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.
Same as it ever was!