Even in its best moments, philosophy perpetually abstracts the philosopher from the world the philosopher describes. The philosopher surveys the whole as a view from nowhere, as an impassive and independent look, without itself being implicated in that upon which it gazes. When discussing contradiction or antagonisms, for instance, these antagonisms are set side by side and investigated by the philosophical subject, as if the philosophical subject were a neutral onlooker that is itself outside or independent of these antagonisms. Yet if, as Deleuze argues in the 16th chapter of The Logic of Sense, “…the individual is inseparable from a world” (109), determined by a distribution of pre-individual singularities, how could such a gaze fail to be a point of view. However, here I must take care in how I express myself, for as Deleuze remarks in The Fold, “To the degree that it [a site or point of inflection] represents variation or inflection, it can be called point of view. Such is the basis of perspectivism, which does not mean a dependence in respect to a pregiven or defined subject; to the contrary, a subject will be what comes to the point of view or rather what remains in the point of view” (19). Just as Einstein observed with the constancy of light, it is not subjects that individuate points of view, but rather points of view that individuate subjects.
There are brief moments where philosophy approaches a form, a writing, that would be equal to this content. Perhaps Nietzsche’s use of the aphorism as a method expresses such a form. As Deleuze argues in Nietzsche & Philosophy,
Understood formally, an aphorism is present as a fragment; it is the form of a pluralist thought; in its content it claims to articulate and formulate a sense. The sense of a being, an action, a thing– these are the objects of the aphorism… Only the aphorism is capable of articulating sense, the aphorism is interpretation and the art of interpreting. In the way the poem is evaluation and the art of evaluating, it articulates values. But because values and sense are such complex notions, the poem itself must be evaluated, and the aphorism interpreted. (31)
We look in vain for a unifying philosophy behind the aphorisms; but if this is the case then it is because the aphorisms are mandibles that grasp, articulate, or render a fragment of a world. The aphorisms are heterogeneous universes of value or interpretations. Or better yet, they are ways of being in a world that no longer exists as an irreducible unity within which a plurality of agents exist. It is in this sense that the aphorisms form a properly pluralistic thought, where we no longer have a world as such, but rather fragments or competing points of view in which agents are individuated and where a clamor of voices, filled with antagonisms, fill our ears… Our ears which are also among and within these fragments. Perhaps we also find a similar writing in Blanchot’s Writing of Disaster, or Adorno’s Minima Moralia and Prisms. These are moments in the history of philosophy where form strives to be adequate to the content, and the form of the sovereign subject is itself shattered, such that it can only enter into the work as one voice among others.
Describing the literature of Roger Vailland, Lefebvre writes,
In this book [325,000 francs], as in Vailland’s earlier novels, the author appears as such. He says: “I”. He intervenes as a witness, designating the characters and situating them, entering into dialogue with them, inviting the reader to decide what attitude to adopt towards them: what judgment to make. Here judgment is inseparable from event; it is rigorously included in the story. This authorial presence has various meanings, and not simply on the level of technique. It is Roger Vailland’s way– and a very simple way it is –of resolving a difficult literary problem, that of novelistic consciousness or of consciousness in the novel. Who is speaking? Who is seeing, who saw the actions in the story? Who bridges the gap between the lived in the true. How has the speaker seen or heard about the things he narrates? How has he been able to foretell or sense what will happen next? Who has detected the character’ motives (hidden even to themselves)? And as he is drawn on by the great movement called ‘reading’, with whom does the reader identify, in whose consciousness does he participate? (Critique of Everyday Life, Volume I, 26)
In Vailland’s literature the author is no longer a sovereign onlooker outside the events narrated, but is there amongst the events as a point of view. Nor are we confronted simply with a first person point of view or a stream of consciousness, but rather a heterogeneity of points of view. In this way, the reader is implicated or participates in the novel as yet another point of view in a manner similar to how Brecht strives to implicate the audience in the spectacle. Antagonisms are thereby able to reveal themselves as antagonisms, blind spots as blind spots as blind spots, points of hesitation and indecision as points of indecision. The author is no longer transcendent to the novel, but immanent to the novel, and the reader is no longer a voyeur… Or rather, perhaps the reader becomes aware precisely of his voyeurism by being implicated in the events.
Would it be possible to write philosophically in a way adequate to this form? Would it be possible to write philosophically in a way that no longer posits a meta-theory in this way? Plato sometimes seems to be a joker of this sort.