The Real Phenomenal Content of the ‘Multitudo Transcendentalis’
The first task is to get rid of the fantastical image, the circular projection that the unitary paradigm gives of People, Individuals or Ordinary Man. In particular, we must get rid of this representation of the People as the Other of philosophy. The unitary model is always a combination of the central and the peripheral, seeking the Other of the philosophical center on the side of a periphery, a margin or a fringe. At best, the unitary model accepts reversing the perspective, looking at the center from the periphery, even installing the center upon the periphery and “de-centering” the identity and hierarchy of philosophy over the Other – over the People. The Individuals, “Ordinary” Man were always apprehended as phenomena of heterogeneity, outlines of multiplicity – apprehended as scum, the residue of the center. At best, they are apprehended as a purveyor of alterity that we must affirm, take note, and develop against the hierarchical primacy of the concept and the logos. It is no longer a subsumption of Individuals under universals, but it is still the attempt to elevate sub-universal singularities to the state of super-universal singularities.
For it is in reality vain to profess indifference in regard to such inquiries, the object of which cannot be indifferent to humanity. Besides, these pretended indifferentists, however much they may try to disguise themselves by the assumption of a popular style and by changes on the language of the schools, unavoidably fall into metaphysical declarations and propositions, which they profess to regard with so much contempt. (Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, preface to the first edition).
We can’t say it better, but on condition of reversing or overthrowing [renverser] the Kantian order: it’s not metaphysical indifference towards “popular philosophy” that we must conclude from. Rather, the conclusion is good from the People outside-of-philosophy with indifference towards the metaphysical. Such is the hypothesis: instead of once and for all wanting to subsume the People under philosophy, as Kant still assumes, let’s try the inverse – otherwise than inverse – hypothesis and let’s see if we won’t be happier to turn the army of philosophers around the People. Realistically, let us protect ourselves from overthrowing once more: the People must be put at the center, no doubt, but not in the center of philosophers – at the center themselves, and let us draw the conclusions for philosophy.
Here, we change hypothesis or paradigm. What we call the minoritarian paradigm or the Minority Principle consists: 1) in recognizing an absolute, non-ontological, a-logical reality to Individuals alone who are the real content of People, attempting to clarify for themselves the content of real phenomenal experience as absolutely irreducible of what makes an Individual, of what makes their essence, and consequently to determine this essence of the People without including a non-descript philosophical operation within this essence; 2) in placing the People thus experienced at the center of the apparatus; more exactly, as we’ll see later on with the nuance, at the center of themselves, without which this center would also be the center of philosophy, and to therefore seek between the People, thus reduced to their pre-philosophical phenomenal reality, and the Philosophical Decision a relation that would neither be the “classical” relation of the center to the periphery, nor the “contemporary” reversal of this relation in the fashion of thoughts-about-the-Other…
The rigorous order is the following: to go from the People outside-of-philosophy towards their effect upon philosophy. We must stop interrogating philo-centrism by means of the Other by opposing this immediately and without delay with an experience of the “center” that is other than philosophical – the People. Are the People a center that would no longer be coupled with a periphery, not giving rise to a Revolution (Copernican or not) or do they maintain, by dint of overthrows, inversions and reversions, the unitary prejudice and, for example, this so “modern” idea that philosophy is in turn a peripheral phenomenon of the circle of the Same of the Other?
If All-of-philosophy, All-of-the-text, All-of-history, All-of-politics, etc. … does not exhaust the real, how is the real, how are individuals given before philosophy, within an absolute precession without recurrence of philosophy over them? How is one such irreversibility possible?
The first condition is to no longer speak of the People in the unitary way, to stop making the People a politico-sociological generality: a generality that does not have the excellency and the achievement of the genuine universal, making the People in any case an abstraction, an image, a projection, a representation. The People are an experience, the People and the experience of the People are identical. This is their content of phenomenal, that is, real experience, that we must seek. However, “real” can no longer simply mean empirical: the People would then be an absolutely undetermined experience or would even make a system with a philosophical concept of the “People” that would idealize them anew, subordinating Individuals to the universal once more. We must give the full meaning to the word real, that is, the “transcendental.” The transcendental or the real are not necessarily confounded with the unitary philosophical use of the transcendental, which is a logico-real use always, at once logical and transcendental = real, and not precisely simply real. Consequently, if strip the People of their politico-sociological ornamentation [horipeaux], their philosophical predicates, their masks of alterity, and if we experience their phenomenal = real content, there remains the Individuals as multitudo transcendentalis. It is this old concept of the “transcendental multiplicity,” that is, from our perspective, the “real” multiplicity in a sense purged of any reference to the empirical, that must serve as a guiding thread for a thought of the People.
The second condition is concluded from the first: the transcendental or real condition, if they are deprived of logic, deprived of the logos under all their forms, and are therefore deprived of any structure of objectivation or transcendence which is always ideal and logical. Transcendental simply means a rigorously immanent, nothing-but-immanent authority [instance] and positively deprived of any separation, alienation, scission, nothingness, etc. … The real as the transcendental authority is therefore what we call elsewhere the One, the One and not Being: on this theme concerning the One, that is, concerning the Individual in the transcendental sense – what we call the “individual” [individual] rather than the individuel – please refer to Issue III: Theory of the Philosophical Decision.
Simply recall this: the real or the One in-itself is an “unreflected” or non-thetic knowing that is non-positional (of) oneself. The One is Indivision, but a lived indivision, an object of an experience, of a givenness. It is given consequently by itself – but how? On the specific mode of Indivision, precisely. The One is therefore the absolute or “finite” individual, which is nothing but undivided; the One is deprived of exteriority, scission, negation, and dialectic. The One is the real as “unreflected transcendental experience.”
The real is in-itself and not the Other nor the Same, radically individuel (“individual”) which is multiple by nature. The real is not an atom: it is defined as an immanent experience, as transcendental identity and not logical identity. In this sense, the People are a pure lived experience that does not happen in the World or History, but an experience that determines the World or History in the last instance. And the World or History, that is, philosophy as well, are the Other of the People. The People are alone though multiple, they are deprived (but this is very positive) of the World, of History, and philosophy…not deprived in the sense where Platonic, empirical multitudes can be, of course: they are deprived in the sense where transcendental multitudes no longer need philosophy and don’t lack it.
The People are therefore not an outline or a mode of reality, a peripheral diversity in relation to a higher reality that philosophy alone could define: the People are the real itself. Individuals are the only experience of the real that we have: all the rest is empiricity or effectivity, not the real in the rigorous and grounded sense of the word.
Of course, it is against this “absolute” People, the People-without-predicate, that unitary philosophy can only protest. Unitary philosophy is not itself a simple predicate of the People or the real, it is the predicate of predicates – the Unity in flesh and in act – “predication” in all senses of the word, that is, the predication of Unity “towards” Individuals, the announcement of the Gospel of Unity to the People. By contrast, the One is a subject that is nothing but subject, that does not need a predicate to be determined completely as the real must be so in any case. The One is neither a “superior” predicate for an empirical subject nor a “superior” subject that would have interiorized its possible predicates. The One is immediately this multitudo transcendentalis of the People. We will not speak of Peoples of the One, which would be a socio-religious concept; but, to indicate the non-thetic nature of Individuals, we will speak of Peoples (of) the One. No doubt, unitary philosophy has always invoked the One as the “genuine” real, but it has invoked, questioned, seduced, and requisitioned it – not having thought the One in its essence that renders all transcendence useless. Unitary philosophy has invoked the One as a relief against “experience,” as a keystone, a footbridge, a passage from one contrary to the other. Unitary philosophy has made the One serve mediocre and worldly tasks and to resolve its problems for it: the problems of passage, synthesis, unity, and form for an exterior and indocile diversity. Unitary philosophy made the One a component of Being, converting the call of Being towards the One into a reciprocal determination of the One by Being.
Therefore, what is excluded – even if we must not fear on meditating on the essence of the One to think the People – is making the People a mode of Being. We exclude speaking of a Dasein of the people (Heidegger), submitting the People once more to history; or we exclude even speaking of rising towards the People as if towards the authority [instance] where relief comes from. The People are not in the center of the World, of Being, or Society; further, the People are not the Other that is content with deforming and decentering the circle. The People are at the center (of) themselves, inherent (to) themselves, as the One is. There is no longer a center with Being, Society, and Power that would turn around the People – but there is an ir-reversible order of realities that goes straight ahead from the People towards philosophy. Therefore – and we will return to this – there is a dis-placement of philosophy in relation to the People but that has not been preceded by a circular reversal.
On the People as an Unreflected Transcendental Experience
In the previous Issue, we said: the One or the real in its transcendental truth is what determines, but in the last instance alone, the Philosophical Decision, and we oppose this unary Determination in the Last Instance – without otherwise having the space to expose its intimate mechanism – towards a unitary determination in general and opposing “difference” in particular. However, this One, which we distinguish from Unity as veritas transcendentalis in its essence, is distinguished from the transcendent or mixed (transcendent-and-transcendental) forms of truth – the One is precisely no longer a concept, a category, or a “transcendental” in the Scholastic fashion. Rather, it is an essence, and a real essence, the very essence of the real – but an essence that has never especially been a predicate or a universal that one would then relate to an empirical or given subject. All these predicative relations happen within generality, exteriority and transcendence, while with the One itself, such that we here comprehend it here as “forgotten” by metaphysics and the unitary paradigm in general, everything happens in immanence.
However, everything happens in a very special immanence that has three characteristics. On the one hand, it is real and not at all ideal, or even not at all mixed, real-ideal. And the only concept, or, rather, the only experience that we have of the real, is not the experience of Unity but the experience of Indivision itself experienced as such or given to itself as Undivided. On the other hand, this immanence is a transcendental immanence, where the “thing” itself is engaged, that is, here, the One itself. The One is given (to) itself on a specific mode that is precisely Indivision. This One is therefore in no way an object of an experience of transcendence or the object of a transcendent experience. The One is an unreflected transcendental experience, or said otherwise: a lived experience but whose essence is no longer psychological or empirical, and furthermore not ideal or “eidetic.” The lived experience, lived experiences in this rigorous transcendental sense, is the real itself insofar as it is autonomous in relation to effectivity or irreversible, and implies no relation to effectivity in its essential definition. Finally (the third characteristic of the immanence of the One), it is immediately multiple. However, we must not either project here upon the One or the People an exterior or transcendent concept of multiplicities. That the One would be immediately multiple is true if we take this “immediate” in a very rigorous sense. The One is not said of the Multiple, as a predicate or an attribute, even a substance could be said of the empirical or exterior multiplicity of modes and accidents. The One is immediately multiplicity, without which there will still be a relationship or a relation: the Unreflected is individual or multiple precisely because it by definition excludes any relation. The Unreflected is the “congenital” multiplicity of Terms when they are essentially experienced before their destruction by their forced bringing into-relation, under-relation, etc. … And this multiplicity is “deduced” in a strictly internal or immanent way from the unary = unreflected essence of terms. The unreflected transcendental essence is not the experience of the undivided, it is directly the Undivided, the only radical individual (“individual” [individuale]) experience that thought cannot conceive but rather “experience.”
Thus the Multitudes, the Peoples (of) the One or Minorities, as long as they are not thought with contempt at the level of what can appear of them within effectivity (the “poor” of philosophy, the artisan-philosophers, the pleb, etc. …), and as long as philosophers stop denying by making the real by alone believing in limiting philosophy to make way for the People but without changing their unitary experience of the real – that is, the conflict/repression of one by the other – are identically the One itself, which is experienced before all forms of unity, totality, difference, kind, and class.
The Individuals, the ultimate constituents of the People, are only thinkable from themselves. They depend on nothing other, and do not even maintain any relation to themselves. Philosophy, its operations of analysis and synthesis, break and revival, its semantics and syntaxes, can do nothing about the People because these are all not necessary for the existence of the People. The People in this radical and real sense is neither formable nor formulable by philosophy and pedagogy. One does not “produce” Individuals or men as one produces intellectuals, artisans, demons [génies] or philosophers. Individuals have never been the result or the product of a supplementary break from the continuum of political, pedagogical, economic, philosophical actions and passions, etc. … and, of course, Individuals are not locatable within the interstices of these actions and passions, or again as the surface effects of history.
The People are an unreflected experience (of) themselves, as such regularly “forgotten” by the unitary paradigm, and consequently by the attempts to steer the “People” upon the surface of social effectivity by simply denouncing the ways in which dominant philosophy has repressed the People or spoken in their name. These attempts have their place at the intersection (apparently improbable but all the more necessary) of a certain Maoist curve and a certain Nietzschean curve, and therefore cannot manage – their philosophical presuppositions are formally opposed to it – to find the immanent criterion of the “People,” in giving a radically internal, positive and sufficiently determined characterization of the essence of the People. The Maoist curve and the Nietzschean curve are content with an oscillation between an empirical enumeration and an ideality of the People, at best that of a mixed, empirico-idealizing and always insufficiently determined determination. As for Marxism, if it had not been bogged down by the effectivity of relations (the relations of production, political relations, and ideological relations) over the real, that is, over the Determination in the last instance, and if Marxism had perceived that the People, individual multitudes are the real or the Determination in the last instance even below the contradiction between the Forces and the Relations of Production – Marxism could have really “saved” the People from philosophers.
Minoritarian Knowing and Philosophical Faith
Unitary philosophers barely know it, and their “historians” know it even less: if they have a positive function, it is to stuff up the Philosophical Decision by its very “realization.” It is possible that the essential thought would not be in any way (even in the way of an unlimited becoming) an activity of “realization” and intervention within the real. Perhaps in the World, but why do they always assume that the World, History, or the Whole, etc. … exhaust the real? They make philosophy an operation of knowledge and place it in rivalry with the sciences – but what proves that knowledge through objectivation, or even through any kind of transcendence in general, exhausts knowing the real in its essence? The interest of historico-philosophical “knowledges” is not questioned in their order, but their will to always exceed this place is. If so many conflicts arise between the Multitudes and philosophy, it is because philosophy presents itself as a claim to objective knowledge or through transcendence, and it is because philosophy then necessarily refuses the People, save to impose upon them the pedagogical rites of “passage” towards philosophy, and the principal one of these rites: the History of Philosophy. Between the academic History of philosophy, with its coded but utterly innocent enough techniques, and the “philosophical culture” for all, which is frankly innocent, – there is the narrowest affinity. The paradox of the unitary model is the following: it cannot not refuse the Multitudes but must communicate with them to complete itself – this is an imperative – and it resolves this contradiction by becoming a platitude of a knowing that neither has scientific rigor nor the meaning of the secret or the esoteric truth that thought should have.
The unitary paradigm naturally assumes the opposition between the esoteric and the exoteric, the secret and the popular, content with varying this opposition. A minoritarian thought destroys this and poses that that the Multitudes, the People in their unreflected essence, are the inalienable bearer of the veritas transcendentalis that has the structure of the secret. Their essence is non-overt, non-transcendent; it is immediate or unreflected. And this secret is not opposed to communication but – being without transcendence – doesn’t need to be communicated, interpreted, deciphered, etc. … to be what it is, and a secret, finally, that determines communication in the last instance.
The old Gnostic duality of gnosis and pistis is once more utilizable and relevant when it is thus grounded rigorously on the possible double structure of any transcendental essence, which can be either real or unary, or possible and transcendent.
Modern knowledge, even philosophical knowledge, is a mixture of scientific models, “rational” in this narrow sense, and the secularized forms of faith, unitary pistis. “Transcendental” philosophers – have there been others? – have always sought the real, but they precisely have only sought the real because, immediately, they gave the real the structure of the question and the aporia, the structure of the mixture of the real and the possible. This arché-blend is unitary faith itself, at the end of which the real is accessible as also unreal. By contrast, minoritarian gnosis excludes from the unreflected essence itself, from the knowledge (of) oneself, any transcendent idealization, ideality and formality. It is for this reason that gnosis is not the concept of a knowledge or a “knowing” in exteriority but the lived “concept,” the very experience of life and reality “in-itself.” No doubt one can oppose the Other, for example the radical transcendence of the Other man that makes me a hostage, towards the ontological, Greco-unitary objectivations, as the real towards “knowing,” but one cannot certainly oppose it to this “knowing” identical to the real itself that grounds any possibility in an irreversible way. The immanence of the real or the One is much too dense, too unreflected to be opened by the Other and intolerant towards a break. We will not confound the reality of the “real possibility” that one finds in unitary transcendental philosophers, which is but a fragile, unstable mixture threatened by the Other because it is already associated with the mixture – with a real defined by the unreflected alone, one that resists any alterity because it precedes it by definition and determines alterity without reciprocity.
This unreflected knowing (of) oneself is a secret inalienable in a saying, a signifyingness, a communication act, an interpretation, an archeology, a deconstruction, etc. … As an immediate givenness, minoritarian gnosis cannot even be refused or repressed by unitary philosophy. There is only secondary, not primary, repression: the unconscious does not belong to the transcendental structure of the minoritarian secret. Philosophy can forget it – and forget it in a way that remains to be elucidated – it cannot really repress it. The minoritarian secret excludes the possibility of being repressed from its unreflected essence. It is not inhibited, dissimulated, as unitary thought strives to make us believe. Consequently: the secret is necessarily the knowing (of) the People, it is the Multitudes immediately and philosophy does not have to authorize them, nor to negotiate their introduction to a hidden secret, a remote non-knowing – this is the pedagogy of hinter-worlds and the unconscious in the plural, through techniques of transferences, passages, leaps and “turnings.” You already know what philosophy says: there is no passage towards “philosophy” or from philosophy to gnosis because the essence of the secret is the real as the Determination in the last instance that excludes the “Greek” problem of the passage by definition. Minoritarian gnosis is not an originary state of becoming of philosophy, nor its commencement (Anfang) celebrated in its beginnings (Beginn), nor an epochè of knowing, a suspension and a dispensation: minoritarian gnosis maintains no relation with philosophy. It is precisely its way of “determining” philosophy.
On its side, philosophy can always say what the Multitudes know, but the Multitudes do not need the mediation of the philosophers to enjoy their secret. The Multitudes are not constituted by philosophical saying. And when thought strives to say it, perhaps it is no longer quite under the unitary forms of a listening, a dictate, an unthought, a wisdom, a voice, an unconscious, etc. … be it popular or, at least, essential for any man and getting through, for example, to the Dasein of the people, to then serve as a relay point. The minoritarian secret does not pass through an echo chamber that has been opened/closed by philosophers or by an authority [instance] that is still anonymous, universal or neutral like “Being.” The secret is only communicated “to” philosophy by determining philosophy in the last instance, which at least means that the secret inscribes upon philosophy a contingency without common measure with effects of alteration, fissure, break, nothingness, etc. …
Furthermore, pedagogy is not vital: if pedagogy is still necessary, it is so only in the World, History, the Polis, etc. … – all of which are not the real. The People are positively deprived of the will to know, they can never become accessible to an archeology of a universal power-to-philosophize because they are immediately one with a sufficiently transparent and autonomous secret of not needing to communicate, say, or let itself be interpreted or deciphered, etc. …
translated by Jeremy R. Smith
taken from here