate effect of an evental caesura, and of an intervention from  which  the  introduction  into  circulation of  a  supernumerary  name proceeds, would thus be that the truth of a situation, with this caesura as its principle, forces the situation to accommodate it: to extend itself to the point at  which  this  truth-primitively  no  more  than  a  part,  a  representation-attains belonging, thereby becoming a presentation. (342)

However,  it would remain subtracted from knowledge if the language of the situation was not radically transformed. Not only is a truth indiscernible, but its procedure requires that this indiscernibility be. A truth would  force  the  situation  to  dispose  itself  such  that  this  truth-at  the outset  anonymously counted  as  one  by  the  state  alone,  pure indistinct excess over the presented multiples-be finally recognized as a term, and as  internal.  A  faithful  generic  procedure  renders  the  indiscernible immanent. (342)

As such, art science and politics do change the world, not by what they discern, but by what they indiscern therein. And the all-powerfulness of a truth is merely that of changing what is, such that this unnameable being may be, which is  the  very being of what-is. (343)


The Existence of the Indiscernible: the Power of Names

[…]the  indiscernible  is  without being.  In reality,  an inhabitant of S can only believe in the existence of an indiscernible-insofar as if it exists, it is outside the world. (373)

Certainly,  an indiscernible  for S exists outside S-but where is the paradox? What we want is an indiscernible internal to  a situation.  Or,  to be precise, a set  which:  a.  is  indiscernible in a  situation;  b. belongs to that situation. We want the set to exist in the very place in which it is indiscernible. The entire question resides in  knowing to which  situation  SJ  belongs.  Its floating exteriority to S cannot satisfy us, because it is quite possible that it belongs  to  an as yet unknown  extension  of  the situation,  in  which,  for example,  it would be constructible with  statements of the  situation,  and thus completely discernible. (375)

The  ‘nominalist’  singularity of  the  generic extension  lies  in  its elements being  solely  accessible  via  their  names. (381)


Theory of the Subject

I  term subjectivization  the  emergence  of an  operator,  consecutive  to  an interventional  nomination .  Subj ectivization  takes place  in  the  form of  a Two.  It is  directed towards  the  intervention on  the  borders of the  evental site .  But  it  is  also directed towards  the situation  through  its  coincidence with  the  rule  of  evaluation  and  proximity  which  founds  the  generic procedure.  Subj ectivization  is  interventional  nomination from  the  standpoint of the situation,  that  is,  the  rule  of the intra -situational effects  of the supernumerary  name’s  entrance  into  circulation .  It  could  be  said  that subjectivization  is  a  special  count,  distinct  from  the  count-as-one  which orders  presentation,  just  as  it  is  from  the  state’s  reduplication.  What subjectivization  counts  is whatever is faithfully connected to the name of the event. (393)

What the proper name designates here is that the subject, as local situated configuration, is neither the intervention nor the operator of fidelity, but the advent of their Two, that is, the incorporation of the event into the situation in the mode of a generic procedure. The absolute singularity, subtracted from sense, of this Two is shown by the in-significance of the proper name. But it is obvious that this in-significance is also a reminder that what was summoned by the interventional nomination was the void, which is itself the proper name of being. Subjectivation is the proper name in the situation of this general proper name. It is an occurrence of the void. (393)

[…] subjectivization is that through which truth is possible. (393)

Subjectivization, aporetic knot of a name in excess and an un-known operation, is what traces, in the situation, the becoming multiple of the true, starting from the non-existent point in which the event convokes the void and interposes itself between the void and itself. (394)

A  truth  alone  is  infinite,  yet  the  subject  is  not coextensive with it. The truth of Christianity-or of contemporary music. or  ‘modern  mathematics’-surpasses  the  finite  support  of  those  subjectivizations  named  Saint  Paul.  Schoenberg  or  Cantor;  and  it  does  so everywhere, despite the fact that a truth proceeds solely via the assemblage of those enquiries,  sermons, works and statements in which these names are realized. (395)

[…] the subject is consituted by encountering its matter (the terms of the enquiry) without anything of its form (the name of the event and the operator of fidelity) prescribing such matter. If the subject does not have any other being-in-situation than the term-multiples it encounters and evaluates, its essence, since it has to include the chance of these encounters, is rather the trajectory which links them. However, this trajectory, being incalculable, does not fall under any determinant encyclopedia. (395-396)

The subject is literally separated from knowledge by chance. The subject is chance, vanquished term by term, but this victory, subtracted from language, is accomplished solely as truth. (396)

Because the subject is a local configuration of the procedure, it is clear that the truth is equally indiscernible ‚for him’ – the truth is global. ‚For him’ means the following precisely: a subject, which realizes the truth, is nevertheless incommensurable with the latter, because the subject is finite, and the truth is infinite. Moreover, the subject, being internal to the situation, can only know, or rather encounter, terms or multiples presented (counted as one) in that situation. Yet a truth is an un-presented part of the situation. (396)

[…] the  subject  cannot  make  a  language  out  of anything except  combinations  of  the  supernumerary  name  of the  event and  the  language  of the  situation.  It  is  in  no  way  guaranteed  that  this language will suffice for the discernment of a truth,  which, in any case,  is indiscernible for the resources of the language of the  situation alone.  It is absolutely  necessary  to  abandon  any  definition  of  the  subject  which supposes that it knows the truth,  or that it is adjusted to the truth. (396)

The singular relation of a subject to the truth whose procedure it supports is the following: the subject believes that there is truth, and this belief occurs in the form of a knowledge. I term this knowing belief confidence. (397)

[…] the names used by a subject – who supports the local configuration of a generic truth – do not, in general, have a referent in the situation. Therefore, they do not double the established language. But what use are they? These are words which designate terms, but terms which ‚will have been’ presented in a new situation: the one which results from the addition to the situation of a truth (an indiscernible) of that truth. (398)

With the resources of the situation, with its multiples, its language, the subject generates names whose referent is in the future anterior: this is what supports belief. Such names ‚will have been’ assigned a referent, or a signification, when the situation will have appeared in which the indiscernible – which is only represented (or included) – is finally presented as a truth of the first situation. (398)

Every subject can thus be recognized by the emergence of a language which is internal to the situation, but whose referent-multiples are subject to the condition of an as yet incomplete generic part. (398)

[…] the reference of the names, from the standpoint of the subject, remains for ever suspended from the unfinishable condition of a truth. (399)

Here, language (la langue) is the fixed order within which a finitude, subject to the condition of the infinity that it is realizing, practices the supposition of reference to-come. Language is the very being of truth via the combination of current finite enquiries and the future anterior of a generic infinity. (399)

They [names] displace established significations and leave the referent void: this void will have been filled if truth comes to pass as a new situation […] (399)

A subject is thus, by the grace of names, both the real of the procedure […] and the hypothesis that its unfinishable result will introduce some newness into presentation. A subject emptily names the universe to-com which is obtained by the supplementation of the situation with an indiscernible truth. At the same time, the subject is the finite real, the local stage, of this supplementaion. Nomination is solely empty inasmuch as it is full of what is sketched out by its own possibility. A subject is the self-mentioning of an empty language. (399-400)

Sliding  without  quilting  point.  In  fact,  the  meaning  of  a  subject­language is under condition. Constrained to refer solely to what the situation presents,  and  yet  bound  to  the  future  anterior  of  the  existence  of  an indiscernible, a statement made up of the names of a subject- language has merely a  hypothetical Signification. […] I say ‘will have been’ because the veracity in question is relative to that other situation, the situation to-come in which a  truth  of  the  first  situation  (an  indiscernible  part)  will  have  been presented. (400)

A subject always declares meaning in the future anterior. What is present are  terms  of  the  situation  on  the  one  hand,  and  names  of  the  subject­language on the other. Yet this distinction  is artificiaL beca use the names, being  themselves  presented  (despite  being  empty),  are  terms  of  the situation. What exceeds the situation is the referential meaning of the names; such meaning exists solely within the retroaction of the existence (thus of the representation) of an indiscernible part of the situation. […] such a statement of the subject-language will have been veridical if the truth is such or such. (400)

[…] a fundamental law of the subject (it is also the law of the future anterior). […] if a statement of the subject-language is such that it will have been veridical for a situation in which a truth has occurred, this is because a term of the situation exists which both belongs to truth (belongs to the generic part which is that truth) and maintains a particular relation with the names at stake in the statement. (401)

I will term forcing the relation implied in the fundamental law of the subject. That a term of the situation forces a statement of the subject-language means that the veracity of this statement in the situation to come is equivalent to the belonging of this term to the indiscernible part which results from the generic procedure. It thus means that this term, bound to the statement by the relation of forcing, belongs to the truth. […] A term forces a statement if its positive connection to the event forces the statement to be veridical in the new situation (the situation supplemented by an indiscernible truth). (403)

A subject is a local evaluator of self-mentioning statements: he or she knows – with regard to the situation to-come, thus from the standpoint of the indiscernible – that these statements are either certainly wrong, or possibly veridical but suspended from the will-have-taken-place of one positive enquiry. (404)

[…] a subject is at the intersection, via its language, of knowledge and truth. Local configuration of a generic procedure, it is suspended from the indiscernible. Capable of conditionally forcing the veracity of a statement of its language for a situation to-come (the one in which the truth exists) it is the savant of itself. A subject is a knowledge suspended by a truth whose finite movement it is. (406)

Grasped in its being, the subject is solely te finitude of the generic procedure, the local effects of an evental fidelity. What it ‚produces’ is the truth itself, and indiscernible part of the situation, but the infinity of this truth transcends it. It is abusive to say that truth is a subjective production. A subject is much rather taken up in fidelity to the event, and suspended from truth; from which it is forever separated by chance. (406)

[…] it is not possible to modify the established veracity of a statement by adding to a situation a truth of that situation; for what would mean that in truth the statement was not veridical in the situation. Truth is subtracted from knowledge, but it does not contradict it. […] it is impossible by means of the existing resources of knowledge alone to decide whether it is veridical or erroneous. (406)

This capacity [to decide] is so important that it is possible to gve the following definition of a subject: that which decides an undecidable from the standpoint of an indiscernible. Or, that which forces a veracity, according to the suspense of a truth. (407)

[…] empirically, novelty (for example, political novelty) is accompanied by destruction. But it must be clear that this accompaniment is not linked to intrinsic novelty; on the contrary, the latter is always a supplementation by a truth. Destruction is the ancient effect of the new supplementation amidst the ancient. (407) A destruction is not true: it is knowledgeable. (408)

The autonomy of the generic procedure excludes ant thinking in terms of a ‚balance of power’ or ‚power struggles’. A ‚balance of power’ is a judgement of the encyclopaedia. What authorizes the subject is the indiscernible, the generic, whose supplementary arrival signs the global effect of an event. There is no link between deciding the undecidable and suppressing a presentation. (408)

A subject is thus also that which measures the possible disqualification of a presented multiple. And this is very reasonable, because the generic or one-truth, being an indiscernible part, is subtracted from the determinants of knowledge, and it is especially rebellious with regard to the most artificial qualifications. The generic is egalitarian, and every subject, ultimately, is ordained to equality. (408-409)

[…] if a presentation’s qualification in the new situation is linked to an inexistence, then this presentation was already qualified thus in the ancient situation. This is what I term the principle of inexistents. […] inexistence is retroactive. […] The positive version of the principle of inexistents runs as follows: a subject can bring to beat a disqualification, but never a de-singularization. What is singular in truth was such in the situation. (409)

A subject is that which, finite instance of a truth, discerned realization of an indiscernible, forces decision, disqualifies the unequal, and saves the singular. By these three operations, whose rarity alone obsesses us, the event comes into being, whose insistence it had supplemented. (409)


Forcing: from the indiscernible to the undecidable

[…]the  names are all that the inhabitants of the situation know of the  generic  extension,  since  the  latter  does not  exist in  their universe. (410)

[…] although  an  inhabitant  of  the  situation  does  not  know anything  of the  indiscernible,  and  so  of the  extension,  she  is capable  of thinking that the belonging of such  a  condition to a  generic description is equivalent to the veracity of such a  statement within that extension. It is evident  that  this  inhabitant  is  in  the  position  of  a  subject  of  truth:  she forces  veracity  at  the  point  of  the  indiscernible.  She  does  so  with  the nominal resources of the situation alone,  without having to represent that truth  (without  having  to  know  of  the  existence  of  the  generic extension). (411)

a.  Given a quasi-complete denumerable situation, in which the Ideas of the multiple are for the most part veridical-thus, a  multiple which realizes the schema of a  situation in which the entirety of historical ontology is reflected-one can find therein a set of conditions whose principles,  in  the  last  analysis,  are  that  of  a  partial  order  (certain conditions are ‘more precise’ than others), a coherency  (criterion of compatibility), and a  ‘liberty’  (incompatible dominants).

b. Rules intelligible to an ‘inhabitant’  of the situation allow particular sets of conditions to be designated as correct parts.

c.  Certain  of these  correct  parts,  because  they  avoid any coincidence with parts which are definable or constructible or discernible within the situation,  will be said to be generic parts.

d.  Generally,  a  generic part  does  not  exist  in  the  situation,  because  it cannot  belong  to  this  situation  despite  being  included  therein.  An inhabitant of the situation possesses the concept of generic part, but in no way possesses an existent mUltiple which corresponds to this concept. She can only ‘believe’ in such an existence. However, for the ontologist  (thus, from the outside), if the situation is denumerable, there exists a generic part.

e.  What  do  exist  in  the  situation  are  names,  multiples  which  bind together conditions  and  other  names,  such  that  the  concept  of  a referential  value  of these  names  can  be  calculated  on  the  basis  of hypotheses concerning the  unknown generic part  (these hypotheses are  of  the  type:  ‘Such  a  condition  is  supposed  as belonging  to  the generic part.’).

f  One terms generic extension of the situation the multiple obtained by the fixation of a  referential value for all the names which belong to the  situation.  Despite  being unknown, the  elements  of the  generic extension are thus named.

g.  What is at stake is definitely an extension, because one can show that every  element  of  the  situation  has  its  own  name.  These  are  the canonical names,  and they are independent of the particularity of the supposed  generic  part.  Being  nameable,  all  the  elements  of  the situation are also elements of the generic extension, which contains all the referential values of the names.

h.  The  generic  part,  which  is  unknown  in  the  situation,  is  on  the contrary an element of the generic extension.  Inexistent and indiscernible  in  the  situation,  it  thus  exists  in  the  generic  extension. However, it remains indiscernible therein. It is possible to say that the generic extension results from the adjunction to the situation of an indiscernible of that situation.

i.  One can define,  in the situation, a  relation between conditions,  on the one hand, and the formulas applied to names, on the other. This relation is called forcing. […]

j.  In using forcing, one notices that the generic extension has all sorts of properties which were  already those of the situation. It is in this manner that  the  axioms,  or  Ideas  of the  multiple,  veridical  in the situation, are also veridical in the generic extension. If the situation is quasi-complete, so is the generic extension: it reflects, in itself, the entirety of historical ontology within the denumerable. In the same manner the part of nature contained in the situation is the same as that contained by the generic extension, insofar as the ordinals of the second are exactly those of the first.

k.  But certain statements which  cannot be demonstrated in ontology,

and  whose  veracity  in  the  situation  cannot  be  established,  are veridical in the generic extension. It is in such a manner that sets of conditions exist which force, in a generic extension, the set of parts of Wo  to  surpass any given cardinal of that extension.

I.  One can thus force an indiscernible to the point that the extension in which it appears is such that an undecidable statement of ontology is veridical therein,  thus decided. (427-428)

Veracity  thus  has  two  sources:  being,  which  multiplies  the  infinite knowledge of the pure multiple; and the event, in which a truth originates, itself  mUltiplying  incalculable  veracities.  Situated  in  being,  subjective emergence forces the event to decide the true of the situation. There  are  not  only  significations,  or interpretations.  There  are  truths, also. But the trajectory of the true is practicaL and the thought in which it is delivered is in part  subtracted from language  (indiscernibility),  and in part subtracted from the jurisdiction of the Ideas (undecidability) . (430)



What still  attaches Lacan  (but this still  is the modern perpetuation of sense)  to the  Cartesian  epoch  of science  is the thought that the subject must be maintained in the pure void of its subtraction if one wishes to save truth.  Only  such  a  subject allows itself to be  sutured  within the  logical, wholly transmissible, form of science. (432)

A truth,  if it is thought as being solely a generic part of the situation, is a  source  of  veracity once a  subject  forces  an  undecidable  in  the  future anterior. But if veracity touches on language  (in the most general sense of the term), truth only exists insofar as it is indifferent to the latter,  since its procedure is generic inasmuch as it avoids the entire encyclopaedic grasp of judgements. (433)

Alain Badiou “The Communist Hypothesis”

November 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Badiou, Alain 2008. The Communist Hypothesis. New Left Review 49: 29-42.

If we posit a definition of politics as ‘collective action, organized by certain principles, that aims to unfold the consequences of a new possibility which  is  currently  repressed  by  the  dominant  order’,  then  we  would have to conclude that the electoral mechanism is an essentially apolitical procedure. (31)

What is the communist hypothesis? In its generic sense, given in its canonic Manifesto,  ‘communist’  means,  first,  that  the  logic  of  class—the  fundamental  subordination  of  labour  to  a  dominant  class,  the arrangement  that  has  persisted  since  Antiquity—is  not  inevitable;  it can be overcome. The communist hypothesis is that a different collective organization is practicable, one that will eliminate the inequality of wealth and even the division of labour. The private appropriation of mas-sive fortunes and their transmission by inheritance will disappear. The existence of a coercive state, separate from civil society, will no longer appear a necessity: a long process of reorganization based on a free association of producers will see it withering away. (34-35)

‘Communism’ as such denotes only this very general set of intellectual representations. It is what Kant called an Idea, with a regulatory function,  rather  than  a  programme.  It  is foolish  to  call  such  communist principles utopian; in the sense that I have defined them here they are intellectual patterns, always actualized in a different fashion. As a pure Idea of equality, the communist hypothesis has no doubt existed since the beginnings of the state. (35)

The political problem, then, has to be reversed. We cannot start from an  analytic  agreement  on  the  existence  of  the  world  and  proceed  to normative action with regard to its characteristics. The disagreement is not over qualities but over existence. Confronted with the artificial and murderous division of the world into two—a disjunction named by the very term, ‘the West’—we must affirm the existence of the single world right from the start, as axiom and principle. The simple phrase, ‘there  is  only  one  world’,  is  not  an  objective conclusion.  It  is  perfor-mative:  we  are  deciding  that  this  is  how  it  is  for  us. (38)

A first consequence is the recognition that all belong to the same world as myself: the African worker I see in the restaurant kitchen, the Moroccan I see digging a hole in the road, the veiled woman looking after children in a park. That is where we reverse the dominant idea of the world united by objects and signs, to make a unity in terms of living, acting beings, here and now. (39)

The single world of living women and men may well have laws; what it cannot have is subjective or ‘cultural’ preconditions for existence within it—to demand that you have to be like everyone else. The single world is precisely the place where an unlimited set of differences exist. Philosophically, far from casting doubt on the unity of the world, these differences are its principle of existence. (39)

The  simplest  definition  of  ‘identity’  is the series of characteristics and properties by which an individual or a group recognizes itself as its ‘self’. But what is this ‘self’? It is that which, across all the characteristic properties of identity, remains more or less invariant. It is possible, then, to say that an identity is the ensemble of properties that support an invariance. (39-40)

Defined  in  this  way,  by  invariants,  identity  is  doubly  related  to  difference: on the one hand, identity is that which is different from the rest;  on  the  other,  it  is  that  which  does  not  become  different,  which is invariant. The affirmation of identity has two further aspects. The first form is negative. It consists of desperately maintaining that I am not  the  other. […] The second involves the immanent development of identity within a new situation—rather like Nietzsche’s famous maxim, ‘become what you are’. The Moroccan worker does not abandon that which constitutes his individual identity, whether socially or in the family; but he will gradually adapt all this, in a creative fashion, to the place in which he finds himself. He will thus invent what he is—a Moroccan worker in Paris—not through any internal rupture, but by an expansion of identity. (40)

The political consequences of the axiom, ‘there is only one world’, will work  to  consolidate  what  is  universal  in  identities.  An  example—a local experiment—would be a meeting held recently in Paris, where undocumented  workers  and  French  nationals  came  together  to demand the abolition of persecutory laws, police raids and expulsions; to demand that foreign workers be recognized simply in terms of their presence: that no one is illegal; all demands that are very natural for people who are basically in the same existential situation—people of the same world. (40)

The virtue of courage constructs itself through endurance within the impossible; time is its raw material. What takes courage is to operate in terms of a different durée to that imposed by the law of the world. The point we are seeking must be one that can connect to another order of time. (41)

Slavoj Žižek “Organs without Bodies”

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Žižek, Slavoj 2004. Organs without Bodies: Deleuze and Consequences. New York and London: Routledge


The reality of the virtual […] stands for the reality of the Virtual as such, for its real effects and consequences. (3)

[…] the Deleuzian „transcendental“ is infinitely RICHER than reality – it is the infinite potential field of virtualitie out of which reality is actualized. (4)

[…] Deleuze’s notion of the virtual is a radical one in that its ultimate reference is pure becoming without being (as opposed to the metaphysical notion of pure being without becoming). This pure becoming is not a particular becoming of some corporeal entity, a passage of this entity from one to another state, but a becoming-of-it-itself, thoroughly extracted from its corporeal base. (9)

Foucault-Deleuze (10)

The moments of the emergence of the New are precisely the moments of Eternity in time. The emergence of the New occurs when a work overcomes its historical context. (11)

Becoming is […] strictly correlative to the concept of REPETITION: far from being opposed to the emergence of the New, the proper Deleuzian paradox is that something truly New can only emerge through repetition. What repetition repeats is not the way the past “effectively was” but the virtuality inherent to the past and betrayed by its past actualization. (12)

The truly New is not simply a new content but the very shift of perspective by means of which the Old appears in a new light. […] The standard opposition of the abstract Universal (say, Human Rights) and particular identities is to be replaced by a new tension between Singular and Universal: the Event of the New as a universal singularity. (14-15)

Perhaps the core of Deleuze’s concept of repetition is the idea that, in contrast to the mechanical (not machinic!) repetition of linear causality, in a proper instance of repetition, the repeated event is re-created in a radical sense: it (re)emerges every time as New […] (15)

[…] the true problem is not “How, if at all, could machines imitate the human mind?” but “How does the very identity of human mind rely on external mechanical supplements? How does it incorporate machines?” (16)

(1)   on the one hand, the logic of sense, of the immaterial becoming as the sense-event, as the EFFECT of bodily-material processes-causes, the logic of the radical gap between generative process and its immaterial sense-effect […]

(2)   on the other hand, the logic of becoming as PRODUCTION of Beings […] (21)

Either the Sense-Event, the flow of pure Becoming, is the immaterial effect (neutral, neither active nor passive) of the intrication of bodily-material causes or the positive bodily entities are themselves the product of the pure flow of Becoming. Either the infinite field of virtuality is an immaterial effect of the interacting bodies or the bodies themselves emerge, actualize themselves, from this field of virtuality. (22)

Insofar as the incorporeal Event is a pure affect (an impassive-neutral-sterile result), and insofar as something New (a new Event, an Event of/as the New) can emerge only if the chain of its corporeal causes is not complete, one should postulate, over and above the network of corporeal causes, a pure, transcendental, capacity to affect. This is also why Lacan appreciated so much the Logic of Sense: is the Deleuzian quasi cause not the exact equivalent of Lacan’s objet petit a, this pure, immaterial, spectral entity that serves as the object-cause of desire? (27)

Against this “idealist” stance, one should stick to Badiou’s thesis on mathematics as the only adequate ontology, the only science of pure Being: the meaningless Real of the pure multitude, the vast infinite coldness of the Void. In Deleuze, Difference refers to the multiple singularities that express the One of infinite Life, whereas, with Badiou, we get multitude(s) without any underlying Oneness. (29)

[…] affects are not something that belong to a subject and are then passed over to another subject; affects function at the preindividual level, as free floating intensities that belong to no one and circulate at the level “beneath” intersubjectivity. This is what is so new about imitation afecti: the idea that affects circulate directly, as what psychoanalysis calls “partial objects”. (35)

This is what Hegel’s motto “one should conceive the Absolute not only as Substance, but also as Subject” means: “subject” is the name for a crack in the edifice of being. (45)

We are […] within the very heart of the problem of freedom: the only way to save freedom is through this short circuit between epistemology and ontology – the moment we reduce our process of knowledge to a proves external to the thing itself, to an endless approximation to the thing, freedom is lost, because “reality” is conceived of as a completed, positive order of Being, as a full and exhaustive ontological domain. (58 – of Kant)

The “ultimate fact” of Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism is the absolute immanence of the continuous flux of pure becoming, while the “ultimate fact” of Hegel is the irreducible rupture of/in immanence. (60)

Therein resides Hegel’s true lesson: immanence generates the specter of transcendence because it is already inconsistent in itself. […] immanence is not an immediate fact but the result that occurs when transcendence is sacrificed and falls back into immanence. (61)

(1)   First, truth is posited as the inaccessible Beyond, something that can only be approached, something that the subject always misses;

(2)   Then, the accent shifts to the psychoanalytic notion of truth as intervening in the moments of slips and distortions, in the interstices of “ordinary” discourse: truth erupts when the continuous line of our speech gets interrupted and perturbed;

(3)   Finally, we arrive at a third position, that of moi, la verité, je parle. The shift from subject to object is crucial here. It is not that what the subject says is true – it is truth itself which speaks, which turns from predicate (a qualification of subject’s statements) to subject (of enunciation). It is here that Truth turns into an “organ without a body” that starts to speak. (63)

[…] the “object” that starts to speak is the object that stands for the lack/inconsistency in the big Other, for the fact that the big Other doesn’t exist. “I, truth, speak” does not mean that through me, the big metaphysical Truth itself speaks, but means that the inconsistencies and slips of my speech directly connect to the inconsistencies and the non-all of the Truth itself. (63-64)

What this means is that the true task of thought is to think together the notion of the “object which speaks” and the inexistence of the big Other. “I, truth, speak” does not involve the magic overcoming of skepticism and uncertainty but involves the transposition of this uncertainty into truth itself. (64)

[…] “transcendence” is a kind of perspective illusion, the way we (mis)perceive the gap/discord that inheres to immanence itself. In the same way, the tension between the Same and the Other is secondary with regard to the noncoincidence of the Same with itself. (65)

Instead of demonstrating how “there is nothing that is not political,” one should rather focus on the opposed question: how is it that Being itself is political, how is our ontological space structured so that nothing can escape being tainted by the political? The answer, of course – or, rather, one of the answers – would be the above-described structure of the gap dividing the One from within, the inherent doublure, as the most elementary ontological fact. (67-68)

This, then, is what Deleuze seems to get wrong in his reduction of the subject to (just another) substance. Far from belonging to the level of actualization, of distinct entities in the order of constituted reality, the dimension of the “subject” designates the reemergence of the virtual within the order of actuality. “Subject” names the unique space of the explosion of virtuality within constituted reality. (68)

Subject thus relates to substance exactly like Becoming versus Being: subject is the “absolute unrest of Becoming (absolute Unruhe des Werdens)” (i.e., a state of things conceived from the perspective of its genesis). (69 – Hegel)

Foucault-Deleuze II (71): […] in Foucault, power is the encompassing unity of itself and its opposite (i.e., the resistance to itself), whereas in Deleuze, desire is the encompassing unity of itself and its “repression” (i.e., its negating force).

Revolution is not the assertion of spontaneity and rejection of every discipline but the radical redefinition of what counts as true spontaneity or discipline. (73)

[…] for something to exist, it has to rely on something that stands out, that disturbs the balance. (74)

[…] virtualization and actualization are two sides of the same coin: actuality constitutes itself when a VIRTUAL (symbolic) supplement is added to the pre-ontological real. In other words, the very extraction of the virtual from the real (“symbolic castration”) constitutes reality – actual reality is the real filtered through the virtual. The function of the quasi cause is therefore inherently contradictory. Its task is, at one and the same time, to perform a push toward actualization (endowing multiplicities with a minimum of actuality) and to counter actualization by way of extracting virtual events from the corporeal processes that are their causes. One should conceive of these two aspects as identical. The properly Hegelian paradox at work here is that the only way for a virtual to actualize itself is to be supplemented by another virtual feature. (84-85)

[…] sexuality can universalize itself only by way of desexualisation, only by undergoing a kind of transubstantiation in which it changes into a supplement-connotation of the neutral, asexual literal sense. (91)

[…] psychoanalysis (and Deleuze) allows us to formulate a paradoxical phenomenology without a subject – phenomena arise that are not phenomena of a subject, appearing to it. This does not mean that the subject is not involved here – it is, but, precisely, in the mode of EXCLUSION, as the negative agency that is not able to assume these phenomena. (96)

Badiou-Deleuze-Laclau (107)

The materialist solution is thus that the Event is nothing but its own inscription into the order of Being, a cut/rupture in the order of Being on account of which Being cannot ever form a consistent All. (107) – all there is is the ontological nonclosure of the order of being (Badiou)


1: Science: Cognitivism with Freud

We subjects are passively affected by pathological objects and motivations; but, in a reflexive way, we ourselves have the minimal power to accept (or reject) being affected in this way. Or, to risk a Deleuze-Hegelian formulation, the subject is a fold of reflexivity by means of which I retroactively determine the causes allowed to determine me, or, at least, the mode of this linear determination. “Freedom” is thus inherently retroactive. (112)

[…] one should paradoxically claim that this assertion of the excess of the effect over its cause, of the possibility of freedom, is the fundamental assertion of Deleuze’s materialism. That is to say, the point is not just that there is an immaterial excess over the material reality of multiple bodies but that this excess is immanent to the level of the bodies themselves. If we subtract this immaterial excess, we do not get “pure reductionist materialism” but instead get a covert idealism. No wonder that Descartes, the first to formulate the tenets of modern scientific materialism, was also the first to formulate the basic modern idealist principle of subjectivity: “There is a fully constituted material reality of bodies and nothing else” is effectively an idealist position. (113)

A self is precisely an entity without any substantial density, without any hard kernel that would guarantee its consistency. […] The consistency of the self is thus purely virtual; it is as if it were an Inside that appears only when viewed from the Outside, on the interface-screen […] The Self is not the “inner-kernel” of an organism but a surface-effect. A “true” human Self functions, in a sense, like a computer screen: what is “behind” it is nothing but a network of “selfless” neuronal machinery. (117)

The Deleuzian topic of pseudo cause can thus be correlated to the Hegelian notion of the (retroactive) positing of presuppositions; the direct causality is that of the real interaction of bodies, whereas the pseudo causality is that of retroactively positing the agent’s presuppositions, of ideally assuming what is already imposed on the agent. (119)

A (self)conscious living being displays what Hegel calls the infinite power of Understanding, of abstract (and abstracting) thought – it is able, in its thoughts, to tear apart the organic Whole of Life, to submit it to a mortifying analysis, to reduce the organism to its isolated elements. (Self)Consciousness thus reintroduces the dimension of DEATH into organic Life: language itself is a mortifying “mechanism” that colonizes the Organism. (120)

There is no real Other out there, but there is nonetheless the fiction of the big Other that enables us to avoid the horror of being alone. (129)

The “postsecular” striving to formulate the “limits of disenchantment” all to quickly accepts the premise that the inherent logic of Enlightenment ends up in the total scientific self-objectivization of humanity, in the transformation of humans into available objects of scientific manipulation, so that the only way to retain human dignity is to salvage religious legacy by way of translating it into a modern idiom. Against this temptation, it is crucial to insist to the end in the project of Enlightenment. Enlightenment remains an “unfisihed project” that has to be brought to its end, and this end is not the total scientific self-objectivization but – this wager has to be taken – a new figure of freedom that will emerge when we follow the logic of science to the end. (133) – faced with the genome, I am nothing, and this nothing is the subject itself.

About Dennet’s dangerous idea of Darwin – 138

The initial move of a human being is not thought, reflexive distance, but the “fetishization” of a partial moment into an autonomous goal: the elevation of pleasure into jouissance – a deadly excess of enjoyment as the goal-in-itself. (143)

2: Art: Talking Heads

When we see ourselves “from outside”, from this impossible point, the traumatic feature is not that I am objectivized, reduced to an external object for the gaze, but, rather, that it is my gaze itself that is objectivized, which observes me from the outside, which, precisely, means that my gaze is no longer mine, that it is stolen from me. (155)

This, precisely, is what revolutionary cinema should be doing: using the camera as a partial object, as an “eye” torn from the subject and freely thrown around […] (154)

The gaze is not simply transfixed by the emergence of the excessive-unbearable Thing. Rather, it is, that the Thing (what we perceive as the traumatic-elusive point of attraction in the space of reality) is the very point at which the gaze inscribes itself into reality, the point at which the subject encounters itself as gaze. (163)

What, then, does it mean, exactly, that the (partial) object itself starts to speak? It is not that this object is subjectless but that this object is the correlate of the “pure” subject prior to subjectivization. Subjectivization refers to the “whole person” as the correlate of the body, whereas the “pure” subject refers to the partial object alone. When the object starts to speak, what we hear is the voice of the monstrous, impersonal, empty-machinic subject that does not yet involve subjectivization […] if we take “subject” as the starting point, there are two opposites to it: its contrary (counterpart) is, of course, “object”, but, its “contradiction” is a “person” (the “pathological” wealth of inner life as opposed to the void of pure subjectivity). In a symmetrical way, the opposite counterpart to a “person” is a “thing”, and its “contradiction” is the subject. “Thing” is something embedded in a concrete life-world, in which the entire wealth of the meaning of the life-world echoes, while “object” is an “abstraction”, something extracted from its embeddedness in the life-world. (174-175)

The key point here is that the subject is not the correlate of “thing” (or, more precisely, a “body”). The person dwells in a body while the subject is the correlate of a (partial object), of an organ without a body. […] One should thus reject the topic of the personality, a soul-body unity, as the organic Whole dismembered in the process of reification-alienation: the subject emerges out of the person as the product of the violent reduction of the person’s body to a partial object. (175)

It is only the “transcendental” Lacan (the Lacan of the symbolic Law that constitutes human desire by way of prohibiting access to the noumenal maternal Thing) who can be said to invoke a democratic politics that, in the same way that every positive object of desire falls short of the void of the absolute-impossible Thing, asserts that every positive political agent just fills in the void at the center of power. (176)

It is only within this distance that subjectivization proper can take place: what makes me a “human subject” is the very fact that I cannot be reduced to my symbolic identity, that I display a wealth of idiosyncratic features. (179)

3: Politics: A Plea for Cultural Revolution

Deleuze’s account of fascism is that, although subjects as individuals can rationally perceive that it is against their interests to follow it, it seizes them precisely at the impersonal level of pure intensities: “abstract” bodily motions, libidinally invested collective rhythmic movements, affects of hatred and passion that cannot be attributed to any determinate individual. It is thus the impersonal level of pure affects that sustains fascism, not the level of represented and constituted reality. (188)

[…] the struggle for liberation is not reducible to a struggle for the “right to narrate”, to the struggle of deprived marginal groups to freely articulate their position, or, as Deleuze puts it when answering and interviewer’s question, “You are asking if societies of control and information will not give rise to forms of resistance capable of again giving a chance to communism conceived as a ‘transversal organization of free individuals’. I don’t know, perhaps. But this will not be insofar as minorities will be able to acquire speech. Perhaps, speech and communication are rotten … To create was always something else than to communicate.” (190)

In immaterial production, the products are no longer material objects but new social (interpersonal) relations themselves. It was already Marx who emphasized how material production is always also the (re)production of the social relations within which it occurs; with today’s capitalism however, the production of social relations is the immediate end/goal of production. The wager of Hardt and Negri is that this directly socialized, immaterial production not only renders owners progressively superfluous […]; the producers also master the regulation of social space, since social relations (politics) is the stuff of their work. The way is thus open for “absolute democracy”, for the producers directly regulating their social relations without even the detour of democratic representation. (196)

As Claude Lefort and others amply demonstrated, democracy is never simply representative in the sense of adequately re-presenting (expressing) a preexisting set of interests, opinions, and so forth since these interests and opinions are constituted only through such representation. In other words, the democratic articulation of an interest is always minimally performative: through their democratic representatives people establish what their interests and opinions are. As Hegel already knew, “absolute democracy” could actualize itself only in the guise of its “oppositional determination”, as terror. There is, thus, a choice to be made here: do we accept democracy’s structural, not just accidental, imperfection, or do we also endorse its terroristic dimension? (197)

The tautological repetition […] signals the urge to repeat the negation, to relate it to itself – the true revolution is “revolution with revolution”, a revolution that, in its course, revolutionizes its own starting presuppositions. (210-211)

[…] in a radical revolution, people not only “realize their old (emancipatory, etc.) dreams”; rather, they have to reinvent their very modes of dreaming. Is this not the exact formula of the link between death drive and sublimation? It is only this reference to what happens after the revolution, to the “morning after”, that allows us to distinguish between libertarian pathetic outbursts and true revolutionary upheavals. These upheavals lose their energy when one has to approach the prosaic work of social reconstruction – at this point, lethargy sets in. In contrast to it, recall the immense creativity of the Jacobins just prior to their fall, the numerous proposals about new civic religion, about how to sustain the dignity of old people, and so on. (211-212)

With the full deployment of capitalism, especially today’s “late capitalism”, it is the predominant “normal” life itself that, in a way, gets “carnivalized”, with its constant self-revolutionizing, its reversals, crises, reinventions, so that it is the critique of capitalism, from a “stable” ethical position, that more and more appears today as an exception. How, then, are we to revolutionize an order whose very principle is constant self-revolutionizing? Perhaps, this is the question today. (213)