As I look back my last post, I realise that a concern with non-philosophy was there with me in the context of Zen’s non-philosophy. Given that I am not acquainted with Laurelle’s notion of “non-philosophy”, I was trying to make the former a passage to the latter in order to approach Terence’s ideas. But, giving the matter further thought, I realised that there is an essential difference between making an assemblages and receiving one. A thinker knows his/her work as a farmer knows a land s/he has cultivated and recultivated, while a receiver is confronted by the same work as one is in the farms by a crop s/he has never seen before.
Now, on the other hand, I learn from Terence’s work that one of the issues at stake in the discussion of “non-philosophy” is the conflation of concept generating and differential activities with transformational state of self-creation or with that of knowledge/methodological creation for (interdisciplinary) research. This seems to reveal the degree to which the current configuration of “non-philosophy” has been altered from the previous generation of Continental philosophers (Terence includes Feverabend, Deleuze, Lyotard, Derrida and Foucault in this category here), and to which “non-philosophy” seems to have been fixed in the “anything-goes” imagination by a century of scientific and other methodological imperatives. Furthermore, the recurrent myths of anarchism without rules in philosophy’s modern origins, however imaginary, appear to contribute not only to linear notions of “empirical progress”, but also serve to ideologically fix what can only be epistemologically, scientifically, theoretically, ontologically, and perhaps socially (as in all of the senses mentioned above) contingent applications of knowledge.
Just as “non-philosophy” has changed; perhaps philosophy has changed; or at least it may be said that philosophy has been repurposed, opened up, left for all those interested. What has happened in this process between “non-philosophy” and “philosophy”, I cannot know. But I imagine this to be a philosophical question, one that Feyerabend could have asked, like: What other possibilities might exist for philosophy in the popular imagination, what significance might philosophy have outside of the practice of academy? As Terence writes here:
“Feyerabend wanted more responsibility, not less, and proposed that all those concerned, in citizen assemblies, should decide on what ontologies, theories, methods to apply – and not just the experts”.
If you visit Terence’s blog and this (thanks to Terence for directing us here), you see that Terence and other thinkers, independently or collectively, have been prying “non-philosophy” out of the confinement of academic philosophy for some extended collaboration, and continue to explore “non-philosophy” in terms of its philosophical phenomena. Here I refer not to practices of generating new concepts, subverting or transforming philosophical content or formats, but to experiments of collaborations themselves such as micro-blogging, which are not, in the end, alienating, but very much with us: experimental, material and affective. Such practices of collaboration propose entry points into realms that surround us daily but escape from our unassisted perceptions: the otherwise inaccessible (or hard to access) philosophical terrains folded by the activities of philosophical and non-philosophical thoughts/experiments (scientific, aesthetic so on).
I’m not sure if this is an accurate description of “non-philosophy”, but in my understanding of it now, those that are not confined to the framework of academic philosophy that appear to be experimental, material and affective, opening the doors of the philosophy to whom it may concern that happen to be in the environment are perhaps the beginning of “non-philosophy”. But I suspect there are those who are in the environment, and somehow either move to a halfway point and say “controversial” or depart to a greater distance and question whether this “non-philosophy” is philosophy at all. If this was the case, this is perhaps telling the extent to which the openness exists in the fields of “non-philosophy”.
The Zen garden of Ryōan-ji reflects its environment, presenting to the spectator images of mountains, rocks, rivers, mists, and many more, according to the situation. And while looking at the constructions set up by the founder Hosokawa Katsumoto, it is inevitable that one will see other things, if they happen to be sensed, through the network of imaginary or ethereal wires. John Cage writes in Silence: Lectures and Writings,
“There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot”(Cage, 1961, 8).
Photo associated with this project found via Creative Commons at: