Frames /sing


The Banality of Badiou…


Splintering Bone Ashes puts it this way,

Whilst his ontological position has a certain minimalist elegance about it, everything he builds atop it is little more than a ridiculous hyper-structure of nonsense piled upon nonsense, an unsteady philosophical folly whose absurd (yet po-faced) architecture has only been exacerbated by (what I have read thus far of) Logics of Worlds.

And Naught Thought collects the pieces of a disaffected sense of betrayal (a betrayal that isn’t even dramatic enough to be betrayal).

For me it was never the case that I was enchanted with Badiou, only savoring his study of Paul, often just seeing him as something of a One-ups-man of his much more influential and preceding, Deleuze. Who is going to inherit the shared crown of the Dioskouroi, Derrida and Deleuze, so as to enthrall today’s students, and convince them that real philosophy is being done somewhere, now? Continental Philosophy’s need for a frontman.

Yet really it comes back down to this “mimimalist elegance”. The austerity would be austere if it were only intense. If things are to be abstracted, honed, rarified, condensed, they must vibrate, burn in all their mimimal character. Instead it all comes off as a sketch in a student’s notebook, some essential diagram dreamed up, and then written on without end. It is like Plotinus without the Vision. It is a mathematical analogy taken too literally, nicely clever, so as to self-convince. Its like seeing a magician who fails at magic, the transformative performance of that which magic is, and turning illusion into mere trick, someone who forgot the Prestige. After you make the world disappear, you have to bring it back.

[Spoiler: Do not watch if you haven’t seen the film, The Prestige]

8 responses to “The Banality of Badiou…

  1. anodynelite June 10, 2009 at 6:42 pm


    I was starting to wonder whether I was missing something huge.

    Complete Lies has probably the most plausible (read: interesting) alternative reading I’ve seen, where computers also ‘subjectivate’ because they can count-as-one…

  2. kvond June 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Its BIG Anodyne Lite, the “Event” has already happened, you can only be loyal or disloyal to it!

  3. anodynelite June 10, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    Semper fi baby! I’m a militant in Truth’s Navy.

    Nice redesign, btw.

  4. anodynelite June 10, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    I spoke too soon… Looks like yr template went back to normal.

  5. Amarilla June 10, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    “If things are to be abstracted, honed, rarified, condensed, they must vibrate, burn in all their mimimal character.”

    This sentence is an arrow steeped in clean burning fuel and set on fire. Glad I’m not the target. If such a minimal thing exists, where would I find it?

    • kvond June 10, 2009 at 11:45 pm

      It seems that it is everywhere in philosophy. But many places in the world as well. There is the minimality of Wittgenstein who burns like a coal-diamond, there is the minimality of Spinoza, who in a single proposition can send the world spinning.

      But best if for you to find it yourself, with your own minimality sensor, and then share it with others. I suppose.

  6. Carl June 11, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I like the crack about Continental philosophy needing a frontman. As with music, there seem to be two basic approaches to connoisseurship: to chase the new, always looking for that hot peak experience; or to settle into the cooler comfort of familiar, robustly durable classics.

    • kvond June 11, 2009 at 1:19 pm

      And I like your follow up observation. Yes. There seems to be something to the frontman phenomena that does not so much touch the Analytic side. Even the great post-Analytic thinkers, like the great rocker Wittgenstein, are marked by their departure from Analytic philosophy, giving rise to their show.

      Continental philosophy as magus following, perhaps, or old-tune revival.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: