To rephrase slightly, Badiou’s quest is for a new way to be a revolutionary in our present circumstances. Heapproaches Paul in this light, for those reasons, and interprets Paul’s life and practice in terms of his own (Badiou’s)
philosophy of event, subject, truth-
process, and fidelity. A “new militant figure” would be the militant of a new truth
That’s the background of his concern with Paul. He goes on to say that what he’s going to focus on in Paul’s work is“a singular connection, which it is formally possible to disjoin from the fable [that is, Christianity] and of which Paul
is...the inventor: the connection that establishes a passage between a proposition concerning a subject and aninterrog
ation concerning the law.”
What Paul contributed, Badiou believes, is the insight and practice of separating truths (and truth-processes) fromtheir particular historical context. Badiou opposes this to the contemporary practices of dissolving truths into forms of cultural, linguistic or historical relativisms.
A Universal Singularity
In the world today, Badiou says, on the one hand there is a vast “extension of the automatisms of capital,” whichimposes “the rule of an abstract homogenization,” while “on t
he other side there is a process of fragmentation into
closed identities, and the culturalist and relativist ideology that accompanies this fragmentation.” Both of these
processes, and their ideological expressions, are inimical and deadly to the creation of new truth today. Moreover, the
two processes are complementary: , page 99] What to think? Well, let’s take a more familiar political example.
Suppose you are a revolutionary militant or cadre. You have been grasped in your life and activated by a greateruption in the world, and the experience has completely up-ended the conventional system of facts and categoriesand hierarchies
all that you thought you knew. You have entered into a process of synthesizing and recognizingand establishing new truths in the world, a process which is not just yours, but yours along with many others. I amsure many of us on this site have experienced this, and have entered into such processes, and have had this shapeour lives.
Let’s say that these new truths are universal (in the sense of being “addressed to all” as Badiou often puts it). These
truths demand to be made real in the world, which means changing the world. Wrong ways of approaching this
demand: either preaching to people (“here’s the truth; accept it, believe
it”), or enforcing it as truth, if you have thepower to do that (“here’s the truth; you must accept it or else”). Rather, the truth has to be made real in the world, not
by opposing itself abstractly to the differences and particularities of people and groups, but
is about, as Badiou is interpreting it here. “From the masses, to the masses” –
taking “the ideas