Multifarious Philosophy

I found the cutting-edge of the creative advance of Whitehead studies.  It’s in the new anthology edited by Jeremy Fackenthal and Roland Faber, Theopoetic Folds: Philosophizing Multifariousness (Fordham, 2013).  It takes its cue from Whitehead’s philosophy, particularly on two points.

First: Multiplicity.
“Philosophy may not neglect the multifariousness of the world—the fairies dance, and Christ is nailed to the cross” (Whitehead, Process and Reality, 338).

Second: Poetics.
Theology is most effective and interesting when it is theopoetics, not only in the sense that poetic speech about God is more accurate than prosaic or formulaic speech, but also in the sense that God is “the poet of the world” (ibid., 336).

This is a must-read book for anybody dealing with Whitehead studies.  Even if you aren’t interested in poetics or radical theology, the book contains a lot of other discussions relevant to metaphysics, cosmology, ecology, and the history of philosophy.  My favorite essays in this collection are in the penultimate section, “The Pluriverse,” which focuses on the cosmological/ecological dimension of Whitehead’s theopoetic philosophy, including pieces from Catherine Keller, Luke Higgins, and Roland Faber.

The piece by Faber presents an “eco-theopoetics” that synthesizes Whitehead and Deleuze in a radical affirmation of wild multiplicity after the “ecological death of God.”  Moreover, “wild” does not refer to any identity or opposition of nature or culture, but is about the necessity of our constitutive contingency in the chaosmos.  Nature and humanity are put back in their place (khora), becoming “eco-nature” and “becoming intermezzo.”

The New Deleuze

How many books on Deleuze are coming out in the next year?  A lot.  The Deleuzian trend is far from waning.  However, the trends is transforming, growing rhizomatic offshoots.

There are a couple lines that I see developing in new Deleuze scholarship.  One is indicated by the name of Clayton Crockett’s forthcoming work, Deleuze Beyond Badiou: Ontology, Multiplicity, and Event.  Badiou’s reading of Deleuze has been very influential, yet it misses and misrepresents a lot of Deleuze’s thought (including Deleuze’s work with Guattari).  Deleuze isn’t necessarily the monistic thinker that Badiou portrays.  With the work of Crockett and many others, I think that Deleuze scholarship will continue to move “beyond Badiou,” and there is a multiplicity of directions available for such a move. 

Along with the move beyond Badiou, another growing edge in Deleuze scholarship is a turn toward the religious and spiritual folds of Deleuze’s thought, which could also be framed as an appropriation of Deleuze by fields of theology and religious studies.  Again, Clayton Crockett’s work is indicative of this turn, as he’s been using Deleuze to do political theology (see Crockett’s Radical Political Theology).  I’ve been interested in the spiritual/religious implications of Deleuze for years, and there has been relatively little written about it, with some notable exceptions, including works of process theologians (e.g., Catherine Keller, Roland Faber, Luke Higgins), the anthology Deleuze and Religion (ed. Mary Bryden), and an issue of the journal SubStance (39.1) on “Spiritual Politics after Deleuze.” 

 There are three books coming out soon that focus on Deleuze’s work in terms of theology, religion, and spirituality. 

Deleuze and Theology, by Christopher Simpson

Theology after Deleuze, Kristien Justaert 

The Hermetic Deleuze: Philosophy and Spiritual Ordeal, by Joshua Ramey