"Neither God, nor World": on the One foreclosed to transcendence
In recent years, in the field of philosophy of religion, François Laruelle's "non-philosophy" has opened up a path out of the battles between secularist philosophies and resurging Christian theologies. It has done so by theorizing the radical immanence of the Human (or, as he writes, Man-in-person) separated from and foreclosed to simultaneously the (philosophical) enclosure of the World and the (theological) transcendence of God. This paper explores the way Laruelle's 2007 work Mystique
... ork Mystique non-philosophique à l'usage des contemporains further articulates radical immanence by engaging with materials from the traditions of mysticism and mystical theology. Mystique non-philosophique diagnoses the ways traditional mysticism remains complicit with philosophical operations by enchaining the radical immanence of Man-in-person or the One, making it desire, need and work for divine transcendence. In contrast, it proposes the practice of "future mysticism", which seeks to subvert all conceptual mechanisms that subjugate the Human and render it servile to operations such as dialectical synthesis, conversion or desire for the Other. This approach underwrites Laruelle's critique of Meister Eckhart's thought for its enclosure of the Human within the Neo-platonic grammar of procession, conversion and return, and for the way it retains an emphasis on transcendent super-essentiality in its discourse of the God(head) beyond God. The paper suggests, however, that Eckhart's sermons, despite deploying such inherited philosophical vocabularies, already articulate radical immanence that undermines the necessity of mediation and work, through mystical topoi such as poverty, humility and "without a why". In so doing, the paper not only proposes the necessity of a more generous hermeneutic framework for non-philosophy, but also offers the possibility of deemphasizing the name of "Man" in the theorization of radical immanence. As the paper shows, Eckhart's conceptuality of poverty, humility and "without a why" points not only to the capacity to subvert transcendence, but additionally to articulate radical immanence decoupled from any Human figure. The radical immanence of the One, however, is not just foreclosed to the World, but, as Mystique non-philosophique makes clear, also entails a messianic dimension: the text repeatedly proposes cloning "Christ-subjects" or "Future Christs" who are not of the World but "for the World". The final part of this paper argues that it is necessary to read such messianic concepts or "first names" without reverting to economic thinking, without, that is, re-introducing the mechanism of transcendence and specular enclosure. The real subversion of the World lies not in the affirmation of divine transcendence, nor in the nihilism of the desert, but in an immanent One, which is foreclosed to the World but nevertheless messianically displays its insufficiency. Finally, the paper suggests interpreting the radical immanence of the One as an undercommons of the World and (eschatological or divine) transcendence taken together, an undercommons that indexes the mobile lives, generic uncountable forms of living and anonymous forces that pose a perpetual danger to the order enforced by the World and its Gods. This paper is published as part of a thematic collection dedicated to radical theologies.