The notion of Drive is one of the more heavily abused concepts of psychoanalysis while simultaneously one of it’s most extracted (save mirror stage induced alienation). Laruelle adopts Drive in relation to his vaunted force-of-thought and states that it is the “Other name for the force (of) thought as organon of the One and for its action of a pragmatic nature on the World or philosophy-material.” This needs to be dissected. For Laruelle, the force-of-thought is the instance of thought prior to the mediation of philosophy – it is the instance of thought prior to its fetishization via various noetic paradigms. The One, or vision-in-one, or the Real, is the given without givenness as such, which is experienced as a pure immanence. This Real cannot be thought of but along with or according to and hence Drive is taken by Laruelle as the force of this One in the World.
Laruelle diverges from Lacan when he states: “This drive is deprived of negativity or representativity and ignores the play of forces as well as the functions which engage in transcendence or in the logico-real order.” Here we see the implicit articulation of drive in Brassier’s Nihil Unbound, that is, the Drive functioning according to the axis of iteration and not the axis of alteration.
Laruelle goes on to say:
“The One is effectuated as pulsional. Drive [pulsion] is the Other or the Unconscious whereas in its psychoanalytic sense, drive is the mark of the Other.”
According to Laruelle then, Drive becomes the unknown force which has a cause but no meaning – embodying the given-without-givenness in the World of Thought. What is curious is Laruelle’s insistence that the drive is the mark of the Other. Yet, what evidence exists for this in Freud or Lacan? In every example of the Drive (which I know of) it is an act (much in line with Laruelle’s force of thought) indifferent to the Other. This is nowhere more clear than in the so called ethics of the Real where, against Antingone who in fact held too close to her desire (the object of her brother’s corpse in relation against Creon’s decree) one does not merely pursue their desire to a suicidal degree, but one gives up that very desire itself. Or, as Alenka Zupancic puts it near the end of her Ethics of the Real, one must sacrifice the very frame of desire itself. One of Zizek’s best examples is the following:
“imagine a wife phoning her husband in the last seconds of her life, telling him: “Just to let you know that our marriage was a fake, that I cannot stand the sight of you…”
The non-philosophical strand here should be fairly apparent – the point of such an act is not that it simply keeps desire going, that is, by going on to other objects – so called new desires, but that the conservative frame of desire itself is disrupted – it is the movement from thought (as object) to the force of thought, or from thinking the Real to thinking with the Real. Here we can understand Laruelle’s removal of the axis of alteration which he replaces with an (implicit) axis of duplication. By reading the axis of alteration as an ontological pollution of drive, Laruelle can claim that the Drive is the mark of the Other when in fact it is marked by the Other. This is untenable for Laruelle since the Drive, as the force-of-thought in the World, must utilize the transcendental material without being affected by it.
For Laruelle, the unconscious can only function if it is pure output, pure pulse, without ever being tempered by experience or thought. To assume that the unconscious can be formed, according to Laruelle, would be to fetishize it, to give it a form of being and therefore always already given to philosophy. Laruelle seems to take Lacan almost too literally in that looking at the “unconscious is structured like a language,” he assumes that language must therefore pre-exist it. When Lacan argues that the signifier preceeds the signified this does not mean that language itself exists prior to the unconscious but simply that the economy of presence and absence (verified by things such as the gaze test in infants) exists in the unconscious as such.
However, any scientific or empirical proof of the unconscious would most likely be dismissed as already caught in the pincers of philosophical decision. Yet, despite the aforementioned example of Zizek’s act, the (Lacanian) Real appears in various modalities, most radicality as an Schellingesque unground or Parallax Real.
Taking the unconscious as an unground that stretches from the Real to the transcendentally material (thereby asserting a phenomenology that is at a non-empirical speed or register) – the unconscious would be a point where the immanence of the Real as non-sufficient is, instead of enveloped via philosophical decision, is obfuscated alongside the transcendentally material birth of the subject as a foreclosed experience or unintentional-intentionality or what we could call formative accidents.
In other words, cloning is stained by the tools of its own operation – that is, some material must be unintentionally cloned via the operation of non-philosophy. The psychoanalytic rejoinder to non-analysis would not be that the transcendentally material directly affects the pulse, the output of the drive, but that the cloned articulation of the One put to work in the World of Thought, gets its feet dirty, that it grasps not only the immanence of the Real but the simultaneously precarious and generative seed of the Real. This mutagen would serve to both deform the clone (disrupting the scission of the clone from its transcendentally material base) and save the clone from (eventually) being lost in decisionalism (once it has been immersed in the practice of philosophy). It is the unconscious as such which allows for the indirect separation of the stranger, the non-subject – it is what ultimately guarantees our critical loneliness.
Such a conceptualization calls for the following:
1 – A non-phenomenological theory of Paul Virilio’s dromology (or speed of experience as both conscious and unconscious) with the help of the concept of non-locality.
2 – A thoroughly psychoanalytic or non-analytic claim to metaxy or inbetweenness that is an always already failed non-relation of the immaterial and the material.
3 – A transcendentally material appropriation of energeia or being-at-work (between movement and change but not becoming) as a simultaneous disruption, and motor of, the force-of-thought in the world.