A diagram by Althusser captioned “The future lasts a long time” (the title of his memoirs) appears on several of his book covers. Below is my own reproduction, based on a sketched version found here.
Surely the diagram is meant to illustrate some philosophical concept (rather than, say, being an abstract representation of wife-strangulation). I would like to know what the diagram represents.
To my knowledge, this diagram is not used in any of Althusser’s books. I have not found anything written about it in English, but there may be resources in French that I have overlooked.
Some more specific questions might be: do the x-axis and y-axis have meanings (e.g. space/time)? Do the shapes (spiral, ‘cap’, circle) have well-defined roles? Also, in the photograph version, Althusser is standing in front of the rightmost part, so I’m not certain if the original had a ‘cap’.
Another approach may be to date the photo itself, e.g. whether it is from his aleatory materialist period or (presumably) earlier. Ideally, one could find the date the photo was taken, and then the specific seminar, and then see if the text of that seminar is available.