Reading Bataille’s Story of the Eye
Idealism Realized: young-earth-lysenkoist: misshegel: This morning, I took a sneak-peak... →
This morning, I took a sneak-peak into Anti-Oedipus (why?) and I’m already disappointed.
I really, really hate the fact that Anti-Oedipus and Thousand Plateaus are considered the “go-to” Deleuze books. Difference and Repetition and Logic of…
I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss D&R/LoS though. For one thing, I couldn’t imagine anyone who is into psychoanalysis disliking either book — the influence of Freud and Lacan is pretty obvious and overwhelming in both. When Deleuze attacked psychoanalysis later on, it wasn’t as an outsider but as someone who had internalized psychoanalytic thinking to such a degree that he felt the need to escape it. (If the concept of “anxiety of influence” applies to anyone, it definitely applies to Deleuze vis-a-vis Lacan.) Though I’m no fan of Levi Bryant (his first book is okay but his OOO stuff is just unfathomably terrible), he has some pretty accurate things to say about the ridiculousness of opposing Deleuze to psychoanalysis in some black-and-white way, as so many “Deleuzeans” tend to do:
It is clear that Deleuze’s later work with Guattari often receives disproportionate attention. A glance at earlier works such as Difference and Repetition, The Logic of Sense, and Coldness and Cruelty reveals Deleuze in close dialogue with Lacan’s work. Indeed, Lacan himself noted this, referring to Coldness and Cruelty as the finest study of masochism yet produced in Seminar 14, and devoting part of his seminar to the study of DR and LS in Seminar XVI. Throughout these earlier works, Deleuze endlessly elucidates the concept of the dark precursor through reference to objet a, and draws on Lacan’s account of structure in “The Seminar on the Purloined Letter”, to elucidate his conception of dual serialization.
As for Deleuze’s “anti-Hegelianism”: I think that, to some extent, it’s also the product of an anxiety of influence. He was a student of Jean Hyppolite, after all. Honestly, I can’t think of a single 20th-century thinker who comes closer to Hegel in terms of his general approach to philosophy: Both refuse to simply oppose other philosophers by taking positions different from theirs — rather, they attempt to elucidate the mechanisms of every position in a way that reveals the underlying universal structure or movement of thinking; for both the point is not simply to dismiss the mistake but to understand its truth as mistake (what Hegel calls “error” and Deleuze calls “stupidity”). (One could argue that Derrida does this as well, but Derrida’s method seems to me to involve a dissolution of all metaphysical systems, as opposed to the universal and systematized “meta-metaphysics” of Deleuze and Hegel.) It’s precisely because both are attempting the exact same project that Deleuze sees Hegel as such a rival.
Furthermore, it’s easy to be misled by terminological differences which make the opposition between Deleuze and Hegel seem to be greater than it actually is. At the heart of Deleuze’s anti-Hegelianism is his opposition to “negation” as a fundamental underlying principle. However, Deleuze’s “problematic” or “virtual” is at least something like negation, negation being its representational “shadow”; whereas Hegelian negation is not, say, Aristotelian negation, but rather something like a positive force. (It’s important to remember that even here Deleuze isn’t denying the reality of negation but merely its priority — negation exists at the level of representation, though ultimately a product of “sub-representational” difference.)
All of this is to say: if you forget everything you’ve ever heard about Deleuze (especially from “Deleuzeans”) and read Difference and Repetition with an open mind, I think you’ll find a lot in there to enjoy. (Of course, reading all 300+ pages of D&R requires a considerable investment of time and energy; the first time I read it it would pretty much take me an entire day to get through 10-15 pages. However, Chapter 2 of the book — “Repetition for Itself” — is pretty self-contained and does a good job of outlining most of the main themes of D&R as a whole. It and the essay “How Do We Recognize Structuralism” are probably the two best entry-points into the Deleuze of D&R.)
Oh yeah, we managed to get a house yesterday and it’s £150 a month cheaper than what I’m paying for at the moment and it’s clean so I’m pleased.
"The masses have right to changed property relations; fascism seeks to give them expression in keeping these relations unchanged. The logical outcome of fascism is the aestheticizing of political life… . All efforts to aestheticize politics culminates on one point. That one point is war. War, and only war, makes it possible to set a goal for mass movements on the grandest scale while preserving property relations… . [T]he destruction caused by war furnishes proof that society was not mature enough to make technology its organ … Instead of deploying power stations across the land, society deploys manpower in the form of armies. Instead of promoting air traffic, it promotes traffic in shells. And in gas warfare it has found a new means of abolishing the aura… . Its self-alienation has reached the point where it can experience its own annihilation as a supreme aesthetic pleasure. Such is the aestheticizing of politics, as practiced by fascism. Communism replies by politicizing art."
"I am Odious.
The subject suddenly realizes that he is imprisoning the loved object in a net of tyrannies: he has been pitiable, now he becomes monstrous."
"The experience of our generation: that capitalism will not die a natural death."
Walter Benjamin, the Arcades Project (via afronaut
"Belief is no longer belief in a transcendent world, but a belief in this world and its powers of transformation. It is believing in the body, in its relation to thought, and in the potential of the body and thought to affirm their powers of change and their receptivity to transformation. The transformation of belief as will to power is an affirmation of time and its powers of becoming and of faith in a life that can be transformed by an active and creative will. This is the power to become-other in thought, and then, to become-other."
For us, locomotives already have symbolic character because we met with them in childhood. Our children, however, will find this in automobiles, of which we ourselves see only the new, elegant, modern cheeky side. There is no more insipid and shabby antithesis than that which reactionary thinkers like Klages [insert contemporary name here] try to set up between the symbol-space of nature and that of technology. To each truly new configuration of nature—and, at bottom, technology is just such a configuration—there correspond new “images”. Every childhood discoveres these new images in order to incorporate them into the image stock of humanity.
- Walter Benjamin, Arcades Project 1927-1935
"Language speaks and asks:
‘Why am I so beautiful?
Because my master bathes me.’"
Paul Éluard, Capitale de la Douleur 1926