Teleiopoesis

It is thus up to us to create, nearly “from scratch,” using new parts transformed and amplified with the old, an experiment on philosophy in view of a non-standard philosophy, of inventing a generic as invention-in-person, force (of) invention. This is not a wager in the absolute or philosophical sense, where it is sensible to expect nothing while one covertly awaits a unique Fate or the Absolute. It’s what we call the generic risk or the radical wager, it demonstrates something; we hardly know what it is but we don’t pretend to expect nothing. We expect the immanent production of an apparatus that we know has the precise property of being a process of invention, and the invention is “our” generic finitude, our transfinitude, we humans who are neither transcendental nor absolute. We know that what we have to invent is not just one new particular form of thinking among others, but the very form of invention, the generic in-person. It is thus necessary to announce and decide the Generic Science, to attempt/encourage this experience. To announce-and-decide this posture with the same gesture, through special axioms. It’s a generic extension of the quantic probability of presence to the probability of the futural existence of a new conceptual writing.

—François Laruelle, Non-Standard Philosophy (in the French, p. 140)

By way of economy – and in order, in a single word, to formalize this absolute economy of the feint, this generation by joint and simultaneous grafting of the performative and the reportive, without a body of its own – let us call the event of such sentences, the logic of this chance occurrence, its ‘genetics’, its ‘rhetoric’, its ‘historical record’, its ‘politics’, etc. teleiopoetic. Teleiopoiós qualifies, in a great number of contexts and semantic orders, that which renders absolute, perfect, completed, accomplished, finished, that which brings to an end. But permit us to play too with the other tele, the one that speaks to distance and the far-removed, for what is indeed in question here is a poetics of distance at one remove and of an absolute acceleration in the spanning of space by the very structure of the sentence (it begins at the end, it is initiated with the signature of the other). Rendering, making, transforming, producing, creating – this is what counts; but, given that this happens only in the auto-tele-affection of the said sentence, in so far as it implies or incorporates its reader, one would – precisely to be complete – have to speak of auto-teleiopoetics. We shall say teleiopoetics for short, but not without immediately suggesting that friendship is implied in advance therein: friendship for oneself, for the friend and for the enemy. We all the more easily authorize ourselves to leave the self of the autos in the wings, since it appears here as the split effect rather than as the simple origin of teleiopoesis.

—Jacques Derrida, The Politics of Friendship (in the English, p. 32)

The split effect Derrida mentions — where “the self of the autos” is the effect of a splitting, of a division of the teleiopoetic event, which itself is complete and “final” — is a good example of the philosophical procedure of doubling: it presupposes a division and then strains to reconcile it with thinking (in this case the ever-delayed, yet perfectly announced reception of the messianic sentence by the other in an unforeseeable future).

This self produced in this split retains its integrity as a responsible self capable of promising (‘ipseity’ in Ricoeur’s sense), in relation to an other whose presence remains both called for, feared, and deferred. Derrida can only look at the teleiopoetic sentence as a completion that uncompletes itself in order to reach completion in sending itself to the other who thus will have co-signed the sentence from the very beginning; (and/or) the other is given prior-to-first-priority and (as hinted at in The Postcard) in a quasi-metaphysical way gives the self to write what it will have written (though this gift is nothing and cannot properly be received, if it is to be well received, that is). This is the auto-tele-poesis: the self relays to itself as other its a priori death and differance and “existence” (however ghostly) in/of/from the other. It is filled with the all of the world to mourn and a black hole of intelligence equally, and all this no doubt on the other’s inspiration, at its beck and call (Blanchot: “Keep watch over absent meaning”).

The self as ‘auto’matically self-interrupted by the other-than-self; the present ‘auto’matically unhinged, out of joint, at-the-end, or even in a ‘delay’ before world-time starts; a look at the other that is ‘forever ignorant of death’ (cf. Athens, Still Remains) — all this is symptomatic of a self-hermeneutical interpretation of radical immanence. It requires that the splitting be maintained, and with it the drama of recognition and recovery, recoil and friendship, crypts and secrets this split effect initiates: the ‘kernel’ of the self-confession, bearer of a passion for justice, witness to the instant of (the gift of) death, etc. It is unable to make the leap into the generic, the pre-emption of the lived by immanence (undulatory, non-egological) and the fall into-immanence of the transcendence that had, philosophically, been separated off (or projected or promised). Yet the splitting was, in its very presupposing, meant to disappoint and deconstruct itself — or worse, to prove itself a lie, an egological game. To prevent this appearance, and to prevent it in reality, Derrida must affirm (as he does everywhere, this is his duty) that every responsible decision (one not calculated according to a program, etc.) is a decision “of the other.” The self split off from the other — the other as phenomenologically inaccessible to the self, as “never present,” “illocalizable” in time and space, etc. — this self must nevertheless, by a sustained miracle that suspends the self in différance ‘auto’matically, it must let itself be affected by the other in its depths and/or in the indeterminate exterior. While upholding the decentered or operative status of the responsible self at the critical (quasi-sacrificial) moment, it still must submit itself to an ex-propriation and its quasi-mystical contact with the Unawaitable.

Thus the aporia of a decision for which the self is fully responsible yet which is “unconscious” in a non-psychoanalytical sense, a decision that comes from and returns to the other. Event, hospitality, justice — all of these are animated by the (im)possibility of this decision of the other “in me” (conceived with the help of Augustine’s interio intimo meo and Levinas’ “obsession” by the other prior-to-self and prior-to-being). In the sphere of ethics, it results in a meta-performative powerlessness and an exposed vulnerability, exposed to the other and to the self through the other. Yet more hints in the direction of a generic science, but the doubling enforces itself, even when the strictest duty is set out. Philosophy and the philosophical self are, in a last stage, tempted to dream up a new story, one about “a god who deconstructs itself in its own ipseity” (Rogues) — but why all these ‘itself’s’ and figures, these splittings and transcendentalizations, the suggestion of time travel, telepathy, a communion of phantoms? The deconstruction of the self gets caught short in its own allowance, and the other is forced to foot the bill.

Rather than relishing in double binds and aporias and making them into the engine of more deliberations on selfhood and its ‘distance’ from the other, a science of the generic takes this doubling as part of the philosophical symptom: to seek in the macro-physical and corpuscular (thus the ego-form and its double, the world-form or All/Whole) a metaphor for a mechanism that doesn’t in fact require it but only tends to overdetermine it in the direction of the personological and thanatocentric. Though Derrida crushes the traditional notion of the indivisible soul or the indivisible letter into ever more divisible pieces beyond all gathering, this is ultimately only meant to magnify the responsibility of the exposed and vulnerable self before the other (wound, trace, “fear and trembling”) in a time out of joint; and to destine the thinker to an even more profound task of “holding-together the disparate” in a “community of those without community.” Once again, the sentimental paradoxes demand to be transformed scientifically (algebraically). The self-referential loop is not broken simply by referring the self to its transcendental grounding in the other, even as wholly other or any other. It remains in some sense a (Kierkegaardian) self resting transparently in the power that established it. Whether that be the archive, a heritage, a language, or the other-mortal-messiah who reads me and blesses me without asking for my help, with whom I exchange a “hello without salvation,” all these figures can be summed up under the heading of: the unconditional, non-sovereign/universal, singular-exceptional, encountered-as-never-present, quasi-sacred, coming-without-coming “other.” The result, however, is that the other is commissioned with carrying “my” lost wor(l)d: the other becomes the handler of my remains or of what remains of my thinking, and to think death is to consider this unknown other as a handler quasi-immanent to all of my own personal considerations. I even have the power to, I even must, give the other the freedom, as friend/enemy, to not read, to burn-before-reading, to not answer my call, to abandon me, etc.–but these are more symptoms of the personological hesitating in the melancholic before the generic or Last Instance.

In the generic, friend and enemy could only be seen as “partners” ‘occasionally’: in this case, an occasion to highlight the structure of the teleiopoetic (messianic) sentence. Instead, this occasional element is redoubled as a secret ultimate referent – even if the argument then contorts itself to deconstruct or indetermine these referents. The inverse operation would be to under-determine the ontological sufficiency of those references (self/other) tout court. “O Friend, there are no friends” (words of the dying sage) and “O Enemies, there are no enemies” (cry of the living fool) could be generically translated as, “O Clone, there are no clones, only liveds added to themselves generically, superposed with an ascending vector of salvation that is non-global and non-egological but immanent.” This is to take seriously, without reflecting an image of emptiness back to itself like a specter, the “no-one.” The generic-in-person does not designate an in-body or in-presence or an X-phantom, but a priori in-no-one, in-anyone: a form of invention, a radical wager on the One-in-One. There is no call to an other who would come to complete the message, even if such calls and messages remain occasional ‘motivators’ for the hermeneutical and corpuscular subject; but this motivation comes under a “quantic” and generic condition, subtracted a priori from the individual and the macro-physical, a pre-emption of the lived wherein the self/other “split” is under-determined.

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2 Responses to Teleiopoesis

  1. Rex Styzens says:

    The idea of “self as other” was familiar to me, but the development of it in this piece is most informative. “A self-hermeneutical interpretation of radical immanence” summarizes a whole lot. The notion of “generic science” offers a referent I had not seen before. Is “the Unwaitable” a notion that comes from somewhere else?

    My understanding of Nancy is that he is skeptical of ‘radical’ immanence and prefers transimmanence.

    I have read the piece only three or four times. I doubt that I would have been able to begin to ponder the quotations without the expansion provided. I have not read the Derrida so I now have it ordered in hope that the material here will help me to make my way through it.

    • tmlavenz says:

      Thanks as always for your kind and thoughtful comments, Rex.

      Laruelle’s operation vis-a-vis philosophy is to isolate certain of its stereotypical procedures and submit them to a twist. First on the list is philosophy’s tendency to double/divide and then exert itself to unify. This sets off all the vicious circles and eternal returns, all the dialectical mediations, and finally the transcendences. Laruelle does not deny that there is some element (or apparency) of transcendence in the real, but he tries to “debase” it or “defuse” it, to have it fall into immanence. Nancy, as you suggest, views immanence or transimmanence as “auto-transcending,” so to speak (this is a reprisal of differance). Or, more precisely, it is exposed to the world in its very position in the world, posited-exposed in the same happening or instant. A being transposed or in-passage elsewhere – we have heard of the paradoxes – open in its coming, and so on.

      Laruelle, by contrast, speaks of a ‘unilateral duality’ between radical immanence (which “comes under” or “preempts” the lived) and the residue of (philosophical) transcendence which, through a generic operation, “falls” into-immanence. The transcendental is neutralized, while not being denied as playing a part in the real. Thus the circles and structures of difference, of exit and return, etc., are deactivated or rendered non-functional. Finally, this is an attempt to be as scientific as possible regarding a deprioritization of the individual or ego and of the “world” as both being form-of-transcendence. Starting from radical immanence, these forms-of-transcendence are not erased, but simply submitted to a different use. Put otherwise, the self/other “ordeal” so strongly articulated by Derrida and Levinas is “unilateralized” onto a wave of radical immanence, render a priori and “prior-to-first.” (At no point do I see him departing from these bodies of thought; it is again a matter of a twist (but a twist-without-torque: a powerless non-intervention into philosophy)).

      The Unawaitable does not come from anywhere, but in my head it is perhaps a reference to the French l’Inattendu. With regard to messianity, the question of waiting is central, especially in its more ‘Jewish’ renderings (Hasidism, Derrida). One trick I’m starting to learn from Laruelle – even in a passage where I show my skepticism with regard to such a nomination like the “Unawaitable,” I still try to show the importance of leaving the trace of such a concept. A generic science of philosophy, while under-determining its “doublets” and de-prioritizing its models, must draw from it as its material. The ‘twist’ Laruelle wants to pull off is ever so slight, and it would never be sufficient to leap away from philosophy. I quite like his notion of ‘fusion’ or ‘collision’ between particles of thought, as in a quantum particle accelerator, in an attempt to see what new waves/particles can be made. How might we think an Unawaitable that does not come from the outside, but from underneath, a priori, that surprises all waiting, a transcendence fallen into-immanence and an immanence coming-under (still surprising) lived experience?

      Have kept up with all your comments elsewhere on the blog, Rex. Glad you’re still enjoying it.
      Take care,
      Tim

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