Day 48: Being and the Event of Badiou

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In response to some questions raised regarding Badiou, here a quick post on his treatment of Being.

Regarding skunk’s reference to subjectivity and class:

“Philosophically, the world’s confusion undoubtedly means first of all that it can be explained neither by the One nor by the Multiple. This world is not taken up within the identifiable movement of a meaning (for example, the meaning of history), nor does it fall under the regime of stable classifications, or practicable analyses into significative components (as it did in the conception of those who clearly distinguished the proletariat from the bourgeoisie, or made sense of the games between imperialist, socialist, and nonaligned camps). And it seems, at first, that Deleuze is indeed he who announces that the distribution of Being according to One and the Multiple must be renounced, that the inaugural methodological gesture of any modern thought is to situate itself outside this opposition. (..) More generally, “there is neither one nor multiple.” We only need to heed, paying attention to its enthusiastic vibration even more to its explicit content, the following declaration: “A single and same voice for the whole thousand-voiced multiple, a single and same Ocean for all the drops, a single clamour of Being for all beings.” And let us also remind those who naively celebrate a Deleuze for whom everything is event, surprise, and creation that the multiplicity of “what-occurs” is but a misleading surface, because for veritable thought, “Being is the unique event in which all events communicate with one another.” (…) Deleuze’s fundamental problem is most certainly not to liberate the multiple but to submit thinking to a renewed concept of One. What must the One be, for the multiple to be integrally conceived therein as the production of simulacra?”

As far as the production of the subject within the structures of cognitive capitalism that tap into mechanisms of desire is concerned we should consider this following, quite relevant excerpt:

“For Deleuze, this compulsory correlation between the subject and the (scientific) plane of reference disqualifies equally those who uphold structural objectivism and those who uphold subjectivism. Thinking under the (exalting) constraint of the work of Foucault, Deleuze credits the latter with a diagnosis of the utmost importance, namely, that (scientific) “structures” and the “subject” (as the supposed support of thought and its values) are opposed only in appearance. And it is, moreover, still the case today, particularly today, that the question under debate concerns “the place and status that are those of the subject within dimensions that are assumed to be not completely structured.” We can duly observe that those in favor of an enforced structuring of the economy by the free market (“freedom” that we know, ffrom the admission of its own militants, to be that of a monetary police) and of a single political structuring (representative parliamentary government) are the same who, alongside these monumental necessities, advocate the return to a moral and humanitarian subject. It is certain that, “as long as we continue to contrast history directly with structure, we can believe that the subject conserves as sense as a constitutive, receptive and unifying activity.” (…) The “epochs,” the historical formations, and the epistemes, which are the great unities constructed by Foucault, “escape from both the reign of the subject and the empire of structure.” And it is in the very place that is left vacant by this dismissal of the positivist objective-subjective couple that Deleuze installs the question of the interlacement of thought and Being.”

Both sections are taken from Deleuze–The Clamor of Being.

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3 Comments

  1. This is very interesting. Is “the very place that is left vacant by this dismissal of the positivist objective-subjective couple that Deleuze installs the question of the interlacement of thought and Being” described as an opening? The feel of this passage is quite post-structuralist. And post-cartesian. If that’s what’s going on this is a (now) traditional French project.

    “Neither the One nor the Multiple” sounds a bit like what Cesare Cassarino (in Modernity at Sea) calls “interference”–a place that is neither one nor the other, and thus precludes the fixity necessary for dialectic to function. The advantage of this model is its openness.

    Or, the advantage is it’s lack of positivity.Can you talk a bit more about the ways that the “dismissal of the positivist objective-subjective couple”is related to the production of the subject within cognitive capitalism? I have a sense of this, the contiguity or cooptation of self by one’s environment–the indecipherability of “individual.” In someways this looks like Althusserian “ideology.”

  2. This is a very good question. I will get to it in detail when I am done writing today. I do think that Althusser might be a good way to look at this, as he asserts a similar determinism within a situation of openness, determined “in the last instance” by the structure of capitalism. However, the situation describe by Deleuze is almost, but not quite openness. It is not pure opposition to positivism. I will look up some passages I have in mind right now and post something more specific later.
    cheers

  3. Cool, I look forward to it. Thanks for putting this up. It’s nice to chat about theory with you.


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