On Meillasoux’s Meaningless Sign:
Asignifying Semiotics, Symbolic Exchange, and the Kenotype
I do not at all see Quentin Meillasoux’s work as at odds with what has gone before it. It was necessary for Hegel-Lacan-Badiou to open metaphysical correlationism from the point of the radical differentiating break and for Nietzsche-Deleze-Guattari to further it from the point of the integral continuum. What’s more I see the work of these predecessors as offering practices of “hyperphysics” rather than dogmatic subjectivism provided one maintain the foundational gesture or ethic Meillasoux is suggesting – one which I ultimately think was already developed further by none other than George Bataille. While he did not develop the useful proof that Meillasoux has given us he succeeded more than any in creating and living an absolutely contingent speculative realism – a gnostic materialism linking the atheological mystical experience of rational science with the beginning of a physics and hyperphysics of general economy.
I see Meillasoux’s work as a foundational principle for my own work in his proof of the necessity of contingency, and on most points I agree with him, though I have no need to prove such a thing, and in some ways as Badiou has pointed out it goes too far in the other direction. Where he chooses not to engage in the physics or hyperphysics of worlds I do. Like himI abhor the metaphysician who claims to speak for such worlds with no experience by adding on a meta language or absolute principle or postmodern correlationist sophistry. Psychoanalysis and Taoist Chinese Medicine are model examples of theory-practices that map worlds of chaos and complexity – models of metamodeling in physics and hyperphysics – and by performing them one can also realize the way beyond physics and hyperphysics to the divine mysticism of contingency as both chaos and complexity – it leaves way again for the investigation of God as gods – that world or being which may lay beyond the human and still within the realm of contingency. Zen Buddhism is a good example of such a technique of speculative realism – though like the psychoanalysis and TCM referred to previously there is no guarantee that it will remain true to its contingency.
In regards Meillasoux’s atheology it goes in an interesting direction but not far enough. In fact as in other areas, Meillasoux echoes the work of our predecessors Bataille and Badiou (also his teacher). The attempt to found an idea of the overcoming of death – a kind of neo-christian science – is promising. But where Meillasoux fails is in an essential misunderstanding of spirit. He talks of how organic life emerged evolutionarily and contingently out of inorganic life but can’t see how the same would occur in the immortality of the psyche or self or spirit from the organic body – that it would somehow have to be inorganic matter and organic life. But just as the the living body constantly makes use of inorganic matter but is not made up of it, so the psyche or soul makes use of its organic body – or bodies – while not being made up of it or reduced to it. The living body is a functional and energetic template which absorbs and expels matter – kills off its cells – continuously. Similarly we could speculate that the self, soul, or individuated spirit uses its bodies in the same way. In fact if Meillasoux was more interested in the actual practice of the physics of medicine and the hyperphysics of psychoanalysis (not to mention mysticism and magick) he would realize that there are already many demonstrations of the transition from matter to life – for example in the work of Wilhelm Reich (Discovery of the Orgone V. I & II) and Robert Rosen (Life Itself) – as well as on the transition from life to psyche – for example Rupert Sheldrake (Presence of the Past), Arthur Young (Reflexive Universe) and Ian Stevenson (Reincarnation and Biology).
He is still a comrade though – one who extends the work of atheological pneuma, hyperphysical psyche, and nonmaterial physis even if not for the same reasons.