There are creators in politics, and creative movements, that are poised for a moment in history. Hitler, on the contrary, lacked to a singular degree any Nietzschean element. Hitler is not Zarathoustra. Nor is Trujillo. They represented what Nietzsche calls “the monkey of Zarathoustra.” As Nietzsche said, if one wants to be “a master,” it is not enough to come to power. More often than not it is the “slaves” who come to power, and who keep it, and who remain slaves while they keep it.
The masters according to Nietzsche are the untimely, those who create, who destroy in order to create, not to preserve. Nietzsche says that under the huge earth-shattering events are tiny silent events, which he likens to the creation of new worlds: there once again you see the presence of the poetic under the historical. In France, for instance, there are no earth-shattering events right now. They are far away, and horrible, in Vietnam. But we still have tiny imperceptible events, which maybe announce an exodus from today’s desert. Maybe the return to Nietzsche is one of those “tiny events” and already a reinterpretation of the world. — Gilles Deleuze, in an interview with Guy Dumur, from Le Nouvel Observateur, April 5, 1967, pp. 40-41. (via sisyphean-revolt)
Deleuze’s transcendental method is a form of critique quite different from ideology. Ideology has to assume that there are real interests that are concealed: that women, say, really want to be liberated but are duped by ideology. Ideology also has to assume some normative form of the individual who awaits liberation from the imposed illusions of culture. Such an approach has a negative concept of power and the imagination; power is what oppresses or distorts an otherwise ‘real’ world, and imagination is the faculty of delusion.
From a transcendental point of view, though, we cannot assume real interests, nor some pre-social and essential individual that we might discover underneath power and images. The first step of transcendental method for Deleuze is to show how persons and interests are produced from the chaotic flows of desire. Deleuze and Guattari refer to this as ‘micropolitics’. — Claire Colebrook, Gilles Deleuze (p 92)
We are no longer privileged subjects who view life in disengaged theoretical contemplation; through Deleuze we can start to question who we are and what might become. Thinking experience as an open and immanent whole acknowledges that each new event of experience will transform what experience is, thereby precluding in principle any final or close ground for experience. Immanence is, then, for Deleuze the only true philosophy. If we allow thought to accept some transcendent foundation — such as reason, God, truth or human nature — then we have stopped thinking. And if immanence is philosophy for Deleuze it is also an ethics: not allowing experience to be enslaved by any single image that would elevate itself above others. — Claire Colebrook, Gilles Deleuze (p78-79)
My body will bear the mark of all these smoothing machines — perfect vision (contact lenses, lens implants), perfect skin (cosmetic operations), perfect organs (transplants, artificial pumps and filters), perfect birth (episiotomy), perfect genes (sliced and diced). But marked as it is that’s what makes it a smooth body, a smoothing body. Fast and clean. Connected to all the other smooth bodies in its territory, in a smooth-running collective machine. — William Bogard, Smoothing Machines and the Constitution of Society
For Deleuze this has political ramifications, for it helps to explain how we as bodies – respond and desire forms (such as Fascism) even when they would not be in our interest. We submit to repressive regimes, Deleuze argues, not because we are mistaken but because we desire certain affects. Think, for example, of the sensible intensities of political rallies: the anthems, the rhythm of speeches and marches, and the use of colour. These affective forces are not used to deceive us; here, we are not deluded by propaganda, but our bodies respond positively to these pre-personal ‘investments’. Confronting the productive power of affect therefore allows us to confront what Deleuze refers to as the ‘microperceptions’ that make up who we are – not just the perceptions of the eye that sees and judges, but the disorganised perceptions of the life that pulses through our bodies. — Claire Colebrook, Gilles Deleuze (p 40)
For the dogmatic image of thought, representation is the relay from the world to thought. For liberal political theory, representation is the relay from the individual to government. For the dogmatic image of thought, truth consists in the correspondence between thought and identities it represents. For liberal political theory, legitimacy or justice consists in the correspondence between government and the individual it represents.
Identities and representation: this is the stuff of the dogmatic image of thought. It is mirrored precisely in liberal political theory. No wonder stability is a constant preoccupation of political discussion. No wonder the threat to politics is so often called anarchy, by which is meant chaos, by which is meant instability and disorder. Politics is a matter of stability, of the stable representation of given individual interests by means of a government that considers and balances those interests in the public realm. — Todd May, Gilles Deleuze An Introduction (p 120)
Deleuze’s ontology is not a resting place; it is not a zone of comfort; it is not an answer that allows us to abandon our seeking. It is the opposite. An ontology of difference is a challenge. To recognize that there is more than we have been taught, that what is presented to us is only the beginning of what there is, puts before us the greater task of our living. We have not finished with living; we are never finished with living. However we live, there is always more. We do not know of what a body is capable, nor how it can live. The alternatives of contentment (I have arrived) and hopelessness (There is nowhere to go) are two sides of the same misguided thought: that what is presented to us is what there is.
There is more, always more. — Todd May, “Deleuze” p.172 (via lovevoltaireusapart)
Manuel DeLanda gives a wonderful and simple introduction to the Deleuzian materialist theory of philosophy, that can be picked up by anyone including those totally new philosophy.
1. Introduction and Metaphysics as Ontology
2. Types of Thinking - Population, Intensive, Topological
3. Subjectivity and Knowledge
4. Assemblage Theory
5. A Materialist History
6. Materialist Theory of Language
7. Philosophy, Science and Matter
8. Economies of Scale and Agglomeration
(Source: o-t-6, via murketing)
Parties are an evil inherent in free governments; but they do not have the same character and the same instincts in all periods of time.
There are periods of time when nations feel tormented by such great ills that the idea of a total change in their political constitution occurs to their mind. There are other periods when the malaise is even more profound and when the social state itself is compromised. That is the time of great revolutions and great parties.
Between these centuries of disorders and miseries, you find others when societies are at rest and when the human race seems to catch its breath. In truth, that is still only outward appearance. The march of time does not stop for peoples any more than for men; both advance each day toward an unknown future; and when we believe them stationary, it is because their movements escape us. They are men who are walking; to those who are running, they seem immobile.
Similar to the hand that marks the hours; everyone can tell the path it has already followed, but the hand must be watched for a long time to discover that it is moving.
Be that as it may, there are periods when the changes that take place in the political constitution and social state of peoples are so slow and so imperceptible, that men think they have arrived at a final state; the human mind then believes itself firmly seated on certain foundations and does not look beyond a certain horizon.
This is the time of intrigues and of small parties.
What I call great political parties are those that are attached to principles more than to their consequences, to generalities and not to particular cases, to ideas and not to men. In general, these parties have more noble traits, more generous passions, more real convictions, a more candid and bold appearance than the others. Here, particular interest, which always plays the greatest role in political passions, hides more cleverly behind the veil of public interest; sometimes it even manages to hide from the view of those whom it arouses and brings into action.
Small parties, on the contrary, are generally without political faith. Since they do not feel elevated and sustained by great objectives, their character is stamped by an egoism that occurs openly in each of their acts. They get worked up from a cold start; their language is violent, but their course is timid and uncertain. The means they use are miserable, like the very end that they propose. That is why, when a time of calm follows a violent revolution, great men seem suddenly to disappear and souls withdraw into themselves.
Great parties turn society upside down; small ones trouble it; the ones tear it apart and the others deprave it. Both have a common trait, however: to reach their ends, they hardly ever use means that conscience approves completely. There are honest men in nearly all parties, but it can be said that no party should be called an honest man. The first sometimes save society by shaking it up; the second always disturb it to no profit. — Alexis de Tocqueville on political parties. I’m generally suspicious of such generalizations, but thought it was an interesting characterization. Says more about Tocqueville than about America, I suppose.
we must avoid the simple metaphors of demasking, of throwing away the veils which are supposed to hide the naked reality.
We can see why Lacan … distances himself from the liberating gesture of saying finally that “the emperor has no clothes”. — Zizek, on how one can never fully see things through, because behind appearances are always only more appearances and no essence (via jujutsu-with-zizek)
One loves ultimately one’s desires, not the thing desired. — Friedrich Nietzsche, from Beyond Good and Evil (via violentwavesofemotion)
(Source: bringonyourwildbeasts, via alterities)
The Lacanian subject is quite literally a void or emptiness.
Symptoms are perpetual (failed) attempts to fill that a priori hole.
the … subject is the ruin of every identity or attempt to ultimately say what we are.
- Levi Bryant
The emptiness we occupy.
Sneak peek of Susan Bernofsky’s upcoming translation of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis!