I found particularly compelling, out of the many intriguing aspects of this Afterword, the link between plasticity and materialism. What is specifically interesting here is the connection between plasticity and political materialism—while the capacity of plasticity to conceptualize an ontological materialism has been a recurring theme, it is only here that the link between plasticity and political materialism comes into explicit (though very brief) view. What should we do? With our brains, yes, but the question’s force extends more widely. The ability to ask this question presupposes that there is something that we can do, that the future is subject to our decision (even if only sometimes). It is here that we see the link between political and ontological materialism—the refusal of any outside becomes the condition of possibility for political capacity.
This last point seems, to me, to be one of the key lessons of the ongoing polemic against Levinas, and against the conscription of Derrida into a Levinasian manner of thinking. So my question is how to think this sort of decision, or if decision is not the best word, then the question is how to think the answer to—or the ability to answer—“What should we do?” Furthermore, should the discussion of Freud on Michelangelo’s Moses, where what is valorized is the refusal to give into inclination—and this, notably, is tied up in the refusal to flee a people, a refusal that has a divine character—be understood as a condition for becoming adequate to the question of “What should we do?”
Finally, I think it is worth recalling Ryan’s discussion of Malabou’s account of the fantastic. What does the fantastic, or the imaginary—or, to use my own preference, Deleuze’s mythmaking function / fabulation—have to do with the ability, thought by plasticity, to decide on our future? Plasticity, in its ontological and political materialism, rightly resists the exteriority that expropriates from us the ability to decide on the future, but must it refer to the fantastic in order to give determination to this decision?