Quentin Meillassoux: Four Worlds and Communism — Işık Barış Fidaner

Quentin Meillassoux pointed out nature’s nonlinear character. History of nature is guided by creatio ex nihilo. Nature’s evolutionary transformation is interrupted by revolutionary leaps. Meillassoux enumerates four worlds on this basis [1]:
1) Matter: First world began with the Big Bang and comprises inanimate matter.
2) Life: Second world is the biosphere which started when the first living cells reproduced.
3) Thought: Third world is that of thoughts which began with advanced neural systems as in humans.
4) Justice: Fourth world is that of justice which hasn’t yet arrived but can be discerned on the horizon.

According to Meillassoux, we humans currently live in the third world and thus we are immersed in anxiety provoking thoughts but also find hope or at least consolation by sensing that the fourth world might be on its way. The fourth world is that of an imminent or probable justice, it’s a virtual God who can reconcile the dead / our losses. Meillassoux dubs this promising dimension which can lose our loss, “essential mourning” [2].

Each new world divides the previous world and makes the following distinctions in nature:
1→2) Animate matter, Inanimate matter: Much inanimate matter circulates in the living beings’ metabolisms.
2→3) Thinking life, Unthinking life: Acts of symbolization draw territories and establish animal-animal, human-animal, human-human hierarchies.
3→4) Just thought, Unjust thought: Clashes between territories raise issues of war/peace and justice, so people seek an “objective” meta-territory that would reconcile the parties [3].

Also, as each new division negates the previous division, every emergence partially restores the emergence that was two steps prior:
1→2→3) Animate matter’s thinking process comprises some inanimate matter: Thought attempts to escape death but displays inertia; so it seeks the easiest path while also getting caught in repetition compulsion (death drive) [4].
2→3→4) Thinking life’s pursuit of justice comprises some “unthinking” life (nonlinear life of thought, not thinking linearly [5]): The victims to be liberated in the pursuit of justice are chosen from the symptomatic points where masculine technocratic reason fails; child, woman, animal, etc.

Might this picture have something to do with Marxism? Is Meillassoux’s virtual God communist? Curiously enough, the class societies enumerated in Marxist theory of history seem to repeat the four worlds in nature:
1) Matter: In slave society, man owns and uses man’s body as if it was a tool, (s)he recognizes his/her matter while casting out his/her life.
2) Life: In feudal society, man draws territories around man’s life space by mortal threats, (s)he recognizes his/her life while casting out his/her thought.
3) Thought: In capitalist society, man controls man’s behavior by shaping his/her rational choices, (s)he suffocates his/her cognitive capacities, (s)he recognizes his/her thought while casting out justice.
4) Justice: In the socialist “dictatorship of the proletariat” man shall bring justice to man’s thought so that the state shall wither away [6].

According to Lenin’s plan, the socialist state would wither away as social justice would establish itself:

The armed people themselves [would stop the excesses of individual persons], as simply and as readily as any crowd of civilized people, even in modern society, interferes to put a stop to a scuffle or to prevent a woman from being assaulted. (State and Revolution)

Today, social media has become an effective global market of thoughts, whereas “social justice warrior” has become an insult, due to the “cancel culture” which is an awful caricature of Lenin’s “crowd of civilized people”. Perhaps we can find a way out of the current picture by reviewing this schema that links the history of nature to the history of class societies.


Işık Barış Fidaner is a computer scientist with a PhD from Boğaziçi University, İstanbul. Admin of Yersiz Şeyler, Editor of Žižekian Analysis, Curator of Görce Writings. Twitter: @BarisFidaner


[1] Graham Harman (2011) Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making; “Tanrı’yı doğurma işi” Quentin Meillassoux, “Doğrusal modelin kayırılması ve doğurusal modelin doğranması (linear, nonlinear, linearize)” Manuel DeLanda, “Kainatın Ufkunu Kaplayan Gürültü: Yadigar Südur”

[2] I called a similar operation “real mourning”: “Authentic Fidelity is the Drive to Mourn”, “Melancholy is a failure to desire”, “Always Existed and Never Existed”; I call those who attempt to be the prophets of this virtual God in order to construct their Ego, virtual Lords: Sanal Ağa (special issue)

[3] See “Symbolic World Membrane: Negation of Negation”, “Yadsımanın Yadsınmasında Karşıllık ve (A)simetri”, “The Postmodern Police: I ask the questions around here!”, “Na-zar ve Naz-ar”

[4] See “Dissipative Adaptation is Death Drive”

[5] See “Politik Doğurucunun Doğurultusu”

[6] See “Komünizmde taşkınlıkların solacağını biliriz” V. I. Lenin


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