Choice, Difference, Singularity

(in reply to sdv’s post in the comments here.)

My use of ‘choice’ was rather banal, and quite possibly ‘wrong'(!!), and comes from the Laerke paper:

“The axiomatic choice of the more geometrico for Badiou is a site for an event popping out of emptiness, an ‘absolute beginning’ on the order of emptiness.” 91-92

What was I talking about? There is never a choice _between_ differences before a choice conjugates differences into the less-different of resemblances and identity games — thus producing a number of examples of what I called a singular thread of difference (in my other reply to the questions, here). I am deriving that position from Difference and Repetition, AO and ATP.

The Dogmatist makes the act of choosing (conjugation-resemblance-selection) easy and equivocates everything into prior refusal/acceptance categories of the initial axiomatic of refusal/acceptance (‘absolute beginning’), which, indeed, after the absolute beginning of the initial axiomatic, has nothing to do with the singularity of any on-going current or to-come future eventuality. Once a choice has been made, for Badiou that seems to be it, done, no more, you are set. From Badiou (again quoting from the Laerke paper, pg 91-92):

“This is why I have a concept of absolute beginnings (that which necessitates a theory of the empty) and of singularities of thought which are incomparable in their constitutive gestes (that which necessitates a Cantorian theory of the plurality of types of infinitude). Deleuze has always maintained that by doing that, I fell back into transcendence and into the equivocity of analogy. But if it is in fact necessary to sacrifice immanence and the univocity of Being (which I do not believe, but it is not important here), for a political revolution, for an amorous meeting, for an invention of the sciences, or for a creation of art to be thought as distinct infinities, under the condition of dividing and incomparable events, I will do it. […] If, against the ascesis of the fold it is necessary to maintain that the fidelity to an event is the militant
recollection, the transition of which remains obscure, and to reduce it to its actuality as a generic multiplicity having no virtuality beneath it, I will do it. I do it.”

If the virtuality of the various machinic-assemblages that produce the dogmatist’s subjectivity are closed off, blocked, or potentiality exhausted by a reactionary actualisation — they are already-always actualised as part of a state of affairs that includes the selection of a singular thread of difference derived from an axiomatised choice that has already been made (rather than in the process of being made, which is quite different) — then the ‘militant recollection’ is exactly a re-collection of those specific intensities that enable the reproduction of the dogmatist. Hence, one would end up as a cloned re-collection of the intensities of Zizek :P.

I am working on a longer post that looks at the difference between Badiou’s conception of Love compared to some stuff from Deleuze. Thinking about ‘love’ is probably a luxury that cannot really be afforded at this stage, but I find it fascinating. One quote from Deleuze kind of relates to where I am coming from:

“Love’s a state of, and relation between, persons, subjects. But passion is a subpersonal event that may last as long as a lifetime […], a field of intensities that individuates independently of any subject. Tristan and Isolde, that may be love. But someone, referring to this Foucault text [Uses of Pleasure], said to me: Catherine and Heathcliff, in Wuthering Heights, is passion, pure passion, not love. A fearsome kinship of souls, in fact, something not altogether human.” (“A Portrait of Foucault” Negotiations, pg 116)