Below is a translation of a section entitled “Man-in-person: Critique of the Trinity” from Laruelle’s Le Christ futur. I’ve posted it for two groups of people – the theologians and philosophy of religion types who may be interested in another, very different Continental philosophy of religion and for the Speculative Heresy group that may find this section interesting in so far as it illuminates what Laruelle means by Man-in-person. Reading Laruelle on the Trinity I can’t help but be nagged by the same question I’ve had since I started getting interested in him – is he genius or just insane? You will note that there is no footnotes in the book at all and he rarely shows his learning in these matters. Those wanting a bit more context for this should consult this set of definitions translated by Taylor Adkins at Speculative Heresy. There are some other translations there and a list of pdfs in the resources section for those with even more interest.
In so far as Ray Brassier has been the main, nearly sole, English-language progeny of Laruelle’s work most have tended to focus on the realist and materialist aspects of Laruelle’s philosophy. In so far as Laruelle has engaged quite a bit now with religious ideas, and largely though the mystical tradition of Christianity (in its theological and philosophical forms), I wonder if such a view should be modified in some way. Does Laruelle truly shorn matter from any constituent relation of thought in a way that could be recognized in the old style? Or does his obvious interest in religion (of the particularly weird and fucked up variety) not point to some kind of other realism and some other matter? Do not be lead on; I don’t pretend to have an answer to that.
From François Laruelle, Le Christ futur. Une Leçon d’hérésie (Paris: Exils, 2002). 40-42. Original translation Anthony Paul Smith, 2008
Man-in-person: Critique of the Trinity
Christianity, but more so gnosis, indicates to us Man-in-person as final identity for a theory of religious experience. Man whose act is its own real identity, the irreducible core which makes it human and not just differentiates it from the rest of Creation, more over to which it belongs, but even from this one. Understand then that this real and non transcendent identity, in-Man, was the phenomenal content from which theologians tried to think as “person” when constituting the Trinity. The person constituent of the theological “three persons” conveys the prejudices of anthropology and Greek ontology which must not only be deconstructed but, as we were saying, “dualised” or withdrawn following the rules of unilateral duality that are the way Man-in-person structures his relations in the World [au Monde] and the practice [usage] which he makes of it. In order that the theoretical sense of immanence honour here common speech, we have not just called “person” but “in-Person” the Idenity or the One proper to humans and to the subjects to which they transmit these via the operation of cloning, a rigorous formula of the immanent begetting of Sons of Man. Non-Christianity develops in this manner the non-theological phenomenal content of the Trinity, without making exception for the Holy Spirit, an equivalent to the auto-encompassing sufficiency of philosophy, and which it will understand as the Holy Love of whom mysticism only gives an image.
If the three persons-in-one of the Trinity traces as a closed system the philosophical triad or the structure of the Philosophical decision (2/3 and 3/2), as Hegel exploited it, and does not make testimony to the stranglehold of philosophy as a Greek way of thinking, then non-Christianity will not just oppose to them a unique person whose identity may be dialectical, or an infinite multiplicity of persons (Nietzsche) who repeat the system, but a unique “essence” of “in-Person”. Rather a non-essence than an essence in the final state of auto-position, Man-in-person is a real cause. It is not a prototype since it is not first but possesses only the primacy of the Real and thus forbids all reconstitution of a Trinitarian system. In-person signifies that the World is already also it as given-in-Man, rather than created, and already deprived of its folly of self-importance that decreed it uncreated for the Greek or created for the Christian. It is why Man-in-person may clone (give or produce in-One) from it a Son, a subject generated-without-birth. A subject crucified in its way by the self-importance of the World in the same operation by which as cloned it conquers the death-World [mort-Monde].
We will differentiate thus three instances indicated by “in-Person”:
1. Man, par excellence Uncreated-in-person as cause of two other “in-Persons” (and not of their being-in-the-world [être-dans-le-monde]),
2. the Son of Man as Future Christ, who is the subject, that is to say the World in-Person such as [tel que] given-in-Man rather than of-World [en-Monde] and delivered from the Principle of Sufficient World,
3. The Holy Love as erotic unition [unition] of Christ-subjects.
All are non-conceptual symbols, they are not themselves simply opposed to the concepts of onto-theo-logy but rather make a certain regular use of it by unilateral duality. They undo the supposed universal validity of Christian anthropo-theo-logy and even Gnostic anthro-theo-logy insofar as it conserves Greek ontological presuppositions. Much as onto-theo-logy is of the nature of a system and leads to dogmatism and conservatism, so non-Christianity is a striving to in practice make from doctrine a theoretical instrument of salvation for man-in-the-World [l’homme-dans-le-Monde] and of the World itself. To the spirit of the closed system that invests faith, subjecting man in making him believe in his alienation and in his sin, it substitutes an organon of liberation adequate to the non-consistency which makes it incorruptible as Man and corruptible only as a subject.