title: Thinking-with the human that we are and that we therefore are not - non-anthropocentric anthropomorphism at a thousand concrete worlds
author: Calum Hazell
© 2022 Calum Hazell[^1]
Download: [[Hazell 2022.pdf | pdf]]
**Abstract:** In this paper, I will try to fabricate and then listen in on a conversation between David Lewis, François Laruelle, and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro. The nominated parameters of this conversation entail the logical status of Lewisian possible worlds and its ramifications for otherworldly counterparts, Laruelle’s notion of the radical indifference of the One and its ramifications for a reorientation and democratisation of thought, and Viveiros de Castro’s presentation of a multinatural ontology and its ramifications for contemporary understandings of human being. Rather than adopting a comparative methodology here, my approach will instead be informed by Laruelle’s non-philosophical re-expression of quantum superposition as a means of conducting performative ‘collisions’ between the items at issue. The collisions that I am interested in conducting here are between Lewisian actuality & Laruellean indifference, and between de Castroan humanity & Lewisian actuality. The first superposition gestures towards a radical worldmaking practice for thinking-with a proliferation of spatiotemporally isolated and casually inefficacious worlds (Lewis) via the strategic ‘suspension’ of the World-as-given (Laruelle). The second superposition is concerned with identifying these possible otherworlds – that are nonetheless actual for their own inhabitants (Lewis) – with those projected perspectivally by different species of ‘animal,’ which will ultimately be to say, by different species of an identically enculturated ‘human’ (Viveiros de Castro). In conclusion, I will offer some skeletal principles for a non-anthropocentric practice of anthropomorphism. This practice, I suggest, provides a speculative context for the application of the idempotent products of my superpositions to the question of the encounter between the actual human inhabitants of a thousand concrete worlds.
## A note on method
Methodologically, this paper is less analytic than it is experimental. I am not interested in detailing the relative proximities and divergences of Lewis, Laruelle, and Viveiros de Castro to and from one another here, or in arriving at an even-handed appraisal as to how each of modal realism, non-philosophy, and Amerindian Perspectivism might be said to benefit from being brought into conversation with one another. Instead, I want to try to invoke and apply the quantum mechanical concept of superposition as it comes to be received and remodelled in the later iterations of Laruelle’s non-philosophy project. As Anthony Paul Smith notes,
> When two wave-particles are in superposition… they can be expressed by a non-philosophical re-expression as “1 + 1 = 1,” referring to the fact that… they don’t produce a synthesis but instead their individual identities remain while a new third identity is produced that nevertheless remains those two waves at the same time.[^2]
As a compositional strategy, non-philosophical superposition produces a ‘new,’ yet non-synthetic, ‘identity’ for and out of its nominated resources via non-summative means. Superposition is a non-summative procedure because it does not behave arithmetically.[^3] It does not accumulate or complexify its materials, but details a broader non-standard commitment to their reduction and non-hierarchisation. In a sense, the practice of superposition is both facilitated by this commitment (insofar as its resources must be collided as equals) and performative of it (in such a way that they are *newly* reduced out of their collision). In other words, the particles of thought placed into superposition with one another are understood as democratically aligned inputs productive of ‘algebraically idempotent’ outputs: ‘one can add [another] A’ to the string ‘A + A = A,’ says Laruelle, ‘but it will remain A.’[^4] This speaks, in turn, to the non-synthetic consistency of the ‘new identity’ the superposition might produce. The latter will not result from a critical negotiation, comparison, or compromise between inputs. The one does not apologise to, make concessions for, or accommodate the other. Superposition is not a resolution of difference: in part because, given their alignment in practice, constitutive differences between inputs are not recognised at the outset, and in another part because, as Smith reminds us, their identities ‘nonetheless remain the same.’ Superposition is, as Rocco Gangle and Julius Greve have it, an ’oddly inert or idempotent doubling of an original doubling, a doubling that is not an overdetermined repetition but an underdetermined identity.’[^5]
Also, superposition is not reconciliation, but something altogether more violent, at least in philosophical terms or with a philosophical lens. Superposition treats philosophical or disciplinary resources violently when those resources are understood as belonging to – in the sense of being properties in the service of – philosophical or disciplinary domains. Superposition conducts a Châteletian violence – of abstraction, of dispossession – upon the discipline as such.[^6] It is violent because it speaks to a forced compatibilisation of artefacts that may not recognise one another, such that they may no longer recognise themselves. And it is violent because it won’t allow its philosophical or disciplinary materials to behave in the manner to which they are accustomed, or to go anywhere at all. They don’t go anywhere because they are being ‘suspended’ and because superposition ‘operates,’ as Gangle and Greve note,
> without any teleological aspirations whatsoever. Or, more precisely, its only aspiration in terms of what should be achieved or what point of destination should be reached is already enacted by the construction itself…[^7]
It is with these concerns in mind in that I would like to re-express the non-philosophical re-expression for quantum superposition by substituting for the idempotent operator “+” the common ampersand “&.”[^8] The ampersand is a logogram (for ‘and’/’*et*’) and ligature (of the tokens ‘*e*’ and ‘*t*’) whose usage originates in a Roman shorthand system ‘attested in examples of Pompeiian graffiti.’[^9] The ampersand articulates a definite concretisation of the items indefinitely conjoined via the article with which it has historically, contemporarily (see poetry, marketing, graphic design, instant messaging), but I would contend too readily, been equated. The ampersand names, determines, provides, performs the ‘destination’ for its superposed artefacts to which it adds nothing, that is, only and ‘already enacted by the construction itself.’ The ampersand arranges an alchemical *coniunctio* out of its formal or vectoral placeholders (*e* and *t*) that nonetheless maintains (typographic) fidelity – see, for instance, Times New Roman (&) and Book Antiqua (&) – to the philosophical & democratised identities of its particular inputs. In this light, the ampersand goes some way to demonstrating the kinds of transformation that the superposed items at issue can undergo: they are here (*e*) and there (*t*), their identities remain amidst their collision, but certain of their properties – including, perhaps, certain of those ‘considered natural’ to them[^10] – have been suspended or partially obscured via constructed foregroundings or strategic weightings[^11] of certain others.
Although the technique of superposition that I would like to apply in this paper is ultimately derived from its non-philosophical mobilisation, this should not be taken to imply a Laruellean preponderance over proceedings. Rather, following Alexander Galloway’s approach as regards the digital,[^12] and as a variation upon my own as regards interlanguage,[^13] I am interested in conducting a superposition of both ‘Laruelle onto Lewis,’ and of ‘Lewis onto Viveiros de Castro.’ What this method demands, and what I hope this paper can embody, then, is the adoption of a determinedly naïve attitude with respect to the artefacts under discussion (including the ‘non-philosophical’ ones): that they would be treated as simple experimental materials, that they would be underdetermined, reduced, or boiled down to vectoral orientations to be playfully recombined or ‘thought-with’ toward the establishment of potentially novel and unforeseen conceptual outcomes.
Finally on this note, I would like to offer an apology or caveat for my understanding and usage of the term ‘world’ in this paper. The plasticity of this term is such that it is sometimes closer to the planet earth, sometimes, as in Lewis, closer to the universe, sometimes, as in some of our colloquial usages – when we speak, for instance about the ‘completely different world’ inhabited by the wealthy, or about the ‘little world’ that the eccentric person inhabits ‘on her own,’ or about the ‘real world’ that the naïve person does not in fact inhabit by virtue of one shortcoming or another – it names a series of possibilities for or bulwarks against navigation and access, and sometimes, as we often find in contemporary anthropological accounts, it helps us to negotiate territorial, universal, and epistemic questions or domains. In this paper, I would like to think about worlds in their external and internal plurality, or as externally and internally multiplicitous. Externally insofar as worlds are many, internally insofar as each of the many is more than one thing. With Lewis, worlds are physical and concrete entities. With Laruelle, they are epistemic and conceptual architectures and environments. And with Viveiros de Castro they are distinguished from one another and instantiated out of the unique somatic comportments and capacities of different kinds of animal (the human included), which will ultimately be to say of different kinds of human (the human we customarily recognise as such included).
To speak about the discreteness of worlds and to distinguish qualitatively between them on the basis of the specific bodily perspectives out of which they are projected does not gainsay the sense in which, following Patricia Reed’s remark, ‘everyday life plays out in small worlds.’[^14] Nor does it contest the kinds of invaluable attempts made in contemporary scholarship to associate the construction and inhabitation of worlds by different (often marginalised) communities with the enactment of diverse experiential realities. Nor, in like manner, does it oppose Boaventura de Sousa Santos’s identification of the world of the Global North with the ‘epistemicidal’ ruination of the many worlds of the Global South placed unilaterally and violently by the former on the other side of the ‘abyssal line.’[^15] What my strategy in this paper can suggest, I hope, in recalling Reza Negarestani’s strategy for investigating the ‘homogeneous space of the universal,’ is that ‘radically different images’ of worldliness are produced and apprehended depending upon the scale or degree of magnification at or through which the ‘world’ is viewed. In other words, the concept of world, or what counts as a world, undergoes unforeseen ‘conceptual and topological transformations’ in relation to the nontrivial configuration of a site or vantage from which the concept is thought.[^16] In this respect, I want to be clear that what I am sketching in this paper has a field of application limited to the question as to what counts as ‘human’ and ‘animal,’ and is ultimately oriented toward problematising the oppositional distribution of these monolithic categories as a means of undermining and stripping back the ontological attributes with which they are customarily or reflexively fitted.
## Lewis & Laruelle
For Lewis, worlds are concrete entities insofar as actual and actual insofar as real for their members or inhabitants, for the ‘parts’ they respectively contain. ‘Every stick and stone you have ever seen is part’ of ‘the world we live in,’ writes Lewis,
> And so are you and I. And so are the planet Earth, the solar system, the entire Milky Way, [and] the remote galaxies we see through telescopes. There is nothing so far away from us as not to be part of our world. Anything at any distance at all is to be included.[^17]
The absolute spatiotemporal inclusivity of our world, of the world we take to be the actual and the real one, both does and does not express its ontological priority or preponderance over the countless possible others. It does not because the actuality of possible otherworlds – which must be understood as ‘very inclusive things’[^18] in of themselves – is of the same quality or qualitative consistency as the actuality, which is to say the concreteness or reality, as our world is for us. But it does because there is, properly speaking, no single world at which another world is also, or can also be called, actual. In this light, Lewis’s concept of actuality opens out on the essential non-relation between worlds, to their profound isolation from one another. ‘The worlds,’ says Lewis,
> are not at any spatial distance whatever from here… [nor are they] at any temporal distance whatever from now. They are isolated: there are no spatiotemporal relations at all between things that belong to different worlds. Nor does anything that happens at one world cause anything to happen at another. Nor do they overlap, they have no parts in common…[^19]
To summarise, then, we might say that that which is common at all worlds – that would be, their actuality or concreteness for themselves – is precisely that which stipulates the logic of their complete spatiotemporal isolation from and causal inefficacy with regards one another.
In Laruelle, the World is coextensive with the philosophical enterprise, itself coextensive with a fundamentally violent style of thought, or with a tendency of thought to orient itself toward the Real where the latter is understood as ultimate, unified, and universal stratum or thing.[^20] Philosophy is coextensive with the World because as a disciplinary practice, or as a hypernym for a suite of such practices, protocols, and schools, it encompasses the world-as-earth, the world-as-universe, the world-as-what-there-is and, via a mechanics of abjection or constitutive exclusion, as-what-there-is-not. We might say that as a particular application of thought, the philosophical enterprise is embodied in the map of the Borgesian ‘Cartographer’s Guild’ ‘whose size is that of the world’ so as to ‘coincide point for point with it.’[^21] Philosophy, in other words, is the same size, scale, and scope as its nominated object of knowledge – and there is, in a sense, no item that goes without nomination or (which is its product) exclusion here – and covers that object like a Christo wrapping covers the Arc de Triomphe in polypropylene fabric. Thus, where for Lewis the concept of world fulfils a descriptive function, naming or denoting a concrete unit and a discrete spatiotemporal horizon populated by its specific collection of parts, for Laruelle, it performs an analytic or critical function that wants to talk about the habits, logics, requirements, and obligations that are imposed upon us, compelling us to ramify thought and action toward certain (in the sense of both particular and predetermined) ends.
From a slightly different angle, the distinction between these two visions of worldliness might be understood to rest upon different senses of inclusion or containment. Lewisian inclusion is a reflection of both the mereological consistency of a world – that a world is nothing but the sum of the possible individuals that it contains and are part of it[^22] – and the sense in which any possible individual is bound to a world that is actual for itself (which is to say that there can be no possible individual somehow situated ‘outside’ – or as I will demonstrate shortly, ‘between’ – one possible world or/and another). Less neutrally, Laruellean containment is suggestive of an entrapment of the human within a worldly architecture that precisely lacks the necessity or sufficiency that it claims for itself in relation to the Real or the One. ‘The One is devoid of ontological, linguistic and worldly consistency’, writes Laruelle.
> It is without-being and without-essence, without-language and without-thought, even though it is said to be thus with the help of being, language, and thought, etc. This non-consistency entails that the One is indifferent to or tolerant of any material, any particular doctrinal position whatsoever.[^23]
Whilst the Larullean One or Real is radically indifferent to all manner of naming rituals, to any local attempt at its access, delineation, or exhaustion, this does not render it ineffable, but (perhaps counterintuitively) infinitely effable: its radical indifference manifests not as a bulwark against thought but as a tolerance of any position, any thought, any world whatsoever.[^24]
It is important to emphasise here that the terms of this dislocation between the World as philosophically constituted and the Real are not replicated in the relation between the latter and the human. For Laruelle, the human-in-itself – or what he calls Man-in-person – is a ‘stranger’ in and to the World, is always-already estranged from a philosophical simulation that harasses and seeks to know and define it.[^25] On the other hand, this ‘stranger’ articulates a kind of lived expression or receptacle of the Real, or as Katerina Kolozova puts it, the stranger-subject is ‘“touched” (*affecté*) by the real—or rather, in the grasp of the real—whereas the real continues to be untouched by the concerns of the Stranger and by the world.’[^26] What is required, then, is a change in attitude as regards the anthropic enactment of and grasping by a Real that would not disclose of itself or present itself up for discursive engagement. For Laruelle, this attitudinal adjustment is concomitant with the adoption of a radical posture for the recognition, recovery, or rediscovery of the cosmological and generic status proper to the human subject. Stripped of its Worldly attributes and relieved of its Worldly harassments, the generic human is neither subject nor bound to the constitutive logics and protocols of the World-as-given, but permitted – and indeed, through its vision-in-One, empowered – to excavate, compose, and inhabit worlds-to-come.[^27]
I want to suggest that the radical indifference of the Laruellean One can help us to think about a real and illimitable proliferation of concrete worlds that are actual in, at, and for themselves. Whilst, as per Lewis, we cannot directly experience the actuality of possible otherworlds (which must remain ‘possible’ at “this” world and actual only for themselves), it is nonetheless possible, as per Laruelle, to think-with worlds in their plurality toward the defetishisation, deflation, and democratisation of our actual and (newly) contingent worldly horizons. To superpose Lewis and Laruelle along these lines says that according-to the Real, ‘absolutely *every* way that a world could possibly be is a way that some world [for its inhabitants actually] *is*.’ The idempotent product of this superposition comes in the shape of an exhortation to establish visionary, indisciplinary,[^28] even heretical worldmaking practices in whose unforeseen and underdetermined fabulations one would think according-to the actuality of the possible other: To build new determinedly and reflexively contingent worlds as a means of thinking-with worlds as such in their radical difference.
## From Lewis & Laruelle toward Viveiros de Castro & Lewis
Lewis & Laruelle points toward an ostensible tension to which I would like to briefly attend. The tension arises – principally as a terminological concern – between the worldmaking affordances permitted via the suspension of the World-as-given (Laruelle) and the spatiotemporal isolation (and therefore inaccessibility) of a proliferation of possible worlds (Lewis) that might be thought-with as a product of that suspension and its attendant worldmaking practices. The tension can be assuaged, I want to suggest, if we take a moment to examine the consistency of Lewisian-Laruellean ‘possibility.’ Properly speaking, the worlds that might be constructed out of the suspension of the World-as-given would not emerge as ‘possibilities’ of that endeavour. Or again: what I have been calling worlds-to-come are not ‘possible’ variations upon, or alternative ‘possibilities’ for ‘this’ one. Rather, these worlds articulate ‘impossible’ architectures from the vantage of the World for performing local reductions and incompletions of the latter in such a way as to expose it to its own ‘impossible’ futures. Following Anne-Franҫoise Schmid and Armand Hatchuel’s generic epistemological approach, these ‘impossible’ worlds might be understood to announce ‘an inversion of the arrow of time,’ or an invitation of ‘the future [into] the present,’[^29] through the installation of generative ruptures or frictions[^30] within the present (and invariant) configuration[^31] of the World-as-given. Giving to the worlds constructed out of the (Laruellean) suspension of the World the name ‘impossible’ (or perhaps ‘futural’) and retaining only for those casually inefficacious (Lewisian) ones the name ‘possible’ might help to re-emphasise the nature of Lewisian-Laruellean worldmaking affordances: Namely, that not all worlds can, in fact, be accessed and inhabited by all human subjects, but that ‘impossible’ worlds can be fabricated via the deflation of the World-as-given for thinking-with the uninhabitability and causal inefficacy of ‘possible’ others as a generative condition, for thinking-with the radical difference & democratic alignment-in-the-last-instance of worlds as such.
This clarification, I would contend, is less contentious or rarefied (and perhaps more intuitive) than might at first appear. Take for instance the Zapatista demand, often cited in contemporary political and anthropological scholarship, for ‘a world in which many worlds fit.’[^32] Here, the ‘world’ is less a receptacle that transcends the ‘many worlds’ that would ‘fit within it’ than a demand for the partial and situated recognition of a heterogeneous plurality of worlds in excess of the one from which that recognition is locally extended or derived. Put otherwise, ‘the world’ does not describe a ‘big physical object’ of the Lewisian flavour here, but the adoption of what might be called a ‘pluriversal attitude’ or ‘posture’ ramified along radical ontological, epistemological, and ethical axes: a Real in *such a way in which* many Reals would fit, a Practice *in such a way in which* many Practices would fit, a God in *such a way in whom* many Gods would fit. In turn, that those many worlds would ‘fit within,’ or be accommodated by, that world-as-posture neither implies that they would necessarily ‘fit together,’[^33] nor that the inhabitant of any given world could just as easily come to inhabit any other. For worlds to be so potentially radically different from one another as to fit-without-fitting-together would require that they do not encroach upon one another, even (and indeed, especially) in the (likely) event that the realities, knowledges, and practices endemic to them do not complement one another. In short, then, the deflation and localisation of what John Law has called the ‘One-World World’[^34] *both* facilitates the design and construction of a plurality of new experiential worlds *and* requires the situated recognition of the uninhabitability, inaccessibility, and radical difference of so many others. As noted above, however, my concern in this paper is not to identify the proliferation of (Lewisian) possible otherworlds with those enacted and inhabited by marginalised communities of the Global South, but with those projected and inhabited by different species of animal.
## Viveiros de Castro & Lewis
In Viveiros de Castro’s Amerindian ontology, radical differences between worlds are rooted in the unique somatic comportments of their specific inhabitants. In deleuzoguattarian terms, these comportments are closer to molecular capacities and potentialities – and to the question as to what a body can do – than they are to the molar identification of animal flesh. In a certain sense, Spinoza’s question is given new life as a matter of its multinaturalist reformulation. For here, we precisely do know what a body can do: it can precipitate and ramify the construction of an actual world.[^35] In this way, the affective and behavioural capacities of a species or ‘collectivity’ compose a unique ‘habitus’ – a mode of being, a navigational and ‘anatomical equipment’ – specific to the natural habitat/world that that species engages and perspectivally projects.[^36] Viveiros de Castro’s presentation of an Amerindian multinaturalism therefore differs from a Western multiculturalist account on the basis of two fundamental adjustments: the singularisation of the latter’s plurality of ‘cultures,’ and the pluralisation of the latter’s singularised ‘nature.’ Where a Western multiculturalism implies perspectival relativism – different individuals ‘see’ the same nature in different culture-specific ways – multinaturalism is non-relativist insofar as each individual engages a different nature or ‘world’ in the same way.
Counter-intuitively, then, this means that the subject’s ‘point of view’ is not ‘subjective’ *but* a *seat of objectivity*: an objective nature is projected (corporeally) from the perspectival setting that calls itself (spiritually) in the first person singular. ‘The real world of different species depends on their points of view,’ writes Viveiros de Castro, ‘for the “world in general” *consists* only of different species, being the abstract space of divergence between them as points of view.’[^37] Perspectivist ontologies posit a unified and homogeneous cultural resource upon which a multiplicity of natural bodies draw and through which that multiplicity engages and projects a plurality of worlds. In short, culture – which for Viveiros de Castro comprises such notions as ‘intellect,’ ‘thought,’ and ‘soul’ – is given, is ensured *a priori*: every perspective ‘has’ culture, the very condition of subjecthood. Above all, what this de Castroan presentation of ‘culture’ gestures toward is the explosion and redistribution of ‘humanity’ as the ontological, experiential, and epistemological condition common to the local inhabitants of all worlds.[^38] For just as (what we might understand as) humans understand themselves as human, and animals as animals, so do animals understand themselves as human, and humans as animals to evade or to predate upon. ‘Animals,’ writes Viveiros de Castro,
> perceive themselves as (or become) anthropomorphic beings when they are in their own houses or villages and they experience their own habits and characteristics in the form of culture - they see their food as human food… they see their bodily attributes.. as body decorations or cultural instruments, [and] their social system as organized in the same way as human institutions are.[^39]
In this respect, the universal (cultural) status and relational (somatic) expression of ‘humanity’ in Viveiros de Castro mirrors the world-specificity of ‘actuality’ in Lewis. Just as for the former any ‘species of subject perceives itself and its world in the same way we perceive ourselves and our world’, for ‘“Culture” is what one sees of oneself when one says “I”,’[^40] so for the latter is ‘actuality a relative matter: every world is actual at itself’.[^41] On a formal register the proximity between these two proposals can be explained with recourse to the deictic or pronominal consistency of de Castroan humanity (such that ‘the human is what and whomever occupies the position of the cosmological subject’),[^42] and the indexical consistency of Lewisian actuality (whose ‘reference varies depending upon on relevant features of the context of utterance’).[^43] To superpose Lewisian actuality/indexicality and de Castroan humanity/deixis is to say that at each possible world the inhabitants are human – are *the* humans, the *only ones* – for themselves, in such a way that there is no world at which another species also counts as human. It is to say that we cannot see the humanity of the other because we cannot experience the actuality of a possible otherworld, of a world which is not actual for us.
With the Lewisian vector, this superposition would like to tell us that different species of human do not perceive one another on their own terms, that they are profoundly isolated in their actual humanity, and with the de Castroan vector, that the spatiotemporal isolation and causal inefficacy of worlds with respect to one another can be recast as a productive and generative conceptual condition: That following Peter Skafish’s suggestion, ‘the dizzying preponderance of perspectives on the self’ effectively entails ‘the ontological priority of the other.’[^44] In other words, it is to say that worlds counterintuitively derive their actuality and discreteness, their specifically anthropic and cultural consistency, from *the relations that they do not enter into* – or *the non-relations that they do* – with possible others. The superposition of Viveiros de Casto & Lewis forces a new presentation of the ‘relationality’ particular to the former’s proposal and the ‘isolation’ particular to the latter’s: it forces Lewisian worlds to relate to one another by precise virtue of their profound isolation, and de Castroan worlds to isolate from one another as a necessary product of their constitutive relations. The actual world, which would be to say, our human world, therefore comes to be constituted and haunted by the spectre of that which it is not, of that which it does not contain, of that with which it shares no parts in common, and of that which is human not for us, but only for itself.
## Toward a non-anthropocentric anthropomorphism
To say that the actual world is constituted by its possible otherwise, by what it is not, is to say that otherworlds – actual at and for themselves – do not transcend the world but are rather immanent to it, that the discreteness or coherence of the world is paradoxically derived from an internal and interminable destabilisation. For to paraphrase Viveiros de Castro & Lewis, it is as if only the limits between worlds exist,[^45] such that what we are talking about when call a world discrete, actual, or real is the specific combination and interplay of limits of its (local) emphasis and concretisation. This dynamic, I want to contend, is dramatised in the peculiar logic of the prospective encounter between the inhabitants of different worlds, which is to say in the confrontation between different species of human.[^46]
In Lewis’s modal realism, since worlds are causally inefficacious with respect to one another (such that they do not overlap or share any parts in common), trans-world individuals – the possibility, that is, of a member of the actual world appearing in a possible other – are forbidden. Lewis offers the concept of the counterpart in its place. ‘Your otherworldly counterparts,’ he writes,
> resemble you closely in content and context in important respects… But they are not really you. For each of them is in his own world, and only you are here in the actual world… [Instead, we might say that] your counterparts are men you would have been, had the world been otherwise.[^47]
In the strict sense, then, given that Lewis’s concept of the counterpart is based upon a logic of resemblance or similarity, given, that is, that counterparts relate to one another only trivially or comparatively, it would not be possible to speak about a confrontation or encounter between an actual individual and its unactualised identity in some otherworld.
Superposed with Viveiros de Castro, however, the concept of the counterpart takes on a new formal texture – based upon a logic of subjectal fragmentation, divergence, or transformation – that enables us to revisit the question of the encounter anew. For it is not the case that different animals – which is to say different humans – see the same things and the same world in different ways, but that different species of human ‘see in the *same* way as we do *different* things’ and different worlds altogether.[^48] It is in this respect that we become-counterparts, we become-otherwise, at the terminus of our world and (which is always-already to say ‘with’) the thresholds of possible others. We are splintered and ruptured at, by, and through our encounter with the limits of worlds that are not our own. It is as if the encounter between different species of human precipitates a material remodelisation of the human as such via superposition of deflationary & redistributive vectoral intentions. We do not renounce our humanity in our encounter *with* the other, but we are renounced and stripped of the attributes that make us human for ourselves in the encounter *by* the other. Every encounter is grounded by a non-encounter or a non-relation. Every encounter is a non-encounter between the constitutive limits between worlds, between divergent expressions of the same human culture, that do not overlap.[^49]
It is in this context that I would like, finally, to offer some provisional principles for a non-anthropocentric practice of anthropomorphism. I want to propose that the hyphenated prefix of this concept-under-construction recalls the generative function of the ‘non-‘ stipulated variously across the undulatory movements of Laruelle’s project. A non-anthropocentric anthropomorphism is oriented toward the suspension of the Anthropos out of anthropocentrism, the suspension of the human out of humanism, a lifting up of the human not in the sense of a valorisation, or of a further ascendency over the animal, but in the sense of an extraction, or in the way that we suspend a poster upon the wall so that we can see it better and talk about it with our friends. The questions for a non-anthropocentric anthropomorphism include those raised by Viveiros de Castro in his *Cannibal Metaphysics*: ‘What happens when the classified becomes the classifier?’ he asks,
> What happens when it is no longer a matter of ordering the species which nature has been divided into but of knowing how these species themselves undertake this task? And… which nature do they thereby make?[^50]
To which I would add: What happens to anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism when the human is no longer identified with the *homo sapiens* on an exclusive basis, but when the *homo sapiens* is identified as a generic instance of humanity amongst innumerable others? As a first attempt, I would venture that this practice would demand a reappraisal of the deleuzoguattarian concept of becoming. Where in Deleuze and Guattari, we are told that one cannot become-human, that molar and majoritarian entity ‘par excellence,’[^51] in the context of my discussion, the process of becoming-human instead comes to name a fundamentally molecular and minoritarian mode of somatic transformation: a radical conceptual practice for the human that we are and a descriptor for our becoming-otherwise for the human that we therefore are not. The becoming-human of the human relates less to an act of actualisation than to an act of un- or de-actualisation, to a formal kenosis, or a becoming-X of the human term.
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[^1]: Some aspects of my discussion were presented in “Notes toward a non-anthropocentric anthropomorphism” at the 7th edition of the Ischia and Naples International Festival of Philosophy in September 2021. Thanks to Chris Stocking, Hasse Hämäläinen, Adam Louis-Klein, and Max Hazell for your encouraging and insightful comments on previous versions of this paper.
[^2]: Smith (2016), p. 164.
[^3]: Schmid (2012), p. 128.
[^4]: Laruelle, Mullarkey, Gracieuse, Smith, and Schmid (2012), p. 245.
[^5]: Gangle and Greve (2017), p.9.
[^6]: See Châtelet (2000), p. 18: ‘to abstract is always to mutilate. Aristotle's sensible nature (*hylè*) is always part of a whole; abstraction removes a piece from the flesh of the sensible, and this operation, always cruel, cannot be reduced to an inoffensive subtraction of determinations, which one can neutralize as and when one chooses.’
[^7]: Ibid, p.8.
[^8]: For those interested, I have discussed the common ampersand elsewhere in relation to researches in biosemiotics (Hazell (2019)), artefaction (Hazell (2016)), Renaissance Dominican confraternal practice (Hazell (2022)), architecture (Hazell (forthcoming, a)), and chant (Hazell (unpublished)).
[^9]: See https://www.etymonline.com/word/ampersand.
[^10]: See Schmid (2015), p. 66 on the speculative lines of enquiry guiding her generic epistemological approach: ‘what does an object become if we hypothetically subtract from it a property considered to be natural? [We] are then constrained to seek other types of knowledge, of knowhow, to constitute a new object X.’
[^11]: Insofar as my superpositions – re-expressed with recourse to the common ampersand – facilitate ‘new identities’ for concepts of world, they might be considered to embody, as a particular ‘worldmaking instrument,’ Nelson Goodman’s concept of ‘weighting.’ See, for instance, Goodman (1988), p. 11: ‘Some relevant kinds of the one world, rather than being absent from the other, are present as irrelevant kinds; some differences among worlds are not so much in entities comprised as in emphasis or accent, and these differences are no less consequential… In one world there may be many kinds serving different purposes; but conflicting purposes may make for irreconcilable accents and contrasting worlds, as may conflicting conceptions of what kinds serve a given purpose… Many of the differences among portrayals by Daumier, Ingres, Michelangelo, and Rouault are differences in aspects accentuated. What counts as emphasis, of course, is departure from the relative prominence accorded the several features in the current world of our everyday seeing… These differences in emphasis… amount to a difference in relevant kinds recognized. Several portrayals of the same subject may thus place it according to different categorial schemata. Like a green emerald and a grue one, even if the same emerald, a Piero della Francesca *Christ* and a Rembrandt one belong to worlds organized into different kinds.’
[^12]: See Galloway (2014), p. xxxv.
[^13]: See Hazell (forthcoming, b).
[^14]: Reed (2019), p. 6.
[^15]: See de Sousa Santos (2016), (2018).
[^16]: Negarestani (2015), pp. 225-6.
[^17]: Lewis (1986), p. 1.
[^19]: Ibid, p. 2.
[^20]: As Fernand Deligny reminds us, the real ‘comes’ etymologically ‘from res: thing’ (Deligny (2015), p. 172). This association has been placed into question by a whole host of new materialisms. See for instance Karen Barad’s insistence that ‘realness does not necessarily imply “thingness”: what’s real may not be an essence, an entity, or an independently existing object with inherent attributes’ (Barad (2007), p. 56). It is not certain that the move to supplant essences with ‘intra-active’ relations would persuade the non-philosopher, however, who might identify in its nomination as ontological primitive yet another philosophical manoeuvre as regards or towards the One.
[^21]: Borges (1999), p. 325.
[^22]: Lewis (1986), p. 69.
[^23]: Laruelle (2012), pp. 30-1.
[^24]: Following Nicola Rubczak and Anthony Paul Smith’s characterisation of the Laruellean ‘Real’ as ‘untranslatable in the sense of its foreclosure… [T]his is not a negation of the fact of translatability,’ they continue, ‘but instead a kind of manifestation of the superlative character of the Real. The Real cannot be captured by philosophy, but instead authorizes the equivalency of all philosophies, all knowings, as relative before the Real. Or, in other words, *the Real is not ineffable, but infinitely effable*.’ See Rubczak and Smith (2013), p. xvii.
[^25]: Ó Maoilearca (2015), p. 194.
[^26]: Kolozova (2014), p. 139.
[^27]: Goodman might be understood to capture this relationship between excavation, composition, and inhabitation in his suggestion that worldmaking is ‘always a remaking of the many stuffs… from worlds already on hand’ (Goodman (1988), p. 6). Comparatively, in Laruelle, the liberation of the generic subject is not coextensive with the destruction or discarding of the World, since non-standard worlds-to-come demand, and in a sense, depend upon, rigorous, innovative, and strategic repurposings of ‘philosophical’ resources. We might say that where, for Lewis, the world ‘is a big physical object’ (Lewis (2001), p. 1), for Laruelle it is a) experienced as such, because it b) operates or positions itself as such, such that it c) must be reduced. The World, in other words, must be rendered a ‘small physical object’ by being plunged countlessly, as Negarestani recommends, ‘into the realm of the artifact’ (Negarestani (2021), p. 48).
[^28]: For a discussion of the ‘indiscipline,’ which might be understood to be as far removed from the inter- or trans-disciplinary perspective as are they from the strictures of the disciplinary paradigm, see especially Mitchell (1995), Rancière, Baronian and Rosello (2008), and Beech (2015).
[^29]: Schmid and Hatchuel (2018), p. 128.
[^30]: See Reed (2021).
[^31]: See, for instance, Thomas Sutherland’s characterisation of the philosophy-World as ‘inhibited by its failure to conceive of the future… as anything other than a perpetuation of its invariant structure. [T]he assurance of a constant re-configuration of its terms within [its own] framework… means that the future of philosophy is always already filled with content. [As such] it can never truly reinvent itself. It can only enact becomings within the confines of its own unitary circularity’ (Sutherland (2016), p. 24).
[^32]: See Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona via http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/sdsl-en/.
[^33]: See Law (2011).
[^35]: Or we might say that we do know (in a formal or structural sense) *how* a body can do what it can do without knowing *what it can do* once it’s gone about doing it.
[^36]: See Descola (2013), p. 136.
[^37]: Viveiros de Castro (2014), p. 90.
[^38]: Ibid, p. 68.
[^39]: Viveiros de Castro (1998), p. 470.
[^40]: Viveiros de Castro (2015), p. 59.
[^41]: Lewis (1986), p. 93.
[^42]: Viveiros de Castro (2014), p. 72.
[^43]: Lewis (1986), pp. 92-3.
[^44]: Skafish (2014), p. 12.
[^45]: See vs. Viveiros de Castro (2014), p. 73.
[^46]: I hope that this can go without saying, but to clarify: the term ‘species’ in this context does not speak, fascistically, about different degrees of being human – it is precisely *not* the case that particular kinds or classes are more-human than others – but about the *specificity* of divergent possible-worldy expressions of an identically enculturated humanity.
[^47]: Lewis (1968), pp. 114-5.
[^48]: Viveiros de Castro (1998), p. 478.
[^49]: I am of the opinion that this position is actually reinforced, rather than invalidated, in the example of a shamanic navigation between or across the thresholds of otherworlds. The shaman is not a trans-world individual in the Lewisian sense because they are not the same – they do not appear as ‘themself’ – in the world of the other. Nor does their encounter with the humanity of the other *for itself* relate the imposition of an ‘actual/ised’ human/ity upon an ‘unactualised’ species thereof. Instead, their supernatural and ‘cosmopolitical diplomacy’ (Viveiros de Castro (2014), p. 151) requires a temporary suspension of what might be termed their ‘human pole.’ As Davi Kopenawa has informed us, the shamanic commutation between worlds is enabled via the ritual insufflation of *yãkoana* snuff. And ‘as soon as they have drunk the *yãkoana*’, Kopenawa says, the ‘image’ of the shaman is ‘seized’ by *xapiri* spirits and taken on ‘distant flights’ whilst her ‘skin… remains sprawled on the ground’ (Kopenawa and Albert (2013), p. 79.) It is thus that the shaman must ‘die’ (*nomaɨ*) corporeally in order to live momentarily in a body and a world that is not their own.
[^50]: Viveiros de Castro (2014), p. 84.
[^51]: Deleuze and Guattari (1987), p. 291.