The Creal (and crealism)

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Luis de Miranda

On the Concept of Creal and its relation to Deleuze’s philosophy


Every serious philosopher is a cosmologist. Deleuze’s cosmology was started alone and completed with Guattari. Interestingly, it is rather compatible, I would argue, with contemporary scientific cosmologies, with its dark energy and its dark matter. But their perspective is above all political, ethical.


Every cosmology has a prime entity, a universal. For Deleuze, it is Difference, as most of you know. Difference is a spatium, a pure immanence of original matter, which is a becoming of compositions and decompositions, a constant production of novelty and singularity, the stuff that dreams are made of, a negative entropy, an expansion.


Difference is not only a movement. It is a feeling, a glide of vibrating impressions, and that is matter’s ground. Difference is not so much a universal, but rather a pluriversal: it is not going anywhere in particular, it is disparating.


Difference is the real-Real. As I was writing one of my novels, published in 2008 in France, I wanted to find a name for a dimension where imagination becomes creative and desire creates what it envisions and contemplates, with the complicity of a divine entity that would not be God. In a first draft I called this dimension the real-Real. Réel-Réel. But I did not like the sound of it. Réel-réel sounded like someone was sawing the trunk of a tree.


And then I remembered Deleuze’s book on Nietzsche, and the distinction between the reactive human and the creative one. Real-Real sounded reactive: too objective, too essentialist, almost Platonic. After all, the dimension of bliss in my novel Paridaiza was about co-creating our multiverse, being sorcerer of the source, bending laws into unique cases, new realities. One morning, thanks to Deleuze and his reading of Nietzsche and Bergson, the real-Real became the Creal.


The Creal is what Deleuze calls Difference, what Whitehead called creativity, what Bergson called creative evolution, what Nietzsche called the infinite well. I propose to consider it as an ethical and political absolute, and for artists a practical source, which, collaterally, revives the idea of inspiration.


When I say that the Creal could be our Absolute, I do not pretend that the Creal is the truth, even though it resembles physics’s dark energy. It is, instead, a political and heuristic proposition, a Crealpolitik. It will, I argue, help us live better, together, in a co-metacognitive manner.

Lacan has showed how any discourse always revolves around a ghostly absolute, which is effectuated by the structure of the discourse itself, as a ghost in the machine. Human societies tend to crystalize around an explicit or implicit absolute value in order to function, be it God, Money, Enjoyment, Competition, Beauty, Science, Algorithmic thinking, etc.

It seems impossible to conceive of an organized society without an absolute value that holds the structure as a totem of belief. If you can show me an organized society without a founding principle treated as an essentialised value, please let me know. For us artists, creation is a universal absolute, even if we fight against the idea. I argue that we should not fight. If the-people-to-come does not nurture an absolute, then conservative ensembles will extend their proper absolute and code our territory. Absolute values are combat concepts. I feel we must temporarily accept agonistic pluralism.


Each organized group tends to territorialise as much people as possible. Each organized group tends to be a micro-fascism. So if we are to avoid the menace of totalitarianisms, we have to propose a strong absolute, but as a value that would constantly self-destroy and constantly be born again. We have to propose an absolute value that cannot be an alienation. I believe the Creal, is such an absolute. You cannot force anyone to be creative, according to Deleuze: we are all chaotically creative just by becoming and letting it go. The Surrealists new that: their automatic writing was the method of a Creal-machine. Creation can be a categorical imperative ironically, but not cynically. The Creal is a whimsical ethical absolute that is meant to get rid of fascist universal principles that alienate us everyday, be they religious, cultural, global.


Did I really define the Creal? It is a difficult task. It sounds New Agy, I’m afraid, but only for people who did not read enough Middle-Age cosmologies, or even further, Plotinus, or Heraclitus. The Creal is the inverted One, the ever creative flow that is the ground of all there is, was, and will be. The Creal is not the Real only, it produces the real – but not always. Is it a spiritual entity? Not entirely, rather a material one, immanent, and without direction. The Creal is non-teleological. It is not the Hegelian Spirit. The Creal is a constant explosion of infra-matter in every directions, a disparity of possibilities. It is the ever renewing source of life. It is also the source of art.


Now, one of the most important questions that is related with process philosophy is that of individuation, as most of you know. If the Creal, disparity, multiplicity, Difference are our origin without origin, how can we explain shapes, forms, individuals, objects or subjects as units, organisms, species, specificities, cities, persistent molar realities? How is there representation and not only presentation? This is were the body without organs will play a role.


Deleuze says that in everything we ought to start by the middle, because the middle is the only reality that is complete. In fact the Creal and its reverse, the body without organs, are asymptotical realities, virtualities. They are infinite limits. On one hand, multiplicity and novelty, a constant production of possibles and impossibles. On another hand, a pure unity that is not a number, but a cypher, a strange attractor. Deleuze proposed with Guattari the concept of body without organs as the reverse of difference, not its opposite but its other side. The body without organs is the invisible unity that allows regions of the differential spatium to have a skin, a form.

Here we must remember that Deleuze was a reader of Plotinus. Plotinus cosmology is not an ontology. It is an henology, a discourse on the One that says that One is previous to being. The primitive One is and is not. It is implied by multiplicity. There is a cosmic love story between two ghosts, the Creal and One. There are in fact two ghosts in the machine. This will sadden the reductionists.


As humans, we tend to be hardly more unified than a crack-up, as Fitzgerald noticed and Deleuze with him. And this is were the lines of life come into play, to explain how human individuation is possible, how the real is born from the Creal, from the well of eternity, as Nietzsche called it in Zarathustra.


Whether we are individuals or groups, we are made of lines, says Deleuze. There are three fundamental lines: the line of break or cut, the line of flight or rupture, and the line of fracture, the crack-up. Each line is the product of a constant folding and unfolding that constitutes the life of our soul, says Deleuze re-reading Leibniz. A swarm of small inclinations, a swarm of differences, inflexions of the soul. Because we are desiring machines, we are constantly creating constellations of points that create lines and folds, and we slide down or up such and such fold.


The line of break, or molar line, is the line of binary oppositions, the line of social institutions, the line of organisation. ‘You are not a baby anymore, go to school. You are not a student anymore, go to work. Man-woman, black-white, artist-scholar.’ Binary oppositions that simplify life for the sake of utility, organisation, institutionalisation, and group uniformity. Each molar line corresponds to a territory in which a code, a discourse, a game, can be followed and played without much existential anguish. Conversely, the line of rupture is the fold of difference, the line of flight, the call of the wild. Tempting, but also dangerous, because there is no such thing as a good or bad line, says Deleuze. And in the middle, as a result of the tension between the molar lines and the line of flight, is the molecular line, the fracture line, the crack-up. The crack line is probably the most human one, a pressure upwards or downwards expelling the Apollonian monolithic blocks of the molar line and limiting the Dionysian circular outflows of the rupture line. Human individuality is a rising fracture, a creative repetition and incarnation of the virtual polarities, between the pure novelty of the multiple and the pure void of One.


Deleuze adds that the three lines are different aspects of the same line, because they share a common feeling, a common ground of impressiveness, a cosmic emotion. A line is a polarity between micro-impressional events. Impressions connect matter and spirit, notices Deleuze re-reading Hume. A creative impression leads to an imagination, a shaping of the Creal. As soon as we name or label the impression, we introduce a perception by a subject, an I, and therefore we introduce time. Deleuze does not negate the hypothesis of the Cartesian cogito, but he agrees with Kant that nothing proves that the one who thinks is the same than the one who is. The I is fractured, and here we meet the crack-up again, in time. The ego is as if expulsed out of becoming, by its reflexivity. But this fractured situation of the I, both within and outside the Creal, is in fact a chance, the chance of a narrative and a self-legislation, the possibility of an oeuvre. We cannot be pure multiplicity, nor can we be pure form and unity. We are a crack line in between. This is our oxygen: to live in the limit, at the border, between the Real and the Creal, and operate zigzags with our biography, zigzags which are not random, but determined by our integrity, an identity stance, a strange attraction, a personal-collective esprit de corps that bends space and time. This process is not linear. We jump from one line to another, and lines jump in us. Desiring machines function by breaking down all the time, and self-repairing. We are henological machines, et play between unifying and proliferating tendencies.

This process is not totally chaotic because of the abstract unity of the body without organs. The BwO (CsO) attracts to itself the entire process of production and serves as its miraculate, enchanted surface.

In an explosion, not all the parts have the same speed. Parts that have more projective energy can become strange attractors, and form integrities (and sometimes integrisms). Individuation happens by becoming better listeners and co-composers of the music of the body-without-organs and the complicity of the Creal. Deleuze and Guattari call these listeners/composers the Sorcerer, the Anomal. As a writer, in my novels and in my essays, I have always had an experimental anti-method that connects and intertwines real life with the work of art, through synchronicities. The Creal is my holy Grail. This is why I add a u to sourcerer, to indicate that the Creal is a source, a source that erupts anywhere a volcano opens. Becoming volcano is becoming the body without organs, it is designing a more or less round shape around the void, thus allowing the Creal to emerge. Becoming a vibrating membrane, a well, a geo-logical void, to bring into existence that which does not yet exist. In order to become volcano one has to stand on a geo-logical plateau. Deleuze writes: ‘It is as if the ground rose to the surface without ceasing to be the ground.’

An impression expands, from points to folds and explosions of speed and matter, generating, as lava dries, as fire solidifies, effects of attractive collective integrity, assemblages. The inner experience is the outmost experience. Crealpolitik is: becoming volcanoes and smiths tailoring fire.


The unity of experience and habit creates the artist of life, a rising spiral that jumps from line to line, a knight listening to the Holy Creal’s music. When I propose a work of art, it is to create an object of contemplation which is a microcosmos of the music of the Creal I hear in me, the earth consolidated, connected to cosmos and to everyday experience. The subject forms itself in the given while forming it: this is crealism, a discipline of harmonising the real, a principle of common magic, desiring ensembles. Mozart explains in a letter that without magic, without heuristic loss of control, which is at the same time extreme concentration, he is not happy. If we are to equate pluralism and monism, which Deleuze and Guattari call ‘the magic formula that we all seek’, we ought to be, perhaps, at the same time the earth, the sea, and the sailor. The earth that erupts as volcano, the sea that shapes the fire, the sailors that write their common epic on the waves, from island to island, discovering new territories as they imagine them.


And we must not forget that in every island, there are indigenous people, with their own ensemble, which brings us back to the ethical frame. There is in each of us an imperialist, a conquistador. Can we change the world without dissolving existing tribes, or current conservatisms? Can we create a universal esprit de corps where agonism would be abolished? Can we create a common symphony of which we would all be composers, without generating a cacophony? Or is the Creal necessary cruel? This is a question I am asking you.





 Here is a talk I gave at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris on the matter
Here a synthetic article in French: articl-etank

Curriculum Vitae

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Luis de Miranda

Full name: Luis Filipe de Miranda Correia.

Citizenship status: Double nationality French and Portuguese. Born 15/09/1971.

Phone (m): +447982851499.

Institution: The University of Edinburgh

Present positions

  • 2014–2017 | PhD student, The University of Edinburgh, UK.
  • 2014–2017 | Director of the Crag, Creation of Reality Research Group, Director of the Anthrobotics Cluster, The University of Edinburgh.
  • 2014–2017 | Tutor in French Literature and Creative Thinking, The University of Edinburgh.

Degrees and Recognitions

  • 2016 | Certificate with Honours, Summer School in The Regulations of Robotics in Europe: Legal, Ethical and Economic implications, School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  • 2015 | Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, HEA, UK.
  • 2007 | Master 2 in Philosophy, Paris I – Sorbonne, Paris, France. Dissertation published as a book in French and translated as a peer-reviewed article in English (see below).
  • 2003 | Master 1 in Philosophy, Paris I – Sorbonne. Dissertation published as a book in French (see below).
  • 1994 | Master of Business Administration, HEC–Paris (‘Best business school in Europe’, according to Financial Times), Jouy-en-Josas, France.

Recent Research Awards

  • 2016 | The University of Edinburgh Researcher-Led initiative fund, awarded to The Anthrobotics Cluster.
  • 2014 – 2017 | The university of Edinburgh Research Scholarship Award.
  • 2015–2017 | UK French Institute Sponsorships, awarded to The Crag.
  • 2016 | First Prize in the 3-Minute-Thesis Competition of the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh.
  • 2015 | The University of Edinburgh Researcher-Led initiative fund, awarded to The Crag Research Group.
  • 2014 – 16 | DELC Initiative awards, University of Edinburgh.
  • 2014 – 2016 | The LLC Student-Led Initiative Fund, University of Edinburgh.

Teaching experience and accreditations

  • 2017 | Creative Thinking, University of Edinburgh Summer School.
  • 2014 – 2016 | French literature, French language, University of Edinburgh.
  • 2015 | Creative Writing and Ethics, Oxbridge Academic Program, Paris, France.
  • 2015 | Associate Fellowship Accreditation (Higher Education Academy)
  • 2014 | Creativity, Ecole Media Art, Châlon-sur-Saône, France.
  • 2013 | Literature and French class, substitute teacher, Lycée Saint-Louis, pupils aged 10 to 17, Stockholm, Sweden.


Extra-academic work experience

  • 2012 – 2014 | Founder and director of Haute Culture Books, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 2004 – 2012 | Editorial director, book editor, manager, strategic adviser, and co-owner, Max Milo Editions, Paris, France.
  • 1997 – 2003 | Cultural reporter, book critic, journalist. Interviews of José Saramago (Nobel Prize), Joyce Carol Oates, Jim Harrison, Jonathan Franzen, Michel Serres, Jonathan Coe, Pierre Bourdieu, etc.

Authored publications | Books

  • 2012 | L’être et le néon, philosophical essay, Max Milo, Paris, France.
  • 2011 | Qui a tué le poète?, philosophical novel, Max Milo. Translated into Turkish (Galata Editions, 2012). Currently being translated into English.
  • 2010 | L’art d’être libres au temps des automates, philosophical essay, Max Milo.
  • 2008 | Paridaiza, philosophical novel, Plon, Paris, France.
  • 2008 | Une vie nouvelle est-elle possible? Deleuze et les lignes, academic essay, Nous, Caen, France. Translated into English as Is a New Life Possible? Deleuze Studies, Edinburgh University Press, 2013).
  • 2007 | Peut-on jouir du capitalisme?, philosophical essay, Punctum, Paris, France.
  • 2003 | Ego trip, ou La Société des artistes sans oeuvre, philosophical essay, Max Milo.
  • 2002 | Moment magnétique de l’aimant, philosophical novel, La Chasse au Snark, Paris, France.
  • 2001 | A vide, philosophical novel, Denoël, Paris, France.
  • 2000 | Le Spray, philosophical tale, Calmann-Lévy, Paris, France
  • 1998 | La Mémoire de Ruben, philosophical novel, Gamma Press, Belgium. Translated into Arabic (Walidoff Editions, Tunisia, 2010).
  • 1997 | Joie, philosophical novel, Le Temps des Cerises, Paris, France.


Book Chapters

  • 2017 | ‘On the Concept of Creal: Ethical Promises of a Non-Teleological Creative Universal’, in The Dark Precursor: Deleuze and Artistic Research, Orpheus Institute Series, Leuven University Press.
  • 2012 | ‘A Thousand Years of Fluoritude’, in Néon, Le néon dans l’art des années 1940 à nos jours, Exhibition Catalogue, Archibooks, Paris, France. Translated into English and Italian.

Publications as a translator

  • 2013 | Felicity, Haute Culture books. Translation from French into English of Un Coeur simple, a tale by Gustave Flaubert.
  • 2005 | Adoration, Max Milo. Translation from English (USA) into French of Milk, a novel by Darcey Steinke.


Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • 2017 | With Dr. Ram Ramamoorthy and Dr. Michael Rovatsos. ‘We, The Anthrobot: Learning from Human forms of Interaction and Esprit de Corps to Develop More Diverse Social Robotics’ (to be submitted soon).
  • 2016 | Life is Strange and ‘Games are Made’: A Sartrean Reading of a Multiple-Choice Videogame (under review), Games and Culture.
  • 2015 | ‘Esprit de Corps and the French Revolutionary Crisis: a Prehistory of the Concept of Solidarity’, University of Vienna Forschungsportal.
  • 2013 | ‘Is a new life possible? Deleuze and the lines’, Deleuze Studies.
  • 2003 | ‘La société existe’, AnthropolisRevue du Laboratoire d’Anthropologie des Institutions et des Organisations Sociales.


Invited plenary presentations and master classes

  • 2015 | Public presentation: ‘A Cultural History of Neon Signs’, Explorathon, The Banshee Labyrinth Cinema, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • 2015 | ‘What is crealism?’, Oxbridge Academic Program, Paris, France.
  • 2014 | Master class on creative writing, Stockholm University, Sweden.
  • 2014 | Master class on creation and crealism, Ecole Media Art, Châlon-sur-Saône, France.
  • 2012 | ‘On writing’, Clandestino Institut, Göteborg, Sweden.
  • 2012 | ‘L’être et le néon’, Institut de Physique du Globe, Nuit des Savoirs, Nuit Blanche, Paris, France.
  • 2012 | Public Seminar ‘The cultural history of neon lights’, Café des Fous, Paris, France.
  • 2011 | ‘Avez-vous le sens des créalités?’, University of Lille, France.
  • 2010 | ‘What is crealism?’ University of Reykjavik, Iceland.
  • 2008 | Guest of Honour: ‘Solitude in French literature’, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.


Recent Conference Talks

  • 2016 | ‘We, The Anthrobot: Undertanding the Human-Digital Unity’, Biopolitics 2.0, Mancept, The University of Manchester.
  • 2015 | ‘Esprit de Corps: The Secret of Collective Action’, How to Act Together, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade, Serbia.
  • 2015 | ‘On the Concept of Creal: Ethical Promises of a Non-Teleological Creative Universal’ | Dare 2015, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, Belgium.
  • 2015 | ‘Out of Focus: Existentialism Through the Lens of the French Videogame Life is Strange’ | French Media Research Group Conference, University of Newcastle, UK.
  • 2015 | ‘Towards a New Frontier of the Self? A Genealogy of Esprit de Corps’ Society for European Philosophy, University of Dundee, UK.
  • 2015 | ‘Can Esprit de Corps Recreate Our Lives?’, Deleuze Studies International Conference, Konstfack University College, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 2015 | ‘The birth and growth of ‘esprit de corps’: studying the impact of an idiom and an idea on French History’, Society for the Study of French History Conference, University of St Andrews, UK.
  • 2015 | ‘Esprit de corps: a universal anti-universalistic concept’, Cultural Literacy in Europe Conference, University of Birkbeck, UK.
  • 2015 |‘Esprit de corps: A Prehistory of the notion of Solidarity’, Graceh Conference, University of Vienna, Austria.
  • 2015 | ‘One for all, all for the Nation: the 18th century French invention of ‘esprit de corps’ and its propagation into the English language’, British Society For Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference, Oxford University, UK.
  • 2012 | ‘Numérisme et créalisme: la dialectique du siècle à venir?’, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France.
  • 2012 | ‘Les creations de réalités’, Colloque Frontières, Université de Pau, France.
  • 2011 | ‘The crealist mode of power’, University of Toronto, Canada.

Recent Conferences Bursaries

  • 2014-16 | LLC Postgraduate Fund, University of Edinburgh.
  • 2015 | BSECS Postgraduate Bursary, Annual Conference, Oxford, UK.
  • 2015 | Graceh Conference on European History, University of Vienna, Austria.
  • 2015 | Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities Bursary, Birkbeck University, UK.


Recent interviews of Luis de Miranda and articles

  • 2016 | Interviews of Luis de Miranda on anthrobotics, Futurism, Robohub.
  • 2016 | Portrait of Luis de Miranda, Pantheon-Sorbonne Magazine.
  • 2015 | Interview of Luis de Miranda, The Oxford Philosopher.
  • 2015 | Interview of Luis de Miranda, The Hard Core Gamer.
  • 2015 | Interview of Luis de Miranda, Dark Zero.
  • 2015 | Interview of Luis de Miranda, Digitally Downloaded.
  • 2015 | Interview of Luis de Miranda: Atlantico.
  • 2015 | ‘La République ne fait plus rêver? La France a besoin de foi’, opinion article, Le Nouvel Obs.
  • 2014 |‘Access and aesthetics’, article on Luis de Miranda, Reading in Translation.
  • 2014 | ‘On translating and publishing’, article on Luis de Miranda, Literalab.
  • 2014 | Interview of Luis de Miranda, Typographical Era.
  • 2012 | Radio interview of Luis de Miranda, Open Democracy.
  • 2012 | Radio interview of Luis de Miranda, France Culture.
  • 2011 | Interview of Luis de Miranda, La Tribune.
  • 2011 | Radio interview of Luis de Miranda, France Culture.
  • 2011 | ‘Pour un moratoire sur les prix littéraires’, opinion article, Le Monde.
  • 2011 | ‘Un héros philosophique’, opinion article, Libération.
  • 2011 | Radio interview of Luis de Miranda, BFM.
  • 2011 | ‘La speculation, maladie mentale de la Terre’, opinion article, Libération.
  • 2010 | ‘Wikileaks: Qui règne par le code tombera par le code’, opinion article, Libération.
  • 2010 | Radio Interview of Luis de Miranda, France Culture.
  • 2008 | ‘Une civilisation de la fête et de l’oubli, opinion article, Le Monde.


Conferences or workshops organised, seminars or talks convened

  • 2017 | Anthrobotics Workshop, Anthrobotics Cluster at the University of Edinburgh, Crag Research Group, The University of Edinburgh School of informatics, Oxford Human Centred Computing Group, French Institute UK, Centre for Humanities Innovation at Durham University.
  • 2016 | 60 Years of Essentially Contested Concepts | The University of Edinburgh Eidyn Group, The School of Philosophy, Crag Research Group, the Centre for The Study of Modern Conflict, French institute UK.
  • 2015 | Creation of Reality International Conference | The Crag Research Group, The University of Edinburgh.
  • 2015–2017 | Crag Interdisciplinary Seminar, University of Edinburgh, UK.
  • 2012 | L’être et le néon, multimedia presentation, Institut de Physique du Globe, Nuit des Savoirs/Nuit Blanche, Paris, France.


Recent consultancies

  • 2016 | Editorial adviser, Teamsinside, Paris, France.
  • 2012 | Historical adviser, First major international exhibition on Neon Art, Maison Rouge, Paris, France.

Artistic Public Projects

  • 2004 – 2014 | Director of several short movies, including Nietzsche and Jesus: an interview (over 37,000 views on YouTube, 90% of likes and over 80 comments).


  • Fluent (writing and speaking): French, English, Portuguese.
  • Good understanding and good speaking level in Spanish and Swedish.
  • Some German, Latin, Ancient Greek.