Seven Definitions on Man, Democracy, Mysticism, Ethics, Erotics, Aesthetics…

Man (Humans)

In their complete notion, men or humans are existing-subject-Strangers, determined-in-the-last-instance by the Real or the One as Ego-in-Ego. Ego-man, contrary to the philosophical Ego, is foreclosed to the subject, but the latter, insofar as it presupposes it, effectuates its uni-versality for the World.

As a philosophical concept, man is a humanoid simultaneously traced from the anthropoid which has hardly gone beyond Greek anthropological thought and the Judeo-Christian “creature.” Philosophy has oriented the human around the Cosmos, Physis, Being, Spirit, Will to Power, etc. as so many abstract and puppet [fantoches] entities which imply the dismemberment of man into attributes (power, language, sex, society, politics, etc.) with which it has attempted to artificially recompose him. The pro-thetic, anti-thetic, syn-thetic—artificial—man of philosophy (and not only of anthropology or the human sciences to which the thought-world assigns its dirty work) is this “sublime abortion” which must give birth to the “overman.” Philosophy desires the inhuman, the pre-human, the all-too-human, the over-human without recognizing the “ordinary” nothing-but-human. The philosophical heaven is populated with anthropoid and artificial creatures, Dasein included, which escape from a cloven thought and lead to a host of masks and travesties, after which demons and angels become fully rationalized. Humanism is an inferior angelism and a lie concerning man. Because of this dishonor, philosophy is saved with great difficulty through the thesis of a theoretical anti-humanism (Althusser) which will not have been sufficiently radicalized.

Non-philosophy is like a negative universal thought which can be effectuated, for example, in the language of a science-of-men rather than sciences-of-man. Determined-in-the-last-instance according to the Ego-in-Ego, radically non-anthropoid, it manifests the essence of the existing-subject-Stranger essentially from the force (of) thought. But the latter is a general and even universal matrix and must be modulated by the a prioris of a unified theory of philosophy and sociology, psychology, psychoanalysis, ethnology, etc. It is a question of making equivalent in the disciplines of the human sciences a thought whose content-in-human and content-in-science are assured without demanding the exclusion of philosophy pure and simple. The civil war between philosophy and the human sciences can only find its peace treaty outside itself and in a different conception of man. Non-philosophy is a rigorous heresy: it makes of man a being-Inseparate (from) self, and thus Separated-without-separation from the World. In other words, for one of the first times it has become possible to definer man in a “formal” way without formalism; to constitute him as an axiomatic rather than philosophical object. Man is precisely the Real foreclosed to philosophy. The latter can only imagine what is alone the “existent” and “non-existent” which can be set into axioms and which only tolerates—so great is its autonomy—axioms. Where there is man, the thesis and principle are excluded. Where there is the human, thought must be axiomatized and renounce its sufficiency.

"Non-philosophy is a rigorous heresy"

"Non-philosophy is a rigorous heresy"

Democracy (democracy-of-strangers)

Internal form of non-philosophical thought as unified theory of philosophy and a particular region. Democracy is not here an object of thought or reflection but the essence of knowledges produced by the force (of) thought or in-the-last-instance by the vision-in-One which assures against all spirit of hierarchy the transcendental equality of unified terms. Non-philosophy is a transcendental theory of human multitudes in a manner through which humans of-the-last-instance are em-bodied [en-corps], but it takes for material philosophical inequality in general and in particular the ego-xenological Difference typical of philosophy.

The philosophical Decision, when it studies politics and more particularly democracy, poses the question of the relation established between individuals, but on the grounds of the World or the City, and as belonging to the World. This relation signals the reciprocity among parties and the appearance of equality bound to reciprocity. Thus, historically speaking, modern democracy is imposed by the idea of a social contract (Rousseau). In general, the problem of democracy is tied to that of the management of contractual and intersubjective situations. Certainly, the structure of the problem will be different according to whether one proceeds from the Greco-European being-in-the-world (Heidegger) or from the “Most-High” (Levinas) of the Other. The democratic question of the contract, and which is more of a social bond, can be complexified into that of a communicational action (Habermas), that of grand anti-nihilistic politics (Nietzsche) or that of a political overdetermination of the last instance (Althusser). But in all cases of philosophical figures, equality through reciprocity or difference implies philosophical hierarchy as the most “abstract” equality subtending the spirit of inequality proper to philosophy. Philosophy, or the “thought-world,” is an objective democratic appearance and a real anti-democracy.

The philosophers’ political thought mimics human struggles and thus can only explain them. The problem of a philosophy of democracy no longer makes rigorous human sense. A mode of non-hierarchized and non-anarchic democracy presupposes a unilateral duality: I…am (and not “is”), thus I am an Other, a democratic multitude, a Stranger. The Stranger is not the Other encountered in the space of the World or as Infinite, but myself in-the-last-instance. This is the transcendental organon of the World and the absolute condition of democracy.

The Stranger “makes” the void; it transcendentally anesthetizes all types of conditioning (psychological, sociological). The void is also fully positive, as identity of universal law, which is itself in the flesh. The content of this void is precisely a transcendental multitude, a non-autopositional democracy. Completely understood, democracy, which neither acts on the logo-logical center nor on the margins or inequalities, destabilizes and utilizes authoritarian autopositions henceforth made secondary. The theoretico-pragmatic human-in-the-last-instance is substituted for the violence of the democratic State and its philosophical expression.


Science according to the One-as-man exposing the unifying effects of the vision-in-One to the variety of philosophical, anthropological, sociological, psychoanalytic, etc. matrices of the description of man. The science of men or human multitudes must explain, in a unified theory of the Stranger, the “sciences of man.”

Form-philosophy regulates the relations between man and the city, man and the logos, man and the cosmos. This preoccupation of the Ancients has been appropriated by the Moderns and above all by the Postmoderns who are hooked on man as being-in-the-world or being-in-the-city, etc. Thus the indifference or being-foreclosed of man is the central phenomenon which is always repressed. If treatises of human nature have existed, no Treatise of man as real Identity has ever seen the light of day. The human sciences have divided a territory which is not the domain of the One-man, but a territory dispersed in hallucinated or supposedly human attributes (power, language, desire, politics, etc.).

The vision-in-One is cause or real essence in-the-last-instance of the existing-subject-Stranger. Conversely, one can symbolize or name the One by man or at least by the real essence of man or Ego-real (Ego-in-Ego). It is not man in general who is submitted to the Real (philosophy, psychoanalysis), it is the subject which is appointed but in-the-last-instance to man-as-One. The secret of the non-philosophical, non-Platonic One is the same secret as man as Ego—this is the being-foreclosed to the World. Man is the non-sufficient radical, neither absolute nor a deficiency of the absolute. This is because man himself can determine, in a radical but not sufficient manner, a transcendental science for him but only as subject-Stranger, not as immanent Ego or given-without-givenness. The only real and rigorous science is not a theory of the Ego-One but justifiably a theory of the subject such as the Stranger. This thesis invalidates, if not philosophy and the human sciences, at least their pretentions over so-called “man,” their belief in “man,” their anthropo-logical faith. Since the subject-Stranger exists radically by right and is not numerically multiple, non-philosophy gives rise, in accordance with the material of the human sciences and anthropology, to a “science of men” rather than to the “sciences of man”: it exhibits the anthropo-logical identity (of) difference which sustains them and gives it as an “object” to the subject-Stranger.

Ordinary Mysticism

Usage of mysticism in accordance with the instance of radical immanence, of the One-in-One, itself called “the” mystical. The mystical, although foreclosed to thought, is the negative universal condition of man as Stranger.

“Mysticism” designates the experience of a supposedly immediate and rationally impenetrable access to a transcendent order of reality. On the one hand, it is a question of an immediate supra-rational or supra-discursive coincidence, indeed supra-intuitive, proceeding without the aid of a form or a concept. On the other hand, this so-called “mystical” access—when it turns itself into the “inspiration” or “recesses” of the soul, or better to a super- or non-human calling—to a phenomenon which reveals itself but which exceeds the possibilities of language, follows the path of an identification immanent to a transcendent order of reality always supposedly being the authentic real, or a real beyond the limits of discourse and language. Since it is a question of the transcendence of a superessential God in the immanence of the (Christian mystical) soul or of a reality which reveals itself without being able to be spoken, in the manner of an alterity (Wittgenstein), this excess, so as to be able to be called “mystical,” should not be a simply delimitation, lack or absence, as in deconstruction, but an ex-stasis, be it blocked, prohibited, a phenomenal given or an experience of transcendence given “in person” on the mode of immanence.

If all the philosophical concepts of mysticism or the mystical are polarized by transcendence supposedly the object of immanence experience, non-philosophy reduces the mystical to designate immanence alone, but having become to itself its own phenomenal given or even the Real. “Mysticism” is a possible nomination of the essence of the Real or the vision-in-One. The reduction of transcendence, of its ecstatic essence and its religious modalities, rightly understood only suspends the mystical or mysticism, excepting the phenomenon which is the mystical experience, its reality, and the act deploying its uni-versality into the heart of thought. Real or mystical identity thus “precedes” mystical identification, as it determines-in-the-last-instance the usage of discourse and language, without for all that giving place to the aporias of an undecidability or an ineffability of “negative theology.” On the contrary, because it is now radically immanent and without ex-stasis, but not without uni-versality, mystical experience is the content in the real of a new non-theological usage of language. In the latter, the logos ceases being itself denied in the name of the immanence of a transcendence, thus of an antinomic reciprocation which implies the autonomy of the logos with itself. It is suspended by a force (of) thought which no doubt possesses a grasp on language but which, on its side and through its real essence, is not grasped by the latter. Because the mystical thus understood is only an immanent cause through its essence, and consequently in radical heteronomy to the logos, the non-philosophical usage of language does not end in a negative henology, the negation or suspension of the logos no longer belonging to the essence of the real cause or the mystical since it still belongs to the religious relation to a superessential.

Whereas philosophy calls “mysticism” the real, which it touches upon or approaches in a transcendence, or even beyond, but without being able to penetrate it, being satisfied by an intuition or representation which it denies, non-philosophy takes its departure in the same Real as mystical given-without-givenness and endeavors, on this universal yet insufficient basis, to transform our relation to philosophy, to science, to art—to mysticism itself from which it liberates non-philosophical and non-religious a prioris. From this perspective, it is not a question of a secularization—still rational and transcendent—of an extraordinary experience, but of the possibility of rendering the usage of an exceptional or superhuman experience to every “ordinary man” which was supposed to be refused to him. Philosophy is this organon, this a priori form which, giving us the World, forecloses the mystical experience which intrinsically constitutes humans and which is a question of rediscovering, not in its reality which has never abandoned us, but on the mode of thought and by the non-philosophical force of the latter. The mystical is the real essence of the Stranger and that which turns it, that which uni-verts it towards the World.


Effectuation of non-philosophy in the ethical- or philosophical-world, this term does not designate the negation of ethics but its universalization according-to-the-One as well as its exclusive subordination to man; this is the theory and use of ethics adequate to the essence of man as radical immanence or radical evil.

Despite certain empirical interpretations which confuse it with the description of mores or ethos in opposition to morality which would be prescriptive, ethics designates either a more universal form of commandment than morality (it is addressed to all moral beings and to the personality as society and not to the individual—cf. Schelling) or the universality of a science. From this perspective, it is either theoretical science of moral judgment or practical science teaching what should be desired.

Non-ethics recovers this last and double determination of ethics and transforms it. It is identically presented as a theory or a science and as a pragmatic bearing on philosophical and regional (sociological, biological, etc.) doctrines of morality or practice—on the ethical-world.

It demonstrates that the relations of philosophy and ethics are ethico-philosophical mixtures, i.e. aporetic. On the one hand, these mixtures subordinate ethics to philosophy as “superior ethics” which is partially excluded from communal moral legislation and implies an exception through hierarchy; or it is subordinated to a religious affect of radical transcendence which implies exception by election. The ethico-philosophical is equivocal, the ethico-religious anti-democratic. On the other hand, these mixtures prevent ethics from positing a truly unconditioned imperative since that of philosophy and that of the transcendent-religious are still more unconditioned than that of ethics. Finally, they partially subordinate man to ethics, philosophy and the Law. The implication of philosophical ethics in particular is that the Law is made circularly by and for man, thus reciprocally that man is made by and for the Law. This idealism and this voluntarism culminate in the “moral vision of the world” (Kant and Fichte) where the being of man is reabsorbed in the obedience to the commandment or better in the project of freedom.

On the contrary, non-philosophy posits that man is the immanent cause of ethics or that it determines it in-the-last-instance by excluding the relations of metaphysical causality between it and ethics. The essence of man as radical solitude—also called “radical evil” of the being-foreclosed—is not directly this cause. It acts as this cause when it takes not the form of the will, but of the existing-subject-Stranger, of the force (of) thought whose ethical modality is here not the Law but the force (of) law. The force (of) law does not derive the existing Law, but designates the element of height or alterity so that it is at least susceptible of being received in-One and brought to the subject-Stranger. In other words, this non-ethical subject—for the ethical-world—is deprived of auto-positionality which would make its essence, for example, into the Law as form of the ought (Kant) or into the Project (Fichte), and which still exists under a residual form only inhibited by the radical transcendence of the Face or the Other (Levinas). Radical evil, the subject-Stranger, and the force (of) law are the major concepts of non-ethics, for they determine the theoretical and practical usage of ethics. Non-ethics or ethics-according-to-the-Stranger does not claim to create new morals (cf. Kant) or to be satisfied with giving the rigorous formula of existing morals, but invents/discovers the formula of a new use of existing morals and ethics. This formula being determined by the real essence of man alone, non-ethics is the limitation of the inhuman Law and ethics on behalf of man, who is no longer defined as being reasonable, i.e. ultimately as philosopher, but as “ordinary man” or Stranger. More positively, it universalizes ethics from the point of view of experience precisely because it deprives them of their philosophical pretention to define the essence of man. By definition it refuses entering into the philosophical circularity of the ethical-world, it more reasonably refuses entering into the contemporary marketplace of ethics. One thing alone is good—i.e. human and only human, in the World or above all outside the World, i.e. for the World—which is the force (of) law exercised by the Stranger. But it is only good because one thing alone is determinant of the usage of the World, and that is radical evil, the solitude of being-foreclosed or separated.


Ensemble of the modes of approach and non-philosophical formulations of duality and which constitutes the subject-Stranger as a uni-sex subject.

We will call erotics the converging ensemble of doctrines which, from Plato to Badiou passing through Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, attempt to assure consistency to the thematic of an originary Two—an attempt more recently explored by psychoanalysis. Philosophical erotics tends to sexualize duality, by imposing on it the dyadic form of the union of contraries, relayed by the unity which imprints it on the philosophical One: the sex of philosophy is, in fact, nothing but a contrary-for-the-One.
In psychoanalysis, we could speak of contrary-for-the-Other, being only the misrecognition, instead of the Other, of sexuation. This results in the assumption of a sex without sexuality and the erotics of a relation-without-relation where, however, “the three falls together from the two” (Lacan), i.e. that in the non-sexual relation is superposed an external relation in the Other: the contrary thus becoming the contradictory, on condition that the real of the One is understood as the impossible. We will thus distinguish, from philosophical erotics or the erotics of contraries, a psychoanalytic erotics of contradiction which can at least testify to a jubilating consummation of the Logos.

Like Enjoying through and through, thus without the other-world of jouissance, the One is (non-)erotic, since it has nothing to do with contraries and never participates in any logico-real mixture. This Enjoying, without the subject-object of aesthetics or the desiring ethical subject, separates the One from every telos of given difference, in-One or outside it, a telos still called love, because in non-philosophy every difference is instead dualytic.

The vision-in-One certainly does not ignore the horizon of the Two and the Multiple. But far from being extracted from the Multiple in a subtractive way, in a manner in which it would fundamentally appear sexuated under the effect of this deduction and which, according to Badiou’s powerful proposition, love would always be heterosexual, non-produced from a rupture, non-femininity is to self only sex-without-sexuation, or sexual-without-sexuality. This is why it appears as Enjoying and determines-in-the-last-instance “sexual difference,” cloning from the latter a non-eroticism which is not the negation of Eros but the constitution of each human into a uni-sex subject. In this sense, every non-erotic subject is sex-Stranger or sexually-existing-Stranger. Uni-sex is not the marketable indifference of the sexes but sex insofar as it makes each subject a Stranger.


Said of the application, under several forms, of the non-philosophical process to aesthetic matter itself. Either—first distinction—from theoretical non-philosophy (first science) alone, or in the complete rigor of non-philosophy intrinsically modified, in an aesthetic sense, to “logico-aesthetic” material. Or—second distinction—from its application to aesthetic discourse or directly to the artistic matter itself, to “art” (under the condition of the addition of axioms relative to the autonomy of art and irreducible to those of the vision-in-One).

It would be necessary to say: non-aesthetics. The plural designates the fragmentation of the grand traditional text of the thought of art, and the eventual extraction of possible aesthetics issuing from particular generalizations (non-Bachelardian, non-Kierkegaardian, non-Baudelairian, etc.) which are still philosophical symptoms of a universal non-aesthetic in the radical sense of this word. The term is not directly present in philosophy. It nevertheless retains an air of familiarity with the philosophical concept of non-philosophy from which it seems to present a sort of analogical prolonging under the form of a particular application to the artistic domain. This is a new way of thinking philosophy in recourse to peripheral categories traditionally belonging to the artistic domain. For example, to this procedure corresponds the reflection on hypnotism in Bergsonian Givens. The aesthetic illusions surrounding storybook hypnotism intends the restoration of a simulation of duration through the fragmented tools of expression. The “non-”philosophical is then a peripheral manner of recommencing philosophy. This activity of philosophy since its pictorial, literary, etc. margins is not merely contemporary (Derridian or Deleuzian). It corresponds to a very ancient use incessantly reactualized. Let us designate it with the term “non aesthetics,” without the feature of a union, so as to differentiate it from its rigorous or non-philosophical usage. This is essentially a more or less differentiated mimesis, thus a cloning still imaginary or intra-philosophical.

The usage of non-aesthetics instead should be found in the specificity of the activity of the “non,” indeed in a specifically artistic concept if not of the Real at least of the “force (of) creation.” The latter is radically distinguished from the Bachelardian type of generalization of a philosophy of the “non,” even understood in its domains other than the epistemological. It is universal according-to-the-One-in-the-last-instance. Nonetheless, the extension of the “philosophy of the non” to domains other than the epistemological on the grounds of a non-Bachelardian philosophy itself is already a sort of basic approximation of non-philosophy, in which it would nevertheless lack this primacy of identity inherent to non-philosophy. We will indicate three principle directions:

At the limit, any artistic act can be combined with any act of thought, without any limit, such is the first axiomatic constant. It is necessary, from this point of view, to rethink the concept presently used by the “avant-garde” in a non-historical context, since all linearity as well as circularity of history is excluded.

A second constant of axiomatic creativity rests on the fact that combinations can be made, combinations of particular non-aesthetics, according to a principle of generalized relativity, and which form together like fractal-islands of thought on art, which can touch upon the works themselves, at best by constituting an equivalent poetics. Different particular non-aesthetics can then spring up, stretched out and combined, so as to describe the most diverse works, ancient, traditional, recent or futuristic. This is an activity to which no limits can be fixed. The reorganization of fractal-islands of non-aesthetic making could then design continents under internal homothety with the constitutive unities. On this terrain, one could see increasingly dense non-aesthetics appear as continental regroupings of scattered islands.

But, third constant, everything must be able to be erased and return to the non-system of-the-last-instance. This constant protects non-aesthetics from congealing into a system of sufficiency, again returning to a philosophical illusion.

Non-philosophical pragmatics is at the base of this unlimited aesthetic production. Some of these theoretical non-aesthetic islands have appeared, like, for example, the non-philosophical a priori of “non-Euclidean perspectives.”

1 thought on “Seven Definitions on Man, Democracy, Mysticism, Ethics, Erotics, Aesthetics…

  1. Pingback: “Man-in-person: Critique of the Trinity”: Selection from Laruelle’s Futur Christ « An und für sich

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