Bela Egyed on Deleuze

I recently came across the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze in my investigations of Shestov and Camus.  All of which was inspired by trying to add definition to what Nietzsche and Kant were playing with in their own personal sandboxes of ideas, but primarily due to that one big idea of Kant’s, transcendental idealism. I am still in the process of inhaling Deleuze’s work which is no small task, but remember I consider struggle fundamental to existence and the process of becoming ‘alive’ in this rather dreary, mostly dead, world of ideas we normally waddle around in.

I ran across an essay by a philosophy professor Bela Egyed on Deleuze that surprised me with some rather concise summations worthy of sharing given my propensity to ramble and lose focus.  The entire paper can be found here:  DELEUZE’S TRANSCENDENTAL EMPIRICISM, but I want to quote from pg. 6:

In his book on the painter Francis Bacon, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensations, (FB) Deleuze describes with great clarity how the painter ascends from the actual figures of its lived experience by “making a diagram” on a canvas which already contains a number of more or less actual, more or less virtual, “figurative givens”(FB, p.99; 65). In A Thousand Plateaus he describes how a philosopher goes about making a “diagram”. Diagrams are the philosopher’s equivalent of the painters brush strokes mapping out a virtual line of Ideas from which are created, not “figures-affects”, but “concepts”. And, just as figures on a well made canvas must trace out an artistic plane of consistency, concepts of philosophy must also trace out a field of consistency. But, the resulting consistency is not to be confused with the strict logical consistency traditionally associated with conceptual schemes. If it is to serve as a continued source of thinking it must remain on the surface between the actual and the virtual.

In the concluding chapter of DR, Deleuze suggests that Ideas originate in a Αsolitary and divine game≅, one which is to be distinguished from Αcollective and human games≅. Does this mean that philosophy is an essentially private enterprise? To answer this in the affirmative would suppose that Ideas have reality only in the minds of actual individual thinkers. But this runs completely against the way Deleuze understands subjectivity. According to him the virtual/actual distinction is first and foremost about individuation, and about the process of becomings-individuals. Actual individuals Αincorporate≅ the events that they have always been (virtually). This, I think, is the sense of Joe Bousquet’s beautiful remark -quoted several times by Deleuze – that “my wound existed before me, I was born to embody it”; or, of the Stoic saying: “Become worthy of what happens to you”; (LS p.148; 174) or, of Nietzsche’s saying: “Affirm, joyfully, every ‘It was’”.

A brief, beautiful passage that gives form to a giant connect the dots picture I’ve been working on my entire life.  One hopes against hope as it were, to become worthy indeed.

Egyed’s entire essay is worthy of a read for absent minded philosophers on the road to find out, highly recommended.

Theme Music: Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime

Same as it ever was!


4 thoughts on “Bela Egyed on Deleuze

  1. As I mentioned in my A Few Words on Kant post, I really like Allison’s Kant’s Transcendental Idealism: An Interpretation and Defense. I plan on doing a post soon detailing some of the finer points I found helpful. As to whether I ‘understand’ transcendental idealism…well I like to think I do, and would say my interpretation is heavily influenced by Jung, AI, and speculations on ‘root level programming’ at work in our brains at a non-sensory level. In fact I consider myself an expert generalist in nonsense. That’s a joke. Now where on the spectrum of understanding that would place me in Kant’s eyes…I haven’t a clue. The pseudo in my handle applies to many of my intellectual endeavors, philosophy included. Nietzsche is another post in the works, well probably several posts. His philosophy and prose have been a constant companion of mine now for over 25 years. The road to find out I ramble on about is a form of perspectivism. We can only approach truth, never reach the destination, for if we did, it would be like a comet crashing into the sun, consuming us in totality, ultimate illumination at odds with our physical nature. Damn, back at Plato’s Cave we arrive again. But some ideas, and by extension, some models are better than others. Which gets us back to Kant and Makkrell’s Hermeneutical Import of the Critique of Judgment, another book I found helpful with Kant’s sandbox. Much like Jung’s individuation process… all about the journey and the transformation from exposure to those glimpses Camus spoke of: “A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.”

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  2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement:-

    When a subject perceives anything (X), he does not perceive what is actually there but only that part or aspect of X which his cognitive faculties can grasp and not what actually X is.

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  3. As I suggested above, I tend to view transcendental idealism through a Jungian anima mundi prism. The text book definition of Kant’s TI is a great starting point, the famous example of objects and shadows and the mind filling in the blanks of a low information sensory environment, but Marx, Hegel, and as you mentioned, Nietzsche all had their criticisms and additions to Kant. Even Hume has something to offer, in the counter worthy to pursue. Deleuze, the subject of my post, also has something to offer to the discussion I feel, thus the post. At the point I am in my life, I’m more interested in idea generation than validation. I don’t tend to view any philosopher in terms of true or false but just more stabs in the dark on a dialectical spectrum to be resolved as best as possible by individuals. I welcome all free thinkers to the First Circle after all. Since I am an absent minded philosopher playing in my own sandbox of ideas, I am currently taking sand from many different boxes and blending them, mostly in vain, but still trying, for some coherent consistency to provide definition to an idea container more concerned with the ramifications of entering a personal state of rebellion which I view as a non-sensory transcendental state that in essence ‘reboots’ your own root command pathways to individuation and self sovereignty. I think I would then say the hermit in his cave is too busy watching shadows flicker on the walls to pause to consider whether the exterior world outside has a separate existence from his mind or not, it doesn’t matter, he has already ‘rejected’ the exterior world and turned inward for contemplation and validation. That road to find out for many absent minded types is Fool>Pilgrim>Hermit/Mystic. Each has a ‘perspective’ from which the ‘world’ is viewed from, but also what the ‘world’ is that is to be viewed. Micro to macro and back again.

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