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John Mullarkey philosophy.

This non-philosophy, or non-standard


philosophy, also claims to be a “radical inversion” of
How to Behave Like a philosophy’s relationship with reality (or the Real)
Non-Philosopher in as much as it does not merely reverse the relation-
Or, Speculative Versus Revisionary ship between the two but inverts it fundamentally:
if it is a reversal, then it is a “reverse mutation” that
Metaphysics suffers no possible re-inversion (to use an image
from biology whereby the wild-type phenotype is
“Philosophy is an affair of movements and becomings, spontaneously restored and undoes the genetic al-
of lines and vectors, of reversals and displacements—it terations of the laboratory). In this biological model,
mostly uses transcendence, which comes (in a circular what happens in the philosophy lab (all the various
although broken manner) from experience toward the mediations and distortions of the Real wrought by
ground, from being toward Being, from Being toward the
philosophy’s decisive quest for mastery, for ultimate,
Affair of thought.”1
sole authority over truth, knowledge, wisdom, dia-
“My problem is that of the re-orientation of thought.”2 lectics, essential thinking, wonder, or whatever else)
mutates—or is re-viewed—to be seen, no longer as
A Short Non-Introduction the best picture of reality, but as a product or effect
of the Real. The relationship is inverted (radically):
François Laruelle’s message for philosophy is, prima from the direction of philosophy to the Real towards
facie, simple: not everything is “philosophisable.”3 the direction of the Real to philosophy. And this is
As soon as we gloss this message a little further, all done in the name of a consistency, or radicality,
however, things become somewhat more com- as regards immanence—that everything is in-One,
plicated: not everything is reducible to “standard or belongs to the Real, and that includes the practice
philosophy.” Or, even further, what counts as phi- or performances of thought—including Laruelle’s,
losophy must mutate in order for some things to be or any introduction to Laruelle as well: nothing is
philosophisable at all. The mutation, here, is of both withdrawn from or outside the Real, not even the
the so-called subject (standard philosophy) and its thought of being withdrawn from it. It is all a matter
object (purportedly non-philosophical materials), of behaviour or orientation.
being both “object-oriented” and “subject-ori- In this essay, then, I outline one way in which
ented” at once within a mutation that re-orients Laruelle’s non-standard philosophy might be
thought-as-an-orientation. As we will see, for Laruelle, introduced—through philosophical behavior, the
this mutation is also a re-direction: thought that behavior of philosophers.4 Images of “posture”
was directed from philosophy to the Real reverses are common throughout Laruelle’s work, with the
to being directed from the Real to philosophy. This seemingly literalised use of “orientation,” “stance,”
short essay will concern itself with the meaning of “gesture,” and “comportment” being prevalent in his
this re-direction, both in terms of its significance writings. Such allusions might bring to mind ideas
for speculative thought as well as its connection to from Gilbert Ryle, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Daniel
a type of philosophical behavior (though without Dennett, and even the early Maurice Merleau-Ponty
any consequent behaviourism—the philosophy that whereby (extrapolating to a non-standard approach)
reduces behaviour to one or two over-determined the intentions of philosophers are rendered in terms
variables, such as “conditioning” or “disposition”). of a shared behaviour. If the maxim of philosophical
To précis our two opening epigraphs from Laruelle: or logical behaviorism was that “the human body is
in thought, there are only lines, vectors, and, perhaps, the best picture of the human soul,” then Laruelle’s
re-orientations. “behavior-without-behaviourism” would tell us that
The “non-” in non-philosophy, of course, is not the human stance is the Vision-in-one of human
a negation, an anti-philosophy, but an extension, philosophy.5 Of course, until we know a little more
an inclusive amplification as to what counts as about what such things as “humans” and “vision” (or
“in-oneness”) mean for Laruelle, our enlightenment
1
 François Laruelle, Principles of Non-Philosophy, trans. Nicola
Rubczak and Anthony Paul Smith (London: Bloomsbury is only ever going to be incomplete; and, indeed,
Academic, 2013), 301. 4
 Four other ways, through animality, cinema, paracon-
2
 Cited in Robin Mackay, “Introduction: Laruelle Undivided,” sistency, and performance, will be introduced in John
in Francois Laruelle, From Decision to Heresy: Experiments Mullarkey, Reverse Mutations: Laruelle and Non-Human
in Non-Standard Thought, ed. Robin Mackay (Falmouth: Philosophy (forthcoming).
Urbanomic/Sequence Press, 2012), 23. 5
 Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G.
3
 François Laruelle, En Tant Qu’Un (Paris: Aubier, 1991), 246. E. M. Anscombe and R. Rhees (Oxford: Blackwell, 1967), 178.

108 Speculations IV Speculations: A Journal of Speculative Realism IV (2013)


ISSN: 2327-803X
http://speculations-journal.org
the meaning of “human” for Laruelle is not at all counts most in this review, moreover, is that there
clear-cut precisely because he refuses to define it.6 are a plurality of such accounts. There is no “one best
What we can say now, in brief, is that his stance is picture” (or photograph) of the Real—nor indeed “one
resistant to any humanism or philosophical anthro- best picture” of non-standard philosophy (hence,
pology in as much as either would necessitate one the numerous introductions to it, including this
or more definition of the human: in other words, it short one). Nor, actually, is there one best picture of
re-orients thought away from what it is to be human (standard) philosophy—despite an appearance to
and towards what it is to behave and be treated as the contrary in what is known as the “philosophical
human.7 Given such a non-standard approach to decision”—the purported “structural invariant” in
philosophical behavior, when we then look at the Laruelle’s work.11
behaviour of philosophers, what kind of picture of In part, our aim is to divest the apparent “deci-
the philosophical body are we offered and how do we sionism” in Laruelle’s thought of all associations
arrive at it? In terms of crude methodology, instead with intellectualism, voluntarism, or reflexivity (at
of bracketing consciousness, we begin by bracketing least in terms of how these terms might be usually
the authority of philosophical representation—its comprehended) in order to render it behavioural.
attempted capture of the Real in one image.8 Indeed, By expanding the notion of behaviour beyond these
speaking about his more “experimental texts” in a limits—that is, making it non-standard—it can be
recent interview, Laruelle recounted his ambition seen that the concept of philosophical “decision” is
to “treat philosophy as a material, and thus also as a neither conscious nor representational, but a matter
materiality—without preoccupying oneself with the of orientation or posture as regards the Real. Just as
aims of philosophy, of its dignity, of its quasi-theo- “courage,” according to Ryle, is not a state of mind,
logical ends, of philosophical virtues, wisdom etc.” not an immaterial private interiority—the “ghost
He then added: “what interests me is philosophy as in the machine”—but is rendered as an aggregate
the material for an art, at the limit, an art.”9 Yet what of different, though related, exterior, public adver-
is true of his “experimental texts” (that aim for art) bial properties (she runs courageously, she speaks
is also true of all Laruelle’s works in as much as they courageously, etc.), so the philosophical decision
partake in this experiment: to demonstrate a new would not be a occurrent state or moment within
“behaviour,” “stance,” or “posture” as regards what one philosophical mind or subject but rather a
philosophy is—both as a material and how it can be global descriptor of behaviour, different in each case,
reviewed using other practices, such as photography yet containing “family resemblances” or likenesses.
(as outlined in his The Concept of Non-Photography Hence, we ask: “how to behave like a philosopher?”
and Photo-Fiction, a Non-Standard Aesthetics).10 What Occurrence would become behavioural disposition,
though following a non-reductive model of what
6
 For a discussion of animality, or the non-human, in “disposition” entails—one that opens it up to the
Laruelle, see John Mullarkey, “The Animal Line: On the
concepts of “tendency” and “vector.” And that
Possibility of a ‘Laruellean’ Non-Human Philosophy,” in
Angelaki special issue: The Immanence of Transcendence: behaviour, qua stance or posture, also has some-
Ethics, Gnosticism, and Messianism, ed. Anthony Paul Smith, thing to do with “withdrawal” or “cut-off”—the
forthcoming 2014. meaning of “decision” (from decaedere—de- “off”
7
 See François Laruelle, Théorie des Etrangers (Paris: Kimé, + caedere “cut”)—a withdrawal from the Real. As
1995). Laruelle puts it in another recent interview: “to
8
 Laruelle’s methodology, like Derrida’s, can be likened philosophise on X is to withdraw from X; to take an
to a phenomenological reduction (of its referent and/or essential distance from the term for which we will
cause in “reality” as part of the natural “philosopher’s”
posit other terms.”12Hence, Laruelle’s approach can
attitude). All that is left are phenomena (philosophers
texts and utterances). Here, in quite the reverse move, we be seen, or reviewed as, a philosophical behaviour
are making a parallel with the behaviorist’s bracketing of (though without “behaviourism”). That said, what
consciousness, or what Laruelle regards as the worlds or York: Urbanomic/Sequence Press, 2011).
realities constructed by philosophy, in favour of the Real. 11
 The decision is the “principal and formalized invariant or
All that is left are lived, bodily, behaviors. One could say structure of philosophy.” It is what “homogenizes, idealizes,
that in each case it is the same residue only looked at from quantifies, and qualifies Reality and the foreclosed” (see
either the subject-side or the object-side. François Laruelle et al, Dictionary of Non-Philosophy, trans.
9
 Laruelle, From Decision to Heresy, 29. Taylor Adkins et al. and compiled by Nick Srnicek and Ben
10
 See François Laruelle, Photo-Fiction, A Non-Standard Woodard, 2009, 56, 57).
Aesthetics, trans. Drew S. Burke and Anthony Paul Smith 12
 François Laruelle, “Is Thinking Democratic? Or, How
(Minneapolis: Univocal, 2012); François Laruelle, Le Con- to Introduce Theory into Democracy” in John Mullarkey
cept de non-photographie/The Concept of Non-Photography and Anthony Paul Smith, eds., Laruelle and Non-Philosophy
(Bilingual Edition), trans. Robin Mackay (Falmouth/New (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012), 229.

John Mullarkey 109


non-standard philosophy may teach us—its “mes- transcendent and objective). That is, it is not just the
sage”—is not a new thought about the Real, or even legacy of Kantian thought that needs to be re-oriented,
only about philosophy, but a different category of but that of all standard philosophical approaches.
behaviour as regards other behaviours—a re-ori- Yet, again, this is a re-orientation, or “revisioning”
entation that renders behaviour indefinite (as (as I will call it below), rather than a displacement:
“tendency” or “vector”). The message is just such a Laruelle is not offering a new theory of reality to
re-orientation. Other names for it are “democracy displace others, but a practice for reviewing all the-
of thought,” or “flat thought.” Yet this democracy is ories as things, for treating philosophical thought,
non-representational (in every sense of that phrase) and its own thought, as material.
and its flatness is not proffered in the name of any Here is one analogy, or model, that I have previ-
particular ontology (Deleuze’s “flat ontology”—as ously used to explain this revisioning as orienta-
Manuel De Landa calls it—for example), but in vir- tion or behaviour. In Philosophie et non-philosophie
tue of a certain consistency, a material consistency Laruelle connects non-philosophy to the act of
(like that of flatness) that treats all ontologies (and ventriloquism. One might read this in terms of its
philosophies) equally, as equals with each other, performative stance that “plays the dummy”—so
and as equally part of the Real (rather than singular, that it can re-enact the speech of philosophy—and
exclusionary representations of the Real). as another way of understanding what Laruelle
means when he says that non-philosophy “clones”
Laruelle and Speculation philosophy. However, the game of charades—a
mime that, optimally, attempts to embody a concept
So, what Laruelle forwards is not an improved “in-One” gesture—might be an even more suitable
theory qua any putative correspondence with the analogue for this cloning.13 If it is a mime, though,
facts of the matter—ontological commitments to it is what Laura Cull describes as “immanent mi-
“what there is”—but a more inclusive theorizing mesis,” rather than a species of representation.14
whose only inimical moment is targeted solely at The mime is not a picture of a philosophy (and
the exclusionary aspects of any one material theory certainly not the “best picture”), but a continuation
qua theory; that is, he only rejects that aspect or be- that re-orients philosophy’s sense of direction (its
haviour of theory that mounts unique and exclusive line stemming now from the Real to philosophy
truth-claims for itself—that leaves no elbow room rather than vice versa). As an immanent mime, it
for others but aims to occupy all “logical space” (the apes, parrots, or copy-cats philosophy—rendering
space of the most proper logic) totally. By contrast, it behavioural, though without any of the reductive
Laruelle aims to superpose all theories in one Real simplification that might imply: “science is not a
space, so to speak, where all think “alongside” or question of decision ( = the philosophical); it is a
“according” to the Real, are on the same, one, side question of “posture,” which is to say of “behaviour”
(“uni-lateral”)—rather than each pointing at the or of “being seated” in oneself, realised solely by
Real (the “arrow” of representational intentionality the means of immanence.”15 Behaviour as posture,
that also points at any interlopers) in a competitive stance, or “style” (this last term also being so im-
market of mutually exclusive “isms.” portant to Merleau-Ponty, author of The Structure
The turn to immanence is often linked to a rejection of Behaviour). It is a philosophical behaviourism in
or overturning of the subject-oriented thought of Im- this materialist and immanent sense, then, because
manuel Kant and its Copernican Turn (be it through it animalises philosophical thought by replacing
Deleuze or a host of other non-Kantian thinkers, any of its self-styled authority of reference with an
beginning with Bergson). What is different about animal mimicry.
Laruelle’s approach, however, is that he connects any Now behaviorism, in both philosophy (Ryle, Witt-
reversal (or “radical inversion”) of Kant to the mode genstein) and psychology (J. B. Watson, B.F. Skinner)
of expression of philosophy: this too must also mutate, has mostly been in low-standing since its drubbing
or rather, be expanded beyond what we understand at the hands of Chomsky and the cognitivist turn:
as the traditional virtues of philosophical thought
(clarity, rigour, analysis, speculation, description,
13
 See François Laruelle Philosophie et non-philosophie
(Liège-Bruxelles: Pierre Mardaga, 1989), 264. See also
argument, paradox, and so on) once we realize that
Mullarkey and Smith, Laruelle and Non-Philosophy, 5-6.
these epistemic (methodological) values are not 14
 See Laura Cull, Theatres of Immanence: Deleuze and the
neutral either (transcendent) but are materials to Ethics of Performance (Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan,
be re-thought or reviewed within a new stance: they 2012), 122.
too become immanent and objectile (rather than 15
 Laruelle, En Tant Qu’Un, 50.

110 Speculations IV
there’s more to mind than external behavior, for the root,” from the Latin radix, radic- “root.”18 Indeed,
parts of the interior are ineliminable, at least as the radical concepts of non-philosophy are such
some kind of generative and material mechanism. because they are consistently used, both towards
Yet there has been a resurgence of a more sophisti- itself (its root, its source) and others: its concepts
cated use of behaviourism (in Dennett’s theory of are amplified ones, that is, they are applied gener-
“stances” in the philosophy of mind, and in “Relation ically, beginning with themselves, their own root.
Frame Theory” in psychology, for example). Part of If there is an object-orientation here, it is also a
this rehabilitation in psychology concerns the idea self-orientation.
of context (or Frames) that can help to externalize I will not linger over any of the other contested
mind (mental descriptors) again, in highly nuanced meanings of the term “radical.” The quotation from
extensions. Part of it also resides in a re-conception Torneke above, however, is significant in the manner
of just what (Skinner’s) “radical behaviourism” could that it went out of its way to contrast “radical” with
have meant, which, as we see in what psychologist “extreme”—a useful tactic if we wish to avoid turning
Niklas Torneke writes, concerns the behaviour of the discussion into one of “limits”—how far is too
the practitioner and not only of his or her object: far? what is fanaticism? what is the true minority
view? etc. Coming from the Latin “extremus,” meaning
Being radical can be taken as being extreme. [But “outermost,” the extreme would connote that aspect
here] “radical” implies not “extreme” but “consis- of the radical that entails going beyond or outside
tent.” Radical behaviourism entails not a departure a certain threshold—withdrawal. Yet thresholds
from fundamental behaviouristic principles but and limits can be either logical or psychological,
the application of them in an all-inclusive way. […] categories that are difficult to conflate such that
As a scientist, I do not hold an objective or exclusive one could define an absolute limit or “condition of
position. I am not outside or above the principles possibility” (unless one remains dedicated to the
I study. If this understanding is applied consistent- Kantian view, of course). Indeed, throughout his own
ly, all claims to representing the ontological truth work, Laruelle continually contrasts the immanent
have to be dropped. Based on this position, we can- “radical” with any notion of the “absolute” (which
not maintain that “this is the way it really is.” […] … remains transcendent). That said, the radical can
the scientist’s attempt to study something is a be- explain the absolute: as he writes, “the radical, for
haviour as well.16 its part, does not eliminate the absolute, but allows
for a genealogy of the absolute as immanental ap-
This, I propose, is also what Laruelle means by the pearance.”19 (We will see later that this “genealogy
term “radical,” as in the “radical inversion” of phi- of the absolute” could allow for a discussion of the
losophy in relation to the Real (or the Copernican appearance of hierarchy within immanent equality,
Turn): consistency. Indeed, Laruelle himself is very wherein all things do not appear equal.)
fond of using the word “radical”: “radically imma- So the real difference between Laruelle and “ob-
nent thought,” “radical liveds,” “radically immanent ject-oriented realism,” I would contend, is that, in
phenomenology,” “radical subjectivities,” “radical Laruelle’s version of radical immanence, it is the
atheist,” “radical fiction,” “radical experience,” the practice itself of thinking this immanence that, to be
“radically immanent structure [of thought],” and so consistent, must be part of the thought-process—be-
on.17 But it is especially significant that “radical” is cause nothing is outside of the Real. Radicalism as
also described by Laruelle as “self-immanent,” be- consistency (or uni-versality—aiming towards the
cause the etymological root of “radical” is “forming One): it involves the self, as root-source of method,
and so the practice or behaviour of philosophy—its
concepts, methods, or “decisions” too. One might
16
 Niklas Torneke, Learning RFT: An Introduction to Relational even describe non-standard philosophy as the
Frame Theory and Its Clinical Application (Oakland, CA: New
necessary bedfellow of the new realisms, being the
Harbinger Publications, 2010), 11-12.
17
 See Laruelle, Théorie des Etrangers, 57, 68, 166; François one that re-orients realism towards the objectility,
Laruelle, Future Christ: A Lesson in Heresy, trans. Anthony the materiality, of its own methods, that is, towards
Paul Smith (London and New York: Continuum, 2010), philosophical thought itself as a realist orientation,
25; Laruelle, Philosophie et non-philosophie, 92; François stance, or attitude.
Laruelle, “Controversy over the Possibility of a Science of
Philosophy,” in François Laruelle, The Non-Philosophy Project,  Laruelle et al, Dictionary of Non-Philosophy, 61.
18

Gabriel Alkon and Boris Gunjevic, eds. (New York: Telos  François Laruelle, Anti-Badiou: On the Introduction of
19

Press, 2011), 75-93, 92; and François Laruelle, Théorie des Maoism into Philosophy, trans. Robin MacKay (London:
Identités (Paris: Presses Univérsitaires de Paris, 1992), 76. Bloomsbury, 2013), 6.

John Mullarkey 111


For some, this will appear as a regress to the philosophical practice—understood consistently
subject, when in fact it is undertaken as the only as actual performance—must, of course, have im-
way of radically understanding the Real. For this plications for the meaning of thought understood
is neither a return to an assumed “subject” (be it as “speculative,” as in “speculative realism” or
larvel, evental, or substantial), nor a meta-theoret- “speculative philosophy,” the latter following A.N.
icism (because non-philosophy is not a heightened Whitehead’s famous account of “the endeavour to
reflexivity or higher-order representation). We must frame a coherent, logical, necessary system of gen-
remember: not everything is philosophisable, or at eral ideas in terms of which every element of our
least, some things require a new way of seeing what experience can be interpreted.”21 This clearly sets
philosophy is in order to be “philosophised.” This up a contrast with Laruelle’s approach to thought
does not entail replacing philosophy per se, then, which does not see itself as “speculative” in that
but rather rendering its various devices material current sense of a system of ideas that can interpret
following certain (non-reductive) scientific models “every element of our experience.” Rather, I wish to
(especially from biology and physics). There is no test an hypothesis that his approach actually comes
new philosophy to see here. As Laruelle himself puts closer to the path that Peter Strawson outlines (but
it “I absolutely do not overturn philosophy; were does not himself take) in his opposition between
I claiming to overthrow it, it would be a pointless “descriptive” and “revisionary” metaphysics (in his
gesture, a zero-sum game. The entire enterprise work, Individuals: An Essay on Descriptive Metaphysics).22
would then be contradictory.”20 A descriptive metaphysics, such as Strawson himself
does undertake, will “lay bare the most general
What is a Revisionary Metaphysics? features of our conceptual structure”—its “actual
structure;” whereas a revisionary metaphysics (such
What might consequently appear to some commen- as Leibniz’s or Berkeley’s), aims to create a “better
tators as Laruelle’s sub-Derridean recycling of the structure.” Admittedly, this “laying bare” is a kind
recent history of philosophy (and its aporias) is, in of analysis or deep description, the subterranean
fact, only one example of a materialising or real-ising workings of which belie its claim to semantic
of these aporias in order to make philosophy Real innocence. Perhaps, though, the opposed poles of
again (rather than simply disavow all philosophy revision and description is artificial: we hold that
in a gesture of disappointed representationalism one way (possibly the only way) to create a better
or failed epistemology in favour of literature or description is through revision or looking back again
theology). Indeed, if the new realisms have allowed from a new posture. The analysis of what is (the
us to return to certain classical positions in philos- “actual”), lies in the eye of the beholder.
ophy, at least speculatively (the “Great Outdoors” Revisionism, as understood here, then, is neither
of physics and mathematics), then non-standard speculative in a transcendental “inferential-role,”
philosophy is only an amplification of that renewal. nor in a deductive fashion that might involve a “co-
However, rather than ignore the fact that much of herence,” “logic,” “necessity,” or “system,” as though
this classical tradition—ostensibly reaching its head these terms are not always and already immanent to
in the work of Husserl—was, indeed, deconstructed any “argument” in a circular fashion (that is, one that
(often through forms of performative contradiction can only escape to transcendental signification by
or “double reading”), Laruelle takes the fact of fiat, by dogmatic—so-called “axiomatic”—assertion).
these deconstructions into his account in order to What counts as “coherent,” “logical,” “necessary,” or
realize them, that is, in order to de-relativise their “systematic” is not given (it would be a myth that it
post-Kantian co-ordinates: aporias do not indicate were) but always remains open to non-standard
the performative failure of epistemology so much variations. And these variations are forms of both
as the material resistance of the Real to one part of review and re-orientation—observable descriptions of
itself (one philosophy) attempting to capture the behavior. But whose observation, which public (which
whole through withdrawal. As such, one can envis- actual humans) remains moot: the “better structure”
age entire research programmes, be they within the is itself also the “closer” part of the Real, a democracy
philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, phi- of all observers (a Vision-in-One) that allows all eyes
losophy of time, etc. whereby these naïve sciences, their own structure of regard and disregard. The
together with their “failures,” are re-rendered within strong descriptivism that Wittgenstein says actually
a non-standard philosophical stance. 21
 Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality, revised
Nonetheless, the sum total of what has been argued edition (New York: The Free Press, 1978), 3.
above vis-à-vis this materialization or realisation of 22
 P.F. Strawson, Individuals: An Essay on Descriptive Meta-
 Laruelle, The Non-Philosophy Project, 83.
20 physics (York: Methuen, 1952), 9.

112 Speculations IV
does “leave everything as it is,”23 is neither as passive Dylan Trigg
as that, nor as anthropomorphically phenomeno-
logical: a revisionist looks with a new orientation,
“The Horror of Darkness”
looks back or in reverse, and therewith creates a new Toward an Unhuman Phenomenology
description. It is one that is both subject-centred and
reversed “back” towards the object (in what Thomas “Night takes me always to that place of horror. I have tried
Nagel first posited as an “objective phenomenology” not moving, with the coming of nightfall, but I must walk
in 1974—an object-oriented view of “what it is like in my slumber, for always I awaken with the thing of dread
to be x”).24 This is a reverse orientation, therefore, howling before me in the pale moonlight, and I turn and
flee madly.” —H.P. Lovecraft, “The Thing in the Moonlight”
that is also physical. To speculate really is to see
behaviour, anew. Introduction: Beyond Being and World
Finally, this leads us to the question, that we can
only mention here, of how to orient oneself toward “Life,” so Gaston Bachelard writes in The Poetics of
objects as subjects as well as those subjects that appear Space on a note of steadfast optimism, “begins well,
to us as objects—to the problems of panpsychism, it begins enclosed, protected, all warm in the bosom
and to the purported anthropomorphism attendant of the house.”1 To the critic, Bachelard’s remarks
to that stance. If there really is a “flat ontology” of might be seen as emblematic of a kind of failure in
objects—a “democracy of things”— how is it that phenomenology to think outside an anthropomor-
only some objects appears to other objects as subjects. phised cosmos, in which the endless void of dark
What use is there for this chauvinism (both as a space is nothing less than the warm enclosure of
material chauvinism contra some objects, and as a the primal breast. To this end, the critic would have
“spiritual” chauvinism pro some others)? How can a point. After all, it is hard not to agree that much of
we create, immanently, a “genealogy of the absolute,” phenomenology has indeed failed to move beyond
of absolutism, of hierarchy, a structure of disregard.25 the human realm and instead has emphasized the
One could simply discount such hierarchies as mere validity of lived experience as the guarantor of truth.
chauvinism, that is, as only prejudicial error or We see this tendency of aligning “being” and
illusion. However, as I hope to show in a later work, “world” time and again in phenomenology. Indeed,
for a non-standard approach to philosophy, this the focus on the inescapability of the human rela-
option is not open: everything is included within tion to the world is evident in the very formulation
Laruelle’s “radical immanence” and nobody is left that phenomenology advances as its groundwork:
behind, including the idiots (indeed, especially being-in-the-world. With this innocuous phrase,
the idiots, or at least the “transcendental Idiot”—a inherited in large from Heidegger by way of Bren-
persona that Laruelle much prefers to that of the tano, phenomenology commits itself to a view of
“clever” philosopher).26 So, if nothing is outside of the subject as being constituted by the world and
the Real (a kind of monism of flat thought rather than the world being constituted by the subject. Neither
a flat ontology that begs the question), this includes idealism nor realism, phenomenology merges the
these dualities (chauvinisms) as moments within two via the concept of perceptual intentionality,
immanence itself—the “immanental” as Laruelle where we—living subjects—are at all times in a
also calls it. This is not merely to tolerate intolerance relationship with the world.
in some kind of Latour-meets-Levinas thought A couple of examples can briefly demonstrate
experiment; nor is it to deconstruct tolerance (as this always already interdependent account of being
one might deconstruct “hospitality,” say, through and world. The first figures in Heidegger’s account
aporetic reasoning): it is the attempt to explain of mood, the second focuses on Merleau-Ponty’s
or realize intolerance within the Real as a kind or usage of the body.
behaviour or orientation.27 For Heidegger, the circularity between world and
being is taken up in the idea of mood. According
23
 Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, §124.
24
 See Thomas Nagel, “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” in to him, mood is the prereflective way in which the
Mortal Questions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, world is given its specific experiential significance.
1979), 165-180. In this respect, mood structures our relation with
25
 See John Mullarkey, The Structures of Regard: Cosmogonies, the world: it attunes us to the world, acting herme-
Alterities, and the Fabulation of Destruction, forthcoming. neutically to give the world the meaning it has for a
26
 See Laruelle, Théorie des Etrangers, 78, 110, 96, 160. living subject. We are always already—a phrase that
27
 Incidentally, understood as specimens of conceptual
intolerance, it is also to attempt the genesis of philosophies 1
 Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, trans. Maria Jolas
within non-philosophy. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1994), 7.

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