Being Singular Plural Jean-Luc Nancy | Martin Heidegger | Absolute (Philosophy)

BEING SINGULAR PLURAL

M E R I D I A N

Crossing Aesthetics

W e r n e r Harnacher & D a v i d E. Wellbery Editors

BEING S I N G U L A R PLURAL

Translated by Robert D. Richardson and A n n e E. O'Byrne

Jean-Luc Nancy

Stanford University Press

Stanford California 2000

Contents

S t a n f o r d U n i v e r s i t y Press Stanford, California © 2 0 0 0 by the B o a r d of Trustees o f the L e l a n d S t a n f o r d J u n i o r U n i v e r s i r y Being Singular Plural'was o r i g i n a l l y p u b l i s h e d as Etre singulier pluriel © 1996, É d i t i o n s G a l i l é e . A s s i s t a n c e for t h e t r a n s l a t i o n w a s p r o v i d e d b y the F r e n c h M i n i s t r y o f C u l t u r e . P r i n t e d i n the U n i t e d States o f A m e r i c a o n a c i d - f r e e , a r c h i v a l - q u a l i t y paper. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Nancy, Jean-Luc. [Etre singular p l u r i e l . English] B e i n g singular plural / J e a n - L u c N a n c y ; translated by R o b e r t D. R i c h a r d s o n and A n n e E. O'Byrne p. c m . — ( M e r i d i a n , c r o s s i n g aesthetics) I n c l u d e s b i b l i o g r a p h i c a l references a n d i n d e x . ISBN 0-8047-3974-9 ( ' k - paper) — ISBN 0-8047-3975-7 ( p b k . : alk. paper)
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Preface

XV

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O f B e i n g Singular P l u r a l War, R i g h t , S o v e r e i g n t y — T e c h n ê E u l o g y for the Mêlée T h e Surprise of the Event H u m a n Excess

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145 159 177 185

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C o s m o s Basel ius

Notes

193

I. O n t o l o g y . (Stanford, Calif.) B 2 4 3 0 . N 3 6 3 E8713 194—dc2i

2. Philosophical anthropology.

I. Title.

II. M e r i d a n

2000 00-057326

Original printing 2000 L a s t f i g u r e b e l o w i n d i c a t e s year o f t h i s p r i n t i n g : 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01 00

Typeset by James P. B r o m m e r i n 10.9/13 G a r a m o n d a n d L i t h o s d i s p l a y

Lead, as I do, the flown-away virtue back to e a r t h — yes, back to body and life; that it may give the earth its meaning, a human meaning! M a y your spirit and your virtue serve the meaning of the earth. . . . M a n and man's earth are still unexhausted and undiscovered. —Nietzsche

a n d still more rarely in any positive sense. everything that has ever l a i d c l a i m to the t r u t h about the nature.T h i s epigraph is chosen quite deliberately. " 2 A r e we finally g o i n g to learn this lesson? A r e we perhaps finally able to hear it. Nietzsche h i m s e l f w o u l d have u n d o u b t e d l y participated in this dubious. n o t h i n g must remain of what. moralizing piety. therefore. we are at that p o i n t where "there is no more ' l a n d . not to give any hasty interpretations of it here. 1 a n d in order for the phrase " h u m a n m e a n i n g " to acquire some meaning. In his o w n way. In other words. a tone in w h i c h it is easy to recognize those w e l l . where these values are b o t h b l i n d to a n d c o m p l i c i t in this letting loose.m e a n i n g virtues a n d values that have loosed u p o n the w o r l d all the things that have driven the h u m a n i t y of our century to despair over itself. A g a i n . that is. T h e above excerpt appeals to a " h u m a n m e a n i n g . the w o r d " m e a n i n g " rarely appears in his w o r k . it is Nietzsche w h o said that we are n o w "on the h o r i z o n of the i n f i nite". ' " and where "there is n o t h i n g more terrible than the i n f i n i t e . related the earth [la terre] and the h u m a n to a specifiable horizon. " but it does so by a f f i r m i n g that the h u m a n [l'homme] remains to be discovered. At any rate. a n d humanist tone. under the title of m e a n i n g . or e n d of " m a n " must be undone. or is it n o w i m p o s s i b l e for us to learn a n y t h i n g . essence. idealist. I r u n the risk of its seeming to l e n d itself to a certain C h r i s t i a n . O n e w o u l d do w e l l . In order for the h u m a n to be discovered.

P L O . . . nor is it identification. These days it is not always possible to say w i t h any assurance whether these identities are i n t r a n a t i o n a l . Casamance. a n d l a c k i n g in the m e a n i n g of w o r l d . but the " w h o l e " (all that is) as put on h o l d everywhere. Tutsis. Sikhs. meanings closed in on themselves and supersaturated w i t h significance—that is. It is an enumeration that brings to light the sheer n u m b e r and proliferation of these various poles of attraction a n d r e p u l s i o n . whether they are legitimate or n o t — n o t to m e n t i o n the question about w h i c h law w o u l d provide such leg i t i m a t i o n . " "religious.d e t e r m i n a t i o n . G i v a t H a g a d a n . or transnational. B o s n i a n Serbs. meanings that are no longer meaningful because they have come to refer o n l y to their o w n closure. or a l i n e that w i l l be d r a w n . e c o n o m i c . exiled. it is the disturbance of violent relatedness. whether they are real. Montataire. B u r m a . K h m e r s Rouges. It is a litany. . W h a t I am talking about here is compassion. a n d have begun to spread n o t h i n g but destruction. this proliferation that seems to have no other m e a n i n g than the i n d e t e r m i nate m u l t i p l i c a t i o n of centripetal meanings.n a m e .p a s s i o n is the contagion. K u r d s ( U P K / P D K ) . Of course. to their h o r i z o n of a p p r o p r i a t i o n . C h i c a n o s . Chiapas. n o t h i n g is more pressing (how c o u l d it really be avoided?) t h a n a list of p r o p e r names s u c h as these. H a i t i . Indonesia. but not compassion as a pity that feels sorry for itself a n d feeds on itself. Shiites. none of the "perspectives" or "views" in view of w h i c h we have disfigured humans [les hommes] a n d driven them to despair? " T h e h o r i z o n of the i n f i n i t e " is no longer the h o r i z o n of the whole. w h o are raped. the earth for w h i c h the name Sarajevo w i l l b e c o m e the m a r t y r . as w e l l as what is at stake in these conflicts.V e l i n s . K r a j i n a Serbs. S h i n i n g P a t h .e n . a n d as far as specifying the situation of the earth a n d h u m a n s is c o n c e r n e d . the testimonial-name: this is us. or imaginary." It is no longer a line that is d r a w n . people besieged. R o m a gypsies o f Slovenia. It is the o p e n i n g [la brèche] or d i s t a n c i n g [lecartement] of h o r i z o n itself.H e r z o g o v i n a . T h i s earth is a n y t h i n g but a sharing of humanity. Afghanistan. the Secret A r m y for the L i b e r a t i o n o f A r m e n i a . L i b e r i a .Xll Xlll else? C a n we t h i n k an earth a n d a h u m a n such that they w o u l d be o n l y w h a t they are— nothing but earth a n d h u m a n — a n d such that they w o u l d be n o n e of the various horizons often harbored u n d e r these names. a n d ideological power. the League o f the N o r t h . Iraq. the dangerous fault line of a rupture. . C h e c h n y a . T a i w a n ." or "historical". the plea that falls f r o m the lips of m i l lions of refugees every day: whether they be deportees. It is the s u m m e r of 1995. presented here in no particular order: B o s n i a . infranat i o n a l . w h i c h tears o p e n a n d is t o r n . hatred. V a u l x . w h i c h orients or gathers the m e a n i n g of a course of progress or n a v i g a t i o n .C a n a l H i s t o r i q u e . Islamic J i h a d . m y t h i c a l . . Islamic F r o n t Salv a t i o n . it w o u l d be difficult to b r i n g this list to an end if the a i m was to i n clude all the places. N e u h o f . It is a w o r l d that does not even manage to constitute a w o r l d . "ethnic. S o m a l i a ." pure sorrow and pure loss. It is an endless list. a n d in the opening: us. T h i s is the "earth" we are supposed to " i n h a b i t " today. whether they are " c u l t u r a l . . expelled. a prayer of I w a n t to emphasize the date on w h i c h I am w r i t i n g this. it is a w o r l d l a c k i n g in w o r l d . R w a n d a . ostracized. those w h o are mutilated. H u t u s . T a m i l Tigers. N i g e r i a . E T A m i l i t i a . the M o v e m e n t for S e l f . Bangladesh. people w h o starve. whether they are independent or " i n s t r u m e n t a l i z e d " by other groups w h o w i e l d p o l i t i c a l . the contact of being w i t h one another in this turm o i l . a n d everything happens in such a w a y that one is reduced to k e e p i n g accounts but never t a k i n g the final t o l l . excluded. and the denial of existence? W h a t if this autistic m u l t i p l i c i t y . K a z a k h s t a n . We happen as the o p e n i n g itself. pushed to the outside just as much as it is pushed back inside the "self. groups. F N L C . or authorities that constitute the theater of b l o o d y conflicts a m o n g identities. C o m p a s s i o n is not altruism. we w h o are supposed to say we as if we k n o w what we are saying a n d who we are t a l k i n g about. H a m a s . W h a t does the above-named proliferation require of us. C o m .

the sections can be read in any order. " that is. but w h i c h is the w o r l d absolutely a n d unreservedly. lets us k n o w that we have not even begun to discover what it is to be many. To a certain extent. and " p h i l o s o p h y " as such. was not c o m p o s e d in an altogether sequential manner. however. " the f o r m of the ontological treatise ceases to be appropriate as soon as the s i n gular of B e i n g itself. t h e n . At least since Nietzsche. I hope to m a k e this necessity felt. to t h i n k i n g ( w h i c h also means: h o w does t h i n k i n g address itself to everyone. w i t h its address. repeatedly taking up several themes. apart f r o m the fact that I do not have the strength to deliver the treatise " o f the singular p l u r a l essence of B e i n g . since there are repetitions here a n d there. p h i losophy is at odds w i t h its " f o r m . finally. w i t h its "style. B u t this is the result of a f u n damental difficulty. a n d for all sorts of reasons that no d o u b t c o m e together in the reason I invoke. w i t h no m e a n i n g b e y o n d this very Bei n g of the w o r l d : singularly p l u r a l a n d p l u r a l l y singular? T h e first a n d p r i n c i p a l essay of this book. is the neutralization of address. is not my a m b i 1 t i o n . a n d therefore also of ontology. T h i s . even t h o u g h " l a terre des h o m m e s " is exactly this? 3 Preface W h a t if it lets us k n o w that it is itself the first l a y i n g bare [mise à nu] of a w o r l d that is o n l y the w o r l d . T h i s text does not disguise its a m b i t i o n of red o i n g the w h o l e of "first p h i l o s o p h y " by g i v i n g the "singular p l u r a l " of B e i n g as its f o u n d a t i o n . At the same time. but rather the necessity of the t h i n g itself and of our history. but rather in a discontinuous way. T h i s is n o t h i n g new. the subjectless discourse of . is in question. w h i c h gives it its title.XIV o p e n . At the very least. H o w does t h i n k i n g address itself to itself. w i t h o u t its being a matter of a "comprehension" or " u n d e r s t a n d i n g " that m i g h t be called " c o m m o n " ) ? H o w is t h i n k i n g addressed? ( T h e p h i l o s o p h i c a l treatise." w h i c h is to say.

B u t perhaps it is not an accident that language does not easily l e n d itself to s h o w i n g the " w i t h " as such. 2 ( B y the way. the logic of " w i t h " often requires heavy-handed syntax in order to say "being-with-one-another." [être-les-uns-avec-les-autres].) In this. what is the " d i alogue of the soul w i t h itself" that Plato talks about. a n d o u r a d dresses w i t h o u t addressees. better yet. ." Y o u m a y suffer f r o m it as y o u read these pages. an echo. more restricted. A treatise. w h i c h d e m o n strates that this question." A n o t h e r a m b i t i o n springs f r o m this or. for it is itself the address a n d not what must be addressed. the first two are c o n nected to the exact circumstances of the most v i o l e n t events of these last years. has always been part of our history? If t h i n k i n g is addressed.XVI Preface Being-Subject [l'Etre-Sujet] itself. or this worry. " o n my life I d i d not k n o w what it was to w i l l " (Nietzsche).w i t h one-another. another. t h i n k i n g addresses itself to the w o r l d . then it is because there is m e a n i n g in this address. repeated. and variable. an address that comes to us f r o m everywhere simultaneously. that is. N o r is it enough to dress discourse in the f o r m of an address (for me to address y o u w i t h the familiar " y o u " [tu] the w h o l e way through). T h e address means that t h i n k i n g itself addresses itself to "me" and to "us" at the same time. m u l t i p l i e d . attempt: to allow thinking's address to be perceived.) Put another way. o u r troubles." o f w i l l i n g t r u t h itself into presence: as if I c o u l d w r i t e to every addressee a seismographical account o f o u r upsets. the illusion of w i l l i n g the adequation o f " f o r m " a n d "content. Or I m i g h t say the f o l l o w i n g : w i l l i n g (or desire) is not a t h i n k i n g . w h i c h is what I w o u l d like to talk about. toward o u r addressingone-another. to things: to "us. insistent. T h e latter essays were chosen because their subjects converge w i t h that of the p r i m a r y essay. As y o u w i l l see. a reverberating shock. T h i s obeys the p r i m o r d i a l . to people. M y o n l y response i s n o : n o w i l l . therefore. is not sufficiently discursive. and not in discourse (but it is in the address of discourse). it is a disturbance. to history. gesturing o n l y t o w a r d "us" a n d t o w a r d our curious " b e i n g . o u r agitations. there is an illusion that lies in wait. ontological c o n d i t i o n of beingw i t h or being-together.

are in need of a n d w a i t i n g for it. nature. general p o w e r i n o p p o s i t i o n t o t h e i s o l a t e d i n d i v i d u a l . substance." used in this absolute way. h i s o w n l i f e . w i t h o u t reserve. F o r n o o n e c a n b e a r t h i s life a l o n e . the c o n t e m p o r a r y discourse on m e a n i n g goes m u c h further a n d in a completely different direction: it brings to light the fact that "meaning. the signification to w h i c h a state of affairs corresponds a n d c o m p a r e s — i s precisely what we say we . w i t h no m e a n i n g other than "us. has become the bared [dénudé] name of o u r being-with-one-another. B u t such regret does not have m e a n i n g o n l y in this negative mode. those w h o p r o d u c e thereby affirm their nature.) W h e t h e r it is aware of it or not. that we lack it a n d . i s the b e i n g o f e a c h i n d i v i d u a l . Regretting the absence of m e a n i n g itself has meaning. h i s o w n r i c h n e s s . h i s o w n a c t i v i t y .§ Of Being Singular Plural I t i s g o o d t o r e l y u p o n o t h e r s . were it there. rather t h a n a n abstract. d e n y i n g the presence of meaning affirms that one knows what m e a n i n g w o u l d be. as if to say that h u m a n s were the meaning (end. —Marx W e Are M e a n i n g It is often said today that we have lost meaning. a n d social b e i n g w h i c h ." T h i s does not m e a n that we are the content of m e a n i n g . or value) of Being. infinitely. T o say t h a t a m a n i s a l i e n a t e d f r o m h i m s e l f i s t o say t h a t t h e s o c i e t y o f t h i s a l i e n a t e d m a n i s t h e c a r i c a t u r e o f h i s real c o m m u n i t y . T h e meaning of this m e a n i n g — t h a t is. and keeps the mastery a n d truth of m e a n i n g in place (which is the pretension of the h u m a n i s t discourses that propose to "rediscover" meaning. h i s o w n joy. nor are we its f u l f i l l m e n t or its result. or history. because we ourselves are m e a n i n g — e n tirely. We do not "have" m e a n i n g anymore. h u m a n c o m m u n i t y . T h e "one" w h o speaks in this way forgets that the very propagation of this discourse is itself m e a n i n g f u l . —Hôlderlin S i n c e h u m a n nature i s the true c o m m u n i t y o f m e n . as a result.

dead. even where this c o m m u n i c a t i o n takes place o n l y between "me" a n d "myself. but m e a n i n g is the originary sharing of this t r u t h . is a gift that can be s u m m a r i z e d as follows: Being itself is given to us as meaning. c i r c u l a t i n g in the with a n d as the with of this s i n g u l a r l y p l u r a l coexistence. . as a result. plants. in fact. in their name. or finalize the brute givenness of " B e i n g " pure a n d s i m p l e . the givenness inherent to the very fact that we u n d e r s t a n d s o m e t h i n g w h e n we say "to be" (whatever it m a y be a n d however confused it m i g h t be). ' Instead. the p h e n o m e n o n of Bei n g . history and humanity. d o u g h .2 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 3 have lost. that is. the speaker is "in its place" and "according to its measure". those w h o expose sharing a n d c i r c u l a t i o n as such by saying "we. it is the spacing of m e a n i n g . nature. is what it is a n d does what it does o n l y insofar as it is c o m m u n i c a t e d . on behalf of it. and not because 2 m u l t i p l i c i t y of its d i v i s i o n . and it also speaks for them as well as in v i e w of them. . Language says the world. T h e " m e a n i n g of B e i n g " is not some property that w i l l come to qualify. before it. its o w n c i r c u l a t i o n — a n d we are this circulation. to be its meaning—which is all meaning) there w o u l d be an ultimate or first signification that all beings have in c o m m o n . O n l y the concept of "presence" contains the necessity of this d i v i s i o n . T h e least signification just as m u c h as the most elevated (the m e a n i n g of " n a i l " as well as the m e a n i n g of " G o d " ) has no m e a n i n g in itself a n d . T h i s is w h y what is called "the creation of the w o r l d " is not the p r o d u c t i o n of a pure something f r o m n o t h i n g — w h i c h w o u l d not. stones. at the same time (and this has all the values of p r o in Latin). fiber. there is no other m e a n i n g t h a n the m e a n i n g o f c i r c u l a t i o n . the speaker occurs as its representative but also. that we understand one another (however confusedly) w h e n we say it. is m e a n i n g that is. that is. . block. It c o u l d be expressed in the followi n g way: B e i n g cannot be a n y t h i n g b u t being-with-one-another. which means the speaker speaks to it. spacing. M e a n i n g begins where presence is not pure presence but where presence comes apart [se disjoint] in order to be itself as such. T h e nihil of creation is the truth of m e a n i n g . that there is no desperately p o o r there is presented w h e n one says that "there is a n a i l catching. The speaker speaks for the world. for all beings one by one. in their place. nails. including those who may not have a name. If one can p u t it l i k e this. Language says what there is of the world. crack. in order to lead the one who speaks. which does not speak but which is nevertheless—stone. all beings. B u t this c i r c u l a t i o n goes i n all directions at once. i m p l o d e i n t o the n o t h i n g out of w h i c h it c o u l d never have c o m e — b u t is the explosion of presence in the original ." M e a n i n g is its o w n c o m m u n i c a t i o n or its o w n c i r c u l a t i o n . everything past a n d future. " that is. fish. a n d breath. g o d s — a n d " h u m a n s . with it. alive. a l o n g w i t h the (same) givenness that is given w i t h this fact—cosubstantial w i t h the givenness of B e i n g a n d the understanding of B e i n g . in all the directions of all the space-times [les espace-temps] opened by presence to presence: all things. for n o t h i n g — is neither present nor absent. the one through whom language comes to be and happens ("man"). " B u t the givenness of B e i n g . T h e r e is no m e a n i n g if m e a n i n g is not shared. but because meaning is itselfthe sharing of Being. B u t we are m e a n i n g in the sense that we are the element in w h i c h significations can be produced and circulate." by saying we to themselves in all possible senses of that expression. Pure unshared presence—presence to nothing. a n d by saying we for the totality of all being. at the same time. all entities. it is the fact that there is no "brute givenness" of B e i n g . B e i n g itself. for every being. of nothing. (Let us say we for all being. and division of presence. Language speaks for all and of all: for all. each time in the singular of their essential plural. spacing as m e a n i n g a n d c i r c u l a t i o n . B e i n g does not have m e a n i n g . It is the explosion of nothing. exposed to it as to its own most intimate consideration. it loses itself in it and exposes how "in itself" it is a question of losing oneself in order to be of it. T h i s "as" presupposes the distancing. in order to make it a "world. in t u r n . "As such. It is the simple i m p l o s i o n of a being that c o u l d never have been—an i m p l o s i o n w i t h o u t any trace. in anticipation of it. inanimate. to all of being. fill i n .

that is. but i t moves o n l y insofar as it goes f r o m one p o i n t to another. a t h i n k i n g of m e a n i n g right at [à même] m e a n i n g . s l i p p i n g m o c k i n g l y away. we others 4 of the "eternal return. B e i n g itself as the absolute value in itself of all that is. we. It is a mat- . a t h i n k i n g we must repeat (even if it means calling it s o m e t h i n g else)." the affirmation of m e a n i n g as the repetition of the instant. but by exposing the absolute value that the w o r l d is by itself. " W e " says (and "we say") the u n i q u e event whose uniqueness and u n i t y consist in multiplicity. in this affirmation/request {re-petitid) seized in the letting go of the instant. but value as such. but the law of t o u c h i n g is separation. spacing is its absolute c o n d i t i o n . that "the" n o t h i n g circumscribes. A l l of being is in touch w i t h all of being. It is neither m e a n i n g [vouloir-dire] nor the g i v i n g of value [dire-valoir]. there is no intermediate and m e d i a t i n g " m i l i e u . n o t h i n g but this repetition. it is singular and plural in its very p r i n ciple. inexhaustible in the c i r c u m s c r i p t i o n that n o t h i n g circumscribes. n o t h i n g (since it is a matter of the repetition of what essentially does not return). no bridge. It does not have a final f u l f i l l m e n t any more t h a n it has a p o i n t of o r i g i n . its existence. it is that w h i c h is at the heart of a c o n n e c t i o n . T h i s is we as the b e g i n n i n g a n d end of the w o r l d . We must reappropriate what already made us w h o "we" are today. at the m o m e n t at w h i c h I am w r i t i n g . B u t it is a repetition already c o m p r i s e d in the affirmation of the instant. even better. Existence is with: otherwise n o t h i n g exists. affirmation abandoned in its very movement. it is the heterogeneity of surfaces that t o u c h each other. then this " c o m i n g " penetrates n o t h i n g . a n d as a result. C i r c u l a t i o n — o r e t e r n i t y — g o e s i n all directions. here and now. F r o m place t o place. essentially accidental." as its name implies. the "we" of a w o r l d w h o no longer struggle to have m e a n i n g but to be m e a n i n g itself. not by setting a price or value. There is proximity. bit by bit and case by People Are Strange Everything. w i t h o u t any progression or linear path. has neither a consistency nor c o n t i n u i t y of its o w n . then. It is the originary p l u r a l i t y of origins a n d the creation of the w o r l d in each singularity. but o n l y to the extent that extreme closeness emphasizes the distancing it opens up. It is an i m p o s s i b l e t h o u g h t . It does not lead f r o m one to the other. taki n g m y thoughts w i t h it. no cement.4 Being Singular Plural C i r c u l a t i o n goes in all directions: this is the Nietzschean thought Being Singular Plural 5 case. " M e a n i n g is not a m i l i e u in w h i c h we are immersed. it constitutes no connective tissue. F r o m one singular to another. moreover. there is c o n t i g u i t y but not c o n t i nuity. a t h i n k i n g that does not h o l d itself back f r o m the c i r c u l a t i o n it t h i n k s . Contact is beyond fullness a n d emptiness. T h a t w h i c h does not m a i n t a i n its distance f r o m the "between" is o n l y i m m a n e n c e collapsed i n o n itself a n d deprived o f m e a n i n g . a b r o w n and-white cat is crossing the garden. or the crossingthrough [passages] of presence. ing. T h e r e is no mi-lieu [between place]. but this absolute value as the being-with of all that is itself bare and impossible to evaluate. it falls short of b o t h .) It is in this way that the t h i n k i n g of the eternal return is the i n augural thought of our contemporary history. but that is said in every saying: in other words. "meaning" w h i c h is the meaning of B e i n g only because it is B e i n g itself. If "to come into contact" is to begin to make sense of one another. T h e "between" is the stretching out [distension] a n d distance opened by the singular as such. the interlacing [Yemrecroisment] of strands whose extremities r e m a i n separate even at the very center of the k n o t . its t r u t h . We make sense [nous faisons sens]. F r o m n o w o n . it is neither connected nor unconnected. histories) that there is a t a k i n g place of m e a n i n g . where its eternity occurs as the t r u t h of its pass3 are charged w i t h this t r u t h — i t is more ours than e v e r — t h e truth of this paradoxical "first-person plural" w h i c h makes sense of the w o r l d as the spacing a n d i n t e r t w i n i n g of so m a n y worlds (earths.'' T h i s "between. (For instance. passes between us. Perhaps it is not even fair to speak of a "connection" to its subject. a n d f r o m m o m e n t t o m o ment. as its spacing of m e a n i n g . affirming the passing of presence and itself passing w i t h it. skies. creation c o n t i n u e d in the disc o n t i n u i t y of its discrete occurrences. " W o r l d " does not mean a n y t h i n g other than this " n o t h i n g " that no one can "mean" [vouloir dire]. b e y o n d c o n n e c t i o n a n d d i s c o n nection.

a c c o r d i n g to the singular t u r n of its affirmation. " B u t what is an affect." It is not a "fact" and has n o t h i n g to do w i t h any sort of evaluation. "People" indicates everyone else. dispersed. a t o u c h of m e a n i n g . T h e other o r i g i n is i n c o m parable or inassimilable. there is the repetition of the touches of m e a n i n g . inaudible s e n s e — t h e very m e a n i n g o f Being). w h i c h is being in a transitive sense of the verb (an unheard of. R i g h t away. It is not an other Being. a n d indeed massive) and disseminated singularity (these or those "people(s). or races [gentes] f r o m w h i c h the speaker removes himself. " P e o p l e " are silhouettes that are b o t h imprecise a n d singularized. We say "people are strange. I say "that is. if not each time a faint outline? W h a t is a singularity. absolutely heterogeneous repetition opens up an i r r e d u c i b l e strangeness of each one of these touches to the other. always touched u p o n . repetition is the c o n d i t i o n of affirmat i o n ." or "a guy.) T h e w o r d "people" does not say exactly the same t h i n g as the H e i d e g g e r i a n " o n e . not because it is s i m p l y "other" but because it is an origin and touch of meaning. each one of w h i c h is " m i n e " in turn. T h e o r i g i n is affirmation. but he does not pose the other inevitable question that must be asked in order to discover who gives this response a n d w h o . " but of a k i n d that has its existence o n l y as numerous. c o n fused. i n d i s t i n c t l y persons. " "a k i d " ) . its d i s t i n c t i o n . because the design a t i o n is so g e n e r a l — a n d this is exactly the p o i n t — t h a t it i n evitably turns back a r o u n d on the speaker. one w i t h the other. he risks neglecting the fact that there is no pure a n d simple "one. Y o u 6 cludes h i m s e l f in the a n o n y m i t y of the "one. Or rather." "a g i r l . W i t h the 8 9 w o r d "one. ("Beside h i m s e l f " ["a côté de ses p o m pes" ]. a n d ." I i n c l u d e myself in a certain way in this strangeness." n o "one" i n w h i c h "properly existing" existence [l'existant "proprement existant"] is. and brings i n t o play the p l u r a l i t y of the "each t i m e " of every touch of m e a n i n g . but by no means the one in the other. purely a n d s i m p l y immersed. "People" clearly designates the m o d e of "one" by w h i c h " I " remove myself." T h i s phrase is one of our most c o n 7 stant a n d r u d i m e n t a r y o n t o l o g i c a l attestations. the i m m i n e n c e of a "propriety" or propriety itself as i m minence. T h e c o m e d y of this expression is no ac10 are absolutely strange because the w o r l d begins its turn with you. all of a c o m m o n " k i n d . if not each t i m e its " o w n " clearing." In any case. T h i s i n c o m m e n s u r a b l e . as the saying goes. w h i c h w o u l d be something other than one or the other (another essence. another nature. the alterity of the other is its originary c o n t i g u i t y w i t h the "proper" o r i g i n . moreover. Since I say that "people are strange.6 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 7 ter of one or the other. one a n d the other. f r o m the start. it is the singular of B e i n g by w h i c h the being is. not the a n o n y m o u s chatter of the " p u b l i c d o m a i n . he removes h i m s e l f in a very particular sort of way. In fact. on m e u r t " ] . a n d indeterminate in its generality. one dies" ["on naît. designated as the i n d e t e r m i n a t e ensemble of p o p u l a t i o n s . if not each time a pattern? A voice. faint outlines of voices. removes h i m s e l f or has a tendency to remove himself. then. always beside. that is. h u m a n s . I can say "someone said to me" ["on m'a dit"] or else " i t is said that" ["on dit que"] or else "that is h o w it is d o n e " ["c'est c o m m e ça q u ' o n fait"] or else "one is b o r n . in responding like this." it is not always certain whether or not the speaker i n - cident. a diffuse or infuse generality)." F o r example. whether it masks an anxiety or liberates the laughter . w h i c h m e a n i n g demands. T h e touch o f m e a n i n g brings i n t o play [engager] its o w n singularity. "People" clearly states that we are all precisely people. As a result. its " o w n " i m minence. F r o m one to the other is the syncopated repetit i o n of origins-of-the-world. always l i g h t l y touched: revealing itself beside. " even if it is p a r t l y a m o d e of it. to the p o i n t of appearing to forget or neglect the fact that I myself am part of "people. if not each time a sketch? A c o m p o r t m e n t . w h i c h are each time one or the other. this setting apart [mise à l'écart] does n o t o c c u r w i t h o u t the r e c o g n i t i o n of identity. It is a singularity t a k i n g refuge in its affirmation of B e i n g . that it is. Heidegger understood that "one" w o u l d o n l y be said as a response to the question "who?" put to the subject of Dasein. (Nevertheless. patterns of c o m p o r t m e n t . it is not certain that it is always the case that the "one" speaks of h i m s e l f ( f r o m a n d about h i m s e l f ) . T h i s existence can o n l y be grasped in the paradoxical s i m u l t a n e i t y of togetherness ( a n o n y m o u s . These uses are not equivalent a n d . lineages. sketches of affects. it says a great deal. or it is of Bei n g . " m i n e " as well as all the others.

T h i s is u n d o u b t e d l y w h y people so often make the j u d g m e n t "people are strange" or "people are i n credible. " S o m e o n e " here is u n d e r s t o o d in the way a person m i g h t say "it's h i m all right" about a p h o t o . they are not o n l y " i n d i v i d u a l . It is never the case that I have met Pierre or M a r i e per se. whatever the " t y p i c a l " traits are. T h i s is w h y the Heideggerian "one" is insufficient as the initial understanding o f existentielle "everydayness. a question of the tendency (however evident) to set up o u r o w n habitus as the n o r m . it is an affirmation of the w o r l d . but I have met h i m or her in s u c h a n d such a " f o r m . twists. " but i n f r a i n d i v i d u a l . These are no less i m p o r t a n t . T h e y do not differ f r o m an archetype or a generality. d e n i e s — f r o m the newborn to the c o r p s e — i s neither p r i m a r i l y "someone close. T h e w o r l d always appears [surgit] 11 each time according to a decidedly local t u r n [of events].8 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 9 of the ignorant. that is. indeed every day." A n d there w o u l d be no more interest or hospitality. attitudes." and we exist there. W i t h o u t this p r e c i p i t a t i o n there w o u l d be. Likewise "people. a n d the statistical. generational. cultural. each time. " It is an o r i g i n . As for singular differences. w h i c h produces no result. desire or disgust. T h i s very h u m b l e layer of our everyday experience contains a n - other r u d i m e n t a r y ontological attestation: what we receive (rather than what we perceive) w i t h singularities is the discreet passage of other origins of the world. an evasion. a n d c o n d u c t . there w o u l d be no first attestation of existence as such. whether the singularity of the diversity a n d disparity of our senses or that of the d i s c o n c e r t i n g p r o f u s i o n of nature's species or its various . an o d d i t y presented as the rule itself. whose particular patterns constitute another level of singularity. q u i t e s i m p l y . " in s u c h a n d such a "state. in the sense of "to" and "along w i t h . or even p r i m a r i l y . " the totality of beings. T h e typical traits (ethnic." It is not only. do not abolish singular differences. it is the t u r n i n g of the w o r l d — e a c h time singular. irreducibly a n d p r i m a r i l y — a n d a n e x p o s i t i o n o f s i n g u l a r i t y that experience claims t o c o m m u n i c a t e w i t h ." given the irreducible strangeness that constitutes them as such. a n d its totality consist in a c o m b i n a t i o n of this reticulated m u l t i p l i c i t y . W i t h o u t this attestation." nor a "stranger. F r o m faces to voices. banal p h o t o — s i m u l t a n e o u s l y reveals singularity. A "day" is not s i m p l y a u n i t for c o u n t i n g . It is necessary to uncover a more p r i m i t i v e level of this particular j u d g m e n t . gestures. its uniqueness. A n d days. everyone d i s t i n guishes h i m s e l f by a sort of s u d d e n a n d h e a d l o n g p r e c i p i t a t i o n where the strangeness of a singularity is concentrated. no matter w h o or what it m i g h t be for. a n d our curiosity about one another. i n stead. day to day. capable of relating o n l y to the "instantaneous" grasping of an instant that is precisely its o w n gap. leans. c o u l d not be similar if they were not first different. the a n o n y m o u s . and so forth). its polym o r p h y and its polyphony. but they can o n l y constitute themselves in relation to the differentiated singularity that the everyday already is by itself: each day. W h a t occurs there. m a k i n g adequate what is inadequate. T h e p h o t o — I have in m i n d an everyday.) " I " take refuge in an exception or d i s t i n c t i o n w h e n I say "people. expressing by this "all right" the covering over of a gap." nor "someone s i m i l a r . a n d an e m p t y i n g out of what is closest. " a n d so o n . its i n t i m a t e discord. " N a t u r e " is also "strange. they b r i n g t h e m i n t o relief. it is always a matter of an escape." Heidegger confuses the everyday w i t h the undifferentiated." or rather "peoples. a n d we k n o w that the w o r l d has no other o r i g i n than this singular m u l t i p l i c i t y of origins. O n e cannot affirm that the m e a n ing of B e i n g must express itself starting f r o m everydayness a n d then begin by neglecting the general differentiation of the everyday. one where what is apprehended is n o t h i n g other than singularity as such. although in just as obscure a way. difference itself. w h a t bends. social. its constantly renewed rupture. we exist in it in the m o d e of a constantly renewed singularity. Its unity. T h e p r i n c i p l e o f indiscernability here becomes decisive." but I also confer this d i s t i n c t i o n on each a n d every person." nor an "other. banality. addresses." in such a n d such a " m o o d . its relief a n d its variety. N o t o n l y are all people different but they are also all different f r o m one another. are themselves p r i m a r i l y the exposing of the singularity according to w h i c h existence exists. dress. n o "someone. of the nonessence a n d non-subsistence-byitself that is the basis of being-oneself.

lost.t h e . the totality of its "ordinariness. then what exceeds i n t i m a c y in inferiority is the distancing of m e a n i n g . T h e alterity of the other is its being-origin.t h a n . T h e "outside" of the o r i g i n is " i n s i d e " — i n an inside more interior than the extreme interior. We do not gain access. in t u r n (where all o u r turns are simultaneous as well as successive. T h u s . is indefinitely supplemented by the o r i g i n . because this being w o u l d then have to be s o m e t h i n g other than itself in order to have its o r i g i n in its o w n t u r n . the exception is the rule. In the same way. H e g e l was u n doubtedly the first to have this properly m o d e r n consciousness of the v i o l e n t paradox of a t h i n k i n g whose o w n value is as yet u n heard of. It is in the indefinite p l u r a l i t y of origins a n d their coexistence." If intimacy must be defined as the extremity of coincidence w i t h oneself. the other o r i g i n Basque or A r a b i c . T h i s ord i n a r y grayness. but with it. " "curious." is "one" a m o n g m a n y insofar as they are m a n y . that is. that is. in its very diversity a n d contingency. it is not a q u e s t i o n of an aliud or an alius. one a m o n g all a n d one among us a l l . that is. T h e theme of scientific curiosity is no less suspect if it boils d o w n to a collector's preoccupation w i t h rarities. but of an alter. it is a question of the alterity or alteration of the w o r l d . as such. a n d elegance. g a i n i n g access to the o r i g i n . t r u t h can be n o t h i n g if not the t r u t h of being in totality. T h e " o r d i n a r y " is always exceptional. this is the most i m m e d i a t e i m p o r t a n c e of Kant's destruction of the ontological argument. Conversely. there is a sense of valor." this "lowercase other. the insignificance of the e v e r y d a y — w h i c h the H e i d e g g e r i a n "one" s t i l l bears the m a r k o f — a s s u m e s an absent. " where no one of us can be " a l l " and each one of us is. " It is not a question of an O t h e r (the inevitably "capitalized O t h e r " ) 14 than the w o r l d . the necessity of existence is given r i g h t at the e x i s t i n g of all existences [l'exister de tout l'existant].w o r l d . a n d it is each time one." "disconcerting" about all of being. c o m m a n d i n g presence.) G a i n i n g Access to the O r i g i n As a consequence." just as m e a n i n g can o n l y be right at [à même] existence a n d n o where else. we do not identify w i t h it. or an other in general as the essential stranger w h o is o p posed to what is proper. but it is a being-other than every b e i n g for a n d in crossing through [à travers] all b e i n g . we say "strange. in a sense that must be elucidated here a n d is n o t h i n g other than the m e a n i n g of originary coexistence. we do not identify ourselves in . that is. (Is this not the testimony of the arts a n d literature? Is not the first a n d o n l y purpose of their strange existence the presentation of this strangeness? After a l l . a n d reciprocally. 1 3 entering i n t o of the same w o r l d . W h a t this means is that we do not gain access to the o r i g i n : access is refused by the origin's concealing itself in its multiplicity. more interior than the intimacy of the w o r l d a n d the i n t i m a c y that belongs to each "me. the originarity of the o r i g i n is its being-other. In other w o r d s . "we" is always inevitably "us a l l . in the etymology of the w o r d bizarre) whether the w o r d comes f r o m 1 it or as it. or an alienus. T h e m o d e r n w o r l d asks that this truth be thought: that m e a n i n g is right at. " T h i s "other. a n d whose d o m a i n is the grayness of the w o r l d . it is each one. In no way does this constitute a supplementary Being. W i t h existence l a i d open in this way and the m e a n i n g of the w o r l d being what it is." " o d d . desire for the exception presupposes disdain for the ordinary. It is supplemented in itself a n d . T h e w o r l d has no supplement. the originarity of the origin is not a property that w o u l d distinguish a being f r o m all others. comes d o w n to exposing oneself to this t r u t h . W h a t we receive most c o m m u n a l l y as "strange" is that the o r d i n a r y itself is originary.10 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 11 metamorphoses i n t o "technology. T h i s is the most classic of God's aporias. a n d the p r o o f of his nonexistence. In b o t h cases. w h i c h can be deciphered in a quasi-literal m a n n e r . we do not penetrate the o r i g i n . T h i s follows as an essential consequence: the being-other of the o r i g i n is not the alterity of an " o t h e r . M o r e precisely. T h e m e s o f " w o n d e r " a n d the "marvel o f B e i n g " are suspect i f they refer to an ecstatic mysticism that pretends to escape the w o r l d . "one of the t w o . however little we understand its character as o r i g i n . In fact." Yet." T h e n again. in every sense). or far away "grandeur. one among them.

Its negativity is neither that of the abyss. being-in-oneselfoutside-oneself. " but w h i c h we make explicit. Its "negativity" changes m e a n i n g . " tailles p h r a s e .with. but rather the action acc o r d i n g to w h i c h what K a n t calls "the [mere] p o s i t i n g of a t h i n g " 1 5 stitutes the "capitalization" of the " O t h e r . w h i c h is the reverse of the dialectical mode. b e h i n d the " w i t h " o f coexistence. where the subject must rejoice in its negation. nor of the veiled or the concealed. A single being is a c o n t r a d i c t i o n in terms. Il. we get there. it is to be properly exposed to it. but instead corresponds to the m o d e of B e i n g w h i c h is that of disposition/coappearance a n d w h i c h .w i t h . all appearance is co-appearance [com-parution]. . . B u t . . We have access exactly in the m o d e of h a v i n g access. a coexistence of origins.p o s i t i o n of the w o r l d . we touch the o r i g i n . the o r i g i n is neither "missable" nor appropriable (penetrable. . It forms the proper a n d necessary status a n d consistency of originary alterity as such. b u t instead the m o d e of being-together or b e i n g . is not at all accidental. than its being discrete. nor one a n d the other. considering the appearing that takes the place of a n d takes place in the p o s i t i o n . "] is B a - the a m b i g u i t y of w h i c h I repeat even t h o u g h I use it in another way (in Bataille. all forms of the capitalized " O t h e r " represent precisely the exalted a n d overexalted m o d e of the p r o p r i ety of what is proper. is a form of the O t h e r . S u c h a being. or its d i s t i n c t i o n from. A l l forms o f the "capitalized O t h e r " presume this alienation f r o m the proper as their o w n . N o r does it have to operate in a mystical m o d e . T h e outside is inside. " that is. nor that of the unpresentable. then not gaini n g access to the o r i g i n takes on another m e a n i n g . like P r i n c i p l e . w h i c h w o u l d be its o w n f o u n d a t i o n . T h e o r i g i n is together w i t h other origins. T h i s is w h y the m e a n i n g of B e i n g is given as existence. As a matter of fact. at the threshold. Perhaps everything happens between loss and a p p r o p r i a t i o n : neither one n o r the other. In b o t h of these. it is our d i s p o s i t i o n a n d our co-appearance. m u c h more simply. We reach it to the extent that we are in t o u c h w i t h ourselves a n d in touch w i t h the rest of beings. w h i c h we make explicit." and there is no other secret to discover b u r i e d b e h i n d this very touching. this is exactly what c o n - ["À la vérité. w h i c h persists a n d consists in the "somewhere" of a "nowhere" a n d in the "sometime" of a "no t i m e . and intimacy. in every sense that this expression can have here. it is no accident that we use the w o r d " i n t i macy" to designate a relation between several people more often than a relation to oneself. absorbable). nor of the f o r b i d d e n . every p o s i t i o n is also dis-position. " ( T r u l y ) we have access (to the t r u t h ) . for the totality of beings. as a being-many. we are on the b r i n k . in the dialectical m o d e where the subject must retain in itself its o w n negation (since it is the negation of its o w n origin). "To r e a c h 18 [toucher] the e n d " is again to risk missing it. although no less. 6 takes place ("is"). o r i g i n a l l y d i v i d e d . is neither negative n o r positive. O u r b e i n g . in the mathematical sense. " its u n i f i e d a n d b r o k e n transcendence. strictly s p e a k i n g . it is the spacing of the d i s . To reach the o r i g i n is not to miss it. in this way. Since it is not another t h i n g (an aliud). o r i g i n . w o u l d be incapable of Being. If the o r i g i n is i r r e d u c i b l y p l u r a l . We are in t o u c h w i t h ourselves insofar as we exist. negativity is given as the aliud. in the punctum aeternum outside the w o r l d . B e i n g in touch w i t h ourselves is what makes us "us. . We have access to the truth of the o r i g i n as m a n y times as we are in one another's presence a n d in the presence of the rest of beings. we " h u m a n s . The plurality of beings is at the foundation [fondment] of Being. In other words. nous accédons . as I have said. b u t m u c h more strangely t h a n that. other (at least possible) positions.12 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 13 coincidence itself. It need not operate. or its d i s t i n c t i o n among. it is not converted i n t o positivity. a n d . " B e i n g " is neither a state nor a quality. where alienation is the process that must be reversed in terms of a reappropriation. in the sense of with. other positions. it precedes the affirmation of an i m mediate loss of access). T h e very simplicity of "position" implies no more. in the sense of between. nor one in the other. nor of the secret. we do have access to it. closest. It is a coexistence of the o r i g i n " i n " itself. It is the plural singularity of the B e i n g of being. 17 . because the origin is not an end. It does not obey this logic. and it is in no way the secondary and r a n d o m dispersion of a p r i m o r d i a l essence. . if it is the indefinitely u n f o l d i n g and variously m u l t i p l i e d i n t i m a c y o f the w o r l d . then. E n d .

each time singular. A q u i n a s . diffracted. but o n l y to a c o m i n g . then. A w o r l d is always as m a n y worlds as it takes to make a w o r l d . there is not a G o d w h o s i m p l y and easily conforms to the idea of a producer. in search of identification. T h i s is called "finitude" in Heideggerian terminology. W h a t counts in art." We do not have access to a t h i n g or a state. one c o u l d show h o w the m o t i f of creation is one of those that leads directly to the death of G o d u n derstood as author. (Hegel's restoration of the argument. untranslatable because it forms. on the contrary. it renders the "creator" indistinct f r o m its "creation. W h a t we are l o o k i n g for there. or a suspended movement. those w h o expose the w o r l d for the w o r l d ) . We have access to an access. it is the p l u r a l t o u c h i n g of the singular o r i g i n . a signification. access to the whole of the o r i g i n . " a substance or a procedure. the infinite singularity of access to t r u t h . T h i s ." just as he w i l l one day hide under the final expression of a dead face. the t u r n of the other access. Spinoza. spaced between us and between all beings. F i n i t u d e is the o r i g i n . a scent. this is surely the precise p o i n t at w h i c h the l i n k . but rather the c o m i n g of each presence of the w o r l d . there is n o t h i n g but the manner. one always finds that the theme of creation is burdened w i t h and misrepresented as a p r o b l e m of p r o d u c t i o n . what makes art art (and what makes h u m a n s the artists of the w o r l d . if one looks at metaphysics carefully. At the p o i n t where we w o u l d expect "somet h i n g . In the singularity that he exposes. is not an image. each t i m e . it is an access. but it exposes cosmogony for what it is: necessarily p l u r a l . " u n transportable." (It has to be said. but that. In fact. A r t always has to do w i t h cosmogony. that is. Presence is nowhere other t h a n in " c o m i n g to presence. W i t h respect to the question of o r i g i n . a t o u c h of color or tone. here." but presence itself is dis-position. is n o t h i n g but an elaboration of the concept of creation. that the distinctive characteristic of Western m o n o t h e i s m is not the positing of a single god. "Strangeness" refers to the fact that each singularity is another access to the w o r l d . it is an i n f i n i t y of origins. like in the photographs. and supreme being. each c h i l d that is b o r n has already concealed the access that he is "for h i m s e l f " a n d in w h i c h he w i l l conceal h i m s e l f " w i t h i n himself. is neither the " b e a u t i f u l " nor the "subl i m e " . a radiance. exactly because it is the b i r t h of a world (and not the c o n struction of a system). Malebranche. an access that is. by w h i c h they are what they are as arts: p l u r a l singulars? W h a t else are they but the exposition of an access c o n cealed in its o w n opening. Furthermore. " i n i m i t a b l e . contributes to rendering the concept of the "author" of the w o r l d untenable. or transition of the o r i g i n into origin. It is o n l y ever a question of the f o l l o w i n g : f u l l access is there. that is. l o o k i n g to see w h o m the c h i l d looks like. w h i c h conceals itself in the very gesture wherein it offers itself to u s — a n d whose concealing is the t u r n i n g itself. Is this not what interests us or touches us in "literature" a n d in "the arts"? W h a t else interests us about the d i s j u n c t i o n of the arts among themselves. it is all that. a n d to see if death looks like itself. in t u r n . the one to w h i c h Schelling assigned significant i m portance.'4 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 15 Access is " c o m i n g to presence. Descartes. an agile t u r n of phrase or folded mass. W h e t h e r in Augustine. " O r i g i n " does not signify that f r o m w h i c h the w o r l d comes. a p r i n c i p l e or an e n d . T h i s is what "the i m i tation of nature" has always meant. but rather the effacing of the d i vine as such in the transcendence of the w o r l d . in a general way. transmission. But it has become clear since then that "finitude" signifies the infinite singularity of meaning. it is neither "sensible manifestation" nor the " p u t t i n g into w o r k of t r u t h . The Creation of the W o r l d and Curiosity T h e concept of the "creation of the w o r l d " 1 9 represents the origin as originarily shared. but in a n other way: it is access to the scattered origin in its very scattering. or L e i b n i z . first cause. T h i s is w h y we scrutinize these faces w i t h such curiosity. We o n l y have access to o u r s e l v e s — a n d to the w o r l d . it is neither "purposiveness w i t h o u t a p u r p o s e " nor the " j u d g m e n t of taste". " U n d o u b t e d l y . a song. the spacing of singularities.) T h e distinctive characteristic of the concept of creation is not that it posits a creator. right up u n t i l the decisive moment of the ontological argument's downfall. an absolute p o i n t of translation. discreet.

If existence is exposed as such by humans. 21 It is necessary. on the contrary. this does not signify that a creator operates "starting f r o m n o t h i n g . s o m e t h i n g " f r o m w h i c h " ["d'où"] what is created w o u l d come [provenir]. w i t h respect to the question of destination. T h i s t h i n k i n g is in no way anthropocentric.I s l a m i c t h e o l o g i c o . to u n d e r s t a n d the theme of the " i m a g e of G o d " and/or the "trace of G o d " not according to the logic of a secondary i m i t a t i o n .i6 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 17 is forged that makes us unfailingly Jew-Greek in every respect. or the a m o n g . testifies less (and c e r t a i n l y never exclusively) to a p r o d u c t i v e power of G o d t h a n to his goodness a n d glory. T h e n o t h i n g . as it appears in any JewishC h r i s t i a n . or rather right at [à même] h u manity. then." If the n o t h i n g is not anything prior. that is. In h u m a n i t y . 11 cal cosmogonies. b u t the very o r i g i n [provenance]. but what speaks through its speech says the w h o l e of being. N o t only is the nihil n o t h i n g prior but there is also no longer a " n o t h i n g " that preexists creation. if creation is ex nihilo. " b u t is the dislocation a n d d i s . is n o t h i n g other than the dis-position of the appearing. creatures are the very brilliance [éclat] of God's c o m i n g to presence. In fact. If "creation" is indeed this singular ex-position of being.p o s i t i o n of the w o r l d (what S p i n o z a calls "the divine extension") as that o p e n i n g a n d possibility [ressource] w h i c h comes f r o m further away and goes farther. or advent. T h i s is the thought that is the most necessary for us to t h i n k . or configuration than that of the being-a-being [l'etre-étant] of all beings. C r e a t i o n takes place everywhere and a l w a y s — b u t it is this unique event. W h a t Heidegger calls "the ontico-ontological privilege" of Dasein is neither its prerogative nor its privilege [apanage]: it gets B e i n g on its way [// engage l'être]. In relation to s u c h power. b u t the B e i n g of Dasein is n o t h i n g other t h a n the B e i n g of being. this is no longer " d i v i n e . whatever this situation may be. T h e o r i g i n is a distancing. As a consequence. what is exposed there also holds for the rest of beings. it is the act of appearing [surgissement]. O n e can understand h o w the creation. or the disposition of its exposition: place as d i v i n e place. it is the beginning and e n d that tware. it does not put h u manity at the center of "creation". T h e r e is not. " each time appearing singularly. T h e simplest way to put this into language w o u l d be to say that h u m a n i t y speaks existence. however. on the one side. it is the very o r i g i n — insofar as this is understood o n l y as what is designated by the verb "to originate. Existence is creation. only on the condition of being each time what it is. It is a distancing that i m m e diately has the magnitude of all space-time and is also nothing other than the interstice of the i n t i m a c y of the w o r l d : the among-being [l'entre-étant] of all beings. of some t h i n g in general and of everything. " As a rich a n d c o m p l e x t r a d i t i o n demonstrates. then only the ex r e m a i n s — i f one can talk about it like t h i s — t o qualify creation-ina c t i o n . T h i s among-being itself is n o t h i n g but [a] being. but w h i c h also appears as that excess [démesure] w h i c h is impossible to totalize. an In creation. then its real name is existence. logically speaki n g . it transgresses [traverse] h u m a n i t y in the excess of the appearing that appears on the scale of the totality of being. but according to this other logic where " G o d " is itself the singular appearance of the image or trace. the divine as strictly local. our creation. w h i c h is itself no more than the w o r l d — b u t we w h o have reached this point precisely because we have thought logos (the self-presentation of presence) as creation (as singular c o m i n g ) .m y s t i c c o n f i g u r a t i o n . . movement. than any god. a n d has no other consistency. on the other. existence is exposed and exposing. that is. then we w i l l never gain access to w h o we are. If we do not succeed in t h i n k i n g it. then. then. ) In m y t h o l o g i 20 creatures are o n l y effects. it is the being-already-there of the already-there that is of concern. a n d d e s t i n a t i o n . it signifies that the "creator" itself is the nihil'. the appearing or arrival [venue] in nothing ( i n the sense that we talk about someone appearing " i n person"). this is the p o i n t f r o m w h i c h we are sent i n t o the "global" space as such. this fact instead signifies t w o things: on the one h a n d . shares the singularities of all appearings. a god or demiurge makes a w o r l d starting f r o m a situation that is already there. w h i l e the love a n d glory of G o d are deposited right at [à même] the level of what is created. A n d . we w h o are no more than us in a w o r l d . infinitely farther. or being what it is o n l y "at each t i m e . It is being's infinite original singularity. it signifies that this nihil is not. Being.

"also" l i v i n g . on the other. this difference forms the concrete c o n d i t i o n of singularity. For h i m . as between us and the rest of the world.18 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 19 originary singularity and then. T h e difference between h u m a n i t y and the rest of being (which is not a concern to be denied. their states. if that is the case. and this pretension as such attests to the t r u t h of res extensa. "also" physio-chemical). w o u l d exist alone a n d w o u l d be for itself the o r i g i n a n d the t h i n g : this was s h o w n above to be contradictory. rem a i n s essentially "the w o r l d of h u m a n s ." A singularity is always a body. O n c e again. f r o m place to place. despite everything. this w o u l d not necessarily i m p l y a solipsism of h u m a n i t y : because. but it testifies to it without being able to gain access to posing of the world. understood as existence itself. is not a property of Dasein. w h i c h w o u l d not be a representation but rather an i m m e r s i o n in the thing-itself. curiosity is the frantic activity of passing f r o m being to being in an insatiable sort of way. and all bodies are singularities (the bodies. T h i s is w h y we are p r i m a r i l y a n d essentially curious about the w o r l d a n d about ourselves (where "the w o r l d " is the generic name of the object of this ontological curiosity). It is also not s u r p r i s i n g that for Descartes the reality of this w o r l d .w o r l d a n d the being-world of all being. nevertheless. T h e correlate of creation. their transformations). the proper space of its being-outi n . T h e representation of a spacing is itself a spacing. is a curiosity that must be understood in a completely different sense than the one given by Heidegger. their movements. exposes. this does testify to being-withone-another. Because he hardly doubts his body. Therefore. in exposing itself as singularity. as between all beings. Reality is always in each instant. w h i c h Dasein exposes for all being. the world is the exposure of humanity.t h e . each a n d every time present as i n i m itable. B e i n g is not the O t h e r . w i t h o u t ever being able to stop and think. . It i n trigues us because it exposes the always-other o r i g i n . then it is the representation itself that instructs me about what it necessarily represents to me. an irrefutable exteriority as my exteriority. " w h i c h is each t i m e the "I a m " of each one in t u r n [chaque fois de chacun à son tour]. the e n d is always b e i n g . W i t h o u t a doubt. " It is not so m u c h the w o r l d of h u m a n i t y as it is the w o r l d of the n o n h u m a n to w h i c h h u m a n i t y i s exposed a n d w h i c h h u m a n i t y . We w o u l d not be " h u m a n s " if there were not "dogs" and "stones. does not distinguish true existence f r o m a sort of subexistence." A stone is the exteriority of singularity in what w o u l d have to be called its mineral or mechanical actuality [litteralité}. a spacing of all other bodies a n d a spacing of "me" in "me. i n t u r n . it is neither the environment nor the representation of humanity. it is in the w o r l d insofar as the w o r l d is its o w n exteriority. this is the way in w h i c h there is no O t h e r . not a given). existence exposes the singularity of Being as such in all being. B u t it is necessary to go farther than this in order to avoid g i v i n g the impression that the w o r l d . while itself being inseparable f r o m other differences w i t h i n being (since m a n is "also" a n i m a l . always inapp r o p r i a t e and always there. is m a i n t a i n e d in B e i n g by the continuous creation on the part of this very G o d . Descartes h i m s e l f testifies to the exteriority of the w o r l d as the exteriority of his body. more or less given for our use. B u t I w o u l d no longer be a " h u m a n " if I d i d not have this exteriority " i n me. a simple being-there of things. An intuitus originarius. b u t the o r i g i n is the punctual a n d discrete spacing between us. about w h i c h G o d c o u l d not deceive me. w h i c h is exactly h o w the reality of res cogitans attests to itself in each "ego s u m . On the contrary. but the nature of w h i c h is. 25 We find this alterity p r i m a r i l y a n d essentially i n t r i g u i n g . Existence. therefore.t h e .i n . each time in t u r n . however far h u m a n i t y is f r o m being the e n d of nature or nature the e n d of h u m a n i t y (we have already tried all the variations of this f o r m u l a ) ." in the f o r m of the quasi-minerality of bone: I w o u l d no longer be a h u m a n if I were not a body. " C r e ation" signifies precisely that there is no O t h e r and that the "there is" is not an O t h e r . it is neither the end nor the ground of the world. T h i s is w h y h u m a n i t y is not " i n the w o r l d " as it w o u l d be in a m i l i e u (why w o u l d the m i l i e u be necessary?). he makes a fiction of d o u b t i n g it. Instead.w o r l d . it is the o r i g i nal singularity of B e i n g . O n e c o u l d try to formulate it in the f o l l o w i n g way: humanity is the ex- Even supposing one still w i s h e d to take the w o r l d as the representation of humanity.

however. however. l o s i n g sight o f what is in question returns us to the p r o b l e m in all its acuity after these twenty-eight centuries. the level on w h i c h we are p r i m a r i l y interested by what is interesting par excellence (the o r i g i n ) . in fact. in fact. It w i l l be necessary to return to this elsewhere. At this level. a shark. in fact. in the sense of having an affair w i t h it. that no ethics w o u l d be independent from an ontology. a n i m a l ." T h i s dis-position of history indeed makes there be a history . It is true. . a n d . . we look for the unique and exclusive o r i g i n . more than just a figure o f it. a n d not o n l y murder but also for an increase of cruelty a n d horror. relentlessness. a movement that does not reabsorb this singularity in a universality (or "universal history. the bookkeeping of the camps. and i n one place for all. (It follows." w h i c h is not past in the sense of being the starting p o i n t of a directed process. It is always a matter of expediting the transformation of the other into the O t h e r or m a k i n g the O t h e r appear in the place of the other. then. but if one really wants to u n d e r s t a n d it. If we do not have access to the other in the m o d e just described. it is m u t i l a t i o n . M a k i n g the other d i v i n e (together w i t h o u r v o l u n t a r y servitude) or m a k i n g it evil (together w i t h its exclusion or extermination) is that part of curiosity no longer i n terested in dis-position and co-appearance. carving up. then. T h i s occurs in the face of a n e w b o r n c h i l d . f r o m this inconsistent curiosity a n d also f r o m the attention that takes care of others (Fiirsorge). in order to either adopt it or reject it. but past in the sense of b e i n g a "curiosity" ["bizarrerie"] (the " G r e e k miracle") that is itself i n t r i g u i n g a n d . but others. or to give the origin to itself. w h i c h is like the tendency toward the intensification of murder. O n l y ontology. but seek to appropriate the o r i g i n — w h i c h is s o m e t h i n g we always d o — t h e n this same curiosity transforms itself into appropriative or destructive rage. may be ethical in a c o n sistent manner. we are interested in the sense of being i n t r i g u e d by the ever-renewed alterity of the origin a n d . massive a n d technological execution. leave me before its t u r n i n g . we have a "future" [avenir] a n d a "to come" [à venir]. a n d it is not a matter of retracing a process directed toward an e n d . it is not a matter of m a k i n g all these curious presences equal. if I may say so. T h i s is w h y such desire is a desire for murder. as s u c h . we have this "future" as a "past. a face encountered by chance on the street. once and for all.20 Being Singular Plural It Being Singular Plural 21 the existent o p e n i n g that characterizes Dasein in the " i n s t a n t . but rather has become the desire for the Position itself. therefore. the joy of agony. always outside the w o r l d . one ends up l o s i n g sight of what is in quest i o n — a n d r i g h t l y so. T h e r e is no sense of reconstituting a teleology here. T h u s . offered as s u c h a n d v a n i s h i n g in its passing. To the contrary. they a l l o w me to t o u c h it. they leave me before it. the mass grave. a pebble . It returns us to the question of the origin of our history. to disconnect the most p r i m i t i v e layer of curiosity.) is necessary. A s i s o n l y f i t t i n g . We no longer l o o k for a singularity of the o r i g i n in the other. W h e t h e r an other is another person." someone in any case). (It is no accident that sexual curiosity is an exemplary figure of curiosity and is. history clearly appears here as the m o v e m e n t sparked by a singular c i r cumstance. that the possibility of this m a d desire is contained in the very disposition of o r i g i n a r y interests: the d i s s e m i n a t i o n of the o r i g i n upsets [affole] the o r i g i n in "me" to exactly the same extent that it makes me curious about it. a matter of identifying the O t h e r a n d the origin itself. other beings are curious (or bizarre) to me because they give me access to the o r i g i n . are our originary interests. b u t instead reflects the i m p a c t of this singularity in renewed singular events. it is above all the glaring presence of a place a n d m o m e n t of absolute o r i g i n . T h i s desire is the desire to fix the origin. remains s t i l l "to come. T h e O t h e r is n o t h i n g more t h a n a correlate of this m a d desire." as M a r x a n d Nietzsche understood it). T h e other becomes the O t h e r according to the m o d e of desire or hatred. plant. or star. irrefutable. " 24 ulous execution. makes "me" a "me" (or a "subject.) As E n g l i s h [and French] allows us to say. that is. metic- Between Us: First Philosophy W h e n addressing the fact that p h i l o s o p h y is contemporaneous w i t h the G r e e k city. w h i c h is concealed each time. Or it is the massacre. an insect.

B u t we cannot understand this task unless we first understand what is most at stake in o u r history. the city. " any more than it is primarily "public space. Or instead. far more radically than M a r x c o u l d have. it is the task of u n d e r s t a n d i n g h o w the W e s t disappeared. "proper" to this "o/accident. contains the essence or m e a n i n g of this reciprocity: it is the c o m - m o n foundation of c o m m u n i t y . T h e city is not p r i m a r i l y " c o m m u n i t y . that we still understand the famous "political ani m a l " o f A r i s t o t l e : it is to presume that logos is the c o n d i t i o n o f community." Consequently. and as l o n g as philosophy is an appeal to the o r i g i n . L i k e w i s e .22 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 23 a n d not a processus (here as elsewhere. at the same time." but p h i l o s o p h y as p o l i t i c s ) — m i g h t very w e l l be what points to the singular s i t u a t i o n where our history gets under way a n d . Logos itself. It is " c o m m u n i t y " w i t h o u t c o m m o n o r i g i n . far f r o m being philosophy's subject or space. gives an i n d i c a t i o n of its o w n deconstruction a n d exposes this situation anew in another w a y .i n . e n gendering itself as "universal." of a plural singularity that is a n d is not. Heidegger's "history of B e i n g . A c c o r d i n g l y . where c o m m u n i t y . this h o r i z o n m i g h t be that w h i c h . its aporia. where the city is the space of this a r t i c u l a t i o n . it is a matter of b r i n g i n g to light this history's singularity as the disassembling law of its u n i t y a n d understanding that this law itself is the law of m e a n i n g . in t u r n . O n e can understand. not by r e c i t i n g the formulas of its generalized u n i f o r m i t y . p h i l o s ophy. because the situation itself is disjunctive. T h i s w o u l d appear to be t h e — p r o b l e m a t i c — lesson of history. is the c o n d i t i o n of h u m a n i t y . at the same t i m e . p h i l o s o p h y is the p r o b l e m of the city. in t u r n . T h a t being the case. for its part. it is its subject or space in the m o d e of being its problem. the t r a d i t i o n p u t f o r w a r d a representation a c c o r d i n g to w h i c h p h i l o s o p h y a n d the city w o u l d be ( w o u l d have been. But it is a disjunctive exposition." A n d one must u n d e r s t a n d that this f o r m i d a b l e q u e s t i o n is n o n e other than the q u e s t i o n of " c a p i t a l " (or of "capitalism"). W e s t e r n a c c i d e n t — " b e c a m e " what one m i g h t call " g l o b a l " or "planetary" w i t h o u t . where p h i l o s o p h y is the p r o d u c t i o n of their c o m m o n logos. A c c o r d i n g to different versions." . as well as f r o m the representation of a teleological history of its overc o m i n g or rejection. In other words. and/or it is to presume that each of these three terms draws its u n i t y a n d consistency from [its sharing] a c o m m u n i c a t i o n of essence w i t h the other two (where the w o r l d as such remains relatively exterior to the whole affair. as the gathering of the logikoi.c o m m o n as the dis-position (dispersal a n d disparity) of the c o m m u n i t y represented as f o u n d e d in interioriry or transcendence. as the articulation of logos. T h e task is to understand h o w h i s t o r y — a s a singular. whereas technë s u b o r d i nates itself to both). p r e s u m i n g that nature or physis accomplishes itself in h u m a n i t y u n d e r s t o o d as logos politikos. or deconstruction." T h e city is at least as m u c h the b r i n g i n g to light of b e i n g . can appeal to the o r i g i n only on the c o n d i t i o n o f the dis-position o f logos (that is. is its p r o b lem. If one wants to give a f u l l account of " c a p i t a l " — s t a r t i n g f r o m the very first moments of history that began in the merchant c i t i e s — t h e n it is necessary to remove it. blocks access to this situation. then. the H e g e l i a n m o d e l reveals itself as uncovering the truth by way of its exact opposite). according to different versions (whether strong or weak. in the course of its history. p h i l o s o p h y covers over the subject that is expected as "community. " and understand that our relation to this history is necessarily that of its Destruktion. Consequently. It is w i t h i n this u n i f o r m h o r i z o n . happy or unhappy) of this p r e d o m i n a n t mode of inquiry. 25 "Phi- losophy a n d p o l i t i c s " is the exposition [énoncé] of this situation. the city. is the subject of philosophy. is the foundation o f B e i n g . f r o m its o w n representation in linear a n d c u m u l a t i v e history. then. B u t this h o r i z o n — t h a t o f p o l i t i c a l p h i l o s o p h y i n the fullest sense (not as the " p h i l o s o p h y of politics. that is. is the subject of the city. w h i c h . Or else. by a n d through this "uniformity. but by u n d e r s t a n d i n g the expansion. must have been) related to one another as subjects. at the same time. o f the o r i gin as justified a n d set i n t o discourse): logos is the spacing at the very place of the o r i g i n . T h i s clearly supposes that such a task is as d e m a n d i n g a n d urgent as it is impossible to measure. w h a t is most at stake in philosophy. P h i l o s o p h y . but in a p r e d o m i n a n t l y u n i f o r m manner.

Instead.c o m m o n as distinct f r o m community. However. However. In order to do this." W h a t is lacking there is exactly It is "lacking" insofar as one attempts to take account of it w i t h i n the h o r i z o n of p h i l o s o p h i c a l politics. in the capitalist regime. I o n l y want to help to b r i n g out that the c o m b i n a t i o n philosophy-politics. O f t e n the result is that the d i s . it is a reconsideration of the very meaning o f " p o l i t i c s " — a n d . a n d that all p h i l o s o p h i c a l politics is a politics of exclusivity a n d the correlative e x c l u s i o n — o f a class. thereby. such a relation requires an essentializing procedure: sacrifice. w h i c h is its correlate." in the "base" sense of the term. existence is unsacrificable. the "social contract" is the denial or foreclosure of the origi n a r y d i v i s i o n [déliaison] between those singularities that w o u l d have to agree to the contract a n d .i n . concrete hete. simultaneously exposes and hides the dis-position of the origin a n d co-appearance. then.2 4 Being Singular Plural T h i s is w h y philosophical politics and political p h i l o s o p h y regu- Being Singular Plural *5 0 f b e i n g . at the same t i m e . " " c o m m u n i s m " was still not able to t h i n k b e i n g . M a r x ignores that the separation between singularities overcome and suppressed in this way is not. the urgent d e m a n d n a m e d above is not another political abstraction. to restart itself f r o m itself against itself. In this sense." 26 plural o f the o r i g i n . the situation of the dis-position of origins. Rousseau revealed the aporia of a c o m m u n i t y that w o u l d have to precede itself in order to constitute itself: in its very concept. w h i c h .c o m m o n . where. It is an ontology. If one looks carefully. the singular larly r u n aground on the essence of c o m m u n i t y or c o m m u n i t y as o r i g i n . one can find the place of sacrifice in all political p h i l o s o p h y (or rather. B u t I do not plan to propose an "other politics" under this heading. It is here that the critique of abstract rights comes to the fore. A l l of this is undoubtedly what is indicated by the w o r d that follows "equality" in the French republican slogan: "fraternity" is supposed to be the solution to equality (or to "equiliberty" ["égaliberté"]) the c o m m o n o r i g i n o f the c o m m o n . one w i l l find the challenge of the abstract.o r i g i n . in fact. T h e d e m a n d for equality. of a " c o m m u n i t y " — t h e p o i n t of w h i c h is to end up w i t h a "people. H o w e v e r powerful it is for t h i n k i n g the "real relation" a n d what we call the " i n d i v i d u a l . the singular p l u r a l o f the o r i g i n o f " c o m m u nity" itself (if one still wants to call this " c o m m u n i t y " ) . it nevertheless exposes. I am no longer sure that this t e r m (or the t e r m " p o l i t i c a l p h i l o s o p h y " ) can c o n tinue to have any consistency b e y o n d this o p e n i n g up of the h o r i zon w h i c h comes to us b o t h at the e n d of the l o n g history of our Western s i t u a t i o n and as the r e o p e n i n g of this s i t u a t i o n . but rather the constitutive separation of dis-position. i n all the force o f its being j o i n e d together. T h i s is the necessary "first philosophy" (in the canonical sense of the expression). w h i c h makes a sacrifice of concrete singularity). as l o n g as this continues to be a matter of an "egalitarian d e m a n d founded u p o n some generic identity. Rousseau a n d M a r x are exemplary i n their struggle w i t h these obstacles. T h e philosophico-political h o r i z o n is what links the dis-position to a c o n t i n u i t y a n d to a c o m m u n i t y of essence. 29 In this respect.p o s i t i o n is t u r n e d i n t o a matter of exclusion. O n c e this h o r i z o n is deconstructed. an accidental separation i m p o s e d by " p o l i t i c a l " authority. exhaust even the most egalitarian w i l l : rather. of an order. p r i m a r i l y signifies the real object o f a t h i n k i n g . volens nolens. it is almost i n d i c a tive of dis-position as such. B u t as singular o r i g i n . p h i l o s o p h y needs to equality w i l l never do justice [ne fait encore pas droit] to singularity or even recognize the considerable difficulties of wanti n g to do so. o f " p h i l o s o p h y " — i n light o f the originary situation: the bare exposition of singular origins. i n c l u d e d as exc l u d e d .i n . a n d absolute gesture. however. P h i l o s o p h y needs to recommence. p h i l o s o p h i c a l politics regularly proceeds according to the surreptitious appeal to a metaphysics of the o n e . i n t u r n . "draw it to a close. therefore. In order to be effective. against p o l i t i c a l p h i l o s o p h y and philosophical politics. the "concrete" that must oppose such abstraction is not made up p r i m a r i l y of empirical determinations." A l though assuredly more radical in his d e m a n d for the dissolution of politics in all spheres of existence (which is the "realization of p h i losophy"). in fact. then. the necessity of the p l u r a l singular of the o r i g i n comes i n t o p l a y — a n d this is already under way. a n d this real object is. is the necessary. ultimate. 2 8 27 by evok- ing or i n v o k i n g a "generic identity.

the history of B e i n g ." if one dare say a n y t h i n g about it. c o m p r o m i s e himself. T h e last "first philosophy. w i t h his involvement in a p h i l o s o p h i c a l politics that became c r i m i n a l . T h e themes of being-with and co-originarity need to be renewed and need to "reinitialize" the existential analytic. and how this c o n sists precisely in the " i n " or in the "between" of its spacing. I want to return to the issue of "first philosophy" in order to push it even further. T h e m e a n i n g of Being is not in play in Dasein in order to be " c o m m u n i c a t e d " to others. G i v e n this. this p u t t i n g into play (the "there w i l l be" of Being) can o n l y attest to itself or expose itself in the m o d e of being-with: because as relates to meaning." 31 B u t this surely does not say enough. in every sense. B u t if the m e a n i n g of Being indicates itself p r i n c i p a l l y by the p u t t i n g into play of B e i n g in Dasein a n d as Dasein. in revealing itself as what is at stake in the meaning of B e i n g . B e i n g is put into play a m o n g us." in the absolute sense of the expression. It is appropriate. the above "first philosophy" needs "to be made by all. the It is necessary to add here that there is a reason for this examination w h i c h is far more p r o f o u n d than what first appears to be a . but without c l a i m i n g to be the one w h o can fully acc o m p l i s h such an u n d e r t a k i n g . then. Dasein has already revealed itself as b e i n g . it is never for just one. in this way. " O n e speaks." is not even an isolated a n d u n i q u e "one.26 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 27 t h i n k in principle about h o w we are "us" a m o n g us. this is the m i n i m a l ontological premise. whether we k n o w it or not. B u t as it has often been said.) 30 simple "readjustment" of the Heideggerian discourse. it is about nothing less than the possibility of speaking "of Dasein'' in general. or of saying "the existing" or "existence. in a sort of return of Destruktion itself. understanding others t h r o u g h "me" a n d understanding "me" through others. T h e meaning of Being is never in what is s a i d — never said in significations. B u t it is also w h y its author was able to. B u t "one" or " i t " is never other than we. but always for one another. Or again: Being is put into play as the "with" that is absolutely i n d i s p u t a b l e . indicates to us that place f r o m w h i c h first p h i l o s o p h y must recommence: it is necessary to refigure fundamental o n t o l o g y (as well as the existential analytic. taking account of what is at stake in its political consequences. it does not have any other m e a n i n g except the dis-position of this "between. T h e understanding of B e i n g is n o t h i n g other than an u n derstanding of others. . it is m e a n i n g (but does not c o n struct meaning). each one. h o w the consistency of our Being is in b e i n g . T h i s very p o i n t . together.i n . t h e n . In other words.w i t h a n d reveals itself as such before any other explication. that is. despite this affirmative assertion of co-originariry. precisely as meaning. is given to us in Heidegger's fundamental ontology. I only want to indicate the p r i n c i p l e of its necessity. u n d e r s t a n d i n g of B e i n g already implies the understanding of others. far f r o m being either " m a n " or "subject." means " B e i n g is spoken"." "you. he gives up on the step to the consideration of Dasein itself. to examine the possibility of an explicit a n d endless exposition of co-originarity and the possibility of taking account of what is at stake in the togetherness of the ontological enterprise (and. and w h o speaks Being? i T h e reason that is foreshadowed has to do precisely w i t h speaking (of) B e i n g . then." Heidegger writes." but is instead always the one. w h i c h means. . Miteinandersein. Heidegger clearly states that being-with #1 {Mitsein. not by one. "Dasein's." W h a t w o u l d happen to philosophy if speaking about B e i n g in other ways than saying "we." and " I " became excluded? W h e r e is B e i n g spoken. since at its fullest. If this determination is essential. For the m o m e n t . f r o m being-with. a n d Mitdasein) is essential to the constit u t i o n of Dasein itself.c o m m o n . exactly because these are meant to respond to the q u e s t i o n of the meaning of B e i n g . T h e reason obviously goes m u c h farther than that. then it needs to attain to the co-originary dimension and expose it w i t h o u t reservation. in an unpardonable way." like the poetry of Maldoror. or to B e i n g as meaning. It is that w h i c h has p u t us on the way [chemin] to where we are. and the t h i n k i n g of Ereignis that goes along w i t h it) w i t h a t h o r o u g h resolve that starts from the plural singular of origins. it needs to be made absolutely clear that Dasein. B u t it is assuredly in t h e m that " i t is spoken. w i t h one another [l'un-avec-l autre]. From n o w o n . always between one another. its p u t t i n g i n t o play is identically being-with." " i t speaks. By d e f i n i t i o n a n d in essence.

T h i s p r o p o s i t i o n proposes n o t h i n g but the placement [la position] a n d d i s . . it is not an extrinsic a d d i t i o n to other existences. one of p h i losophy's peculiarities has been that it has been u n f o l d i n g this unique p r o p o s i t i o n . a n d never w i l l be. Being Singular Plural B e i n g singular p l u r a l : these three apposite words. Yet. C o n t r a r y to such meager evidence. it is less i m p o r t a n t to respond to the question of the m e a n i n g of B e i n g ( i f it is a q u e s t i o n . [what is exposed] is the bare a n d "content"-less web of " c o m m u n i c a t i o n . such an a f f a i r — i n every sense of the w o r d . a n d that we have to start again to understand o u r s e l v e s — o u r existence a n d that of the w o r l d . if its technologies are being proliferated. ) than it is to pay attention to the fact of its exhibition. there never has been. plural constitutes the essence of B e i n g . O n e c o u l d sayeven more s i m p l y that B e i n g is c o m m u n i c a t i o n . t h e n it is because s o m e t h i n g is exposed or laid bare.(of the telecom-. as if B e i n g is or has a certain n u m b e r of attributes. nor w i l l there ever be. T h e c o . In fact. because there is no p r i o r substance that w o u l d be dissolved. w h i c h do not have any d e t e r m i n e d syntax ("being" is a verb or n o u n . o u r being disposed in this way. because along w i t h the real difference between two "me's" is given the difference between things in general. w i t h its extens i o n for an essence a n d its spacing for a structure. It is its plural singularity. a constitution that undoes or dislocates every single. In a certain way. one of w h i c h is that of being s i n g u l a r . U n f o l d i n g this proposition. a n d if we do not a l ready basically respond every day a n d each time . all can be rearranged in different combinations). A w o r l d is not s o m e t h i n g external to existence. T h i s s o m e t h i n g coexists at least as m u c h as "me. it is our web or "us" as web or network. any [real] philosophical solipsism. or chiasmatic this m a y be. B e i n g is singularly plural and plurally s i n gular. in all of its senses. B u t it remains to be k n o w n what " c o m m u n i c a t i o n " is. . a p h i l o s o p h y " o f the subject" in the sense of the final [infinie] closure in itself of a for-itself. T h i s is not just a way of speaking. coexists because it exists.28 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 29 u n d e r s t a n d i n g of one another [des uns des autres}. then. substantial essence of B e i n g itself. an us that is reticulated a n d spread out. exactly because I can t h i n k of a possible existence: but the possible comes second in relation to the real. B u t one c o u l d object that there exists s o m e t h i n g [which does not first coexist]. i f one plays a r o u n d w i t h the theme o f the indistinctness between the "message" a n d the " m e d i u m " out of either a d i s e n c h a n t e d or j u b i l a n t fascination. the w o r l d is the coexistence that puts these existences together. o n l y what exists exists. if the " m e d i a t i z a t i o n " of the " m e d i a " brings a l o n g w i t h it an autoc o m m u n i c a t i o n a l vertigo. this in itself does not constitute a particular predication of B e i n g . is the o n l y t h i n g p h i l o s o p h y has to d o .i m p l i c a t i o n of existing [l'exister] is the sharing of the w o r l d . "singular" a n d " p l u r a l " are nouns or adjectives. b o t h in an i n distinct tfWdistinct way. the difference between my b o d y and m a n y bodies." u n d e r s t o o d as subjects-ofrepresentation. . To be more precise. it m i g h t be that we have understood n o t h i n g about the situation.p o s i t i o n of existence. We are "ourselves" too i n c l i n e d to see in this the o v e r w h e l m i n g d e s t i n y of modernity. F o r the m o m e n t . ' 2 T h a t w h i c h exists. B e i n g absolutely does not preexist. — i f its theories are flourishing. n o t h i n g preexists. 33 It w o u l d also be w o r t h a d d i n g that the above inference actually leads to a c o n c l u s i o n about an element of existence's p l u r a l i t y [un pluriel d'existence}: there exists s o m e t h i n g ("me") and another t h i n g (this other "me" that represents the possible) to w h i c h I relate m y self in order for me to ask m y s e l f if there exists s o m e t h i n g of the sort that I t h i n k of as possible." B u t this needs to be drawn out in the f o l l o w i n g way: there does n o t exist just these "me's. " O n e c o u l d say it is the bare web of the com. today. If " c o m m u n i c a t i o n " is for us. K a n t established that there exists s o m e t h i n g . T h i s variation on an older style of p h i l o s o p h i z i n g is o n l y meant to p o i n t out that there has never been. contradictory. . m a r k an absolute equivalence. the singular- .p l u r a l — h o w e v e r double. Ever since Parmenides. that is. a n d rightly so. because there already exists s o m e t h i n g r e a l . said w i t h an a c k n o w l edgment of its independence). B e i n g does not preexist its singular p l u r a l . whatever this m i g h t be. On the contrary.

Being singular plural means the essence of B e i n g is o n l y as c o essence. there is for the w h o l e of p h i l o s o p h y what is e x e m p l i - Being Singular Plural 3i the co-originarity of Mitsein u n t i l after having established the originary character of Dasein. in that he does not introduce To the contrary. T h e evidence as evidence owes its force. In this respect. because of this. in s u m . but rather consists in the collectivity [collégialité] as such. " 35 fied in Hegel's statement "the I is in essence a n d act the universal: a n d such partnership (Gemeinschafilichkeit) is a f o r m . or even more so. T h i s is not s i m p l y a matter of c l a r i f y i n g a s t i l l faulty exposit i o n . the "city" is not p r i m a r ily a f o r m o f political institution. in its very difference from the " i m p e r i a l " f o r m . the relation to another consciousness remains surreptitiously presupposed. In d o i n g so. it is absolutely necessary to reverse the order of p h i l o s o p h i cal e x p o s i t i o n ." where it appears that consciousness has not yet entered into relation w i t h another consciousness. " 34 It is well k n o w n that dialectical logic requires the passage t h r o u g h exteriority as essential to inferiority itself. this m o m e n t is nonetheless characterized by the language w i t h w h i c h consciousness appropriates for itself the truth of what is immediately sensible (the famous " n o w it is night"). so essential that it w o u l d no longer be a matter of relating this exteriority to any i n d i v i d u a l or collective "me" w i t h o u t also u n f a i l i n g l y a t t a i n i n g [maintenir] to exteriority itself and as such. it is also t h i n k i n g . even though this too is in its o w n way contemporaneous (once again. it can also be shown that when Hegel begins the Phenomenology of Spirit Wiû\ the m o m e n t of "sense certainty. instead. In relation to such an assemblage. Or rather. for the w h o l e of philosophy. designates the essence of the co-. a n d its claim to truth. the co. constitutively a n d co-originarily. coessentiality cannot consist in an assemblage of essences. then it is. It w o u l d be easy to produce many observations of this k i n d . at the same time and according . Nevertheless. it can be s h o w n that.w i t h as such.w i t h .o r i g i n a r i t y [soit réglé sur une co-originarité]. I am o n l y p r o p o s i n g to b r i n g to light a resource that is more or less obscurely presented t h r o u g h o u t the entire history of p h i l o s o p h y — and presented as an answer to the situation described above: p h i losophy begins w i t h a n d in " c i v i l " ["concitoyenne"] coexistence as such (which. where the essence of this assemblage as s u c h remains to be d e t e r m i n e d . Coessentiality signifies the essential sharing of essentiality. t h o u g h an external f o r m . T h i s c o u l d also be put in the f o l l o w i n g way: if B e i n g is being-with. . P h i l o s o p h y is. Ego sum = ego cum. In t u r n . in p r o p o s i n g to reverse the order of o n t o l o g i c a l e x p o s i t i o n . or being-with (being-with-many). Therefore. T h i s operates i n the same way as a collective [collégial] power: power is neither exterior to the members of the c o l lective [collège] nor interior to each one of them. even though this succession is contradicted by the u n d e r l y i n g [profonde] logic in question here. In fact. the assembled essences w o u l d become [mere] accidents. it is the " i n t e r i o r " a n d subjective f o r m of the " M e " that is needed in order to finish the project of finding itself a n d p o s i n g itself as the truth of the universal a n d its c o m m u n i t y . the evidence for the ego sum comes d o w n to. the necessary successivity [la successivité] of any exposition does not prevent the deeply set [profond] order of reasons f r o m being regulated by a c o .(the cum) itself in the p o s i t i o n or guise of an essence. across the w h o l e history of philosophy. . for w h i c h it has been a matter of course that the " w i t h " — a n d the other that goes along w i t h i t — a l w a y s comes seco n d . It is just as m u c h a question of d o i n g justice to the essential reasons for why. In fact. Even Heidegger preserves this order of succession in a remarkable way. it is p r i m a r i l y being-with as such. T h e same remark c o u l d be made about the Husserlian constitution of the alter ego. precisely to this possibility in each one of u s — o n e c o u l d say. .*' In this way. the " w i t h " is at the heart of B e i n g . beingw i t h is subordinated to B e i n g and.w i t h . coessence.30 Being Singular Plural However. as it were. its p o s s i b i l i t y in each one of Descartes's readers. in its b e i n g . the w i t h is not s i m p l y a n a d d i t i o n . w i t h i n this logic. the " w i t h " that constitutes B e i n g . the cum) w i t h the ego in the "single universal c o m m u n i t y . the copossibility. forces power to emerge as a p r o b l e m ) . what is left for us to h o l d o n t o is the m o m e n t of "exteriority" as b e i n g of almost essential value. For example. the t h i n k i n g of b e i n g . sharing in the guise of assembling. it is not the case that the " w i t h " is an addition to some p r i o r B e i n g . As a consequence. of u n i v e r s a l i t y .

Moreover. ": W h i c h one? We w i l l speak: W h o is this "we"? H o w can I say "us" for those of y o u w h o are reading this? H o w can I say "us" for me? A l t h o u g h this is what we are in the process o f d o i n g . . It also u n d o u b t e d l y offers the property of indivisibility. ( " O n e w i l l speak . therefore. or punctually indivisible. There w o u l d be no " i t is" a n d . T h e singular is a p l u r a l . but it is not indivisible the way substance is i n d i v i s i ble." w h i c h is about asking h o w far it is possible to take the t h i r d - Let us take up the matter again." nor the " c o m m u n i t y " (where these words o n l y give rise to problems). it becomes the first-person p l u r a l . As a result." Because there w o u l d no longer be a p o i n t of view that is exterior to being-together f r o m w h i c h it c o u l d be a n n o u n c e d that "there is" b e i n g a n d a b e i n g . whether w e are " i n accord" or not? H o w are we w i t h one another? A l l of this is to ask: W h a t is at play in o u r c o m m u n i c a t i o n . this "we" announces itself through h u m a n i t y for all the beings "we" are w i t h . As such. it is not indivisible like any particular is i n d i v i s i b l e . then. It is indivisible like any i n stant is indivisible. for existence in the sense of being-essentially-with. as in " i t is" or "there is. so that such a particular can only present its difference f r o m other particulars as numerical difference). since this assumes the togetherness of w h i c h the particular is a part. no longer the "I a m " that is subjacent to the a n n o u n c e m e n t of the " i t is. in its place a n d in light of it. as a B e i n g whose essence is the w i t h . T h e togetherness of singulars is singularity "itself. in its sentences." It "assembles" them insofar as it spaces t h e m . w i t h i n the event of its singularization. B e i n g in each instant [au coup par coup]. in general." T h e singular is p r i m a r i l y each o n e a n d . It is . nor the i n c o r p o r a t i o n [englobant]. a n d in the w h o l e s i t u a t i o n that m o r e or less gives t h e m some meaning? [ T h i s is the] q u e s t i o n of p h i l o s o p h y as " l i t e r a ture.3 2 Singular Plural Being Singular Plural an "ipseity" that is not the relation of a "me" to "itself. T h e singular is an ego that is not a "subject" in the sense of the relation of a self to itself. because it designates the "one" as belonging to "one by one. It is. w h e n it is.) A singularity does not stand out against the b a c k g r o u n d of Being. T h e task is to k n o w w h y a n d h o w this is s o . it w o u l d be necessary to t h i n k the third-person singular in the first person. its d i s t i n c t i o n f r o m other singularities ( w h i c h is different f r o m any concept of the i n d i v i d u a l . since an i m m a n e n t totality. In s u m . it is what is distinguished in the d i s t i n c t i o n .w i t h m i g h t no longer be able to say itself in the t h i r d person. shock. instead. a singularity is indissociable f r o m a plurality. w h i c h attests to the fact that B e i n g o n l y takes place in each instant. being-with is Being's own most problem. in this b o o k . T h e c o n cept of the singular i m p l i e s its s i n g u l a r i z a t i o n a n d . O n c e again. k n o c k . H e r e again. they are " l i n k e d " insofar as they are not unified. it is." T h e t r u t h of the ego sum is the nos sumus. w i t h o u t an other. it is also always an instance of " w i t h " : singulars singularly together. In L a t i n . what is discreet in the discretion. h o w d o w e t h i n k together. 37 38 It is n e i - ther "me" nor " y o u " . i n d i v i s i b l e i n each instant [au coup par coup]. E a c h time.w i t h of beings. therefore. it is fairly easy to see to what extent these features answer to those of the Cartesian ego sum. the term singuli already says the p l u r a l . b u t o n the c o n d i t i o n o f pars pro toto: the singular is each time for the whole. also with a n d among all the others. therefore. ." 33 to this very s u b o r d i n a t i o n .o n e another [étant l'un-avec-lautre]. nor the "society. w o u l d be a perfect i n d i v i d u a l . beating. is always asserting [de faire valoir] its problem as the very p r o b l e m of B e i n g . (If h u m a n i t y is for being in totality in the way I have tried to present it. an access). w h i c h is to say that it is infinitely divisible. blow. B e i n g c o u l d not speak of itself except in this u n i q u e manner: "we are. o n e w i t h the other. [ T h i s is the] singular p l u r a l in such a way that the singularity of each is indissociable from its being-with-many a n d because. " B e i n g " is always an instance [un coup] of Being (a lash. b u t starting f r o m b e i n g — a n d all of b e i n g — d e t e r m i n e d in its B e i n g as b e i n g with-one-another. B e i n g itself or its o r i g i n . not b e g i n n i n g f r o m the B e i n g o f b e i n g a n d p r o c e e d i n g t o b e i n g itself b e i n g w i t h ." Rather. an encounter. where the togetherness is neither the s u m . It is being-a-part of B e i n g itself and in B e i n g itself. T h e essence o f B e i n g is the shock o f the instant [le coup]. it is not a question of any supplementary property of B e i n g . then it is the exposing of the singular as such a n d in general. B e i n g as b e i n g . and is also different f r o m any concept of the particular. then. A c c o r d i n g to these c o n d i t i o n s .

and w h e n the entire m o v e m e n t a n d posture of his t h i n k i n g assigned B e i n g itself to this social being. Rousseau presented [a glimpse o f ] it by maki n g the p o o r l y n a m e d "contract" the very event that "made a creature of intelligence a n d a m a n . in itself. " W i t h " does not indicate the sharing of a c o m m o n situation any more than the juxtaposition of pure exteriorities does (for example. in fact. . We are each time an other. W h a t is the being-with of Being? In one sense. It can no longer be a matter of treating sociability as a regrettable and inevitable ac- a n d not s i m p l y an arrangement between i n d i v i d u a l s . what is at stake is no longer thinking: — b e g i n n i n g from the one. has already punctuated our history. T h e strict conceptual rigor of b e i n g . No one.w i t h a n d of being-together (in the sense of the world). the end of representations of the w o r l d . B e i n g is w i t h Being. shattered. or according to the telos [ fins] o f a history. " T h i s " w i t h " is at once both more and less than "relation" or " b o n d . itself. " 39 not ever recover itself. — b e g i n n i n g from their togetherness. to the p o i n t where we can no longer a v o i d t h i n k i n g about this in favor of that to w h i c h all of c o n t e m p o r a r y experience testifies. ) " w i t h " is the exact c o n t e m p o r a r y of its terms. on the other. closure. T h e one/the other is neither "by. T h i s sort of f o r m u l a is p r i m a r i l y a desperate tautological abstract i o n — a n d this is w h y we are all w o r r i e d . — b u t thinking. there is the exposure of the w o r l d a n d . or from the other. . . A t what p o i n t must o n t o l o g y bec o m e . . which does not so m u c h reveal a "crisis of society" but. " W i t h " is the sharing of time-space. . together a n d individually. . this repetition produces itself as a situation in w h i c h the two major elements [données] compose a sort of a n t i n o m y : on the one h a n d . it is the atthe-same-time-in-the-same-place as itself. the . the repetition of w h i c h . . this is the original situation of the West that is always repeating itself." nor "for." but rather " w i t h . has radically thematized the " w i t h " as the essential trait of B e i n g and as its p r o p e r p l u r a l singular coessence. O u r task is to break the hard shell of this tautology. reveals that the "sociality" or "association" of humans is an i n j u n c t i o n that h u m a n i t y places on itself. . ) M a r x saw it w h e n he qualified h u m a n i t y 40 as social in its very o r i g i n . in the paradox of that p r o x i m i t y where distancing [éloignement] a n d strangeness are revealed. beside itself. by contrast. its very self." therefore. " n o r "despite. T h i s is what is signified by [our] m o d e r n sense of anxiety. T h i s means n o t h i n g short of a transformation in the relation [that we name] "politico-philosophy": it can no longer be a matter of a single c o m m u n i t y . is the figure [chiffre] of an o n t o l o g y yet to be put i n t o play. " h u m a n society: that is an experiment . a l o n g search . of its essence. a n d destination. what? B e c o m e conversation? B e c o m e lyricism? . it is always the p r o b l e m of the city. a n d nota. In other words. . . in the broadest a n d most diffuse sense of the w o r d . now as the Other. . for better or worse.w i t h exasperates the discourse of its concept. instead. it does W h a t is k n o w n as "society. b u t it is near to itself. 'contract'". a bench w i t h a tree w i t h a d o g w i t h a passer-by). it is. " especially if such relation or b o n d presupposes the préexistence of the terms u p o n w h i c h it relies. Heidegger designated it in p o s i t i n g bei n g . (Nietzsche confirms this presentation in a paradoxical way w h e n Zarathustra says. Today. be B e i n g as such. l i m i t e d a n i m a l . . or that it receives from the w o r l d : to have to be o n l y what it is and to have to. f r o m a stupid. B u t they have b r o u g h t us. a n d sovereignty. p r o d u c t i o n . beginning from the "with. It is the instant scaling back of the p r i n c i p l e of identity: B e i n g is at the same time in the same place o n l y on the c o n d i t i o n of the spacing of an indefinite plurality of singularities." as the proper essence of one whose Being is nothing other than with-one-another [l'un-avec-l'autre]. . however. T h e question of B e i n g a n d the m e a n i n g of B e i n g has become the question of b e i n g . in t o u c h with itself. understood now as the One.34 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 35 person discourse o f philosophy. it can no longer be a matter of o r g a n i z i n g c o m m u n i t y according to the decrees of a sovereign Other.w i t h as constitutive of being-there. each time w i t h others. absolutely and without reserve." nor " i n . their contemporaneity.

and (2) the distancing. moreover. leaving each term to its isolation andhs being-with-the-others. sovereignty is n o t h i n g . T h i s coessence puts essence itself in the h y p h e n a t i o n — " b e i n g . w i t h o u t a m a r k of equivalence. bare sovereignty ( w h i c h is." but o n - as a transition toward "empire. whether this is the d o m i n a t i o n of being-together by some other means or the d o m ination of togetherness by itself (by the regulation of its "automatic" control)? In fact. Because none of these three terms precedes or grounds the other. if political sovereignty has always signified the refusal of d o m i n a t i o n (of a state by another or by a c h u r c h . both in the sense that they are distinct f r o m one another and i n d i s t i n c t . C o m m u n i t y is bare. subjectivity. stripped of inferiority. i m p l i c a t i o n ." T h i s distance is not taken in or- . in a way. c o n t i n u o u s . T h i s presupposition has various forms. " but also." as in is the uncovering.p h i l o s o p h i c a l order a n d f r o m the realm of "political philosophy. T h e question then becomes: H o w is one to t h i n k the spacing of empire against its domination? In one way or another. imagination. and signification of the political.36 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 37 cident. to transcribe Batailles notion of sovereignty) presupposes that one take a certain distance f r o m the p o l i t i c o . diffracted. or sequence. 43 Sovereignty is n o t h i n g but the com-. spacing. c o m . T h e retreat of the p o l i t i c a l ontological laying bare of being-with. being-with-itself designated as the " w i t h " of Being." where empire signifies two things: (i) d o m i n a t i o n w i t h o u t sovereignty (without the elaboration of such a concept). the dis-location of the "national" in general. a n d p l u r a l i t y opposed to the concentration of interiority required by political sovereignty. the concept of c o m m u n i t y appears to have its o w n prefix as its o n l y content: the cum. i n every sense. each designates the coessence of the others. w i t h no f o u n dation or end but itself. w h i c h allows this t h i n k i n g to retrace its path in its retreat and beginning from this retreat. B u t . as such. of the singular and plural. and dealing a b l o w to o n t o l o g y — not o n l y another signification but also another syntax. and personality. E i ther way.m u n i s m or com-passion. but in order to engage in a t h i n k i n g . p o l i t i c a l t e r m for d e f i n i n g c o m m u n i t y (its leader or its essence) that has n o t h i n g b e y o n d itself. w i t h o u t p u n c t u a t i o n . the concept o f c o m m u n i t y o r the city is. the with deprived of substance a n d connection. the B e i n g singular p l u r a l : in a single stroke. of a people by s o m e t h i n g other than itself). On the other side. as the " w i t h " of m e a n i n g . t h i n k i n g B e i n g as the accidental exteriority of c o m m e r c e a n d power. A single. T h e retreat of the political does not signify the disappearance of the political. at the same t i m e . T h e "meani n g o f B e i n g " : not o n l y a s the " m e a n i n g o f w i t h . as a constraint that has to be managed in some way or another. a n d above a l l .s i n g u l a r . the site of w h i c h is the very constitution. being-together is never properly [brought to the fore as an explicit] theme and as the ontological p r o b l e m . on the contrary. T h i s is not a matter of t h i n k i n g the annihilation of sovereignty. or. supranational. as such.d i s c o n t i n u o u s m a r k t r a c i n g out the entirety of the ontological d o m a i n . h o w is one to t h i n k the bare sovereignty of the " w i t h " a n d against d o m i n a t i o n . In such an ontology. the u n i t y of an o n t o l o g y must be sought in this traction. in this distancing a n d spacing w h i c h is that of B e i n g a n d . It is that w h i c h signifies the chaotic and m u l tiform appearance of the infranational. para-national a n d . w h i c h is not an "ontology of society" in the sense of a "regional ontology. It only signifies the disappearance of the philosophical presupposition of the whole p o l i t i c o .p l u r a l " — w h i c h is a mark of u n i o n and also a mark of division. but it is imperative.p h i l o s o p h i c a l order. that of the singular and the plural. F r o m this p o i n t forward. in this d r a w i n g out. what becomes of sovereignty w h e n it is revealed that it is n o t h i n g but a singularly plural spacing? H o w is one to t h i n k sovereignty as the " n o t h i n g " of the " w i t h " that is laid bare? At the same time. a mark of sharing that effaces itself. It is a matter of t h i n k i n g t h r o u g h the f o l l o w i n g question: If sovereignty is the g r a n d . it can c o n sist in t h i n k i n g Being as c o m m u n i t y and c o m m u n i t y as destination. one c o u l d begin to describe the present transform a t i o n of "political space" 42 41 der to engage in a depoliticized t h i n k i n g . w h i c h is always an ontological presupposition. O n the one side. in this way. it is always and indefinitely "to be completed. then. t h i n k i n g B e i n g as anterior and outside the order of society a n d .

In L a t i n . then. B u t this p l u r a l i t y is no longer said in m u l t i p l e ways that all begin f r o m a presumed. one must repeat it a n d say that " B e i n g is. O r . reduced to a co. i t is "more. B u t exactly what is i m p o r t a n t is this repetition. a n d as the m u l t i p l i c i t y of the totality of b e i n g [l'étant en totalité]. it is as the with of B e i n g itself (the cobeing of B e i n g ) .has none of the sub- singular plural. this is all a matter of repeating the Aristotelian axi o m pollakôs legomenon. It m i g h t be asked w h y it is still necessary to call this " B e i n g . the unexpected spacing. a n d where this co. it assumes the o r i g i n a r y temporal derivative of B e i n g . B e i n g consists in n o t h i n g other t h a n the existence of all existences [tous les existants]. according to the " w i t h . in fact. but shows itself [se pose]. (Incidentally. one c o u l d try to say it in the f o l l o w i n g way: it is no more a matter of an originary m u l t i p l i c i t y a n d its correlation (in the sense of the O n e d i v i d i n g itself in an arch-dialectical manner." more originary than " i n d i v i d u a l i t y " and every "essence of B e i n g . beyond each said. In one sense.) At the very least. In other words. B u t to say it once more. single core of meaning. " a n d . H o w e v e r . in all the various considerations of the "originary d i v i s i o n . T h i s occurs w i t h each said." so B e i n g is o n l y simultaneous w i t h itself. a n d dep l o y m e n t . this consistency itself does not vanish in a c l o u d of juxtaposed beings. n o t h i n g but beings or existences [les existants]. dis-poses itself '(made event. B u t the c l i n a m e n is not s o m e t h i n g else. one must t h i n k an anteriority of the o r i g i n according to some event that happens to it unexpectedly (even if that event originates w i t h i n it). one c o u l d show w i t h o u t m u c h trouble that this is a question that has been taken up a n d repeated throughout a l o n g tradition: in Leibniz's monadology. or drift t o w a r d s o m e t h i n g else. or discordant accord). T h e m u l t i p l i c i t y of the said (that is. of the singular p l u r a l co-. plus is comparable to multus. i n the atomist m o d e l . this c o i n c i d e n c e that presupposes " i n c i dence" in general.38 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 39 tology itself as a "sociality" or an "association" more originary than all "society. the co.outside of w h i c h there w o u l d be n o t h i n g . w h i c h is always singular. or in the sense of the atoms' relationship to the clinamen) than it is a matter of an originary u n i t y a n d its d i v i sion. It assumes m o v e m e n t . a fit of. B e i n g . " since the essence of it is reduced to a prefix of B e i n g . w h i c h is not another miserable tautology as l o n g as one understands it in the cooriginary m o d e o f being-with-being-itself. angle of d e c l i n a t i o n . B e i n g is said in m a n y ways. " the "also. A c c o r d i n g to this m o d e . In either case. its spacing. Being is not without Being. because "one" cannot be counted w i t h o u t c o u n t i n g more than one. W h a t is to be understood is precisely the c o n s t i t u t i o n of this u n i q u e u n i t y as co-: the of the being). displacement. it occurs in each said. it is not in a d d i t i o n to them.defines the u n i t y a n d uniqueness of what is." the "again" of a history that repeats this excavation a n d d r a w i n g out [traction] of Bei n g . the matter in q u e s t i o n . does not coincide with itself unless this coincidence immediately a n d essentially marks itself out [se remarque] according to the ^ s t r u c t u r e of its occurrence [l'événement] (its incidence. t o w a r d another philosophical posture. shock. B e i n g coincides w i t h B e i n g : it is the spacing a n d the unexpected arrival [survenue]. there are atoms plus the clinam e n . Instead. " B e i n g is with. in order to say B e i n g . It is necessary. another element outside of the atoms. most of all. encounter." rather it is that one equals more than one. T h i s is. B e i n g is simultaneous. then. To put it in terms of the models just alluded to above: the O n e is more than one. the concentration on a n d repeated excavation of the q u e s t i o n — w h i c h does not necessarily signify some sort of progress or degeneration. the s i n g u l a r i t y of B e i n g is its p l u r a l .p o s i t i o n " is neither a s i m p l e p o s i t i o n nor a j u x t a p o s i t i o n . history. a n d w o r l d ) as its o w n singular p l u r a l with. it is not that "it divides itself. so that B e i n g does not identify itself as such (as Being 44 stance or consistency p r o p e r to " B e i n g " as such." It is an increase or excess of o r i g i n in the o r i g i n . W h a t I am t r y i n g to indicate by speaking of " d i s . gives itself occurs. to t h i n k plural unity originarily. and provisionally. in general. but rather a displacem e n t . Just as. T h e t i m e of B e i n g (the time that it is) is this simultaneity. It is not "numerous". in all the various forms of the difference between the in-itself and the for-itself. it is the "more" of . T h i s is indeed the place to t h i n k the p l u r a l as such. of the sayings) belongs to B e i n g as its c o n s t i t u t i o n .

As its syntactic function indicates. not because it occupies the most w i t h d r a w n a n d mysterious region o f B e i n g . all c o n stitution. or counted. T h i s copresence is neither a presence withdrawn into absence nor a presence in itself or for itself. w h i c h itself obeys the same law. As such. w i t h a palpable urgency. or to the world. In fact. w o u l d ret u r n to the pure p o s i t i o n and not distinguish itself f r o m the O n e purely-one (or. i n a s m u c h as it coincides or "falls w i t h " ["tombe avec"] the other presence. T h e "self. the aesity) from [d'avec] its o w n source of representation or mastery. " Represented p r i m a r i l y i n the assured a n d d e m a n d i n g consciousness o f " h u m a n rights. In the most classical sense of the term. to d i s t i n g u i s h the ipseity of these other subjects ( w h i c h is to say. as it is w i t h all t h i n k i n g . unless copresence first takes place. it is even what defines a " s i t u a t i o n " in general. resist. Properly speaking. thus. it is one-with-one. It is unpresentable. insofar as presence takes place. there is co-originarity according to the w i t h . T h e O n e as purely one is less than one. the region o f nothingness. it constitutes its dis-position. a re-creation of the w o r l d . a n d this is w h a t gives it its terrible power to unleash. subvert. to be disentangled a n d articulated for itself. lies. it also assumes its o w n distinction f r o m other subjects. " w i t h " is the pre-position of the position in general. or w i t h itself. f r o m the O t h e r ) . the w i t h is the supposition of the "self" in general. none of these modes of presence can take place. there is no anteriority: cooriginarity is the most general structure of all con-sistency. in other words. a n d crimes of "existing versions of socialism" as "national soc i a l i s m s .itself a n d as such." that we be capable of saying we to ourselves (saying it about ourselves to one another). they cannot but i n c l i n e or decline. anterior to the d i s t i n c t i o n between a consciousness a n d its w o r l d . B u t one of the greatest d i f f i culties of the concept of the w i t h is that there is no "getting back to" or "up to" [remonter] this "originary" or "transcendental" posit i o n . " since it is o n l y in the distancing. be p u t in place. Before p h e n o m - enological i n t e n t i o n a l i t y a n d the c o n s t i t u t i o n of the ego. Therefore. B e i n g many. w h i c h was a n d s t i l l is that of an irreducible d e m a n d that we be capable of saying "we.40 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 4i their exposition. as a result. but quite s i m p l y because it is not subject to a logic of presentation. the " w i t h " is the (singular plural) c o n d i t i o n of presence in general [understood] as copresence. no single subject c o u l d even designate itself ana relate itself to itself as subject. a subject not o n l y assumes its o w n d i s t i n c t i o n f r o m the object of its representation or mastery. [ T h i s is] presence-with: with as the exclusive m o d e of b e i n g present. "unpresentable" in the strict sense). T h i s d e m a n d is in no way secondary. It is also not pure presence to. It is possible. N e i t h e r present nor to be presented (nor. it is the hope for a r e v o l u t i o n . it cannot be. such that being present a n d the present of B e i n g does not coincide in itself. Therefore. is not presentable as that B e i n g w h i c h " i s . the w i t h is strictly contemporaneous w i t h all existence. I m m o b i l i t y or the parallel fall [la chute parallel] w o u l d d o away w i t h this exposition. but also before t h i n g l i k e consistency as such. Coexistence It is no accident that c o m m u n i s m and socialism of all sorts are responsible for an essential part of the set of expectations that bel o n g to the m o d e r n w o r l d ." m o r a l a n d p o l i t i c a l c o n d e m n a t i o n always runs the risk of u s i n g its incontestable l e g i t i m a c y to mask another legitimacy. therefore. O n e as properly one is always more than one. in the sense of an infinite self-presupposition of sub-jective substance. they are ones in relation to others. B u t this supposition is no longer subjacent to the self. It is an excess of u n i t y . an o r i g i n a r y or transcendental " w i t h " demands. to itself to others. It becomes clearer to us every day that it is not enough to stigmatize the errors. . T h i s "aseity" of the self is a n terior to the same a n d to the other a n d . then. a n d all con-sciousness. T h e co. takes place w i t h before taki n g place as itself and/or as the other." of the "self" in general. the copresence of B e i n g . where its B e i n g in itself is copresent. T h e y are responsible for the hope of a rupture a n d i n n o v a t i o n f r o m w h i c h there is no t u r n i n g back. b e g i n n i n g f r o m the p o i n t where no leader or G o d can say it for us. Being-many-together is the originary situation. or sweep away. t h e n .

It was a question of substituting a shared sovereignty for d o m i n a t i o n in general. " B u t l i b e r a l i s m is s h o w i n g all the signs of e x h a u s t i o n — a t the very least. As a result. N o w that this particular ques- If the "socialist" hope as such had to be understood as an illusion or a trick. but lost the possibility of maki n g sense. B u t M a r x still left the question of the appropriation or reappropriation of m e a n i n g in susp e n s e — f o r example. any more than it can comfort itself by replacing t h e m w i t h a naive c o l l e c t i o n o f n e w " c o m m u n i t a r i a n " themes. n o w that its paradox no longer serves as a guide to any t h i n k i n g t h r o u g h of the perfectability of peoples. presents itself w i t h all the acuity of its question.i n . the one that makes "us" what "we" are today. It is a n o t i o n whose tone often oscillates between i n difference a n d resignation. but not what is at stake in being or essence. involves n o t h i n g more than an eager repression of the very quest i o n o f b e i n g . To want to say "we" is not at all sentimental. R e p a i r i n g fractures o r d e s c r i b i n g structures w i l l never be able to take the place of a t h i n k i n g of B e i n g itself as beingtogether. unless in the f o r m of an insurmountable aporia w i t h w h i c h one can o n l y negotiate. exhaustion in terms of m e a n i n g — s i n c e . but rather serves as a pudendum to the c y n i c i s m k n o w n as "libera l i s m . " "being-many. T h i s question a n d d e m a n d belong to the c o n s t i t u t i o n of beingmany as such a n d ." exposing the "with" as the category that still has no status or use. in an even broader sense. T h e liberal response to the collapse of c o m m u n i s m . but f r o m w h i c h we receive everything that makes us t h i n k and everything that gives "us" to t h i n k i n g ." but one that was asymmetrical. unequal). the disenchantment or disarray of our fin de siècle cannot content itself w i t h m o u r n i n g the passing o f socialist visions.42 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 43 Because not b e i n g able to say "we" is what plunges every " I . if one can talk in these ways. at the c o l lapse of "socialism. T h u s . Always subject to weak a n d unpleasant connotations. by leaving open the question of what must be understood by "free labor. T h i s is w h y "social B e i n g " becomes. at this m o m e n t being-many. the " w e " — d e m a n d e d its due. It was not a question of substituting the rule of these people for the rule of those people. where "sociality" and "society" are concepts p l a i n l y inadequate to its essence. " It is existence r e c l a i m i n g its due or its c o n d i t i o n : coexistence. " whether i n d i v i d u a l or collective. or even between cohabitation a n d c o n t a m i n a t i o n . or. It is here that the concept of coexistence is sharpened a n d made more c o m p l e x . or at best an acceptable c o n comitance.i n - . shielded f r o m all i n t u i t i o n . i n t o the insanity where he cannot say " I " either. coexistence designates a constraint.c o m m o n ( w h i c h so-called real c o m m u n i s m repressed u n d e r a c o m m o n B e i n g ) . an alienation of the "we. substituting the d o m i n a t i o n of the "masses" for that of their masters. W h a t we must remember is that what M a r x understood by alienation was both the alienation of the proletariat and the alienation of the bourgeoisie (indeed. this suspense opened onto the d e m a n d for another ontology of the "generic being" of h u m a n i t y as "essentially social": a co-ontology. not at all f a m i l i a l or " c o m m u n i t a r i a n . w i t h all the sovereignty of its d e m a n d . was all the better i l l u m i n a t e d . At the very m o m e n t w h e n there is no longer a " c o m m a n d post" f r o m w h i c h a "socialist vision" c o u l d put forward a subject of history or p o l i t i c s . belong to the constitution of plurality in Being. but a sovereignty understood not as the exercise of power a n d d o m i n a t i o n but as a praxis of meaning. then the meaning that carried it along. It is an "unsociable s o c i a b i l i t y " that p r o b a b l y w o u l d not even satisfy K a n t himself. T h i s d i s e n c h a n t m e n t does s o m e t h i n g else. It is remarkable that this term still serves to designate a regime or state more or less i m p o s e d by extrinsic circumstances. and that this is primarily an alienation of meaning. a sovereignty of everyone and of each one. w h e n there is no longer a "city" or "society" out of w h i c h a regulative figure c o u l d be m o d e l e d . meaning itself—that is. " b e i n g . it designates o u r major anxiety. in a way that is at first i n f i n i t e l y p o o r a n d p r o b l e m a t i c . T h e traditional sovereignties (the theologico-political order) d i d not lose power (which o n l y ever shifts f r o m place to place). we exist as the anxiety of "social B e i n g " as such. therefore. the meaning w h i c h violently manifested itself through it. f r o m all representation or i m a g i n a t i o n ." it can o n l y respond by designating the "social" and the "sociological" as relatively a u t o n o m o u s spheres of action a n d knowledge. 45 c o m m o n . then." "being-with-one-another." In time.

p o l i t i c a l presupposition has been exhausted. projects. it w i l l not leave us alone. then the others. H u s s e r l i a n coexistence or c o m m u n i t y retains its status as correlative to ego. an e t h n o l o g y that ends up being more engaged w i t h the p h e n o m e n a of c o m e m bership 46 not the c o c o n s t i t u t i o n of the "ego"?). or alter the p r i n c i p l e o f the subject u n d e r s t o o d as solus ipse. the Heideggerian o n t o l o g y of Mitsein is still no more than a sketch (I w i l l c o m e back to this).c o m m o n " as a c r i t i c a l point (of disorder in one.44 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 45 tion is the o n l y one to have come to light. whatever this may be ( " i n d i v i d u a l " or "collective. but as an e n i g m a w i t h w h i c h o u r t h i n k i n g is confronted. It does not so m u c h determ i n e the p r i n c i p l e of the ipse. b u t a c o ipseity: this is what comes to light. a n d w h i c h reappears o n l y in reactive spurts." insofar as one can speak in these ways). then. C u r i o u s l y .o r i g i n a r y . If a b r i e f s u m m a r y is allowed here. and this mutual originarity vanishes in the unequal appropriation of exchange. where "solipsistic" egology remains first p h i l o s o p h y .i n .w i t h . to a w o r l d w h i c h f r o m this p o i n t on defines a coexistence that must be understood in a s t i l l u n h e a r d . it w i l l not stop c r o p p i n g up again. of sickness in the other) of history or civilization. that the dialectic M a r x thought he foresaw u n - and. it is remarkable that it is not social and p o l i t ical theory w h i c h has most closely approached the e n i g m a of a coipseity (and as a result. the triple d e t e r m i n a t i o n of w h i c h is constituted a c c o r d i n g to a mechanical coexistence (what are the " i d " a n d "superego" if not b e i n g . yet symmetrical." then "collective p s y c h o l ogy". first a "subject. it is just as remarkable that psychoanalysis still represents the most i n d i v i d u a l practice there is. w h i c h does not s i m p l y m e a n it has spread out over the entire surface of the planet a n d b e y o n d . then.o f sense. just as there has been no "collective psychoanalysis" (unless by means of a projection of an i n d i v i d u a l m o d e l ) . put i n t o play. a n d . what happens here may be the same as what happens in the e c o n o m y : "subjects" of exchange are the most rigorously c o . each puts forth an indissociably theoretical and practical attempt to get at " b e i n g . at the same t i m e . W h a t comes to light. first the one. It is s o m e t h i n g else a n d still more. as well as idiocy in the m o d e r n sense of stupid impenetrability ("private property" as deprived of m e a n ing). T h i s space has become global. an a t o m i z a t i o n ." then " i n t e r s u b j e c t i v i t y " — a s they astonishingly persist in saying. It is no accident. if M a r x a n d F r e u d represent two different. In twentieth-century philosophy. but a m u t u a l l y i n s t i t u t i n g correlation of "subjects" (to the extent that the Lacanian " O t h e r " is anyt h i n g but an " O t h e r " : such a name is a t h e o l o g i z i n g residue that serves to designate "sociation"). Rather what has c o m e closest to co-ipseity is. but instead forms the essence and the structure of the w o r l d . there lies between economics a n d psychoanalysis the bare space of a " b e i n g together" whose t h e o l o g i c o . moreover. O u t s i d e philosophy. represents a sort of paradoxical privatization of s o m e t h i n g the very law of w h i c h is "relation" in every sense of the w o r d . complicate. T h i s is idiocy in the sense of the Greek idiotes. the Freud of the second m o d e l . such that this coexistence vanishes in a strong sense. T h i s process of globalization results in a coalescence. if . first the rights-bearing subject. since "we" are in question in it. meaning private or ignorant person. is not a "social" or " c o m m u n i t a r i a n d i m e n s i o n " added onto a p r i m i t i v e i n d i v i d u a l given. then real relationships. exactly because it does not take place " i n " the w o r l d . I w o u l d say that. as it codetermines it with the p l u r a l i t y o f ipses. b u t that it has emerged as the surface of what is at play in the depths: the essence of being-with. It is n o t a nearness [voisinage] or c o m m u n i t y of ipses. the enigma of a hetero-ipseity). first " i n d i v i d u a l psychology. because there has been no "socialist e c o n o m y " (but o n l y state c a p i talism). on the other.) It is not even a question of a sociality or alterity that w o u l d c o m e to cut across. each one o f w h i c h is cooriginary a n d coessential to the w o r l d . (Just t h i n k of the numerous circumstances of ordinary discourse in w h i c h this order is i m p o s e d on us: first the i n d i v i d u a l ." insofar as it does not b r i n g about a return to signification. then. a concentration that seems to be b o t h u n i f o r m and anonymous a n d . It seems. even if it were to o c c u r as an essential a n d d e t e r m i n i n g a d d i t i o n . on the one h a n d . T h e same c o u l d be said for the L a c a n i a n theory of "significance. a n d above a l l . However. a codispersion that seems to be given over to idiocy. then the group.

means the retreat of every space. in other terms." "technology. as B e i n g ." " n a t i o n . Conditions of Critique T h e retreat of the political and the religious. T h i s dialectic. B u t this question cannot be articulated in a completely appropriate way u n t i l the f u l l extent of the w i t h d r a w a l of its figure and i d e n t i t y has been grasped." "(de-)Westernization. this contrast. this question is s i m p l y that of what is called "capital. " or "culture. a n d simultaneity required for gauging a "resemblance"? W h a t is this com-plication (co-implication and complexity) by w h i c h h u mans e x h i b i t — w i t h i n the discourse of the similar a n d the d i s s i m ilar. this seems to c o n f i r m definitively the Freudian contrast between a possible cure of the nervous i n d i v i d u a l a n d the incurable malaise of c i v i l i z a t i o n . At the right t i m e . the question has to be posed as to whether being-together can do w i t h o u t a figure a n d . " " c h u r c h . then. technical." " O n t o l o g y " does not o c c u r at a level reserved for p r i n c i p l e s . Passing i n t o the realm of law effectively divides the " p o l i t i c a l " in two: there is the formal abstraction of the law." a n d so forth). f o r m . W h a t is it that makes B e i n g as such a being-similar w h i c h circulates f r o m bei n g to being and w h i c h . any more than we have to abandon the order of praxis. B e i n g as such is B e i n g as the B e i n g of a being." There is a whole panorama of membership and property. speculative. d i s c o n t i n u ity. i m p l i e s the disparity. thereby. a n d then the reality of the relation of f o r c e s — w h e t h e r economic. or the forces of p a s s i o n — s t a n d s out in a p r o n o u n c e d a n d au- . it is between B e i n g a n d B e i n g itself? A n d moreover. on the 48 other. the situation o f o n t o l o g y signifies the following: to t h i n k existence at the height of this challenge to t h i n k i n g that is globalness [mondialité] as such ( w h i c h is designated as "capital. it withdraws i n t o a self-representation that no longer refers to an o r i g i n . At the same time. w h e n t h i n k i n g moves too quickly. A n d today. b u t w i t h o u t g i v i n g this right any m e a n i n g other than itself. a b s o l u t e l y — d o e s not mean we have to leave the realm of economics a n d sickness. Today.w i t h w h e n the with no longer appears as a corn-position." "rupture of history. lacks s y m b o l i c identification? W h a t becomes of b e i n g . or of the theologicop o l i t i c a l . whether it be: "people. expectations. but o n l y as a dis-position? H o w are we to understand the co. w i t h o u t an identification. if the w h o l e of its "substance" consists o n l y in its spacing. what is it that brings together in B e i n g that "as" = "as such" a n d "as" = "similarly"? E a c h time. or screen i n t o w h i c h or o n t o w h i c h a figure of c o m m u n i t y c o u l d be projected. as a result. a n d altogether abstract. w h i c h u n d o u b t edly "does r i g h t " by every p a r t i c u l a r i t y a n d every relation. as I have already said. the dialectic of an " i n d i v i d u a l " appropriation that w o u l d mediate w i t h i n itself the moments of private property and collective property." a n d even the question of "history" a n d "politics. T h e retreat presents itself in two ways at once: on the one h a n d . a n d it is this each time. but o n l y to the v o i d of its o w n specularity. w h e n it is presented in a formulation that is stripped d o w n and has no substantial p r e s u p p o s i t i o n or. w h e n it is fearful a n d reactionary. a n d their u n c o m m u n i c a tive a n d paralyzing c o n f r o n t a t i o n indicate the k n o t of questions. On the contrary. similarly. H o w can being-together appropriate itself as such.4 6 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 47 f o l d i n g appears to be definitively blocked. here." not to mention the confused "ethnicity" or the tortuous "roots. a level that is w i t h d r a w n . the theologico-political withdraws i n t o the realm of l a w .as dis-? W h i c h one o f these is the "as such" of B e i n g that exposes it as its o w n sharing a n d w h i c h expresses that. whose political and philosophical history has yet to be w r i t t e n : it is the history of 47 the representation-of-self as the d e t e r m i n i n g element of an o r i g i nary concept of society. and anxieties o f a n epoch. it declares that the most c o m m o n l y recognized forms of identification are indispensable and c l a i m that the destinies proper to t h e m are used up or perverted. Its name means the t h i n k i n g o f existence. w h e n it is left up to itself to be what it is. a discourse w h i c h is very difficult a n d puts " h u m a n i t y " as such i n t o p l a y — a certain (dis)similarity o f B e i n g that crosses t h r o u g h all being? H o w can B e i n g as such be a n y t h i n g other than the (dis)similarity of being in its simultaneity? To say that this q u e s t i o n is an o n t o l o g i c a l q u e s t i o n — o r even that it is the ontological question.

" or the d o m i nation of capital. the alterity of the law either retrieves. like v i s i b i l ity itself.) L a w as such is necessarily the L a w of an Other. s o m e t h i n g "unrepresentable" or "unfigurable" runs the risk of revealing itself as completely oppressive and terrifying. represses. the derivation or d e d u c t i o n of law f r o m the unjustifiability of existence is not i m m e d i a t e or obvious. W h a t does the impoverished w o r d "society" n o w say w h e n it is e m p t i e d of all "sociation" or "association. sacrificial. universal c o m m e r c e is c o n s t i t u t e d by a representation w h e r e i n existence is b o t h an i n - . law w i t h o u t o n t o l o g y reabsorbs B e i n g and its m e a n i n g into the e m p t y t r u t h of Law. the very l i m i t of its outline.4 8 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 49 t o n o m o u s fashion." is always preserved. is succeeded by an i m m a n e n t order that.M a r x i s t i n t u i t i o n of S i t u a t i o n i s m . To be sure. as being accomplished by the general c o m m o d i fication of fetishes.) So it is not so m u c h a question of d e n y i n g law itself. An order structured according to a visible division of society." not to m e n t i o n emptied of the " c o m m u n i t i e s " and "fraternities" that constitute our i m ages of p r i m i t i v e life (the c o n s t r u c t i o n of w h i c h has. but of a singular p l u r a l that is subsumed by means of its o w n curiosity about itself. the justification for w h i c h is f o u n d o n l y in an invisible beyond (rel i g i o n . (It is here that psychoanalysis seeks. As a result." of w h i c h the "spectacle" is the general i l l u s i o n . in fact. being-social itself defined by this game of mirrors. it m a y even escape the process of a "deduction" altogether. imitates its self-appropriation at every p o i n t . that is. s h o w n itself to be fantastical)? W h a t is left seems to be n o t h i n g more than this "society" face to face w i t h itself. subsumed w i t h i n a generalized equivalence of all the representations of itself that it gives itself to consume. open to the anguish of an originary Lack. it is more a question of " d o i n g right" by the singular plural of the o r i g i n . a n d ends in the singular presence of each one to the others. T h i s is what is most often at w o r k in any call to "ethics": a transcendental unpresentability of that most concrete presence. ( O f course. or denies its o r i g i n . along w i t h it. it is a matter of q u e s t i o n i n g law about what we m i g h t call its "originary anarchy" or the very o r i g i n of the law in what is " b y all rights w i t h o u t any right": existence unjustifiable as such. t h e n . or the L a w as Other. To assume that p o l itics is entirely a question of " h u m a n rights" is also to assume surreptitiously that " m a n " is entirely a question of the Other. It t h i n k s of " c o m m o d i t y fetishism. democratic rights tops the list of such "goods"). In contrast. In essence. in the m e a n t i m e . T h e O t h e r i m p l i e s its nonrepresentability.M a r x i s t or m e t a . T h i s is called "the spectacular-market society" or "the society of the spectacle. in general. absorbing entirely b o t h the transcendental a n d the c o n crete. an entire econo m y of the sacred. T h e society of the spectacle is that society w h i c h achieves a l i e n a t i o n by an imaginary appropriation o f real appropriation. Access to Presence. i l l u s i o n . T h e y are each a n d b o t h i m p l i c a t e d in the i n t e r d i c t i o n against representation and/or the anxiety about it. a n d losing itself in the scintillating play of light and images. B u t this remains to be thought. unless law itself undertakes to set itself up as an o r i g i n or f o u n d a t i o n . to facilitate a substantial a n d authoritarian vision of society. even where the t h e o p h a n y a n d t h e o l o g y are negative. T h e "good. in the p r o d u c t i o n a n d c o n s u m p t i o n of material a n d s y m b o l i c "goods" that all have the character of b e i n g an i m age. As s u c h . it is representation that triumphs. ideal). this interdiction becomes a denial of representation. In a theological realm. T h e secret o f the i l lusion consists in the fact that real appropriation must consist o n l y in a free. a n d heirophantic. however. this can give rise to an " i n t e r d i c t i o n of representation" that supposes the sacred nature of the O t h e r a n d . the "figure" proves itself to be capable of o p e n i n g o n t o the " w i t h " as its border. in the f o r m of an absolute L a w [la Loi}. these two "realms" do not just f o l l o w one another in a history. B u t w i t h i n an atheological realm. a question about its possibility/impossibility. is o n l y the real self-appropriation of social Being. in a remarkable way. self-creating i m a g i n a t i o n that is indissociably i n d i v i d u a l and collective: the spectacular c o m m o d i t y in all its forms consists essentially in the imagery [imaginaire} that it sells as a replacement for authentic i m a g i n a t i o n . if not terrorist." T h i s is the p o s t . On the other side of this retreat. that is. In this sense. or appearance (and where. It is not a matter of the O t h e r or o t h ers. a n d even to a "super-presence. hierarchical. in the question about g a i n i n g access to the origin(s).

. n o t h i n g by w h i c h it makes sense of B e i n g .c o m m o n . .) In this way. n o n a p p e a r a n c e — e x c e p t as the obscure opposite of the spectacle. At that very m o m e n t w h e n the o n l y other t h i n g that is given a l o n g w i t h existence is existence-with as the space for deployment and appropriation. M o r e specifically. Since the spectacle occupies all of space. refers to a p a r a d i g m of artistic creation that is nonaesthetic or maybe even antiaesthetic.is n o t h i n g that can make sense. nor does it d e p e n d on t e c h n o l o g i c a l or e c o n o m i c power as such. S i t u a t i o n i s m thus understands that the " h u m a n sciences" have c o m e to constitute this self-symbolization of society. the o f f s p r i n g o f several artistic m o v e m e n t s . w h i c h it believes to be capable of g i v i n g itself as originary (and lost): the Greek city assembled in c o m m u n i t y at the theater of its o w n myths." H e r e . A subject of representation. at the very m o m e n t w h e n it exposes itself a n d proves to be the entire property of B e i n g . Instead. understands that M a r x i s m missed the m o m e n t o f s y m b o l i c a p p r o p r i a t i o n b y c o n f u s i n g i t w i t h that o f p r o ductive a p p r o p r i a t i o n . ( T h i s is w h y the reply to the spectacle is form u l a t e d as the free creation of the "situation": the a p p r o p r i a t i n g event abruptly removed f r o m the logic of the spectacle. or even by t h i n k i n g that such productive appropriation must be self-producing a n d . where these capacities do not t u r n i n t o an insidious f o r m of "super-representation") are the real strength b e h i n d w h a t is k n o w n In any case. its opposite can o n l y make . is the placeholder that functions as a subject of B e i n g a n d history. " like Marx's b o n d of "free labor" where everyone produces h i m s e l f or herself as a subject with others and as a subject o/^being-with-one-another). A sort of general psychosociology takes the place of the presupposition of a figure or i d e n t i t y of being-social. a s y m b o l i c misery that does not exclude sustained material misery and certain people's deprivation. this selfsurpassing takes place as the s y m b o l i z a t i o n of p r o d u c t i o n itself. an ontological instance of the " i n . Being-together is defined by being-together-at-the-spectacle. thereby. T h e d e n u n c i a t i o n of mere appearance effortlessly moves w i t h i n mere appearance. w h i c h allows for coexistence o n l y in the form of the technical or econ o m i c co-ordination of the various c o m m o d i t y networks. it is n o t h i n g by w h i c h existence says itself as such. they understand that it is this sort of self-surpassing that does indeed take place. " 50 into various sorts of analyses concerning the self-simulation and selfc o n t r o l of o u r society. it turns out to be quite clear that the " h u m a n sciences" (even in their various critical capacities. T h a t is. " M e d i a t i z a t i o n " does not depend on overblown hype. a s y m b o l i z a t i o n but o n l y a representation a n d . Situationism (which I do not really want to go into here. the representation of a subject that has no subjectivity other than this representation itself. move beyond itself into symbolic appropriation: the self-suppression of capital as the integral reappropriation of B e i n g as c o m m u n a l existence. ironic. B u t it does not take place by b r i n g i n g about an appropriation of being-in-common understood as symbolic Being (taking symbol in the strong sense of being a b o n d of recognition. T h e misery of the "spectacle" names that coexistence where the co. in particular the misery of m u c h of the southern hemisphere. In this respect. a n d this being-together understands itself as an inversion of the representation of itself. . a subject reduced to the s u m or flux of representations w h i c h it purchases. in fact. w h i c h is n o t h i n g new in itself. and some of its offshoots 49 as the generalized "spectacle.ends up referring to n o t h i n g by w h i c h existence c o u l d symbolize itself according to itself. but want to treat as a s y m p t o m ) . Situationism is not w r o n g to discern misery at the very heart of abundance. In fact. more precisely. it is precisely this indefinite capacity for recuperating the Situationist critique that demands attention. because it has no other way of designating what is p r o p e r — t h a t is. w h i c h itself constitutes a spectacular and d i s t u r b i n g recuperation of the Situationist critique: " F o o t b a l l makes all other art forms i n s i g n i f i c a n t . that is. It depends p r i m a r i l y on the fact that a society gives itself its representation in the guise of s y m b o l i s m . the co. the gravity of the q u e s t i o n c o n c e r n i n g the " m e d i a " comes to the fore. w h i c h is not. An example of today's response m i g h t be the f o l l o w i n g advertisement. T h i s is also w h y it has such a capacity for a b s o r b i n g its o w n c r i t i q u e a n d its o w n rebellious.50 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 5' vention a n d a self-appropriating event. T h i s is also w h y S i t u a t i o n i s m . or distanced presentations.

here. the sphere of w o r l d l y appearance. critique remains obedient to the most trenchant and "metaphysical" tradition of philosophy. establishi n g its being-social under no other horizon than itself—that is. inessential shadow). the ego is f r o m the very start removed f r o m that exteriority a n d contingency w i t h o u t w h i c h it is impossible to expose it as ego. namely. B u t this very i n t u i t i o n is interpreted o n l y as the reign of appearance. those of Bataille or the Frankfurt S c h o o l . A c c o r d i n g to such a m o d e l . it has to be . it happened at the cost of relegating the political or the c o m m u n i t a r i a n to inte- riority. In this. T h e Situationist c r i t i q u e c o n tinued to refer essentially to s o m e t h i n g like an internal t r u t h (designated. a n d so forth). for example. appearance. authentic reality (deep. are marks of a "nature" that is "outside" us." preferring. l i v i n g . deceptive i m i t a t i o n ) . understand h o w this version of M a r x i s t c r i tique. " the m o d e l for w h i c h is s t i l l s o m e t h i n g like the R o m a n t i c genius. the artist plays the part of the productive-subject. in other places. w h i c h is still to say the Same or the O n e s e l f of a u n i q u e . In this respect. and all the versions of critical t h i n k i n g inaugurated by M a r x (whether they be the more "leftist" versions or the more "sociological" ones. S i t u a t i o n i s m demonstrates the nearly constant characteristic of the m o d e r n critique of exteriority. as self-deployment a n d selfsatisfaction. however ego is to be understood (whether generic. just as p l u r a l i t y has been constituted a n d disregarded for the sake of the requirement of unity. secondary exteriority. instead. as "mere appearance" (surface. T h i s was the i n t u i t i o n of society exposed to itself. as the substitution of the spectacle for authentic presence. by the name "desire" or " i m a g i n a t i o n " ) . T h i s is w h y the opposite of deceitful "imagery" is creative " i m a g i n a t i o n . i l l u s i o n . h u m a n nature. o f self-organization. nor of the m e a n i n g of B e i n g that is in question. w i t h out a h o r i z o n of M e a n i n g in w h i c h to relate being-together as such. it must be an o n t o l o g y for the w o r l d . W i t h i n this tradition.52 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 53 itself k n o w n as the inappropriable secret of an originary property h i d d e n beneath appearances. the whole concept of w h i c h is that of a subjective appropriation of "true life. p u b l i c appearance has been constituted and disregarded in favor of an interior and theoretical reality (think of Plato's Thaïes." as w e l l as both the " h u m a n " a n d the " n o n h u m a n " . and even as "false appearance" (semblance. o r i n d i v i d u a l ) . in statu nascendi. T h i s sort of nature is at a remove f r o m exteriority a n d contingency. appearance is u n d e r s t o o d . in the most classical way. w h o was inept in the affairs of the city). o r i g i n a r y — a n d always on the order of the O t h e r ) . B u t we do have to wonder to what extent the critique of alienation is itself in danger of r e m a i n i n g subject to another. a n d at the cost of s i m p l y disregarding "social" exteriority (the sphere of the exteriority of needs and exchanges. it is over a n d against the d e m a n d of i n t e l ligible reality that sensible appearance has been constituted and disregarded all in the same gesture. in some way obscured. "metaphysical" in the Nietzschean sense: the refusal to consider an order of "appearances. I certainly do not w a n t to suggest by this that the c r i t i q u e of alienation." itself thought of as o r i g i n proper. and social a l i e n a t i o n — a t least. O n a n other level. critique absolutely needs to rest on some p r i n c i p l e other than that of the o n t o l o g y of the O t h e r a n d the Same: it needs an o n t o l o g y of being-with-one-another. but still accordi n g to the structure of an ontological presupposition that involves no specific interrogation of the " c o m m o n " or " i n . c o m m u n i t a r i a n . to w h i c h we are exposed a n d w i t h o u t w h i c h our exposition w o u l d not take place. exclusive. since Rousseau. natural to each person or natural to a people. and of a process oriented toward an end state. one c o u l d say that this is a more or less explicit reference to "nature": universal nature. w h i c h . We must. therefore. symmetrical alienation of the sort that I am t r y i n g to p o i n t out by referring to different species of the Other. Likewise. or i d e o l o g y is ineffectual. and so on). and w h e n authentic reality was demanded in the political or c o m m u n i t a r i a n order. T h e idea of nature retains w i t h i n itself the d o m i n a n t theme o f self-sufficiency. for e v e r y o n e — a n d if I can be so b o l d . Similarly. w i t h o u t an instance of corn-position as society's dis-position splayed open a n d laid bare. the correctness of its o w n i n t u i t i o n . f r o m n o w o n .c o m m o n " of Bei n g . and this o n t o l o g y must support b o t h the sphere of "nature" a n d sphere of "history. and egoistic a p p r o p r i a t i o n . B o t h the theory a n d praxis o f c r i t i q u e demonstrate that.

In short. a n d in a " m a k i n g sense w i t h " ["faire-sans-avec"] (a praxis of m e a n i n g . T h i s is w h y reduction to or s u b s u m p tion in intelligibility (Idea.c o m m o n or with— and not a c c o r d i n g to a B e i n g or an essence of the c o m m o n . the affirmation of society as exposed to itself a n d o n l y to itself. I w i l l not take t h e m b o t h on at once. T h e "society of the spectacle" is b o t h a d e n u n c i a t i o n (of the generalized spectacle-market) a n d an affirmation of society facing itself a n d . the theme of referring society back to itself. maybe even more so. there is all). I w i l l o n l y attempt to open some different ways of approaching t h e m . Despite everything. history. a n d also so-called reformist c r i t i q u e — r e m a i n s paradoxically a n d unconsciously subject to a classical m o d e l in w h i c h reality is opposed to appearance a n d u n i t y is opposed to plurality? ( T h i s m o d e l assumes that a certain Nietzschean lesson is constantly misunderstood or avoided w i t h i n the critical tradition and." all of w h i c h indicates the necessity of t h i n k i n g all these terms in a new way? O n c e again. its critique w o r k e d itself out w h i l e g i v i n g little play to [the practice o f ] referring society to a m o d e l of some sort. it is the d e m a n d to give the m e a n i n g of b e i n g . i n c l u d i n g its most recent manifestations. h o w can one k n o w if what is called "social relation" can be t h o u g h t of a c c o r d i n g to s o m e t h i n g other than the s y m b o l i c order. As the last great f o r m of radical c r i t i q u e . it is bec o m i n g a matter of urgency to k n o w whether social critique is to be made by virtue of a presupposition that is not at all social (an o n t o l o g y of B e i n g . where an attitude of resignat i o n is out of the question? 2. to what extent do "critical" t h i n k i n g a n d the "critical" attitude as such entail this subjection (if "critique" always presupposes the possibility of u n v e i l i n g the i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y of the real). but only according to a t h i n k i n g that is quite different f r o m asking the trivial question about "art a n d society" and. since this is all there is (but. at the same time. in t u r n . As a result. W h a t comes to us today is the d e m a n d to give the m e a n i n g of b e i n g . at the same time. where sensible intelligibility either breaks apart or dissolves itself altogether. As such.i n .w i t h right at the w i t h . for it a n d right at [à même] it. a n d if the s y m b o l i c or- der can. T h i s is w h y the subject of "ontology" first of all entails the critical examination of the conditions of critique in general.c o m m o n according to what it i s — i n .) In other words. a n d of what we m i g h t i n c l u d e under the headi n g "critical art.w i t h [sens-avec]) where the o p p o s i t i o n of a M e a n i n g (horizon. disparity) w o u l d dissolve or break apart." These questions serve as the p r o g r a m m a t i c h e a d i n g of some fuller inquiry. although not to its fullest extent. At the very heart of the t r a d i t i o n .tout-court. . w i t h some others a n d p a r t l y in M a r x ' s name. this is often so forceful an o p p o s i t i o n that it leads to a rupture. that the w h o l e question of what can be called "art" f r o m the p o i n t of v i e w of social critique remains more or less untouched. of the plural singular essence of B e i n g . H o w can one k n o w in what way a n d just h o w far c r i t i q u e — b o t h revolutionary critique. H o w can one k n o w if the "spectacle" is. a constitutive d i m e n s i o n of society? T h a t is. in one way or another.i n . c o m m u n i t y ) a n d a simple " w i t h " (spacing. in this way. exteriority. a n d what other attitude is necessary. Subject) regularly comes i n t o tension w i t h its own requirement that it provide an i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y of the sensible that occurs w i t h i n sensibility.54 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 55 an o n t o l o g y for each a n d every one a n d for the w o r l d "as a totality.c o m m o n . that is. T h i s is u n d o u b t e d l y where its rupture w i t h various M a r x i s m s was most decisive a n d where. it must be said that " i n t e l l i g i ble reality" can o n l y be the reality of the sensible as s u c h — a n d that the "intelligible reality" of the c o m m u n i t y can o n l y be the reality of being-in-common as such. it offered one of the first a n d most virulent critiques of what was u n t i l just recently called "real" socialism a n d also social-democracies. pose the following two questions at the same time: 1. therefore. Situationism has brought to light rather w e l l . be thought of in some way other than according to the order of " i m a g i n a t i o n " or "figuration." a n d n o t h i n g short of the w h o l e w o r l d . as it were) or by virtue of an o n t o l ogy of b e i n g . because each one is too enormous in itself. according to a w h o l l y different t h i n k i n g of "art" itself. S i t u a t i o n i s m was no stranger to this necessity. C o n c e p t . "art" w o u l d come into play. We must.

it m i g h t be that what is happening to us is just another sort of " C o p e r n i c a n r e v o l u t i o n . T h i s chiasma or circle worries us in our confused a n d a n x i ety-ridden awareness that society just "turns r o u n d a n d a r o u n d . " " c o m m o d i t y . " w h i c h accompanies it and is cosubstantial w i t h it. spectacular s e l f . being-one ( B e i n g as such. one w o u l d also have to try to say the f o l l o w i n g : if the situation of being-social is not that of a spectacular self-alienation that presupposes a lost or dissimulated "real presence. T h i s does not mean that there is n o t h i n g to the illusions of spectacular self-alienation or to the rationality of a general c o m m u n i c a t i o n a l arrangement.c o n s u m p t i o n . that every presupposition of Be- question w h i c h we still call a "question of social B e i n g " must." a l o n g w i t h what we call the "tele-global d i m e n s i o n . It is a matter of rigorously t h i n k i n g what B e i n g . once again. or of the relation of subject and object. such that the "spectacle" w o u l d be n o t h i n g other than " c o m m u n i c a t i o n " and vice versa. Its b e i n g singular is p l u r a l in its very B e i n g . w h i c h presupposes a "rational subject" of c o m m u n i c a t i o n . a n d no longer revolving a r o u n d s o m e t h i n g else (Subject. " w i t h o u t substance. i n d e e d in an absolutely general way. that not only must being-with-one-another not be un- derstood starting from the presupposition of being-one. It follows. w h i c h is. but on the contrary. a n d they cannot themselves constitute the groundless presupposition. as a sort of grand. T h a t a n d in g i v i n g a face [ fig- . by. in m a k i n g a connection or a j o i n i n g . If one really understands the necessity of this groundless presupposition. singularly p l u r a l . " not of the cosmological system. " In a general way. F o r existence exists in the p l u r a l . constitute the ontological question. but it does mean that "real presence" and "rationality" can o n l y be thought or evaluated by b e g i n n i n g f r o m s o m e t h i n g else. T h e proper value of s y m b o l i s m is in m a k i n g a symbol. that is. then. " and "technology" w o u l d be different figures of this symbolicity. it m i g h t be that the p h e n o m e n o n of the generalized "spectacle. this contrary double f o r m of the "[illusory] spectacle" a n d "[rational] c o m m u n i cation" c o u l d even s w i t c h their predicates a r o u n d . w i t h o u t end. a n d as the s y m b o l i c i t y that constitutes it. O t h e r . a n d is not itself some other existence that is previous or subjacent to existence by w h i c h existence exists. then. w o u l d reveal s o m e t h i n g else altogether. the very reality of being-social i n . however.w i t h o u t presuppositions-about-itself means. the p r i m o r d i a l requirement of o n t o l o g y or first p h i losophy must n o w be that B e i n g not be presupposed in any way or in any respect. B e i n g cannot be pre-sup-posed [pré-sup-posé] if it is o n l y the Bei n g of what exists. but rather of "social B e i n g " r e v o l v i n g [tournant] a r o u n d itself or t u r n i n g on itself. perverse figures that still have to be thought. is the stripping bare [mis à nu] of social reality. the "crea t i o n of the w o r l d . As a result. a n d . In fact." " c o m m u n i c a t i o n . hermeneutical a n t i n o m y of the m o d e r n w o r l d (and one that is clearly at w o r k everywhere). w i t h o u t f o u n d a t i o n . It is s t i l l necessary to u n d e r s t a n d what this w o r d " s y m b o l i c " means. the most formal and fundamental requirement [of ontology] is that " B e i n g " cannot even be assumed to be the s i m p l e singular that the name seems to indicate. that the current situation of "social B e i n g " has to be u n d e r s t o o d in some other way than by starting f r o m the schema of an i m m e n s e . 51 ing must consist in its nonpresupposition. If o n l y we made the effort to decipher it in a n e w way. If left to itself. W h a t is of p r i m a r y importance in this is to a v o i d presupposing that the subject of "social B e i n g " or the subject of Bei n g tout court is already established. in fact. B u t this c a n n o t s i m p l y be a matter of the classic gesture of w a n t i n g to begin w i t h o u t presuppositions (which always assumes that this desire [volonté] itself is not already the whole presupposit i o n ) . then." neither is it that of a general c o m m u n i c a t i o n a l arrangement. complete B e i n g or ens realissimum) can only be understood by starting from being-with-one-another.56 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 57 Co-appearing It m i g h t be. W h a t happens to us. a schema where the t r u t h of c o m m u n i t y is dissolved and engulfed—whether c o m m u n i t y [is understood] as subject or as occurring between subjects. These are. where "spectacle. or Same). more precisely.

society m a k i n g its appearance by facing [ face à] itself i n order to be all that it is a n d all that it has to be. f r o m what o r i g i n . the " s y m b o l i c " is not s i m p l y an aspect of being-social: on the one h a n d . the s y m b o l i c is what is real in such a relation.a p p e a r i n g does not s i m p l y signify that subjects appear together. extrinsic. the essence of the "social" is not itself "social. it is never presentable u n d e r the h e a d i n g of the "social. however. the u n i t a r y entelechy of c o m m o n B e i n g — w h i c h are b o t h ways to repress a n d foreclose the p r o b l e m of "association. a n d because the relation as such is n o t h i n g other than its o w n representation. a n d is n o t h i n g other t h a n . it w o u l d still need to be asked f r o m where it is that they "appear. ( T h e p a r a d i g m for this is "I love y o u " or. indifferent juxtaposition. is such a relation the representation of s o m e t h i n g that is real (in the secondary. Its u n i t y is w h o l l y symbolic. C o ." f r o m w h i c h remote d e p t h do they come i n t o being-social as such. then I am t a l k i n g about "society" uncovered. o r s i m p l i s t i c . what m i g h t be called the association [sociation] of Being—is instrumentalized. By no means. Being-social is B e i n g that is by appearing in the face of itself. w h i c h does not belong to the appearance of each one as such. or to the hypostasis of the i n d i v i d u a l ." or of a transsocial presupposition. but the relation is. m i m e t i c sense of representation). w h i c h has become a sort of ideological trope in theories of the "spectacle" and i n theories o f " c o m m u n i c a t i o n . one granted a m e a n i n g of its o w n that must be w o r k e d out for all subjects "together" a n d as "together. the opened interval that articulates it as sym-bol: this w o r d s i m p l y means "put w i t h " (the G r e e k sun equals the L a t i n cum). space. Insofar as the relation is i m a g i n e d [se représente]. faced w i t h itself: it is co-appearing [com-parution]. a n d transitory "association. c r i tique of "the image" (and of the "civilization of images"). If I speak of "social" reality's being stripped bare as its s y m b o l i c ity. " i s n o t h i n g b u t the m y t h i c a n d m y s t i f y i n g effect of the frantic desire for a "pure" s y m b o l i z a t i o n (and a s y m p t o m a t i c manifestation of the weakness of "critique" in general). "I am addressing myself to you. the distancing. On this account. w i t h the j o i n i n g ." As a result. a n d (2) society itself is thought of as a step in a process that always leads either to the hypostasis of togetherness or the c o m m o n ( c o m m u n i t y . B u t the w a y in w h i c h they are not opposites is even contrary to h o w the c o m m o n way of speaking [vulgate] conflates the image (understood as manifestat i o n a n d recognition) w i t h the s i m u l a c r u m (understood as a captiv a t i n g a n d m y s t i f y i n g hypostasis).") In this respect. Therefore. We must also w o n d e r w h y they appear "together" ["ensemble"] a n d for what other depth they are destined.58 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 59 ure] to this liaison by m a k i n g an image. it is this B e i n g itself. so that the d i m e n s i o n . in a n d by the image-symbol." These two questions lead straight to the dead ends of a m e t a p h y s i c s — a n d its p o l i t i c s — i n w h i c h (1) social co-appearance is o n l y ever thought of as a transitory e p i p h e n o m e n o n . destined "all together" or "further-on [outre] together. society no longer reduced to a sort of b a c k g r o u n d " s y m b o l i z i n g " (in the ordinary sense) n o t h i n g (no c o m m u n i t y . b u t instead the capacity for a l l o w i n g a certain play. and nature of the " w i t h " are in play here. In either case. it is w h o l l y of the w i t h . but designates a pure. or it adds a particular q u a l ity. being-social is not reduced to any assumption of an interior or superior unity. what is real in the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n — i t s effectiveness a n d its efficacy. c o m m u n i o n ) ." E i t h e r the predicate "together" is o n l y a q u a l i f i c a t i o n that is extrinsic to subjects." but o n l y under the heading of either a simple. on the other h a n d . related to s o m e t h i n g other than itself. T h e sole criterion of symbolization is not the exclusion or debasement of the image." T h e very m e a n i n g of the w o r d "together. the s y m b o l i c does not take place w i t h o u t (re)presentation. T h e s i m p l e . it is i m p o r t a n t to emphasize that the s y m b o l i c a n d the i m a g i n a r y are far f r o m opposites. no m y s t i c a l b o d y ) . the ( r e p r e s e n tation of one another [des uns aux autres] according to w h i c h they are w i t h one another [les-uns-avec-les-autres]. society no longer being the appearance of o n l y itself. In that case ( w h i c h is the "social contract")." just like the m e a n i n g . perhaps more originally. one comes to a dead end because being-social as s u c h — o r again. I am t a l k i n g about society m a k i n g a s y m b o l of itself. In this way.

C o l l e c t i o n assumes a regrouping that is exterior and i n different to the being-together ("in c o m m o n " ) of the objects of the collection. the themes a n d practices of the " c o l lective" or of "collectivism" move in this register. T h a t B e i n g is being-with. that the ontological togetherness w h i c h we must t h i n k through is never substantive." exactly because one w o u l d be deprived of all relation w i t h it. As such. this is what we must t h i n k . It c o u l d be said. G o d is not together w i t h a n y t h i n g or anyone. simul). they must t h e m selves "symbolize" it as the "same space-time" w i t h o u t w h i c h there w o u l d not be time or space. share this space-time. w h o are b o r n in their o w n t u r n . absolutely. but above all. let me say that t i m e cannot be the pure m o m e n t [instant]. [are such gods] representable or unrepresentable? [ D o they] g r o u n d representation or remove it? Or [might they] even be representation itself?) Togetherness. d e i s m . B e i n g is together. but here m o d a l i z a t i o n is of the essence and of the o r i g i n .B e i n g ." 5 2 w h i c h is itself the d e t e r m i n a t i o n of " t i m e " as " c o n t e m p o r a r y t i m e " ) . it is necessary. L i k e all adverbs. Co-appearance. or existence as such) is strictly inseparable. Reciprocally. p a n e n t h e i s m . in the sense of b e i n g a substantive entity. " T i m e itself implies "at the same t i m e . In a general way. or pure succession. it brings to it no particular and supplementary qualification. w i t h o u t ever c o m i n g to a p o i n t of e q u i l i b r i u m : it is either the "together" of j u x t a p o s i t i o n partes extra partes. simultaneity is not a matter of i n d i s co-existence. the space o f its o w n dis-tension. N o t h ing and n o b o d y can be b o r n w i t h o u t being b o r n to a n d w i t h o t h ers w h o c o m e into this encounter. m o n o t h e i s m . the pure outside. "Together" means simultaneity {in. A n d m o v i n g in place [du lieu à luimême] as such also needs time: the time for the place to open itself as place. For in order to be together a n d to c o m m u n i c a t e . their mere co-existence. renders all sorts of togetherness i m possible. " B e i n g together is b e i n g at the same t i m e (and in the same place. indiscernable f r o m the cum or the with." to call t h e m that. ( O n the contrary. il faut le temps]. " Very l o n g analyses are called for here. B u t this adverb is not a predicate of " B e i n g " . t i n c t i o n . Sharing [partage] and passage c o n t r o l each other reciprocally. be a temporal "53 In fact. In fact. T h e y both suppose a u n i q u e and isolated pure substance. C u t t i n g t h e m far too short. isolated a n d unrelated parts. " S i m u l taneity immediately opens space as the spacing of time itself. Starti n g f r o m the simultaneity of "subjects.6o Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 61 of the w o r d " w i t h . is an absolutely originary structure. originary time. the time to space itself. W h a t is not together is in the no-time-no-place of n o n . it is always the adverb of a being-together. on the contrary. then. appearing as such. w h i c h is not o n l y its place a n d its taking place. w i t h o u t being simultaneity "at the same t i m e . 54 Togetherness and being-together are not equivalent. like the pure inside. p o l y t h e i s m . the space of the passage that divides [partage] it. "at the same t i m e . atheism. "Same t i m e / s a m e place" assumes that "subjects. [Whether it is a matter o f ] p a n theism. it modifies or modalizes the verb. is a collection (as in the theory of togethernesses [ensembles]). but i s — a t least in Spinoza a n d L e i b n i z . B u t it is clear f r o m this that the resources f o u n d in the term are situated precisely on the p o i n t of e q u i l i b r i u m between the two meanings: "together" is neither extra nor intra. but pure in such a way that one cannot even say "isolated. H u s s e r l writes. a u n i f i e d totality [unitotalité] where the relation surpasses itself in being pure. but not in the extrinsic sense of "sharing". T h e passage f r o m one place to another needs time [D'un lieu à l'autre. needs space [il l u i faut l'espace]." therefore. the e q u i v o c a t i o n between the two makes the status of the gods of onto-theology uncertain. "It is essentially necessary that the togetherness of m o n a d s . T h e "together. it is the distinctness of places taken together." t i m e is possible. but a l s o — a n d this is the same t h i n g — i t s fundamental o n tological structure. . w a y s — t h e togetherness or being-together of all that is: G o d is not "God. a correlation of places and a. then. a n d it is not a togetherness. must signify—because this is what is n o w a t s t a k e — t h a t "appearing" ( c o m i n g i n t o the w o r l d a n d being i n the w o r l d . they must share it between themselves. but equally exemplary. then. although in different. " seems to oscillate i n d e f i n i t e l y between two meanings. or the "together" of gathering totum intra totum. a n d so o n . T h e space-time itself is first of all the possibility of the " w i t h . transition of passages f r o m one place to another is necessary.

this cum is the cum of a co-appearance.61 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 63 T h e with is the most basic feature of B e i n g . I have already given it presence as a c o m p a n i o n (even if such presence constitutes the U n i q u e . then. e m p i r i c a l . T h e simplest solidarities.of copresence is the unpresentable par excellence. As a result. contemporaries of the stripping bare of b e i n g . one s h o u l d o n l y say " w i t h . If we n o w have to t h i n k about social B e i n g in some other way than according to its spectacular-market self-mockery or its c o m municational self-assurance. of anonymity. or even of an "intersubjective d i m e n s i o n . the other is stretched out toward the night of extermination. the existence w h i c h co-appears. w h i c h does not mean we are opposed to them or beyond them. " It really is. If I say that the U n i q u e is present. the mark [trait] of the singular plurality of the origin or origins in it. it is quite likely that there w o u l d be n o t h i n g else for us to meditate o n . As s u c h . T h e co. the " w i t h " is not the sign of a reality. the cum of " c o m m u n i t y . into the inorganic. it m i g h t be a name that runs the risk of once again m a s k i n g what is at-issue. of the lonely c r o w d a n d gregarious isolation. as if we had dialectically surpassed them. the most elementary p r o x i m i t i e s seem to be dislocated. into exteriority. but I have to insist u p o n it. a n d we stay between us: just us. w h i c h in itself does not designate u n i t y or disunity as that fixed substance w h i c h w o u l d u n d e r g i r d it. T h e with is not "unpresentable" like some remote or w i t h d r a w n presence. I have already said so. In fact. " W i t h " does not add itself to Being. B u t if the unpresentability of " w i t h " is not that of a h i d d e n presence. but rather creates the i m m a n e n t and intrinsic c o n d i t i o n of presentation in general. " So it appears to us that what is proper to c o m m u n i t y is n o t h i n g more than the generalized i m p r o p r i e t y of banality. that is. p r o v i d i n g a c o n s o l i n g way of t h i n k i n g that is secretly resigned. n o t h i n g to ruminate about or m u l l over between us. we are definitely no longer in the age of E n lightenment or R o m a n t i c i s m . of the "between"-us. the m e a n i n g of w h i c h seems to us to instantly dissolve into insignificance. " c o m m u n i c a t i o n " is o n l y the laborious negotiation of a reasonable a n d disinterested image of c o m m u n i t y devoted to its o w n m a i n t e n a n c e . O n e is w o r n t h i n to the p o i n t of being an extremely d u l l platitude. the " w i t h " itself is not a subject. a n d maybe even its interior intimo sui. " its inferiority w i t h o u t an interior. a n d I have split it in two).i n . then it is because " w i t h " is the u n p r e s e n t a b i l i t y of this p r e . At the same t i m e . that co-appearance m i g h t o n l y be another name for capital. but it is n o t h i n g other t h a n — a n d not the O t h e r o f — p r e s e n t a t i o n . w h i c h constantly reveals itself as n o t h i n g but the maintenance of the spectacular-market machine. but o n l y [as] the interval between us. U n d o u b t e d l y . " w h i c h w o u l d be a p r e p o s i t i o n that has no p o s i t i o n of its o w n a n d is available for every p o s i t i o n .p o s i t i o n . then. W h a t is proper to c o m m u n i t y . Presence is i m p o s s i b l e except as copresence. however. the unpresentability of presentation itself. We are thus in a suspension of history where an e n i g m a is gathering anew.c o m m o n . In this respect. or like an Other. b o t h of w h i c h take place on the basis of an unlikely and nostalgic inauthenticity. w h i c h crosses over it and underlines it at the same t i m e . they are contemporaries of ours and we see them wearing t h i n . B u t this d a n ger is not a sufficient reason to be satisfied w i t h a critique of capital that is still held prisoner to the presupposition of an "other sub- . co-appearing before no other authority [l'instance]^ than this " w i t h " itself. We are elsewhere. We are in a sort of simultaneous d r a w i n g together [tension] of these two epochs. If there is a subject o n l y w i t h other subjects. wherein we do n o t h i n g but appear together w i t h one another. one s h o u l d not say the " w i t h " . thereby c o n s t i t u t i n g the d r a w i n g apart [traction] a n d d r a w i n g together [tension] of the v o i d . we are contemporaries of ourselves. a n d r a n d o m l y contingent [aléatoire] inconsistency of the pure a n d simple " w i t h . W h a t is proper to c o m m u n i t y is nei- ther a creativity nor a rationality laid d o w n like some fundamental internal resource. " i n t r u t h . " a mark d r a w n out over the v o i d . T h e " w i t h " stays between us. is given to us in the followi n g way: it has no other resource to appropriate except the " w i t h " that constitutes it. readily available to be put into practice through critique. it also constitutes the traction a n d tension. repulsion/attraction. It must be said. the with as such is not presentable. As such. T h e " w i t h " is or constitutes the m a r k of unity/disunity.

" A "we. an association. or the substantial reappropriations that give a reply to it ( n a t i o n a l i s m . W h a t is presented in this way. but rather a with of reappropriation (where the proper does not return. " " E a c h time" i m plies at one and the same time the discreteness of "one by one" and the simultaneity of "each one. then it involves a presentation of this space-time as such. In order to say "we. it only has the c o n sistency of the singular at "each time" of each " I . But a "we" is not the adding together or juxtaposition of these " I s . is not sufficient for t a k i n g h o l d of what capital exposes. economics. group. so l o n g as b r i n g i n g it to life a n d s t r i p p i n g it bare signifies at least t h i s — t o put it in a formulaic way: what is at stake is not a reappropriation of the with (of the essence of a c o m m o n Be- i n g ) . or as a mark of meaning. " W e " always expresses a plurality. O u r t h i n k i n g is not yet adequate to this ambivalence. each time. f u n d a m e n t a l i s m . a "people." u n derstood as a u n i q u e subject. Or more precisely. an "each one" that was not in any way simultaneous." Or rather. each in t u r n . does not have a "general" consistency. expresses "our" being d i v i d e d and entangled: "one" is not " w i t h " in some general sort of way. but it is also w h y this o n t o l o g y must be b o t h an ethos a n d a praxis. end." even one that is not articulated." the l i m i t ." however it is determined: as a r o o m . saying "we" brings about the presentation of a "here a n d now." After all. to act.6 4 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 65 ject" of history. In p o i n t i n g to " c a p i t a l . but each t i m e according to d e t e r m i n e d modes that are themselves multiple a n d simultaneous (people. of social-democratic ideology.) T h e Spectacle of Society If b e i n g . it must take the f o r m of beingwith-one-another. T h i s "generality. language." We can never s i m p l y be "the we." one must present the "here and n o w " of this "we. T h i s w h y it is a q u e s t i o n of the market. " the " i n oneself" ["à soi"] a n d the " i n several" ["à plusieurs"]. or the Other. a n d must do so in a way that is m u c h more problematic. that was not at-the-same-time-and-along- . then. 56 Let us h o l d the following in reserve: an ontology of being-with can only be located w i t h i n the distinction of these terms: to be. couple. c o n d u c t . a group of friends. than M a r x c o u l d have suspected. It must also be said. c u l ture.M a r x i s t terms. since M a r x and up through H e i degger. " each on his o w n account. of misery. lineage. a n d so on). is the c o n d i t i o n for the possibility of each " I . capital exposes the general alienation of the p r o p e r — w h i c h is the generalized disappropriation. undefined hesitation on the subject of "technology. a n d the appropriation of the proper in general. rather. it must be located w i t h i n the d i s t i n c t i o n o f the "singular" a n d the " p l u r a l . T h i s is why. even in its latest p o s t .M a r x i s t forms. that the classic critique of capital.w i t h is the sharing of a simultaneous space-time. a n d because. is a stage [scène] on w h i c h several [people] can say " I . b a n d . identically. a t h i n k i n g of co-appearance must awaken this anxiety. or the appropriation of misery in every sense of the word— and it exposes the stripping bare of the with as a mark of Being. B u t this t r u t h itself d e m a n d s that it be t h o u g h t starting f r o m the with of coappearance. ( T h i s is w h y we do not make an e c o n o m y out of an ontology. T h i s w i l l have to be developed later. a n d fascism in all their various forms). such ambivalence constantly revives a great.o b j e c t — a n d perhaps the screen [l'objet-écran]—of a t h i n k i n g w h i c h projects onto it either the promise of a self-overcoming of capital or the assurance o f the implacable character o f its m a c h i n e r y c a r r y i n g o n u n c o n t r o l l e d — a n d . " No " I " can designate itself w i t h o u t there being a space-time of "self-referentiality" in general. w h i c h w o u l d be the subject of the general reappropriation. or returns o n l y with). network. controlling everything thanks to this absence of control. T h i s is also w h y the t r u t h of o u r t i m e can o n l y be expressed in M a r x i s t or p o s t . thereby. At the very least. or understood as an i n d i s t i n c t "we" that is like a diffuse generality. the presupposition cannot take the f o r m of presupposing a "subject". but far more radical. event." however. a region. " M a r x designated a general dep r o p r i a t i o n [dépropriation] that does not allow for the presupposition or preservation of the other. T h e i n t u i t i o n b u r i e d i n Marx's w o r k i s u n d o u b t e d l y located i n the f o l l o w i n g ambivalence: at one a n d the same time. m e a n i n g . just as m u c h as.

or more precisely. precisely because he is not alone and w o r l d less. as he h i m s e l f invites us to: engaging with h i m and like h i m in the experience of the pretense [to s o l i t u d e ] . T h i s is because of what that order i n evitably entails regarding the invisible o r i g i n of such appearance. We present the " I " to ourselves. o n l y because its certainty can be recognized by anyone. " as Descartes also l i k e d to call it. If this were put in classical terms. w h i c h is as someone w h o . or by itself. T h e r e is no appearing to oneself except as appearing to one another. one must read Descartes literally." T h e pure c o n d i t i o n o f b e i n g d i s t t i b u t e d w h i c h there w o u l d be n o t h i n g but B e i n g pure a n d simple. T h e y are one-another. there is no society w i t h o u t spectacle. Rather. of being a "self. this p r o p o s i t i o n must be understood as ontologically radical. as resemblance or semblance. to articulate it completely w o u l d be to say: / say that we. present the "we" to us. of "each a n d every one. therefore. manifestation. B e i n g gives itself as singular p l u r a l a n d ." a n d appearing to oneself as w e l l as to one another. and what it entails regarding the relation of appearance to this o r i gin as either an expression or an i l l u s i o n . A l t h o u g h already a p o p u l a r ethnological c l a i m or. B u t in a certain sense. or some other concept of becoming-visible. all at once. Rather. not even Descartes can c l a i m to be alone a n d worldless. the question of the " w i t h " can never be expressed in terms of i d e n tity. that is. O n l y this t h i n k i n g with achieves the status of evidence. O t h e r s " i n general" are neither the Same nor the O t h e r . w h i c h is to say." T h i s s t a g e — t h i s "theater of the w o r l d . to one a n other. it is a stage [that serves as] a place of identification. does not go back as far as the absolutely p r i m o r d i a l c o n d i t i o n . say "ego sum. is of a higher order." T h e stage is the space of a co-appearing w i t h o u t B u t it is i m m e d i a t e l y clear that one c o u l d not even begin to be an other for oneself if one h a d not already started f r o m the alterity w i t h — o r o f the w i t h — o t h e r s i n general. terms that presuppose a sphere of proper a n d isolated i n d i v i d u a l i t y as the starting p o i n t . it is not a question of c o m i n g out f r o m a being-in-itself in order to approach others. the stage of the "we. 57 [distributive] w o u l d be transformed i m m e d i a t e l y into absolute autism.66 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 6? side-other "each ones. using the persistent image of his t i m e — i s not a stage in the sense of an artificial space of m i m e t i c representation. but is also each time coessendal to the coexistence of each one. there is no society w i t h o u t the spectacle of society. nor the n o n . revealing. in the Western t r a d i t i o n .) As I have already p o i n t e d out. or for itself. the methodological pretense is neither substantialist nor solipsistic: it uncovers the stage of the "at each t i m e " as our stage." "Self" does not m e a n in itself. in this way. In fact. Therefore. co-appearance consists in its appearing. all as n o t h i n g . just as " I . but rather "one of us": one that is each time at a remove f r o m i m m a n e n c e or f r o m the collective. ( B u t this is not to say that the "group. this itself must be understood as a play of mirrors (at least insofar as "play" a n d " m i r r o r " s i m p l y designate artifice a n d unreality). As a concept of being-together [être-ensemble]. phenomena. or of-one-another. then it w o u l d be rendered in the f o l l o w i n g way: one appears to oneself insofar as one is a l ready an other for oneself. all of us and each one of us." O n e is not o b l i g e d to read Descartes as Heidegger does. to one another. each of w h o m singularly plays the unique and plural role of the "self" or the "being-self. T h e r e is no society w i t h o u t the spectacle because society is the spectacle of itself. is not on the order of appearance. O t h e r s " i n general" are neither other "mes" (since there is no "me" a n d " y o u " except on the basis of alterity in general). In this sense. it w o u l d be the pure a n d simple impossibility of designating oneself a n d . a c l a i m about the theater. M o r e generally. w h i c h is not a p r o o f [une démonstration}. organizes i t self as its o w n stage. T h e ego sum counts as "evident. F r o m its very first m o m e n t . So." w o u l d be isolated in a way that w o u l d no longer even c o u n t as i s o l a t i o n . but rather always in terms of identifications.m e (for the same reason). "appearing. his pretense makes it clear that anyone w h o feigns solitude thereby attests to the "self-referentiality" of anyone [de q u i c o n q u e ] ." whatever it is. a p r i m o r d i a l plurality that co-appears. It is a stage in the sense of the o p e n i n g of a space-time for the d i s t r i b u tion of singularities. in its appearing to itself a n d to one another. " each time." as a first t r u t h . nor . ego existo. in staying at the p o i n t of substance or res cogitans. 58 So co-appearing is not "appearing". all a n d n o t h i n g .

by d e f i n i t i o n . its o r i g i n (which is itself invisible). the social or c o m m u n i t a r i a n being presents its proper inferiority to itself. of egotistic passions a n d the false glory of ostentation. the fact that these are i n t e r t w i n e d is ignored: there is no "expression" that is not [already] given in an "image. a n d it is no accident that the [bad] "spectacle" for t h e m is first a n d foremost the falsification of art. 59 is the necessity of the specta- cle. it takes place as a subject. although society does not expose this as a "knowledge." no "presentation" not already [given] in "representation". exposes itself: it is in exposing itself that it is what it is. It is to be in the s i m u l taneity of b e i n g . it is the stage. even despite h i m s e l f . or that it does what it does. It is as being-exposed. "society" is "spectacular. n o w in exteriority (as image. the social being imagines [se représente] the exteriority of i n terests a n d appetites. a certain idea of "art" almost always plays the role of the g o o d spectacle. It is. then. in the sense of an ensemble in w h i c h all the "I's" L o o k i n g at it closely.w i t h . h o w the t r u t h of the play of m i r r o r s must be u n d e r s t o o d as the t r u t h of the " w i t h . one w i l l find that the various critiques of "spectacular" alienation are. assembled in order to dance a r o u n d the tree they have planted as their o w n proper s y m b o l . it is the instantaneous exteriority of space-time (the instant itself as exteriority: the s i m u l t a n e o u s ) . T h i s is w h y every society gives itself its spectacle and gives itself as spectacle.) In the bad spectacle. At the most basic level. As such. On the contrary. " B u t " i m m e d i a t e l y w i t h " does not refer to an i m m e d i a c y in the sense of an absence of exteriority. T h e being-in-itself of "society" is the network a n d cross-referencing [le renvoi mutuel] of coexistence. there is no "presence" that is not presence to one another. g r o u n d e d on the distinct i o n between a g o o d spectacle and a bad spectacle—[this is true] whether they like it or not. A n d this is h o w co-appearance forms a stage that is not a play of m i r r o r s — o r rather. it is what opens the spacing of co-appearance on this side of every I-subject. reproduction). W h a t Rousseau thus makes clear. In modernity. but rather in the sense that " B e i n g " remains w h o l l y w i t h i n the act a n d in the exposition of the act. a n d the o n l y one that is necessary. In this sense. the f o u n d a t i o n of its rights. is the specta- w o u l d be equidistant f r o m one another. it does not follow f r o m the immanent consistency of a being-in-itself.68 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 69 is it a question of c o m i n g i n t o the w o r l d . (For the S i t u a t i o n ists." It exposes what it knows as its o w n stage and through its o w n praxis oistaging [praxis scénographique]. the life of its body. " In this sense. the theater for the agreement. a n d the splendor of its fulfillment. in the e n d . Rather. the act that brings it to b e — n o t in the sense that it produces it (as a result). not so m u c h the "subject of representation" as representation as subject it is presentation-to [la présentation-à]. that is. but it also supposes an o p p o s i t i o n w i t h i n the status of the representation: it is what is n o w in i n t e r i o r i t y (as m a n i f e s t a t i o n . that is. where there is no " i n itself" that is not a l ready i m m e d i a t e l y " w i t h . 60 To this extent. in one f o r m or another. T h i s a-presentation is that of a "we" that possesses neither the nature of a c o m m o n " I " nor that of a geometric place. one c o u l d say that Rousseau's "social contract" is not in essence the c o n c l u s i o n of an agreement. T h a t is. c o i n c i d e n t a l and concurrent. expression of the proper). w h o stipulates that the best spectacle. W i t h i n the good spectacle. a n d what . of course. the realm of c o m i n g into presence as c o m i n g c o n j o i n e d ." cle of the people itself. but rather as an act that. "Association" ["Sociation"] does not disclose itself as a being. every society knows itself to be constituted in the n o n i m m a n e n c e of co-appearance. Being-social must testify before itself to the act of association. it is essentially a matter of beingexposed. society knows itself as that w h i c h takes place in the i m m a n e n t nonpresence to oneself. this M a n i c h e a n division not o n l y supposes a d i s t i n c t i o n between the represented objects. Even if being-social is not immediately "spectacular" in any of the accepted senses of the w o r d . simultaneous and mutual. o/coexistences. w e l l k n o w n that the d i s t i n c t i o n between these spectacles is d r a w n out explicitly by Rousseau. or what one c o u l d call a-presentation [lapprésentation].

In other w o r d s . "we. or n o t i o n . We are always already there at each instant. both the institution itself and its content." a n d what are we t o l d about ourselves in the technological proliferation of the social spectacle a n d the social as spectacular. U n d o u b t e d l y ." We have not even beg u n to t h i n k "ourselves" as "we. We do so w i t h o u t ever asking ourselves if it m i g h t not be "our" c o m p r e h e n s i o n of "our-selves" that comes u p w i t h these techniques a n d invents itself i n t h e m .•jo Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 71 it knows is that. or f r o m M a r x to Heidegger. a n d w i t h o u t w o n d e r i n g if technology is in fact essentially in complete agreement w i t h the " w i t h . appears to us as the p o l i t i c a l (civil) presentation of the p h i l o s o p h i c a l (the self-knowledge of the logical animal) a n d . We efface it in o u r i m a g i n i n g [représentant] that there c o u l d be We are not up to the level of the "we": we constantly refer ourselves back to a "sociology" that is itself o n l y the learned form of the "spectacular-market. a n d not about the particular a n d subordinate region of beings. defined. it knows that "togetherness" is not a predicate of B e i n g and that "togetherness" is the trace of B e i n g itself." as a "we. b u t w h e n we see it in this way. there is not some other B e i n g w h i c h w o u l d no longer or not yet be being-together. we must reinvent it each time. the spontaneous knowledge of s o c i e t y — i t s "preontological c o m p r e h e n s i o n " of i t s e l f — i s knowledge about B e i n g itself. It is. o r i n essence. what it knows is that there is not togetherness itself h i d d e n b e h i n d b e i n g . A n t e r i o r to all t h o u g h t — a n d . " 61 T h i s is not to say that such t h i n k i n g can o n l y o c c u r to us t o m o r r o w or at some later p o i n t . the togetherness of B e i n g [l'ensemble de l'être] is not a bei n g . B u t the stuttering itself betrays the f o r m of the p r o b l e m : we. a n d to the theater as the place of the s y m b o l i c . T h i s is not an i n n o v a t i o n — b u t the stage must be reinvented." T h e same applies to "technological" nature. this distance defines the theater. we have to disidentify ourselves from every sort of "we" that w o u l d be the subject of its o w n representation. each t i m e m a k i n g o u r entrance anew. T h e r e is certainly n o t h i n g accidental in the fact that our m o d e r n way of g r o u n d i n g the so-called Western t r a d i t i o n involves a triple reference: to p h i l o s o p h y as the shared exercise of logos. It m a y not be a matter of a new object of t h i n k i n g that c o u l d be identified. as the p h i l o sophical presentation of the political. B e i n g . a n d exhibited as such. a n d we have to do this insofar as "we" coappear. T h a t is. i n body." h o w are we to say "we"? Or rather. or concept). to politics as the o p e n i n g of the city.t o g e t h e r — i n presence. h i d d e n b e h i n d being-together. we are s t i l l stuttering: p h i l o s o p h y always comes too late. w h i c h w o u l d be the "social" region of B e i n g . a n d it is [constitutive] for the totality of beings (I w i l l return to this below). w h i c h at best gets reduced to a discourse about the uncertain signs of the "screen" a n d of " c u l ture. instead. the staging w h i c h is co-appearing. absolutely. T h i s insight makes its way f r o m Rousseau to Bataille." Rather. it appears to us as the "one" presentation of being-together. "social" co-appearance is itself the exposing of the general co-appearance of beings. We do not have to identify ourselves as "we.w i t h is constitutive of B e i n g . A major sign of the difficulty we have regarding the spectacle is indicated by the paradigmatic character that the A t h e n i a n theater has for us. w h o is it that says "we.i m a g i n a r y appropriation of collective existence. T h e A t h e n i a n theater appears to us as the c o n j u n c t i o n of logos a n d mimesis. T h u s . reciprocally. a n d it requires that we find a language that is ours. the very c o n d i t i o n of t h i n k i n g — t h e "thought" of "us" is not a representational thought (not an idea. a praxis a n d an ethos: the staging o f co-appearance." . Moreover. as if it d e p e n d e d on progress or some revelation. we systematically efface the m o m e n t of mimesis in favor of the m o m e n t of logos. in fact. also too soon. it shares B e i n g . T h e A t h e n i a n theater. Therefore. a n d as a result. i n person. insofar as it is neither political nor philosophical at the same t i m e — a n d neither of these in a rather specific way. yet as a presentation where the c o n d i t i o n for its possibility is the irreducible a n d institutive distance [l'écart] of representation. that is. as w e l l as in the proliferation of self-mediatized g l o b a l i z a t i o n a n d globalized mediatization? W e are incapable of a p p r o p r i a t i n g this proliferation because we do not k n o w h o w to t h i n k this "spectacular" nature. w h i c h we regard as an a u t o n o m o u s i n s t r u m e n t .

w h i c h is the o r i g i n a r y — a n d . o r divides the several different forms of the profane theatrical tradition). is the "logic of capital"). a n d whose "secret" exposes itself a n d exposes us to ourselves w i t h o u t our even b e g i n n i n g to penetrate i t — i f it is a matter of "penetrating" it at a l l . H a s there ever been a logos that was not "social"? W h a t e v e r logos m e a n s — w h e t h e r a w o r d or number. and a " b a d " mimesis (that of the "sophist. a n d it always i m p l i e s itself as sharing. our referring to things in this way." the logic of "ass o c i a t i o n . 62 (and w h i c h also d i v i d e s — t h i s is a remarkable e x a m p l e — t h e C h r i s t i a n traditions o f Protestantism and C a t h o l i c i s m . cold and faceless (which today. 63 T h e Measure of the " W i t h " T h e bare exposition of co-appearance is the e x p o s i t i o n 64 of cap- ital. " b a d " (re)presentation is represented as b o t h popular and generalized. We give ourselves the representation of a presence that is i m m a n e n t a n d enclosed. C a p i t a l is something like the reverse side of co-appearance and that w h i c h reveals co-appearance. then it is because logos does not present itself of its o w n a c c o r d — a n d maybe because it does n o t present itself at a l l . the E m p i r e a n d the reason for E m p i r e [raison d'Empire}. . of "us" co-appearing. Against this good conjunction of the logical and the m i m e t i c . for d o i n g so w o u l d require that we recognize the following: if there is a necessity to mimesis. we n o w oppose the " b a d " one: that where logic remains w i t h i n its i m manent order. the double spectacle of the double unpresentability of social B e i n g and its t r u t h . for us. self-constitutive a n d self-sufficient. B u t we never pursue this logic to its end. w h i c h sets the G r e e k stage in such violent contrast to the R o m a n circus . but as a c o n centration that is itself more a n d more c o m p l e x a n d delocalized). In this sense. T h e r e is one unpresentability because of a certain retreat. as its p r o d uct a n d t r u t h . . " a n d "association" itself as the logos all require mimesis. T h i s amounts to recognizing that "social logos. b o t h of t h e m are our representations. B u t . the integrally self-referential order of what we call a "logic" in the most general a n d basic sense. by no longer w i s h i n g to be Greeks. M a y b e we have to begin by t a k i n g some distance f r o m this d o u b l e spectacle. the self-consuming "spectacle. a n d the theater o f cruelty. reason that is rendered or c o n s t r u c t e d — i t always i m p l i e s sharing. O n e c o u l d say that capital is the alienation of being singular plural as such. we efface this sharing. By effacing the intrinsic m o m e n t or d i m e n s i o n of mimesis. by no longer fearing that we are R o m a n s . a n d by s i m p l y understanding ourselves as moderns. w i t h o u t " c i v i l " i d e n t i f i c a t i o n ." the prototype of the spectacular merchant w h o sells the simulacra of logos). T h i s w o u l d be quite accurate so l o n g as one d i d not Aeschylus or N e r o ." T h e self-referentiality of the "image" stands in opposit i o n to the self-referentiality of the process or the force. b u t w h i c h is n o t h i n g other than the very presentation of o u r co-appearing. they compose the d o u b l e spectacle that we give to ourselves. as is demonstrated by its unease w i t h regard to the spectacle: " g o o d " (re)presentation is represented as lost. . a gathering or w e l c o m i n g in w h i c h B e i n g is manifest. where being m o d e r n means the f o l l o w i n g : t a k i n g note of an exposed "unpresentability" as such. all the w h i l e outwardly p r o d u c i n g a mimesis that d i s s i m ulates it according to its inverted s i m u l a c r u m . as such. As over a n d against the " G r e e k " p a r a d i g m . this is the way in w h i c h o u r t r a d i t i o n has for a l o n g t i m e set up the " R o m a n " paradigm: the site of circus games. once u p o n a t i m e — a " g o o d " mimesis (the sort Plato wanted). burlesque theater. . . e x i s t e n t i a l — p l u r a l i t y or sharing of logos itself. the f o r u m e m p t i e d of its meaning. T h e "extortion o f surplusvalue" presupposes this c o n c o m i t a n c e between the " a t o m i z a t i o n " of producers (of "subjects" reduced to being-productive) a n d a "reticulation" of profit (not as an equal redistribution. Capital's violent i n h u m a n i t y displays [étale] n o t h i n g other t h a n the s i m u l t a n e i t y of the singular (but the singular posing as the indifferent and interchangeable particularity of the u n i t of p r o d u c t i o n ) a n d the p l u r a l (itself p o s i n g as the system o f c o m m o d i t y c i r c u l a t i o n ) . in fact.7^ Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 73 — a n d especially that there was. a n d another unpresentability on account of a certain vulgarity. a mimesis of logos. because its logic is not the logic of presence. "logic" represents selfreferentiality h e l d to its ontological c o n d i t i o n . reveals a consciousness that is itself conflicted.

does not amount to declaring that the "secret" of capital has been revealed. But this is an incommensurable measure if it is equal to the "at each time" o f each "one" and. it immediately poses the question o f a n "outside-value" o r "absolute v a l u e " — w h i c h w o u l d be immeasurable. . However. as the lone addresser(s) facing the lone addressee(s)." In a paradoxical and violent way. Indeed. exactly because the "rights-bearing" " h u m a n " is "valuable" in itself. as origins. where beingtogether becomes being-of-market-value [letre-marchand] and haggled over [marchandé].74 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 75 understand being singular plural as a primitive. compassion. For this violence violates what it exposes. . neither is the "we" "composed" of subjects (the law of such c o m p o s i t i o n is the aporia of all "intersubjectivity"). combat. however. just as it i m p l i e s the fact of the "value" itself. then. it sees itself as s o m e t h i n g quite evident a n d transparent. a certain concomitance between the globalization of the market a n d that of " h u m a n rights": these rights represent the supposed absolute value that capital claims to exchange for . Instead. circulatory. or if B e i n g in general must "be w o r t h something" under the heading " h u m a n ity. this is also w h y there is the stripping bare [mise à nu] of being-social a n d . In fact.t o g e t h e r — t h a t capital exposes: the s h a r i n g of the senses of exchange. the equality o f all the origins-ofthe-world. in " b e i n g valuable" by a n d for a n d w i t h the plural thai such singularity i m p l i e s . just as "each one" is .w i t h that is thus exposed v a n ishes at the same time that it is exposed. concupiscence. the "we" is not n o t h i n g . they are perfectly unequal. Such is the sort of measurement that it is left up to us to take. that is. T h e r e is. at the same time. instead. at the same time. authentic subject. of what comes to "us" to expose itself: singular plural being-with is the o n l y absolute measure of B e i n g itself. w h i c h . At one and the same t i m e . the violence of capital gives the measure of what is exposed. w h o c o u l d be [more] valuable for oneself t h a n oneself? " B e i n g valuable" is w o r t h something o n l y w i t h i n the context of bei n g .C h r i s t i a n ." If " h u m a n i t y " must be w o r t h something. to w h i c h we w i l l return later. It is not the negative dialectic of some p r i o r c o m m u n i t y that occurs w i t h i n a c o n t i n u o u s historical process.w i t h . a n d autotelic growth—exposes the inaccessibility of a primordial or final "value. Society k n o w s itself a n d sees itself as bared. However. co-jouissance. To say that this violence exposes b e i n g singular plural as an ab- solute of existence is not to justify it. he is n o t h i n g other than the idea of a "value in itself" or a "dignity. whose necessity eclipses that of every ego sum. are strictly unexchangeable [insubstituable]. to the indefinite plurality of coexistences against w h i c h each one is measured m t u r n — a c c o r d i n g t o the indefinite c o m m e n s u r a t i o n o f the c o i n c i dences of commerce. o n l y insofar as it concerns commerce In every sense of the w o r d . it is "someone" each time. It is the c o m m e n s u r a b i l i t y o f i n c o m m e n s u r a b l e singularities. concurrence. . In this sense. ( N o t h i n g c o u l d be more foreign to Marx's thinking. itself." B u t it is through this that we n o w have to attain to a knowledge of the " w e " — a t t a i n to a knowledge and/or a praxis of the "we. competition. its being brought to life [mise à vif]. a n d as an opacity that denies itself every subjective a p p r o p r i a t i o n . T h i s ." T h e "we" is not a subject in the sense of egoistic self-identification a n d self-grounding (even if this itself never takes place outside of a "we"). a subject to w h i c h capital happened as its other and purely by accident. along w i t h the means of converting it into its opposite. B u t it is precisely the s h a r i n g of these s e n s e s — t h e commerce o f goods/the commerce o f b e i n g . "Society" is neither Greek nor R o m a n — n o r J u d e o . comparison. . exposed to this c o m m o n excess [démesure]. we cannot truly say "we. w h i c h is not some one u n i q u e standard applied to everyone a n d everything. T h e r e is a c o m m o n measure." this can o n l y be by " b e i n g valuable" singularly a n d . stripped bare. C a p i t a l exposes it as a certain violence. " I n calculable " s u r p l u s .v a l u e " — " v a l u e " as indefinite. priceless (what K a n t called a "dignity").) C a p i t a l is the "alienation" of B e i n g in its being-social to the extent that it puts this b e i n g in play as such. At that m o ment w h e n we clearly c o m e [to stand] before ourselves. simultaneously. T h e b e i n g . it exposes a singular-plural constitution or configuration that is neither the " c o m m u n i t y " nor the " i n d i v i d u a l . the s h a r i n g of the sharing itself. . but they are unexchangeable o n l y insofar as they are equally w i t h one a n other. or of existence. c o m m u n i cation.

it is the category of the "other" that crosses t h r o u g h m u c h c o n t e m p o r a r y t h i n k i n g . d o i n g so in the infinite presupposition of the self that constitutes it as a subject a n d according to the necessary law of such presupposition.) T h e with constitutes a sort of permanent e n d p o i n t of the tradit i o n . in every case. that is. this is w h y there is no universal "we": on the one h a n d . It corresponds to a transcendental s o l i d a r i t y rather t h a n an e m p i r i c o transcendental simultaneity. the one that reaches its extreme l i m i t in H e g e l — c a n o n l y take place once the subject finds itself or poses itself originarily as other than itself. the self k n o w s itself p r i n c i p a l l y as other t h a n itself: such is the constitution of "self-consciousness. in fact. a n d all of "those w h o m we cannot look in the face" ["ces indévisageables"]—whose necessity is. then. rather. were n o t h i n g but the i n v e n t i o n of o u r existence as s u c h — a s the existence of us a n d as us. a n d least a p p r o p r i able effect of the ontological demand. a n d must b e t h o u g h t . N o t h i n g can really be t h o u g h t about this s i t u a t i o n unless the one." A n d yet. as "others" or the " O t h e r " . freed f r o m contingency and the exteriority of coexistents. In fact." w h i c h is its true place. relat i o n w i t h o u t essentiality). i n contestable—always b r i n g us back to the very heart of the matter. group. (It is as if B e i n g has c o m e back to this "between. as the other outside of the self or as the other w i t h i n the self. or network. one by one a n d one w i t h one. since it o n l y has n o n . absolute p r i o r i t y of every o n t o l o g y ." " W e " neither says the " O n e " nor does it say the a d d i n g together of "ones" a n d "others". Moreover. it is here that o u r o n t o l o g y fails. it is barely a category at all insofar as " B e i n g " has been represented as being alone w i t h itself. insofar as it is the measure of this i n c o m m e n s u r a b i l i t y . "we" is said each time of some configuration." for the coexistence of the entire universe of things. " W e " w o u l d be. "we" w o u l d also be the most belated. It w o u l d be necessary to show h o w this category. even up u n t i l today. B u t what if B e i n g itself is the coessentiality of existence? Since being-social appears to us to lie beyond our reach. " 65 B e i n g of p h i l o s o p h i c a l o n t o l o g y cannot have coessence. a n d people that is m u t e a n d w i t h o u t "us. most difficult. T h i s is really not m u c h more than a transcription of H e g e l . T h e other is t h i n k a b l e . the b e i n g that precedes a n d bears every w o r l d l y Objectivity. " Or rather. then. it again becomes somet h i n g like a substratum rather t h a n s o m e t h i n g open or dis-posed in itself t h r o u g h its c o c o n s t i t u t i o n . whether as c o m m u n i t y (subsumption under the Subject. us in the w o r l d . As a result. the al- this B e i n g constitutes for h i m n o t h i n g less t h a n an ultimate h o r i z o n . animals. T h e other is presented as the alter ego or as the other of the ego. as t h o u g h it h a d been a matter of a "forgetting the between" rather than "forgetting B e i n g . the . and as havi n g no coexistence or coincidence. the logic of this constitution is paradoxical. a self in itself that is other than the self for itself. it is as if the i n v e n t i o n o f B e i n g . the most remote. w h i c h effects its c o m m u n i o n in various f o r m s . in general. since it involves simultaneously the o p e n i n g of the self to the other and its closure. b o t h represents the i n c o m m e n s u r a b i l i t y of B e i n g as being-with-one-another and runs the risk of c o v e r i n g over or deferring this Being's realm. t h r o u g h o u t the w h o l e t r a d i t i o n . G e n e r a l l y speaking. as a result. "we" says "one" in a way that is singular plural.B e i n g as its correlate. i n c l u d i n g Heidegger in certain regards. Therefore. all these ways of l o o k i n g at it.j6 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural yj someone. we-the-world. Yet. T h i s w o u l d be a self that is older a n d more originary than itself. insofar as it is the realm of the with." Yet. b e g i n n i n g f r o m that m o m e n t w h e n the self appears a n d appears to itself as a "self. It is a m i n o r category. however small or large. this identification of the self as s u c h — i t s subjectivization in the deepest a n d richest p h i l o s o p h i c a l sense of the t e r m . So. is first thought in terms of with-one-another. on the other h a n d . to an alterity or alteration where the "self" is at stake. pure B e i n g w i t h out relations) or as association ( a c c o m m o d a t i o n of subjects. w h e n Husserl declares "the i n t r i n s i c a l l y first b e i n g . is transcendental intersubjectivity: the universe of monads. all these faces. "we" say "we" for "everyone. all these aspects. since we are "amongst us" ["entre nous"] a n d since " B e i n g " comes d o w n to just t h a t — i f I can say it like this. a n d the obsession [la hantise] that it ends up c o n s t i t u t i n g for a g o o d p o r t i o n of o u r t h i n k i n g .

the c o e x i s t e n t — t h e other person. i n t o i t s e l f — i n itself as i n t o itself. " 67 T h e love of self. and because it is as the self-outside-itself: it is the other in general. the dis-alienating a n d reappropriative power of alienation itself as the alienation of the same. transcription. to-be-in-debt-to-being. " 6 6 In this way. w i l l always be presupposed as the power of the self. To exist is a matter of g o i n g i n t o exile. the subject is b o r n into its intimacy ("interior i n t i m o neo")." w h i c h is also to say "the most approximate" or " i n f i n i t e l y app r o x i m a t e " to me. of the same in the other. it crosses t h r o u g h it. or even to-be-lacking. w h i c h does not mean that it was not prepared for well in advance. w h i c h is also the m o m e n t of the i d e n t i t y of everyt h i n g . O p e n to the other a n d o c c u r r i n g as other. it is nearer a n d further away than every being-together. a n d its i n t i m a c y wanders away f r o m it in statu nascendi ("interfeces et u r i n a m n a s c i m u r " ) . is not egoism in the sense of preferring oneself over others ( w h i c h w o u l d contradict the c o m m a n d m e n t ) .78 Being Singular Plural Being Singula r Plu ral 79 terity of the other is such that to recognize it is to be d e n i e d access to i t . T h e p r o x i m i t y of the nearest is a minute. an infinite distance whose resolution is in the O t h e r . It appears inaccessible to "me" because it is w i t h d r a w n f r o m the "self" in general. therefore. a general m o d e of trans. a radical alienation. W h a t is properly l a c k i n g or passed over in this false emergence is the m o m e n t of the with. . but also the other creature in general—appears as that w h i c h is in itself infinitely w i t h drawn. outside of itself in extremis a n d in principis. T h e fact that the intimate. i n t o the self in general. as a m o d e l . as the m e m o r i a l m o u r n i n g of the i m m e m o r i a l . u n does this aporia. outside of the w o r l d . Solitude par excellence is solitude of the self insofar as it relates to itself.(transport. It is its h i d d e n intimacy. T h i s is the C h r i s t i a n event. T h e Self remains alone in itself even as it emerges out of itself. ex-isting existence. the place of a being-self-in-other [être-soi-en-1'autre] that w o u l d no longer be altered or where such alteration w o u l d be identification. consists in the absolutely other is what alters the o r i g i n in itself. T h e other is this very solitude exposed as such: as a self-consciousness that is i n f i n i t e l y w i t h d r a w n in itself. T h e O t h e r is the place of community as communion. the absolutely proper. transparency. that is. It is necessary to love one's o w n self in the other. here. transformation. intimate distance and. It does not accompany identity. that is. B i r t h a n d death b e c o m e the marks of a p o i n t of o r i g i n [provenance] a n d destination w i t h i n the other: an origin/destination as a loss. in its o w n way. the mystery of c o m m u n i o n announces itself in the f o r m of the nearby [prochaine]. In and of itself transcendent. Consciousness of self is solitude. b u t it is not me because it is w i t h d r a w n in itself." the "closest. one's own-self [le soi-propre]. the i m i t a t i o n of w h i c h w o u l d provide the love of others. a n d (3) as a love that is "like the love of m y s e l f . it is an egoism in the sense of privileging oneself. T h e nearest is that w h i c h is utterly removed. one's own-self in me is the other of the ego. there can be access o n l y on the c o n d i t i o n of a radical alteration or. the self has its o r i g i narity in the loss of self. transcendence) continually runs alongside the m o d e of cum-. then. it is no longer a n d not yet " w i t h " . but this u n d o i n g comes at a price. transfer. a n d as the reconquering or reappropriation of an i n a p p r o p r i a t e aseity in all its i r r e d u c i b l e alterity. A dialectic of the same a n d the other. in itself). it transfixes it. and this is w h y the relation to it presents itself (1) as an i m perative. W i t h i n the discourse about alterity. (2) as the imperative of a love. transmission. In this w o r l d . transaction. but it w i l l never be able to eclipse it or replace it. Proximity is the correlate of intimacy: it is the "nearest. but reciprocally. the price of the dialectic in general. T h i s other is n o t " w i t h " . transubstantiation. more precisely. of the universal corpus mysticum. "solitude" appears. " T o exist" is no longer "to be" (for itself. As s u c h . contemporary to our whole trad i t i o n . to-already-no-longer-be a n d tonot-yet-be. in a relation to itself that is "originarily p l u n g e d into m o u r n i n g . or the Self as this very power. T h i s is w h y it is a matter of "love": this love is not some possible T h e other i s i n a n o r i g i n a r y relation t o death a n d in a relation to originary death. of the same as other. the other that has its m o m e n t of identity in the d i v i n e O t h e r . a n d transgresses it. or that it was not. It reveals that the power of the negative w h i c h holds the self to the other.

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m o d e of relation; it designates relation itself at the heart of Bei n g — i n lieu o f a n d i n the place o f B e i n g — a n d designates this
6 8

the group or ensemble, every logic of c o m m u n i t y that is based on nature, b l o o d , source, p r i n c i p l e , a n d o r i g i n . T h e measure o f such
69

relation, of one to another, as the infinite relation of the same to the same as originarily other than itself. " L o v e " is the abyss of the self in itself; it is the "delectation" ["dilection"] or "taking care" of what o r i g i n a r i l y escapes or is l a c k i n g ; it consists in taking care of this retreat a n d in this retreat. As a result, this love is "charity": it is the consideration of the caritas, of the cost or the extreme, absolute, a n d , therefore, inestimable value of the other as other, that is, the other as the self-withdrawn-in-itself. T h i s love speaks of the i n f i nite cost of what is infinitely w i t h d r a w n : the i n c o m m e n s u r a b i l i t y of the other. As a result, the c o m m a n d m e n t of this love lays out this i n c o m m e n s u r a b i l i t y for what it is: access to the inaccessible. Yet, it is not sufficient to discredit such love as belonging to some intemperate idealism or religious hypocrisy. Rather, it is a matter o f deconstructing the C h r i s t i a n i t y a n d sentimentality o f a n imperative the openly excessive and clearly exorbitant character of w h i c h must be read as a w a r n i n g to us; I w o u l d even go so far as to say that it just is a w a r n i n g to us. It is a matter of w o n d e r i n g about the " m e a n i n g " (or "desire") of a t h i n k i n g or culture that gives itself a foundation the very expression of w h i c h denotes impossibility, and of w o n d e r i n g h o w a n d to what extent the "madness" of this love c o u l d expose the i n c o m m e n s u r a b i l i t y o f the very c o n s t i t u t i o n o f the "self" a n d the "other," of the "self" in the "other." W i t h regard to this constitution, then, and at the heart of JudeoC h r i s t i a n i t y a n d its exact opposite, it w o u l d be a matter of understanding h o w the d i m e n s i o n of the with b o t h appears a n d disappears all at once. On the one hand, the p r o x i m i t y of what is nearby [prochain] points to the "nearby" [ T a u p r è s " ] of the " w i t h " (the apud hoc of its e t y m o l o g y ) . O n e c o u l d even a d d that it encircles this "nearby" a n d makes it stand out on its o w n , as a c o n t i g u i t y a n d simultaneity of being-near-to as such, w i t h o u t any further det e r m i n a t i o n . T h a t is, what is "nearby" is no longer the "nearness" of the family or the tribe, w h i c h may be what the p r i m a r y meaning o f the B i b l i c a l precept refers to; it is not the nearness o f the people or the philia, or the brotherhood; it is what underlies every logic of

"nearness" is no longer given, a n d the "nearby," the "very near" is e x h i b i t e d as stripped bare, w i t h o u t measure. As s u c h , everyday m i l l i n g around [le côtoiement], the c r o w d , the mass all become poss i b l e — r i g h t u p u n t i l the p i l i n g - u p o f bodies i n the a n o n y m o u s mass grave or the pulverization of collective ashes. T h e p r o x i m i t y of what is nearby, as pure dis-tance, as pure dis-position, can c o n tract a n d expand this dis-position to its extreme l i m i t , b o t h at the same time. In universal being-with-one-another, the in of the i n c o m m o n is made purely extensive a n d distributive. On the other h a n d , this is w h y the "nearby" of the with, the simultaneity of distance a n d close contact, the most proper constit u t i o n of the cum-, exposes itself as indeterminantness a n d as a p r o b l e m . A c c o r d i n g to this logic, there is no measure that is proper to the with, and the other holds it there, w i t h i n the dialectic o f the incommensurable and c o m m o n intimacy, or w i t h i n an alternative to it. In an extreme paradox, the other turns out to be the other of

the with.

As a result, there are two different measures of the i n c o m m e n surable to be f o u n d w i t h i n the very depths of o u r t r a d i t i o n , two measures that are superimposed, intertwined, a n d contrasted. O n e is calibrated according to the O t h e r ; the other is calibrated accordi n g to the w i t h . Because the intimate a n d the proximate, the same and the other, refer to one another, they designate a "not b e i n g w i t h " a n d , in this way, a "not being in society." T h e y designate an O t h e r of the social where the social itself— the c o m m o n as Being or as a c o m m o n subject—would be in itself, by itself, a n d for itself: it w o u l d be the very sameness of the other a n d sameness as O t h e r . In contrast, being-with designates the other that never comes back to the same, the plurality of origins. T h e just measure of the w i t h or, more exactly, the w i t h or being-with as just measure, as justness a n d justice, is the measure of dis-position as such: the measure of the distance f r o m one o r i g i n to another.

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In his analytic of Mitsein, Heidegger does not do this measure justice. O n the one h a n d , h e deals w i t h the indifference o f a n " u n ci rcumspective tarrying alongside" a n d , on the other, an "authentic understanding o f o t h e r s " — t h e status o f w h i c h remains indeter70

is it an o r i g i n in order to hover over some derivative succession in w h i c h its b e i n g as o r i g i n w o u l d be lost. An o r i g i n is s o m e t h i n g other than a starting p o i n t ; it is both a p r i n c i p l e a n d an appearing; as such, it repeats itself at each m o m e n t of what it originates. It is " c o n t i n u a l creation." If the w o r l d does not "have" an o r i g i n "outside of itself," if the w o r l d is its o w n o r i g i n or the o r i g i n "itself," then the o r i g i n of the w o r l d occurs at each m o m e n t o f the w o r l d . It is the each time o f B e i n g , a n d its realm is the being-with of each t i m e w i t h every [other] time. T h e o r i g i n is for a n d by way of the singular plural of every possible origin. T h e " w i t h " is the measure of an origin-of-thew o r l d as such, or even of an o r i g i n - o f - m e a n i n g as such. T o - b e - w i t h is to m a k e sense mutually, a n d o n l y mutually. M e a n i n g is the fullest measure of the i n c o m m e n s u r a b l e " w i t h . " T h e " w i t h " is the fullest measure of (the) i n c o m m e n s u r a b l e m e a n i n g (of B e i n g ) .

m i n a t e as l o n g as what is in q u e s t i o n is a n y t h i n g other than the negative understanding of the inappropriability of the death of o t h ers or the codestination of a people. Between this indifference a n d this understanding, the theme of existential "distantiality"
71

imme-

diately reverts back to c o m p e t i t i o n a n d d o m i n a t i o n , in order to o p e n o n t o the i n d i s t i n c t d o m i n a t i o n of the "one" ["Das Man"]. T h e "one" is produced as n o t h i n g other than that conversion w h i c h levels out the general attempt by everyone to outdistance everyone else, w h i c h ends in the d o m i n a t i o n of mediocrity, of the c o m m o n a n d average measure, c o m m o n as average. It ends w i t h the " c o m m o n - m e d i o c r e " concealing the essential " c o m m o n - w i t h . " B u t , as such, it remains to be said just h o w being-with is essential, seeing as it codetermines the essence of existence. Heidegger himself writes that: . . . as B e i n g - w i t h , Dasein "is" essentially for the sake of [umwillen] O t h e r s . . . . In b e i n g - w i t h , as the existential "for-the-sake-of " of Others, these have already been disclosed [erschlossen] in their Dasein." T h e with, therefore, des72

Body, Language
T h e plurality of origins essentially disseminates the O r i g i n of the w o r l d . T h e w o r l d springs f o r t h
7 4

everywhere a n d i n each instant,

simultaneously. T h i s is h o w it comes to appear out of nothing a n d "is created." F r o m n o w o n , however, this being created must be u n derstood differently: it is not an effect of some particular operation of p r o d u c t i o n ; instead, it is, insofar as it is, as created, as h a v i n g arisen, c o m e , or g r o w n (cresco, creo); it has always already s p r u n g f r o m all sides, or more exactly, it is itself the s p r i n g i n g forth a n d the c o m i n g of the "always already" a n d the "everywhere." As such, each being belongs to the (authentic) o r i g i n , each is originary (the s p r i n g i n g forth of the s p r i n g i n g forth itself), a n d each is original (incomparable, underivable). Nevertheless, all of t h e m share o r i g i nariry a n d originality; this sharing is itself the o r i g i n . W h a t is shared is n o t h i n g like a u n i q u e substance in w h i c h each being w o u l d participate; what is shared is also what shares, what is structurally constituted by sharing, a n d what we call "matter." T h e o n t o l o g y of being-with can o n l y be "materialist," in the sense that "matter" does not designate a substance or a subject (or an antisub-

ignates being-with-regard-to-one-another, such that each one is "disclosed" ["ouvert"]
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then a n d there, that is, constituted as ex-

isting: b e i n g the there, that is, the disclosure of B e i n g , b e i n g an "each t i m e " of this disclosure, in such a way that no disclosure w o u l d take place (no Being) if the one "disclosed" d i d not disclose itself w i t h regard to an other "disclosed." Disclosure itself consists only in the coincidence of disclosures. To-be-the-there is not to disclose a place to B e i n g as O t h e r : it is to disclose/be disclosed to/ through the plurality of singular disclosures.

Since it is neither "love," nor even "relation" in general, nor the juxta-position of in-differences, the "with" is the proper realm of the
plurality of origins insofar as they originate, not f r o m one another or

for one another, but in view of one another or with regard to one another. A n origin is not an origin for itself; nor is it an origin i n order to retain itself in itself (that w o u l d be the o r i g i n of n o t h i n g ) ; nor

8

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ject), but literally designates what is d i v i d e d of itself, what is only as distinct f r o m itself, partes extra partes, originarily impenetrable to the c o m b i n i n g a n d s u b l i m a t i n g penetration of a "spirit" [or " m i n d " ] , understood as a dimensionless, indivisible p o i n t beyond the w o r l d . T h e ontology of being-with is an ontology of bodies, of every body, whether they be inanimate, animate, sentient, speaking, t h i n k i n g , having weight, a n d so o n . Above all else, "body" really means what is outside, insofar as it is outside, next to, against, nearby, w i t h a(n) (other) body, from b o d y to body, in the dis-position. N o t o n l y does a b o d y go f r o m one "self" to an "other," it is as itself'from the very first; it goes f r o m itself to itself; whether made of stone, w o o d , plastic, or flesh, a b o d y is the sharing of and the departure f r o m self, the departure toward self, the nearby-to-self w i t h o u t w h i c h the "self" w o u l d not even be "on its o w n " ["à part soi"] P Language is the incorporeal (as the Stoics said). E i t h e r as an audible voice or a visible mark, saying is corporeal, but what is said is incorporeal; it is everything that is incorporeal about the w o r l d . Language is not in the w o r l d or inside the w o r l d , as t h o u g h the w o r l d were its body: it is the outside of the w o r l d in the w o r l d . It is the whole of the outside of the w o r l d ; it is not the e r u p t i o n of an O t h e r , w h i c h w o u l d clear away o r sublimate the w o r l d , w h i c h w o u l d transcribe it i n t o something else; instead, it is the exposition of the world-of-bodies as such, that is, as originarily singular plural. T h e incorporeal exposes bodies according to their being-with-oneanother; they are neither isolated nor m i x e d together. T h e y are amongst themselves [entre eux], as origins. T h e relation of singular origins a m o n g themselves, then, is the relation of meaning. ( T h a t relation in w h i c h one unique O r i g i n w o u l d be related to everything else as h a v i n g been o r i g i n a t e d w o u l d be a relation of saturated meaning: not really a relation, then, but a pure consistency; not really a m e a n i n g , but its sealing off, the annulment of m e a n i n g a n d the e n d of the origin.) Language is the exposing of plural singularity. In it, the all of bei n g is exposed as its meaning, w h i c h is to say, as the originary shari n g according to w h i c h a being relates to a being, the circulation of a m e a n i n g of the w o r l d that has no b e g i n n i n g or end. T h i s is the

m e a n i n g of the w o r l d as b e i n g - w i t h , the simultaneity of all presences that are w i t h regard to one another, where no one is for oneself w i t h o u t being for others. T h i s is also w h y the essential dialogue or polylogue of language is b o t h the one in w h i c h we speak to one another and, identically, the one in w h i c h I speak to "myself," being an entire "society" onto m y s e l f — b e i n g , in fact, in a n d as language,

always simultaneously "us" and "me" and "me" as "us," as well as "us"
as "me" For I w o u l d say n o t h i n g about myself if I were not w i t h myself as I am w i t h numerous others, if this with were not " i n " me, right at me, at the same time as "me," a n d , more precisely, as the at-the-same-time according to w h i c h , solely, I a m . At this exact p o i n t , then, one becomes most aware of the essence of singularity: it is not i n d i v i d u a l i t y ; it is, each time, the p u n c t u ality of a " w i t h " that establishes a certain o r i g i n of m e a n i n g a n d connects it to an i n f i n i t y of other possible origins. Therefore, it is, at one a n d the same time, infra-/intraindividual a n d t r a n s i n d i v i d ual, a n d always the two together. T h e i n d i v i d u a l is an intersection of singularities, the discrete exposition of their simultaneity, an exposition that is b o t h discrete a n d transitory. T h i s is w h y there is no ultimate language, but instead languages, words, voices, an o r i g i n a r i l y singular sharing of voices w i t h o u t w h i c h there w o u l d be no voice. In the incorporeal exposition of languages, all beings pass through h u m a n i t y .
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B u t this exposition ex-

poses h u m a n i t y itself to what is outside the h u m a n , to the m e a n i n g of the w o r l d , to the m e a n i n g of B e i n g as the being-meaning of the w o r l d . W i t h i n language, " h u m a n i t y " is not the subject of the w o r l d ; it does not represent the w o r l d ; it is not its o r i g i n or end. It is not its meaning; it does not give it meaning. It is the exponent, but what it thus exposes is not itself, is not " h u m a n i t y " ; rather, it exposes the w o r l d and its proper being-with-all-beings in the w o r l d , exposes it as the w o r l d . Moreover, this is w h y it is also what is exposed by meaning; exposed as "gifted" w i t h language, h u m a n i t y is, above all, essentially ex-posed in its Being. It is ex-posed to a n d as this incorporeal outside of the w o r l d that is at the heart of the w o r l d , that w h i c h makes the w o r l d " h o l d " or "consist" in its proper singular plurality.

then B e i n g is exposed o n l y in the incorporeality of the saying. what comes back also becomes another origin of meaning. b u t the e n d [or p u r pose] of dialogue is not to overcome itself in "consensus". seahorses. " E m p t i e d of signification": that is. the one that is resaid. exposes it as the effort a n d desire to m a i n t a i n oneself as " w i t h " a n d . a n d history do not constitute an ensemble the totality of w h i c h w o u l d or w o u l d not be w i t h o u t reason. m e a n i n g does not consist in the transmission f r o m a speaker to a receiver. it is the same conatus: the " w i t h " according if the rose were alone. what cannot be presented as a being a m o n g [parmi] others." in the sense of discussion. then. M e a n i n g is the e x h i b i t i o n of the foundation w i t h - .w i t h . its t r u t h — g o e s in two directions: that of c o m m o n chatter a n d that of absolute poetic d i s t i n c t i o n . Being says n o t h i n g else. T h i s Being ex-poses itself. but there as the t h i n g as such.w i t h as such w i t h i n chatter: it is in "conversing. It is not enough." for m e a n i n g must return to me resaid in order to be said. w h i c h is not an abyss but s i m p l y the with of things that are. .o f . E v e r y spoken w o r d is the s i m u l taneity of at least two different modes of that spoken w o r d . a n d their inventions. a n d the t h i s t l e — a s well as w i t h crystals. F o r a w o r d is what it is o n l y a m o n g all words. a n d a spoken w o r d is what it is o n l y in the " w i t h " of all speaking. but "trans-lation" in the sense of a stretching or spreading out [tension] f r o m one o r i g i n . to m a i n t a i n s o m e t h i n g w h i c h . insofar as they are. i n t o the carrying over [transport] that is not a "translation" in the sense of the conservation of one signific a t i o n (however m o d i f i e d ) . but rather a sharing and a crossing through. since it is the " a m o n g " of all beings {among: inside. a n d with say the same t h i n g .86 Being Singular Plural It is not enough to say that the "rose grows w i t h o u t reason. Logos is dialogue. exposes itself as the w i t h . they say exactly what can only be said ( w h i c h is called the "ineffable" elsewhere). " but rather that B e i n g is all that is and all that goes into m a k i n g a w o r d : being-with in every regard. w i t h each signification. if saying always says B e i n g in one way or another. Speaking-with exposes the conatus of b e i n g . it exposes b e i n g . the with of m e a n i n g . B u t the rose grows w i t h o u t reason because it grows a l o n g w i t h the reseda. B u t in r e t u r n i n g to me in this way. or exhausted by the pure " a p o p h a n t i c " significance. it is resaid. that is. in the m i d d l e of. even w h e n I am by myself. f r o m the other. Being between." F o r Being Singular Plural 87 out foundation. or manifestat i o n ("apophansis") of this very t h i n g as an unexchangeable spoken w o r d . is not a stable a n d permanent substance. r e t u r n i n g all signification to the circulation of meaning. its reason is to offer. it is necessary to discern the conversat i o n (and sustaining) of b e i n g . to set idle chatter in opposition to the aut h e n t i c i t y of the spoken w o r d . h u mans. On the contrary. there is the one that is said and" the one that is heard. that is. it has no other reason. T h e whole of being is its o w n reason. its g r o w t h w i t h o u t reason w o u l d enclose w i t h i n itself. As soon as a w o r d is spoken. a n d o n l y to offer (giving it tone and intensity). It is exhausted t h r o u g h the inexhaustible exchangeability of "phantic" insignificance.w i t h . . A n d the w h o l e o f being. unalterable as this very t h i n g . w i t h ) . as a result. all the reason of the w o r l d . " " g o o d " . in itself. ) w h i c h o n l y sustain the conversation itself—exposes the w i t h . As far as m e a n i n g is concerned. the p l u r a l i t y of its s p r i n g i n g forth. exactly because it is not "itself.p o s i t i o n in the p l u r a l i t y of singularities. T h i s is w h y this always i m m i n e n t exhaustion of signific a t i o n — a l w a y s i m m i n e n t a n d always i m m a n e n t to m e a n i n g itself." It wits o w n d i s . w h i c h does not m e a n that it itself is its o w n principle and end. u n d e r s t o o d as b e i n g replete w i t h m e a n i n g . by itself. at each m o m e n t . as the between a n d the with of singulars. T h i s does not signify that B e i n g "is o n l y a w o r d .m e a n i n g to another. e m p t i e d of signification. inscribes a n d ex-scribes itself in the w i t h u n t i l it is exhausted. M e a n i n g is the passi n g back a n d forth [passage] a n d sharing of the o r i g i n at the o r i g i n . nature. the eglantine. f r o m the highest to the l o w e s t — r i g h t d o w n to those "phantic. w h i c h are each a n d every time a m o n g one another. what I say is not s i m p l y "said. In this conversation (and sustaining) of bei n g . or better. L a n guage is essentially in the w i t h . singular p l u r a l . but in the simultaneity of (at least) two origins of m e a n i n g : that of the saying a n d that of its resaying. declaration. then." " h i .w i t h as conatus. the cum-. F r o m one to the other." in the sense of the perseverance in B e i n g .w i t h "sustains itself. As such. one must discern h o w language. as a consequence." insignificant remarks ("hello. that b e i n g .

La Bruyère put it in the f o l l o w i n g way: " E v e r y t h i n g is said. Mallarmé's phrase "I say a flower' . o r i g i n . . " C e r t a i n l y . singular p l u r a l . A l t h o u g h he was certainly not the first to do so. as H e i d e g g e r says. yet. the exposition of the body. T h a t is. its being-before. p r i n c i p l e . refers to the w o r l d and to its coexistence. then it is also true. it is to present the exteriority of the t h i n g . exposing the inexposable singularity of the origin. or its e n d . it grasps its pure non-latency. everything is said. it is the tragic itself. B u t this is also w h y " m y death" is not swallowed up w i t h "me" in pure disappearance. B u t it is joy as the destitution of meaning. it follows that the solitude of b i r t h / d e a t h . D e a t h to life. the appropriate measure. that I c a n n o t die in place of the other. at the same t i m e . . D e a t h as such. It follows that one is never b o r n alone. T h i s is w h y death does not take place "for the subject. of the i n c o m m e n s u r a b l e " w i t h . its pure exteriority. D e a t h takes place essentially as language. its value. in the w o r l d . " D e a t h is the "as" w i t h o u t quality. . is the exact reverse of its sharing. D e a t h is the very signature of the " w i t h " : the dead are those w h o are no longer " w i t h " a n d are. . . exp o s i t i o n as such (the ex-posed as ex-posed = that w h i c h turns t o ward the w o r l d . Language constitutes itself a n d articulates itself f r o m out of the "as." a discrete a n d transitory completeness. each time. a "flower" that is "absent f r o m all bouquets" o n l y because its "as" is also the presence as such of every flower in every bouquet. this solitude w h i c h is no longer even solitude. the very nihil of its creation) can o n l y be b e i n g . reciprocally. the m u tual exposition a n d d i s p o s i t i o n of the singularities of the w o r l d (of a w o r l d of singularities. of world-singularities). everything remains to be said." exposing the w o r l d as w o r l d . In t u r n . " expresses [the fact] that the w o r d says "the flower" as "flower" a n d as n o t h i n g else." but o n l y for its citated. " T h e t h i n k i n g that tries to grasp being as beings retreats t o w a r d the entity w i t h o u t a d d i n g to it any further determ i n a t i o n . as an o r i g i n of m e a n i n g that is b o t h absolute a n d . G i o r g i o A g a m b e n writes.w i t h i n or being-elsewhere). it is to present the "as" as such. therefore. D e a t h presents the interr u p t i o n of a saying of the w h o l e a n d of a totality of saying: it presents the fact that the saying-of-everything is at each t i m e an "everything is said. and one never dies alone. . this declaration as such refers to everyone and to no one. it exposes existence as such. It no longer says some thing as some thing but brings to speech this as itself. to say is to present the "as" of whatever is said. but f r o m the p o i n t of view o f m e a n i n g a n d t r u t h . a n d true in the same way. w i t h o u t c o m p l e m e n t : it is the incorporeal as such a n d . those w h o take their places acc o r d i n g to an exact measure. for the w h o l e as such is always to be said anew. i m m o r t a l ) . w h i c h is s o m e t h i n g other than being the negativity through w h i c h life w o u l d pass in order to be resus- Every spoken w o r d brings to speech this "as itself. w h i c h lays bare the . its essence. language always says death: it always says the i n t e r r u p t i o n of m e a n i n g as its truth. exposing ourselves to one another a n d . F r o m the p o i n t of view of signification. [like] b i r t h as such. " that is. takes place as language: it takes place in a n d t h r o u g h being-with-one-another. insofar as it is the utmost possibility of existence." that is. Language is the element of the w i t h as such: it is the space of its declaration. its being-with-all-things (and not its b e i n g .w i t h . If it is true. but as an absolute "as s u c h . absolutely cut o f f (and consequently. We say in French " m o u r i r à" ["dead t o " ] — t o the w o r l d . To put it very precisely: death as fertile negativity is that of a single subject (either i n d i v i d u a l or generic). in the midst of its as. not an arrangement w i t h the intolerability of death. one d i e s — n o t as this one or that one.88 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 89 to w h i c h we expose ourselves to one another. language is exactly what Bataille calls "the practice of joy before death. In this sense. that the other dies insofar as the other is w i t h me a n d that we are b o r n a n d die to one another. D e a t h is to life. to l i f e — a s well as "naître à" ["born to"]." 7 representation. O n e is b o r n . As Heidegger says. as "ones" a n d as " o t h ers. of singular worlds. In one sense. . for everything has always already been said. as is necessary. c o m p r e h e n d i n g it in its being-such. it is to present one t h i n g as another t h i n g (for example." Language is not a diversion. its signification). or rather." No matter what is said. a n d one comes to it too late.

there is a syn- As s u c h . It is the with as such. close to one another. in contact a n d (therefore) distanced f r o m one another. c o n t r a r y to what H e i d e g g e r h i m s e l f says. it is. in order to be the negative (in order to be the nihil negativum a n d not just the nihil privatum) must a v o i d its o w n operation a n d be affirmed in itself. it must be affirmed as the absolute r e m a i n der that cannot be captured in a concatenation of procedure or o p eration. insofar as this "mineness" is returned to the singular p l u r a l of the always-othermineness. Language exposes death: it neither denies it nor affirms it. or tones.90 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 9i o r i g i n : the singular p l u r a l as such. " 78 fences' o w n possibility. as speaking itself.w i t h is i n d e e d co- essential to B e i n g tout court. my death is not.B e i n g is the i s s u e . N e g a t i v i t y is the operation that wants to depose B e i n g in order to make it be: the sacrifice. always on this side of itself and always beyond itself. or it " w i l l be. all the different ways of t h i n k i n g negativity lead to the same p o i n t (they at least pass t h r o u g h it. My death is one " o w n m o s t " co-possibility of the other exis- . or rather is to B e i n g itself. " D e a t h speaks in me.c o m m o n of what has no c o m m o n o r i g i n . but is originarily i n . on the contrary. It is. that "all B e i n g . B e i n g i s i n f i n i t e l y presupposed by itself. that it has suddenly appeared between me.) "Literature" means the b e i n g . but that of voices. is not the negative of anything. is not negativity. therefore. the absent object of desire. we un-exchange [in-échangons] this extreme l i m i t of the saying in every spoken w o r d . t h e n . genres. " however. A s s u c h . If.w i t h . equal to itself because a n d as it is equal to every other. and its process is the reappropriation of this presupposition. even if they refuse to stop there). "literature" is language stretched out [en tension] toward b i r t h and death. or singing.w i t h O t h e r s . that w h i c h is essentially b r o u g h t to l a n g u a g e — a n d that w h i c h brings it there. according to w h i c h . It is the incorporeal by w h i c h . this " n o t h i n g . a n d language does not k n o w or practice negativity (or logic). " therefore. but this distance is also what prevents us f r o m being separated. a n d insofar as it is. the t h i n g itself: the t h i n g as being-itself. whether they are aware of it or not. a l i e n a t i o n — a n d . the m u t u a l exposition of beings that exist o n l y in a n d t h r o u g h this exposition. the being-such of every being. T h i s nothing is the res ipsa. ( E a c h of these. striving toward address. that is. but o n l y the assumption o f a n i n f i n i t e s u p p o s i t i o n . being-such is the demonstrative essence of B e i n g . understanding [entente]. the eclipse of consciousness. this is w h y the relation to one's o w n death consists in "taking over f r o m [one]self [one's] o w n m o s t B e i n g . inoperative p o i n t at the heart of the dialectic). this is a " c o m m o n fate": we have n o t h i n g in c o m m o n except our telling ourselves so (and I have n o t h i n g in c o m m o n w i t h myself except in telling myself so). " 79 If b e i n g . As is often said. It is that p o i n t where the negative itself. the being w h o shows itself to a n other being a n d in the midst of beings. In "he is dead. a n d we do not exchange. T h e distancing of d i s p o s i t i o n is nothing. it brings it to language. language's exteriority to/in itself. " D e a t h .f o r . forms the dis-position of language itself. exactly because it is. M o r e o v e r . anywhere else. we exchange. w h i c h is also to say the being-such as such: perfectly a n d s i m p l y — a n d i m m o r t a l l y — e q u a l to itself a n d to every other. a n d the being I address: it is there between us at the distance that separates us. each forms language's sharing. it is a m u l t i p l e sharing w i t h o u t w h i c h there w o u l d be no "as" in general. My speech is a w a r n i n g that at this very m o m e n t death is loose in the w o r l d . or else. Such is a demonstrative. it is negativity at w o r k . as Heidegger says. t h e n . as a result. a n d conversation. it w i l l not be." it is indeed B e i n g that is in q u e s t i o n — a n d as b e i n g . bodies are w i t h one another." my death that says "he is dead" in their speaking. discourse. in this way. as I speak. Self-presupposition interrupts itself. because it contains the c o n d i t i o n for all u n d e r s t a n d i n g . and death is n o t h i n g but that.c o m m o n o r w i t h . this o w n most possibility is coessentially a possibility of the w i t h a n d as the w i t h . suspended. side by side. in t u r n . (It is the critical. w i t h no remainder. w i l l fail us w h e n o u r o w n m o s t p o t e n t i a l i t y .i n . " this t a k i n g over does not i m p l y . essentially with every other equally. B u t things w o r k out completely differently if B e i n g is singular plural dis-position. A n d it is stretched like this since it occurs as recitation. It is " m y " possibility insofar as it withdraws the p o s s i b i l i t y of the " m i n e " i n t o itself: that is to say. not o n l y the sharing of languages. it is never death or b i r t h .

T h i s is w h y the existential analytic is not c o m p l e t e . m u r d e r is on the h o r i z o n . It is without (at a distance) precisely to the extent that it is with. " w i t h " (such that murder inevitably lacks death).w i t h .A l l or the O n e . T h e analytic of Mitsein that appears w i t h i n the existential analytic remains n o t h i n g more than a sketch. In the first case. a syncopation a n d i n stant conversion of s u p p o s i t i o n i n t o d i s . that is. evil is o n l y ever [found] in an operation that fulfills the with. it does not "underlie" or preexist the different positions. it is s h o w n a n d demonstrated in b e i n g . " T h i s is not a matter of saying that it is necessary "to c o m plete" the merely sketched-out analysis of Mitsein. T h i s a f f i r m a t i o n 80 is in no way an admis- sion of "Heideggerianism". is its dis-position. "language" is the foll o w i n g : the extension a n d simultaneity of the " w i t h " insofar as it is the ownmostpower of a body. death as the operative negativity of the O n e . " "to go out w i t h " (co-ire). that is. death as the work of the O n e . "to speak w i t h " is not so m u c h speaking to oneself or to one another. no being. In this sense. c o m m u n i c a t i o n is B e i n g . T h e nihil negativum is the quidpositivum as singular p l u r a l . where the " w i t h " is always already given.p o s i t i o n is the same t h i n g as s u p p o s i t i o n : in one sense. the w h o l e existential analytic still harbors some p r i n c i p l e by w h i c h what it opens up is i m m e d i a t e l y closed off. nor is it proffering ( b r i n g i n g forth m e a n i n g or b r i n g i n g m e a n i n g to light). it comes to a stop a n d accomplishes itself in a single gesture. the p r o p r i e t y of its touching another b o d y (or of t o u c h i n g itself). a n d its w i t h d r a w a l . but existing. for example. O n e can fulfill the with either by filling it up or by e m p t y i n g it out.w i t h . its meaning. "to speak w i t h " is the conversation (and sustaining) a n d conatus of a being-exposed. the singular becomes a particular w i t h i n a totality. a n d c o m m u n i c a t i o n is not an i n s t r u m e n t of B e i n g . w h i c h exposes o n l y the secret of its o w n exposition. to forcibly reopen a passage somewhere beyond that o b struction w h i c h decided the terms of being-with's fulfillment. it says B e i n g itself as c o m m u n i c a t i o n a n d t h i n k i n g : the co-agitatio of B e i n g . in the second case. it can be given a f o u n d a t i o n of plenitude a n d c o n t i n u i t y or an abyss of intransitivity. the singular exists o n l y on its o w n a n d . In either case.92 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 93 c o p a t i o n in the process a n d in its t h i n k i n g . then. a n d B e i n g is. Coexistential Analytic T h e existential analytic of Being and Time is the project f r o m w h i c h all subsequent t h i n k i n g follows. before being verbal.B e i n g of B e i n g . where no quid. in another sense. even though Mitsein is coessential w i t h Dasein. It is n o t h i n g except for b e i n g ." It does not signify that this analytic is definitive. or "to live w i t h " : it is a (eu)phemism for (not) saying n o t h i n g less than what "wanting to say" means [le "vouloirdire" veut dire] i n m a n y different ways. by replacing it w i t h the "people" a n d their "dest i n y .p o s i t i o n . that is to say. it remains i n a subordinate position. as a t o t a l i t y — a n d there too it is neither singular nor p l u r a l . it is their simultaneity. w h i c h is n o t h i n g other than its definition as body. Before b e i n g s p o k e n . [which is] the evidence of existence. In a d d i t i o n . T h e " w i t h " is neither a f o u n d a t i o n nor is it w i t h o u t f o u n d a t i o n . n o t h i n g but the incorporeal by w h i c h bodies express themselves to one another as such.M e . where it is-with. and w h y we continue to feel its shock waves. "Language" is not an instrument of c o m m u n i c a t i o n . " b e i n g . nor is it "saying" (declaring. T h e n o n .w i t h escapes c o m p l e t i o n a n d always evades o c c u p y i n g the . As such. T h i s is exactly w h y death is [actually] the opposite of murder: it is the inoperative. nor is it a matter of setting up Mitsein as a "principle" like it deserves. D i s . Rather. the incorporeal with of the bei n g . Saying "to speak w i t h " is like saying "to sleep w i t h . that is. before b e i n g a particular language or signification. where it is no longer either singular or plural. " I n p r i n c i p l e . it is absolute a n tecedence. therefore. n a m i n g ) . as a consequence. whether this is Heidegger's o w n latter t h i n k i n g or our various ways of t h i n k i n g against or bey o n d Heidegger himself. o n l y that it is responsible for registering the seismic tremor of a more decisive rupture in the constitution or consideration of m e a n i n g (analogous. It finishes itself there.b o d y as such. to those of the "cogito" or " C r i t i q u e " ) . it completely escapes the impoverished proclamations of "schools. is posed without with. It is necessary.

"Self" equals what ex-ists as such. it is i t self m e d i a t i o n . T h e r e is no " m e a n i n g " except by virtue of a "self. but o n l y such a m i d . There means over-there. such is the appropriating-event ("Ereignis"). A n O t h e r i s always the M e d i a t o r . the c o m i n g of something: of its c o m i n g into the world where the " w o r l d " itself is the plane [la géométral] or the exposing of every c o m i n g . M e d i a t i o n w i t h o u t a mediator mediates nothi n g : it is the m i d . its prototype is C h r i s t . (As a result. the nothing of the w i t h and the nothing as the w i t h ." It is the "as" of all that is.) "Self" defines the element in w h i c h "me" a n d " y o u . each t i m e singularly such a n d . T h i s w o u l d have to be the axiom of any analytic that is to be called coexistential. that is. " S e l f " is not the relation of a "me" to "itself. H e r e . B e i n g is directly a n d i m m e d i a t e l y mediated by itself. " the "self" is like a "we" that is neither a collective subject nor "intersubjectivity. but o n l y the c o m i n g across [I'croisement] a n d the passing t h o u g h . it is as [en tant que] it is. B u t its b e i n g d e t e r m i n e d as such does not signify that there is some event in w h i c h the "proper self" w o u l d s p r i n g forth. r e t u r n i n g i n t o itself. (Is m e d i a t i o n itself the "with"? Certainly. the bodyworld)." but rather the i m m e d i a t e m e d i a t i o n of B e i n g in "(it)self. it is not appropriated. in fact." 81 "Self" is more originary than "me" a n d " y o u . W h a t is necessary is that we retrace the outline of its analysis a n d push it to the p o i n t where it becomes apparent that the coessentiality of b e i n g . T h e " w i t h " is the permutation of what remains in its place. presence to itself as presence to the "same" (to the sameness of the "as such"). 82 radiating out [étoilment] f r o m w i t h i n the very d i . neither by nor i n t o a "self" ( w h i c h c o u l d o n l y preexist what exists by r e m o v i n g and neutralizing the c o m i n g in itself). Therefore. a n d it is nondialectic: dia-lectic w i t h o u t dialectic. ( T h e subjective formula of the ideality of m e a n i n g says that " m e a n i n g " takes place for a n d t h r o u g h a "self") B u t there is no "self" except by virtue of a " w i t h . Its appropriation is its m o v i n g [transport] and being-moved through [transpropriation] this dispersal of the there. insofar as "self. it does not add itself to Being. It is negativity w i t h o u t use. Presentation is neither a propriety nor a state.w i t h is n o t h i n g less than a matter of the co-originarity of m e a n i n g — a n d that the " m e a n i n g of B e i n g " is o n l y what it is (either " m e a n i n g " or. N o t C h r i s t . it is." of some f o r m or another. a n d this itself w o u l d no longer even be the cross. "Self" determines the "as" of Being: if it is. In its c o m i n g . that w h i c h exists appropriates itself. that is. W h a t is b o r n has its "self" before self: it has it there ( w h i c h is the m e a n i n g of Heidegger's " D a s e i n " ) . w h i c h is neither préexistence nor providence. back into what is to come." prior to any presentable "property. the place of sharing a n d crossing . structures it. w h i c h always defines a n d fills in [plombe] the subject. It is " i n itself" prior to any "ego. it does not intensify Being: it is B e i n g .p o i n t . constitutively. w i t h o u t the "power of the negative" a n d its remarkable power to retain w i t h i n itself its o w n c o n t r a d i c t i o n . but rather an event. it is place tout court and absolutely. a n d such c o m i n g is anticipation. but that the c o m i n g is in itself and by itself appropriative as such. differencing [différant] is in itself the propriety that it opens. " "Self" is p r i m a r i l y n o t h i n g other than the "as such" of B e i n g in general. it is a matter of m e d i a t i o n w i t h o u t a mediator." means " b y itself. the intersection and the dispersal [lecartement]." the p l u r a l f o l d of the o r i g i n . T h i s is not a presentable property." relation to itself. the surprise a n d the being-placed back [remise] i n t o the "to c o m e " as such. that is." can take place. T h e " w i t h " i s the p e r m u t a t i o n w i t h o u t a n O t h e r ." or "ipseity. T h u s . each one a n d each time. the distance of space-time (it is the body. it is m e d i a t i o n w i t h o u t any i n s t r u m e n t . on the contrary. " S e l f " is neither a given as with. therefore.p o i n t [mi-lieu]. B e i n g is o n l y its o w n "as Bei n g .) T h i s is w h y "self" does not preexist (itself). Prior to "me" a n d " y o u . " a n d "we. but instead the unexpected arrival [sur-venance]. always plurally such. since it is presentation itself. T h e w i t h as w i t h is n o t h i n g but the exposition of Being-as-such. the w o r l d of bodies.T 94 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 95 place of a p r i n c i p l e . primarily.m e n s i o n of the w o r l d ." a n d "they. " T h e "as" does not happen to B e i n g . like a jack-in-the-box. ipseity occurs or happens to itself as c o m i n g . T h i s w o u l d be b o t h the s u m m i t a n d the abyss of a deconstruction of C h r i s t i a n i t y : the dis-location of the West. " w h i c h . its o w n " p r e c o m p r e h e n s i o n " as the c o n s t i t u t i o n of existence) w h e n it is t h r o u g h [ passage] .

F r o m the very start.d i s p o s i t i o n . T h i s concept is that of being-with as originary." In fact. visiting it.or herself in the w o r l d : in b o t h cases. in this way. It is in this way that he is [a] "self. r e l a t i o n — o f all that is (in) the r o o m a n d . outside the w o r l d ) . or as a togetherness that is divided up. they are real: the "each" of the "each t i m e . implies that another time in g e n e r a l — t h a t is. after. does not involve p r i m a r i l y the succession of the identical. into the general element of p r o x i m i t y and distance. then.c o m m o n is dis-posed a n d measured. c o m i n g into B e i n g . since there is n o t h i n g that is given as a fixed p o i n t of ipseity (before. in their m o d e of consistency. "each t i m e m i n e " signifies primarily "each time his or hers." there w i l l still always need to be an otherùme where I dis-pose myself according to this "sameness. As s u c h . N o t h i n g consists. Therefore. It is also impossible to start f r o m the fiction of someone w h o is alone a n d finds h i m . "each time with": Beside itself 'means into the dispersal of the dis-position. therefore. "matter" and "subject" are n o t h i n g but two names that are correlates of one another. the r o o m is at the same time the r o o m where I am close to. the simultaneity in w h i c h he exposes h i m s e l f just as m u c h as he exposes it and as m u c h as he is exposed in it. a n d so forth." that is. not as their i n d i v i d u a l and/or c o m m o n "self." 83 let" be the c o m i n g of all w i t h all as such. not as points gathered together. they i n d i cate the originary spacing of the general ontological d i s . it is the verb of dis-position. or that he becomes it as m a n y times as he enters into the disposition and each time that he does." as though i n t o the interior of an determined d o m a i n . To be is n o t h i n g that is i n . but nothing as the dispersal where what is i n .c o m m o n .p o s i t i o n as ." is the structure of the " w i t h . the presenting present." that he is it. a n d so on). T h a t is. " Solipsism. l i v i n g in it. A n y being that one m i g h t like to imagine as not d i s t i n g u i s h e d . B e i n g . T h i s is w h y the ontological m o m e n t or the very order of o n t o l o g y is necessary. the beside-itself of to be as such. neither "matter" nor "subject. S o m e o n e enters a r o o m . Therefore. " the t a k i n g place of the there a n d as there. it involves the simultaneity of the different. they are measured according to the d i s .p o s i t i o n itself. contact. before being the eventual subject of a representation of this r o o m . c o m b i n a t i o n . He exposes himself. F r o m the very b e g i n n i n g . alongside of all its other dispositions (the way it is o c c u p i e d . the very c o n cept of the w o r l d is destroyed. if the m e a n i n g (of B e i n g ) is d i s .w i t h is exactly this: that B e i n g . next to. or rather that to be neither gathers itself as a resultant commune of beings nor shares itself out as their c o m m o n substance. h o w it is passedt h r o u g h .p o s i t i o n . Dasein (that is. they are in con-tact w i t h one another. but as a being-with-one-another. O n e is not in the disposition w i t h o u t being w i t h the o t h e r .96 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 97 past given nor a future given. h u m a n i t y as the index of Being) thus exposes Being-as-to-be. not dis-posed.c o m m o n as the w i t h . is not a r o o m i n t o w h i c h one enters. in t u r n . "To be" is not the noun of consistency." even considered as a k i n d of u n i q u e a n d solitary "self. T h e s e "times" are d i s c o n t i n u o u s . to be transfixed by its o w n transitivity: to be being all beings. E v e n when I am alone. B u t there where it comes is not " i n t o itself." b u t as the proximity that disperses [écarte] them. the structure of the "Self. however. they arrange themselves and distinguish themselves in this way.p o s i t i o n . if one wants to use this category. "being-there" {Dasein) is to ^ a c c o r d i n g to this transitive verbal value of the dis-position. he thereby exposes the d i s p o s i t i o n — t h e correlation. other times. the i n . is singular p l u r a l . Being-there is [the] disposing [of] B e i n g itself as distance/proximity. Beings touch." T h i s . the coming-to-be a n d . where such p r o x i m i t y a n d distance are measured against nothing. He exposes the simultaneity in w h i c h he h i m s e l f participates at that instant. "we" are w i t h one another. " E a c h time" is the singularp l u r a l structure o f the d i s p o s i t i o n . w o u l d really be indeterminate and unavailable: an absolute vacancy of B e i n g . but they are their beingwith-one-another in this discontinuity. E a c h one is beside-himself insofar as a n d because he is beside-others. he disposes h i m s e l f in it a n d to it. then. of the r o o m itself. it is the present of the c o m i n g . T h i s "at each t i m e " is not the renewal of the experiences or occurrences of one self-same subject: so l o n g as " I " am "the same. T h e w o r l d . i n d e f i n i t e l y — a r e not o n l y possible. it is "beside itself. distance. In crossing through it. it is "to make" or "to "mineness" is itself only a possibility that occurs in the concurrent reality of being-each-time-with. w h i c h is the very essence of d i s .

9 8 Being Singular Plural Being Singular Plural 99 such. nor is it a re- t a n e o u s l y — a l l the dead a n d the l i v i n g . insofar as we u n d e r s t a n d it. for all understanding. a negation destined to represent itself to us as m e a n i n g . In a certain sense. w i t h n o t h i n g more. T h e m e a n i n g that we u n d e r s t a n d . because v/t share understanding between us: between us all. it does not constitute a process. s i m u l - " W i t h " is neither mediate nor immediate. then this is b e i n g . " or the " w i t h " of m e a n i n g . it is all these replayed together in another way: as ethos a n d praxis. T h i s is not a dialectical o p e r a t i o n (according to w h i c h "to understand n o t h i n g " w o u l d be "to understand everything"). if pure reason is practical by itself (and not by reference to a n d according to any reverence for some transcendental n o r m ) . There is no difference between the ethical a n d the ontological: the "ethical" exposes what the "ontological" disposes. W h e n we try to evaluate this closeness (as if in a marketplace or railway station. . instead. to understand ourselves and the w o r l d as meaning." w h i c h means the " w i t h " as reason. the b r u s h i n g up against or the c o m i n g across. is not the p r o d u c t of a negation of B e i n g . the " w i t h " does not "go" anywhere. T h e r e is no appropriation. instead. more precisely. because " m e a n i n g " is the sharing of B e i n g . this is because it is essentially " c o m m o n reason. " W i t h " neither goes f r o m the same to the other. flexivity (to understand. B u t the meani n g of the " w i t h . nor is it a matter of t u r n i n g it i n t o the abyss (to u n derstand the n o t h i n g of this same u n d e r s t a n d i n g ) . or in a cemetery. whole. a n d to be w i t h makes s e n s e — b y itself. w i t h n o s u b s u m p t i o n o f this m e a n i n g under any other t r u t h than that of the w i t h . A n d this understanding is always already completed. at the same t i m e . nor f r o m the other to the other. a n d all beings. O u r understanding (of the m e a n i n g of Being) is an understandi n g that we share u n d e r s t a n d i n g between us a n d . To p u t it in K a n t i a n terms. of their restlessness and passivity).w i t h as m e a n i n g : the structure of with is the structure of the there. and infinite. to be there is to be w i t h . there is no m e a n i n g . as foundation. can be evaluated o n l y in and by the " w i t h " itself. the almost-there [l'à-peu-près] of distanced p r o x i m i t y . we have always already begun to understand m e a n i n g . nor f r o m the same to the same. nor is it the pure a n d s i m p l e ecstatic affirmation of its presence. that we understand ourselves). therefore.w i t h a n d as b e i n g .w i t h is not a d d e d on to beingthere. we were to ask what are the meanings a n d values of these hundreds of people. full.w i t h . this means that there is no approp r i a t i o n of m e a n i n g . an experience f r o m w h i c h — i n its plural s i n g u l a r i t y — n o t h i n g can be taken away. In b e i n g . we understand that there is n o t h i n g to understand. We understand ourselves i n f i n i t e l y — o u r s e l v e s and the w o r l d — a n d n o t h i n g else. In understanding ourselves. it comes out as frantic or distraught. T h i s is itself our u n d e r s t a n d i n g . B u t it is the closeness. B e i n g .

"war. is a w h o l e n e w reality in v i r t u e of its very a r c h a i s m . On the one h a n d . As far as m o r a l . the g r o u n d attack has begun. is u n d e n i a b l y a n e w a n d singular p h e n o m e n o n . even indecent. the deaths. " In 1 the m i d s t of war (it is w o r t h n o t i n g that I am b e g i n n i n g to write on 26 February 1991. p o l i t i c a l . if possible. T h i s is certainly w o r t h t h i n k i n g . A n d it m i g h t be that t h i n k i n g about this is urgent.§ War. It is perhaps no longer a question of the degree to w h i c h war is a more or less necessary evil. we are already responsible in s t i l l another way: we have the responsibility to t h i n k . what counts today is what is n o w at stake. or a more or less troublesome good. its future is still uncertain) u n d e r t a k i n g this sort of reflection m i g h t be i n c o n g r u ous. Yet." not as the reality of m i l i t a r y operations but as a figure (War) in our s y m b o l i c space. engage everyone's res p o n s i b i l i t y . because it p r o d u c e s itself in a w o r l d where this s y m b o l seems to have been all but effaced. the return of "war.) On the other h a n d . Sovereignty—Techne W h a t follows is a response to a request that came f r o m the U n i t e d States for some reflections on "war a n d t e c h n o l o g y . stuck to these lines. a n d the great s y m p a t h y that a c c o m p a n i e s all wars. the suffering of all sorts. a n d affective considerations are concerned. (I hope some of it adheres here. It is a q u e s t i o n — a n d it is a question for the w o r l d — o f k n o w - 101 . the approbation a n d c r i t i c i s m . In other words. w h a t also counts are the political determinations. the motives a n d reasons that can still. Right." as it reappears today.

Or rather." and "development. even if they d i d not fit i n t o the strict category of war. h u m a n i t y . F o r war is necessarily the war of sovereigns.I02 War. a "warriors' war"). illustrated. in the figure of the " c o l d " war a n d nuclear deterrence." "law. or even an i n t e r v e n t i o n in the c o n f r o n t a t i o n of sovereigns w h o are far away f r o m us. It is not that there is this combat. w i l l have to be a c c o m p a n i e d . aporias of sovereignty in the postcolonial w o r l d ought to be exposed. claims. (Every detail of the uses. or that battle." It w i l l soon become clear. a n d often more or less questionable. that is. really? W h a t is it today'*. whatever its exact name s h o u l d be. if not suspended. B u t what is W a r . exemplary of all our Western s y m b o l i s m . I w i l l come back to what this adjective i m p l i e s . exemplary p a r t — o f the exercise of the state/national sovereignties it presupposes. let us take up the p o i n t that this "globalization" is d e t e r m i n e d less by the spreading-out of the areas of conflict (again. a n d i n s i g n i a o f war. there is no war w i t h o u t Warlords: this is what I w a n t to deal w i t h here. for so l o n g regarded as suspect a n d suffering a tendentious War. war is also an imperious. Sovereignty—Techne 103 i n g to w h i c h s y m b o l i c space we can entrust what is k n o w n as l i b erty. W h a t is most s u r p r i s i n g is not that there is {if indeed there is) this war. As far as the last forty-five years are concerned. in Spite of It A l l O f course. or even if their l o cal character prevented t h e m f r o m reaching full s y m b o l i c dignity. sustained. what appeared t o b e the effacing o f s y m b o l i c W a r concerned o n l y the group of nations that make up the planet's core of "order. whatever their o r i g i n a n d their modalities. insofar as it is easily distinguishable f r o m others. T h i s war makes its return. as they are bei n g exposed today in the post-Soviet w o r l d . ing. It m i g h t seem that this is hardly the way to open the question of "war and technology. Right. or "civil war" (a name that. T h i s w i l l have been irresistible. significations. there are conflicts throughout the world) than by the global r o l e — e c o n o m i c . technical. m a n i p u l a t i o n s . by all rights. war properly speaking as it has been defined since the beginnings of our h i s t o r y — I w i l l come back to this). Yet. for three m o n t h s . " g l o b a l " war in this n e w sense. that war. the "great war" (the war w h i c h is. in one way or another. T h e war of States a n d coalitions of States. it is h i g h l y remarkable that the idea of legitimate state/national v i o lence. " W a r " dem a n d e d a "global" d i m e n s i o n . o n l y a p a r t — b u t an i m p o r t a n t . or at least all of its signs are r e t u r n - . it has seemed that. what is h a p p e n i n g . as art. s h o u l d also be added. In other words. like the Greek stasis or the R o m a n seditio. W h a t is surprising is that in our eyes the very idea of war has again taken h o l d of us as the right of the city (there is no better way of p u t t i n g it)." T h e " t h i r d " w o r l d has never 2 stopped being ravaged by armed conflicts: they all d i d happen.) O t h e r armed operations officially concerned our " w o r l d " o n l y as police i n terventions in conflicts that operated on the order of revolt. the concept of w h i c h is ours. in w h i c h m a n y of the Sovereigns—whose titles we interpret in c o m p l e x a n d c o n t r a d i c t o r y w a y s — a r e i m p l i c a t e d . of the " w i l d contentment" that came along w i t h the M a l v i n a s War. there is war. a n d s y m b o l i c — o f certain states whose sovereignty is involved in the war. Right. a n d it w i l l not have been the result of a s i m ple negligence in the use of words. subversion. A n d the details of our relations to all this sovereignty. (I am i n d e b t e d to R o b e r t Fraisse for p o i n t i n g out the decisive i n d i c a t i o n of this "return" a n d . as he put it. the w o r l d has h a d n o t h i n g but this w o r d on its lips. that rather than concerning m i l i t a r y technology (about w h i c h there is n o t h i n g special to be thought). their presence globalizes global war again (if we can say such a t h i n g ) . Since 1914. is the [sort o f ] war we thought h a d been c i r c u m s c r i b e d . however. Sovereignty—Techne War. attention devoted to the sovereign of and in war reveals war as technê. T h i s is a question w o r t h p o s i n g . a n d decorated w i t h the signs. decisive interruption {ponctuation}. those in the M a l v i n a s a n d G r e n a d a have most clearly prefigured such a return. E v e n if the conflict is not a q u e s t i o n o f N o r t h versus S o u t h . the execution or p u t t i n g to w o r k of sovereignty itself. Therefore. First. a n d in order to h o l d up the most identifiable figures of war (from a formal p o i n t of view). indicates that it is not a war between sovereigns.) B u t n o w there is war.

W i t h i n this context. of course. absolutely. had to be effaced. quite to the contrary. allegories of need tempered by a beautif u l — t h a t is. w h i c h w o u l d have presided in the i n s t i t u t i o n of power.IO4 War. has t h r o w n itself into the semantics. It d r e w attention to the p o i n t where such violence. only up u n til the First W o r l d W a r was it c o m m o n to refer to States as "Powers." no foundation for a law that is above nations or peoples. devoid of every sort of "setting in c o m m o n " ["mise en c o m m u n " ] (without w h i c h there is no law)." On the other h a n d . In a certain sense. Sovereignty—Techne 105 delegitimation. a globalized recognition of "value" or of the d e m o c r a t i c n o r m tends to regulate these affirmations of identity (and) of sovereignty. the spirit of the time has not claimed the right to wage war above all the other prerogatives of the State. however. A c c o r d i n g to g o o d p o l i t i c o . So-called international law. pathetic or arrogant. j u r i d i c a l . I w i l l come back to this. or curbed. just as pacificism today l i m i t s itself to a habitus w i t h o u t substance. we are t o l d about victory parades. d i g n i f i e d or questionable. Certainly. in this way. As such. and fairly certain of being devoid of sovereignty. Sovereignty—Technê War. B u t in order to u n f o l d what another sovereign way of speaking [une autre parole souverain] has n a m e d "the logic of war. B u t n o w one finds that there is nationalism springing up on all sides (and sometimes feudalism as well). it is said a n d w r i t t e n that it is neither correct n o r legitimate to use the w o r d "war" for the present situation. w h i c h means the legitimacy of the sovereign." Of course (I a d d this on r e t u r n i n g to this text after the ceasefire). w h i l e we even had a c l a i m to the allegories of M a r s or Bellone." In decline w i t h regard to the global c o m p l e x of techno-economics. the State seems to have entered into the age of self-control by offering itself as a c o u n t e r p o i n t in the barely sovereign role of regulative. general discourse. These figures are heroic or r i d i c u l o u s . It has been granted and even "required" (as is said of it) that this not be war. In contrast to earlier centuries. have never really been annulled. A n d the aura of sovereignty grew d i m there as w e l l . logic. Right. W a r seemed to be at rest in the peace of now-defunct or obsolete feudalisms a n d nationalisms. is only graspable as that c o m m o n space devoid of law. [which is] both somber and glorious. where this "inter. they are spontaneously modeled f r o m w i t h i n a w h o l l y available. we w o u l d have. a n d social a d m i n i s t r a t i o n . disregarded by the rest for having failed to recognize the fascist threat not so l o n g ago. These. G i v e n this. n o t h i n g but the exact a n d i m p o t e n t [impuissant] reverse of the very "globalization" of war. if o n l y in a furtive (indeed fleeting) way." the possible return of this figure had to be perceptible. a law that is only vaguely sure of being founded on universality. B u t this remark is still quite rare. whether it is "war" or "police a c t i o n . T h e r e is really o n l y a supposed law that borders nation-states. Right. war makes its l o o m i n g [grande] figure k n o w n . the favor enjoyed by the idea of a "State of law" drew attention to that element in sovereignty regarded as exe m p t f r o m violence a n d its force. it is exactly this war that revives the debate on the subject. the m o r a l o f w h i c h i s articulated neither i n terms of law nor in terms of politics (the o n l y respectable d i m e n - . " whether it takes place as "war" or not. for example. c o n f i n e d as it is to j u r i d i c a l p u r i s m a n d the g o o d . c o u l d have regained (or almost regained) its f u l l legitimacy. there was no more talk of "ideologies" a n d the "witheri n g of the State. and s y m b o l i s m of war. a r r o g a n t — d e m a n d for "justice" a n d "morality. that there is (still?) no such t h i n g as supranational or prenational l a w — b u t . Moreover. but they are always shadowy either by v o c a t i o n or a c c o r d i n g to their intended purpose. general legitimacy. Pacificism was n o w o n l y r o u tine or accidental. since the b e g i n n i n g of this century. B u t still. is u n i m p o r t a n t . a n d is structured by the techno-economic network a n d the supervision of Sovereigns. after w h i c h the entire w o r l d w i l l enthusiastically adopt the p r o u d f o r m u l a " T h e M o t h e r o f all Battles. B u t ." this "between. these state/national figures are not marked [tracée] by a violent gesture." w h i c h w i l l even be the sovereign m o t t o of those w h o were vanquished. war appeared to be h e l d w i t h i n the shadows i n t o w h i c h it h a d been plunged by the two previous " w o r l d " wars." causes all the problems. of course. sublimated. It is well k n o w n . T h e r e is no ready-made "democracy. T h e States concerned k n e w h o w to tap i n t o the virtualities that flourished in " p u b l i c o p i n i o n " : war c o u l d again be required or desired.j u r i d i c a l semantics. and for representing. m o r a l soul.

a n ethos. sacred) order. but "only an application of the law". on quite a different level. it is not an event in some "history of events" that consists in reciting. b u t it needs its light. O u r kings. a n d philosophers have o n l y ever thought of it in this way. bate w i t h the exception. the question of k n o w i n g if one c o u l d present a universal sovereignty was put forward. " whether this falls u n d e r the h e a d i n g of a "natural r i g h t " of h u m a n i t y or u n d e r the h e a d i n g of an irreversible sedimentation o f the experiences [les acquis] o f a positive law w h i c h . o r o f sovereignty itself w i t h o u t t h i n k i n g in terms of exception a n d excess. Sovereignty—Techne War. Right. w h i c h alone holds the exceptional right to it. . T h i s response presupposes the c o n v e n t i o n of c a l l i n g the use of State force. it is the very order of w h i c h war is a sovereign extremity. "a police action" a n d calli n g the exercise of a sovereign right to decide to attack another sovereign State a "war. particularly as regards "just war. L a w does not possess this b r i l l i a n c e . a n d although the tragedy of the warrior is not the o n l y one in this w o r l d . one by one. this is not o n l y an effect of sovereignty but also its supreme m a n i f e s t a t i o n — j u s t as our w h o l e t r a d i t i o n has w a n t e d it. at one a n d the same time. a n d w i t h the force w h i c h cannot not haunt it. generals. w h o is. has become the law of all (whereas the soldiers of the year II [l'An II] c o u l d still represent this f o u n d a t i o n as a conquest yet to be made or remade). ) so. victories.) T h i s m o d e of i n s t i t u t i n g law becomes unacceptable. France is not at w a r — a n d really. F r o m that m o ment o n . T h i s is where the anxiety a n d confusion that seize us w h e n faced w i t h the idea of war comes f r o m . T h i s is also the p o i n t t h r o u g h w h i c h revolutionary war was able to inherit what is essential to the concept of State war. A n d such i s the o r i g i n o f the majority o f our national a n d state sovereignties. Rousseau's sovereignty is an intimate de- displacements. a n d its f o u n d i n g event. B u t this order is not exactly superior to war. . against enemies of a h u m a n sort. n o t h i n g is valid if not some supposed conventions u p h e l d in order to keep it w i t h i n a certain m o r a l (in former times. w i t h respect to its o w n right. a mixture of State wars a n d wars waged in the name of a u n i versal p r i n c i p l e . a n d . whether we want to recognize it or not. a n d according to w h i c h constitution?) N o t h i n g is superior to a sovereign right (superaneus means that above w h i c h there is n o t h i n g ) . redeployed in a n e w context. W i t h i n the sovereign context of war. T h e right to wage war is the most sovereign of all rights because it allows a sovereign to decide that another sovereign is its enemy a n d to try to subjugate it. although at the cost of certain W h i c h w a y of being is it? W h a t is it made up of? My first reply w i l l be s i m p l e : it is the ethos o f w a r itself. a disposition o f mores. the sharpest edge [le fer de lance] a n d the p o i n t of except i o n . Right. a n d t h i n k i n g that affirms war not o n l y as the means of a politics but also as an end cosubstantial w i t h the exercise of sovereignty. then. indeed to destroy it. ) War. a new dist r i b u t i o n o f sovereignties. c i v i l i z a t i o n .io6 War. ( T h i s is w h y W a r is also the Event par excellence. it alone seems to have grandeur . insofar as we are incapable of t h i n k i n g of f o u n d a t i o n w i t h o u t sovereignty. . to relieve it of its sovereignty (here. . Sovereignty—Technê 107 sion is p i t y . however. little by little. ( F o r example. but the Event that suspends and reopens the course of history." an expression w h i c h m i g h t . It is the sovereign's right to confront his alter ego ad mortem. T h e right to wage war excepts itself f r o m law at a p o i n t replete w i t h sovereign brilliance [un éclat souverain]. subject war to law a n d law to war. ( T h i s is w h y Rousseau. d i d not want to see a special act of sovereignty in the right to war. . in terms of its c o n s t i t u t i o n . ) T h e right to wage war excepts itself f r o m law at the very p o i n t where it belongs to it b o t h as an o r i g i n a n d as an end. the reaffirmation of war springs forth f r o m a rediscovered habitus. . ( T h i s began w i t h the wars of the F r e n c h R e v o l u t i o n . A habitus is a way o f being. . the sovereign-event. or legitimacies. it is this d i s p o s i t i o n o f mores. (For all that. the dates of wars. in a w o r l d that represents law itself as its o w n " o r i g i n " or its o w n " f o u n d a t i o n ." It is precisely this c o n v e n t i o n that has just been reactivated. . a n d treaties. is itself susceptible to creating a new law. against the w h o l e t r a d i t i o n . life comes i n t o the bargain [la vie vient par-dessus le marché]). this p o i n t is a p o i n t of f o u n d a t i o n . that is.

we can o n l y draw out the strict consequences of this list [of the available lines of t h i n k i n g ] ." M o r e o v e r . to completely disentangle the role that each plays. in w h i c h the one constantly comes d o w n to the other. my i n t e n t i o n is not to reduce the history of the G u l f W a r to a pure and simple sovereign decision for war. a n d appearance [le surgissement] by means of another history. a n d i n t e r n a t i o n a l rights a n d interests. " displaces the concept of war. ) O u r anxiety testifies to the fact that o u r w o r l d . I . the proliferation of seditions. a n d the war shows us that we must catch up w i t h it. T h e style of n e o . and war. As for the "decisionist" style. a l o n g w i t h all the p o l i t i c o . In a general context i n v o l v i n g [mêlé] endemic war. . Sovereignty—Techne 109 for the entire t r a d i t i o n — I w i l l come back to t h i s — t h i s expression is redundant. T h i s persistence of sovereignty in us is w h a t I w o u l d like to examine before t r y i n g to understand where we c o u l d g o o r t o w a r d w h i c h "other" o f sovereignty. at the l i m i t of law itself. it is that increasingly worse desolation defined by e c o n o m i c a n d cultural injustice. this space is a desert. it is true that the desert is growing. or to a nostalgia (although . contested sovereignties. this space is not the space of a "peoples' war" ["guerre des peuples"] : for the m o m e n t . war/police a c t i o n — n o longer allows itself to be easily m a n i p u l a t e d . that w o u l d be impossible. and multiple and c o n f l i c t i n g p o l i c e forces ( e c o n o m i c . in fact. Right. T h e revolutionary style faded out along w i t h all the pretensions of designating the subject by means of another law. ours has been a history of the doctrines and problems of international law. that is. I do not c l a i m . if it is clear that my preference (which. although no longer m i l i t a n t . In fact. I o n l y w a n t to situate its d e m a n d . In the end. even d o w n to its most terrible b r i l l i a n c e (seeing as it is also the m o s t b r i l l i a n t ) . B u t I do a d m i t that the desert is g r o w i n g . or in the folklore museums. it has been relegated to the heart of the "totalitarian" style. all the while offering law the weapons of a politics that has yet to be moralized. and so forth). T h i s is w h y some have dared to say that it does not appear at all. here. Right. Because of this logic of the exception. I am o n l y suggesting that an empty space stretches between the always weak and t r o u b l e d schema of the "war of law (police a c t i o n ) " a n d a reactivated ( w a r m e d over?) schema of "sovereign war. the sterility of the d o m i n a n t h u m a n i s m ." I am not unaware of the precautions one must take to avoid havi n g this very simple project fall into the trap of s i m p l i f i c a t i o n . m a i n t a i n the d e m a n d for war that carries the sovereign exception w i t h i n itself a n d also exposes it. or even fiercely. . not to a regret.K a n t i a n h u m a n i s m d o m i n a n t today does no more than renew the promise of moralizing politics. religious. B u t our anxiety also testifies (and occasionally in the same people as above). A n d . the w o r l d of " g l o b a l i z a t i o n . N o n e of t h e m y i e l d a possibility either for t h i n k i n g sovereignty hic et nunc or for t h i n k i n g beyond it. it is also the desert of o u r t h i n k i n g . as well as those of the state. F o r we are already at another [way o f ] t h i n k i n g . W e w i l l see h o w that happens through "technology. it precedes us. the action of one or more actors. Ever since the first global conflict gave ample testim o n y to this general difficulty. as if that had ever been possible. as redundant as the expression "dirty war"." it is not i m m e d i a t e l y obvious that any of the lines of t h i n k i n g available to us w i l l suit our purposes. sovereignty. Indeed. B u t in this pair. . as well as that of " E u r o p e . Sovereignty—Technê War. I am not interpreti n g the G u l f W a r according to any of these schemes. Yet again. the "return" of war o n l y appears at the heart of these displacements. .j u r i d i c a l concepts of sovereignty. a process is p r o d u c e d that is a m i x t u r e of war a n d police action. I am not c l a i m i n g to have invented another [way o f ] t h i n k i n g . I take these precautions to be the f o l l o w i n g : First. the coarseness [la grossièreté] of t h i n k i n g . the people are in the museums of the R e v o l u t i o n . I do want to interrogate what seems. the logic of the "sovereign" as b e i n g " w i t h o u t law. ). reveals its glaring irresponsibility in the e n d . F o r the m o m e n t . It is not o n l y pitted w i t h o i l wells a n d b o m b craters. of m i n o r i t i e s . Second.io8 War. everything is displaced a n d the p a i r — t h a t is. then. " a n d that of the desolat i o n that crosses through rights a n d war in the G u l f and elsewhere. its extreme urgency. I have l o n g detested the morose relish w i t h w h i c h some have rehashed this sentence. . arrogant w i t h the arrogance of the weak. to obstinately. but rather to a difficulty in d o i n g w i t h o u t sovereign authority [l'instance souveraine]. at this p o i n t .

f r o m n o w o n . It is not a question of s i m p l e " e c o n o m i c d e t e r m i n a t i o n . certain truths that c o m e f r o m M a r x . m a n y have testified to a refined sense of the responsibilities of all the parties i n v o l v e d in the conflict. w i t h o u t quite w a n t i n g a w a r — b u t . his political economy (it c o u l d also be called economic war) cordoned off [verrouille] our whole h o r i z o n ." It is true that there has been little discourse that is properly or directly w a r m o n g e r i n g . w h i l e at the same time. (Even according to this very standard. Right. it tries to regild its sovereign shield: thus we have W a r . this d i m e n s i o n i s expressed o n l y i n terms of victory or defeat. the denial of this was transparent. I w i l l certainly not be the o n l y one to have heard " h o w g o o d it w i l l be for the West to have rediscovered its balls. It is not sovereign. W h a t e v e r is not governed by economics belongs to a t i m i d . W h a t is interesting is that it was possible to affirm the war. everyone knows what was going o n . A n d the "first" fought p r i n c i p a l l y in order to smother the very possibility of battle under the weight of its bombs. for war. and this is a different t h i n g . it is true that in interpreting facts a n d discourses u n d e r the heading of the return of a dimension of war. I w i l l came back to a consideration of w o r l d w i t h o u t e n d . Some d i d as m u c h . some remarkable figures [of speech] came u p i n p r i vate discourse. Besides. of sovereignty affirmed. however. B u t there is no doubt that radicality no longer involves the f o u n d i n g of a new E n d . the a m b i g u o u s sovereign-slave of economics.S o u t h one. Its c r i t i q u e . d i d not prevent there being death a n d destruction. of course. T h i r d . Right. it d i d not prevent the enormous difference in the a m o u n t of suffering on each side. or of a warlike pose or postulation. all the while. At the m o m e n t . a n d vice versa. despite oneself. W h a t is more. or the restoration o f Sovereignty i n general. this w a r — b o t h certain a n d u n c e r t a i n — h a d a certain a n d uncertain result. politics c o m m i t s suicide in that j u ridical-moralism that is w i t h o u t s o v e r e i g n t y — o r rather. hopes. a n d also. B u t these amounts c o u n t for n o t h i n g (first of all . conquered.) In fact.") T a k i n g up this text again after the cease-fire. O n the contrary. I seem to jettison [ faire fi des] the reserve a n d p r u d e n c e that has been used in d e a l i n g w i t h a war that has been thought of as "well-tempered. juridical projection (where it is no longer a question of creating or f o u n d i n g a new law) or to the realm of fantastical compensations (that is. universally legitimated finality anymore." w h i l e m i l i t a r y parades are b e i n g organized in the U n i t e d States. (instead. sometimes art. I am setting aside all notions of i n t e n t i o n here. it is a question of the following: although there may be casualties. this logic seems to be the one in w h i c h economic war constantly radiates sovereign War. T h i s . must be no less radical than Marx's. but that is so clear as to be no longer interesting. I am nonetheless keenly aware that the great majority of those w h o supported the war wanted to be partisans of a law superior or exterior to state sovereignties. the e c o n o m y is in the process of exhausting perspectives. religions.no War. Sovereignty—Techne War. in order to better serve d o m i n a t i o n . at exactly a time w h e n no one can believe that economics has its o w n . what remains of the d i s t i n c t i o n between liberal a n d planned economies is hardly important. . a n d ends. and it is no longer necessary to be a m e m b e r of the Party in order to share. h o w can we a v o i d t h i n k i n g that we needed a discourse of war. T h e return of the figure of W a r corresponds to an exasperated desire for legitimation and/or finality. thereby suspending the consideration of the interests and calculations that set the economic stakes of the war on an East-West axis. ) in the s y m b o l i c d i m e n s i o n o f war. (In this regard. as well as a N o r t h . moreover. it is not a question of e m b a r k i n g on a n other r o u n d of the sort of s i m p l i f i c a t i o n so fashionable today. A l l at once. B u t at the same t i m e . " Instead. I am not c l a i m i n g that the war was o n l y passed off under the guise [manteau] of law. or reconquered. politics). but it is d o m i n a n t . restrained or c o m p l i c a t e d . I w o u l d like to a d d the f o l l o w i n g : given that the contest was so unequal. r u n n i n g the risk of restraining its heroism by l i m i t i n g its o w n losses. and the m a n n e r in w h i c h this was possible was more or less simple or warlike. . Sovereignty—Technê i n h o l d in reserve) was not. at the very m o m e n t w h e n the supposed "death" o f M a r x was being celebrated. w h i c h one might have believed to be completely forgotten (or repressed). in this war. w a n t i n g its result? T h e "fourth army i n the w o r l d " c o u l d not a n d d i d not w a n t t o f i g h t . talk of " g o i n g to war" reignited the polemics of the pacifists. Iraq is m i n t i n g coins carrying the c l a i m " V i c t o r y is ours. .

w h i c h was so clearly laid out d u r i n g the b u i l d u p to war and in its first phases. In the face of horror and pity. the u n leashing of p r i m a l force. what drives h o n o r a n d glory already belongs to the order of the "spectacle. that I am presupposing the interpretation of a n u m b e r of details. Right. it is impossible to forget the role played on both sides by the political desire a n d need to recuperate m i l i t a r y defeats (Vietn a m on the A m e r i c a n side. Interpretive violence is h a r d l y called for in order to decipher in t h e m the presence of a s y m b o l i s m a n d w a r l i k e fantasy that is more or less u n o b t r u s i v e l y m i x e d together w i t h reasons that have to do w i t h law and the need for police actions. and emphases of m a n y of the discourses devoted to urgency. o r G u d e r i a n . but this "great deal" is not enough to ensure that no aspect of the affirmation or celebrat i o n of war w o u l d remain. T h e r e are a great m a n y of t h e m ." a n d it cannot be d i s m a n t l e d by the s i m p l e d e n u n c i a t i o n of a m o d e r n age in w h i c h s i m u l a t i o n is generalized a n d c o m m o d i f i e d . I do not so m u c h w a n t to j o i n forces w i t h the critics of the "spectacular society" w h o have made a p o i n t of qualifying this as a "spectacular" war (the d e n i a l of w h i c h is directly s y m m e t r i c a l to what is at w o r k in the discourse of law). Indeed.112 War. the images of war d i d f o r m a part of the w a r — a n d perhaps war itself is like a film. In addition. for example. M o n t g o m e r y . I read the f o l l o w i n g in a p r o m i n e n t F r e n c h newspaper: "but h o w can one fight efficiently w i t h o u t freeing one's p r i m i t i v e instincts?". It remains the case. a n d France. T h e psychologists o f the A m e r i c a n army took pleasure in explaining (on television) that the boys do not march for a cause. ( F o r instance. what needed to be washed away was not o n l y the h u m i l i a t i o n that attaches to all defeats. taken as such and in the ord i n a r y context of o u r culture. ) A great deal is needed for the epic to make a comeback. Sovereignty—Techne War. however. and as always happens w i t h this sort of discourse. a n d so o n . the period after the war has propagated civil war. m e c h a n i c a l constraint that makes the soldier m a r c h o n . this sentence. for the most part. In the case of the U n i t e d States. T h a t is. to stay w i t h this p o i n t for a m o m e n t . in fact. sacrifice. the s u b l i m i t y of great c o m m a n d e r s . nostalgia for the good o l d wars of yesteryear. national duty. there was talk of the "legendary past" of various units or vehicles of war that had carried the aura of their deeds f r o m the last w o r l d war into the G u l f . nor even those that can still be associated w i t h the battles o f R o m m e l . w h i c h is where it necessarily ends up. as w e l l as calls for the " f o u n d a t i o n " of a new order or regime. H o w ever. there w o u l d be no war w i t h o u t a warlike m o m e n t u m of the imaginary. I am not c l a i m i n g that the epic is on its way b a c k — n e i t h e r the H o m e r i c epic. T h i s does not mean the latter are disqualified. Yet. even t h o u g h the two cases are very different). style. but o n l y so as not to give u p i n front o f their c o m p a n i o n s . It is true that all of this is pure facade a n d that. I have no interest in c o l l e c t i n g p u b l i c a n d private d o c u m e n t s . Its spectacle is inextricably b o u n d up w i t h the sometimes stupefying. one must add the discourse o f the h o l y m i s s i o n : b o t h sides had G o d o n their side {monotheos versus monotheos). nor the N a p o l e o n i c . (In a d d i t i o n . a n d S i n a i on the A r a b i c . the facets of a brilliant . and set economic war in m o t i o n again. Right. these i m ages are not the slightest bit different from those of war films. there were g o o d reasons for w o n d e r i n g . is u n d o u b t e d l y irreproachable. the taste for the spectacle of epic beauty a n d heroic virtue. m i l i t a r y virility. f r o m the approval of the war by national parliaments ( w h i c h is a supererogatory measure in a police operation. but the former must be brought to light. as well as in genuinely exceptional cases of distinct m i l i t a r y urgency) to all the indices provided by the semantics.) It is true. w i l l not be easily forgotten. even before a film imitates war. Sovereignty—Technê 113 E n g l a n d .) W h a t is at play in the "spectacle" of war goes m u c h further back than that. At the very least. peril. extending out to the very limits of a w h o l e culture (of w h i c h Islam is a p a r t ) — a n d u n d o u b t e d l y even b e y o n d that. After a l l . at least in Iraq a n d K u w a i t . on reading certain critiques of the "warspectacle. a l t h o u g h it does testify to the " o r d i n a r y " context of a state w h i c h tends toward the vulgar. but also a war that had made war shameful." about the nostalgia revealed there.) To those listed above. ( A l l the same. Leclerc. for right or democracy. the most powerful of today's adversaries. that "the facade" plays a role in the constructions of the political and collectivity in general.

w i t h w h i c h the discourses about "meaning" or "value" almost never engage. W h a t is achieved p r i m a r i l y by the technologies regarded as properly military can be just as well. or in all the p o l i t i c a l . there is also an army. Sovereignty—Techne 115 [éclat] sovereignty w o u l d remain. There are uniforms outside of the army. Right. the possibility of "vitrification" offered by these new b o m b s . i n c l u d i n g the sword. at least as regards material destruction that can interfere w i t h c i v i l activities) a n d . in t u r n . and therefore of its desire. For example. our w o r l d does not represent itself as lacking in power or intelligence. in the field of sleeping medication) is not often taken i n t o account. conventions regarding the means of war c o n stantly demonstrate the fragility of the law that upholds them: not o n l y is it infinitely difficult to legitimate the distinction between different sorts of weapons on the basis of humanitarian principles. or cannon. or remains of it. except technical questions. . There was self-congratulation on the selfl i m i t i n g possibilities of this very power. and mechanical complex that produced the missiles (among other things). the effective use of that n o w . as elsewhere. all the technologies in play. the progress w h i c h m i l i t a r y research has made regarding c i v i l technologies (for example. problems. there was a fear that recourse w o u l d be made to technologies banned by those conventions that set the rules of war.114 War. the figures of the Sun? Even now. a brilliant. D u r i n g the first days of this war. o n the order o f s y m b o l i c marks (for instance. o n the other h a n d a n d above a l l . B u t the lack of Sovereignty surely structures an essential part of our world's representation of itself. In this regard. it is almost impossible to distinguish between these two. has n o t h i n g o b v i ously to do w i t h m i l i t a r y technologies. on the one h a n d . as a p r i n c i p l e or a more or less latent m o d e l . In fact. a n d it emerged in a discourse of "surgical" war that corresponded to the thesis of law: flaunting limits that are stricter than the limits set by international convention serves to make more credible an interpretation that operates according to the n o t i o n of "police action. Sovereignty—Technê War. in a flash of light). a n d . In the e n d . the contradict i o n — b e t w e e n such h u m a n i t a r i a n principles and the principles of war is constantly perceptible a n d consistently brings the "right to Sovereign Ends W h a t has returned w i t h war. they espoused all the established prejudices. f r o m the manufacture a n d use of a rifle or dagger to the logistical a n d strategic m a n i p u l a t i o n of w h o l e armies. For these technologies have never stopped being used d u r i n g the course of all quasi-wars. do not a l l o w for the q u e s t i o n i n g or t h i n k i n g of "techn o l o g y " — b u t this is the case w i t h all technical fields. B u t is this not an essential part of what we t h i n k we are deprived of in general: the brilliant flash." T h e terrible possibilities offered by new technologies were deplored (for example. but where there are uniforms. for a split seco n d . or bombs w i t h phosphorus or n a p a l m . the uniforms and insignia of armies). guerr i l l a wars of liberation a n d their repression. this is w h y there is no specific question concerning . ( T h e E n g l i s h w o r d "technology" is w e l l placed to suggest a logic proper to [the F t e n c h word] la technique. Perhaps a specific difference between t h e m o n l y t r u l y begins to emerge. In war. the technologies of war. a new a d d i t i o n to the series of warlike emblems that stretches to time i m m e m o r i a l . at the level of the finalities of massive d e s t r u c t i o n (but one wonders to what extent even this criterion can be used w i t h delicacy. w h i c h here. the power of the electronic. that is. Short of [elaborating upon] this d i v i d i n g line. if not better. but it also remains the case that the c o l l i s i o n — i n d e e d . provide no means of m a k i n g the idea of war as such distinct. psychology is also a weapon. helmet. achieved by the use of so-called c i v i l technologies put to m i l i t a r y purposes. fascinating sovereignty is celebrated (for an instant. In one sense. instead. incandescent.) Technological fire power was celebrated. ).f o r b i d d e n group of b i o c h e m i c a l weapons in the past. w i t h all their catastrophic potential. . or judicial police operations. chemical. were already well k n o w n by this p o i n t . or aporias of the war itself. economic. the way certain technologies were allocated starring roles [la mise en vedette] made it possible to observe h o w discourses that were favorable a n d unfavorable to technology h a d n o t h i n g to do w i t h t h i n k i n g through [the question of] technology. whereas the possibilities of shrapnel bombs. Right. or even completely lacking in grace. obviously plays a strategic role.

a n d war generates technical progress. a "technology" is not a means. If "technical" civilization displaces the concepts of war or c o m m u n i c a t i o n (or health. it is in order to give specific names to these "modes of a c c o m p l i s h m e n t . w h i c h in their c o n t e m p o r a r y use refer to Heidegger (and more discretely to Nietzsche. To be more precise. A n d c o m m u n i c a t i o n is neither better nor worse w h e n it is carried by fiber-optics. Right. if not to the G e r m a n R o m a n t i c s ) . that no one wants to k n o w a n y t h i n g about it. T h e ethical. it is clearly not f r o m the right t o — o r logic o f — w a r that one can infer the interdiction against i n c l u d i n g genetic patrimonies w i t h i n the a m b i t of warlike destruction. w h i c h really means." It indicates a m o d e r n m u t a t i o n of the t h i n k i n g of war. its possession. manifestation. a n d its rival in perfection. economic. religious. or extreme expression of sovereignty is n o w set at a distance and denied in a more or less confused manner. a n d so o n . . War-with-missiles is neither better nor worse than war-with-catapults. a question put to technology or its subject a n d i n v o l v i n g the application of criteria that do not belong to it. it is the m o d e of a c c o m p l i s h m e n t that distinguishes itself f r o m the "natural" m o d e as that mode's double. there is no "question of technology" proper to war. In the end. T h i s is what is really at stake in Clausewitz's formulation that "war is the continuation of politics by other means. It is clear that technologies are not responsible for war. one c o u l d see a particular progress bei n g made by the idea of d e p l o y i n g tactical nuclear weapons in response to the chemical threat posed by Iraq. it falls under this logic. B u t this is also why. Insofar as war is itself considered as a means to an e n d (whether political. for example) are no less acute than those posed by certain a r m a m e n t s . a n d its use in the next war. . more numerous). and effectuation in general. such t h i n k i n g is still the o n l y rigorous t h i n k i n g of war. F o r example. any more than war is responsible for the technologies that are not proper to i t — e v e n t h o u g h technologies give war its means. for example. " t a k i n g care to d i s t i n g u i s h t h e m . war is sovereignty's technology par excellence. so l o n g as technology is considered as a means to an end. B u t this is not a question of evaluating new instruments for the unchanged ends of a w o r l d that is still the w o r l d as it used to be. a n d rightly so. In this sense. As I have already said. all such "questions. then it must be a question of the concepts themselves. it is a m o d e of execution." properly speaking. any more than there is a "question of technology" in general. pos- . far more than admitted. Except for technical problems as such. T h u s . and cultural problems posed by c i v i l technology (nuclear or biological. juridical. T h e displacement that took h o l d w i t h Clausewitz still remains to be brought to term: it may be the end of war. Sovereignty—Techne War. the interminable celebratory or execratory discourses on technology. in fact. i n stead. since the i n v e n t i o n of a r t i l l e r y (which testifies to this "becoming-technology" of the w o r l d . ) O n e c o u l d develop parallel considerations regarding the protection of civilians." as w e l l as what there is n o w of "medicine" or "the family. of their "becoming-technology" ["devenir-technique"] in a generalized space of the world's becoming-technology." are posed according to the order of ends: practical. W h e n one has recourse to the G r e e k terms physis a n d technê. all of t h e m founded on "values" that are obstinately foreign to this b e c o m i n g technology. B u t all this is already well k n o w n . up to a certain p o i n t in this war. and so on). w h i c h is what we have to take into account). f r o m "nature" as a c o l l e c t i o n of materials a n d forces. or life. setting to work. on the one h a n d . For that t h i n k i n g of war w h i c h is still ours. political. a major stake in this conflict: this particular w e a p o n . Sovereignty—Technê 117 war" back d o w n to its f o u n d a t i o n in the sovereign exception. can o n l y mask what there is of "war. It is quite l i k e l y that the disparity between the two sets of problems has been very m u c h reduced." a n d so forth. a m u t a t i o n w h i c h implies that the "classical" way of t h i n k i n g about war as the exercise. and so forth). it is still a question of war. There is no such t h i n g as the "question of technology. juridical. it is its setting to w o r k and its supreme execution (end).n6 War. that is. . Right. (It c o u l d very well be that the nuclear weapon was. ethical. instead of messengers on foot: it is rather a question of k n o w i n g what "communication" means. W a r is u n d o u b t e d l y a privileged terrain for b r i n g i n g to light the inaneness of all the considerations of technology that do not p r o ceed f r o m this p r e l i m i n a r y consideration (and it must be a d m i t t e d that these former sorts of discourse are. aesthetic.

b u t t w o finishes [deux finitions] (like a " h a n d " finish and a "machine" finish—a comparison that also serves to recall the hierarchy w h i c h we "quite naturally" set up between these two sorts of finishes . in a "nature" that itself constantly enters i n t o a becoming-technology. a n d so o n ) . mastery. sui generis. A t o m . questions of technology a n d war c o m e d o w n to this troublesome articulation in every last instance. a Deus ex machina. the same (but not identical) in their difference: the same as concerns a c c o m p l i s h m e n t in general. if there is a p r o b l e m . . is of k n o w i n g if the execution.ni War. on the other. W h a t . they are d o u b l y the "same" w i t h regard to the end. but to be fully present. i n p r i n c i p l e . but that each replays the play of the e n d or ends [of the other]. In our t h i n k i n g . the same that plays itself out twice. Physis a n d technê are. end. in each of its singular effectuations or existences. Just as. finished. . perfect. a n d sovereign F i n i s h . that w h i c h does not finish finishing [celle qui n'en finit pas de finir] a n d about w h i c h it remains for us to t h i n k its law and to discover just what is at stake in it. As a result. they are not two different finalities. Phusis a n d technê—one c o u l d say " b i r t h " ["éclosion"] and " a r t " — a r e two modes of accomp l i s h m e n t a n d are. in this respect. every single time. a n d t r u t h in the finish of its B e i n g . the one w h o relates all things to one E n d . L e i b n i z may have been the closest to expressing the first clear consciousness of t e c h n o l o g y in his l o o k i n g to p u t the machina ex Deo into p l a y — w e can say as m u c h unless. the Deus becomes diabolicus because it is no longer the " t e c h n i c i a n of nature" or the N a t u r a l T e c h n i c i a n . fin a l . w h i c h is yet another sovereign Power that the most habitual tendencies of our ways of representi n g leads us to designate as a Diabolus ex machina (this is the story o f Faust). Furthermore. is finite or infinite. Sovereignty—Technê War. ever since Plato a n d Aristotle. it is so evident that this trait belongs to " B e i n g " in general (or to "reality. B e i n g in general. F o r us. to an even greater extent. T e c h n o l o g y is the "finality w i t h o u t e n d " (= w i t h o u t an extrinsic end) of a genre that perhaps remains to be discovered. transcendent. It is to such a discovery that we expose our history. T h e finish consists i n executing {ex-sequor means to follow though to the end). it is not also advisable to c o m b i n e this formulation w i t h that of S p i n oza's. as a technological-becoming of B e i n g or its finish. B e i n g proper or p l a i n l y Bei n g [l'être propre ou l'être en propre]. F o r the m o m e n t . Sovereignty—Technê 119 sessed of its o w n laws a n d . of course. done. that is. As a result. L i f e . or rather. Right. . let me just a d d that history is that general realm of t w i s t i n g or displacement that affects this difference. we never stopped rel a t i n g "nature" to some sovereign P o w e r — a s the creation a n d glory o f a Power n a m e d G o d . these two modes have constantly referred to one another in a double relationship that has c o m e to be k n o w n as mimesis: it is not that one "copies" the other ("copying" is quite impossible in this case). We t h i n k that to be is not to half-be [être-à-demi]. or to one absolute. a n d in what sense of these words. . f r o m "technology" as an " a r t i f i c i a l " means of reaching its ends. between "na- . as p u t t i n g to w o r k or carrying out [l'exécution]. W i t h regard to the ex machina. It o n l y begins w h e n t e c h n o l o g y is taken i n t o account as an e n d in itself. in c a r r y i n g out s o m e t h i n g to the l i m i t of its o w n logic a n d its o w n g o o d . in the past. happiness. complete. It is necessary. falsifies s o m a n y considerations o f techn o l o g y is the desire to locate its principles a n d ends outside of its e l f — f o r example. here. to i n c l u d e a consideration of the extremely p r o n o u n c e d position in w h i c h our t h i n k i n g puts war. w i t h a difference to w h i c h I w i l l have to return. in this way. [as] the art or b i r t h of the finish. T h e w h o l e p r o b l e m . For we deny "technology" access to the realm of ends a n d . t e r m i n a l . to the realm of the Infinite E n d . Right. o r H u m a n i t y — s o w e have never stopped s e c u r i n g f r o m technology. C h a n c e . the B e i n g of B e i n g . the finish. If there is a "question of technology. a n d . . a n d for t e c h n o l o g y ." then it o n l y begins at that m o m e n t w h e n technology is taken into account as the finish of Bei n g . the Deus sive natura sive machina: after w h i c h the "death of G o d " signifies the rigorous carrying out of the program formulated as the machina ex machina (ex natura). As we w i l l see. has its substance. that is. to the extremity of its o w n B e i n g ." or to "effectivity") that it seems o d d to insist on expressing such a redundancy. in this sense. a n d not as a means to some other end (science. ). transcendental.

T h e absolute transcendence. We w i l l return to this below. this occurrence touches u p o n (de jure and de facto) the very extremity of decision m a k i n g and power (powerful decision a n d decisive power) where it accomplishes its "executive" essence most properly. it certainly aroused an exceptional d e p l o y m e n t of the images of tanks. considered in some way to be opposed to one a n o t h e r — is not w i t h o u t importance. fatherland. It even deployed images of s y m b o l i c saturation itself. T h e execution of this desire [vouloir] for war is not o n l y one of the proper ends of the executive organ. is necessarily ordered by a sovereign end (a "sovereign good"). or is it a matter of war w h i c h takes place between nature and technology? Precisely speaking. that is. Sovereignty is the power of execution or the power of finishing as such. n a t i o n . in the form of a denial. w h i c h i s b o t h p r o b l e m a t i c a n d p r i v i l e g e d — a n d is itself replayed twice between two orders. a set of gears. Right. but rather the affirm a t i o n of the sovereign right of the sovereign power to execute a . it is sovereignty itself in its finishing—insofar as we t h i n k sovereignty a c c o r d i n g to the o n l y concept that is at o u r disposal. T h i s is w h y accusing a sovereign power of w a n t i n g war so o b v i ously falls short of the mark. D i v i n e creation a n d the royal decision compose its double image: to make or u n m a k e a w o r l d . Such adherence u n d o u b t e d l y comes f r o m the fact that this image does not present a tool of destruction. where this is "power" (as the prince. and Sovereignty is in the E n d . Right. that w h i c h is final is sovereign. W i t h regard to this. at least that technicity posited in terms of functionality (in terms of means). to designate an enemy. the Sovereign E v e r y c o n s i d e r a t i o n about ends leads back to sovereignty. and so o n . this is w h y the executive power attains to an exceptional state [of power] in war. missiles. W a r is indissociably the physis a n d technê of sovereignty. absolutely so and w i t h o u t any further subordination to somet h i n g else (to another end). for that matter). resides in a sovereignty. T h i s position is not w i t h o u t certain c o n nections to that place between "art" a n d "nature" that we give to "beauty. Sovereignty—Technê War. So that it is no longer an organ w i t h regard to the execution of such desire. It is difficult to deny that even if the G u l f W a r gave rise to an explicit discourse of sovereignty o n l y in an awkward and cursory manner. Objects lose their s y m b o l i c character to the extent that their technicity grows. to s u b m i t to a w i l l . the sovereign essence of B e i n g — never identifies itself nor executes itself vis-à-vis the other. or the abyss." (Also note the " w h o l l y natural" a m b i g u i t y of our understanding of such a sentence: is it a matter of war c o n sidered as an i n t e r m e d i a r y p o s i t i o n between nature a n d t e c h n o l ogy. State. A l t h o u g h anticipated by the legislative power a n d c o n t r o l l e d by the judicial power. in spite of everything. But today (and in the past. it also represents the extreme m o d e of these ends. as such. one c o u l d find a certain c o n f i r m a t i o n [of this] in the very peculiar s y m b o l i c or fantastical weight of the i n struments and m a c h i n e r y of war. the exception of its law. as the power of the ultimate or extreme. the E n d is in Sovereignty. there is no better place for such s y m b o l i s m to adhere to f u n c t i o n in such an i m m e d i a t e l y obvious m a n n e r as in the images of the weapons of war." T h i s p o s i t i o n . however. For the whole of our t h i n k i n g . or the mystery of supreme ends that is f o u n d all t h r o u g h o u t the t r a d i t i o n — f o r example. that of art a n d war. a hammer. jets. but this does not prevent the object f r o m being s y m b o l i c a l l y (or fantastically) invested again. i n stead. A n d every end. t h i n k of a sickle.) W a r is what there is that is most and/or least "natu r a l . the i m p o s s i b i l ity of d e t e r m i n i n g the "content" of the Platonic G o o d or the K a n t ian L a w — i s held firmly w i t h i n this circle: that w h i c h is sovereign is final. If it were necessary.I20 War. In war. w h i c h c o u l d well constitute a trait of sovereign finishing. whether they be defensive or offensive: the a c c o m p l i s h m e n t of the Sovereign as such in a relation of absolute opposition w i t h another Sovereign. there is s o m e t h i n g that i m m e d i a t e l y goes b e y o n d all the possible goals of war. people. a n d so on). we are ready to t h i n k these two things together. T h e power of ends. images saturated w i t h s y m b o l i c weight. Sovereignty—Technê 121 ture" and "technology. and even a c i r c u i t board. has as its c o u n t e r p o i n t the law of grace: b u t w i t h the latter. " It arises f r o m the most brutal instincts and/or f r o m the c o l d est calculation. Its law. a n d helmeted soldiers.

"bellum particulare non proprie dicitur"). a n d that it explicitly designate as its enemy. Today. t h e n . Right. in the face of the suppression of the K u r d s by the same sovereign leader on w h o m was inflicted the "police action" of law. It is at this very p o i n t that the law of the r e p u b l i c — o f any k i n d of r e p u b l i c . In w o r l d war. the schema of the sovereign exception never stops returning. T h i s presupposes that a neutral c o u n try (the U n i t e d S t a t e s — w h e n one thinks about it. . or one c o u l d say that it never takes place " i n itself. a n d the collectivity that is e n d o w e d w i t h sovereignty (the K i n g d o m . except as the image of the sovereignty of techne. it is democracy as s u c h — s u c h as it has ended up presenting itself as the general p r i n c i p l e of h u m a n ity. it is to say. a n d its armed forces must carry the flag of his glory. it is a destination: to give and receive collective death. death sublimated i n t o the destiny of the c o m m u n i t y . thereby transforming war i n t o the defense of the res publica of h u m a n i t y . W a r is the m o n u ment." or in any other way. back into the shadow of its o w n uncertainties (that is. but the c o m m o n w e a l t h as s u c h m u s t also present a n d a n a t i o n . whether this return happens in the i n n u m e r a b l e coups d'etat of its history or in b e c o m i n g totalitarian (where the exception transforms itself i n t o a d o u b l i n g of the structure of the State by another [structure] w h i c h incarnates true sovereignty). T h i s is not really a f u n c t i o n . war is collective. T h i s is not to say that it borders on the art of war. d e m o c r a c y has not p r o f o u n d l y displaced this schema. the uncertainty c o n c e r n i n g its o w n sovereignty. however. his sovereignty. ). physis no longer takes place except as mediated through technê. that d o u bled rivalry for sovereignty that occurs w i t h i n the blossoming [éclosion] of physis. i f not h u m a n i t y ' s E n d — t h a t has been supposedly e n d o w e d w i t h the right to war. but governments judged to be dangerous to the g o o d of all peoples ("civilized" . there is no better way to illusttate the inconsistencies a n d aporias that b e l o n g to the c o u p l i n g of "inter- . as D e struction (of the other sovereign). rather. the c o m m u n i t y identified in a sovereign exposition to death. the somber and pure sign of the c o m m u n i t y in its sovereignty. (Moreover.) U n d o u b t e d l y . not o n l y is the Prince in possession of the a r m e d forces necessary to the [maintenance of the] R e p u b l i c . ( N o t e added 6 A p r i l 1991: today. Sovereignty—Techne War. . technê as a m o d e of the execution of B e i n g .) T h u s . the technology of the strategist. neutrality is a strange f o r m of sovereignty) decides to take leave of its neutral p o s i t i o n in the name of h u m a n rights. E v e n today. T h e entire history of the concept of war demonstrates that its d e t e r m i n a t i o n is located w i t h i n the constant play between its relation w i t h the res publica (the c o m m o n w e a l t h as good a n d end i n itself) a n d its relation w i t h the Princeps (the p r i n c i p l e a n d principate o f sovereign authority). as l o n g as there are several sovereigns. L i k e w h a t is repressed. Right. the Powers hesitate between respect for his sovereignty w i t h i n his o w n borders a n d an affirmation by the "international c o m m u n i t y " of a right to interfere in the matters of certain countries. that it borders on art understood absolutely in its m o d e r n sense. N o t o n l y is the latter in charge of the former. a n d it returns as the perversion of democracy. the aestheticization of the warlike spectacle also comes f r o m denial [dénégation] or d i s s i m u l a t i o n . whatever the f o r m of governm e n t m i g h t be. an u n c e r t a i n t y that even today rem a i n s cosubstantial w i t h i t ) . State. Since W o r l d W a r I. represent his absolute a n d final character. not a people or In essence. . . but against bad leaders. Sovereignty—Techne 123 sovereign d e s t r u c t i o n . or to execute itself in d e s t r u c t i o n . democracy does not go to war against a sovereign ( G e r m a n y a n d the countries of the A l liance). B u t this m a n i p u l a t i o n does not exhaust an aesthetic (a sensible presentation) of the destiny of c o m m u n i t y : the death of i n d i v i d u a l s is i m m e d i ately recuperated w i t h i n the figure of the Sovereign Leader or N a t i o n where the c o m m u n i t y finds its finishing.122 War. war borders on art. as its m o d e of finishing in the explosive brilliance [éclat] of the beautiful a n d sublime. or E m p i r e ) is by definition endowed w i t h the right to war (as T h o m a s A q u i n a s writes. the festival. . even today's r e p u b l i c s — i n e v i t a b l y comes up against [touche] the exception of the p r i n c e . it has o n l y suppressed or repressed it. (Is D e a t h the true Sovereign in this w h o l e affair? We w i l l c o m e back to this.

W h e n one or several States speak in the name of the rights of m a n . therefore. a process it has been engaged in f r o m the very start. of sovereignty. C h r i s t i a n m o n o t h e i s m presents another complexity. the tug of war [le va-et-vient] between the authority of the U n i t e d Nations and the U n i t e d States (and. somewhere b e y o n d war itself [dans un au-delà de la guerre même]. of course. this continues to operate as a sovereign decision (or an alliance of such decisions). H e n r y Kissinger declared "the goal of all wars is to ensure a durable peace. the authority of some other States as well) has been so complex and so simple at the same t i m e . it does not s i m p l y go together w i t h a p r i n c i p l e of peace: for there are enemies of love." T h i s said. b o t h Israelite (at least u n t i l the destruction the T e m ple) and Islamic m o n o t h e i s m reserve a place for a p r i n c i p l e of war that does go together [se confond] w i t h the peace of the peoples. E v e n as a religion of love. the general theoretical regulation of Western war remains that of pacificatory war (a m o t i f that has been extended so far as to i n c l u d e the e x p o r t a t i o n of certain c o l o n i a l i s t forms of "peace").m o d e r n . a n d soil. . that is. " w h i c h are also the three monotheisms " o f c o m m u n i t y " a n d . so delicate a n d so indelicate. but it is a w o r l d that does not k n o w h o w to displace or go beyond sovereignty. T h e legitimacy w i t h o u t sovereignty of "international law" needed a sovereign technê—and not just a means of execution. Nonetheless. Right." as was put forth f r o m d o w n of the E p i c and imitates this b r e a k d o w n in the installation of logos) a n d becomes entirely a p r i n c i p l e of peace. a n d love in peace loses its sovereignty. State. It is here that the god of love loses his d i v i n i t y little by little. it was necessary that this decision take f o r m a n d force in a n d by way of the sovereignty of a S t a t e — a n d / o r an alliance of States. a n d Plato subjected it to a severe critique. Sovereignty—Technê 125 national law" a n d "sovereignty. . however. needed the legitimacy of h u m a n rights in order to establish its decisions and pretensions. Western war denies itself as sovereign end. F r o m Plato a n d Aristotle t o C h r i s t i a n a n d Rep u b l i c a n doctrines. it is solely a q u e s t i o n of the p u b l i c G o o d and o f Peace. or w i t h a logic of the occupation of a territory claimed as an i n h e r i tance). in the G u l f War. this is even an increase of sovereignty in comparison w i t h that of the prince. just like the p r i n c i p l e s a n d promises of the law (which itself still remains w i t h o u t f o u n d a t i o n . as we have been made to believe. it is evidently not these conceptual difficulties that motivate the various different judgments and hesitations. w h i c h c o u l d o n l y be of global d i m e n s i o n s . theological.) In order for the decision to go to w a r — a g a i n s t Germany. W h a t constitutes the p r i n c i p l e of final peace has u n d o u b t e d l y shifted more than once. a n d peace in terms of universal h u m a n rights. constitutes its admission. w h i c h mixes the m o d e l of the pax romana together w i t h the m o d e l of the war against the Infidels. it is n o t h i n g other than the enervation of war. a n d j u r i d i c a l repetition. In the process of its b e c o m i n g . put to use the prerogatives of the jus belli. a n d its denial. A u g u s t i n e to Boniface. as everywhere else. T h e peace of h u m a n i s m is w i t h o u t force or grandeur. w i t h o u t sovereignty and w i t h o u t "finishing"). In a sense. Western [occidentale] war always has peace as its end. Sovereignty—Technê War. B u t this sovereign. T h i s is why." a n d his j u d g m e n t offered there was u p h e l d (or weakened?) by twenty-five centuries of p h i l o s o p h i c a l . D e p r i v e d of the T e m p l e a n d of any place for sovereignty. Right. These difficulties do express the actual state of a w o r l d e n c u m b e r e d by sovereignty. even to such a extent that it is necessary to "battle peacefully. Jewish m o n o t h e i s m needs to be annihilated. precisely be- . not o n l y in f a c t — w h i c h is more than evident. N o t that l o n g ago. if one considers it carefully.124 War. against I r a q — i n the name of h u m a n rights to become a decision (and not a wish). A l t h o u g h each of t h e m has its o w n particular complexity. under this name. where d i v i n e love is of another essence than h u m a n love. and. but in theory itself (for example. in t u r n . the w h o l e history o f o u r t h i n k i n g about war testifies to this. It w o u l d be necessary here to take the t i m e to analyze the c o m plex play between the three great m o n o t h e i s m s " o f the B o o k . . Sparta was that state w h i c h gave itself war as the end of its structure a n d formation. C h r i s t i a n love recuperates w i t h i n itself the irenic principle of Greek philosophy (which presupposes the break- H e r e . ethical. by m i x i n g the logic of "peace" together w i t h a logic of religious c o n v e r s i o n .

either in glory. T h i s is because. between an absolute appeal for peace (that demanded by the logos) and incessantly resorting to the schema of the polemos (also demanded by the logos. B u t . sovereignty by default—whereas true sovereignty takes place not o n l y in plenitude but in excess a n d as excess. some aspect of ren u n c i a t i o n w i t h i n it. however. Sovereignty—Technê War. everywhere i n definitely a n d equally closed in on itself. triple m o n o t h e i s m is pos i t i o n e d w i t h i n a d o u b l e regime that is c o n s t i t u t e d . for the whole of our culture. Right. T h e w h i t e dove remains. in the end. It is in this way that even today. thereby m a k i n g the project of suturing them together impossible). a n d to however s m a l l an extent. represent a small step toward a complete "relegitimation" of war. It follows f r o m this that. It is not sufficient. Right. power. war undertaken for peace can never stop being war for war's sake. the sover- eignty of peace is not perfectly symmetrical w i t h the sovereignty of war. . . do we ever identify a peace. w h i c h w o u l d necessarily structure peace. T h i s is true no matter what course such war may take. Sovereignty—Techne 127 cause of this lack of sovereignty. while at every m o m e n t . that is. then. and of royal privilege. a n d between t h e m . pax americanaî) T h e sovereignty of law. where the conditions of such a possibility w o u l d not be as far away as one w o u l d have l i k e d to believe or been led to believe. this f u n d a m e n t a l d i s p o s i t i o n prevents war f r o m ever s i m p l y b e c o m i n g a technique destined to enlist force i n t o the service of right. taken up in the service of W e s t e r n statism a n d n a t i o n a l i s m . T h i s confrontation is present in p h i l o s o p h y itself. It leaves intact the trace of divine refulgence f o u n d w i t h i n the polemos. by the war of Sovereignties a n d . except under the n a m e a n d i n s i g n i a of an e m p i r e — p a x romana. Peace w o u l d be the supremacy of the absence of any supreme d i s t i n c t i o n . B u t the sovereignty of peace remains a promised and/or ideal sovereignty. where its supremacy c o u l d not manifest itself as such. a n d its other/same philosophical m o n o l o g i s m . through w h i c h it m e d i ates itself). w h e n a c l a i m to it is made. or collective i d e n t i f i c a t i o n . in fact. In each instance. presents itself under a sign of the war of principles: sovereign war (that of three gods at war w i t h the triple god) versus pacificatory w a r — o r again. . any more than it is sufficient to denounce the i l l u sion of such an a i m a n d rely on the realism of force. into Sovereignty as technê. In this way. On the other side. it w o u l d be necessary to show how. therefore. where c o m m u n i t y allegedly has n o t h i n g to do w i t h physis and does not desire its "nature" f r o m technêpolitike. the symbiosis of this triple m o n o t h e i s m . in philosophy and in all the nerve centers of our culture. T e c h n o l o g y in the service of peace cannot avoid being taken up again i n t o the technê of sovereignty. To remain at this p o i n t . the confrontation between sovereign war and sovereign peace. by the tension between its execution a n d its r e t r e a t — a tension that occurs in each one of t h e m . w h i l e the sovereignty of war is already given. in this way. Instead. a n y t h i n g that is properly to be called Sovereignty requires the incandescence of the exception a n d the identifiable d i s t i n c t i o n of its finishing. presented in person. the absence of exception at the heart of any rule. (In fact. B u t as such. peace cannot fail to have. the trace of the epic song. these two different faces of the same attitude have regulated o u r c o m p o r t m e n t to the recent war. however. and against peace. the execution a n d finishing of the c o m m u n i t y . . on the one h a n d . is to prepare the way for the wars to c o m e — a n d w i t h o u t even b o t h e r i n g to k n o w if the restraint that has been s h o w n in certain aspects of c o n d u c t i n g this war (to such an extent that there was not "truly" a war. technê politike in principle splits itself into sovereign technê and the technê of justice or law. on the other. (In this regard. by means of the total or partial repression of what I have attempted to lay out here. to keep r e t u r n i n g to the final exigency of peace. although there has been all the desirable destruction) does not. Islam can take the absolute Sovereignty that seals its c o m m u n i t y a n d plunge into c o n t e m p l a t i o n a n d abandonment. the Islamic jihad reignites the flame of the Crusades in the face of peace and the rule [police] of law.126 War. peace w o u l d be the "supreme" g o o d . In essence. w i t h the Greeks. E v e n now. w i t h o u t it also always being the technê of sovereign affirmation. is inevitably. Jewish m o n o t h e i s m can identify a n d s u m m o n [assigner] anew the s u b l i m e Sovereignty it puts i n t o play.

volens nolens. in particular as regards offering different analyses of the "sacred. It is important not to misunderstand these effects. even to the p o i n t of exhaustion). that it is all the more important and urgent to t h i n k what is at stake in its "archaism. T h e w o r l d . Ecotechnics [Écotechnie] A l l that said. T h i s "archaism" (again. even if our epoch appears to be the great suspension of the historicity by w h i c h we have been carried along. it has less to do w i t h the borders of the sovereign States themselves t h a n w i t h the m u l t i p l e forms of the "presence" of these States that span the w o r l d (interests. either at the same time or in t u r n . )." Sovereignty has always been m i x e d up w i t h the "sacred" t h r o u g h the m e c h a n i s m of exception a n d excess. in such a way as to indicate that it is s o m e t h i n g more than a regrettable h o l d o v e r [ fâcheuse survivance]. but the implications of sovereignty have still not been as clearly thought out as those of the "sacred" itself (as though this is the effect of an obscure interest in not k n o w i n g too m u c h about the sovereignty that is always at w o r k ) . the authenticity of the need for law and the play of economic forces. . . T h e powers have the w o r l d as the space given for the play of their sovereignties. as we w i l l see. wars in the tradition of sovereign war a n d bearing the self-affirmation of a . one can see in the i n v e n t i o n of w o r l d war the result of all the wars that a c c o m panied the creation of the contemporary w o r l d : on the one h a n d . however. T h u s . for example. war/police action also becomes a confrontation of "worldviews": a "worldview" is never the attribute of sovereignty. Just as m u c h as art. w h i c h imposes itself on the sovereigns themselves. it still remains that the persistence [rémanence] or reinvention of war does not occur outside history. . . B u t there w o u l d also need to be a lot of w o r k done w i t h regard to a psychoanalysis that c o u l d manage. for example. ( A t h o r o u g h e x a m i n a t i o n o f this space o f sovereignty a n d war o b v i o u s l y w o u l d require s o m e t h i n g quite different f r o m w h a t I have just o u t l i n e d above. a symbolic order so widely and deeply woven into the whole culture produces all its effects in the real (and thus. to treat collectivity or c o m m u n i t y as such ( w h i c h F r e u d always seems to s u b m i t . so g l o b a l h u m a n i t y has no techne of its o w n : however thoroughly "technological" our culture m a y be. whereas sovereign war exposes the end itself. m a n or global humanity. in economy and law. A n d just as w a r — a n d a r t — c o m p o s e d the technai of sovereignty. w h i c h indicates that it escapes from being a part of "history" u n d e r s t o o d as the progress of a linear and/or cumulative time. B u t w h e n this space is saturated a n d the play closed off. that is. Sovereignty—Techne 129 At this point. Rather." a n d to t h i n k this for ourselves today. Right. It is no longer certain that the finish of this w o r l d can be envisaged in the same way that the w o r l d of sovereigns was. As a corollary to the development of a w o r l d market. T h e conflict between the police a n d the bellum proprie dictum is also the effect of a historical displacement of great importance. none of these "orders" s i m p l y comes f r o m the symbolic or the r e a l . . Right. by definition. B u t it is precisely because it is not consistent to treat war like a regrettable holdover f r o m a bygone age. the w o r l d as such becomes a p r o b l e m . zones of influence. T h e war/police action o f global h u m a n i t y puts the ends of "man" directly i n t o play.128 War. is not the s u m total of h u m a n i t y or the installation of a new sovereignty (contrary to what h u m a n i s m sought a n d desired. T h i s w o u l d be an enormous project. it is o n l y technê in suspension. a n d of great consequence. always tendentiously effaced in the progress a n d project of a global humanity. Sovereignty—Techne War. not to m e n t i o n the sexual difference that is a l ways p u t i n t o play v i a war . . there are the A m e r i c a n R e v o l u t i o n a r y W a r a n d C i v i l War. like that of art) thus obeys laws that are more deeply set w i t h i n our civilization. to the schema of the Sovereign). a n d so o n ) . N o t at all. . B u t it returns to this w h e n it is a matter of o p e n i n g anew a certain space w i t h i n this time: the space of the presentation of Sovereignty. in a way different f r o m what has always been done. one m i g h t object that the emphasis placed on the symbolic order of sovereignty denies. ). T h e first " w o r l d w i d e " w a r corresponds to the emergence of a schema of w o r l d w i d e proportions. As s u c h . It is not surprising that war haunts us. in truth. sovereignty is higher than any "view. a n y t h i n g that is properly to be called war is absolutely archaic in its symbolic character." and the " w o r l d " is the i m p r i n t of its decision. for war. war/police action [la guerre-police] is delocalized.

s o m e t h i n g for w h i c h there are neither reasons (why? for what? for w h o m is there or must there be a global world?) nor any applicable models. this m o d e l was inherited by various colonies). or m a n after h u m a n i s m . Right. but the untreatable essence of sovereignty. It is on the m o d e l or schema of "that w h i c h has n o t h i n g above itself. law itself does not have a f o r m for what w o u l d need to be its o w n sovereignty. on the other h a n d . to w h i c h this m o d e l no longer pertains. O n e can see that the p r o b l e m is radical. Right. to see h o w international cooperation goes together w i t h the respect for the sovereign rights of States. G l o b a l h u m a n i t y . Sovereignty—Technê War. . finishing. is exposed to a l i m i t or an abyss of g r o u n d i n g . but Sovereignty in itself is also a p r i n c i p a l m o d e l or schema of " c i v i l i z a t i o n " where " g l o b a l i z a t i o n " is at w o r k . in the name of its "natural" rights a n d fraternity. that is. the p r o b l e m is indeed one of g r o u n d i n g something in an entirely n e w way. Sovereignty—Techne 131 new a n d distinct Sovereignty (during the nineteenth century. T h e p r o b l e m is put forward clearly. for sovereignty. E u r o p e itself is c o m i n g up against the p r o b l e m of inter-. a n d b r i l l i a n c e [éclat] c o m e together again for us. . It is this second m o d e l that no longer corresponds strictly to the sovereign schema: it oscillates between a general revolt against the very order of sovereigns (who are called tyrants. or supranational sovereignty. such as it was invented in the F r e n c h R e v o l u t i o n . To different degrees. N o t o n l y do we have n o t h i n g other than models of sovereignty. analogous problems are posed by the various transnational organizations of A f r i c a n or A s i a n States. as either its cause or its effect: it needs an authority that goes b e y o n d that of Sovereigns e n d o w e d w i t h the right to war. no longer belongs to a w o r l d that is "global. It is the m o d e l o f all this quo magis non dici potest where o r i g i n . it can be analyzed in one of the f o l l o w i n g ways: either this authority w o u l d have to be a global sovereignty. w h i c h c o u l d not be in a state of war w i t h anyone on earth (but o n l y w i t h all the galactic empires o f science f i c t i o n . It is not solely a matter of c o m b i n i n g the needs of c o o r d i n a t i o n . w h i c h demonstrates that we really o n l y have one m o d e l at our disposal f r o m w h i c h to extrapolate. . than that of sovereignty. it is one of the tasks of law a n d its formalism to b r i n g to light the w o r k of g r o u n d i n g that goes on in the p u r i f y i n g of concepts. ). or this authority is of another nature. at the very place o f s o v e r e i g n t y — o r o f the E n d . there has been an incessant p u t t i n g into play of the aporias of such "suprasovereignty." b o t h f r o m the standpoint of its legitimate foundation a n d f r o m the standpoint of its capacity to e n d o w itself w i t h an effective force. except as regards the transformations of the two great m i l i t a r y alliances already underway. . another quo magis." T h u s . B u t clearly. however m i x e d up it is w i t h the rise a n d fall of m a n y u n c o n v i n c i n g a n d particularist claims to "sovereignty." of the unsurpassable. or the n o n s u b o r d i n a b l e . S u c h forms h o l d fast to the g r o u n d . a n d to g r o u n d i n g per se. trans-. . It is also not solely a matter of i n v e n t i n g n e w politico-juridical forms (whether one goes in the direction of the deliberative A s s e m b l y or in the direction of a global Federation. B u t global h u m a n i t y is another sort of extremity. in fact. a n d in a decisive manner. . there is no leaving these aporias b e h i n d ) . As such. T h e p r o b l e m is not a matter of fixing up [aménager] sovereignty: in essence. . In yet another way.130 War. M o r e precisely. in this case. Moreover. w h i c h restrains itself f r o m abusing its governance. . . A l t h o u g h the d o m i n i o n of this m o d e l is m a i n t a i n e d by default. even later. p r i n c i p l e . of e n d a n d exemplarity. a t e r m that makes an appeal for a possible legitimacy of rebellion w i t h i n the ethico-jur i d i c a l tradition) a n d a p o l i c e d a d m i n i s t r a t i o n o f h u m a n k i n d . there is no place for this need w i t h i n the space a n d logic of sovereignty. these served as the m o d e l for the wars and/or f o u n d i n g of nations. there is the war of liberation in the name of h u m a n k i n d . the u n c o n d i t i o n a l ." the "return of war" expresses essentially a need or impulse F r o m the League of N a t i o n s to the U n i t e d N a t i o n s . then. a n d of another o r i g i n (and end). Strictly speaki n g . H o w e v e r relative it m a y be. it is not p r i n c i p a l l y a p r o b l e m that pertains to war. leader. e n d . . p r i n cipally the new G e r m a n y . sovereignty is untreatable. the global state of war expresses a simple need.

It is remarkable that the c o u n t r y w h i c h has thus far been the s y m b o l o f t r i u m p h a n t ecotechnics also concentrates w i t h i n itself the figure of the sovereign State (supported by the arche-law of its foundation and by the hegemony of its d o m i n a t i o n ) a n d the figure of the law (present in its foundation. Ever since the i n v e n t i o n of "natural" m a n (an expression where "natural" really signifies "technological"). ). however. i n s t r u m e n t a l . the soldier's sacrifice. i n terms o f m i l l i o n s o f therms. e n d . ( T h u s . represents a technê w i t h o u t e n d ." the " i n d i v i d u a l . the royal race. " the " c o m m u n i t y " — all of w h i c h are concepts that are debilitated insofar as there has been no response to this question)? It is not sufficient. except by means of ever more war. we have insisted on closi n g o u r eyes to the absence of the foundation of l a w — a n d . the exception into w h i c h the rule is reabsorbed. B u t it is no less remarkable that these two entities shared. or gives. o p t i c a l fibers. the juridical space is the interval). restoring a s o c i a l . . but w i t h o u t . along w i t h this. on the other. originary violence. We w i l l not have responded to the question of war. the subject of one's o w n law. this w o r l d was not the w o r l d of the State." we repress the t r u t h that war is the m o d e l of executive and finitive [ finitrice] technê. w h e n it is not governed by sovereignty. the history of sovereignties is a history of devastation. or ecotechnics. Right. w i t h o u t s o v e r e i g n t y — a n d .e n d in terms of millions of d o l lars a n d y e n . we have ignored what is t r u l y at stake in war. in this. imperial glory. w i t h o u t resigning oneself to a weak. L a w consents to let principles a n d ends fall under an authority other than its o w n . w i t h o u t finishing. . megabytes. we have insisted on i g n o r i n g the foundational role sovereignty plays in the schema of the exception (divine creation. " but a form a l g o o d w i t h o u t any force. the subject w i t h o u t faith or law . In the end. kilowatts. In this way. of the c i r c u larity of ends and means. . p r i n c i p l e s a n d ends. the f o u n d i n g hero. Right.h u m a n whole in itself as end. beneath the j u d g m e n t that the law is a " g o o d . Sovereignty cannot stop h a u n t i n g us. we repress the t r u t h that the law w h i c h is w h o l l y w i t h o u t any m o d e l or f o u n d a t i o n ." for better or worse) a n d what in every technology creates fear in o u r t h i n k i n g . L e t us call this ecotechnics. It thus escapes from the m o d e l o n l y in order to designate anew the places where the m o d e l applies: at each of the two extremities. in their difference a n d opposition (in the " C o l d W a r " of two Sovereigns fixed or frozen in different ways). a n d thought to structure "civil society"). If the w o r l d is a w o r l d today. that is. By way of the j u d g m e n t that war is " e v i l .e n d [sans-fin]. as a k i n d of asymptote or c o m m o n line of flight. the rule. In fact. and this consent belongs to its structure. s o m e t h i n g that one w o u l d have to call sovereignty w i t h o u t sovereignty. Sovereignty—Technê War. W i t h i n such exemplarity. of its o w n accord. " "justice. a n d slavishly h u m a n i s t t h i n k i n g o f the law (and/or " c o m m u n i c a t i o n . since it is at these extremities that law. locates authority [l'instance] as the exception a n d the excess.132 War. H o w [is one] to t h i n k w i t h o u t e n d . w i t h o u t finish. there is always an exception that provides. T h i s is what our t h i n k i n g does not k n o w h o w to deal w i t h (except to c o n fine it in "art. T h i s is because. . Sovereignty—Technê 133 o n l y law appears to elude it. but a p a i n f u l l y c o n t o r t e d i m i t a t i o n of the three a n d their various relations. in a parallel manner. . " even as an evil w h i c h is sometimes "necessary. or figure. law sets itself up between first principles and final ends (the sovereign space is the figure. to the extent that this w o r d a n d its schema remain i n - . u n t i l we have crossed through this problematic field. w h i c h is also the authority of exemplarity. the genius at w o r k . ) But w i t h i n the dissolution of exemplarity there are two elements: on the one h a n d . as l o n g as the end is thought as sovereign end. then it is p r i m a r i l y a w o r l d according to this d o u b l e sign. however. Even it if is w i t h o u t reason. this network or order is what is w i t h o u t . the sovereign warrior was able to provide a model that d i d not simply lead to battle. a rule w i t h o u t example (the law). it is clearly the case that the "global (dis)order" has b e h i n d it all the effectiveness of what we call "planetary technology" and " w o r l d economy": the double sign of a single network of the reciprocity of causes and effects. put to the service of the pure appropriation of power. In fact. or law. T h e Soviet w o r l d was supposed to have represented the revolution that both reverses a n d goes b e y o n d this triple determination. to ask the question in this way. right away.

or the privilege of a sovereignty? It is necessary. terms w h i c h themselves are as untenable as they are insignificant. T h e s e three d i m e n s i o n s do not overlap as easily as is sometimes presented. B u t it is clearly the case that this b i g f a m i l y does not have a father or a mother. the supreme d o m i n a t i o n of w h a t w o u l d neither have the brilliance [éclat] of origin nor the glory of accomplishment in a sovereign presence. . then n o t h i n g remains to prevent violence f r o m being camouflaged as ecotechnical c o m p e t i t i o n . if there is no sovereignty.134 War. In a d d i t i o n . (ecology: W h a t semantics. it is no more oikos than polis. Right. B u t just as there has been an attempt to skirt the issue of war by m a k i n g it i n t o a police action. the subject w i t h o u t the law of its o w n law. Right. the d i v i s i o n of the integrated f r o m the excluded. F r o m n o w o n . what space. of e m p h a s i z i n g that these d i v i s i o n s i m p l y struggles a n d conflicts of great violence. Sovereignty—Techne 135 evitable: that is. but this is not the place to speak to that. " ecotechnics substitutes c r u s h i n g blows for sovereignty. e n c u m b e r e d by this very v o i d . Ecotechnics damages. the pure technê of nonsovereignty: b u t because the e m p t y place of sovereignty remains o c c u p i e d . T h e class struggle was supposed to be the other of b o t h sovereign war and ecotechnical war. then one is also saying that there is no conflict outside of sovereign war (called a "police [action]. as everyone knows perfectly w e l l . Finally. then. if the schema of "class struggle" hides itself (and u n d o u b t e d l y . or c o n f r o n t a t i o n . t h e n . t r a m p l i n g d o w n . ). a n d everywhere there is tearing apart. At the same t i m e . it is no longer even admissible. in the e n d . the true realm of this war has revealed itself to be that of ecotechnical war. there r e m a i n e d the logic of the subject of exception. to learn h o w to t h i n k this e m p t y place. ecotechnics is also pure techne. in the W e s t . S u c h war yields n o t h i n g to real war as far as power a n d the technologies of r u i n a t i o n a n d conquest are concerned. Ecotechnics m i g h t be the last figure w i t h o u t figure of the world's slow drift i n t o sovereignty w i t h o u t sovereignty. Sovereignty—Techne War. . it seems that victory a n d defeat are growi n g closer together." in order to be d e n i e d at the very p o i n t of its return) and ecotechnical war (which is called "competition"). ) for every five h u n d r e d dead (in the S o u t h . weakens. a l t h o u g h there was no G o d . a n d there remained an exec u t i o n . in the E a s t . then there can be no politics. or that it no longer has a place in w h i c h to take place. ecotechnics does not attain toward another t h i n k i n g of the end w i t h o u t end. related to any e n d w i t h o u t any longer being related to itself as supreme e n d . In a sense. . a passage that opens up f r o m inside war itself. the recent war m i g h t have been a p o w e r f u l resurgence of sovereignty (while perhaps w a r n i n g us to expect o t h ers) a n d . at least in a certain historical d i m e n s i o n ) . here. n o t h i n g remains except for bare justice: B u t what is a justice that w o u l d not be the telos o f a history." because according to our t h i n k i n g . t h e n . where every consideration of sovereignty is in vain a n d always b o r r o w e d . It i m p l i e s a triple d i v i s i o n that is in no way a sharing of sovereignties: the d i v i s i o n of the rich f r o m the poor. there has been an attempt to avoid the necessary c o u p l i n g of victory and defeat by m a k i n g it a matter of negotiation. no hero. N o w h e r e . Or rather. ecotechnics is the name for " p o l i t i c a l economy. at the same t i m e . It is solely a matter. By way of the administration a n d control of "compet i t i o n . w i t h " h u m a n i t y " for a mother. . . i n t o finishing w i t h o u t e n d . a n d the brutalities that are mere caricatures of ancient. and upsets the f u n c t i o n i n g of . . If one claims that this struggle is no longer taking place. T h e r e is no longer any polis since the oikos is everywhere: the h o u s e k e e p i n g of the w o r l d as a single h o u s e h o l d . then. a n d the d i v i s i o n of the N o r t h f r o m the S o u t h . "law" for a father. all sides have refused to c o u n t the dead in a clear way (to say n o t h i n g of the d i s t i n c t i o n between dead soldiers a n d dead civilians): given the plausible report of at least one dead (in the N o r t h . what w o r l d can it offer?) T h i s situation can be s u m m a r i z e d in three points: 1. In this way. a n d that. is there war. c i v i l i z e d violence. no genius. W a r is nowhere and everywhere. a destructive a n d appropriative m a n e u v e r i n g w i t h o u t sovereign brilliance. where what is at stake is " i n t e r n a t i o n a l law" as the guarantor of ecotechnics. 2. . sacred violence. the o p e n i n g of a passage that leads to the regime (or reign?) of sovereignty w i t h o u t sovereignty. an indefinite and u n e n d i n g finishing of this logic. then.

w h i c h c a n n o t be recuperated by any c o s m o p o l i t a n i s m (because c o s m o p o l i t a n i s m is always the dreamlike opposite of the sovereign order). this is also what the spacing of the w o r l d means. insofar as such t h i n k i n g is of this w o r l d . along w i t h ecotechnics. . lets us see the place of the sovereign State as e m p t y f r o m n o w o n . Sovereignty—Technê 137 all sovereignties. W h e n the place of sovereignty is empty. it is the empty place of justice (at the f o u n d a t i o n o f the law). except for those that in reality c o i n c i d e w i t h ecotechnical power. and all the questions revolving a r o u n d exception and excess. Right. a n d more generally. . like "our boys f r o m Texas"). another figure attempted to reignite the A r a b epic. guarantee the best p r e s u m p t i o n of justice. t h o u g h t passes t h r o u g h these motifs. but w h i c h this war is perhaps finally b e g i n n i n g to make absolutely urgent. . a challenge that up u n t i l n o w has not been taken u p . T h i s s p a c i n g of the w o r l d is itself the empty place of s o v e r e i g n t y T h a t is. w h i c h polices the w o r l d order and watches over the price of p r i m a r y resources. it was necessary that the models. T h u s the gaping open of the f o u n dation of law. ecotechnics gives value to a p r i m a c y of the c o m b i n a tory over the d i s c r i m i n a t i n g ." nor that of the " c o m m o n . the e n d of sovereignty must be faced head-on. whether they be of an ancient lineage or of recent extraction. Right. the identifiable examples of the sov- In order to t h i n k the spacing of the w o r l d (of ecotechnics). H o w to t h i n k w i t h o u t a sovereign End? T h i s is the challenge of ecotechnics. Moreover. In both cases. make h i m self into the narrator of smaller. it gives p r i o r i t y to a m u l t i p l e a n d delocalized spatiality over a u n i t a r y a n d concentrated spatiality. T h e p r o b l e m c o n cerns the empty place as such. By way of hypocrisy a n d denial. to p u t it in another way. or of peo- ple [ou de peuple]. T h e r e are no i m provements made either w i t h regard to justice or identity. Today. the e m p t y place of the c o m m o n g o o d . the latter i m p l o d e s in the former). T h i s is also w h y ecotechnics itself can s u m m o n the figure of sovereignty into this e m p t y place. instead ereign allure. B u t this is indeed w h y the entire difficulty of this t h i n k i n g is concentrated here. this is what history means today. can be forgotten in the sovereign brilliance that the power properly w i t h o u t power. more familiar epics. 3. neither the essence of the "good. Or else. and the e m p t y place of the c o m m o n as a good. deliver themselves up to the painful i m i t a t i o n s of a m u m m i f i e d sovereignty. where n o t h i n g can c o m e to presence. w h i c h is also the space of the finishing of identity in general. dialogue. of m a k i n g it seem as though it has been disposed of or sublimated. a n d do not in any way i n v a l i date this necessity). the e m p t y place of the one w h o recites an epic tale is n o w o c c u p i e d by the sovereign figure of the prophet of the m o r a l L a w (who can.136 War. in the style of a n i h i l i s m or aestheticizing m i n i m a l i s m (where the gaping w o u n d itself emits a black g l o w of lost s o v e r e i g n t y ) — t h i s not any less ideological. it is the e m p t y place of the e n d . A n d w i t h i n the spatial. T h e s e motifs compose an epochal necessity (the effects of this m o d e are secondary. of the contractual over the hierarchical. w i t h the sole a i m o f t a k i n g part i n the ecotechnical power of the masters of the w o r l d . N a t i o n a l i s m s . Sovereignty—Technê War. . w i t h o u t reserve. it is necessary to begin again w i t h the f o l l o w i n g : ecotechnics washes out or dissolves sovereignty (or rather. at the same time. c o m m u n i cation. O v e r a n d against this. " nor the c o m m o n essence of the g o o d can be assigned any longer. T h e current space of sovereignty. or a surgery w i t h o u t sutures holds o p e n the gapi n g w o u n d of m e a n i n g . There w i l l be no more sovereignty. that is. or values (where sovereignty is thought to be n o t h i n g but a useless m e m o r y ) . borrows in the time of war. but not w i t h o u t significance for all that. In order to begin to respond. T h e war. O n e m i g h t give a general form u l a t i o n of it in the f o l l o w i n g way: H o w [do we] not confuse this spacing of the w o r l d w i t h either the spreading out of significations or a gaping o p e n of m e a n i n g [ O T ] ? E i t h e r significations are spread out a n d d i l u t e d to the p o i n t of insignificance in the ideologies of consensus. is solely a distended space full of holes. Or i f y o u like. of the network over the organism. no essence at all can be assigned any longer. no finishing at all: o n l y existences are finite [or finished]. of this global w o r l d w i t h o u t sovereignty. of the spatial over the historical. a n d is not about w a i t i n g for some ret u r n or substitution.

the w o r l d of finitude. the q u e s t i o n about the e x t r e m e . the global w o r l d o f ecotechnics itself definitively proposes the t h o r o u g h g o i n g execut i o n of sovereignty. In d o i n g this. M e a n i n g is in not finishing w i t h meaning. in c o n t i n u i n g war b e y o n d itself. w h i c h everywhere overflows the death that contains it. that is. w h i c h supposes that we can detach the appropriation of wealth and power f r o m it. that is. there is no " f i n i s h i n g " . strange "globalness.f i nite m e a n i n g of finite existence implies an exposition w i t h o u t b r i l liance: discreet. but anyone w o u l d exhaust themselves in (not) saying this. there is no " a c c o m p l i s h m e n t " or "achievement". u n t i l this place as such is submitted to questioning and deconstruction.) D e a t h . ( O r else. accordingly n o w on the question of a nonsovereign meaning as the very sense of the humanity of humans and the globalness of the world. as the distancing (of an example). T h e global w o r l d is also the finite w o r l d . in one way or another." or again what I have called ecotechnics (in itself. if this is indeed the " h u m a n condition" (finite existence). F i n i t u d e is spacing. In t u r n . w h i c h we are to invent. T h e i n . to the spaciousness of the spacing. T h e finishing of finite existence is an u n f i n i s h i n g [infinition]. the execution is without end. this is w h y these same motifs can serve the ardent and nostalgic recalling of sovereign figures. the voracious a p p r o p r i ation that war i s — a l w a y s a l r e a d y — m a y not be so extrinsic to the such existence does not even reach the point of the sovereign extremity. eager presences. does not go any further than the brilliance of death and destruction (and after everything else. and spacious.l i m i t o f f i n i s h i n g a n d identify. W h a t this sentence "means" cuts off one's breath (I do not really w a n t to go i n t o it further here). a n d maybe f r o m the very start. a n d that the d i s r u p t i o n of the w o r l d signifies for us that it is not possible not to go any further. " a n d w h i c h compose an errant. w h i c h w o u l d be .C h r i s t o p h e B a i l l y suggested to me that I finally render the eagles of war as peaceful. ( J e a n . an access we must invent. S p a c i n g "executes" itself infinitely. or identification in a figure of (the) death ( w h i c h is the entirety of w h a t we call sacrifice. but that meaning no longer occurs in a totalization a n d presentation (of a finite a n d accomplished infinite). it has not gone far enough. exposed itself as spacing. " T h o r o u g h g o i n g " here means: g o i n g to the extreme. a n d exposes the pieces of a diverse a n d m i x e d . but it most certainly does not m e a n that sovereignty is d e a t h — q u i t e to the contrary. this extreme l i m i t always finished itself by means of war. dispersed. N o t that this means endlessly b e g i n n i n g again. Being-exposedto-death. o f its logic a n d m o v e m e n t . that is. Right.138 War. dislocated spado-temporality presents something of itself in Sovereignty: just this side of its figures a n d their urgent [impérieuses]. it appears — t h i s is our h i s t o r y — t h a t the extreme p o i n t of sovereignty s i t u ates itself still further out. reserved. for a finite finishing. and supreme finishing off. if it is necessary to go further w i t h the same logic. provides the a i m of sovereignty. to the archaism of Sovereignty is u n d o u b t e d l y still more c o m p l e x than this. W h a t is called "technology. this is technology itself. B u t f r o m n o w o n . there is the n i g h t a n d fog of extermination. u n t i l we have asked the q u e s t i o n about the e n d w i t h o u t reserve. none of w h i c h is s i m p l y "Arab" or " A m e r i c a n . the lightn i n g of peace. T h e very spacing of the w o r l d . of w h i c h war is a supreme f o r m ) . . T h e relation of a nonsovereign meaning. however. U n t i l our o w n times (but this c o u l d c o n t i n u e . war p r i m a r y a m o n g them. (For example. there is an explosion and violence [that comes] f r o m beyond war. Sovereignty—Techne 139 T h e empty place of Sovereignty w i l l give rise to more or less successful substitutions o f this type. decision. discontinuous. " there is no repression or s u b l i m a t i o n of the violent burst of sovereignty: never to be finished w i t h . w h i c h i s f r o m sovereign w o r k of death as it appears). I w i l l o n l y say the f o l l o w i n g : the sovereign e x t r e m i t y signifies that there is n o t h i n g to "attain". W i t h i n this " n o t h i n g . as the place (of an appearing). as the a m p l i t u d e (of a brilliance). a n d death b e y o n d death.") W i t h a certain obscurity a n d ambivalence. It has also always. and to be quite brief: the same process calls on A m e r i c a a n d A r a b i a . is not a "being-yôr-death" as destiny. or rather. to the (dis)locality of the place. the o p e n i n g of the discontinuous. . polymorphous. w h i c h appropriates itself in order to c o m e to an e n d . or access.u p reality. Sovereignty—Techne War. W a r itself. ). Right. as the elevation (of a power). "Sovereignty is NOTHING": Bataille exhausted h i m s e l f in t r y i n g to say this.) In a sense.

It is here in the still p o o r l y perceived imperative of a w o r l d that is in the process of creating its global c o n d i tions. Because this w o r l d is the w o r l d of spacing. it m i g h t become possible to t h i n k what has not been t h i n k able to this p o i n t : a p o l i t i c a l articulation of the w o r l d that escapes f r o m these two dangers (and for w h i c h the m o d e l of the "Federat i o n " is not available). it is not for our warlike t h i n k i n g . in short. resisting this w i t h gestures that are b o t h terrifying a n d p a t h e t i c ) — f o r all of these reasons. therefore. instead of always r e m a i n i n g w i t h i n it. we have learned that the orientation. technê as the existence o f finite existence i n all its b r i l liance a n d violence. not for our t h i n k i n g . in order to render untenable a n d catastrophic the sharing of riches a n d poverty. w h i c h w o u l d have the right w i t h o u t right to say the law of the w o r l d . o f integration a n d exclusion. constitutes spacing. by the entire tradition of sovereignty O n c e " r e v o l u t i o n " has also been exposed to the nothing of sover- It is here that our history comes u p o n its greatest danger a n d its greatest opportunity. I am w e l l aware of the fact that all of this does not let itself be conceived of easily. Right. Sovereignty—Techne 141 liberated f r o m capital). the intersection of singularities. It is "technology" itself. at the same t i m e . It is not for us. As such." T h i s is not given as a destiny.140 War. W h e n this space . but it is a technology that. is the technê of finitude or spacing." and "sovereignty. " a " c o m m u n i c a t i o n . one has to take seriously h o w the execution w i t h o u t m o d e l or e n d m a y be the essence of technê as a revolutionary essence. a n d motive of this l i b - eignty. It w o u l d be a matter. . As technê. W h a t if each people (this w o u l d be the revolutionary word). and in-finitely substitutable through the intersection that doubles spacing. and yet posed. not of the identification of figures (of individuals or of masses) . T h i s is no longer the technical means to an E n d . To paro d y H e g e l ." At least we are beginning to learn what the c o m b i n e d lesson of war. a n d not the confrontation of faces or masks. law. raises the necessity of a p p r o p r i a t i n g its m e a n i n g against the appropriative logic of capital a n d against the sovereign logic of war. " W a r is " b a d . T h i s w o u l d be a w o r l d where spacing c o u l d not be confused w i t h spreading out or w i t h gaping open. As a consequence of h a v i n g learned this m u c h . modeled as it is on the sovereign m o d e l . theme. substituted a w h o l l y other logic for the logic of the sovereign (and always sacrificial) m o d e l . Therefore. of going to the extreme w i t h o u t an example. but o n l y w i t h "intersection. h o w to do w i t h o u t a model? T h i s is the question that is avoided. o f every N o r t h a n d S o u t h .f i nite e n d . ecotechnics is still to be liberated f r o m "technology. this c o u l d be called global [or world] singularity. B u t this is certain: there is n o t h i n g on the h o r i z o n except for an u n heard-of. not the i n v e n t i o n or the m u l t i p l i c a t i o n of m o d e l s — f r o m w h i c h wars w o u l d i m m e d i a t e l y f o l l o w — b u t a logic where singularity was absolute a n d w i t h o u t an example at the same time? W h e r e each one w o u l d be "one" only in not being identifiable in a figure. sovereignty is exhausting itself (and. " a "peace" . but in-finitely distinct through spacing. law c o u l d expose itself to the n o t h i n g o f its o w n f o u n d a t i o n . the q u e s t i o n is not whether war is " b a d . A l l t h i n k i n g that still wants to conceive of an "order. a n d "technological civilization" is after all. inconceivable t a s k — o r war. or in the turbulence of the desire to c l a i m the sovereign d i s t i n c t i o n for everyone." a " w o r l d . but technê itself as i n . . " a n d it is absolutely so. h o w to act. each singular intersection (this w o u l d be the ecotechnical word). ecotechnics obscurely indicates the technê of a w o r l d where sovereignty is n o t h i n g . In the e n d . w h i c h belongs to the " n o t h i n g " of sovereignty. the price of that w h i c h goes beyond war. it is offered as a history. Peace comes at the price of abandoned sovereignty. eration are all contained in the f o l l o w i n g (provisional) statement: sovereignty is n o t h i n g . because it is the w o r l d in w h i c h . a n d f r o m w i t h i n the very heart of the appropriative power of capital (which itself started sovereignty's decline). not of fini s h i n g . Sovereignty—Technê War. the m u l t i p l i c i t y of "peoples" m i g h t be able to a v o i d b e i n g engulfed in the hegemony of one sole people. Right. because it is the w o r l d of the intersection of singularities. H o w to t h i n k ." "economy. especially w h e n the space where it deploys itself no longer permits the glorious a n d powerful presentation of its figure (as the figure of the death of all figures). of itself.

Right. u n d e r h a n d e d — o r e m p t y — t h e n it is necessary to reconsider the nature a n d function of such a sign.142 War. If sovereignty has exhausted its m e a n i n g . clans. in spite of everything else? Or what about K u w a i t ret u r n e d to sovereignty for purposes of a brutal settling of accounts and for the shameless recruitment of F i l i p i n o a n d E g y p t i a n m a n power? W h a t is the character of Bangladesh's sovereignty.) T h e proliferation of these a m b i g u i t i e s — w h i c h are. M a y 1991 In the m i d s t of the general climate of " h u m a n i t a r i a n a i d " set up as the perverse game that is b e i n g played by war's protagonists. brotherhoods? A n d I have to insist on this. for that matter. a little further away." the Serb i a n "people. an A l g e r i a n . or. a n d if it is everywhere acknowledged that it is in d o u b t . I do not m e a n for a instant to d e m a n d that a K u r d . . in fact. levels. Instead." the Japanese "people": Is it always the same concept? If there is a "concept. to steal anyone's innocence." the C o r sican "people. By saying this. o r those o f the shanty towns i n horizon of unheard-of identities. Sovereignty—Techne War. where a cyclone has just made five m i l l i o n people homeless? a n d so forth. social networks? T h e almost-monstrous m u l t i p l i c a t i o n of these questions is the m a r k of the p r o b l e m about w h i c h I am speaking. B u t what w i l l always cause a p r o b l e m is the question of exactly w h i c h sign is of concern here. what is a people} T h e Iraqui "people. Right. N e i ther the sovereign m o d e l . a G e o r g i a n . To appropriate one's o w n time has always been unheard of. M e x i c o . where to place classes. milieus. Sovereignty—Techne 143 is absolutely n a i v e — w h e n it is not s i m p l y hypocritical. an A m e r i c a n s h o u l d a b a n d o n the i d e n t i t y a n d independence for w h i c h these proper names f u n c t i o n as a sign. they o n l y deny it. what about nuclear capacity as Algeria's sovereign concern? Or the accord between the U S S R a n d the eight republics to regulate the tense play of their sovereignties. or the populations of I n d i a or C h i n a ? W h a t is an "ethnicity"? W h a t is a religious c o m m u n i t y ? A r e the Shiites a people? A n d the H e b r e w s and/or Israelis and/or Jews? A n d the "ex-East G e r mans"? W h a t are the relations of a "sovereign" people to a " p o p u lar" people? W h e r e to place tribes. (Does S a d d a m have the right to it? W h o grants it to h i m ? W h a t is he d o i n g w i t h it? A n d what about the Kurds? A n d the Turks? A n d what is a border? W h a t is police force? Or else." the C h i c a n o "people. B u t everyone can clearly see that it is time: the disaster of sovereignty is sufficiently spread out. those o f the end o f s o v e r e i g n t y — m a k e s m e afraid o f b e i n g m i s u n d e r stood if I say that we s h o u l d go (or that we already are) b e y o n d its m o d e l a n d its order. nor the a u t h o r i t y of the law addresses this p r o b l e m ." then does it i m p l y "sovereignty"? A n d what about the "people" o f H a r l e m . margins. "sovereignty" is m o r e present t h a n ever. a n d sufficiently c o m m o n . For example. what is of concern here is globalness as a proliferation of " i d e n t i t y " w i t h o u t e n d or m o d e l — a n d it m a y even be a matter of "technology" as the techne of a new Postscript." the Z u l u "people.

like that of a 145 . w h i c h indicates a place. a gathering. or a 1 sign in history.§ Eulogy for the Mêlée (For Sarajevo. so that there w i l l no longer be a Sarajevan landscape. a circulation. we other c o s m o p o l i t a n Europeans. and so that we do not get m i x e d up in it. a radiating [un étoilement]. T h e name of a city. a crossing and 1 a stop. a disjunction. It is no longer a sign on the way. un écriteau qu'on nous cloue sur les yeux]. an ortho-normative gauge on a ballistic and political computer. or trips to Sarajevo. a target frozen in a telescopic sight. the State. A city does not have to be identified by a n y t h i n g other than a name. the Identity in the name of w h i c h "Sarajevo" must be identified purely a n d s i m p l y as a target. It is such so that n o t h i n g else w i l l get m i x e d in w i t h it. a k n o t a n d an exchange. it is no longer a possible destination for business trips or i l l i c i t rendezvous. It is a dimension-less p o i n t on a diagram of sovereignty. Sarajevo is s i m p l y a name or a sign that grabs o u r a t t e n t i o n [même plus un nom. Somewhere. March ipps) "Sarajevo" has become the expression of a complete system for the r e d u c t i o n to identity. or the u n c e r t a i n space for a fortuitous meeting or distracted wandering. the place of a mêlée . the pure t a k i n g a i m of an essence. but o n l y a pure and naked identity. that is. the Law. and it is the very figure of the exactitude of t a k i n g a i m . a pure Subject declares that it is the People.

a n d skins. T h i s is w h y conferring too m u c h identity on the mélange itself must be avoided." A n d I w o u l d 3 tial identities ("subjects. W h a t is called for. is to do right by identities. T h i s is w h a t m u s t be avoided. to their p r e s u m i n g to be substanI have been asked for a "eulogy of the mélange. there was no need to identify Sarajevo. a n d it is very simple. or the recasting of t h i n k i n g such that it w o u l d not be crude or obscene l i k e every thought of purity. so as to e n d in a balanced account of profits a n d losses. and the work of m i x i n g them. a sovereign Subject. symmetrical way of t a l k i n g . engendered no ego. those w h o die in Sarajevo die f r o m the death o f Sarajevo itself. like that of a people a n d a person. a presence measured by the yardstick of the "national" or the "state. here. present " m a n . then. Inchoate a n d stochastic meaning: it is a mixture of syllables stirred on the b r i n k of a semantic identity that is b o t h gently a n d obstinately deferred. this sovereign is threatened. it is encircled. It means m i x i n g together again the v a r i ous lines. it must never be the name of anyone w h o m i g h t be presented in person or in her own right [en propre]. B u t this response w i l l not be just another. homogenous. T h i s very notion presupposes the isolation of pure substances. In fact. the former indicates a mêlée. T h o s e w h o are exiled f r o m Sarajevo are exiled f r o m this place. its o w n o r i g i n a n d p r i n c i p l e . but w i t h o u t c e d i n g a n y t h i n g to their frenzy. O r C r o a t o r Serb or B o s n i a n . B u t does this same way of t h i n k i n g do justice to the idea of a painting as a eulogy for a mélange oi colors? P a i n t i n g never has a n y t h i n g to do w i t h the spectrum of colors. entangles it w i t h .s y m b o l set up precisely in order to create b o d y a n d s y m b o l where there had o n l y been place a n d passage. In the e n d . either regarding identity or regarding what mixes identity up i n . It is an idea that is at h o m e in the laboratory. must always be the name of no one. a reserve that is appropriate if one wants to avoid g i v i n g a eulogy that itself goes so far as to betray its object by i d e n t i f y i n g it too w e l l . b o t h those that are tangled a n d those that are distinct. " O r w o m a n . they die f r o m the poss i b i l i t y — i m p o s e d b y g u n f i r e — o f i d e n t i f y i n g some substance o r presence by this name. B u t now. but w h i c h . T h i s task is enormous. indefinite. As soon as the proper name points to [arraisonne] a presence in person. a n d like every someowf. expelled by this body." a b o d y . it is a matter (everyone understands that it is there. as a result. raises up a m e l o d y : Sarajevo. the emphasis w i l l be displaced. N o r is the idea to deliver a " m i t i g a t e d " e u l o g y that w o u l d evoke an extreme f o r m of halfheartedness. T h e "proper name" has no significance [signification]. It is the task of never believing in the simple. In order to live in Sarajevo. w h i c h is a curious concept. It is exactly because it was possible for there to be the i g n o b l e talk of "ethnic cleansing" that it is necessary to respond. trails. it is w i l l suffice to k n o w h o w to gather what it is a question of a n d h o w to w e l c o m e it) of c o m i n g up against all sorts o f w i n d s a n d t i d e s — a n d i t i s q u i t e clear i n w h a t d i r e c t i o n these are m o v i n g . in order to ensure this." in this sense). f r o m the that mêlée that made up Sarajevo. T h e w h o l e task. it has to be said right away that the most just a n d beautiful eulogy of the mélange w o u l d be to not have to give it. made n o t h i n g . by all rights a n d in fact.146 Eulogy for the Mêlée Eulogy for the Mêlée 147 country. a pure source of m e a n i n g . T h e "proper" name must always serve to dissolve the ego: the latter opens up a m e a n i n g . like to give a eulogy that is itself " m i x e d " [mélangé]. someone of mixed blood. a n d an attempt w i l l be made to m o v e f r o m the mélange to the mêlée. w h i l e at the same time describing their heterogeneous trajectories a n d their webs. or what there is to it is n o t h i n g more than a sketch of a description that is. or . for the m o m e n t . exactly because the notion [of the mélange] itself c o u l d not even be discerned or identified. it is right there before o u r eyes. It is solely a matter of not g i v i n g a n y t h i n g away. T h i s is not to say that it w i l l be a m i x t u r e of eulogy a n d blame. It is the task of k n o w i n g (but of w h a t k n o w l edge?) that the subject of knowledge is n o w o n l y someonf. it o n l y has to do w i t h the infinity m i x e d in w i t h a n d derived f r o m their nuances. besieged. T h e y are exiled f r o m the m i x . is a eulogy m i x e d w i t h reserve. It is the task of a culture r e m a k i n g itself.

that is. B u t we also k n o w . there are those w h o place these two correctnesses back to back. no fair m e d i u m . property. shared by all. one c o u l d p l a i n l y eulogize. As such. A l l racism is s t u p i d . this is w h y I am embarrassed by the idea of a "eulogy for the mélange": as if the mélange w o u l d have to be some sort of value or authenticity to be uncovered. there does e x i s t — a n d I am not the first one to p o i n t it o u t — a eulogy for the mélange that resonates w i t h a conventional sort of political correctness. w i t h an obvious overtone of mistrust. even t h o u g h it is o n l y a piece of evidence. Difference as such is indiscernible. I always h o l d my peace in the face of l o n g discourses and great c o l l o q u i a on the subject of racism. It seems to me that too m u c h h o n o r is p a i d to this trash. are always already gone. a n d fearful. T h e least bit of discussion. a n d first o f a l l : we k n o w that they do not allow themselves to be thought as they are. this c r i m e is always a d o u b l e c r i m e . here. o n l y too w e l l . A l t h o u g h we k n o w things are not so s i m p l e . sometimes w e l c o m e in m o r a l a n d p o l i t i c a l emergencies. T h i s is the w h o l e question. that is. it is not a substance. a n d well-tempered differences. a n d interferences are n o t e n o u g h . in all senses of the w o r d . no e q u i l i b r i u m to h o l d to. and a sort of transcendental variegation. or always already still to come. S u c h a eulogy wholeheartedly celebrates generalized m u l t i c u l t u r a l i s m . N e i t h e r mélange nor identity can be p i n n e d d o w n . mixtures.148 Eulogy for the Mêlée Eulogy for the Mêlée 149 A mélange is a delicate and fragile t h i n g . as well as its disruptive forces. By d e f i n i t i o n . O r rather. a n d rightly so. or. In fact. and w h i c h . even disgust (sometimes clearly associated w i t h anti-Semitism). or purity. T h i s w e l l . if one looks at it more closely. identity. T h i s is exactly the p r o b l e m w i t h ideologies of the melting pot.f o u n d e d demands. between all. a n d w h o recite an i n t e r m i n a b l e catec h i s m o f u n i t y i n diversity. First of a l l . wanderings. the enigmas of the mélange. remains a discourse of i n t e n tions a n d exhortations. c o m p l e m e n t a r i t y . there is no s y m m e t r y in this regard.i n t e n t i o n e d discourse. b o t h subtle a n d volatile. but the simplistic eulogy of p u r i t y has supported a n d still supports crimes. exchange. w h i c h is often made thick [épaisse] a n d obscure these days. even though it does not exist if there is never a n y t h i n g "pure" that can be a n d must be " m i x e d " together [mélanger] w i t h some other "purity. exactly because there are these two theses o n l y to the extent that there is. In the e n d . " for example. T h e y have always already taken place. we n o w feel that h a v i n g such w h i r l w i n d s . where the pot is supposed to c o n t a i n . a n d it is a mêlée). first of a l l . therefore. all by virtue of its o w n identity. removed f r o m everything a n d . H y b r i d i z a t i o n i s not "some t h i n g ." Therefore. in whatever f o r m . as a result. It does not reach as far as the very things w i t h w h i c h it deals. " A n d i f the h y b r i d . Moreover. and in order to be able to use the w o r d " c o s m o p o l i t a n . " H e is d i f f e r e n t — l i k e everyone" (Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris). w i t h the normative stiffening of the most w e l l . hybridization. sharing. what is at q u e s t i o n . that there still remains a discourse that takes advantage of the simplifications of the other in order to go one better than d i s t i n c t i o n . obtuse. Precisely because the mélange is m i x e d (it is mixed [mêlé]. to w h i c h one c o u l d lay c l a i m as such. let us be clear: the simplistic eulogy of the mélange has a n d is capable of p r o d u c i n g errors. the simplification a n d distortion of what is at stake. For similar reasons. w h i c h . is in no way a matter of s t i c k i n g to a fair mean [ juste milieu] held between t w o o p p o s i n g theses. the mélange is not a s i m p l e substance to w h i c h place a n d nature c o u l d be assigned. through one another. already participates in such c r i m e . N o r is it possible to replace the n o n s u b s t a n t i a l i t y of its contents w i t h a supposed consistency of that in w h i c h it is contained. as they are. distinct f r o m n o t h i n g : it is always the other of a n other identity. the smallest deferral to racism or to purification. T h e r e is n o t h i n g to be discussed. b o t h m o r a l a n d intellectual. A n d they are in common. Identity is by definition not an absolute d i s t i n c t i o n .

chances. T h e mélangeas such can take o n . a n d it is never a T o begin w i t h — b u t where i s there a n absolute b e g i n n i n g ? — each one of t h e m is a configuration. irradiates. it is n o t by virtue of any essence of h y b r i d i z a t i o n (a contradictory notion). they irrigate or d r a i n each other. but rather insofar as it provides a p u n c t u a t i o n . w h i c h . B u t this is not a question of wealth or poverty. Crete. then. in the e n d . the transfers a n d transformations of practices. Instead. one must not deliver its eulogy. extremities that. It happens. for the essencelessness of h y b r i d i z a t i o n . or in the middle of it. on the m o v e m e n t s of peoples. they w o r k over a n d p l o u g h t h r o u g h each other. T h e y cultivate one another. It is a contest that can never take place w i t h o u t desire a n d w i t h o u t attacks of jealousy. (But the mêlée of Ares is not m o d e r n war. it spreads everywhere and kills. a cosmopolitan culture was put into place in which one could recognize the contributions of those diverse civilizations that were built on the edge of the sea. erectus. the same can be said of the mêlée of A p h r o d i t e . Myceanea. w i t h o u t the appeal to the other as always other. this diversity constantly escapes it. It is not the mêlée. w h i c h is so p r o u d of the " G r e e k miracle" of its f o u n d i n g . is someone. the mélange is an " i t happens. it takes place. is not. To essentialize the mélange is to have already dissolved it. Therefore. even though there m a y never be a mêlée "pure a n d s i m p l e . c l i n a m e n s . involves no mêlée at all: m o d e r n war begins by exterminating h a n d . m i g r a t i o n s . m i n gle. nor is it the fair m e a n between the two. It w o u l d be better. weaving. violates. nor is it ever the same. W i t h regard to orgies a n d p o r n films. T h e r e are at least two sorts of mêlée. T h e s e two fantastical extremities are a l c h e m y a n d entropy. it aims to crush a n d suppress c o m bat. do not m i x . reconfigure each other. gasses. in fact. as l o n g as it is n o t h i n g itself. Eulogy for the Mêlée single t h i n g . even Egypt. it is not "one": in a mêlée there are meetings a n d encounters.h a n d combat. ) T h e mélange. A l l of them. C u l t u r e s . faber. a phenomenon of extraordinary novelty was created. it has no space for combat. T h e mélange is not s i m p l y " r i c h " in the diversity it mixes together. T h e first c u l ture c o n s t i t u t e d a mêlée of races or species. turned . or that of an a c c o m p l i s h e d state of d i s o r d e r [mise en désorder achevée]. T h e r e is a quantitative discourse o f " m u t u a l e n r i c h m e n t . T h e y encounter each another. a n d risks. melted it d o w n i n t o somet h i n g other than itself. at the beginning of the second millennium. more often than ever before. meetings. already a mêlée. " a discourse that is at b o t t o m capitalist and profiteering. those w h o i d e n t i f y a n d those w h o m o d i f y — j u s t l i k e the t w o sexes i n each one o f us. above a l l . " T h e h i s t o r y of this mêlée s h o u l d be reread: Thus. B u t the mélange is. T h e y are m i x e d w i t h one another. the twists and turns of language or mores. T h e mêlée of A r e s . crisscrossing. still others of these set to sea and were supported by certain cities: the Syro-Lebanese coast. exchange. those w h o concentrate a n d those w h o disseminate. therefore. should always meditate on the ethnic a n d cultural diversity. one must not say "the" mélange a n d . and much later. two different identities: that of a fusion or a t h o r o u g h g o i n g osmosis. T h e West.Eulogy for the Mêlée each one of us is in his or her o w n way. w h i c h went to make up or configure the " H e l l e n i c s . Today. or again. war is an u n l i m ited a n d pure mélange. there are those w h o c o m e together a n d those w h o spread out. Some of these civilizations were those that became empires: Egypt. Mesopotamia. in quite another way. neither the one nor the other. There is mêlée. On the one h a n d . or seem to take o n . O n the other h a n d . Asia M i n o r of the Hittites. ordinarily so closed in on itself. sharing. those w h o c o m e i n t o contact a n d those w h o enter i n t o contracts. not identified. sapiens. In fact. to speak of mêlée: an action rather than a substance. or graft one o n t o the other. But they all communicated with one another. and infects the w h o l e " c i v i l " space. a n d the mêlée of love. " T h e r e is the mêlée of a fight. It is not a matter of entropy or alchemy. in fact." rather t h a n an " i t is": displacements.t o . m o d i f y each other. or a singular configurat i o n . rather than attempting to set it aside. it "is" in another way. It is s o m e t h i n g else. a n d the mêlée of A p h r o d i t e . come together a n d identify w i t h one another in an apocalypse or a black hole. l u c k . or w h a t are k n o w n as cultures.

but at a deeper level. a n d flavorless (as those w h o lay c l a i m to a pure i d e n t i t y so often are). T h i s is exactly not the case w i t h the identity of a culture or a person. F o r example. a n d p o l i t i c a l l y in what is b r e w i n g [se trame] a r o u n d "identities" a n d "subjects" of all sorts. f r o m difference to difference. Because of this. . Every culture is in itself " m u l t i c u l t u r a l .Eulogy for the Mêlée toward the outside with a passionate curiosity. for an identity. T h e identity o f the pencil leaves this pencil far less identifiable as "this one here. the task is w h o l l y a matter of not confusing d i s t i n c t i o n a n d foundation. of references f r o m one ipseity to another. the absolute distinction o f the ego existo. " not o n l y because there has always been a previous acculturation. a n d because there is no pure a n d simple o r i g i n [provenance]. An ipseity leaves off exactly where it is identified. 4 Eulogy for the Mêlée 153 tone of a "culture. in their native dress. it w o u l d be an absurdity. w h i c h is not Pasteur's. it can no longer identify itself. this latter identity can be called an ipseity. w h i c h w o u l d remain quite p l a i n l y the same in the sense of being the self-same [posé çà même soi-même]: one c o u l d i m a g i n e this as f o r m i n g the being of a stone or a G o d . A pure identity cancels itself out. That is to say. a network of exchanges is req u i r e d . remains any pencil at all. up to certain p o i n t .") A " c u l ture" is a certain "one. There is such a t h i n g as a French culture. J o h n n y H a l l y d a y ." "civilization. there appeared. it is b o t h i n i m i t a b l e a n d impossible to assign i d e n t i t y to a n y one. the " F r e n c h " i d e n t i t y today no longer needs to f o u n d itself in Vercingétorix or Joan of A r c in order to exist." as well as the various different voices a n d aptitudes [portées] for interpreting this tone. the less it m a y be its o w n or pure f o u n d a t i o n . these others to w h o m it gives a n d f r o m w h o m it takes a certain identifiable t o n e — a l l by way of its singular t o u c h . ." T h e fact a n d law of this "one" cannot be neglected. colorless." w h i c h seems to identify already that w i t h w h i c h it is concerned. in consideration of the other. empty. Picasso. diplomatic correspondence. This is the epoch of voyages. all the peoples of the Near East and the Aegean: Cretans. H u g o . ethically. It is not that there is no " i d e n t i t y . It is the epoch where. in fact. a n d what is not. divert. Palestinians." B u t the more this "one" is clearly distinct a n d distinguished. p r o v i d e d b y Descartes. c o m b i n e . W h a t is F r e n c h . T h e u n i t y and uniqueness of a culture are unique precisely on account of a mélange. . D i b ? O n c e again. An ipseity is not [founded on] the pure i n e r t i a of the same. however. this p o i n t contains everything that is at stake philosophically. To indicate the difference. As such. It is to settle for shortc i r c u i t i n g all the difficulties that bear d o w n en masse if one tries to say "people. develop. Canaanites. G o d a r d . and princesses who were given as spouses to foreign kings as proof of new "international" relations. " A culture is single a n d u n i q u e . ipseity names w h a t . of exchanges of presents. because the gesture of culture is itself a m i x e d gesture: it is to affront." "nation. and nowhere is it presented in p e r s o n — e x c e p t for those w h o confuse it w i t h the coq sportif or w i t h Dupond-la-Joie. or a mêlée. Nubians. In fact. U n d o u b t e d l y . Lévinas. Voltaire's voice is not that of Proust. c o n front. B u t this w o r d identifies precisely n o t h i n g . a network of recognition. O n l y what is identical to itself is i d e n tical to itself. a "being-its-self" ["être-soi-même"]." "spirit. even less can it be denied in the name of an essentialization of the "mélange. in Egyptian tomb paintings. transform. An ipseity is valued by the other a n d for the other. In a very precise way. w i t h w h i c h it is j o i n e d together. must not be confused w i t h f o u n d a t i o n in the p u r i t y of a res cogitans. K a t ' O n o m a . this does not mean that there is no " F r e n c h identity": it means that this sort of identity is never s i m p l y identical in the sense that a pencil is i d e n t i cally the same yesterday and today (assuming that this is not materially i n e x a c t ." w h i c h . it turns in a circle and never makes it i n t o existence. It is perhaps never purely and simply F r e n c h . . w h i c h is not R i t a M i t s o u k o ' s . rechannel. C h a m o i s e a u . but it itself has various voices. ). a pure identity w o u l d not only be inert. i n Stendhal. recompose. . is always a n d necessarily impossible to identify." "personality. insofar as it is unidentifiable. It is a "mêlée" that defines the style or . (If this is what one must settle for in the w o r d "culture. T h u s . Myceans.

forcibly m i x themselves i n t o Sic- . in no essence. to make obligatory the abort i o n of these bastards. the negation of the c h i l d . a n d the fact that our "Frenchness" is never. the systematic rape o f B o s n i a n w o m e n deployed all the various f i g u r e s o f this delirious affirmation of "unitary" c o m m u n i t y : rape in order to beget "bastards" regarded as unacceptable. a n d c o u l d no longer m i x w i t h others in order to be the language that it is: being no longer translatable exactly in order to be the untranslatable that it is. I a m their mêlée. a n d it drags the other a l o n g in order to carry it i n t o the abyss. an absolute idiolect. s o m e t h i n g half-way in-between Babel as the f o r m of total confusion a n d glossolalia [or speaking in tongues] as the f o r m of i m m e d i a t e transparency. utterly deprived oi relations a n d . and not the sort of death f o u n d in the cemetery. being together and even being " u n i t e d " are precisely not a matter of being "one.) W h a t we have in c o m m o n is also what always distinguishes a n d differentiates us. Bei n g w i t h . a pure property. W h a t is a people? C e r t a i n l y there are such things as ethnic traits. i n the past.154 Eulogy for the Mêlée Eulogy for the Mêlée death f o u n d in the ashes of c r e m a t o r i u m ovens or in the a c c u m u lations of charnel-houses. . /already am w h e n my mother a n d father c o m e together [se mêlent] . each style seems to tend toward m a k i n g an ultimate or sovereign t u r n .c o m m o n or b e i n g . or a b i g f a m i l y (which is to assume that we k n o w what an organism or a family is . ). a fiction always being invented. W h a t I have in c o m m o n w i t h another F r e n c h m a n is the fact of not being the same F r e n c h m a n as h i m . the negation of all W i t h all due rigor. a N a z i absolutely identified w i t h his cause or w i t h his o w n concerns. It sinks its teeth into relation. it never identifies itself. the negation of the w o m a n . Of course.i n . rape in order to then k i l l these bastards a n d .c o m m o n . b o r r o w e d elements. A style is always a crisscrossing of tones. a n d presence in and for itself. thus. P u r i t y is a crystalline chasm where the identical. dispersions. (In a general sort of way. but the tive idea. A language is always a mêlée of languages. . the t u r n toward an absolutely proper language. it is rape in order to show in every possible way that there do not have to be relations between c o m m u n i t i e s . subsistence. excludes interior unity. I b r i n g t h e m together [qui les mêle] . of identity. T h e common. . T h e absolute a n d vertiginous law of the proper is that in appropriating its o w n p u r i t y [<î'appropriant sa propre pureté]. what is u n d o u b t e d l y paradigmatic in rape is that it operates by way of that relation of w h i c h it is also the negat i o n . it is n o t h i n g at all. because it is the mêlée. It is the pure affirmation of the rapist in w h o m a "pure i d e n t i t y " (a "racial" identity . Rape is the zero act. in no figure. w o u l d be i d i o t i c . It never comes to be. nowhere. ) finds n o t h i n g better than the submission to the ignoble m i m i c r y of what it denies: relation a n d being-together. relation. A pure idiolect w o u l d be idiotic. B u t an absolute idiolect or i d i o m w o u l d no longer be a language. i n t o the mêlée. to w h i c h it gives a n e w twist or t u r n . a n d developments. A Sicilian c o u l d rarely be mistaken for a N o r w e g i a n (even t h o u g h the N o r m a n s d i d . A pure c u l ture." W i t h i n unitary c o m m u n i t y [communauté une] there is n o t h i n g but death. w h o was ever pure e n o u g h to be an A r y a n w o r t h y of the name? We k n o w that this question c o u l d drive a true N a z i . to sterilization or even suicide. and rape so that this repeated act assigns its victims to the fantasy u n i t y of their " c o m m u n i t y . but a p l a n always being sketched out. b r o u g h t to c o m p l e t i o n . it alienates itself purely a n d simply. to destroy the possibility of there being a bastard. a mêlée of traits. a n d thus I do not b r i n g myself to be. therefore. it is the negation of sex itself. h a v i n g . T h i s is not the absence of a figure. rape in order. the proper. even as an infinite projection. To put it another way: in a paradigmatic manner. A n d it is not that identity is always "on the way. A n o t h e r f o r m of the mélange is the mélange-with-itself self-mixing. autism. because it is already there. auto-eroticism. " In the end.i n . like a value or a regula- W h a t is a c o m m u n i t y ? It is not a macroorganism. the authentic is engulfed by itself." projected onto the h o r i z o n like a friendly star. therefore. w h i c h is a place of spacing or distinctness. . excluded a p r i o r i f r o m the ass u m e d u n i t y .

It is not contingent. it is the mêlée of H e r m e s . o r her." the "image. pleasures. rivalry a n d desire. . the mêlée. it happens constantly. it is originary. that w h i c h gives itself a n d shows itself o n l y in the plural. and recounted. the mêlée of the one a n d the other: whether this comes to blows and i n t e r t w i n ings. N o t h i n g exists that is "pure. everyday evidence. stories. d i v i d e d . W h y is it that an " i d e n t i f i c a t i o n p h o t o " is m o s t often poorer. between one another. forgettings. T h i s is the mêlée of Ares a n d the mêlée of A p h r o d i t e ." or that elsewhere. dreams." the "traits" or the "portrait. fear a n d pity. It is not n o t h i n g — i n d e e d . It is o n l y w h e n it evokes an u n e n d i n g mêlée of peoples. not because it has to border on something. parents. blue eyes." a n d so on). duller. w i t h one another. substitutable. indeed. it is b r a n d i s h e d about or springs f o r t h purely. as if this were a simple accidental c o n d i t i o n . T h e L a t i n singuli means "one by one. f r o m a m o n g one another. Insofar as one can speak in the f o l l o w i n g way. so that there can be passages. frontiers m a d e to be passed t h r o u g h . snub nose. bifurcations." W h a t is to be read is what is written. works. insubstitutable. N o t o n l y is there no such thing. one ends up d e n y i n g the most c o m m o n . a n d laughter too. w i t h d r a w n . A true identification p h o t o w o u l d be an i n d e t e r m i n a n t mêlée of photos a n d scribbles [graphies] that resemble n o t h i n g . entrenched. a n d all that trembles w i t h i n a n d struggles against the confines of the image. it is n o t h i n g but what is real: what is real has to do w i t h The mélange does not exist any more than p u r i t y exists. one w o u l d confuse a S i c i l ian " o f the people" a n d a Pole " o f the people. B u t it is precisely not a question of p l a y i n g one identity off another. that is. the "this is to be read. U n d o u b t e d l y a class cannot be thought of as an identity. but because t o u c h alone exposes the l i m i t s at w h i c h identities or ipseities can distinguish themselves [se démêler] f r o m one another. . m i x e d up. substitutions." that does not come i n t o contact w i t h the other. it is necessary. u n der w h i c h one w o u l d inscribe a proper name. but projected a n d p r o n o u n c e d . it w o u l d not confer an identity on the ipse or on some one of w h o m it w o u l d be the legendum est. but it w o u l d not be a m y t h : to say it more precisely. s o m e t h i n g more than what is identical. ipseity is "itself" d i s t r i b u t i o n . dialogue a n d c o n t e n t i o n [différend]. T h i s is not s o m e t h i n g imaginary. it is e v e r y t h i n g — b u t it remains for us to t h i n k this totality of dispersion." Ipse"ls" its o w n dispersion. Ipseity exists o n l y as singularly distributed.156 Eulogy for the Mêlée Eulogy for the Mêlée 157 i l y . distinguished. It is a question of practicing singularities. configurations of space. c o n c u r rences of codes. a mêlée of messages a n d paths." a n d is a w o r d that exists o n l y in the p l u r a l . deciphered. N o t o n l y does m y t h . It is not. A n d . assaults a n d cease-fires. be more likely that. a n d less " l i f e l i k e " than any other photo? A n d even more. of this all-one [tout-un] that is all m i x e d up. on the flip side. B u t what about a Sicilian " o f the people" a n d a Sicilian of the upper echelons of society? C o u l d they be confused? It w o u l d . Such an inscription [légende] w o u l d be meant to be read. T h e mêlée is not accidental. more than the "face. there w o u l d be nothing. U n d e r the pressure of wanti n g to have n o t h i n g more to do w i t h classes. in fact. a n d . nor is there any p u r i t y that is intact. transgressions. T h e r e is no pure mélange. b u t ones that are shared—because there is never any identity that is not shared: that is. M y t h is not w r i t t e n . expectations. this is the very law of there is not: if there were something that was pure and intact. d i s s e m i n a t i o n . exposed. w i t h o u t a history. c o m m o n . w h y are ten identity photos of the same person so different f r o m one another? W h e n does someone resemble himself [in a photo] ? O n l y w h e n the photo shows s o m e t h i n g o f h i m . ). refusals. in C h i c a g o ." s o m e t h i n g more than a copy of the d i a critical signs of an " i d e n t i t y " ("black hair. the o r i g i n a r y sharing of that w h i c h never is—ipse itself-—and is nowhere present as such. one w o u l d confuse someone f r o m the Palermo upper class a n d someone f r o m the upper class of L y o n . s u p p l i c a t i o n a n d defiance. certain varieties of totalitarianism (perhaps all) were made possible by c o n f i g u r i n g classes according to identity and not according to their conditions. w i t h o u t habituation. " i n person. pains.

a n d n o t h i n g legitimate c o u l d be said about them that w o u l d not also already be authenticated by t h e m in advance." It concerns not o n l y the "surprise. quality." " A p h r o d i t e . A c c o r d i n g to the first reading. " T h i s sentence can be read in two ways. or the D o c t r i n e of the N o t i o n ." then I have already said more than all that m i g h t be said about t h e m . that is. surprising the being in it. s o m e t h i n g began to surprise itself in it. but the event itself. W h a t makes the event an event is not o n l y that it happens. it identifies itself above all: it is the infinite presupposition of its o w n identity a n d authenticity. B u t what is w r i t t e n . b o t h successive a n d simultaneous. is that w h i c h has not preceded its o w n habituation. but that it s u r p r i s e s — a n d maybe even that it surprises itself (diverting it f r o m its o w n " h a p p e n i n g " ["arrivée"]. or property of the event. a n d what is to be read. If. M y t h is a m e a n i n g that is its o w n subject. B u t let us begin at the b e g i n n i n g . in the narrative. al1 l o w i n g it to be o n l y by way of surprise). We w i l l begin w i t h the f o l l o w i n g sentence. not a l l o w i n g it be an event. " w h i c h serves as an i n t r o d u c t i o n to "Subjective L o g i c . it is the mêlée of the traces of a meani n g that gets lost in l o o k i n g for itself a n d i n v e n t i n g itself. its being or essence. o n l y the very voice of France c o u l d express what is F r e n c h . a n d that Bosna-Saray is there m i x e d w i t h M i l j a c k a a n d Ilidza. something w i t h w h i c h we have not yet finished: "Butphilosophy is not meant to be a narration of happenings but a cognition of what is true in them. andfurther. by w h i c h something undoubtedly started to d a w n on m o d e r n t h i n k i n g .158 Eulogy for the Mêlée identify. to c o m p r e - h e n d that which. w h i c h is certainly the most obvious because it closely c o n forms to what passes for the canonical interpretation of H e g e l i a n t h i n k i n g . " " H e r m e s " or "France. in m y t h i c m o d e ." T h i s sentence is f o u n d in the second book of 2 Hegel's Science of Logic. in a text entitled " T h e N o t i o n [Concept] in G e n e r a l . I say the names "Ares." in the sense of its being an attribute. on the basis of this cognition. this sentence signifies that the task of p h i l o s o p h y is to 159 . appears as a mere happening [or pure event—Trans]. T h u s . I read that Sarajevo is a city d i v i d e d i n t o at least three cities. m y t h is where the proper name is the i d i o m of an i d iolect [en tant qu'idosémie d'un idiolecte]. § The Surprise of the Event T h e title of this essay s h o u l d also be w r i t t e n or read as: " T h e Surprise: Of the Event.

in the i n t r o d u c t i o n to the Philosophy of History. the c o n c e p t i o n of its very p r o d u c t i o n or effectuation. and (2) to conceive of taking place as such. all difference. sheer stup i d i t y [ein verrucktes. and inconsistent side of the effective presentation of truth. as if the predicates c o u l d determ i n e the essence of the subject: as if the event as such was o n l y and necessarily "pure a n d simple" (inessential). the event-ness of the event [événementalité de l'événement] (its appearance. As a result. A c c o r d i n g to this logic. that is. H e g e l writes. In other words. to engage in a second reading. therefore. Hegel represents the task of philosophy as the task of conceiving the taking place of t r u t h beyond the true [outre le vrai]. its t a k i n g place— das Geschehen) is o n l y the external. derstood as a logic of the category or the idea thought of as an "abstract generality" (as in K a n t ) . w h i c h itself w o u l d entail certain consequences. In other words. it is a logic of "the identity of the concept a n d the t h i n g " (as Hegel's text says a little further on). there disappears that appearance according to w h i c h the w o r l d w o u l d be an insane event. its event rather than its advent). in the same text) that "the Appearance [or phen o m e n o n ] . . disqualifies the event as a simple. this event-ness. on the one h a n d . i n light o f this t r u t h . T h e advent of the t r u t h as real. To give an example. there is first of all the t r u t h that is c o n t a i n e d i n what happens. is distinguished f r o m the phen o m e n o n . distinguished as event. torictes Geschehen]. " I n the pure light of the d i v i n e idea. in fact. rather than being the opposite of simple. F o r philosophy. narrative representation. p a y i n g more attention to the difference that i n f o r m s this sentence f r o m the Logic. but is a manifestation of essence. a n d founds) all d e t e r m i n a t i o n . however. the logic of the concept in w h i c h one is engaged here s h o u l d not be u n 3 ( N o t e that this d o u b l e constraint on the subject of the event comes up elsewhere in Hegel. but o n l y in d i s t i n g u i s h i n g itself as the n o n p h e n o m e n a l t r u t h of the phenomenal itself as such. on the other hand. T h i s is w h y the concept." Here. the concept is that p h e n o m e n o n w h i c h takes h o l d of itself as the t r u t h . w h i c h is contained in the concept. it is to conceive of the t r u t h of the taking place of the t r u e — o r again. as Geschehen. Let us be more precise." as that consistency w h i c h is proper to the event. phe4 n o m e n a l t r u t h . On this account. a n d then. It is the difference between. cannot h o l d . t h e n — s t a y i n g w i t h the straightforward "canonical" r e a d i n g — t h a t the expression "event. is not d e v o i d of essential being. It is not obvious.i6o The Surprise of the Event The Surprise of the Event 161 conceive that of w h i c h the event is only the p h e n o m e n o n . By means of this d i f f e r e n c e — a difference that is certainly not immediately apparent and is hardly. its c o m i n g to pass. then is its m e a n i n g independent of its event-ness?) It is necessary. On the contrary. apparent. T h i s first reading. W i t h all due rigor. In this sense. on the contrary. w i t h o u t it failing to be its truth. the task of p h i l o s o p h y is broken d o w n i n t o two parts: (i) to k n o w the truth of that w h i c h takes place. it is its opposite. a n d all exteriority f r o m the p o i n t of view of real effectivity. the subject) that occurs and. the question is put forward as to the status of the predicates: Is every event insane [insensé]^ If the w o r l d is a sane [sensé] event. the c o n ception of that w h i c h appears as [a] simple event. if ever. puts f o r t h . maybe it does not r e m a i n — a n d it surely must n o t — " p u r e a n d simple." In fact. analyzed in itself. w h i c h is not a simple ideal. but nonetheless remains very clear {ferner). w h i c h appears f r o m the outside as an "event. In other words. insofar as it is conceived in terms of the t r u t h of the t h i n g . U n d o u b t e d l y . pure and simple" must be understood only in a unilateral way. the concept conceives (understands. to conceive o f the evenire o f the true beyond its eventus. the conceived event w o u l d remain the event conceived. is the element in w h i c h it is revealed (again. the event-ness of its event (or else. understood in this way. b u t on the fact that it happens. it is a truth beyond truth itself. for w h o m it undoubtedly constitutes a general law. the k n o w l edge of the t r u t h that is f o u n d " i n " the t h i n g (reality. the emphasis is not placed on the t h i n g which happens (the c o n tent or the n o n p h e n o m e n a l s u b s t r a t u m ) . pure a n d simple (bloss)" exactly because it is not conceived. and "further" ( ferner). too.

"to happen. the h a p p e n i n g "it-self. at the very least. T h i s is w h y H e g e l refuses to allow p h i l o s o p h y to be identified w i t h the story of an u n f o l d i n g ." for w h i c h there are other words in G e r m a n . the historial- In c o m i n g to this recognition.) [mêmeté même. b e g i n n i n g w i t h the closely related t e r m Geschehnis. for H e g e l . what is in the happening. what is happening. s o m e t h i n g different than the i n d e t e r m i n a n c y [indifference] of B e i n g a n d nothingness. the h a p p e n i n g or the c o m i n g — o r . active. w h i c h is itself n o t h i n g other than the event of the opening. it is a matter of t h i n k i n g that it happens. that is. t h e n . T h i s is what is at stake: the task of p h i l o s o p h y is not a matter of s u b s t i t u t i n g for the narrative Geschehen some substratum or subject that does not happen or occur. subject. one certainly touches on the extreme l i m i t of what it is possible to make H e g e l say. B e y o n d the t r u t h of what happens. Moreover." "to come. has always already b e e n — t h e " b e i n g what it was." b e c o m i n g p r i m a r i l y i n dicates that w h i c h is passed into. or g r o u n d . w o u l d not b e — that is. T h i s may be w h y it is. more to the p o i n t . w h i c h has not yet passed a n d does 6 not pass as s u c h — b u t happens. is not the d i m e n s i o n of the "to happen" as such. L o o k i n g at it more carefully. but the truth of the taking place of the t r u e — that H e g e l opens up modernity. the origin of the w o r d Geschehen and its semantic use refer to racing along a n d leaping. there must first be the agitated "unrest" (haltungslose Unruhe). to the truth of the event beyond every advent of meaning. then." "to take p l a c e " — w o u l d be a nonsubstantive verb a n d one that is nonsubstantifiable. In the openi n g . but s i m p l y is (which. T h i s is the way in w h i c h H e g e l wants to t h i n k the essence of Geschehen as Geschehen. what has always already happened in the happening itself. what has happened. far more than to process a n d what is p r o d u c e d . to use the language of the n u m e r i c a l logic of b e c o m i n g . in favor of a logic of the "to h a p p e n . In other words. put another way. (In fact. where the o p e n i n g of m o d e r n i t y is n o t h i n g other than the o p e n i n g of t h i n k i n g to the event as such. in the closure of metaphysics. i n step w i t h the passing [dans le pas du passer]. (In contrast to the F r e n c h w o r d "événement. rather. not only. his t h i n k i n g tends tow a r d this thought as if toward its o w n v a n i s h i n g p o i n t . it is. it is a matter of t h i n k i n g sameness itself. w h i c h he w o u l d l i k e to replace w i t h the s i m p l e a n d stable i d e n t i t y of B e i n g a n d the having-always-already-been. I n sofar as it is understood as "passage-into. it is clear that what he does refuse is Geschehen—which is the active essence of Geschichte." since it has not happened.i62 The Surprise of the Event The Surprise of the Event 163 It is by way of this difference or this surplus of t r u t h — n o t the truth above the true. the event opening t h i n k i n g to the surplus that overflows the origin). en tant que même que rien]. M o r e precisely. or in the first p l a c e — t h e productive succession of the different states of its subject. " the w h o l e essence of w h i c h is in the state of "agitation" that consists in not subsisting (haltungslos). H e g e l wants to t h i n k the essence of what escapes a logic in w h i c h essence is understood as substance.) T h e event is not an episode. rather t h a n a process or procession. b u t rather [as] the entire B e i n g or act. as the same as n o t h i n g ity of h i s t o r y — w h e n it is u n d e r s t o o d as a s i m p l e episode {blosses Geschehen). p o i n t i n g to it as s o m e t h i n g more deeply w i t h d r a w n and more decisive than the "passage-into" to w h i c h it is o r d i n a r i l y reduced. a n d busy [passant] character of Geschehen. not so m u c h in the sense of "history" as we understand it (and as H e g e l h i m s e l f understands it). B u t i n order for the passage to take place. whose slight difference nonetheless brings out the verbal. T h e event indicates what has to be t h o u g h t at the very heart of b e c o m i n g . insofar as it is sup-posed [sup-posé]. to p r e c i p i t a t i o n a n d suddenness. O r . the having-become [letre-devenu] o f its result. Rather than an u n f o l d i n g . there is this trace p o i n t e d in the direction of the event as such. a matter of t h i n k i n g Geschichte." the to ti en einai of A r i s t o t l e ) ." where " i t " is not the "self" that " i t was. if it is at all necessary to say that it is. Geschichte." this w o r d does not have the sense of a "outstanding or remarkable event. that it be [qu'il y a i t ] — t h a t is. one c o u l d reread the pages that precede the sentence w i t h w h i c h we began f r o m this perspective. it is a matter of the h a p p e n i n g or. S u c h is not a . that there be something.u p of m o d e r n i t y (or. the entelechy of Geschehen. identified w i t h all its various episodes [péripéties]? W h a t he refuses.

We c o m e back to this topos again a n d again. in whatever m o d e this m i g h t occur. nor is it a matter of maki n g H e g e l . but rather that there is no identifiable object if "the event" cannot even be said or seen "as s u c h . it does not in any sense equal the substance. Therefore. he demonstrates that it is exactly in the seizing that he misses it as such. We need to t h i n k about h o w t h o u g h t can a n d must be s u r p r i s e d — a n d h o w it m a y be exactly this that makes it t h i n k . or." Or to put it another way. essential to the concept. subject. H e g e l lets the Geschehen c o m e a n d go. rather than the B e i n g of what h a p p e n s — t h a t is.h a p p e n i n g . he fixes its concept (it is Geschichte). Or rather. volens nolens. the event of Bei n g that is necessary in order for B e i n g to be. happen a n d leave.n e s s — c a n o n l y be a matter of surprise. however surp r i s i n g that m i g h t seem to the " H e g e l i a n s " (if there are any left)." w h i c h is both a sort of rapture and an admission of ignorance. or g r o u n d of Being. its very [elle-même] negativity. a n d a matter of n o t i n g that Hegel's o w n t i m e in p h i l o s o p h y . as if to awaken the idea of a first "wonder. it must be its relaxation or release. if one cannot even express "the event" w i t h o u t its losing its event-ness. T h i s u n d o u b t e d l y comes d o w n to t h i n k i n g t h r o u g h the leap that is taken at the very core of the H e g e l i a n Geschehen." but the that there is. t h i n k i n g is surprised in the strong sense of the w o r d : it is caught i n the absence o f t h i n k i n g [elle est prise en défaut de pensée]. we need to t h i n k about h o w there w o u l d be no thought w i t h o u t the event of t h i n k i n g . In g o i n g m u c h farther back than H e g e l . or the transitive B e i n g of the intransitive or substantive B e i n g . he opens. Let us d w e l l u p o n this characteristic of surprise. as it were. . such a thought closes in on itself just as q u i c k l y as it is opened. although it goes beyond his o w n discourse. contrary to his o w n m a x i m . as far back as the P l a tonic a n d Aristotelian topos of "wonder. what A r i s t o t l e tells us is that " p h i l o s o p h y " is the science w h i c h is . then. T h e difference between "it is" and "there is" consists precisely in the fact that the there marks the proper instance of the taking place of Being. the that without w h i c h there w o u l d be nothing. It is a matter of realizing that he must be made to say this.164 The Surprise of the Event The Surprise of the Event 165 matter of exercising interpretive violence. w i t h o u t seizing it. the time of the m o d e r n closure/opening. T h i n k i n g the event in its essence as event surprises H e g e l i a n t h i n k i n g f r o m the inside. B u t in d o i n g so. In this way. s o m e t h i n g other than w i n n i n g over surprise in order to detach it f r o m its (sur)prise by assigning it a place under a concept. T h e r e is. " that is. therefore. T h e event of Being. In short. or else the being-thathappens. w i t h o u t w h i c h Bei n g w o u l d not be. that it happens to h i m and that it is what is to be thought. T h i s is not to say that it has not identified its object. As such. of what is h a p p e n i n g — o r even the B e i n g of the "that it happens. one c o u l d just as easily say the following: Hegel seizes the Geschehen. it is less a matter of the concept of surprise than of a surprise of [à même] the concept. T h e "as such" of the event w o u l d be its B e i n g ." H o w is one to t h i n k "as such" where the "as" does not refer to any one "such"? H e r e . nonetheless. Or then again. Of course. the question of the "as such" of the Geschehen. he stops it or inspects it in its c o m i n g and going. w h i c h is in no way Being. a n d also. B u t he does state. it w o u l d not be the "there is. is nonetheless B e i n g " i t s e l f " — t h e same as what has not been. can o n l y take t h i n k i n g by surprise. the same as not having been. of course. . includes this surprise w i t h i n i t s e l f — a secret [sourde] anxiety (Unruhe) regarding the event. its self-resorption. the same as n o t h i n g . . that is. more precisely. leap over his o w n time. B u t then this w o u l d have to be the b e i n g . what is opened w i t h the question of the "as such" of the event is s o m e t h i n g on the order of a negativity of the "as such. before b e i n g the means of the [dialectic's] d r i v i n g force. and w h i c h starts such "wonder" on its way toward its o w n self-appropriation. a n d that p h i l o s o p h y is surprised thought [la pensée surprise]. T h a t there is = the B e i n g of B e i n g . If we pay close attention to the Metaphysics (specifically A 2 ) . the dialectical s p r i n g located at that p o i n t where. To t h i n k the surprise of the event must be s o m e t h i n g other than q u e s t i o n i n g the u n t h i n k a b l e ." what may need to be u n derstood is the fact that this task is the task of philosophy. a n d . s o m e t h i n g to be t h o u g h t — t h e e v e n t — t h e very nature of w h i c h — e v e n t .

where its b e g i n n i n g is replayed in new terms. that sophia holds w i t h i n itself the m o m e n t of wonder. " O u t s i d e this concept of change. it is what happens. insofar as it is its o w n end. s o m e t h i n g ] awaited. T h a t it happens is a quidditas. a n d reciprocally. O n e c o u l d even appeal to this interpretation in sayi n g that w o n d e r is already. it is necessary to conceive of it as the change of a substance (which [itself] remains identical. f o u n d w i t h i n the element of sophia or. in order to t h i n k of some t h i n g that occurs in a series. in the sense that this "fact" m a y itself be c i r c u m s c r i b e d w i t h i n the sequence of a process and be a given of the experience. " [ T h e ] concept o f alteration supposes one a n d the same subject as existing w i t h two opposite determinations. the m o m e n t of w o n d e r is that of a surprise kept at the very core of sophia a n d constitutive of it. the surprise of the event w o u l d not o n l y be a l i m i t ." w h i c h cannot take place " i n t i m e . On the one h a n d . 7 there is s i m p l y no concept of "some t h i n g . At the e n d of n i n e m o n t h s . in a parallel manner. it is the that itself of the "that it happens" or the "that there is. a n d the surprise must be " k n o w n . as in the " F i r s t A n a l o g y of E x p e r i e n c e " ) .i66 The Surprise of the Event The Surprise of the Event 167 neither "practical" nor "poetic. a n d thereby as a b i d i n g . in the presence of the present insofar as it happens. it is the advent. H o w is one to stay in the event? H o w is one to h o l d o n t o it (if that is even an appropriate expression) w i t h o u t t u r n i n g it i n t o an "element" or a "moment"? U n d e r what conditions can one keep t h i n k i n g w i t h i n the surprise. A r i s t o t l e declares that the philomuthos. it is the " i t happens" as distinct f r o m all that precedes it a n d f r o m everything according to w h i c h it is codetermined. be an object. in some way. t h e n . and it is necessary to refer this change back to causality ("Second A n a l o g y o f E x p e r i e n c e " ) .s i t u a tion for the knowledge of B e i n g . instead. so it is all a matter of k n o w i n g what "surprise" is. it is necessary to stay precisely w i t h i n the element of w o n d e r — t h a t is." T h e pure occ u r r i n g {das blosse Enstehen)—in other words." a n d the science w h i c h proceeds f r o m wonder— insofar as this is exactly what provides access to that science w h i c h is its o w n e n d . but more than examples. " T h u s . O r more precisely. the appearing itself is the o n l y true object of k n o w l e d g e — i f it can. It is the pure present of the " i t h a p p e n s " — a n d the surprise has to do w i t h the present as such. the u n a w a i t e d — a n d the u n a w a i t ^ ^ / f — i s not "the fact that" this takes place. Let us begin again w i t h this: "the surprise of the event" is a tautology. on the other h a n d . in fact. this surprise is all that is at stake. but that it takes place is what is structurally unexpected i n this w a i t i n g .) In as m u c h as it is c o n t a i n e d w i t h i n sophia a n d not suppressed. w h i c h is neither that of "what happens" nor of the " i t happens. w i t h i n what c o u l d never p r o p e r l y be made i n t o an "element. In a b i r t h or in a d e a t h — e x a m p l e s w h i c h are not examples. at least in a p r e l i m i nary way. something that m i g h t have been able to be. A g a i n . (In the same passage. is p r o p e r l y philo-sophical. they are the t h i n g i t s e l f — t h e r e is the event. " but rather must take place exclusively as time itself. that lover of myths and their astonishing wonders. the ex nihilo a n d also . It can also be formulated like this: what is awaited is never the event. W o n d e r . then." Or even better. A n d it is precisely this t a u t o l o g y that must first be expressed. a philosophos. w h i c h is its task to think? We w i l l examine some of these c o n d i t i o n s . T h e event surprises or else it is not an event. is also. W o n d e r . it w o u l d also be its essential f o r m a n d essential e n d . " for then there w o u l d be " c o m i n g into being a n d passing away of substance. does not appear as some ignorance to be overcome or as an aporia to be s u r m o u n t e d . Sophia must surprise itself. w h i c h w o u l d be a situation wherein one science c o u l d not really be distinguished f r o m the others." It is not even that of the succession or simultaneity of the "that" at the heart of all "that's." As K a n t says. Yet. a stake that is literally i n t e r m i n a b l e . w o n d e r appears as a dispos i t i o n t o w a r d sophia for its o w n sake. the result. by itself. "time cannot be perceived i n itself. It is not "the fact that"." but is instead an event. F r o m the very b e g i n n i n g of p h i l o s o p h y to its end. one expects the b i r t h . knowledge that is not ordered or arranged by a n y t h i n g else is valuable o n l y as its o w n appearing.

that is. il y eut un éclair"])." its paradoxical identity a n d permanence as "empty t i m e . n o n p r e s e n t — a n d in s u c h a w a y that it is not even "not yet present" (which w o u l d reinscribe everything in a succession of presents already available " i n time"). 8 Rather. it is right at [à même] Being. Rather. appearing. addressing it. a Is Verschwinden. b u t that w h i c h does not succeed a n d is not p e r m a n e n t substance. " or the art i c u l a t i o n of the nihillquid as nonsuccessive. for all that. s u m m o n i n g [interpeller] it to the level of the surprise of its unexpected arrival. there is no event "as such. als Entschehen. It is t i m e itself in its appearing. but the c o n d i t i o n of the formation of every form. a becoming-surprise of t h i n k i n g must correspond to the unexpected arrival of the present (of B e i n g ) . in that it is not successivity. neither as an accident nor as a predicate. " T h e event as s u c h . quo modo = quo tempore. as such. the "position of existence" as such: the nihillquid that cannot even be expressed as " f r o m the nihil to the quid. then. but is. it is the event as it comes about [é-vient]. as the h a p p e n i n g or c o m i n g of s o m e t h i n g in general. as the dead m a n ) . it is the unexpected arrival [sur-venueY of the t h i n g itself. are constantly addressing. in order to be thought. rather than the c o m i n g [la venue]." T h i s is because the event as e v e n t — t h a t is. T h a t this difference of the present is not presentable does not mean that it is not t h i n k a b l e — b u t this c o u l d mean that t h i n k i n g . T h e m o d e of the event. or negativity as time. it is time "itself. the unpresentifiable of the present that is right at the present itself. the event according to the appropriateness a n d measure of the event i t s e l f — i s not what is p r o d u c e d or c o u l d be s h o w n (as the spectacular. it exceeds the resources of any phenomenology. must itself become s o m e t h i n g other than a seeing or k n o w i n g . is e m p t y t i m e or the presence of the present as negativity. H e r e . " u n presentable" like some h i d d e n presence. on the contrary. " E m p t y t i m e . one can discern that in similar circumstances the m o d a l as is confused w i t h the temporal as (the one that is used when one says "as it happened. as it happens. the event is not "something" be- In this formulation. w h i c h it w i l l be necessary to problematize later. this is exactly what K a n t was unable to grasp. 1 0 the in nihilum—is n o t h i n g for w h i c h there is a concept. as a result." beyond reach a n d accessible o n l y to an intuitus originarius. It is neither a category nor a metacategory distinct f r o m B e i n g . rather. is t i m e itself. n o r (extant) t h i n g . as the n e w b o r n infant. the present w i t h o u t presence. even t h o u g h the p h e n o m e n o l o g i c a l theme in general has never been more magnetized by a n y t h i n g else). insofar as it happens a n d is." (In this sense. B u t it is not. there was a flash of lightn i n g " ["comme il arrivait. b u t rather the t a k i n g place of somet h i n g — t h e event. It is also what H e g e l and those of us w h o come after h i m . or just are. O n e w o u l d have to say it in the f o l l o w i n g way: it is permanence w i t h o u t substance. quo modo or according to its o w n m o d e {evenire quo modo evenit). the necessary c o n d i t i o n for the categorization of Being: for saying it. w i t h i n the insistent t r a d i t i o n of passing along a t h i n k i n g of the event. E m p t y time. restricted to the beyond-speech a n d beyond-knowledge of a mystical negativity. as taki n g place. it must make itself the surprise of/in its "object. nor (distributive) place. as the appearing that it is. it is creation. its "as such. A l m o s t immediately. " a v o i d w h i c h is not an emptiness interior to any f o r m . T h e unpresentifiable of the present is the difference that structures the present. " T i m e " or "the event" (both of these terms are still too f i r m l y rooted in a thematic of continuous-discontinuous succession) m a r k out. but as the B e i n g of B e i n g [l'être de l'être]." U n d o u b t e d l y . To use a w o r d that is heavy w i t h the weight of an enormous t r a d i t i o n . d i s a p p e a r i n g — t h e event is not "presentable. the sort [of thing] that n o t h i n g precedes or succeeds." is t i m e itself as the t i m e of ." In D e leuzian terms. for it is the unpresentable or. via Husserl a n d Heidegger. is not a "thing in itself. As such— als Geschehen." T h i s is the event of Bei n g . as has been k n o w n f r o m the time of A r i s t o tle right up u n t i l the present day. B u t e m p t y t i m e or the v o i d of t i m e "as s u c h . or the event. A c c o r d i n g to these conditions. makes itself the " i n itself" of the " t h i n g in itself. It is neither (successive) time.i68 The Surprise of the Event The Surprise of the Event y o n d the knowable or the s a y a b l e — a n d .

a presupposition." If the event of the "that there is" has negation as its c o r o l l a r y "and not n o t h i n g . O n e c o u l d say that it becomes strained: tension a n d extension. not as just another inverse a n d s y m m e t r i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y : that there be " n o t h i n g " in the place 0/something. W h a t is neither abstraction nor result is the unexpected arrival. it is the "already" that leaps u p . here. a l o n g w i t h the "not yet. a tension that is not itself progressive. There is a rupture and a leap: rupture. It is not some newness of B e i n g that w o u l d be surprisi n g in comparison to the B e i n g that is already given. or better still. the tension of n o t h i n g w h i c h opens time. itself understood as not the result [of some process]. (In this. not in the sense of a break w i t h the already presupposed temporal c o n t i n u u m . it must be conceded that the t h i n k i n g of existence w o u l d prove " n o t h i n g . but also what he is very close to w h e n he names time "the abstract being"). " B u t the p r o o f of n o t h i n g is not necessarily.I70 The Surprise of the Event The Surprise of the Event 171 the unexpected arrival." Negativity. Rather. or especially not. On the contrary. " a n d that "somet h i n g " exists w i t h no presupposition other t h a n its o w n existence. " as it is used above. In order to a v o i d r e o p e n i n g the w h o l e issue of d e c o n s t r u c t i n g the d i alectic. or its i n . does not m e a n that this is not " n o t h i n g " w h i c h exists. not even. " it does not have it as its n e g a t i v e — w h i c h is to say. Instead. [it is] negativity as tension. it is negativity "for itself. the leap of n o t h i n g i n t o n o t h i n g . since the negative is not s o m e t h i n g that can be stretched like a rubber b a n d . To do so w o u l d be to adm i t an antecedent of time [in] to itself. T h i s is because there is no place for the t a k i n g place of a " n o t h i n g " in the guise of " s o m e t h i n g . the experience [preuve] of n o t h i n g is what we are trying to approach: the thinking-surprise [penséesurprise] of the event. the anguish of n o t h i n g n e s s — w h i c h always runs the risk of projecting this "nothingness" as the abysmal presupposition (and postsupposition) of Being. in fact.) W h a t . T h e rupture of n o t h i n g . "that there is. a m o u n t s to the K a n t i a n " v o i d " ) . it says that n o t h i n g exists except for " s o m e t h i n g ." the n o n t e m p o r a l a n d n o n l o c a l extension of the taking-place as such. T h e unexpected arrival: the n o t h i n g stretched t o the p o i n t o f rupture a n d to the leaping-off p o i n t of the arrival. then. is the surprise? T h i s is exactly what can no longer be asked. the tension/extension of B e i n g . It is B e i n g or existence that exists. in a single stroke. W h e n there is the event (whether there is the event o n l y for the totality of beings or for diverse. in short. its o p e r a t i o n . as "abstractly related to itself" ( w h i c h . or to be more precise. but rupture as t i m e itself. A n d the t i m e of the unexpected arrival is "empty" time. ( T h i s is exactly what H e g e l lets fall by the wayside. dispersed. the extension of " n o t h i n g " as the tension of its becoming-present. is "negativity for itself" (the phrase by w h i c h H e g e l defines time in the Encyclopedia in §257). is "created. that is. It does s o m e t h i n g else. B u t this is not negativity understood as Hegel understood it. T h i s positivity of negativity is not its dialectical fecundity. or exclusively. As Heidegger put it: Spanne. In this case. does not deny itself a n d is not raised up out of itself. but is all in one go." It leaps [over] every presented or presentable . T h e v o i d of time. the o n l y means by w h i c h somet h i n g c o u l d appear as "passing-through" a n d "process. is the extension of negativity. the spacing t h r o u g h w h i c h time appears." but for itself o n l y insofar as it is the position of B e i n g or existence." as H e g e l says in the same s e c t i o n — m u s t be u n derstood as the nonabstract. T h e surprise is not a n y t h i n g . w i t h o u t g o i n g so far as to say that it is its dialectical sterility. as that w h i c h admits n o t h i n g presupposed. arrives u n e x p e c t e d l y — o r again. " " A n d not n o t h i n g .o p e r a t i o n . one w o u l d remain firmly rooted in a m o d e l of the succession of presents. a n d u n c e r t a i n b e i n g s — w h i c h comes d o w n to the same t h i n g ) . the v o i d in the m o d e of t i m e . a succession d i v i d e d up a n d reconnected by this abstract negativity. is otherwise a n d obeys another m o d e . the relation of negativity to i t s e l f — " b i r t h and death. where presence is presented [pres-ente]. but w h i c h arrived unexpectedly. [which is] neither engendered nor unengendered. the v o i d as time. let us just say that this positivity is the exact reverse of this fecundity. of its event.

as n o t h ingness or an abyss f r o m the depths of w h i c h the event w o u l d come. T h e surprise is n o t h i n g except the leap right at [à même] B e i n g . the t h i n k i n g of the surprise repeats the P a r m e n i d i a n sameness of B e i n g and t h i n k i n g . it is not space. disposed being-ness [étantité] of the being." It is the taking place of place. that is. because this was already well established in the order of process and the m o d i f i c a t i o n of substance. w h i c h still does not even "belong" to it. a n d this difference is also a différend [ein Austrag.172 The Surprise of the Event The Surprise of the Event 173 present. dispute. a n d this is h o w it exists. this leap where the event and t h i n k i n g are "the same. it is n o t h i n g but this surprise. No one is surprised. not a c o u p l i n g of the two." but to be " t h r o w n i n t o B e i n g . " or a matter of existing.u p w o r d a n d to make it incisive for every "abyss" a n d all their various depths). B u t it knows itself and is aware of itself as surprise (surprise in its knowledge and awareness. or the pre-sence or prae-sens itself w i t h o u t a present. d i s t r i b u t i o n . " as H e g e l says in the famous passage f r o m the Phenomenology. but to be the there itself (which is the principal existential c o n d i t i o n of Dasein). " the "someone" w h o occurs in the leap a n d . but in its taking someone there where he is not. just as no one leapt. T h i s "not being there" is exactly the most appropriate m o d e of "being there. but w h o or what is this "it"? N o t h i n g . Instead. W h e n "the infant is b o r n . a n d this leap is the c o m i n g . There is a disagreement between B e i n g a n d the being: B e i n g is in disagreement w i t h the present. "It" o n l y is in the leap. as an available f o u n d a t i o n . B u t this is not a surprise for a subject. It leaps. surprise as knowledge and awareness). it is insofar as it is surprised that it i s — a n d it is as surprise. It is itself the articulation of the difference between n o t h i n g and s o m e t h i n g . It leaps i n t o n o t h i n g . but B e i n g as place. " N o t to be there" is not to be already there. seizes h i m . T h e Spanne is not surprising in that it comes to trouble or destabilize a subject that was there." In a certain way. It is in this way that the surprise of the event is n e g a t i v i t y — b u t not negativity as a resource. necessarily." since it is a matter of "leaping into B e i n g . occurs as the leap " i t s e l f " — s u r p r i s e s itself. but the originary division [coupe] and chiasm that opens them up to one another. by according Being to the being. Disagreement. constitutes the event: the nonpresence of the c o m i n g to presence. s h a r i n g — a s Heidegger lays out in the second v o l u m e of his N i e t zsche lectures). would have eased the tension of ek-sisting. not time. T h e n o t h i n g (in order to keep this d r i e d . being-the-there. of the ex-tension. in short. to be b o r n or to die is not "to be. It is not present B e i n g . a n d therefore insofar as it is not. or insofar as it overtakes h i m . between n o t h i n g a n d s o m e t h i n g . as he says elsewhere. as the " t r e m b l i n g " w h i c h crosses t h r o u g h a n d divides the maternal substance in utero). " T h i n k i n g the leap can o n l y be accomplished by a leap of thought — b y thought as a leap. paralyzes h i m insofar as he is not there. w h i c h does not come "before" or f r o m "elsewhere". is the negativity that is not a resource but the affirmation of . for such an "event" w o u l d still be a result. the spacing of time. It is surprised. T h e tension or extension of the leap. conflict. the event is not that the infant is b o r n . To use Heidegger's language. then. surprising itself in the glari n g absence of being-present. T h e "there" is the spacing of the tension. and its absolute surprise. no one. T h e leap coincides w i t h the surprise. w h i c h is "at b o t t o m " ["au fond"] n o t h i n g a n d no more than the n o t h i n g of a leap i n t o n o t h i n g . as the leap that it knows and is aware of bei n g . f o u n d i n g essentiality of B e i n g . it e x i s t s — i f the ek-sisting of existence is made of the tension and extension between B e i n g a n d the being. given. the discord of B e i n g as its truth: this is the surprise. It is space-time. of the there that is not a place "for" B e i n g . it is the leap i n t o the space-time of space-time "itself. but the present of Being insofar as it happens. the event is the i n t e r r u p t i o n of the process. T h e surprise is the leap i n t o the space-time of n o t h i n g . It is to leap into n o t h i n g . T h e disagreem e n t is a disagreement w i t h that w h i c h . T h e s u r p r i s e — t h e e v e n t — d o e s not belong to the order of representation. that leap w h i c h H e g e l represents as the " q u a l i tative leap" of the "first breath" (or even. as such. It surprises itself precisely insofar as it represents neither "itself" nor its surprise. T h a t is. a n d the b e i n g is in disagreement w i t h the substantial. not a source-point outside the two. T h e surprise is that the l e a p — o r better the " i t .

In general. there are o n l y events. it is necessary to give the a p r i o r i c o n d i t i o n s of grasping the surprise as such. T h e r e w o u l d be no surprise. " anterior to every figure. seeing n o t h i n g t h e r e — a n d yet. T h i s means they are not o n l y diverse. a n d rare. O n l y because it is not given. where it is not. that this event is u n i q u e — i n the sense in w h i c h Heidegger speaks of the " f u n d a m e n t a l event of D a s e i n " ? 12 w i t h d r a w s discreetly i n t o the i m p e r c e p t i b l e c o n t i n u u m . a n d there is n o t h i n g " o f the event" that is scattered here a n d there w i t h no connection to essential event-ness. as a result. all transcendental i m a g i n a t i o n — w o u l d neither be some sort of "image" (as is already well k n o w n ) nor some sort of arche-image. I n every vision o f s o m e t h i n g ."" it is in pure auto-affection that vision sees itself seeing a n d . It is in this sense that " B e i n g a n d t h i n k i n g are the same" a n d that their sameness takes place according to the incisive ex-tension of ek-sistence. Therefore. sees—(the) n o t h i n g ." but o n l y what these incisions dissect: the B e i n g of a being. in other words: the event is s i m u l t a n e o u s l y u n i q u e . w h i c h means that "there is" is eventlike [événementiel] (Sein. It does not consist . It never stops h a p p e n i n g — a n d surprising. a n d dispersed. its open l o o k t u r n e d u p o n the transparency of n o t h i n g . A thought is an event: w h a t it t h i n k s happens to it there. but i n stead happens. a surprise. more u n i m a g i n a b l y . a n d this g i v i n g w o u l d also be the o r i g i n a r y d i s s o l u t i o n of all event-ness. After all. F i n a l l y . the p o e m i m m e d i a t e l y opens o n t o the Certainly. in this way. W i l l it be said. B u t the u n i t y of the event is not n u m e r i c a l . not a figure a n d the figure of the n o t h i n g — t h i s surprising figure w i t h o u t figure that the event of B e i n g traces in a flash. M o r e simply. it is what concerns us here. also in the flow of that w h i c h does not constitute an event and A c c o r d i n g to these c o n d i t i o n s . the l i g h t i n g of the trace stretched out right at n o t h i n g and the pure affirmation of existence. [Since Hegel] at the very l e a s t — i t m i g h t be necessary to pay some renewed attention to the w o r k of Parmenides himself. there is no B i g B a n g ) . the c o n d i t i o n s of a surprise seizure of s u r p r i s e — i t c o u l d be said that the surprise is the schematism itself. Because it is or creates surprise. seeing n o t h i n g . It is to exist. the schematism is p r i n c i p a l l y the v i s i b i l i t y of n o t h i n g as a c o n d i t i o n for the possib i l i t y o f any v i s i b i l i t y o f s o m e t h i n g . [ W e c o u l d say this] if f r o m n o w o n — g i v e n that the u n c o n d i t i o n e d is no longer subjected to the c o n d i t i o n of the supreme b e i n g — i t were not also necessary for us to t h i n k this w i t h o u t " G o d " and w i t h o u t a "creator": this is what is meant by the d e m a n d to t h i n k of the event as we have inherited it from Hegel. it does not return. any more than it w o u l d be a sort of sublime abyss of the breaking d o w n of these i m ages. An event is a thought: the tension and leap i n t o the n o t h i n g of B e i n g . it w o u l d be given. If the event were fundamental a n d u n i q u e in the o r d i n a r y — o r "metaphysical"—sense of these words. In this sense. i n t o the m u r m u r of "life" for w h i c h existence is the exception. discrete. it is already " v i s i o n . b u t also rare. is there surprise a n d an unpredictable [aléatoire] m u l t i p l i c i t y of what m i g h t n o w be called the arrivals (or the "arrivings") of the u n i q u e event. particularly to h o w ontological t r u t h is inscribed there in the recitat i o n of an event. a n d . In a certain respect. and if "pure v i s i o n " is itself the ex-position of t i m e as "pure autoaffection. its event. its nature and structure are such as to be dispersed in the flow [l'aléa] of events. the vision first of all sees itself as pure v i s i o n . then. F o r if the schematism is the p r o d u c t i o n of a "pure v i s i o n . T h i n k i n g never stops c a t c h i n g itself in the act [se surprendre à] of seeing it c o m i n g . It is also in this sense that it m i g h t be said that the creation of the w o r l d is the thought of G o d . O r . the s c h e m a t i s m — a n d along w i t h it. " a n d as such is ahead of itself or outside itself.174 The Surprise of the Event The Surprise of the Event 175 ek-sistent tension: its intensity. there is n o t h i n g apart f r o m an event. it w o u l d be the eventschema. Ereignis). if a s c h e m a t i s m of the surprise were n e c e s s a r y — a n d it is necessary. W h a t exists does not recover. There is an event. the intensity or surprising tone of existence. innumerable. it w o u l d not even be " b i r t h " or "death. in being gathered at a p o i n t of o r i g i n (for ontology.

Seven m i l l i o n six h u n d r e d thousand p o u n d s sterling for C a n o v a s The Graces is a c o m m e r c i a l t r u t h that is neither measured nor excessive." W r i t t e n beneath the title of the last m o v e m e n t of Beethoven's Q u a r t e t . the " y o u n g m a n . then? T h e m e a n i n g that makes it the case that "there is". the " i t must" is not the expression of a simple. n o t h i n g w o u l d ever happen. " where n o t h i n g indicates a s t o p p i n g p o i n t in any f o r m a l way. On the other h a n d ." Passing t h r o u g h the o p e n i n g . i n c o m m e n s u r a b l e s . w i t h o u t stopping. In fact. H e . W h a t is this? T h i s cannot be represented as an a x i o m . instructed not about B e i n g but about the " i t is. all the surpluses w i t h regard to averages. measure is that " d i m e n s i o n " for w h i c h there is no prescribed p r o p r i e t y except for that of c o n v e n t i o n . T h i s is h o w the c u r i o s i ties that fill almanacs are o b t a i n e d (the height of the c o l u m n formed by all the books in the Bibliothèque N a t i o n a l e .k n o w n note: "Muss es sein? Es muss sein. as propriety to another. It is precisely this that must be said and t h o u g h t — t h e r e is n o t h i n g but this to say a n d to t h i n k . 135—"the decision made w i t h d i f f i c u l t y " — h e added this w e l l . or to itself. at least in part. . excess is impossible. On the one h a n d . w h i c h is neither measured nor excessive as such. apart f r o m every i n t e n t i o n toward some sort of use. He is i n s t r u c t e d by the goddess a l o n g the way. . b u t this d o m a i n is o n l y presented as the road opened w i d e by the gaping o p e n i n g that Dike agreed t o o p e n . It w i l l be said that it is an " i t must.i 6 7 The Surprise of the Event present w i t h "the horses w h i c h carry m e . Q u i t e to the contrary.i l (être)? Il le faut (être)"]). op. on considerations of use (which are more or less m i x e d up w i t h various kinds of symbolism). or as a fact. he sees that there is. In t u r n . it is the perfect d o m a i n of large numbers. W i t h i n this order of t r u t h ." does not c o m e d o w n f r o m his chariot. shifts in scale. that is all that happens to h i m . " the one w h o " k n o w s " o r "sees" his road "pass t h r o u g h all the cities. ). T e n b i l l i o n people on E a r t h is a prospective d e m o graphic t r u t h . facts d e v o i d o f m e a n i n g but not o f t r u t h . i m m a n e n t necessity (of a nature or destiny). that w h i c h sends B e i n g on its way i n t o h a p p e n i n g — i n t o happening/arriving/leaving. Systems of measurement [mesure] are all grounded. or in definite fractions of the t i m e it takes for the light of a distant star to reach us. Necessity itself can o n l y be the dec i d e d response of t h i n k i n g to the suspense of B e i n g wherein it is surprised: Muss es sein? § H u m a n Excess Measure is the name for the propriety [convenance] of one B e i n g to another. albeit infinitely impoverished t r u t h . all m e a n i n g is there. the engagement w i t h a certain n u m b e r of risks and tasks in a w o r l d (in a w o r l d that 177 . these figures themselves measure something: the engagem e n t w i t h certain evaluations w i t h i n a market. W h a t m e a n i n g ." ( T h i s c o u l d be interpreted in the f o l l o w i n g way: " M u s t it (be)? It must (be)" ["Le f a u t . If B e i n g s i m p l y were. it is always possible to measure the average life of a m a n in m i l l i o n t h s of a second. a n d n o t h i n g else ever h a p p e n s — w h e n s o m e t h i n g happens. the speaker's chariot enters the d o m a i n of the goddess. that w h i c h destines or provokes B e i n g i n t o happening. and there w o u l d not be any t h i n k i n g . In a d d i t i o n . a n d so forth.

or even 13 or 20 meters square of arable l a n d per person by the year 2050)."') It is not w i t h o u t reason that the figures for genocide a n d other forms of extermination have become. " T h e figures are there n o t o n l y as elements of the discourse. " C a p i t a l " itself may also be absolutely general exposition a n d exponentiality. at least the semantemes o f modernity. E a c h of these gestures is the reverse of the other. a n d so o n ) . " excessive or out of p r o p o r t i o n . the humanitas of h u m a n i t y itself appears as an excess that gives the measure or sets the standard against w h i c h we must measure ourselves. excessive meaning: far rem o v e d f r o m every relation to the h u m a n as some mediocre standard. w h i c h is its o w n "excessive" measure or measured excess. (Sergio M o r a v i a h a d this feeling. does not m e a n the same as being "very b i g " or "too h i g h . In today's w o r l d . each time these figures measure a responsibility. the d i m e n s i o n s of the Universe. a n d so on) also defines the exponential growth of such responsibility. that is. N u c l e a r weapons. but m a g n i t u d e itself as an absolute w h i c h touches u p o n another p r o p r i e t y o f B e i n g (or the h u m a n . it is about a magnitude (the Universe) that is entirely its o w n measure. . "excess" is its o w n propriety and forms the measure of an " u n h e a r d . the price of a n u clear submarine. in the sense that it is indeterminant w i t h relation to n o r m a t i v e structures. W i t h o u t N u m b e r . It constitutes a tendentious. a n d the measure of no other. . a m u r d e r is excessive in relation to the o r d i n a r y mores of a social group. for example. T h i s m a g n i t u d e . albeit in a f o r m that was still imprecise a n d too M a n i c h e a n . It indicates not so m u c h the degree or q u a n t u m of its magnitude [grandeur] (six or ten or forty m i l l i o n . they indicate its m e a n i n g in advance of all its articulated significations. o r m e a n i n g — however we w a n t to say it). their i n v e n t i o n w o u l d have been meaningless. as it is used. they precede it. were b o r n o f N u m b e r . "Six m i l l i o n " is indissociable f r o m the Shoah. or a h u n d r e d A r m e nians. so that the proliferation of large numbers in our culture. or twenty-five Tutsis? Is it " w i t h i n measure" to let two people die of hunger rather than a m i l l i o n ? These figures do not designate a surpassing or g o i n g b e y o n d [dépassement] (of what norm? of what average?). also provides the scale of a total responsibility: w h e n it is t h o r o u g h l y analyzed. W o u l d it be " w i t h i n measure" to k i l l ten Jews. . the chapter on the " G e n e r a l L a w of A c c u m u l a t i o n . B u t sometimes. In other words.178 Human Excess Human Excess 179 becomes w o r l d l y by this very engagement). In order for the f u n c t i o n these numbers serve to j u m p out in front of our eyes it is enough to glance t h r o u g h any n u m b e r of chapters f r o m Capital. energy. of w h i c h they are themselves a part. In an age where h u m a n i t y is understood as the p o p u l a t i o n of a very large n u m b e r of people. In a certain way. or w h i c h we take on f r o m that very m o m e n t we measure in this way. the N u m b e r of the species is opposed to the N u m b e r of the e n d of the species. this m e a n i n g relates h u m a n s themselves to an i m m e n s i t y of responsibility. a n d also far removed f r o m its remnants. T h i s can be illustrated in the f o l l o w i n g way: the B i g B a n g is not about "very large" quantities (of time. excess [la démesure] is not an excess [un excès]. or the purely spectacular e x h i b i t i o n of the universe's d i m e n s i o n s — a l l of it science a n d t r u t h for fools). It measures itself. T h u s . T h e y indicate an order. M a n as the measure of all things has taken on a new.) Just as in the vain exercise of curiosity (or its exact opposite). one must trace back to M a r x the role large numbers play in what m i g h t be called m o r a l e x p o s i t i o n . is not d o o m e d to perish. if not names properly speaki n g . "Six m i l l i o n " (as well as figures for other exterminations a n d massacres). it is engaged as totality. the w h o l e matter of the B i g B a n g c o n cerns the fact that the true "measure" of the universe is f o u n d in the "excessive" responsibility that we have for it. B u t an exter- . it is also a matter of b r i n g i n g a certain responsib i l i t y to light.o f " ["inouïe"] measure. T a k i n g account o f the "excess" o f large n u m b e r s s o m e t i m e s comes d o w n to s i m p l y establishing a p r o p r i e t y that has no sense of "excess" w i t h relation to itself (as is the case w i t h curiosities f r o m almanacs. here too. w h e n he wrote: " E v i l today is called ' N u m b e r ' . a register appropriate to engagement a n d responsibility. c o n t i n u e d a p p r o x i m a t i o n of totality. weapons of mass h o m i c i d e . As such. as such. it does not f o r m a m o n s t r o u s excrescence a n d . our interests a n d our needs (the size of a c o m p u t e r memory. ( O f course. record books.

T h i s is also the m e a n i n g of d e m o g r a p h i c mastery: h u m a n i t y as totality clearly comes d o w n t o b e i n g humanity's responsibility. T h e opposite of an e x t e r m i n a t i o n cannot be f o u n d [by l o o k i n g for some] "just measure": it must reclaim the same totality. T h i s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s given w i t h o u t measure. as the p r o p r i e t y of B e i n g to itself) that the measure of the m o d e r n w o r l d is itself the "excessive" m o d e of infinity. unto itself. as the measure of all things. w i t h no other measure or mode. n o r m . w o r l d is accurate or not. a w o r l d o f the horizon. As for " G o d . " on G o d ' s expansion out of h i m s e l f or retreat into himself. even w i t h i n the f r a m e w o r k of this interpretation. i f Ajax. to measure a people o n l y against its existence w i t h i n totality). since there is no excess that can be d e t e r m i n e d w i t h relation to a given measure. G o d is the measure of a relation between each existing t h i n g [existant] a n d its o w n m o d e of being. all calls to "measure" are in v a i n . it itself has as its propriety the immensity. It is not i m p o r t a n t whether this interpretation of the ancient it m o r e precisely. the measure of the created B e i n g [l'être créé]. the use and/or rule that gives the measure must itself be invented. T h u s . It is its m o d e (its temperament. or c o u l d k n o w i n p r i n c i p l e . creation means the n o n o r i g i n [non-provenance] of existence as such. It is exhausted because it does not take i n t o account (as the proper m o d e . o f phronesis. this humanitas.ISO Human Excess Human Excess I8i m i n a t i o n (the name of w h i c h indicates all too well what it is sayi n g : to go to t e r m . Properly speaking. Bei n g had to observe the propriety of its dependence. because the question is not h o w m a n y people the E a r t h or the universe can support. G o d is the absolute measure of the m o d a l i z a t i o n of beings. To p u t B u t this dignity. Hubris was the measurable excess par excellence. a n d h o w it was that under this heading. its o w n [propre] coherence). or rather. m o d e l of measure. it h a d to be a m o d e l for us (model a n d measure. In our culture. exhaust the account [épuiser le compte]. the pure a n d simple propriety of its existence. W h a t is i m p o r t a n t is that we have set up this m o d e l — a n d that it gets exhausted. or abandonment. a n d measure of the m o d e l : this all makes up a large part of our history and metaphysical constitution). or its absence. T h e result is that the f o r m u l a for G o d . not its d i m e n s i o n . but rather w h i c h people it can support. Caesar o r B r u t u s surpassed the measure a n d one c o u l d k n o w w h i c h measure was exceeded. as such. For Plato. C h r i s tianity was o n l y ever the installation of this infinite m o d e of B e i n g . the nonmeasure. scale. the B e i n g w h i c h is. here. w h i c h has as its property the lack of measure and the fact that it operates w i t h out measure. does not have the same m e a n i n g for P l a t o as it does for H e g e l . In a certain way. F o r H e g e l . A n t i g o n e . B u t this is also why. giving. i m m e d i a t e l y c o n verts its magnitude into moral magnitude: the size of h u m a n i t y becomes indissociable f r o m its dignity. . It was a w o r l d of well-defined l i m i t . as it were. mesotes. is not itself given as a measure (to believe that it is constitutes the notorious weakness of all discourses of "measured" and measuring h u m a n i s m ) . A l l these considerations gravitate toward the f o l l o w i n g : "creation" is the absolute measure. w h i c h existences. B u t insofar as the w h o l e of creation essentially carries the m a r k or vestige of its creator as its proper m o d e (man in the image of G o d was n o t h i n g more than the pinnacle of this structure or process). As a creature. this itself measures a social relation. this is the nonmeasure of the act of creation (where the subject creator is n o t h i n g other than its act). glory. of the creator. and one knew. T h u s . " he is o n l y the interpretation of this excess in terms of a process a n d as the agent of p r o d u c t i o n . C h r i s t i a n i t y had l o n g concealed the truth of this infinite m o d e under the apparent preservation of a measurable measure. as distinct f r o m all cosmogony. o r C r e o n . creation has brought about so m a n y c o m p l e x elaborations on the structure a n d extent of his act: on the "ex n i h i l o . N u m b e r . on the various themes of love. and it means Being's absolute and exclusive propriety to itself. In fact. measure is the p r o p r i e t y of B e i n g to itself. a l o n g period of rule was needed in order to recall h o w m u c h the ancient w o r l d was a w o r l d of measure. its r h y t h m . and metron. perhaps more than any other. or m e a n . Its origin [provenance] is undoubtedly C h r i s t i a n .

Up to a certain p o i n t . in t u r n . t h e n . or nuclear power. is o n l y the m o d a l i z e d translation of the f o l l o w i n g : "creation" is n o w understood as the act of B e i n g w h i c h is w i t h o u t measure its o w n measure [comme l'acte de l'être qui est sans finitude that consists in b e i n g its o w n excessive measure. ("Engagement" is. the universe. These do not measure themselves against other things. the m o d a l i z a t i o n of B e i n g is that of the without-measure [sans-mesure] as such. p r i m a r i l y . b e i n g i n d e b t e d to or accountable before some normative authority. " H u m a n i t y " a n d "globalness" ["mondialité"] n o w m e a n this engagem e n t w i t h o u t measure [or this measureless engagement]. It is to be engaged by its B e i n g to the very e n d of this B e i n g .182 Human Excess Human Excess 183 G o d is the excessive measure [(dé)mesure] according to w h i c h B e i n g is modalized as B e i n g ." B e i n g [étant] w i t h o u t a creator is not creation. To be responsible is not. or there w i l l be the loss of all measure. the speed of light or quantum of energy." but its finitude has no measure. a g o o d translation of "conatus. for example. a n d w h i c h it engages in the m o d e of a responsibility that is itself i m m e n s e . for example. then. a just social order and a just sovereignty. It is no longer a w o r d at a l l . a n d not otherwise. this justice in itself defines the g o o d . In p r i n ciple. there is an absolute justice to absolute measure. as an absolutely finished or accomplished infinity. a n d it is precisely that w h i c h measures the existence w h i c h engages it. Hegel represents this m e a s u r e — t h e beingm o d a l [l'être-mode] of B e i n g itself—as an absolute measure. in such a way that this engagement or conatus is the very essence of B e i n g . it is its o w n total measure of B e i n g . this is what is i m m e n s e l y grand in what is happening to us today. B e i n g confers on itself the right modes [justes modes] o f its modalities (and precisely because it modalizes itself. on the contrary. it is fixed merely by convention). T h i s can be transcribed i n t o another register in the f o l l o w i n g way: for H e g e l . essentially and in every existing t h i n g (which also i m p l i e s that his o w n m o d e has just as m u c h to do w i t h n o t h ingness and b e c o m i n g ) . it is infinite. W h a t we still interpret i n the ancient or C h r i s t i a n ways as "excessively large. Either the time to come w i l l k n o w to take the measure [of things]. T h e result is not B e i n g as a substance. or because its structure is subjectivity). the one we can describe as that of "exponential B e i n g . but B e i n g as responsibility. but an i n - . " is in fact the epoch of B e i n g w h i c h is exposed to a n d as its o w n i m m e n s i t y in the strictest sense: n o t h i n g measures it. In this sense.") T h e epoch that appears to us as the epoch of very large numbers. In m o d a l i z i n g itself. creation is s i m p l y B e i n g . and existence along w i t h it. fait lux means that there is a "speed" against w h i c h all speed is measured a n d w h i c h is not measured against a n y t h i n g superior (that is. but. p o p u l a t i o n . are the o r i g i n of all possible measure. poverty. C r e a t i o n is that there is B e i n g in this way. B u t the universe that has this constancy is "creation. These days. F o r us. It is no longer the w o r d o f G o d [ a creator] w h o w o u l d have measured this speed i n advance. is finite. In b o t h a d i s t u r b i n g a n d exhilarating way. massacres. Perhaps we can also understand the universal constants of m o d ern physics in this way. after all. as w e l l as for Plato. B e i n g . W h a t follows f r o m this is that there is. to the extent [à mesure] that we are exposed to it. mesure sa propre mesure]." whether it be speed. in the sense that there is no "infinite speed. of itself.

Nomos is the distribu t i o n . T h e u n i t y of a w o r l d is n o t h i n g other than its diversity. the w o r l d is a m u l t i p l i c i t y of worlds. each a c c o r d i n g to this sharing.Cosmos Baselius Nomos basileus. a n d even disparity a n d o p p o s i t i o n . T h e sharing of the w o r l d is the law of the w o r l d . the occurrence of its instance. apportionment. w h i c h is to say that it 1 does not add or subtract anything. . a n d allocation of its parts: a piece of territory. it is not subject to any authority. B u t h o w does it fit? T h e measure of the s u i t a b i l i t y [la convenance] —the law of the law. A w o r l d is a m u l t i p l i c i t y of worlds. the delimitation of rights and needs in each. this sharing is not given. is a diversity of worlds. . T h e w o r l d is not given. or absolute j u s t i c e — i s o n l y in the 2 sharing itself a n d in the exceptional singularity of e a c h — o f each instance [cas]. a portion of food. in t u r n . a n d its u n i t y is the m u t u a l sharing a n d exposition of all its w o r l d s — w i t h i n this w o r l d . Yet. it does not have a sovereign. T h i s is not an accomplished d i s t r i b u t i o n . . Its sharing is p u t into play at each i8 5 . —Pindar T h e u n i t y of a w o r l d is not one: it is made of a diversity. a n d "each" is not given (that w h i c h is the u n i t y of each part. a n d at every t i m e . as is fitting [// convient]. a n d this. T h e w o r l d has n o t h i n g other. T h e w o r l d is its o w n creation (this is what "creation" means). the c o n f i g u r a t i o n of each w o r l d ) . Cosmos. It is in fact. nomos. It is itself the g i v i n g [le don]. Its supreme l a w is w i t h i n it as the m u l t i ple a n d m o b i l e trace of the sharing that it is.

c o n t a g i o n . a n d the other way a r o u n d . given in return to each existing singular. Translating it i n t o a certain l a n guage. a n d r u b b i n g up against. Coexistence does not happen to existence. Therefore. singular creation in its coexistence w i t h all other creations. therefore. is defined by the proper measure in each existence and in the infinite c o m m u n i t y (or c o m m u n i c a t i o n . w h i c h joins it to other proprieties. a n d so forth) is cosubstantial w i t h existi n g : in each one a n d in every one. B u t in every case. A n d this also entails that one not k n o w exactly (that one not k n o w "au juste.i86 Cosmos Baselius i w Cosmos Baselius 187 instant: the universe i n expansion. for c o m m u n i t y is not added to existence. masses. tissues. one does not k n o w where the sharing of a stone starts or finishes. what needs to be attributed to it again. contact). " a n d .) Justice. attraction a n d repulsion. at least in all the o r d i n a r y senses w h i c h are given to B e i n g . exposed in appearing. B u t existence is n o t h i n g other t h a n B e i n g exposed: beginn i n g f r o m its s i m p l e i d e n t i t y i n itself a n d f r o m its pure p o s i t i o n . m u l t i p l i c i t y . more restricted t h a n one believes it to be (or rather. a n d each one is also i n f i n i t e l y more detached f r o m such. a n d detached f r o m itself. Suitability. porousness. this is not a n y t h i n g other than B e i n g exposed to B e i n g itself. exteriority. a n d t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of a l l existences [les existences] a m o n g themselves. a n d . in each one as in every one. a n d fleeting). in another language. it is the "mystical body" of the w o r l d . W h a t needs to be restored.l i m i t a t i o n o f i n d i v i d u als. a n d one can not subtract it out: it is existence. those w i t h i n itself just as those m u c h as outside of. there is no f o u n d a t i o n : there is o n l y the " w i t h " — p r o x i m i t y a n d its d i s t a n c i n g — t h e strange f a m i l i a r i t y o f all the worlds in the w o r l d . that is." Justice needs to be rendered to the trace of the proper. its most appropriate h o r i z o n is also its encounter w i t h the other h o r i z o n : that of the coexistent. as a consequence. in its o w n " b e i n g . osmosis. repaired. a n d change. s t n e coexistence b y w h i c h i t defines itself a s existence itself a n d a o r l d i n g e n e r a l — b o t h . the infinite need o f justice. T h e delineation is always more a m p l e a n d . constitutes distance a n d contact. it is the "reciprocal action" of parts of the w o r l d . at the same time." as is said in French) w h a t or w h o is an "existing singular. encounter. F o r each one. in the carving up of it that is appropriate each t i m e — a carving up w h i c h does not cut up or deduct f r o m a f o u n d a t i o n . a l l at once [d'un seul coup]. such that the coexistence w h i c h i n d e f i n i t e l y intertwines w i t h it is the o n l y "foundation" u p o n w h i c h the " f o r m " of existence is [s'enlève]. it is not added to it. one knows all too well h o w m u c h the contours are t r e m b l i n g . C o m m u n i t y is not some proper c o n sistency a n d subsistence of existance as it stands apart f r o m it: existence has such o n l y as the sharing of c o m m u n i t y . or complexes than one perceives at first. alterity. c i r c u l a t i o n . the u n . exposed to the outside. of all the coexis- . b r i n g i n g the outside inside. it Coexistence holds itself just as far f r o m j u x t a p o s i t i o n as it does f r o m integration. but a c o m m o n carvi n g u p that. T h i s (which no longer has a n y t h i n g to do w i t h subsistence by itself. T h i s is not a d o u b l e suitability. if one is attentive. ( A n d i n one sense. It is Being that is alone. "Justice" designates w h a t needs to be rendered (as one says in E n g l i s h . therefore. E a c h existence [existant] appears in more e n sembles. in creation." neither where it begins nor where it ends. E a c h opens o n t o a n d closes o f f more w o r l d s . in each one insofar as in every one. as such. o r i n the i n d e f i n i t e o p e n i n g . a t once. It is the same one. if one can put it this way. T h e t w o standards [les deux mesures] are not separate: the singular p r o p r i e t y is equal to the singular trace. w i t h contact. Existence is not done alone. is returning to each existence what returns to it according to its unique. to be sure. "to render justice"). B e i n g exposed as B e i n g : exposition as the essence of Being. or where the sharing of a person starts or finishes. m o bile. T h a t w h i c h distinguishes is also that w h i c h puts " w i t h " a n d "together. Because of the incessant g i v i n g a n d shari n g of the w o r l d . is the g i v i n g w h i c h it is itself.

a n d one can not subtract it out: it is existence. F o r each one. attraction a n d repulsion. at once. B u t existence is n o t h i n g other than B e i n g exposed: beginn i n g f r o m its s i m p l e i d e n t i t y in itself a n d f r o m its pure p o s i t i o n . masses. a n d so forth) is cosubstantial w i t h existi n g : in each one a n d in every one. E a c h existence [existant] appears in more ensembles. those w i t h i n itself just as those m u c h as outside of. C o m m u n i t y is not some proper c o n sistency a n d subsistence of existance as it stands apart f r o m it: existence has such o n l y as the sharing of c o m m u n i t y . repaired. for c o m m u n i t y is not added to existence. T h a t w h i c h distinguishes is also that w h i c h puts " w i t h " a n d "together. Existence is not done alone.l i m i t a t i o n of i n d i v i d u als. is the g i v i n g w h i c h it is itself. osmosis. given in return to each existing singular. T h i s is not a d o u b l e suitability. b r i n g i n g the outside inside. the u n . A n d this also entails that one not k n o w exactly (that one not k n o w "au juste. E a c h opens o n t o a n d closes o f f more w o r l d s . is returning to each existence what returns to it according to its unique. Therefore. or where the sharing of a person starts or finishes. m o b i l e . in each one insofar as in every one. in creation. a n d fleeting). but a c o m m o n carvi n g u p that. a n d . all at once [d'un seul coup]. of all the coexis- . in its o w n " b e i n g . if one is attentive. it is the "reciprocal action" of parts of the w o r l d . contact). what needs to be attributed to it again. B e i n g exposed as B e i n g : exposition as the essence of Being. it is not added to it. Because of the incessant g i v i n g a n d shari n g of the w o r l d ." neither where it begins nor where it ends. one does not k n o w where the sharing of a stone starts or finishes. "Justice" designates w h a t needs to be rendered (as one says in E n g l i s h . a n d each one is also i n f i n i t e l y more detached f r o m such. c i r c u l a t i o n . the infinite need of justice. a n d t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of a l l existences [les existences] a m o n g themselves. It is the same one. m u l t i p l i c i t y . a n d the other way a r o u n d ." as is said in French) w h a t or w h o is an "existing singular. as such. W h a t needs to be restored. singular creation in its coexistence w i t h all other creations. a n d detached f r o m itself. at least in all the o r d i n a r y senses w h i c h are given to B e i n g . its most appropriate h o r i z o n is also its encounter w i t h the other h o r i z o n : that of the coexistent. such that the coexistence w h i c h i n d e f i n i t e l y intertwines w i t h it is the o n l y "foundation" u p o n w h i c h the " f o r m " of existence is [s'enlève]. " a n d . there is no f o u n d a t i o n : there is o n l y the " w i t h " — p r o x i m i t y a n d its d i s t a n c i n g — t h e strange f a m i l i a r i t y o f all the worlds in the w o r l d ." Justice needs to be rendered to the trace of the proper. therefore. Suitability. constitutes distance a n d contact. ( A n d i n one sense. it Coexistence holds itself just as far f r o m juxtaposition as it does f r o m integration. B u t in every case. to be sure. or complexes than one perceives at first. Translating it i n t o a certain l a n guage. if one can put it this way. more restricted t h a n one believes it to be (or rather. T h i s ( w h i c h no longer has a n y t h i n g to do w i t h subsistence by itself. is defined by the p r o p e r measure in each existence and in the infinite c o m m u n i t y (or c o m m u n i c a t i o n . It is Being that is alone. T h e two standards [les deux mesures] are not separate: the singular p r o p r i e t y is equal to the singular trace. in another language. that is. alterity. Coexistence does not h a p p e n to existence. tissues. o r i n the i n d e f i n i t e o p e n i n g . encounter.i86 Cosmos Baselius [ Cosmos Baselius 187 instant: the universe in expansion. therefore. "to render justice"). it is the "mystical body" of the w o r l d . one knows all too w e l l h o w m u c h the contours are t r e m b l i n g . s t n e coexistence by w h i c h it defines itself as existence itself a n d a n w o r l d . this is not a n y t h i n g other than B e i n g exposed to B e i n g itself. w h i c h joins it to other proprieties. exposed in appearing. in the carving up of it that is appropriate each t i m e — a carving up w h i c h does not cut up or deduct f r o m a f o u n d a t i o n . exteriority. porousness. a n d change.) Justice. as a consequence. exposed to the outside. T h e delineation is always more ample a n d . in each one as in every one. at the same time. w i t h contact. g e n e r a l — b o t h . c o n t a g i o n . a n d r u b b i n g up against.

O n e m i g h t be t e m p t e d to say that there is a justice for the w o r l d . one w i t h the other a n d one in the other (or one t h r o u g h the other).i88 Cosmos Baselius Cosmos Baselius 189 tences. These two laws are not o n l y homologous. the infinite overflowing o f m e a n i n g a n d . especially if one does not u n d e r s t a n d that all the h o r i zons are sides of the same c a r v i n g u p . B u t these finalities. Or rather: to b i r t h and to death. B u t "encounter" is s t i l l to say too little. say rather p o o r l y what such justice is. Itself. of the w h o l e of coexisting. T h i s infinite justice i s i n n o way visible. B i r t h a n d death about w h i c h there is n o t h i n g fitting to s a y — s i n c e this is the strict justice of t r u t h . the agitation a n d general diversity of the worlds that make up the w o r l d (and u n m a k e it as well). Strictly speaking. B i r t h a n d death. of the same w i n d i n g a n d lightning-fast trace of the w o r l d (its " u n i t y " ) . It constitutes part of infinite justice that it w o u l d fail to deliver a decisive b l o w to injustice. needs to be rendered at once to the singular absoluteness of the proper a n d to the absolute i m p r o p r i e t y of the c o m m u n i t y of existences. or these reciprocal intentions. if one can say it like this. B u t there are no reasons that can be given for h o w a n d w h y this constitutes part of it. tice. There are earthquakes. the law of the w o r l d is an infinite tension w i t h regard to the w o r l d itself. ap- . As a consequence. a n d there is a w o r l d for justice. the severed [or carvedup] trace that is b o t h inextricable f r o m its h o r i z o n a n d u n a c c o m plishable. then. a n d torturers. a n d people are c r i m i n a l s . they are also the same and singular law of absolute sharing (one c o u l d say: the law of the Absolute as sharing). therefore. the objection to a n d protest against injustice. T h i s trace is not proper to any existant. that is. or c h u r c h . N e i t h e r can it be projected as a supreme conversion of injustice. infinite justice needs to be rendered at once to the propriety of each one a n d to the c o m m o n i m p r o p r i e t y of all: t o b i r t h a n d t o death. T h i s is also w h y justice is a l w a y s — a n d maybe p r i n c i p a l l y — t h e need for justice. o f justice. i n t o l erable injustice arises everywhere. liars. infectious viruses." but the w o r l d that springs forth as a p r o p e r l y incongruous incongruity. w h i c h h o l d between t h e m the i n f i n i t y o f m e a n i n g . O n the contrary. the breath that exhausts itself in calling for it. sharing a n d coexistence. the n o n m e m b e r s h i p [la non-appartenance]. T h i s constitutes part o f the i n f i n i t y o f justice. or set of laws that is not also the w o r l d itself. it divides itself a n d coexists: it is the movement. in order to repair it or b r i n g it to c o m p l e t i o n . the call that cries for justice. the absolute errancy of the creation of the w o r l d . In a parallel manner. In itself. T h e law of justice is this unappeasable tension w i t h regard to justice itself. It is given w i t h the w o r l d . there is no sovereignty. Justice does not c o m e f r o m the outside (what outside?) to hover above the w o r l d . the w o r l d is the supreme law of its justice: not the given w o r l d a n d the "such that it is. w h i c h are. given in the w o r l d as the very l a w of its givenness. Justice. b e l o n g to the i n f i n i t e . It is not subject to those interrogations that concern reason or the d e m a n d for m e a n i n g . the n o n d e p e n d e n c e . a n d o f the i n t e r r u p t e d creation of the w o r l d : in such a way that the i n f i n i t y is never anywhere called u p o n to accomplish itself. a n d still less to an other sort of substance that hangs over the w o r l d : it is the c o m m o n impropriety. but where all true speech distractedly aims at the just measure. Justice cannot be disengaged f r o m the gangue or haze of injus3 pears a n d disappears. It needs to be rendered equally [exactement] to b o t h . not even as an i n f i n i t e return o f itself i n itself. to the one a n d the other: such is the play (or the meaning) o f the w o r l d .

Reference Matter .

one must read it in such a way as to not hear the same sort of "humanist" tone that is out of the question in all the texts that follow. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage Books. The difficulty is that the capital letter has the distracting and often misleading effect of making "Being" appear as a proper name. In reading "the human. We do this only when l'être stands alone.Notes [Epigraph] EPIGRAPH SOURCE: Friedrich Nietzsche. we translate l'être—which coincides with the German Sein—as "Being. Throughout the work. referring to the earth in its specific character as the milieu inhabited by humans. trans. Friedrich Nietzsche. J. Thus SpakeZarathustra. 180. The Gay Science. 1. R. tradition. In opting for "the human" as a translation of l'homme." then. and only so as to make Being easily distinguishable from being [l'étant].—Trans. 3. we lend the text a few connotations that Nancy himself clearly wants to avoid." The French expression is a common one. 2. if not entirely satisfactory. At the same time. trans. Preface 1. however. 102. however.—Trans. Hollingdale (New York: Penguin Books. This becomes par- m . 1969). we elect a more gender-neutral translation. La terre des hommes literally means "the earth of men." in keeping with an established. suggesting that Being is somehow quite independent of beings. 1974).

accéder also means "to accede t o " o r "to ac- .5 versal" (François W a r i n . w h i l e r e t a i n i n g the l i n k w i t h " p a s s i n g " a n d "passage" i n the previous s e c t i o n . N a n c y h i m s e l f has w r i t t e n a b o u t a heart his b o d y rec e i v e d i n a t r a n s p l a n t o p e r a t i o n . " and so f o r t h . a n d f r o m s o m e o t h e r s — f r o m us. 256)."—Trans.t o . T h i s presents a p a r t i c u l a r d i f f i c u l t y o n l y i n the f i n a l sentence o f the f i r s t p a r a g r a p h o f p . "appears" is a s o m e w h a t pale transl a t i o n o f surgit. — T r a n s . 5. however. bizarre \s translated as "strange" t h r o u g h o u t the text i n o r d e r t o preserve the i d i o m .—Trans. T h i s Of Being Singular Plural 1. w i t h o u t b e i n g w h o l l y a p a r t of. " G e n t i l e s .w i t h .—Trans. 9. Transl a t i n g i t a s the " o n e " has the a d d e d a d v a n t a g e o f p r e s e r v i n g echoes o f b o t h the author's F r e n c h a n d Heidegger's G e r m a n . It is easy to see the reference here to §32 of M a r t i n Heidegger's Be- ing and Time. 2. The Birth to Presence ( S t a n f o r d . emerges. a n analysis o f s i n g u l a r i t y a n d p l u r a l i t y . w e l l s u p ." T h e w o r d d i t i o n s i n w h i c h beings always d o f i n d themselves. 1993). " b u t w e have used the l i t e r a l t r a n s l a t i o n as the o n l y w a y to preserve the author's p l a y on " b e s i d e " [à côté}. If. o r even i n . 396. Calif. " B e t w e e n the us a l l ' of abstract u n i v e r s a l i s m a n d the 'me. " o r even " o u t o f his m i n d . S i n c e the e m p h a s i s i n t h i s essay i s o n " w i t h . 13. 1962).o n e . b u t the phrase resists easy d e s c r i p t i o n i n E n g l i s h . a b r u p t l y . 10. a requited love. 1 0 w h e r e N a n c y d r a w s a t t e n t i o n t o the e t y m o l o g y o f the F r e n c h ( a n d also the English) word bizarre. it i s less t o d e v e l o p a c o m m e n t a r y o n H e i d e g g e r t h a n t o m o v e o n f r o m h i m .—Trans. r i g h t at. 4. — T r a n s ." W e have a v o i d e d t h a t h a b i t here because a p l u r a l p r o n o u n is u n w a r r a n t e d a n d w o u l d o n l y serve t o confuse w h a t is. a n d a d i v i d e d c o u n t r y . A l t h o u g h the exercise m i g h t be i n s t r u c t i v e . 6. " a n d s o o n .: Stanford U n i - Bizarre is the F r e n c h w o r d w e have translated as "strange" t h r o u g h - versity Press. " b e i n g . a n d so o n ) . w h i c h b e c o m e s s i g n i f i c a n t i n the course o f the w o r k . 12. " L e s gens sont bizarres. a s the a u t h o r p o i n t s o u t i n the f o l l o w i n g p a r a g r a p h . there is the 'we others' of N i e t z s c h e . " It is also w o r t h b e a r i n g i n m i n d t h a t the adjective partagé is u s e d to d e s c r i b e . " 2 . V of m i s erable i n d i v i d u a l i s m . a n d except w h e n it is q u i t e necessary. — T r a n s . T h e r e f o r e . o r the h i s t o r y o f the w o r d " p e o p l e " ["les gens"] (gentes. b u t later rejected. H a v i n g . 8. n 1 2 . s o m e o n e s l e e p i n g o u t d o o r s m i g h t sleep à même the g r o u n d . " n a t i o n s . Notes to Pages 5—10 195 t i c u l a r l y u n c o m f o r t a b l e w h e n the a u t h o r uses c o m p o u n d expressions s u c h as Nietzsche et Bataille: La parodie à l'infini [Paris: être-avec o r être-ensemble. so s o m e a d d i t i o n a l c o n n o t a t i o n s s h o u l d be b o r n i n m i n d : appears s u d d e n l y . A l t h o u g h reasonably accurate. a t h i n k i n g of the singular case that thwarts the o p p o s i t i o n of the p a r t i c u l a r a n d the u n i - o u t this p a s s a g e .e a r t h . after a l l . 3. g a i n i n g . I n o r d e r t o c a p t u r e a l l its p l u r a l i t y . I w i l l n o t s t o p here to e x a m i n e w h a t " p e o p l e " a n d " o n e " designate i n various languages. In a general way. A n u n d e r s h i r t is w o r n à même the s k i n . See also B r i a n H o l m e s ' s translator's n o t e i n Jean-Luc Nancy's d o w n . T h e e m p h a s i s . o n e w o u l d have t o translate être-les-uns-avec-les- autres literally as "being-the-ones-with-the-others. l a n g u a g e does n o t easily a c c o m m o d a t e i t s e l f t o the l o g i c o f " w i t h . Heidegger's das Man is generally translated i n t o F r e n c h as le 'on b u t has g e n e r a l l y a p p e a r e d i n E n g l i s h a s the "they. Se passer is m o s t c o m m o n l y used to m e a n "to h a p p e n . w e have c h o s e n to translate those c o m p o u n d s as " b e i n g . even v i o l e n t l y . as b e i n g à même his body. — T r a n s . À même refers to a r e l a t i o n that b e c o m e s c r u c i a l at several p o i n t s i n this b o o k . b u t far less p a i n f u l . — T r a n s . " — Trans. a m o n g o t h e r argot e x p r e s s i o n m e a n s " h i s h e a d i n the c l o u d s " o r " n o t things. " w e have a l m o s t i n v a r i a b l y translated partager as "to share. o n e m u s t r e m e m b e r the s i n g u l a r role p l a y e d b y H a n n a h A r e n d t a n d her reflection o n " h u m a n p l u r a l i t y . b u t it s h o u l d be r e m e m b e r e d that commodate. I n t h i s u s a n d i n the r e l a t i o n t o H e i d e g g e r . 1994]. trans. J o h n M a c q u a r r i e a n d E d w a r d R o b i n s o n ( N e w Y o r k : H a r p e r . " " b e i n g ." b u t w e have o p t e d for the s l i g h t l y less p l u r a l . i s o n the m o m e n t o f appearing. w h i c h clearly refer to the concrete c o n - Presses U n i v e r s i t a i r e s de F r a n c e . T h e relation i s o n e o f b e i n g r i g h t next to. We have forsaken the c o l l o q u i a l translation of propre—"own" — for the m o r e s t i l t e d " p r o p e r " i n o r d e r t o m a i n t a i n the a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h " p r o p e r l y . surges f o r t h .w i t h .a n o t h e r . a shared meal. 7. " t h e n the E n g l i s h language i s even less g i v i n g t h a n F r e n c h i n t h i s regard.t o g e t h e r . " " a p p r o p r i a t i o n . " b u t transl a t i n g i t a s w e d o here has the advantage o f e m p h a s i z i n g w h a t h a p p e n s a s r e l a t i o n . — T r a n s . 11.194 Notes to Pages 2 ." b u t i t is i m p o r t a n t to r e m e m ber that it also means "to d i v i d e " or "share o u t . — T r a n s . here a n d elsewhere. a n d b e i n g access is w h a t is at issue here.

L u c N a n c y ' s coming. a n y o f w h i c h w o u l d also suffice a s a n E n g l i s h t r a n s l a t i o n . suddenly the heart ofB. . w e translated Eclat is a d i f f i c u l t w o r d to translate. 22. 19. o n e h a v i n g t o d o w i t h the expression La deconstruction du christianisme. i n m y s o l i t u d e . i n t u r n . 1996). " w h i c h o n l y captures part o f its sense. Critique of Pure Reason. N a n c y w i l l n o t a l l o w the c o n n o t a t i o n s o f accession o r a c c o m m o d a t i o n t o d i s a p p e a r . 26.: Hackett Publishing C o m p a n y . J u l i e R o s e ( M i n n e a p o l i s : U n i v e r s i t y o f M i n n e s o t a Press. T h e phrase c o u l d be r e n d e r e d as " W e have access to the t r u t h ." 18. M a r t i n s Press. 25. does n o t arise) b u t . 22. a n x i e t y gives w a y t o c o n v i c t i o n : i t i s sly. I n this way. w h a t f o l l o w s pursues the d i a l o g u e p r o p o s e d by Jacques Rancière i n his b o o k Disagreement: Politics and Philosophy. 21. to g a i n access [to accede]: as the s p l i t t i n g of the " a l m o s t there" [ T a .p e u . i t n o l o n g e r d i s t u r b s ) . ///(Paris: G a l l i m a r d . m y m e m o r y fails m e a n d B a t a i l l e writes "we a t t a i n " ["nous a t t e i g n o n s " ] : to a t t a i n . p r e d i c a t e d w i t h a n y o f the f o l l o w i n g adjectives: s h i n i n g . 1995) is a n a m a z i n g r e r e a d i n g o f the Timaeus. trans. 23. w e s u d d e n l y attain t o the necessary p o i n t a n d w e s p e n d the rest of o u r days l o o k i n g for a lost m o m e n t : b u t we miss it o n l y at t i m e s . S u d denly. T h e recent b o o k b y Serge M a r c e l . I n r e l a t i o n t o the role o f c u r i o s i t y w i t h i n m o d e r n i t y . 2 0 . G e o r g e s Bataille. O t h e r elements o f the w o r d suggest that " b r i l l i a n c e " c o u l d be. b u t i t i s also i m p o r t a n t t o bear i n m i n d the tactile sense. M a r t i n Heidegger's m u c h a s n o p a r t i n space c a n b e d e t e r m i n e d except i n r e l a t i o n t o the w h o l e (so that [in its case too] the p o s s i b i l i t y of the parts is based on the presentation o f the w h o l e ) " ( I m m a n u e l K a n t . a n d s o f o r t h . we have translated it as " b r i l l i a n c e . i f w e were e n t i t l e d t o regard m a t e r i a l beings as t h i n g s in themselves . h e c h a l l e n g e s w h a t he o t h e r w i s e p r e t e n d s to a f f i r m as b e l o n g i n g to the " s e n d i n g " o f B e i n g . is in my heart. B e n o i t G o e t z uses this t h e m e o f s p a c i n g i n his " L a d i s l o c a t i o n : A r c h i t e c t u r e et expérience" (thesis. §37. w h i c h m a y offer s o m e t h i n g q u i t e close t o the n o t i o n o f the P l a t o n i c d e m i u r g e o f "creation" I a m t r y i n g t o b r i n g o u t here. g l a r i n g . N o v e m b e r 1989). Université de S t r a s b o u r g . n o l o n g e r even d i s t u r b i n g ( b y d i n t o f its b e i n g d i s t u r b i n g .196 Notes to Pages 11-15 Notes to Pages 16—25 197 14. w h i c h is a f a i r l y t r a d i t i o n a l gesture. h e a d d e d the f o l l o w i n g q u o t a t i o n f r o m K a n t a s a n e p i g r a p h : " . a n d §68c o f Heidegger's Being and Time. t o u n i t e u s i s u n d o u b t e d l y a m e a n s o f . the u n i t y that is the basis on w h i c h natu r a l f o r m a t i o n s are p o s s i b l e w o u l d b e o n l y the u n i t y o f space. A l s o p r e s u p p o s e d here i s Critique of Judgment. Le tombeau du dieu artisan (Paris: L e s É d i t i o n s de M i n u i t ." 27. the other w i t h the verb accéder."—Trans. L e t me be q u i t e clear that the a l l u s i o n to L a c a n is deliberate. i n m y n i g h t . 1965). 293). difficile et nécessarire. trans. In B a t a i l l e s text. trans. E t i e n n e B a l i b a r . . 15. I m m a n u e l K a n t . forth- à la vérité. . 1963). T h e p o i n t is that the éclat is both sudden and radiant. exactly because it has m a n y different m e a n i n g s that d o n o t c o m e together easily i n o n e E n g l i s h w o r d . " 24. 1971). a s w e l l a s the m o r e c o m m o n sense o f " b e i n g i n t o u c h with. Histoire des rats. . See §36. Ind. the latter axis is d i s s o l v e d ( i n d e e d . . p r e c i s e l y because l o o k i n g for i t d i v e r t s u s f r o m i t . A s a m a t t e r o f fact [à la vérité]. 203. Paris. I n l o w e r i n g the status of c u r i o s i t y by m e a s u r i n g it against t h i n k i n g . he d i s cusses i t i n r e l a t i o n t o a discourse a b o u t g e n e r a l i z e d " a r c h i t e c t u r e " a n d its b e c o m i n g " e x i s t e n t i a l . T h e s e adjectives. Kants These Uber das Sein ( F r a n k f u r t a m M a i n : V i t - Werner S. B u t I m u s t cite the w h o l e passage f r o m B a t a i l l e : " W e d o n o t have the means o f a t t a i n i n g a t o u r d i s p o s a l : w e att a i n t o t r u t h . 114. s h a t t e r i n g . . In a l l the essays that c o n s t i t u t e this b o o k . see H a n s B l u m e n b u r g ' s classic b o o k Der Prozess der theoretishen Neugierde ( F r a n k f u r t a u M a i n : S u h r k a m p . 1995). T h e c o m p l e x a m b i g u i t y N a n c y emphasizes here i s n o t easily capt u r e d i n E n g l i s h . a n d yet space is n o t a basis [responsible] for reality of p r o d u c t s b u t is o n l y t h e i r f o r m a l c o n d i t i o n .—Trans. explosive. toucher à as "to t o u c h " since the c o n - text specified surfaces that t o u c h o n e another. H e i d e g g e r c o m p l e t e l y m i s u n d e r s t a n d s a n d cheapens a n e l e m e n t o f the m o d e r n w o r l d : science a n d t e c h n o l o g y . a n d m a y b e even s h o u l d be. A n d r é Tosel. 17. Oeuvres complètes. 16. " L a p r o p o s i t i o n d e l'égaliberté" (paper d e l i v e r e d a t Les conférences d u P e r r o q u e t . 1966). we have access." b u t either " W e accede t o the t r u t h " o r " T r u l y . forever m i s s i n g the m o m e n t o f r e t u r n . f l a s h i n g . Pluhar [Indianapolis. " or as " T r u l y . 1999). n o . w e accede" w o u l d also b e w a r r a n t e d . space m e r e l y resembles the basis we are s e e k i n g inas- Démocratie et libéralismes (Paris: K i m é . " a conference a t V a n d e r b i l t U n i v e r s i t y i n J a n u a r y 1996. H e r e . I n S e c t i o n 2. t o r i o K l o s t e r m a n n . N o r m a n K e m p S m i t h ( N e w Y o r k : St. c o u l d b e m a d e i n t o n o u n s . a s the note b e l o w m a k e s clear. See also the chapter e n t i t l e d "L'égalité. 1987].p r e s " ] character o f r e a c h i n g the o r i g i n . W h e n the a u t h o r presented this section (along w i t h Sections 5 a n d 6 ) a s part o f " O p e n i n g s : T h e Space o f T h i n k i n g . the p r i m a r y sense is o f r e a c h i n g o r a t t a i n i n g a n e n d . In c e r t a i n regards. — T r a n s . 504. . I t operates a l o n g t w o axes. See J e a n .

" " C o n d i t i o n s o f C r i t i q u e . C a l i f : S t a n f o r d U n i versity Press. . " C o e x i s t e n c e . " Politics of Friendship. a n expression that i s dear t o B a t a i l l e . Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phe- versity of Essex Theoretical Studies Working Papers ( M a r c h 1996). o n o n e side. " o f Futur Antérieur (Paris: l ' H a r m a r t a n . N . 1994). H e i d e g g e r . J e a n . trans. 65. 285). A m y Jacobs ( S t a n f o r d . raised the q u e s t i o n of C h r i s t i a n fraternity. a n d A l a i n B a d i o u . J a n u a r y 1995). 38. François Raffoul's Heidegger and the Problem of Subjectivity ( H i g h lands. b y t h a t i n t e r n a l awareness w h i c h always precedes reflective k n o w l e d g e . 33. R o u t l e d g e . Retreating the PoRejouer le 44. 1989). 1990). . 36. " E n a t t e n d a n t l ' e m p i r e . See M a r c A u g é ' s A Sense for the Other: The Timeliness and Relevance of Anthropology.w i t h rather t h a n the o p p o s i t i o n between the o t h e r a n d Being. I have reversed m y p o s i t i o n again a n d again o n the p o s s i b i l i t y o f l o o k i n g i n t o w h e t h e r f r a t e r n i t y i s necessarily generic o r congenital. T h i s i n n e r awareness o f one's t h o u g h t s a n d existence is so innate in all m e n that. trans. §3 o f I m m a n u e l Kant's Der einzig mogliche Beweisgrund: The One Basis for a Demonstration of the Existence of God trans. Being and Time. see the w o r k o f Yves D u p e u x (thesis. W i l l i a m W a l l a c e ( O x f o r d : O x - f o r d U n i v e r s i t y Press. Universiré d e P a r i s . 39. o f course. " exactly because i t i s a m a t t e r o f t h i n k i n g b e i n g .X N a n t e r r e . a l t h o u g h we m a y pre- droit as " r i g h t " i n this passage. See " L ' i n s a c r i f i a b l e . " L a p r o b l è m e d e l a diversité h u m a i n e . 48. . Galilée. 1977). 4 6 . E d m u n d H u s s e r l . J e a n . " a n d the rest o f the articles gathered i n n u m b e r 27. Basically. 47. trans. 42.J a c q u e s R o u s s e a u . U n i v e r s i t é d e S t r a s b o u r g . 31. on occasion. trans. " a n d " C o . See Part 1. R . Hegel's Logic. 1995) gives a f u l l a c c o u n t o f the t r a d i t i o n o f t h i n k i n g a b o u t the o n e . Thus Spake Zarathustra.a p p e a r i n g . a n d 37. F o r a d e c o n s t r u c t i v e r e a d i n g o f the "as s u c h " o f B e i n g i n f u n d a m e n t a l o n t o l o g y . close t o . R o b e r t S t o o t h o o f . . 1997) is o n e of the first w o r k s that engages i n o p e n i n g u p a p a t h for a réévaluation o f Mitsein. J o h n C o t t i n g h a m . 1997). 30. a n d w h a t differences there are a m o n g o u r various perspectives. absolutely. Beitrâge zur Philosophie ( F r a n k f u r t The Social Contract. 140. i n t o u c h w i t h . A l l o f this i s t o m a k e the p o i n t that w e are o n l y t h i n k i n g about the ones with the other [les uns avec dale ( N e w Y o r k : P e n g u i n B o o k s .F r a n ç o i s M a r q u e t ' s Singularité et événement 31. a n d i t does so i n a rem a r k a b l e way. " b e n e f i t e d f r o m o u r rev i e w o f the t r a n s l a t i o n o f these offered b y I a i n M a c D o n a l d i n the Uni- les autres] (by. 161. against. T h i s is. M o r e o v e r . B u t I must p o i n t o u t that I have also. 1975). H e g e l . for the sake o f c o n s i s t e n c y a n d i n o r d e r t o preserve s o m e t h i n g o f N a n c y ' s p l a y o n the . Volume II. . T h e t r a n s l a t i o n o f t h e f o l l o w i n g three sections. w i t h Jacques D e r r i d a ' s c r i t i q u e o f f r a t e r n i t y i n his t e n d that w e d o n o t have i t . The Philosophical Writings of Descartes. i n a v o i d i n g it. w e c a n n o t i n fact fail t o have i t " ( " A u thor's R e p l i e s to the S i x t h Set o f O b j e c t i o n s . M a r t i n H e i d e g g e r . this p r e o c c u p a t i o n travels in the same d i r e c t i o n as t h a t u n d e r t a k e n b y G i o r g i o A g a m b e n . 1995) i s the f i r s t w o r k o f i m p o r t a n c e i n the f i e l d . " i n J e a n . far f r o m . In a sense. o n e s h o u l d l o o k a t those texts w h e r e t h i s p r e o c c u p a t i o n c o m e s t o u s i n the f i r s t place: the texts o f G i l l e s D e l e u z e a l o n g w i t h those o f Jacques D e r r i d a ( a n d this with w i l l d e m a n d its o w n c o m m e n t a r y s o m e d a y ) . F. i n the sense o f each o n e a n d the singular. . 34. B u t w h a t he u n d e r s t a n d s as "otherwise t h a n B e i n g " is a m a t t e r Une pensée finie (Paris: o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g "the o w n m o s t o f B e i n g . 1969). D e s c a r t e s h i m s e l f attests t o t h i s . 1997). t h a t w e a l l p a r t i c i p a t e i n the process a n d d i s c o u r s e o f the ego sum: " . M a u r i c e C r a n s t o n ( N e w Y o r k : P e n g u i n B o o k s . D o r i o n C a i r n s ( T h e H a g u e : M a r t i n u s N i j h o f f . 32. 35. trans. O n e c o u l d even say that this c o n s t i t u t e d his e x p r e s s i o n . 41. am Main: V i t t o r i o K l o s t e r m a n n . M a r c C r é p o n s recent w o r k . W e have translated nomenology. trans. 1984]. G . See A n t o n i o N e g r i ' s " L a crise d e l'espace p o l i t i q u e . a n d i n 43. i n d i g g i n g t h r o u g h i t ) . 2 9 . m a n n e r . E n q u ê t e sur la caractérisation des peuples et de la c o n s t i t u t i o n des g é o g r a p h i e s d e l ' e s p r i t d e L e i b n i z à H e g e l " (thesis. G o r d o n Treash ( N e w Y o r k : A b a r i s B o o k s . 45. : H u m a n i t i e s Press. .L u c N a n c y . H o l l i n g - J e r o m e M i l l o n . 319. (Grenoble: 40. B u t even before g o i n g there. trans. J . W . 1983). J . t h e n . 1979). o n the o t h e r (even i f B a d i o u w a n t s t o p u t the q u e s t i o n i n the f o r m o f a n o p p o s i t i o n b y p l a y i n g m u l t i p l i c i t y against the O n e ) . 1998). 229.198 Notes to Pages 25-31 Notes to Pages 37—48 199 28. S i m o n S p a r k s ( L o n d o n : politique (Paris: Galilée. L e v i n a s testifies to this p r o b l e m a t i c in an e x e m p l a r y D u g a l d M u r d o c h [ C a m b r i d g e : C a m b r i d g e U n i v e r s i t y Press. e d . i n spite of. 1968). G e o r g e C o l l i n s ( L o n d o n : V e r s o . I agree. See the w o r k gathered together n o t l o n g ago i n litical. Friedrich Nietzsche.

It is u n d o u b t e d l y here. 57. h o w e v e r . therefore. O n the q u e s t i o n o f f e t i s h i s m a n d c r i t i q u e . " b u t B e i n g . 54."—Trans. " o r o f n o t h i n g . H u s s e r l ) . A m a j o r part of the w o r k of P h i l i p p e L a c o u e . 6 0 . s a i d . " T h e i m m e d i a t e c o n t e x t o f the passage shows h o w H u s s e r l means to give his m o s t d i r e c t r e p l y to H e i d e g g e r a n d to a t h i n k i n g o f Mitsein s t i l l i n s u f f i c i e n t l y f o u n d e d i n the "essential necessity" o f the " g i v e n O b jective w o r l d " a n d its " s o c i a l i t y of various levels" (137). the G r e e k sumbolon was a p i e c e o f p o t t e r y b r o k e n i n t w o pieces w h e n f r i e n d s . T h e m o d e l i s everywhere a n d n o w h e r e . the m o s t d i f f i c u l t p r o b l e m s c o n c e r n i n g the spectacle: n o t o n l y m u s t i t c o n f r o n t its subject w i t h a m u l t i t u d e o f e t h i c a l . 59. they m i g h t be described as Being as truth. 51. m o r e t h a n a n y w h e r e else. Specters of Marx: The State of Debt. 50. N a n c y corrects the m i s t a k e . a society for w h i c h the spectacular f o r m i s no longer c o d i f i e d poses. aesthetic. and the New International. 139. ). the presentable figure of secular sociality) are the terms that serve as precursors to o u r p r o b l e m c o n c e r n i n g m e a n i n g . Its j o i n i n g w o u l d later be a s i g n of r e c o g n i t i o n . a n o t h e r m o t i f o f the " d e c o n s t r u c t i o n o f C h r i s t i a n i t y . trans. m a k i n g the footnote necessary—Trans. e c o n o m i c . A f t e r a l l . F o r i n s t a n c e . A h i g h l y r e m a r k able c h i a s m a i s p r o d u c e d . As F r a n c i s Fisher. b u t the w o r l d "as a c o n s t i t u t e d sense" that shows i t s e l f to be c o n s t i t u t i v e (137). — T r a n s . K a t h l e e n B l a r n e y ( C h i c a g o : U n i v e r s i t y o f C h i c a g o Press. H e i d e g g e r ) a n d the style o f "law. T h i s is n o t w h a t is m o s t i m p o r t a n t . f r o m the very b e g i n n i n g . that h e i s n o l o n g e r " G o d . See the f o r t h c o m i n g v o l u m e Heidegger). .]. " L e f o o t b a l l r e n d i n s i g n i f i a n t e toute autre f o r m e d ' a r t .r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a l exteriority. Peggy K a m u f ( N e w Y o r k : R o u t l e d g e . . here. Rousseau d i d have a k e e n sense of the necessity of the spectacle he so c o n d e m n e d . It is also possible to d i s c e r n here the i n t i m a t e c o n n e c t i o n of all the great m o t i f s o f C h r i s t i a n d o g m a . a n d he w i s h e d t o t h i n k a sort o f self-surpassing o f s p e c t a c u l a r . " O n the contrary. 1994). trans. see Jacques D e r r i d a . the reader m u s t r e m e m b e r that droit carries m a n y c o n n o t a t i o n s that. the p r o b l e m is set up as a c o n v e r g e n c e of and a d i v i s i o n b e t w e e n " a r t " a n d " c i v i l r e l i g i o n " . O n e s h o u l d keep i n m i n d that "coappear" translates Work of Mourning. the c o r r e l a t i o n ( i n ego as meaning. T h i s is also why. f i r s t o f a l l . f r o m that p o i n t o n . p a r t e d . b o t h i n terms o f " c i v i l r e l i g i o n " a n d i n terms o f literature. a l o n g t i m e c o m p a n i o n in the r e c o g n i t i o n of this d e m a n d . . attach to the w o r d the style o f c o b e l o n g i n g ( i n of the essentiality of the with. " o r "art" i n general). in the above text. " T h e ' w i t h ' i s a strict d e t e r m i n a t i o n o f the inessence o f existence. 53. 58. A t r i n i t a r i a n G o d represents a B e i n g . 4 9 . w i t h . between t w o t h o u g h t s that p r o v o k e a n d cross t h r o u g h o n e a n o t h e r a c c o r d i n g to w h a t c a n o n l y be c a l l e d two styles . .a t is i m m e d i a t e l y ' w i t h ' because Dasein has n o essence" ("Heidegger et la q u e s t i o n de l ' h o m m e " [thesis. "To show a m a n to those l i k e h i m s e l f . w h i c h is a s t i l l m o r e r e m a r k a b l e s y m p t o m g i v e n the u n e x p e c t e d r e t u r n t o favor i t has h a d since the d e a t h o f G u y D e b o r d i n 1995. H e r e .L a b a r t h e is d e v o t e d to the d e c o n s t r u c t i v e analysis o f this o r i g i n a r y mimesis. T o u n d e r s t a n d the passage. w h e t h e r i n t e n t i o n a l l y o r n o t . .200 Notes to Pages $0—61 Notes to Pages 61-69 201 w o r d . T h i s is true o n l y up to a certain p o i n t . O f c o u r s e . " T h i s was a n a d v e r t i s e m e n t for N i k e i n the Paris M e t r o i n A u g u s t 1995. B u t these s o m e w h a t s c h e m a t i c characteristics c o u l d just as easily be reversed.w i t h o f the o n t o . o n the o t h e r — s i n c e w e c o u l d n o t l i v e the event i t s e l f — i s the i n s t i t u t i v e pact o f h u m a n i t y itself. p r a c t i c a l . . see the t i t l e o f P a u l R i c o e u r ' s L'éthique originaire ( w h i c h starts w i t h Oneself as Another. " o f l a n g u a g e a s " w i t h . b e the o n t o l o g y o f the " w i t h . b u t i t m u s t also. that H u s s e r l shows h o w p h e n o m e n o l o g y itself reaches its l i m i t . o r a h o s t a n d his guest. w i t h Bataille. H u s s e r l ." o n the one h a n d . 52. com-parution. " T h i s itself is a legal t e r m that is used to designate a p p e a r i n g before a j u d g e together w i t h another p e r s o n . W h a t is i m p o r t a n t is i n the common t e s t i m o n y o f the era ( w i t h F r e u d . i n E n g l i s h . . a n d p o l i t i c a l d e c i sions. a n d m u s t pose for itself. I n this way. the exact E n g l i s h e q u i v a l e n t of w h i c h is " c o m p e a r i n g .w i t h . recapture a n d f o u n d a n e w the t h i n k i n g Cartesian Meditations. " w h i c h I i n v o k e d i n r e l a t i o n t o the C r e a t i o n . . T h e c o n s t i t u t i o n i s itself c o n s t i t u t e d : i n these terms. a c c o r d i n g to w h i c h o n t o l o g y must. " l i t e r a t u r e " (along w i t h " m u s i c . a n d " c i v i l r e l i g i o n " (that is. this i s u n d o u b t e d l y the u l t i m a t e s t r u c t u r e o f " l a n g u a g e " a n d o f the " w i t h . O n e w o u l d have t o cite the articles that appeared at the t i m e to s h o w h o w the reference to D e b o r d c o u l d appear to be necessary a n d i m p o r t a n t . B r o a d l y s p e a k i n g . B e i n g .t h e o l o g i c a l species. I s h o u l d p o i n t o u t . the w o r d " i n s i g n i f i c a n t " was i n fact w r i t t e n in the m a s c u l i n e [where as "art f o r m " w o u l d require the f e m i n i n e . 1995])55. 56. c o u l d appear as the last c r i t ical resource o f a w o r l d w i t h o u t c r i t i q u e . a n d to celebrate.t o g e t h e r as its very d i v i n i t y : a n d i t i s clear. i s t o u c h e d u p o n . a n d exceeds it: it is no longer the egoistic k e r n e l . s i n g u l a r p l u r a l . I am just g o i n g to c o n s i d e r it a s y m p t o m in itself. 1992). n o n e o f w h i c h d e c o n s t r u c t i o n c a n leave intact. T h i s i s n o t t o say that a n y spectacle whatever w o u l d b e " g o o d o n the w h o l e . Université de Strasbourg.

Being and Time. " o f the p o p u l a r c u l t u r e s o f earlier t i m e s . So scheint es. 65. a n d because N a n c y i s clearly interested in m a r k i n g a certain relation to the H e i d e g g e r i a n t e x t .1 0 0 . p e r h a p s ." a n d so o n . 510). t e l e v i s i o n . 1993)." "position. It is o b v i o u s w h a t an enorm o u s f i e l d o f investigation this represents. E v e n " i n n a t u r e . : S t a n f o r d U n i v e r - .L u c N a n c y . 1989]. because o f "tele-cracy.C h r i s t i a n i n t r i c a c y of the relation between love a n d law. die erste und weiteste Vermenschung des Seienden. a n d s o o n — p r o v i d e s a n a l i b i a n d stage for a v e r y p o o r i d e o l o g y . " 6 2 . 156. w i t h a n u n a c h i e v e d a n d u n a c h i e v a b l e essence o f the " w i t h . 72. — T r a n s . — T r a n s . O n e invites p u n i s h m e n t i n tryi n g to t h i n k about it in c o n c e p t u a l terms. B u t this is precisely the m o s t o r i g i n a r y d e h u m a n i z a t i o n o f m a n as ject. 1992). D a n i e l G i o v a n n a n g e l i . 133. " "for. La passion de l'origine: recherches sur l'esthétique de la phénoménologie (Paris: G a l i l é e . 1995). L e v i t i c u s 19:18. it pretends t o k n o w that " p e o p l e " are "fools" because o f " t e l e v i s i o n . 74. Beitrage zur Philosophie [ F r a n k f u r t a m M a i n : V i t t o r i o K l o s t e r m a n n . 71. Technê w o u l d always have to d o w i t h w h a t n e i t h e r proceeds f r o m n o r t o itself. I f physis= w h a t presents i t s e l f a n d w h a t a c c o m p l i s h e s itself b y i t self. — T r a n s . especially where there is little to say w h e n the w h o l e o f o u r t r a d i t i o n — a l l o u r t h i n k i n g a b o u t " u s " — w i l l have to revolve a r o u n d it. C h r i s T u r n e r ( L o n d o n a n d N e w Y o r k : V e r s o . w h i c h i s t a k e n u p a g a i n i n M a t t h e w 22:39 a n h u m a n i z a t i o n o f the b e i n g . trans. w h i c h is to say. " The Coming Community. " W e have stayed w i t h "disclose" because i t i s m o r e consistent w i t h the extant translations o f Heidegger's w o r k . Corpus (Paris: A n n e . J e a n . trans. " L i t e r a t u r e a n d the R i g h t t o D e a t h . C h a r l o t t e M a n d e l (Stanford. 78. C a l i f . I n this p a r t i c u l a r essay. a n d in the other chapters. the general c r i t i q u e o f the " s p e c t a c u l a r " — o f m e d i a t i z a t i o n . agap. " a n d o n the d e m a n d that a n " o n t o l o g y o f the r e l a t i o n " b e elaborated a c c o r d i n g t o these c o n d i t i o n s . together w i t h the c o m m a n d m e n t t o love G o d ." 6 9 .' a n d also the w h o l e o f w h a t has o c c u r r e d t o this p o i n t " ["Sprache. Aber sie gerade die ursprung lichste Entmenschung des Menschen als V o r h a n d e n e s L e b e n w e s e n und 'Subjekt' und ailes Bisherigen"] ( M a r t i n Heidegger. caritas. . Cartesian Meditations. o b v i o u s l y . 1995). " species p r o liferate a n d live alongside o n e another. 32. . W h e t h e r i t i s belligerent. T h e c r i t i q u e o f the spectacular has been p e r f o r m i n g its r o u t i n e for s o m e t i m e — b u t n o w i t i s b e g i n n i n g t o get o l d .202 Notes to Pages 70-79 Notes to Pages 80-88 203 o f the "spectacle" a s s u c h . the p l a y b e t w e e n i t a n d o t h e r w o r d s t h a t share its r o o t ." d o i n g s o i n o r d e r t o m a i n t a i n a c e r t a i n c o n s i s t e n c y w i t h the c o n text. " o r c o m m a n d m e n t . 6 7 . the v a r i a t i o n s o f "to d i s c l o s e " f o u n d i n this p a r a g r a p h are translations o f s o m e v a r i a t i o n o f ouvrir. F o r e x a m p l e . t o the w o r k o f D e r r i d a a n d L a c o u e L a b a r t h e o n mimesis. w e s w i t c h b a c k a n d f o r t h b e t w e e n "to a p pear" a n d "to s p r i n g f o r t h " . s o m e t i m e s g e n u i n e l y " f o o l i s h . M o r e o f t e n t h a n n o t .6 5 . 1^6-6^. I n a l m o s t every case. t h u s . t h e n the " w i t h " i s o f a different order. 1 6 4 . A l t h o u g h the F r e n c h w o r d 68. T h i s also u n d e r l i e s the l o g i c o f the " p o l i t i c s o f f r i e n d s h i p " o f the f o r m D e r r i d a proposes t o d e c o n s t r u c t . T h e task is this: the d e c o n s t r u c t i o n of t h e o l o g ical and/or s e n t i m e n t a l C h r i s t i a n i t y . 160. " we have translated it here. w e chose the later i n those cases w h e r e its r e l a t i o n t o g r o w t h a n d surprise i s i m p o r t a n t . " i n The Work of Fire." " d i l i g e s p r o c i m u m t u u m sicut t e i p s u m " : love others a s y o u love y o u r s e l f — t h e " g o l d e n r u l e . w h e t h e r spoken or silent. as "exp o s i t i o n ." B u t this i d e o l o g y k n o w s n o t h i n g a b o u t the g e n u i n e use " p e o p l e " m a k e o f T V — a use that is. i n c l u d i n g " p o s e . H u s s e r l . a n d . w i t h disparity. I w i l l n o t stop to c o n s i d e r here the intricacies of ideas that i n c l u d e "love" at the core: ros. "apapéseis t o n plésion s o u ô s seautov. I b i d . is the first a n d m o s t extensive being living present-there a n d 'sub- " e x h i b i t i o n . 76.M a r i e M é t a i l i é . o r d i s d a i n f u l . trans. " We have d o n e so in order to m a i n t a i n . as m u c h as possible. I b i d . " "posed. 63. 61. m u c h m o r e d i s t a n c e d t h a n the critics w o u l d l i k e t o a d m i t — o r a n y t h i n g a b o u t the real state. 77." " i n v i e w of. M i c h a e l H a r d t ( M i n n e a p o l i s : U n i v e r s i t y o f M i n n e s o t a Press. d J a m e s 2:8. w h i c h means "to o p e n . 75. w h i n i n g . o f the "love o n e another. w e have t r a n s l a t e d surgir as "to a p pear. " a l l the laws a n d p r o p h e c i e s . the theater of the toga a n d the Senate. " " i n favor of. 6 6 . H e i d e g g e r . M a u r i c e B l a n c h o t . 7 0 . Giorgio Agamben. 6 4 . 73." " a c c o r d i n g t o . w h i c h s u m m a r i z e s . w h i c h insists o n the i n t r i n s i c c o n n e c t i o n s between "the necessity o f appearance" a n d the "social r e l a t i o n s h i p . " w h i c h i s t o say. Umwillen m a y be translated as " w i t h regard t o . i t i s m o s t interested i n p r o p a g a t i n g the n o t i o n that i t possesses the k e y to w h a t is an i l l u s i o n a n d w h a t is not. a n d to the w o r k o f E t i e n n e B a l i b a r i n The Phibsophy of Marx. T h e [ F r e n c h ] R e v o l u t i o n a n d the G e r m a n R o m a n t i c s d i d present another. exposition is m o r e o f t e n t r a n s l a t e d as "Language. 9 8 ." "for the love o f " (um Gottes Willen!). I n m o s t o f the o t h e r essays. r e p u b l i c a n R o m e as the p o l i t i c a l theater that was i m m e d i a t e a n d w i t h o u t theater. ob g e s p r o c h e n o d e r g e s c h w i e g e n . A l l this refers. O r so it appears. c o n t i g u i t y . N o r w i l l I consider the J u d e o .

Sovereignty-Technê 1. ed. 539 (Paris. 21 Mostovi ( B e l g r a d e . " It is this latter d e f i n i t i o n that seems to i n f o r m the t r a n s i t i o n N a n c y wants to m a k e f r o m Bei sich: o n e w o u l d have to r e s p o n d . Marxisme. i n o r d e r to. L a w . " o n e s h o u l d keep i n m i n d that w h a t is c o n t a i n e d therein is the reference to s o m e t h i n g l i k e "a dispersal of explosive b r i l l i a n c e . t h e n . G i v e n the fact that this text is firmly b o u n d up w i t h the events of the day. J u n e 1991)." a n d o f the " r i g h t a t itself. trans. " a n d " h a p p e n e d . A g a i n . In a d d i t i o n . the m u t u a l i n t r i c a t i o n a n d d i s t a n c i n g . 308. " "to c o m e . d i r e c t o r o f Transeuropéennes. T h e request for the piece o r i g i n a l l y c a m e f r o m G h i s l a i n e G l a s s o n . " "to a r r i v e . to the c o n s t a n t c r o s s i n g over. 1995). 79. as it appears in the o r i g i n a l F r e n c h e d i t i o n . A n n S m o c k ( L i n c o l n : U n i - versity o f N e b r a s k a Press. a n d i t i s n o t " m i n e " . the " u n i q u e b i r t h " o f the language o f w o r k . In a l m o s t every case. " " h a p p e n i n g . c o n n e c t i o n to his earlier use o f the w o r d écart. Rather.—Trans. " " l a w . w h i c h never stops t a l k i n g a b o u t this t a l k o f d e a t h . M a r c h 1993). V e r e n a A n d e r m a t t C o n l e y ( M i n n e a p o l i s : U n i v e r s i t y o f M i n - nesota Press. The Space of Literature. a n d v a r i e g a t i o n are also i m p l i e d . H e i d e g g e r . the F r e n c h text appeared i n Transeuropéennes no. O u r translation benefited greatly f r o m a review of the t r a n s l a t i o n offered by Jeffrey S. the t r a n s l a t i o n offered o f the q u o t a t i o n i s ours. w i t h the a i m o f Mitsein w o u l d be actually coessenrewrite Being and Time: this is n o t a O n e c a n guess w i t h o u t m u c h t r o u N a n c y is l a y i n g o u t e x p l i c i t l y the r i d i c u l o u s p r e t e n s i o n . s k i r m i s h . b u t also a m i n g l i n g of a m o r e sexual nature. a n d i n S e r b i a n i n ment n o .204 Notes to Pages ço—102 Notes to Pages 102—i$ç 205 sity Press. — T r a n s . P u b l i s h e d i n Les Temps Modernes n o . as w e l l as its saying s o m e t h i n g l i k e " m i x t u r e " or " m u d d l e . or scuffle. It a l m o s t c e r t a i n l y goes w i t h o u t s a y i n g that t r a n s l a t i n g the F r e n c h word le droit is a d i f f i c u l t task. the i n d i c a t i o n s f r o m Heidegger's Beitrdge zur Eulogy for the Mêlée Lettrelnternationale n o . N a n c y ' s essay. 81. a n d n o t f r o m the above E n g l i s h e d i t i o n . T h r o u g h o u t this piece. it is a l m o s t i n v a r i a b l y the case that w h e n either the w o r d " l a w " or the w o r d " r i g h t " appears it is as the t r a n s l a t i o n o f droit. as its c o n n e c t i o n to the verbs ble that this necessity also belongs to the stakes of a p o l i t i c a l r e w r i t i n g . Siân R e y n o l d s ( B e r k e l e y a n d L o s A n g e l e s : U n i v e r s i t y of C a l i f o r n i a Press. T h i s essay a p p e a r e d i n G e r m a n i n ( B e r l i n . It h o l d s as w e l l for w h a t ensued. ever since H e g e l at least. i n the f u n d a m e n t a l s t r u c t u r e o f the "self. t o f u r n i s h the o v e r a b u n d a n t e v i dence for this. w h e r e w o r k u n w o r k s itself. " The Surprise of the Event 1. " "to be on the way. O n e s h o u l d also keep i n m i n d the various o t h e r translations that m i g h t b e offered o f the same w o r d . S i n c e p u b l i s h e d as " W a r . W e have d o n e o u r best t o r e m a i n a t t u n e d t o the course o f the text a n d t o choose the a p p r o p r i a t e t r a n s l a t i o n i n each i n s t a n c e . See his " C o m m u n i c a t i o n a n d the W o r k . S e e i n g as the w h o l e of Braudel's b o o k is m o r e t h a n 1. apart f r o m s o m e t i n y e d i t o r i a l details. Right. i t s h o u l d n o t b e read a s m e a n i n g o n l y a c o n f u s e d fight. a fray. mélange to mêlée. 1 ( G e n e v a : C e n t r e européen de la c u l t u r e . insofar as they are 82. the ideas b u t one s h o u l d read t a i n f l u i d i t y w i t h his use o f " d i s p e r s i o n . T h e F r e n c h w o r d Philosophie f r o m page 319 to the e n d ." T h e "for itself. 2." o f the "near t o i t self. 1993) a n d was r e p r i n t e d i n Mlmensuel. scrap. 71 (Paris. is o n l y the result. — T r a n s . Being and Time. l'écartement. 1993). i t r e m a i n s a n u n t r a n s l a t e d F r e n c h w o r d m e a n i n g a fight. m a k e clear. I have n o t a l l o w e d m y s e l f t o m o d i f y i t . a l t h o u g h we have c o n - l'écartement as "the d i s p e r s a l . — T r a n s . " W i t h i n this text. trans. that is. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II. S o . B u t this i s the w h o l e o f B l a n c h o t ' s w o r k .500 pages. " so as to m a i n t a i n a cer- mêler a n d se mêler ("to m i x " ) mélange untranslated." o f the " i n itself. exactly because it means b o t h " r i g h t " a n d II . — T r a n s . 1982). 4. b u t t e d i o u s . J u l y 1994). F e r n a n d B r a u d e l . I n u s i n g the w o r d sistently translated Being and Time. 1995). 1993). 83. " — T r a n s .D e s c h a u m e s . 8 0 . mêlée has entered the E n g l i s h language i n a n i m - p o v e r i s h e d f o r m . Rethinking Tech- nologies. I t w o u l d b e easy. i t i s the necessity o f a l l the ours. " is s o m e v e r s i o n o f the F r e n c h w o r d arriver. here. War. m i x i n g . S o v e r e i g n t y — T e c h n ê ." since i t occurs a n d i f i t o c c u r s . 2. o f m i x t u r e . mouve1. w e leave the w o r d here its c o n n e c t i o n to the above-cited mêlée." a n d so forth. I have i n m i n d . does n o t give the page n u m b e r o f this q u o t a t i o n f r o m B r a u d e l . It is necessary to m a j o r w o r k s . 3. translations w h i c h suggest o t h e r i m p o r t a n t c o n n o t a t i o n s : "to o c c u r . as a w o r d i n E n g l i s h . take u p again the ensemble o f k n o w n indications from suggesting a r e c o m p o s i t i o n i n w h i c h tial a n d o r i g i n a r y . that is. w h a t we translate here as " h a p p e n . m o t l e y . L i b r e t t in the above t e x t .

Peggy K a m u f ( C h i c a g o : U n i v e r s i t y o f C h i c a g o Press. or to b e m o r e precise. Is s u c h a c o n c e p t itself again s u b o r d i n a t e d to the c o n c e p t o f the t i m e o f presence (already present a n d h o m o g e n o u s w i t h itself).i s . f i / b a s i l e u s . the o n e we have used in this essay." T h e significant difference c o m e s i n the last phrase. 1982). but a knowledge of w h a t . 6. — T r a n s . a n d that the event ( o f B e i n g ) is here. 91. 12. a n d p o r t i o n s o f Given Time: I. 10. trans. 588. tive L o g i c . 4. w h i c h we translated earlier as "to o c c u r . It is the worthless r o c k o r v e i n m a t t e r f r o m w h i c h v a l u a b l e metals o r m i n e r a l s are e x t r a c t e d . a n d the n o u n le survenue means "a sudden or unexpected a r r i v a l . e d . 11. — T r a n s . T h e F r e n c h t r a n s l a t i o n says s o m e t h i n g m o r e l i k e the f o l l o w i n g : " P h i l o s o p h y must not be a story of what happens. trans. W . 1995). M a r t i n Heidegger.206 Notes to Pages 159—168 9. has a different e m p h a s i s t h a n the o n e g i v e n i n the F r e n c h t r a n s l a t i o n o f the same sentence. " L o g i q u e du c o n c e p t " is the title of the seco n d v o l u m e o f Hegel's tion. w h i c h means "to be s u i t a b l e . " or "to be fitting. — Trans.b e i n g .n o t . the existent c o n d i t i o n o f B e i n g (or the " e x i s t e n t i a l " o f B e i n g i t s e l f ) . b u t i t i s n o t often used except in certain specialized discourses. I n the above text. it is a matter of " o r i g i n a r y t e m p o r a l i t y . Survenir. H e g e l . J . " also has the c o n - n o t a t i o n o f o c c u r r i n g u n e x p e c t e d l y . 1989). w h i c h i n M i l l e r ' s t r a n s l a t i o n says "mere h a p p e n i n g " a n d in the F r e n c h t r a n s l a t i o n says "pure event. or does it exclude itself f r o m it? T h i s is the m o s t i m p o r t a n t t h i n g at stake in a debate entirely i n t e r n a l to Heidegger. T h e r e f o r e . In the F r e n c h e d i t i o n . trans. was wahr d a r i n ist. A . T h e w o r d "gangue" exists b o t h i n F r e n c h a n d E n g l i s h . Counterfeit Money. " b u t these instances are m a r k e d i n the t e x t .a s being. : H u m a n i r i e s Press I n t e r n a t i o n a l . M a r c h 1998). I b i d . compare trans.—Trans. F. "the event. H e g e l . M i l l e r ( A t l a n t i c H i g h l a n d s . o r the D o c t r i n e o f the N o t i o n " i n the a b o v e E n g l i s h e d i - Journal européen. — T r a n s . covenance as " p r o p r i e t y ." Margins of Philosophy. 1992).B e i n g . " — T r a n s . 3 . 591. 211. 1965). 8. trans.—Trans. trans. See § 2 2 a n d §35 o f M a r t i n H e i d e g g e r ' s Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics." Alain Badiou. is true. 2 . T h e t r a n s l a t i o n i n t o E n g l i s h is o u r s . 1990). N o r m a n K e m p S m i t h ( N e w Y o r k : St. L'être et l'événement (Paris: E d i t i o n s d u S e u i l . 1984).w h i c h . It is " n o t . a n d then o p e n e d between D e r r i d a a n d Heidegger." H o w e v e r . Perhaps it is necessary to t h i n k that it is presence w h i c h precedes i r s e l f — t h a t presents i t s e l f — h e t e r o g e n e o u s to itself. Sergio M o r a v i a . 3. V . Hegel's Science of Logic. 7. T h i s text was first p u b l i s h e d i n use o f peripeteia. h e l s i n k i . 4 8 . . 1988). 2 6 0 ) . " H u m a n E x c e s s . in s u c h h a p p e n i n g .a s . M a r t i n ' s Press." b u t we have c h o s e n the w o r d "episode" to reserve the speci- l'événement. w e have rendered it as " s u i t a b i l i t y " i n o r d e r that it f o l l o w m o r e closely f r o m the verb convenir. Notes to Pages 168-188 207 2. F. i n a few cases. F o r ex- covenance as " p r o p r i e t y " i n order to m a i n t a i n a certain p r o x i m i t y w i t h the F r e n c h w o r d s propre a n d provenance. s o n d e r n eine E r k e n n t i s dessen. H e g e l . " ] ( G . u n d aus d e m W a h r e n s o i l sie ferner das begreifen. D e n i s Fernandez-Récatala la péripétie w o u l d be a n d G i a n n i B u r a t t o n i (Paris: E c r i t u r e . The Fundamental Concepts of 'Metaphysics. N o d o u b t all parties to the expressing s u c h a m i n i m u m . " the m a j o r c o n cept o f Being and Basileus. I m m a n u e l K a n t . an Internet p h i l o s o p h y j o u r - n a l . that is the c o n d i t i o n of B e i n g . " w e t r a n s l a t e d the w o r d Time. trans. E v e n a n d e s p e c i a l l y i f i t "reveals the t h a t . N . w e have o n c e again translated "Ousia and Gramme: A N o t e o n a N o t e f r o m Being and Time. 5. Hegel's Science of Logic. R i c h a r d Taft ( B l o o m i n g t o n : I n d i a n a U n i v e r s i t y Press. P a u l M i n k k i n e n ( h t t p : / / w w w . T h e m o s t c o m m o n t r a n s l a t i o n o f the w o r d ficity o f the t e r m "event" for t r a n s l a t i n g keep i n m i n d Aristotle's Science of Logic. ample. A l a n Bass ( C h i c a g o : U n i v e r s i t y o f C h i c a g o Press. was gesehiet. a n d i n d e e d between D e r r i d a a n d himself. " t h e n . 501 ff. disputatio w o u l d agree o n this as an (essential) m i n i m u m — a t least insofar as this is o n l y the b e g i n n i n g of WissenschaftderLogic [ F r a n k f u r t a m M a i n : S u h r k a m p V e r l a g . B u t o n e s h o u l d also Cosmos Baselius 1.b e i n g . w h i c h is translated b y " S u b j e c Human Excess 1. Critique of Pure Reason. . W . 218. W i l l i a m M c N e i l l and Nicholas Walker (Bloomington: Indiana University Press." ["Aber die P h i l o s o p h i e s o l i k e i n e E r z à h l u n g dessen s e i n . a n d b e g i n n i n g f r o m the true ir must also conceive of w h a t in the narrative appears as a pure event. G . 1969]. I n the p r e v i o u s essay. T h e transl a t i o n offered by M i l l e r . was in der E r z à h l u n g als e i n bloftes G e s c h e h e n ers c h e i n t .

and Time E r n s t B l o c h . Potentialities: Collected Essays E l l e n S. In Praise of Nonsense: Kant and Bluebeard Giorgio Agamben. Reading Theory W i n f r i e d M e n n i n g h a u s . Sound Figures . God. The Social System of Art E m m a n u a l Levinas. The Man Without Content The End of the Poem: Studies in Poetics T h e o d o r W . The Gray Book D e b o r a h E s c h . Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas W e r n e r H a r n a c h e r .M E R I D I A N Crossing Aesthetics Jean-Luc Nancy. B u r t . Being Singular Plural The Instant of My Death I M a u r i c e B l a n c h o t / Jacques D e r r i d a . Poetry's Appeal: Nineteenth-Century French Lyric and the Political Space Jacques D e r r i d a . The Spirit of Utopia G i o r g i o A g a m b e n . Giorgio Agamben. Demeure: Fiction and Testimony N i k l a s L u h m a n n . Premises: Essays on Philosophy and Literature from Kant to Celan A r i s Fioretos. Death. In the Event: Reading Journalism. A d o r n o .

Hillis Miller. The Birth to Presence Friendship The Muses M a s s i m o C a c c i a r i . Poetry as Experience Jacques D e r r i d a .L a b a r t h e . Jacques D e r r i d a . 1: The Fault of Epimetheus W e r n e r H a r n a c h e r . The Little Book of Unsuspected Subversion H a n s . B e r n a r d Stiegler. C o r n e l i u s C a s t o r i a d i s . Literary Essays M a r c F r o m e n t . Lessons on the Analytic Sublime Peter Fenves. Philosophy. Technics and Time. At Odds with AIDS: Thinking and Talking About a Virus Maurice Blanchot. P h i l i p p e L a c o u e .L a b a r t h e . World in Fragments: Writings on Politics. The Specular Moment: Goethe's Early Lyric and the Beginnings of Romanticism .L a b a r t h e . E m m a n u e l Levinas..J o s t Frey. E r n s t B l o c h . pleroma—Reading in Hegel Topographies Serge Leclaire. Translation. That Is to Say: Heidegger's Poetics The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field Psychoanalysis N i c o l a s A b r a h a m . Resistances of Psychoanalysis Rimbaud. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life E m m a n u e l Levinas. "Chatter": Language and History in Kierkegaard J e a n . Musica Ficta (Figures of Wagner) Jacques D e r r i d a . Soap P h i l l i p e L a c o u e .Louis M a r i n . Posthumous People: Vienna at the Turning Point D a v i d E. IÇJ4—1Ç94 J. The Problem of a Chinese Aesthetic Jean-Luc Nancy. Oedipus. Philosopher H a u n Saussy. Rhythms: On the Work. Jean-François L y o t a r d .J o s e p h G o u x . Wellbery. Society. and Francis Ponge. P h i l i p p e L a c o u e . Psychoanalyzing Serge L e c l a i r e .M e u r i c e . Points . : Interviews. Baudelaire. Sublime Poussin E d m o n d Jabès. and the Imagination T h o m a s K e e n a n . Typography: Mimesis. The Work of Fire Jacques D e r r i d a . Hblderlin Pierre B o u r d i e u . The Experience of Freedom J e a n . Prosthesis Of God Who Comes to Mind M a u r i c e B l a n c h o t . Jean-Luc Nancy. Psychoanalysis.L u c N a n c y . Politics G i o r g i o A g a m b e n . Fables of Responsibility: Aberrations and Predicaments in Ethics and Politics E m m a n u e l L e v i n a s .. Proper Names Alexander Garcia D i i t t m a n n . A Child Is Being Killed Writings on Art and Literature Aporias Outside the Subject Sigmund Freud. Studies in Poetic Discourse: Mallarmé. On the Name D a v i d W i l l s .

Counseled Ascent (\eh) a n d Conseil de Cent (right). such as Nietzsche's doctrine of "eternal recurrence." Descartes's "cogito.T h i s book. Reproduced by permission of the artist. is a b r i l l i a n t discussion o f identity a n d h y b r i d i s m that resonates w i t h m a n y c o n t e m p o r a r y social concerns. he engages a n u m b e r of other i m p o r t a n t issues. M E R I D I A N : CROSSING AESTHETICS S T A N F O R D U N I V E R S I T Y PRESS WWW. " that " I " is not p r i o r to "we.w i t h " not as a comfortable enclosure in a pre-existing group. a n d the tragic p l i g h t of Sarajevo.w i t h . As N a n c y moves t h r o u g h the exposition of his central c o n c e r n .ORt C o v e r Illustration: D a n i e l Richardson. and m u l t i cultural concepts. identity politics." a n d the nature of language a n d m e a n i n g . by one of the most innovative and challenging c o n t e m p o r a thinkers. 1999.SUP. i n c l u d i n g current notions of the "other" and "self" that are relevant to psychoanalytic." that existence is essentially co-existence. but as a m u t u a l a b a n d o n m e n t a n d exposure to each other. T h e five shorter essays impressively translate the p h i l o s o p h i c a l insight of " B e i n g Singular P l u r a l " into sophisticated discussions of national sovereignty. T h e fundamental argument of the b o o k is that being is always " b e i n g w i t h . p o l i t i c a l . war and technology. T h e essay " E u l o g y for the Mêlée. b e i n g . Brommer." in particular. " O n e of the strongest strands in Nancy's p h i l o s o p h y is his attempt to rethink c o m m u n i t y and the very idea of the social in a way that does not g r o u n d these ideas in some i n d i v i d u a l subject or subjectivity. ( over design: James V. using the series concepi 9 780804 739757 11 11 11 . He also offers astonishingly original reinterpretations of major p h i l o s o p h i c a l positions. the G u l f War. N a n c y thinks of this " b e i n g . consists of an extensive essay f r o m w h i c h the b o o k takes its title a n d five shorter essays that are internally related to " B e i n g Singular P l u r a l . one that w o u l d preserve the " I " a n d its freedom in a mode of i m a g i n i n g c o m m u n i t y as neither a "society of spectacle" nor via some f o r m of authenticity.

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