The Creal Nature of the Philosopher’s Stone

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Drawing of the Big Bang by my daughter Svea, 7.

In my practice as a philosophical counselor, I often encourage the counselee to start with a tabula rasa within the cosy security of my parlour. The empty table is a process by which we authorise us to think as if all our certainties should be questioned, as if we were starting anew, as if new-born. This was done for example by Descartes when he supposed for the sake of truth-searching that everything was an illusion. In my view a philosophically healthy person is capable of connecting to a meta-reality that I call Creal, which is the real of absolute creation, radical alterity, novelty, the ex nihilo = ex toto without which creation would be a mere remixing of existing realities.

It is philosophically healthy to see creation not as mere fabrication, construction, but as a process that can be independent from human engineering and yet one that we can connect to in order to co-create. We are capable of the idea of radical alterity, radical novelty, infinite possibility, infinite abundance of potentialities. Connecting with this idea generates an emotion that opens the path to a deeper form of well-being. But of course it is also challenging our comfort. It is not without danger and risk. It is preferable not to be alone in this journey. Philosophy is also about friendship and love.

Now why would someone do this? Descartes was searching for the truth, for something certain, as certain as mathematics. He found, paradoxically, the cogito, which is an anti-mathematical experience. Is philosophical health about truth? This is the kind of question that might not have a universal answer, but rather needs to be elaborated singularly in a specific embodied dialogue.

Perhaps philosophical health is about living a blissful and thoughtful life, while overcoming human finitude, human suffering, contradictions, pain, conflicts, frustrations, dull routines, alienation, exploitation, etc. In the latter case, we are talking about a transmutation of the human (even Marx wanted a transmutation of the human). Is philosophical health a form of self-alchemy? Yes. But beware the new-age fuzzy uses of the notion of alchemy.

Let’s take the analogy of writing a book. Creating a book. To create a book you need: letters, inspiration, paper or a computer, a way of transposing creal-inspiration into sentences, and you need a reader, without whom there is no book (even if you are your own reader at first). Eventually you also need some form of material production of the book as object. Where does the inspiration come from? Here we could discuss the Infinite Monkey Theorem. Randomness versus intentionality. Of course no book is written randomly. It would be boring and too chaotic. Same thing regarding your life. It is probably not infinite, so why would you live randomly like an infinite monkey, hoping for meaning to emerge without intention, without determination, without the deep involvement of your crealectical self.

How can health be a process of creation? How can creation be a process of health? This connects to the idea of regeneration, transmutation but also finality. This needs to be addressed in a singular dialogue, since a universal answer might be self-contradictory by imposing a normative stance. That is the way I practice philosophical couseling (after having been a professional independent publisher for so many years, helping others write meaningful books, and after having written many books myself): I help each person write the alchemical and embodied book of their life, as their own masterpiece. The philosopher’s stone is a charcoal pencil.

Swedish Translation of Who Killed the Poet? – Launch 14 November 2019

Qui a tué le poète? continues its journey across the world. Now in Swedish language thanks to the publisher Palaver Press.

If you are in Stockholm on November 14, join us for a launch party with 20 poets on stage and pianist Peter Knudsen at Landet.

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Why I Call it Ensemblance, rather than Assemblage (Deleuze) or Assembly (Butler)

Ensemblance  

The Transnational Genealogy of Esprit de Corps

 

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The theoretical message of the word ensemblance is quite simple: the book shows that discourses of ultra-unity in human ensembles are often ideological fabulations connected to nationalism, manipulation, groupthink, power coalitions, social control, political neo-romanticism, etc. These can be effective historically and socially because modern individuals often have this understandable longing for belonging to a group of peers, like-minded fellows that become as one for the sake of a cause. Today, with the upcoming crisis of individualism, the confused revival of nationalisms, and with the capitalist ubiquity of ultra-competitive team-spirit, the exclusivist ideal of cohesive ensembles and esprit de corps seems more and more attractive for some (not to speak of the fantasy of esprit de corps between humans and robots or AI, although I do speak about it in the conclusion).

Hence the cautionary need to remind us, with this book and its rich evidence, of the critical views on esprit de corps since Montesquieu, d’Alembert and Diderot. I sympathise with the critique of the excesses of individualism that has been made in the name of esprit de corps, but the myth of close-knit togetherness, I’m afraid (and I regret it), seems equally illusionary. The idea of ensemblance is not completely negative, though. It’s fine to search for ensemblances that combine solidarity and a critical openness (cf. the pages on Deleuze and Guattari in chapter 6), provided we know pure unity is a dangerous fiction. Moreover, ensemblance – as also explained in the conclusion – is a critical modulation of popular concepts that are I believe too optimistic, such as Judith Butler’s assembly and the Deleuzian assemblage.

 

 

Workshop on Crealectical Intelligence @Unesco by Dr Luis de Miranda

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Anticipating Anthrobotic Minds: The Integration of Analytical, Dialectical and Crealectical Intelligences

https://en.unesco.org/events/transforming-future-seminar-7-anticipating-anthrobotic-minds

Unesco Headquarters Paris 14h15 – 29 October

Abstract

“An understanding of effectual anticipations regarding the present and the future cannot ignore our “anthrobotic” interplays, emerging from our sociotechnical assemblages of humans and algorithms (de Miranda et al., 2016). If we are to avoid a self-inflicted technological determinism, it won’t be by ignoring the anthrobotic becoming of our nature, but by integrating it within our concerns about freedom, self-determination and agency, in perpetual need of creative regeneration (de Miranda, 2017). In this talk, I will focus less on where we look for the future and more on how we look for it, by proposing a minimal epistemology that distinguishes three complementary modes of understanding: analytical (with a focus on operations), dialectical (with a focus on tensions), crealectical (with a focus on creations). Within this triple synthetic framework, I will distinguish between strategies of unification, dynamics of reconciliation, and practices of regeneration. More concretely, and to take Unesco’s slogan seriously (“Building Peace in the Minds of Men and Women”), I will explain how my epistemological work is motivated by my practice of care as philosophical therapist (at The Philosophical Parlour, Stockholm).”

Luis de Miranda, Ram Rammamorthy and Michael Rovatsos (2016). “We, Anthrobot: Learning from Human Forms of Interaction and Esprit de Corps to Develop More Diverse Social Robotics”, in What Social Robots Can and Should do. Amsterdam: IOS Press, pp. 48-56.
Luis de Miranda (2017) “On the Concept of Creal: The Politico-Ethical Horizon of a Creative Absolute”, in The Dark Precursor: Deleuze and Artistic Research, ed. Paulo de Assis & Paolo Giudici. Louvain: Leuven University Press, pp. 510-516.

RSVP: e.di-pilato@unesco.org

Welcome Joy

 

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Words are not just suitcases, they are also corsets. In many languages, the word joy has slowly been replaced in recent decades by three letters from the standard universal language: fun. When a word is inserted into the global communication network, it sometimes happens that it becomes distorted and expresses a generic and formatted version of more complex, more singular and local feelings. Words are tools of social control. While more and more humans have mimetic “fun” moments, less and less feel all the depth, richness and singularity of joy as experience. Besides, to play a little on words, in Latin, funus means death, funerals. Fun can be reactive, sectarian, mass-produced, like an egocentric exclusion of many parts of living reality, while joy affirms the world and anticipates it creatively and generously.

There are many forms of joy: childlike, religious or mystical, loving, intellectual, friendly. By the way (this time to mention an exact etymology), the Latin word source, gaudia, was a plural noun – meaning something like rejoicements – formed from the verb gaudeo, to rejoice, itself formed on an Indo-European root akin to the word admiration.

Joy is a physical and spiritual experience of laughing admiration: perhaps it is the human experience that expresses the fact that the spiritual and the physical are, from time to time, in symbiosis, the body expressing the vibrations of the mind, celebrating a triumphant presence at the mere fact of being or becoming, as one swims in the ocean of everything and nothing. To lose oneself in order to find oneself: the joy of the mystic, the joy of the lovers, the joy of the children who play, the joy of the thinker who plunges into the ocean of ideas. Joy is a pleasure that has given up on greed and which has an angelic element to it: it is the presentiment that in a dimension unknown to anxious realism, we develop wings.

Joy connects us to the world by opening us to hidden and sublime dimensions, it makes us talk, it pushes us to forgive, to understand. As it is not just greedy or fun enjoyment, it also makes us more responsible and ready to fight for the harmony it makes us hear.

“There are joys that are an inexhaustible source of strength for the soul,” said the writer Laure Conan. While fun can make us blind to all, even perhaps cruel to those who are not in our little circle of enjoyment, joy questions us: how is it that our earth is not a kingdom of common harmony? In this sense, joy carries with it seeds of politics and inclusion. Who knows ? Perhaps we should build a new global political proposal based on joy. Communism was too obsessed with work, which no doubt implies its magic and its pleasures, but also its heaviness and the sadness of Sisyphus. Capitalism is too obsessed, as its name indicates, by capitalization, accumulation, while joy, conversely, is an abundance that is dispersed and not measured in quantity but in quality.

Joy is a direct connection to the richness of the Creal, the Real as it creates incessantly: it is the love story and the atomic glass bead game between the Multiple and the One. Any multiplicity supposes ontologically a unity, as the philosopher Plotinus would say. Deep joy is at once the apprehension of our disparate wealth and our personal, non egotistic, singularity. Someone who is in joy is both out of herself and in herself.

Joy reveals to us the soul of the world, and our participation in its destiny. But she also knows how to say no. No, I am nothing of that, I am only the consoling and healing pressure of the trunk against your body when you seat by the tree and cry, this tree which is the link between the earth and the sky and which has just merged with your spine so that you welcome the sap of Being and Becoming. This is the joy of sharing.