NOTES ON: Deleuze, G (1990) The Logic of Sense, trans Mark Lester, edited by Constantin Boundas, New York: Columbia University Press.

[This is the usual philosophically dense material, and I am not going to attempt to offer detailed notes.  I will summarize the main issues for me which arise from the mercifully brief sections. However, here is a quick summary:

Deleuze's Logic of Sense -- a quick and partial summary

We make sense of objects, events or state of affairs when we pin them down and describe them, state propositions about them.  We can then develop these propositions into logical forms to draw conclusions, make predictions or whatever.  The trouble is, neither objects as we see them, nor propositions as we commonly use them, are at all simple.

Objects as we perceive them, for example, clearly have all sorts of characteristics as well that we don’t perceive.  They have a history, and a potential for the future, for example.  The worst problem is that objects as we see them are actually mixtures of things, the affects of complex causes: they are ‘overdetermined’, to use the phrase associated with both Freud and Marx.  Deleuze actually draws on resources in classical philosophy to argue this, especially the work of the Stoics, who saw objects and events as a ‘mixture of bodies’, this mixture emanating from somewhere in the depths, below conscious sense making.  Incidentally, this reliance on the Stoics also makes Deleuze a bit stoical, in the sense that he thinks that these mixed bodies are part of some unified whole (he was going to call this Being), and the role of destiny is associated with the whole.  It follows that ethically and conceptually, all human beings can do this discover the ways in which Being works.  There’s no point complaining about it either.  This is the basis of Badiou’s critique of Deleuze. It is also the basis of Deleuze's anti-humanism: we don't understand reality by trying to develop a conscious synthesis, tracking analogies based on some notion of a shared Essence, or seeing God as an ultimate synthesiser for that matter.

Events, and states of affairs are also more complex than they look, and Deleuze illustrates this discussion with the extraordinary notion of ‘compossibility’ in Leibniz.  Basically, the idea is that singularities can produce events in all sorts of divergent ways, all of them equally possible, and this potential is shrunk if we just study the actual course of events.

Objects are more complex than they look, with all sorts of bits of their being unavailable to us, but language is equally complex.  Here, Deleuze tries to demonstrate this by looking at people who use all kinds of linguistic anomalies such as paradoxes, or, in the case of Lewis Carroll especially, portmanteau words or esoteric words.  Although these constructions offend logic, and are strictly speaking nonsense, they still make sense.  This also points to some powers of language that are not immediately available to inspection.  More conventionally, we know that the use of particular words can have different functions in any language system—they can denote, they can manifest inner thoughts, and they can signify (in the French sense, that is indicate the existence of a structured language system which enables us to communicate with each other. Deleuze proposes to modify classical Saussurian semiotics by adding a moveable element, an 'empty space' or floating signifier').  Again wordplay can deliberately confuse these different functions, as when I use the term ‘it’ to denote a specific object, only to refer to a whole process as ‘it’, to express myself by saying something about ‘it’ and so on (actual easy examples are thin on the ground in Deleuze!).

Then there is one of those (many) philosophical diversions into various types of explanation for the extra elements that are not available to actual objects or speech acts.  Platonists thought the extra bits referred to some universal form  or Idea, other philosophers like Husserl or Kant suggest there was some transcendental realm beyond the immediate.  Deleuze offers objections to both for those approaches, and suggests that the real is actually divided into virtual and actual levels (DeLanda’s commentary is invaluable here).  The objects and words of our immediate perception are actualised are condensed out from much more complex objects and events at the virtual level.  In this book, about the only candidate for these complex objects is the singularity, which actualizes itself in various partial ways.  Deleuze goes on to develop this idea by saying that singularities themselves, and the events and objects they actualize, are produced in a random or arbitrary fashion, the chance is at the heart of actualisation.  We learn that the virtual also has its own sense of time, which is not the usual one which is highly limited by the insistence on the present tense in human operations.

It is a very abstract discussion, which finally comes to an example I could understand—the emergence of language in Freud.  As infants develop, their biological urges produce certain infantile concepts like part objects.  These are classically mixed, deriving from contradictory drives in the depths of the unconscious.  The sounds the infant makes our initially just bodily emanations, but they gradually come to take on the form of linguistic units, like phonemes.  There are elements of adult language available too, of course, but these are initially unintelligible.  Then a process described as the phantasm manages to combine various infantile concepts together into a‘disjunctive unity’, a mixture of heterogeneous elements which Deleuze thinks characterises most objects.  A kind of primitive narrative develops in the phantasm, partly driven by biological drives, and partly driven by emerging linguistic competencies (such as the Oedipal scene).  The key to this is the Freudian notion of the phallus, which both refers to a biological organs like penises, and to linguistic and cultural functions to do with authority and value.  The phallus is the ideal ambiguous object (or empty object as Deleuze insists on calling it), able to zigzag between bodies and language, and thus make divergent series ‘resonate’. The phantasm therefore develops an energy of its own, which permits a relative disengagement from sexual energy (sublimation) and, in the final stages, the proper development of language in the form of symbolisation.  At last we have language and events brought together on the surface, that is of the level of consciousness.  If I have read the appendices correctly, this phantasmic form is then generalised to include all the operations of making sense as describes right at the beginning.

I have lots of reservations about this whole schema, in fact, ranging from the general structure of the argument, where philosophical issues are introduced as if they were necessary, whereas their role is been predetermined all along (for example, Deleuze has always admired Stoics, and here they are as offering the best account), right down to the curious insistence on the phantasm as the adult form of making sense—in my view, dreams are a lot more like a general model of thinking, and they include the more sophisticated linguistic operations of metonymy (condensation), and metaphor (displacement).

I generally think the whole thing is too puffed up, overdone, and deeply elitist in the way in which insists on using language familiar only to the Parisian elite.

[NB an excellent summary in Bogue]

NB 'impassible'  means' impassive, unable to feel emotion', and is not a typo for 'impossible'. I don't know if 'absense' is a clever portmanteau word meaning ' the absence of sense', one of Deleuze's alleged jokes, or a typo. Same goes with the 'reverse of Platonism' and the 'reserve of Platonism', and several others, including 'comic' and 'cosmic'.  Surely 'xperess' must be a typo?I have steamed on and given what I think is the sense. I have a convention of my own too -- 'nonsense' means something that makes no sense, while' non sense' means something other than sense, like something corporeal, or something which makes no (conventional) sense, something inconsistent or arbitrary. There is also the usual problem of deciding whether Deleuze is using terms in their ordinary or specialist senses. Is the 'event' something that happens,something that has one definite location in space and time (maybe as a point or as a path), or is Deleuze commenting on the definitions of other philosophers?


Lewis Carroll is wonderful in exploring some of the paradoxes of logic.  Following some of these paradoxes will lead to the important role of ‘sense’ in understanding. [NB weird titles are Deleuze's own].

First series of paradoxes of pure becoming

We need to explore the nature of an event.  Events assume becoming, since they refer to states in the past and the future in a way which ‘eludes the present’.  This is paradoxical but still makes sense.  Plato tried to distinguish between limited fixed things and pure becoming, but the two cannot be separated.  Instead, a dualism is hidden in material bodies.  We need to introduce the notion of a simulacrum which is neither copy nor model [Massumi has a useful article on this—roughly, the issue is that what we take to be material reality is actually a simulacrum of the virtual, a limited condensation ‘beneath things’ (2)].  It also avoids the problems of subsuming reality under the Idea.  Sometimes, this is indicated by some of the peculiarities of language, which can seem to flow over specific referents.  This provides a clue that there is some dimension to language which serves to come to the aid of more specific attempts to name and describe.

There are implications for identity.  Fully grasping becoming means that identities are infinite, incorporating future and past, active and passive, and even cause and effect.  Language attempts to limit this infinity, but still often alludes to it [with open-ended statements or generalizations].  As with the Alice stories, this also disrupts the conventional notion of the personal identity.  Normally, this is maintained by some underlying commonsense or knowledge, as when ‘the personal self requires God and the world in general’ (3).  Becoming threatens this stability with the paradox of events, which can penetrate even commonsense—it is not just a doubt about reality, but a clear indication of the ‘objective structure of the event itself, insofar as it moves in two directions at once, and insofar as it fragments the subject following this double direction’ (3).

Second series of paradoxes of surface effects

Stoics divided things into bodies and states of affairs, ‘actions and passions’ (4).  There is also some cosmic unifying quality, always in the present.  Bodies can interact and cause effects in each other, but these effects are incorporeal, ‘logical or dialectical attributes…  not things or facts but events’ (5).  They have the kind of subsidiary existence, acting as verbs, and they are infinitives—the example is a cut inflicted on the body, which is seen as an incorporeal surface effect, compared to the actuality of bodies and their mixtures.

This argument had important implications for understanding the causal relation.  Specific bodily causes produce other bodies, linked by some cosmic unity or destiny.  Similarly, effects can be seen as having bonds between them, but effects can never be causes in themselves.  They can only be ‘”quasi-causes’ following laws which perhaps express in each case the relative unity or mixture of bodies on which they depend for their real causes’ (6).  These combinations and bonds do provide for some emergent qualities, which means that destiny can be avoided.  An alternative is offered by the Epicurean classification of different kinds of causes which are relatively independent [and so can interact], and this is a Kantian idea too.  There is a reference back to the capacities of language to offer ‘a declension of causes...[and]... a conjugation of effects’ (6). 

Stoic philosophy introduces the notion of a Something behind both specific material beings and incorporeal events.  The Idea must belong to ‘this impassive extra-Being which is sterile, inefficacious, and on the surface of things: the ideational or the incorporeal can no longer be anything other than an “effect”’ (7). This in turn leads to a change of metaphor from surface/depth to just surface, to a series of effects which are manifestations and are of different types.  We have a notion of possibilities, of ideality itself, rather than the platonic Idea, but with no ‘causal and spiritual efficacy’ (7).  The simulacrum now appears on the surface, rather than being hidden in the depths.

Events as effects combine past and present, active and passive, all of which are located elsewhere as causes.  The relation between events can only be quasi-causes.  Stoics saw dialectical analysis as explorations of these combinations, once they had been expressed in propositions—dialectics as conjugation.  Language also enables us to go beyond events into the possible or becoming.  The relation between propositions and specifics is itself still paradoxical—‘Chryssipus taught “If you say something it passes through your lips, so if you say “chariot”, a chariot passes through your lips’ (8).  It is deliberate nonsense in the Anglo American sense, or humourous play on the surface, as opposed to an ironic exploration of depths and heights.  Lewis Carroll did something similar in Alice.

[A commentary on Alice ensues, stressing the surface rather than the underground world, and picking up the disdain Lewis Carroll felt for boys who did not like to operate at the surface.  Left handers and stutterers can sometimes remind us of the paradoxes of the surface, however, which can defeat commonsense understandings].

Third series of the proposition

Describing events as propositions raises the question of how best to analyse surface events.  There are three possibilities:

Denotation [roughly, a direct connection between words and images which represent states of affairs, as in indexical signs.  Here, propositions are either true or false, and may be true in all cases];

Manifestation -- a relation between the proposition and the person expressing it, statements of desire and belief.  These are causal relations: ‘Desire is the internal causality of an image with respect to the existence of the object or the corresponding state of affairs’ (13).  Belief anticipates production of an effect by a cause.  Manifestation includes Denotation, makes it possible.  ‘”I” is the basic manifester’ (13).  Manifestation is ‘the domain of the personal, which functions as the principle of all possible Denotation’ (13).  The issues here turn on veracity other than truth and falsehood, the avoidance of illusion.

Signification, the relation of a word to universal or general concepts, and connections to implications which have to follow the rules of syntax.  Again, signifying involves conceptual implications referring to other propositions, as in premises or conclusions.  This involves a certain indirect process, implication or assertion, instead of truth or veracity, which remain as possible in certain conditions.  However, it is not just formal logical operations that are involved, but notions of probability or even moral terms such as promise or commitment.  Error produces not falsehood but absurdity [looks really close to Habermas and the three validity claims here]. 

Signification may not be primary, since all language begins from the standpoint of the ’I’, but there is an assumption that propositions must be understood by others and have a general force.  This implies that manifestation has primacy.  But signification is implied, and [in social relations] would be the basis of manifestation.  It is the difference between langue and parole.  Particular utterances only makes sense against the background of constant concepts.  This is extended to particular desires and beliefs, as opposed to ‘simple opinions’ which would not signify (16).

Actual utterances often involve truth claims and general signification [and other presuppositions, which are technically infinite].  This is the paradox facing pure logic, solved by a form of [smuggling]: ‘implication never succeeds in grounding denotation except by giving itself a ready- made denotation, once in the premises and again in the conclusion’ (16).

So actual propositions feature circular relations between signification, manifestation, and denotation.  There might even be a fourth dimension—sense, but introducing this will depend on making relations theoretically consistent—it is ‘not simply a question of fact’ (17).  To approach the issue, we ask whether sense might be located in one of the existing three.  Denotation concerns itself with truth and falsity, which is too narrow.  The mere relation between words and denoted things is to paradoxical to always makes sense, as in the example of speaking the term ‘chariot’.  Instead, denotation presupposes sense.  Manifestation does involve some manifesting subject which initiates, so may be sense is itself a subjective matter of beliefs and desires of persons—but subjects only possess this ability to speak because of a general system of signification in language.  It looks like sense must be identified with signification—but signification is linked in a circular relation with denotation and manifestation.

Perhaps it’s necessary to think of different forms of possibility of propositions—logical, physical, syntactic and so on.  This might serve as a foundations for sense, but this would be an external foundation, independent of speech [I think the problem is the connections between any foundations and actual act of speech, whether anything would escape the foundations].  The concept of truth in particular implies independence from form.  This independence, separate from conceptual possibilities in signification, is what constitutes sense.

This is the fourth dimension.  It is ‘an incorporeal, complex, and irreducible entity, at the surface of things’ (19).  There is philosophers have discovered and rediscovered this quality.  It is the idea of a Something again, beyond the propositions and the terms and the objects which are denoted, beyond the subjective I and things which are expressed.  Sense is irreducible to propositions, and it is and must be ‘”neutral,” altogether indifferent to both particular and general, singular and universal, personal and impersonal’ (19).  There is been little agreement about this possible fourth dimension, whether it exists simply in the form of some enquiry.  It is not even immediately useful because it is neutral.  It can only be inferred indirectly, by questioning characteristics of propositions as above—this is ‘inspired in its entirety by empiricism…  [avoiding notions of essence or Idea, and knowing]…  Have to track down, invoked and perhaps produce a phantom at the limit of a length or unfolded experience’ (20).

It might be what Husserl called 'expression',  lingering in terms such as the noema, as pure appearance, outside denotation or manifestation, linked in complex ways to appearances.

In the same way, sense does not exist outside propositions exactly, but ‘inheres or subsists’ (21).  It is not just an expression, but an attribute, not just of the proposition, but ‘of the thing or state of affairs’ (21), [the potential, ‘to be able to be green’ rather than just the denotation ‘green’ is the example here].  It is said of a thing, so it depends on propositions which express it and is therefore not separate from the proposition.  It is something else, both the expressible, and the state of affairs: ‘It turns one side towards things and one side towards propositions’ (22).  It is what joins propositions and things.  [It is a becoming].  It operates on the surface, rather as mathematics does, or the nonsense of Carroll.  It is the operation of sense that produces [meaningful] paradox.

Fourth series of dualities

Important dualities exist between causes and effects, and ‘corporeal things and incorporeal events’ (23).  This is extended to a duality between things and propositions, bodies and language.  This is expressed in Lewis Carroll as a duality between eating or speaking—the former is a matter of bodies actions and passions, and the latter movements of the surface and ‘ideational attributes or incorporeal events’ (23) [lots of examples from Alice about being presented to food and having food presented to you].  The normal relationship can be distorted by ‘verbal hallucinations…  Unrestricted oral behaviour…  And various disorders of the surface’ as bodily matters intrude—stuttering, left handedness (24).

Sense is always expressed in propositions, but it lies in states of affairs, it happens to things.  In this sense, bodies and language are united in the production of sense, existing ‘on the two sides of the frontier represented by sense’, which constantly articulates the differences (24)—things include ‘ideational logical attributes which indicate incorporeal events’, and propositions include both denotations and expressions, names and adjectives, and verbs [the latter indicating becoming and chains of events] (24) [illustrated with words by Humpty Dumpty].

This duality in propositions represents two dimensions, the ‘denotation of things and the expression of sense’ (25) [here, it is sense that is being expressed not subjectivity, however].  This means the duality is inherent in propositions as well as between propositions and things.  [More from Lewis Carroll page 26, turning on the universal denotation implied by the term ‘it’, and also the ability of the term to summarize the sense of an earlier proposition].  The two dimensions can emerge in an esoteric word, or in a ‘non identifiable aliquid’ (26).  The example given is the word ‘snark’ [both a limited thing and a representation of anything that is to exotic to exist?].  [the section ends with an extended quotation from the Gardener’s Song in Sylvie and Bruno—pass]

Fifth series of sense

More paradoxes with formal logic attempting to be presuppositionless eg:

1.    Explanations involve infinite regress. Deleuze’s example is the infinite regress of the Knight’s Song in Alice (the song has a name, the name is called something, that name is called something and so on). I think a better example is the infinite regress of the question ‘why?’ Why is the moon in the sky...why does gravity work like that...why must there be order...etc. Deleuze says that sense limits the regress ( part of its general function to operate at the frontier of the different terms). Here, and below, he gets close to stumbling across a social dimension to sense (it becomes socially inappropriate to keep pursuing the regress) – but backs off of course. The closest he gets is langue and parole

2.  Infinite regresses can be stopped by temporarily freezing the object in question as some sort of reality in itself, not relying on a proposition. OK but only a thin sort of sense can then be extracted. As in black boxing? Or when a power relation forbids inquiry – hier ist kein warum. We do learn something though – that actual events are largely ‘sterile’ when it comes to making sense ( hence Deleuze’s indifference to empirical inquiry?) ( There is a reference to Husserl’s indifference – as in the last bit of Cartesian Meditations – ‘don’t look outside, truth lies in the interior of mankind ’etc).

3.   A logical one again - -the sequence of proposition and object become confused and interchangeable, with us losing interest in which comes first – did Caroll compose the verse describing the gardener’s actions first, or after working out the actions? (I can’t think of a normal case. Sociologists often choose to black box this issue when asking research questions?) This helps Deleuze separate the action of sense from its usual form ‘good sense’, since counteraffirmations can still make sense? We can also see this when referring to modalitites such as ‘possibles’ which are not yet necessities.

4.  Paradoxes raised by propositions which denote impossible objects – square circles ('the present King of France' is the classic one). These show how sense can be,made of ideational events which cannot be realized, an extra-being.

Apart from anything else, all this exposes a problem with essences. Irritatingly, the example is obscure again – Avicenna’s dictum that animal non est nisi animal tantum (animals are nothing but animals only) (34). D says essences have two things which reside in particular animals and in animals in general – and the term ‘only’ smuggles in a third kind of essence , which  is ‘essence as sense’.

Sixth series on serialization

Sense operates through a series of propositions, as the example of infinite regress shows.  Quite often, the series becomes more abstract or general.  The purest form, however, is where separate series are established, one involving denotation, and the other making sense.  These different series operate in different ways, one at the surface, with denoted objects, and one inside propositions linking expressions, and also connecting them to denotations [pretty much like the way in which signifiers link together in propositions, and then are occasionally attached to actual referents which themselves develop sequences.  Deleuze wants to develop the term signifier to mean anything which is an aspect of sense, and signified to mean that which is denoted, or realized.  He wants to connect it back to the difference between events and states of affairs.  Notes that the signifier refers to the whole content of the proposition]

The issue is how can the series be joined?  There are a number of possibilities.  Mystifying literary examples follow 37-39 [I think what they are referring to is the way in which terms can both symbolise and denote literally.  Clever writers such as Joyce or Robbe-Grillet have indicated this in particular ways, for example by using esoteric words at crucial points.] These writers are able to show that there are genuine differences or displacements between the two series, and that both have their own momentum.  However the signifying series contain an excess of meaning, while the denotated features a lack of: it is this that articulates the two series and makes them make sense.

Special entities are needed to join the series together – mirrors which are ‘at once word and thing, name and object, sense and denotatum, expression and designation’ (40).  This term properly does not belong to either series.  It is understood as ‘an extremely mobile empty place’ when considering excess, and ‘an occupant without a place’ when considering lack (41).  An example in Alice ends the section.

Seventh series of esoteric words

Caroll experiments with a number of ways of alluding to these two separate series and their possible connections, including strange and ambiguous objects, onomatopoeic words, peculiar sequences which seem to reverse time, but also particular esoteric words.  There are different types of these esoteric words—(a) the proposition is contracted to become a particular single syllable, (b) words which express the conjunction of two series, as in words such as snark.  Here the word refers to something which is invisible or empty, indeterminate, (c) particular portmanteau words,  needed to express a particular function, not just a contraction, or a combination of bizarre animals whatever, but one which alludes to both series as above—snark has an incorporeal sense as well as referring to a composite animal [as an impossible goal or pointless task?]. 

It is possible to introduce second series of this kind to the other portmanteau words as well, but then loses its specificity.  Technically then, the portmanteau represents ‘a strict disjunctive synthesis’ [one of those important syntheses found in D’s more general philosophy which is particularly creative?].  A commentator is quoting as saying that such words act as a switch between different stories.  In this sense, this esoteric word refers to the empty square as above.  Other special words have different functions—type (a) offers ‘a synthesis of succession over a single series’,  type (b) offers connections between heterogeneous series, or conjunctions, and this special type (c) which are creative, or permit ‘infinite ramification have coexisting series and bear at once upon words and senses’ (47).

Eighth series of structure

Levi Strauss has also noticed that signs always offer an excess.  The system of language, ‘ the order of the known’ exceeds actual speech, even attempts at totalization (48).  Laws pre-exist actual cases.  [So we were getting close to a role for social life, but then it gets metaphysical again].  As LS put it, the universe signified long before human beings knew what it was signifying.  By contrast, the domination of nature proceeds partially and progressively, step by step unlike social life where all its goals and possibilities given at once.  We’re back with two series, this time conceived as rhythms, social and natural.  Both technocrats and dictators attempt a false synthesis of these two rhythms.

Levi Strauss referred to ‘the floating signifier’ as a creative force and Deleuze wants to say it’s ‘the promise of all revolutions’ (49).  There are also ‘floated signifieds’, which seem to be possibilities which have not yet been realized.  These can fill the gap between signifier and signified [and are found in common sense expressions like ‘gadgets’ or ‘whatnot’ – maybe connected to the idea of a bricoleur?].  It implies a symbolic content, but does not attempt to fill it with specifics.  Together, these possibilities constitute a structure, two heterogeneous series, one signifying, one signified, interdependent, and including particular events, singularities, emitted by a differentiator.  The singularities belong to neither series exclusively and thus have no coherent identity –each is an excess in one series and a lack in the other. The singularities can react back on the series, so structures and events are interdependent [so structures need a dynamic element, and, D argues, an excess, an empty square instead of total systematic closure. Addresses the old issue of the static nature of structuralism]. The signifying series contains a series of ideal events, an internal history. Differentiators articulate series and this produces a ‘tangled tale’ overall  (51).

Sense can be found in either series. It is not just signification but the relation that produces signifier and signified, [the operation of the whole structure in this expanded sense].

Ninth series of the problematic

[We start to develop the terminology of the more general complexity theory approach].  Ideal events are singularities: ‘turning points and points of inflection; bottlenecks, knots, foyers and centres; points of fusion, condensation and boiling; point of tears and joy, sickness and health, hope and anxiety, “sensitive” points.  Such singularities, however, should not be confused either with the personality of the one expressing herself in discourse, or with the individuality of the state of affairs’ designated by the proposition, or even with the generality all universality of the concept…  The singularity belongs to another dimension than that of Denotation, manifestation all signification.  It is essentially pre-individual, non personal, and aconceptual.  It is quite indifferent to the individual and collective, the personal and the impersonal, the particular and the general…  Singularity is neutral' (52).

Singularities produce a series stretching between them, and are themselves organised in a structure.  ‘The moment that the two series resonate and communicate, we pass from one distribution to another’ (53).  Singularities are displayed in paradoxes, themselves produced by a ‘paradoxical agent’ (53).  The events are ideal, but they are realized or actualised in imperfect states of affairs.  ‘The distinction is between event and accident’ (53) [so empirical events are entirely accidental].  It is a mistake to see events as exhibiting essences, when they are ‘jets of singularities’, and to confuse events and accidents, which is [naive] empiricism.

Events exist in unlimited time, ‘Aion, the Infinitive’ (53).  Events set problematics which define problems and conditions [so we have this isomorphism between reality and the activities of mathematicians and philosophers mentioned in DeLanda].  Events set the problematic, while specific problems appear as singular points [which might have to be further specified in detail, by adding specific values and so on]. Therefore solutions arise by finding the conditions which determine problems, the singularities.  Problematics are neither subjective nor empirical.  Problems can be concealed in solutions, however [see Delanda again on the limits of attempting always to find solutions to rather than defined problems -- also in Bergsonism ]: solutions have no sense if they do not recover this deeper structure of the origins of problems, the ‘indispensable horizon of [what] occurs or appears’ (54).  Solutions certainly do not exhaust problems, and answers do not exhaust questions: this alludes to some ‘ideational objectivities’ (56 sic).  These are sometimes alluded to by esoteric words, and are represented in general by the empty space, the blank word.

Mathematics is not an activity found exclusively in human consciousness, and its solutions should be seen as human events which exposed the conditions of a [real] problem.  Caroll shows this with his recreational mathematics (55) [which often seems to anthropomorphise mathematical constructions—Deleuze says that conventional conceptions of human beings also anthropomorphise their ‘prepersonal singularities’ (55)].  Human feelings ‘are constituted in the vicinity of these singularities: sensitive crisis points, turning points, boiling points, knots and foyers’ (55).

Events are only known in the context of the problem they are determining, and we need a language to describe events in general in their field, and how they are realized.  Paradox can be seen as a particular problem related to singular points, but again some empty square or ‘aleatory point’ must be involved, enabling events to communicate in an unusual way.  Paradox therefore illustrates the relation of events: it is ‘the Unique event, in which all events communicate and are distributed’ (56).  Paradox alludes to this ‘singular being’, corresponding to ‘the question as such’ (57).

Tenth series of the ideal game

[We’re going to use the idea of a game to further illustrate how the virtual is imminent in the actual.  Why this example?  To have a go at the metaphor of games in philosophy?  To instate Lewis Carroll as some great philosopher?]

The actual games have a series of rules about playing and outcomes that limit the influence of chance.  It’s possible to invert these rules to arrive at an ideal game, with no rules, and with the full operation of chance [ which describes the virtual, I suppose] .  Carroll describe some.  We also learn about time and how it operates.  In each throw of the dice, singularities are distributed as a ‘nomadic and non sedentary distribution, wherein each system of singularities communicate and resonates with the others, being at once implicated by the others and implicating them in the most important cast’ (60).  This game can only be played in thought [since any empirical reality limits chance.  Chance is fixed by the mechanisms of say the roulette wheel].

Infinite time can be compared with finite [or metric] time.  They are linked together, although it is useful to consider both.  In finite time, the present exists and features mixtures of matter which are temporally realized and can take on a [empirical] depth.  In the other kind of time, only the past and future exist, and colonise moments in the presence. It offers an unlimited kind of time, since the gap between past and future is endlessly subdivided and never closed.  It is neutral and incorporeal. Here, the present is a ‘pure mathematical instant’ (62).  It is the time of events which are always things which have just happened and things which are about to happen ‘never something which is happening’ (63).  As with the operations of chance in a game, specific events or throws occupy a time which is smaller than that which can be thought [that is the unfolding of singularities which happen instantly?], and also the maximum notion of time [I can only grasped this by thinking of specific chances being understood by their location in whole sequences of the infinite throws of the dice].  [There is some stuff about the eternal return here too which I don’t understand—63 – 64 --better in the book on Nietzsche ].

‘The Aion is the straight line traced by the aleatory [unpredictable, accidental] point’ [search me] which means that events can communicate with all the others, as in events of the Aion itself.  This sort of unity is not the same is an empirical corporeal unity.  The Aion underpins or circulates within the series of events.  This also helps explain the connection between the sense of propositions and the sense of states of affairs.  [Weird. Making the strongest possible case for chance, I assume. Denying essence or subjective intent. Makes empirical {including social}  science as limited to the finite and metric, but requiring thought experiments to move to the 'pure' level? So says DeLanda anyway, I think].

Eleventh series of nonsense

Nonsense has the same function as paradox, in introducing [thought about] links between heterogeneous series.  Like paradox, it is dualist, belonging to both, featuring both excess and lack and so on.  Apparently, the Stoics used a blank word with no meaning, and an empty correlate.  We have seen how esoteric words coordinate series as well, especially portmanteau words.  They can be both word and thing, for example, requiring no split between names and secondary propositions to explain names, as above.  Portmanteaux can also be a kind of condensed alternative as in Caroll’s ‘frumious’.  Again this requires no explanatory expression—‘the entire word says its own sense and is, for this reason, nonsense’ [defined here in terms of this odd requirement that names have to have explanatory propositions to make sense of them. There are different definitions below](67).  In other words, nonsense can either offer a ‘regressive  synthesis [in the sense of avoiding infinite regression?]between word and thing, or a ‘disjunctive synthesis’ [and we know that Deleuze likes these as being particularly creative].

This implies that nonsense is connected with sense after all.  It is not a matter of true and false.  Nonsense is something that helps us develop the logic of sense not just repeat the old dichotomy.  As in the examples above, the relation is one of ‘co-presence… a word which says its own sense’ (68).

Normally, names acquire sense with an additional explanatory proposition, ‘determinations of signification’ based on some underlying law.  For example, one law states that we grasp the first level of denotation as a member of a higher order type, a class, operating at some level higher than the objects which are in it.  Another law says that an element must belong to a distinct set, and cannot belong to the subsets of that set [I think, 69].  When these laws are broken, absurdity can result, [including mistakes about the point of reference?  If I said that vicars are evil bastards, would that mean all vicars or just the evil ones?  Deleuze’s example is the phrase ‘the barber of the regiment’ (69)—according to the source I found on Google, a medieval paradox which says that the barber can only shave the men who have not shaved themselves which apparently leaves him unable to shave or not shave. I thought this was an absurdity of the first kind -- the barber who is a member of the regiment or the man who makes the regiment 'take a haircut' in modern parlanceI still don’t get it].

Proper determinations of signification lead to logical operations such as the principle of non contradiction and the excluded middle.  Paradoxes however break these principles.  [More examples from the Stoics, 69-70, something about operating with differences between one term and another, rather than between one term and its opposite.]

Nonsense shows how sense works [again, not according to strictly logical principles?].  A term which is not used in signification can still have a sense in relating to events rather than properties and classes.  It is sense in some absolute rather than relative way, some relation which generates both normal sense and normal nonsense.  It is an effect of a process, and it circulates to affect normal [logical] notions of sense.  It is the sort of thing that is sometimes referred to by some proper name, such as the Kelvin effect.  Structuralists have grasped some of this idea, by seeing sense as an effect of the circulation of structural elements, by locations in series, including the empty square: ‘Structure is in fact a machine for the production of incorporeal sense’ (71).  Sense is therefore produced by something [by nonsense, Deleuze says—better if he had written that as non–sense and stopped mucking about with his defenceless readers].  This machine produces an excess of sense, always operating to reduce the absence of sense [the normal but limited use of nonsense—don’t you love these philosophical games?].

This is a better formulation compared to those attempts to ground sense in some hierarchy, say between man and God, or the transcendental [with an allusion to Kant]. Arguments broke out about the relation between these two elements, but the hierarchy was seen to convey a sense, for example as heavenly principle embedded in actuality.  The modern conception, as in structuralism, denies any origin and stresses production, surface rather than height or depth.  Seen this way, notions of height and depth lack sense, or had to introduce it from the outside as a presupposition or a foundation.  People like Nietzsche are still misunderstood as an advocate of transcendence—he only used the term the death of god to explain the bad faith and ressentiment which emerged.  Freud is not there to explain the origins of sense but to uncover ‘the machinery of the unconscious by which sense is produced, always as a function of nonsense’ (72) [nonsense meaning misunderstood elements producing symbols?].  Human qualities such as of freedom and strengths are produced not by ‘the human personality, but [by] these singularities which are more to us than we ourselves are, more defined and the gods, as they animate concretely poem and aphorism, permanent revolution and partial action’ (72).  There is more freedom or creativity in the operation of the singularities than human beings conceive.  ‘Today’s task is to make the empty square circulate and to make pre-individual and non personal singularities speak—in short, to produce sense’ (73).

Twelfth series of the paradox

Paradoxes inhere in language and probably help it to function.  There also inherent in thought, which is never simple and clear, and uncontaminated by the unconscious.  Nor is it just a recreation to explore them.  They lie behind contradictions, which are more limited.  They point to the existence of the ‘abnormal set (which is included as a member or which includes members of different types) and that of the rebel element (which forms part of a sect whose existence it presupposes and belongs to two subsets which it determines)’(75).  Paradoxes show us the possibility of ‘subdivisions ad finitum...  And the nomadic distribution (distributing in an open space instead of…  A closed space)’ (75).

Paradox opposes doxa, in the form of both good sense and common sense.  Good sense is one directional, proceeding from the most to the least differentiated.  The normal conception of time is implied so, since the past of an individual system always seems to be more differentiated compared to the present and the future.  This enables good sense to offer foresight, which is its function, and the best example is thermodynamics.  Difference appears first, and it is then equalised over time.  The dynamics occur in the present. This is a distribution of occurrences, specifically ‘a fixed or sedentary distribution’ (76).  In Deleuze’s is terms, it stretches a singularity over a line of ‘ordinary and regular points’ which both depend on it and also dilute it (76).  Good sense emerged in the agricultural revolution and later the industrial revolution [and an example of the establishment of enclosures and the regulation of social classes provides a nonmetaphorical base for logical terms like properties and classes!, 76]

Good sense enable sophisticated forms of signification, but sense is something extra.  Just as enclosures presupposed open spaces, so sedentary distributions presuppose other kinds of distribution, as revealed in paradox.  Such distributions lie beyond the limits of individual worlds or systems, with their notions of past and future, or metric space.  We move from Chronos to Aion: ‘no present can be fixed in a Universe which is taken to be the system of all systems, or the abnormal set’ (77).  The line of Aion ‘leaps from one preindividual singularity to another and recovers them all’ (77).

In common sense, there is an organ or faculty which differentiates the Same.  Common sense identifies and recognises rather than foresees.  It unifies, including producing a unified I.  This subject sense seems to express and manifest language.  Common sense ends with a series of familiar objects, apparently with natural laws.  The two kinds of sense are complementary—it is impossible to think of the beginning or direction without an identifiable subject or familiar unstable objects.  Similarly, identity requires some notion of transcendence, a beginning, a transformation of difference, which can be stopped and measured.  In Christian terms, this is a unity between the self the world and God.

Paradox reverses both good and common sense.  It appears as the unforeseeable, or the becoming mad, threats to identity and recognition [with illustrations from Carroll, page 79].  However, sense does persist, beyond good sense [the example is the mad Hatter and the march hare—the idea is the two characters seem to represent underlying sense and its two aspects? ].  Humpty Dumpty destroys commonsense and yet still makes sense [?].

Paradoxes the force of the unconscious, behind the back of consciousness [with a paragraph on different philosophical disputes about when things start and end.  The only bit that made sense was insisting that the quality of water at 0° C is better understood as a singularity rather than an ordinary point on the thermometer.

There is thus a system of thought behind language, and paradox animates it.  Nonsense is closely related to sense.  [Then an example of paradoxes where words that makes sense as signification makes no sense as the denotations of things that are signified].  Sense does not simply merge with propositions, but crops up in the other series, a series of states of affairs.  This shows that sense must have two aspects, behind both propositions and events.  As a result, sense itself threatens to undermine good sense and common sense.

Thirteenth series of the schizophrenic and the little girl

[Wild and wacky stuff here relating to Artaud’s work.  I would normally chop it out altogether, except it provides some context for the emergence of the phrase ‘body without organs’, that crops up so prominently in Anti Oedipus]

Sense is fragile and is threatened by nonsense.  Sometimes such nonsense can destroy everything, and we see this if we switch from the playful portmanteaux of Carroll to the schizophrenic  writings of Artaud.  These are real examples of nonsense, instead of the artificial ones discussed by philosophers.  Artaud apparently disliked Carroll, and rendered Jabberwocky in a much more challenging schizophrenic language.  Carroll is too superficial, whereas schizophrenia reveals the real problems with language. 

Another work is discussed, by Woolfson, to focus on the duality between things and words.  This takes the form of someone [schizophrenic?] experiencing a problem in translating from one language to the other, which somehow becomes transposed into an anxiety about eating.  A schizophrenic interlude ensues involving associations between consonants as the basis for translation, and the paradoxes that emerge (85).  The same basic ‘oral duality (to eat/to speak)’ is also found in Carroll’s work, and in Artaud’s.  However, in Caroll, some sense is retained since this duality is explored ‘at the surface’ (86) [this also indicates, apparently that the operation of sense of the surface shows only a quasi-causal relation between its elements, since there are incorporeal elements driving it].

For Artaud, the classic schizophrenic symptoms included the absence of surface, especially with bodies.  Apparently Freud also noticed this tendency for schizophrenics to see their body as ‘punctured by an infinite number of little holes’ (87).  The body therefore incorporates everything into its depths, everything becomes corporeal and physical.  The surface no longer limits the extension of the body.  ‘Hence the schizophrenic manner of living the contradiction: either in the deep fissure which traverses the body, or in the fragmented parts which encase one another and spin about’ (87).  The world loses its meaning and sense [because it can no longer split sensation into a signifying and signified separated by a surface?] Words become physical and affect bodies, or they burst into components [which relates back to the Woolfson example].  Schizophrenics experience ‘a pure language–affect’ (88) [sic --affect not effect].

Schizophrenics manage this by overcoming the effects of language, as in the strange translation activity in the Woolfson example.  In Artaud’s case the solution was to create special words expressing ‘values which are exclusively tonic and not written’ (88).  ‘To these values a glorious body corresponds, being a new dimension of the schizophrenic body, an organism about parts which operates entirely by insufflations, respiration, evaporation, and fluid transmission (the superior body or body without organs of Antonin Artaud)’ (88).  This solution can never be complete because there can never be a total separation between suffering [‘passion’] and [remedial] action, and passion can be reintroduced, and the body corrupted-- a schizophrenic body is therefore a constant mixture of two actions or principles.

Artaud tries to invent a new language which cannot be decomposed and thus cannot be colonised, a language of ‘consonatal guttural and aspirated overloads’ (89).  The words are joined by some invented principle, in this case a ‘palatalized’ one (89) which blurs the consonants together and prevents them being written down.  The result is ‘so many active howls in one continuous breath’ (89) [sounds very much like Tzara’s Dadaist tone poems --Artaud's example on p.83] ].  These words are often the equivalent to portmanteaux [some examples are given on page 90].  Using these words can ‘enact a chain of associations…  in a region of infra sense, according to a fluid and burning principle which absorbs and reabsorbs effectively the sense as soon as it is produced’ (90).

So two sorts of words related to two sorts of bodies, one fragmented and one without organs.  There are also two theatres or two types of nonsense implied here: one where ordinary words are decomposed into nonsense, and one where tonic elements alone form nonsensical words.  They are produced by things happening beneath the surface, unlike Carroll's playful superficiality.  The two signifying and signified series disappear, and non sense engulfs signifiers and signified.  There is no surface division to separate the expressivity of words and the attributes of actual bodies [which regulates ordinary language]. In schizophrenic language there is no grammar or syntax either, although both are preserved in Carroll.  Nevertheless, it is Artaud who has ‘discovered a vital body and the prodigious language of this body…  He explored the infra sense which is still unknown today’ (93).  However, Caroll has explored those important surfaces, on which ‘the entire logic of sense is located’ (93).

We can still find schizoid fragments in ordinary speech, but these are normally reorganised.  Similarly, Carroll can be retranslated as a schizophrenic piece (92).  But it is wrong to generalise here, ‘believing to have discovered analogous forms which create false differences’ (92).  Psychoanalysis should operate with a surface/depth structure rather than with analogies—‘it is geographical before it is historical’ (93).  [While we are here, note that ‘it is hardly acceptable…  to run together a child’s nursery rhymes, poetic experimentations, and experiences of madness…  [And] justify the grotesque trinity of child, poet, and madmen’ (82-83).  This must be a problem for those who think that Deleuze is arguing that children are philosophers?]

Fourteenth series of double causality

[This and the next section are really quite difficult going, although they seem to be quite central to the whole Deleuzian position, since the great man is beginning to explain the notion of the virtual and the actual.  I had to read this chunk four or five times.  In the process, I began to think of the problems of two level explanations, which are commonly deployed in sociology.  Hindess, for example, says that these present logical problems of connectivity, and lurking beneath the various solutions is a fundamentally religious explanation.  God moves in mysterious ways and is all powerful as a creator of what can be observed.  Our job is to try and reconstruct God’s will based on interrogation of the actual.  Deleuze seems well aware of this tradition and tries to overcome it in the next section, but I wonder if he really does escape.  At times, it looks as if it’s a peculiar version of Christianity—Gnosticism or even Manicheanism.  Thinking of the latter sect might also explain the peculiar politics of the Deleuzian position.  As others have noted, especially Badiou, we burble along with lots of formal philosophy, but we suddenly launch fierce denunciations of capitalism as well.  Capitalism is never explained or analysed, although the essay on the society of control looks very much like Foucault.  This in turn led me to reconsider Baudrillard’s points that desire in Deleuze  and power in Foucault are complementary, and specifically the Deleuze does not need to spell out the concept of power because he takes it to be exactly the same as Foucault’s.  Of course, we have the same problem of universalised conception of power in Foucault, no longer tied to a class or a state apparatus, and therefore too general to be much use to a politics.  I still think Christianity haunts this discussion as well].

Sense has a double nature, reflecting a kind of double causality.  Events or effects are not the same as causes, yet they result from them.  There must be some heterogeneous relation between cause and effect.  There are also relations between causes and relations between effects.  Deleuze reserves the term ‘quasi cause’ to refer to the incorporeal roots of corporeal or empirical causes.  [The example given here is how ‘the actions and passions of the body’ can produce effects, although it can look as if more tangible causes are responsible.  Another example turns on the behaviour of liquids, which are affected by ‘intermolecular modifications…  as their real cause, but also... the variations of the surface tension on which they depend as their (ideational or “fictive”) quasi cause’ (95) Why not just develop the notion of cause?  Is Deleuze restricting the concept of cause to the classic determinist version?  How good are philosophers at analysing empirical causes anyway?  Once a quasi cause becomes known, doesn’t it become a cause?  What about substituting terms like correlation and causality instead?]

This is another illustration of how [common or good] sense is produced as an effect by non sense, an ‘aleatory point’ (95).  Only this insures the full autonomy of an effect.  Non sense can be apparent at the surface [in the form of paradoxes?], and are also found in the ‘two “deep” non senses of passion and action…  [in]…  the depth of bodies’ (95).  Effects are related to quasi causes as well as normal causes, hence their autonomy.

However, this makes sense [developing understanding?] into something that must be neutral, ‘neither active nor passive’ (95), different from both the denoted state of affairs and propositions.  It must be related to quasi causes in order to fully grasp effects at the surface; quasi causes develop an ‘immanent relation’ to the effects.  This also implies that the quasi cause is productive of sense, including producing the propositions that express it, as well as the denoted state of affairs.  This is another contradiction—neutral in some ways, and productive in others.  To use different terms, in formal logic, or false proposition can still have a sense, while in transcendental logic, propositions always possess the [deeper] truth.  [I think the neutrality bit refers to general qualities that are not grasped by ordinary sense, and a generative bit relates to the connections with actual objects.  Why can’t the bastard use clear terms?]

How is this opposition to be resolved?  Most attempts to develop transcendental logic and link it with simple logic have attempted this.  Husserl developed the concept of noema as something which has both a neutral core component [‘like noematic color, in which neither the reality of the object, nor the way in which we are conscious of it, intervenes’ (96)].  Only transcendental consciousness can see how this relates to actual objects, generating them [I think—97].  However, transcendental consciousness is described in too limited a way, as a matter of concepts and not events, and as a matter of simple unification between object and noema, not complex, heterogeneous, and nonsensical relation.  The same problem arises with Kant.  For both thinkers, transcendental sense is derived ultimately from commonsense and its operations in synthesising and bestowing identity.  The transcendental becomes ‘a mere empirical exercise in an image of [commonsense] thought presented as originary’ (98).  ‘It is the entire dimension of manifestation, in the position of the transcendental subject, which retains the form of the person, of personal consciousness, and of subjective identity, and which is satisfied with creating the transcendental out of the characteristics of the empirical’ (98).  [The Kantian error is to deduce the transcendental syntheses from ‘corresponding psychological syntheses’ (98)—blimey, it could be Bourdieu!]

But philosophy must break with common sense if it is to be philosophy at all [classic example of philosophical reasoning!] We have to clarify a notion of sense not contaminated with common or good sense, and avoiding the notion that personal consciousness or subjective identity is the fundamental synthesising agency.  [One problem with seeing human subjects as the basis of proper sense is that the subject itself has to be explained].

So what is the transcendental composed of?  It cannot be shapeless, ‘a schizophrenic abyss’ (99) [so schizophrenics are not philosophers after all], but must be explained in terms of ‘singularities, and thus of anti-generalities, which are however impersonal and pre-individual [and universal but not general]’ (99).

Fifteenth series of singularities

Contradictory elements of sense have to be preserved.  Neutrality, for example, is necessary if we are to develop concepts which have ‘eternal truth…  [which can be]…  distinguished from its temporal actualizations’ (100-- hooray!].  [The example is given of developing the concept of battle, making sure that it is not just the same as how the participants might see it—‘the battle hovers over its own field, being neutral in relation to all its temporal actualizations, neutral and impassive in relation to the victor and vanquished, the coward and the brave’ (100)].  Only mortally wounded soldiers are in a position to grasp this ‘terrible impassibility...  The soldier needs a long struggle in order to arrive at this beyond of courage and cowardice, to this pure grasping of the event…  By means of the will that the event creates in him.  This intuition is distinct from all the empirical intuitions which still correspond to types of actualization’ (101) [no role for imaginative kids then?]

We can see the neutrality of sense in the characteristics of several different propositions related to quantity (‘sense is neither particular nor general, neither universal nor personal’); from quality ‘it is entirely independent of both affirmation and negation’; it is neither ‘assertoric nor apodeictic’ (101).  It does not depend on denotation, manifestation or signification, nor with any intuitions or positions of consciousness such as ‘empirical perception, imagination, memory, understanding, volition’ (101). Husserl saw all this, but attributed neutrality to an attribute of consciousness itself (102).

Instead, we need ‘an impersonal and pre-individual transcendental field, which does not resemble the corresponding empirical fields, and which nevertheless is not confused with an undifferentiated depth.  This field cannot be determined as that of a consciousness’ (102).  It is not consciousness that synthetically unifies.  ‘What is neither individual nor personal are, on the contrary, emissions of singularities insofar as they occur on an unconscious surface and possess a mobile, immanent principle of auto-unification through a nomadic distribution, radically distinct from fixed and sedentary distributions as conditions of the syntheses of consciousness.  Singularities are the true transcendental events’ (102—3) [so it is singularities that pursue nomadic paths, not heroic educational radicals].  Singularities produce selves as actualizations, ‘although the figures of this actualization do not at all resemble the realised potential.  Only a theory of singular points is capable of transcending the synthesis of the person and the analysis of the individual as these are (or are made) in consciousness’ (103).

Singularities produce heterogeneous series, organized into ‘”metastable”’ systems of potential energy.  Singularities are always likely to produce auto-unification, driven by chance and the ‘paradoxical element [that] traverses the series and makes them resonate’ (103).  Singularities ‘haunt the surface’—membranes are important for placing internal into contact with the external, through a topological surface—‘the skin has at its disposal a vital and properly superficial potential energy’ (103).  Surface is the ‘locus of sense’.  It is at the surface that two series are linked together [so that one can comment and make sense of the other as above].  This linking is still neutral [it seems to be the organs that impose particular meanings, by adding a depth].  Actualizations can go on on either side of the membrane.

Problematics are created by particular distributions of singularities in fields [see above], again in a neutral sense, ‘as topological events to which no direction is attached’ (104).  Deleuze thinks this helps him develop ‘an entirely objective definition to the term “problematic”’ (104) [that is, nothing to do with subjectivity].

This notion of sense is developed through a series of philosophical movements.  The old notion of metaphysical essences [irritatingly, spelled as ‘essense’, probably as some kind of pun?] was replaced by transcendental philosophy, and further investigations of the transcendental.  The old transcendentalism had to be populated either with a personal subject, or some universal subjective capacity of apperception and synthesis, or some notion of the capacities of consciousness itself [apparently developed by Sartre].  All these notions involve common sense as the originary operation. 

Putting consciousness at the centre of the transcendental avoids having to grant any autonomy for objects which would risk a reversion to the idea of essences, but it is still a problem.  There is a false choice between chaos, ‘an abyss’ without differences and without properties’, and ‘a supremely individuated Being and intensely personalised Form’ (106).  It follows that such a being would have to possess all the characteristics of reality within itself.  The being can be either god or man. In both options ‘we are faced with the alternative between undifferentiated groundlessness and imprisoned singularities’ (106).  Nonsense and sense appear as simple opposites, and sense becomes something based on predicates.  

Some philosophers have attempted to make sense of the formless abyss, including Nietzsche, but still with this notion that the personal and individual is the primary sense making agent.  Nietzsche came close to discovering a world of pre-individual singularities, driven by a free energy, ‘the will to power’ (107).  ‘Being…  leaps from one singularity to another, casting always the dice belonging to the same cast, always fragmented and formed again in each throw’ (107 [Deleuze’s own position?].  For Nietzsche, this is the philosophy of the ‘pure unformed’, and ‘the subject is this free, anonymous, and nomadic singularity which traverses men as well as plants and animals independently of the matter of their individuation and the forms of their personality.  “Overman” means nothing other than this—the superior type of everything that is’ (107).  However, Nietzsche also returned to explore the ‘bottomless abyss’ (108).  [And then there is a very curious bit about how Nietzsche perished—ostensibly from sickness and death, but also from a quasi cause ‘which represents the state of organisation or disorganisation of the incorporeal surface’, something to do with his entire oeuvre and style.  ‘We see no other way of raising the question of relations between an oeuvre and illness except by means of this double causality’ (108). {Precisely! You haven't read any sociology have you? No wonder you can see 'no other way'! Try Wright Mills, Bourdieu, any working sociologist of knowledge}]

Sixteenth series of the static ontological genesis

Singularities constitute the transcendental field.  The first stage of actualization involves the derivation of individuals.  Singularities spread out ‘in a determined direction over a line of ordinary points’, up to the vicinity of another singularity (109).  When series converge, a world is constituted [and other worlds arise from diverging series]. 

The infinite system of singularities are selected and rendered finite by individuals [does he mean human individuals throughout? I think so]  who combine them, ‘spread them out over their ordinary lines’ (109) and even form them again on various membranes.  ‘An individual is therefore always in a world as a circle of convergence, and a world may be formed and thought only in the vicinity of the individuals which occupy or fill it’ (110).  [Deleuze is suggesting that this role for individuals is the only way for worlds to persist, since entropy prevents the endless renewal of singularities at the virtual level—‘the power of renewal is conceded only to individuals in the world, and only for a time—the time of their living present' (110).

This is static genesis, the first level of actualization.  Singularities are actualized in the world and in individuals.  Actualization means being extended, selected, incarnated in a body, and renewed locally.  These qualities require individuals.  Actualization also means being expressed, but it would be wrong to assume that only the expressed world exists.  There are, for example incompossible worlds, produced by diverging series [as real events, and not just matters of contradictory consciousness].  This implies that there is a continuum of singularities outside of [conscious] individuals, worlds in which other possibilities arise.  [So grasping these other possibilities again distinguishes sense from mere logic, based on the truth and falsity of propositions expressed by individuals].

Because individuals express worlds, however, the world looks as if it is merely subjective, and objective events appear to be ‘the analytic predicate of a subject’ (112).  [These analytic predicates appear to be properties of people or objects].  [Much of this argument is referring to Leibniz].  However, the problem is to explain logical hierarchies of properties and general categories.  Subjective analytic predicates have an immediacy, but do not have any kind of order, they get elaborated  but only as mixtures.  They are descriptive of actual structures and diversities.  They are ‘intuitions... immediate representations’ (113).

The second level of actualization involves the transcendental again, originally conceived as the development of transcendency in the individual [see the critique of Husserl above].  The transcendental ego is constituted just as other individuals are, as a circle of convergences, so the problem is to escape this and develop knowledge of the whole continuum, of incompossible worlds and divergent series, a new sense of world [Deleuze uses the German terms Welt for this new world and Umwelt for the subjective world.  I am grateful to Wikipedia for explaining that:

In the semiotic theories of Jakob von Uexküll and Thomas A. Sebeok, umwelt (plural: umwelten; the German word Umwelt means "environment" or "surrounding world") is the "biological foundations that lie at the very epicenter of the study of both communication and signification in the human [and non-human] animal."[citation needed] The term is usually translated as "self-centered world".[1] Uexküll theorised that organisms can have different umwelten, even though they share the same environment’]. 

Proper transcendence involves transcending individuated worlds. Singularities come with their own ‘perfectly objective determination which is the open space of its nomadic distribution’ (113), and this is how Deleuze wants to define a problematic [above].  Leibniz apparently half grasped this argument, suggesting that conic sections, for example, all referred back to the same Event, subdivided by ‘ambiguous signs’ (114).  Similarly, incompossible worlds also have ‘something objectively in common’, and ‘several worlds appear as instances of solutions for one and the same problem...  Variants of the same story...  There is thus a ”vague Adam”, that is a vagabond, a nomad…  common to several worlds’  (114). 

In other words, all the objective and subjective worlds can be explained by a series of singularities.  It is not just the analytic predicates of individuals that actualizes worlds.  ‘On the contrary, [there] are predicates which define persons synthetically and open different worlds and individualities to them as so many variables or possibilities’ (115).  It is incompossible worlds which synthesise ‘primary possibilities or categories’ (115).

These possibilities or categories ‘necessarily signify classes and properties’, and these are distinct from individual categories at the first level.  They still seen grounded in persons, but that is ‘because persons themselves are primarily classes having one single member, and their predicates are properties having one constant’ (115).  There is thus a system involving persons, classes with one single member, extensive classes and variable properties ‘-- that is the general concepts which derive from them’ (115).  If there is a universal ego, it is something that corresponds to common elements in all worlds. 

So, firstly, sense gets actualized in a field of singularities, then the Umwelt develops around individuals which express or describe this world, then, secondly, a whole objective world develops from common elements, a Welt.  Persons can then define this common element and develop classes and properties derived from it.  At the first level we find good sense, ‘an already fixed and sedentary organization of differences’.  At the second level, commonsense serves the function of identification.  Neither term explains how these activities are derived [in fact, Deleuze wants to suggest that the second level ‘is the work of non sense which is always copresent to sense (aleatory point or ambiguous sign)...  Productive nonsense which animates the ideal game and the impersonal transcendental field’ (116).  There is no conventional transcendental movement, especially one driven by a version of the ego.  The person is a 'produced form, derived from this impersonal transcendental field…  Always an individual in general, born…  from the singularity which extends itself over a line of ordinary points and starts from the preindividual transcendental field' (116).  Persons and their varieties of sense are all produced 'on the basis of sense and nonsense which do not resemble them' (117).  This explains the paradoxes and limits of good sense and common sense.

[So the existence of nonsense --paradox and impossible sentences etc -- in the ordinary subjective world shows the existence of non sense --something that produces ordinary sense in the first place, something objective? Individuals can only describe but as soon as they generalise and order concepts they necessarily assume some non-subjective world? The manoeuvre seems rather like the illicit transcendental Ego move by Husserl, generalising from an ordinary ego: here, explaining ordinary experience is used to explain some deeper virtual world as an extension?]

Seventeenth series of the static logical genesis

[Particularly dense and baffling stuff, attempting to show how the subjective world is a derivative of the objective play of singularities. Makes more sense with concrete and familiar examples as in DeLanda's stuff on biological membranes and their importance in embryology, instead of the abstract 'surfaces' of this account]]

Individuals are capable of infinite description, limited only by their bodies to express.  Persons [human beings based the more abstract notion of an individual?] can only produce propositions to describe the world to a limited extent.  Both, however, are 'ontological propositions' [that is they create a kind of reality?]. Multiple classes and systems of categories are not produced by propositions.  Instead we have to look at something that now produces human propositions themselves, as 'material instances' (118).  [So human ontological activity only realises sense making in the form of denotations, manifestations, and signification as above?]. 

Denotations and the others are interconnected as we saw above.  There is also no simple connection between, say, ‘the individual and denotation, the person and manifestation, multiple classes or variable properties and signification' (119) [for similar reasons—for example, signification depends on the good sense already established by individuation].  The whole complex structure is produced by both ontological and logical genesis.  Sense operates on the whole structure.  [We can see this both in the fragility of sense and its tendency to be threatened by nonsense, and because the alternative is unpalatable—language and sense-making would  be based on nothing but a 'undifferentiated abyss’ (120)].

So sense, 'in its organization of aleatory and singular points, problems and questions, series and displacement’ (120) generates both logical propositions and also 'the objective correlates’ of propositions…  the denoted, the manifested, and the signified' (120).

The notion of an error suggests this although in a confused way.  Normally we think of error as a matter of truth or falsity, when propositions are formed and tested.  However, when we consider problems instead of propositions that offer solutions, the category of sense emerges strongly.  [We have seen above the problem is an objective matter of structured possibilities].  We can see how both knowledge and the known are produced by this structure.  [Problematics are further discussed as involving particular distributions of singularities in space and in time.  As problems condense out, so do solutions—'the synthesis of the problem with its conditions engenders propositions, their dimensions, and their correlates' (121)].  Sense is produced or expressed when solutions, expressed as propositions, correspond to problems [act as ‘instances of a general solution’ (121)]

It is common to express sense in an interrogative form [although the interrogative also includes a more limited operation as in the closed question].  Specific questions and solutions are already determined by the problematic, however—‘the problem in itself is the reality of a genetic element, the complex theme which does not allow itself to be reduced to any propositional thesis’  (122).  It is a mistake to define a problem in terms of possible solutions [which arise from human consciousness] .  This would mean we 'confuse sense with signification, and…  conceive of the condition only in the image of the conditioned' (122). [This autonomous constitution of problems shows the inadequacy of subjective conceptions.  Seeing problems as derived from propositions expressing solutions would also infringe the neutrality of sense].

Problems are neutral insofar as [modes of] propositions are concerned.  For example 'a circle qua circle is neither a particular circle,  nor a concept represented in an equation…  It is rather a differential system to which an emission of singularities corresponds' (123).  Problems in this sense exist in propositions but also allude to non being, as above.  As a result, problems are neutral, that is ‘independent of both the negative and the affirmative' (123).

The neutrality of sense means it is never just the echo [‘the double’] of propositions.  Working with propositions can only lead to a partial understanding of sense.  We have to develop another conception, not based on propositions or on images of conventional logical thinking.  Philosophy must 'purge the transcendental field of all resemblance' in order to avoid trap of consciousness as the origin of the transcendental (123).

However, the earlier discussions defined the neutrality of sense as an effect produced by corporeal causes.  Here, we are implying that it arises from its genetic power [to produce problematics] and this relates to a quasi cause.  Sense is produced by bodies in a way which presupposes this more general kind of sense.  The more general kind operates in a different way, not through concepts or describing mixtures.

This time it is a matter of depth [of bodies] and the effects of a surface.  The pulsations of bodies produce surfaces in particular ways, sometimes as a minimum energy conserving form [DeLanda’s soap bubble], sometimes as a more complex structure of multiplied differentiated surfaces [stretched, emulsified, absorbing etc are the examples given, p. 124].  Surfaces are produced by the 'actions and passions of mixed bodies’ (124).  Surfaces have no thickness of their own, which permits contact between the internal and the external.  The quasi causes play on these surfaces, as a kind of 'fictitious surface tension…  A force exerting itself on the plane of the surface' (125).  Singularities are condensed extended and reshuffled.  These surfaces have an existence in actual physics, and also in metaphysics—the surface becomes the transcendental field, the border between bodies and propositions.  As such, the surface becomes the 'locus of sense and expression' (125).

Propositions and bodies are actually articulated on surfaces, 'so that sense is presented both as that which happens to bodies and that to which insists [sic]  in propositions' (125).  It is in this process of ‘doubling up’ that neutrality arises [I think the argument here is that neutrality is not some disembodied quality but a function of surfaces which enable 'the continuity of reverse and right sides' (125). It is the indifference of the objective, immune to appeals from human subjectivity? ].  The surface enables sense to be distributed, as both the expressed in propositions, and the event in bodies [depends on this very general definition of 'expression' again - more general than the use above where it means human expression as in manifestation etc] .  If the surface is destroyed, bodies' fall back into the depth, the 'primary order [some sort of natural being which cannot be named or expressed?] which grumbles beneath the secondary organisation of sense' (125).  But on the surface, sense is unfolded and is also affected by quasi causes.  This sense in turn individuates and determines bodies, and signification, and all the propositions ‘the entire tertiary arrangement or the object of the static genesis' (126).

Eighteenth series of the three images of philosophers. 

The common image of a philosopher is the platonic one, where the philosopher ascends above reality to get to the world of ideas.  Nietzsche advocated going in the opposite direction, penetrating beneath biographies to get to the workings of life itself.  PreSocratic philosophy took the same view, apparently.  If idealism is prone to manic depression, PreSocratic philosophy demonstrates schizophrenia [lots of references to Empedocles, whoever he was, pp 128-9]. The third approach should is to work at the surface, seeing events interacting among themselves [illustrated with more examples from Greek philosophy 130.  The gist is that ‘there is no longer depth or height’, not essences but events].  This does leave a view that the events are always mixed, and that there is no way to tell good from bad mixtures.  [Then a mysterious bit arguing that what this means is that mixtures are good in the sense that they depict reality, but bad in the sense that they run the risk of immoral ‘partial encounters’.  The example is that passions are found in mixtures of bodies, but sometimes they include evil ones leading to cannibalism or incest—131].  Deleuze discusses the heroic stature of Hercules in Greek philosophy—he encounters frightening combinations and monsters in the deep, ‘only emptiness and celestial monsters’ in the sky, while he operates best at the surface, pacifying and neutralising monsters (132).  [Then more on the various options in Greek philosophy, especially the discovery by the Stoics of corporeal mixtures and incorporeal effects.  Then back to the idea that these depths and heights are non sense, and the introduction of the new of philosophical dilemma of the relation between things and propositions, rather than ideas and events.  Sense appears at the surface.  This stoic system subverts Plato and can be called perversion, which ‘implies an extraordinary art of surfaces’ (133).

Nineteenth series of humour

[Largely incomprehensible to me, I am afraid.  More commentary on Greek philosophy]

The issue is of the validity or truth of propositions and how this might be grounded.  It is as difficult to root propositions in the idea as it is actual events.  Significations cannot be just seen as exhausted by their denoted examples.  A list of denoted examples would be endless and groundless anyway. Classic philosophers often refuse to answer questions denoted examples any way, and replied with a blow from the staff, or a mute demonstration.  After all, ‘there is no resemblance (nor should there be one) between what one points out and what one has been asked’ (135) [typical philosophical elitism].  The issue is often covered by humour, especially irony or the absurd.  We must refuse ascent and descent and occupy the surface ‘where pure sense is produced’ (136).

At the surface, ‘one finds pure singularities, an emission of singularities considered from this perspective of the aleatory element, independent of the individuals and persons which embody or actualise them’ (136).  Getting to the surface involves humour and adventure, seen in the routines of Zen masters, who can allude to the void which is present in events [events are ‘not the object as denoted, but the object as expressed or expressible, never present, but always already in the past and yet to come’ (136), and the abolition of the object alludes to the void].  Negating objects indicates the expressible.  [Examples from Zen follow, page 137.  What they seem to be suggesting is that sense combines actual objects with the notion of the void, non sense—an actual brushstroke and also the white space—‘language becomes possible and, by becoming possible, it inspires only a silent and immediate communication’ somehow outside all the significations and denotations].

The same reasoning affects the question of who speaks—individuals or language itself in the form of ideal forms [and we are back with Greek philosophy examples.  Socratic irony apparently refers to the fact that individuals both initiate speech and are the products of speech—138.  This in turn permits the idea of a ‘pure rational language…  [enabling]…  Natural communication between a supremely individuated God and the derived individuals which he created’ (138)].

Further irony awaits the romantic notion of the person, ‘the finite synthetic unity of the person... [not just]... the analytic identity of the individual’ (138).  Here, the person and representations are linked ironically, implying both a universal Idea and ‘sensible particularity’ (138), both universal and particular characteristics of the person—hence the earlier argument that persons should really be seen as a class which has only one member.

All these formulations assume that singularities are located in the individual or the person, influenced only by some groundless abyss, or chaos, threatening both classical and romantic discourse with the lack of articulation.  There is also a threefold division of language—the ordinary or real; the ideal language, like the purely rational one; esoteric language which subverts the ideal language and the individuality of the speaker of ordinary language [for example social scientific explanations, or structural linguistic ones?] [Weird examples of esoteric languages which mean nothing to me on page 140, with a reference back to portmanteau words].

So sometimes individual speaks, sometimes the person, and sometimes ‘the ground which dissolves both’ (140).  The only way out is to see that singularities are not coterminous with individuals, and there is not just a groundless abyss beneath them.  There are other impersonal and pre-individual singularities.  Nonsense and sense collaborate at the surface.  Irony gives way to humour—‘the coextensiveness of sense with nonsense’, a matter of ‘surfaces…  doubles…  nomad singularities and of the always displaced aleatory point’ (141).  Normal significations, denotations and manifestations are suspended, and ‘all height and depth abolished’ (141).

Twentieth series on the moral problem in Stoic philosophy

Ethics links logic and the body.  The Stoic notion of bodies included the passions, and good and evil intents: particular bodies might have evil mixtures, but the aggregate of bodies is perfect or  good, the unity of causes themselves.  In principle, each event can be linked to a particular cause and thus the unity of causes, and this  could lead to the activity of divination [grasping the divine unity of causes] as a basis for ethics.  The effects, lines have to be traced back from events to pure events and then to actions and passions [with a lot of poetic stuff as examples, 143]. Stoics took another route to ethics through logic [kind of working out which events will actualize]. Stoic philosophy then saw in representations of the limited event a connection with pure events [and ethical conduct seems to be to work towards actualizing such events?].  [Stoic accounts of representations ensue, 144-5.]

There is a difference [for Stoics] between representations of sense and of logic, denotations and significations, representations and expressions.  Representation is not just resemblance, but includes a notion of adequate expression.  Concepts have to be actualised in representation, and also expressed if they are to be comprehensive.  Thus our knowledge of death is abstract, despite the number of deaths we witness, until it becomes personal, not indifferent, but concrete.  This is where expression is needed.

In Stoic philosophy, moral conduct involves a relation with pure events unites those events with one's self.  [The examples again come from Zen: 'the bowman must reach the point where the aim is also not the aim, that is to say, the bowman himself' (146).] An understanding of the pure event is required, as something which is 'eternally yet to come and always already past', but which has to be willed into actualization (146). The Stoic embodies incorporeal effects, aligning themselves with the quasi cause.  It is necessary because quasi causes cannot embody themselves, except to the immediate instant, the present.  [There is an equally baffling aside about the difference between actors and characters—actors represent by occupying the instant, while the character also 'portrays hopes or fears in the future and remembers or repents in the past' (147).  Stoics therefore see themselves as uniting the instant with the unlimited future and past, willing the event and also representing it.  [Largely incomprehensible, although I am starting to see how the normal notion of stoicism might fit—the patient resignation of one's self to one's fate—and also seeing how Deleuze thinks that human beings should reconcile themselves to solving the problems that reality creates in the form of a problematic].

Twenty-first series of the event

[Lots of references to writers I don’t know anything about, including Bousquet]

Doctrines come from ‘wounds and vital aphorisms’ (148), and some writers see themselves as embodying events [hints of the stuff on Nietzsche and illness earlier].  Our will can act as a quasi cause of bodily events, as we live them.  This is an ethical stance—‘not to be unworthy of what happens to us’ (149).  The alternative is ressentiment.  The normal moral notions such as just or unjust are themselves immoral.  It is not just a matter of resignation to events, which can still be ressentiment, more an ‘apotheosis of the will’ (149) [citing Bousquet].  The organic is exchanged for the spiritual will [isn’t this just making the best of things, finding some deep meaning in personal tragedy?].  In this sense, freedom is the same as submitting to fate, actualizing events, making sense of events, seeing events as something expressed.  One becomes ‘the offspring of one’s events are not of one’s actions, for the action is itself produced by the offspring of the event’ (150).  In this way, actors somehow communicate with the Aion, instead of being dominated by Chronos.  [Lots of implicit Christianity here, surely?].  All the components of an event, future as well as past, are united, so that one realises the impact of singularities, including preindividual components.  [In this way, some sort of agency seems to remain?  One can become ‘the actor of one’s own events – a counter actualization’ (150)].

Ressentiment arises from not realizing that our particular part of experience, which may well be unjust, is part of a more perfect whole.  It is incorrect to judge everything from the perspective of the present. Some humourous recognition of the futility of it all is valuable—in the great scheme of things, states of affairs are always ‘impersonal and pre-individual, neutral, neither general nor particular’ (151).  In these circumstances, either life can seem ‘too weak for me’ [not vivid enough, not enough focused in the present?], or ‘it is I who am too weak for life, it is life which overwhelms me, scattering its singularities all about, in no relation to me, nor to a moment determinable as the present except an impersonal instant’ (151).

This is apparent when one considers death or the mortal wound, an event which is indifferent to me, ‘incorporeal and infinitive, impersonal, grounded only in itself’ (151), although it is I who has to actualize the event.  However I can also counteractualize in the sense above.

It follows that the events of reality are quite different from personal experience, shown in the ‘splendour of the “they”…  The splendour of the event itself order of the fourth person’ (152) [this fourth person is the ‘it’ as in phrases like ‘it is raining’].  The old distinctions between private and collective refer only to personal experience, whereas ‘everything is singular, and thus both collective and private…  Which private event does not have all its coordinates, that is, all its impersonal social singularities?’ (152).  Freedom exists only in recognising the impersonal nature of the event, seeing all events as ‘a single Event which no longer makes room for the accident, and which denounces and removes the power of ressentiment within the individual as well as the power of oppression within society’ (152) [ridiculous philosophical notion of freedom overcoming oppression by an act of philosophy].  Ressentiment ties one to an oppressive order.

[Then a really sentimental and pathos ridden bit: ‘it is at this mobile and precise point, where all events gather together in one that transmutation happens: this is the point at which death turns against death; where dying is the negation of death and the impersonal at he of dying no longer indicates only the moment when I disappear outside of myself, but rather the moment when death loses itself in itself, and also the figure which the most singular life takes on in order to substitute itself for me’ (153)]

Twenty second series—porcelain and volcano

[lots of references to Scott Fitzgerald and The Crack Up—which I have not read].

The novel apparently talks about life breaking down, with devastating consequences for a rich and successful couple.  Deleuze says this is about discovering ‘the silent crack…  A unique surface Event’ (155).  This crack develops ‘in the depth of the body’  and works to affect everything on the surface.  It is affected both from inside and by outside events and affects the apparent world as well as the individual.  It is an example of the double nature of death as in the section above [impersonal and personally actualised].  Various impacts such as suicide, drugs or booze can reveal this double nature, despite its abstract nature [?].  [The argument then goes on to discuss whether or not cracks affect the process of being able to ‘will the event’—page 157.  I think the issue of determinism is involved here too—cracks indicates that bodies can overcome will?  If we’re not careful we become victims or patients].

Many people who have experienced a crack up have got that way through excessive use of booze, madness or schizophrenia, and not through abstract thought.  Doesn’t abstract discussion look ridiculous in these circumstances?  Should we lecture these people, or perhaps experiment for ourselves to see the affects of controllable cracks?

[Then a strange philosophical discussion of alcoholism as leading to a dual existence, memories of another life within a ‘hardened present’ (158).  The present helps manage existence, and its hardness protects the alcoholic.  In this way, alcohol ‘is at once object, loss of object and the law governing this loss within an orchestrated process of demolition’ (160).  Some sort of imaginary past can be constructed, sometimes conveying ‘a manic omnipotence’.  However, this hardened present can take over and dominate, leading to ‘a flight of the past…  Loss of the object in every sense and direction’ (159).  [Somehow this is reflected in Fitzgerald’s work.] Further drinking is necessary to overcome the depression involved.  Similar pathologies can arise with the other possessions such as money or love, or exile.  The failure of the hard present to abolish non alcoholic pasts is what produces the crack up. [I think this might work well as a discussion of being macho and hard]

[More romanticism] Cracks do provide insights, because ‘health does not suffice’ (160).  We obviously have to preserve our bodies as long as possible, but counteractualizing events loses its value [it seems to look easy enough to avoid the full impact of events].  We need risk.  Drink and drugs normally provide illness and alienation, but can become ‘revolutionary means of exploration’ (161) [with a strange last sentence celebrating{?} psychedelia]

Twenty-third series of the Aion

Chronos and Aion are compared in terms of the importance of the present as opposed to the past and the future.  For Chronos, the present represents the main interest, although there is ‘the relativity of presents themselves in relation to each other.  God experiences as present that which for me is future or past, since I live inside more limited presents’ (162).  The present is corporeal, a matter of mixtures [imperfect for humans and perfect in the divine present for Stoics as above].  The present limits the action of bodies [compare this with Bergsonian stuff about the present as a cone—here we are talking about contraction and dilation to connect the empirical with a cosmic present].  The partial mixtures of bodies in the present threatens to subvert the sufficiency of the notion.  Stoics had to distinguish between good or bad mixtures, for example, which leads to their notion of cosmic perfection, and to Aion.  This implies that bodies are actually nothing but simulacra, and the present less important than the future or the past.  However, Chronos represents the only kind of empirical understanding [?] (164).

For Aion, the present is a mere instant, always divided into past and future.  This is a different way of subverting the present as in depth metaphors [some of which appear to linger in the argument about partial mixtures of bodies in the present?].  [Somehow], Aion operates at the surface, since the present is evaded in favour of the instant rather than the fathomless depths.  Aion operates with incorporeal events, and their effects, which are limitless and infinite.  Thus Aion is ‘the eternal truth of time: pure empty form of time, which is freed itself of its present corporeal content’ (165) [I think DeLanda is much clearer on the differences between metric and intensive time]. 

Aion is an essential element in the development of language, allowing language to escape corporeal determinations, alluding to an existence outside of the present, allowing signification and manifestation.  [Once having escaped, language can persist in itself].

The instant demonstrates the aleatory point, nonsense, and quasi-cause.  It is a pure abstraction and it ‘extracts singularities from the present, and from individuals and persons which occupy this present’ (166) [because it alludes to future and past, and thereby constitutes the pure event?].  Without the notion of Aion, we would only be left with bodies and states of affairs, not language and propositions.  [The argument here seems to be that language necessarily has a future element?].  The surface divides the two series of states of affairs and propositions, and sense can now relate to propositions and events [in the form of the commentary on events mentioned wayback at the beginning?].  [There is some sort of topological connection between points, lines and surfaces, presumably in terms of the way in which one can be ‘cut’ from the one above].

Actualizations occur when bodies, states of affairs and mixtures intersect at the surface.  This is a matter of ‘imprisoning first their singularities within the limits of worlds, individuals, and persons’ (167).  However, there is always something in excess of actualizations, which alludes to the quasi- cause [which apparently can be identified by sages].  This involves analysing the ‘pure perverse “moment”’, the pure operation—it is graspable at and as a moment of counter actualization.


Twenty-fourth series of the communication of events

For Stoics, causes involved reference to the depths, but effects at the surface could also have relations among themselves.  This permitted the distinction to be drawn between destiny and necessity—the stoics wanted to affirm destiny and deny necessity.  In the first place, effects express causes, but expressions of relations [rather than necessity] connects those effects.  Those relations may be described as compatibility or incompatibility, conjunction or disjunction.  These are not causal relations themselves, but represent ‘an aggregate of noncausal correspondences which form a system of echoes, of presumptions and resonances, a system of signs—in short, an expressive quasi causality and not at all a necessitating causality’ (170). This need not involve contradiction, which is applying to events rules that really only applied to logic and argument.  There can be incompatability without contradiction, a noncausal correspondence.

Leibniz described incompossible worlds [DeLanda is very clear on this too].  Only impossible events contradict possible ones.  Events can be compossible [roughly, they have predictable and predicative future and past events].  For Deleuze, it is a matter of ‘the convergence of series which singularities of events form as they stretch themselves out over lines of ordinary points.  Incompossibility must be defined by the divergence of such series’ (171).  Such a notion is essential to any theory of sense.

We should not see divergence as a matter of exclusion, as Leibniz did [since God chose actual events].  Divergent and disjunction can both be positive, while preserving differences.  In fact, differences are crucial, preserving the distance between objects while affirming that they are related.  This ‘permits the measuring of contraries through their finite difference instead of equating difference with a measureless contrariety’ (173).  It is contradiction which is the special case. 

Difference here is a topological term relating to distance on surfaces rather than depths. It is not just a matter of suggesting ‘some unknown identity of contraries (as in commonplace in spiritualist and dolorist philosophy)’ (173) [Take that St Pierre!].  An example is Nietzsche arguing that health and sickness can both inform each other, act as points of view, remembering that ‘things, beings, are themselves points of view’ (173).

Divergence does not mean exclusion, and disjunction does not mean separation.  Connective syntheses ‘(if…, then)’ construct a single series; conjunctive series ‘(and)’ produces convergent series, but disjunctive series ‘(or)’ produces a divergence series.  Normally, disjunction helps us to criticise synthesis, but disjunction can still be a synthesis itself, despite its use in logical analysis [I think what is going on here is arguing that there is a difference between 'either/or' in a logical sense, and 'one or two' in the real sense—the latter can mean that both are compossible.  This is the ‘communication of events’ rather than the logical business of analysing predicates (174)].  The synthetic disjunction expresses the paradox, with divergence at the centre.  The discussion of paradoxes and esoteric words above are examples: they contract ‘the multitude of divergent series in the successive appearance of a single one’ (175).

There is a difference again between the subversion of the present and simple identity by depths, and operations at the surface.  By considering the depths, we encounter infinite identities [as events become examples of deeper categories, wholes?].  At the surface events communicate with each other directly through maintaining distance and by affirming disjunctions.  Disjunction threatens the identity of the self, and helps us to see the self as ‘so many impersonal and pre-individual singularities’ [connected through disjunctive synthesis. Hence the importance of heterogeneity] (175).  The normal concept of the self implies some connected series, ‘But when disjunction accedes to the principle which gives to it a synthetic and affirmative value, the self, the world, and God share in a common death’ (176).  [there is also a point that divergent series explain and also exceed normal conjunctive and connective series].

In the usual conception, ‘the self is the principle of manifestation, in relation to the proposition, the world is the principle of denotation, and God the principle of signification’ (176).  But the theory of sense here says that it emanates from nonsense, from paradox, and from the ‘eternally decentred  ex-centric centre’ (176).  This position ‘does not tolerate the subsistence of God as an original individuality, nor the self as the Person, nor the world as an element of the self and as God’s product.  The divergence of the affirmed series forms a “chaosmos” and no longer a world; the aleatory point which traverses them forms a counterself, and no longer a self’ (176).  There is no centre but only ‘pure events which the instant, displaced over the line[of Aion] , goes on dividing into already past and yet to come.  Nothing other than the Event subsists…  Which communicates with itself through its own distance and resonates across all of its disjuncts’ (176).


Twenty fifth series of univocity

[This is the section that central to Badiou’s reading]

It has just been argued that divergence can produce a positive synthesis, and that ultimately, events and states of affairs are compatible.  Incompatibility arises only with actualizations.  It is individuals, for example, who actualize divergent events.  Even these divergences are not just logical contradictions but ‘alogical ‘incompatibilities.  Persons can enjoy the paradoxes that ensue, but the point is how to get to the universal communication of events, the disjunctive syntheses.  Individuals must grasp themselves as events, and see what they normally regard as themselves as an actualization.  Normal individuality is only ‘fortuitous’ (178).  It follows that the same thinking must be extended to all other events and individuals.  ‘Each individual would be like a mirror for the condensation of singularities…  The ultimate sense of counteractualization’ (178) [undertaken for cognitive reasons here not ethical ones, although Deleuze says that this is a route to ‘the universal freedom’ (178)].

The normal sense of the individual as having a coherent identity must be replaced by the notion of a series of individualities [with nomadic lines connecting them?].  We then get to the realm of pure events, and the universal connections between them, seen as disjunctive syntheses of series, and the knowledge that actualized events are fortuitous.  [The example here is that a friend in one world could be an enemy in another equally possible world].

‘Philosophy merges with ontology, but ontology merges with the univocity of Being (analogy has always been a theological vision, not a philosophical one, adapted to the forms of God, the world, and the self)’ (179).  This does not mean that there is only one and the same Being [and certainly not identical beings, because these are always heterogeneous].  Instead, ‘Being is Voice that is said, and it is said in one and the same “sense” of everything about which it is said’ (179).  It is the ultimate form.  All the other forms remain ‘disjointed in it’, but Being joins them into series and disjunctions.  ‘the positive use of the disjunctive synthesis…  Is the highest affirmation...  A single voice for every hum of voices and every drop of water in the sea’ (180).  It is not just that there is a connection at the level of language—‘Being cannot be said without also occurring’ (180).  In this way, event and sense are identical.

‘Univocal Being is neutral.  It is extra Being, that is the minimum of Being common to the real, the possible and the impossible…  The pure form of the Aion…  One single event for all events; one and the same aliquid [something] for that which happens and that which is said; and one and the same Being for the impossible, the possible, and the real’ (180).

Twenty sixth series of language.

Events are linked to language, but one does not cause the other.  Language is a curious capability anyway, since speech is not possible until the whole of language is possessed.  Events are neither Denotation, signification or manifestation.  However, ‘the event does not exist outside of the propositions which express it’ (181).  However language must refer to events if it is not to be seen as mere sounds produced by bodies.  Relating to events, through denotation and manifestation is only possible with language—but these distinctions are made possible by the event itself.

Events have emergent qualities, resulting from bodies, but differing from them, becoming an attribute, and this requires a proposition to express it.  Nevertheless there must be something to be expressed, other than the expression itself: that is a ‘enveloped in a verb’ (182).  Events therefore have a double reference, to bodies and to propositions, the two series discussed right at the beginning as essential to sense, found at the surface, the ‘line – frontier between things and propositions (182).  The ‘same incorporeal power’ operates on both sides of this frontier, occurring in states of affairs and ‘as that which insists in propositions’ (183).

The two series remain divergent but are articulated ‘around a paradoxical element, a point traversing the line and circulating throughout the series’, as an ‘always displaced centre…  A circle of convergence…  This element... is thhypere quasi cause to which the surface effects are attached’.  It is expressed in language as paradox or is esoteric word (183) [still very baffling].

(The Stoics apparently modelled language around the notion of  verbs and their conjugation). For Deleuze, ‘it is not true that the verb represent and actions; it expresses an event, which is totally different’ (184).  Nor is language formed by combinations of primary elements such as phonemes—since phonemes themselves have to have some semantic content in the first place.  [Somehow] the verb expresses this important circularity in propositions, ‘bringing signification to bear upon denotation and the semanteme upon the phoneme’ (184).  Verbs reveal ‘sense or the event as the expressed of the proposition’, and [somehow] refer to some Internet internal time of language as well as the present time, thus alluding to the Aion again [could this be for the simplest of all reasons that verbs have a present past and future form?  That the infinitive mode suggests some continuing time behind specific propositions—‘the circle once unwound from the entire proposition’?  There is also something about conjugation that relates to ‘times, persons and modes’ (184)].  The infinitive alludes to the exteriority of being, ‘the communication of events among themselves’ (185).  ‘The  Verb is the univocity of language, in the form of an undetermined infinitive, without person, without present, without any diversity of voice…  The infinitive verb expresses the event of language—language being a unique event  which merges now with that which renders it possible’ (185). [I can't decide if this is profound or bullshit].

Twenty seventh series of orality

[This section discusses the work of Melanie Klein.  I know very little about the work except the basics.  Klein studied child psychology from a basically Freudian perspective.  As I recall, she argued that infants attach significance to objects before they transfer them to people, sometimes parts of objects, such as the breast.  They begin by dividing these objects into good and bad, and face an unpleasant internal struggle to manage their effects, basically because the good and bad objects are both introjected to become part of themselves, and projected on to the human beings that surround them such as their mother.  Bad objects are hated and feared, leading to a schizoid/paranoid state of mind (or position).  After a couple of months, infants are able to manage things a bit better and see objects as composed of both good and bad parts, which diminishes their impact a bit.  This is the depressive position.  These positions are seen as the infantile version of the later Oedipal triangle. Adult versions of schizophrenia and depression arise through inefficient management at the infantile level.

This section also discusses again the notion of the body without organs.  Here it seems to be an option which schizophrenics develop, [or maybe we all do at he schizoid position?]a projection of an imaginary body for themselves, which has no organs (no intro or projected bits).  Deleuze has already told us that this is a particular phantasy of Artaud, but here he seems to be arguing that it is a more widespread coping mechanism for schizophrenics in general.  Klein seems to ignore this option, possibly in order to preserve the Freudian categories

I still can’t see where it gets its metaphorical power, as deployed in AntiOedipus, except as part of the general testimony of the creative powers of schizophrenics, and perhaps as some political solution to defend oneself against the colonising tendencies of capitalism?]

Language has to develop independently of the body and its depths—and Deleuze means not historically, but dynamically.  We need to see how this is done, how the surface is produced, how bodily states produce incorporeal events.  Here we do need to develop a ‘depth – surface distinction’ (187) [and to look at Freudian accounts of how infants develop language. Where else would a French intellectual start?].

Klein’s account of infancy offers a terrifying ‘theatre of terror’.  Mothers are split into good and bad objects and then ‘aggressively emptied, slashed to pieces, broken into crumbs and elementary morsels’ [at the oral stage].  This aggression affects intro and projection—‘the communication of bodies in, and through, depth’.  This is the ‘world of simulacra’ (187) [not what he means by simulacra earlier—the whole actual world], associated with the paranoid/schizoid position.  In the depressive position, whole objects are reconstructed, and so is an identity, although even here there is suffering since the good object, the development of the superego and the ego, can be hypercritical.

Everything starts with ‘an oral – anal depth—a bottomless depth’ (188).  However, there are problems with introjection of good objects—apparently it is not easy, even in Klein, for the infant to split good from bad.  As a result, the schizoid position is always unstable.  Instead of opposing bad objects with good ones, ‘What is opposed is rather an organism without parts, the body without organs, with neither mouth nor anus, having given up all introjection or projection, and being complete, [but] at this price’ (188).  To add to the mixture of solid fragments of objects, a more liquid mixture is offered, without parts, capable of melting.  Solid excrement represents [aggressive expulsion of] organs and morsels, but urine offers a smooth mixture, ‘surmounting such a breaking apart in the full depth of the body (finally) without organs’ (189).  [note 3, 351, says that Klein does not distinguish between the body substances in this way, fails to grasp the significance of ‘urethral sadism’, and thus misses the importance of the theme of the body without organs, which is connected to this notion of ‘liquid specificity’.  There is a reference to a case discussed by Klein in Developments in Psycho-Analysis].  Apparently, the language of adult schizophrenics can include ‘blocks fused together by a principle of water or fire’ (189), and other symptoms, including catatonia, ‘manifest[s] the body without organs’ (189).

The good object is not easily introjected because it belongs somewhere else, in the heights, above and aloft.  The same goes for the superego.  This requires the developing personality to reorient itself from depth to height.  Tension in the depths is determined by category such as ‘empty – full, massive – meagre.  But the tension proper to height is verticality, difference in size, the large and the small’ (190).  Good objects are not introjected and so do not offer aggressiveness.  However, the superego can still be cruel, especially towards the ego, since it claims some superior unity, the same form as the body without organs.  This is a better description of the depressive position, with constant communication between id, ego and superego.  [it seems that the ego is needed to control the effects of the partial objects, but is itself subject to the pitilessness of the superego].  Thus love and hate refer not to the mixture of good and bad partial objects, but rather to their unity in whole objects.  It is possible to escape and to withdraw into the heights, where one can rediscover the superego [but sometimes with an aggressive reaction, if the ego is seen to be ‘taking the side of internal objects’ (191)].  This sort of ambiguity only deepens the schizoid state [then there is some link between schizophrenic preSocratic philosophy, and depressive Platonism, 191.  It is something to do with the height of the platonic notion as in section 23?].

[Roughly], schizophrenics split the introjected and projected normal body with the more peaceful and empty body without organs which does neither.  Depressives split the lofty and the cruel aspects of the superego, causing frustration.  For schizophrenics, everything remains at an aggressive level, ‘everything is communication of bodies in depth, attack and defence’ (192).  Masochism belongs to depressives, sadism to schizos.

The tensions between colonised bodies and inarticulate bodies without organs lead to an insight about the formation of language.  Artaud argued that language was sculpted out of shit.  However, the conventional view says that it is the object in the heights which first develops a voice, as in Freud’s notion that the superego speaks with the familial voice.  This voice sets out good and bad objects, it categorises and it indicates emotional variations found in whole people.  This disembodied voice remains ‘outside sense…  This time in a pre-sense’ (194).  It remains rather arbitrary, equivocal, dealing in analogies, relying on its authority, denoting and signifying in an unknown way [because it denotes lost objects and pre-existing entities, and inexplicit significations].  In this sense, that original voice is not yet proper [shared, owned] language [which is taken as a general criticism of ‘all theories of analogy and equivocity’ (194)].  Schizophrenics can experience this as an attack, or theft of the body and thought, but really, ‘what is stolen by the voice from on high is, rather, the entire sonorous pre-vocal system that he [the schizophrenic] was able to make into his “spiritual automaton”’ (195) [maliciously confusing and dense here!  Schizophrenics are unable to grasp the proper role of the superego, and see it instead as a way of dominating their own learning processes?].

Twenty-eighth series of sexuality

[More detailed discussion of Klein.  Deleuze seems to be trying out his own vocabulary on Klein’s approach -- or is it the other way round?].

There are partial objects, but also partial bodily zones, which do not coincide perfectly with the various stages.  What the stages do is organize a number of activities ‘in a certain mode a mixture of drives—absorption, for example in the first oral stage, which also assimilates the anus’ (196).  Zones represent isolated territories on the surface of the body.  This permits sexual operations on the surface—perversions.  Erogenous zones develop around orifices—‘each zone is a dynamic formation of a surface space around us singularity constituted by the orifice…  Prolonged in all directions up to the vicinity of another zone, depending on another singularity’ (197).  Drives pervade the territories.  Each zone can be seen as projected on to territory ‘as an object of satisfaction (image), from an observer or an ego bound to the territory (197).  The whole surface is made up of these connected zones.  The primary activity of sexuality is to produce these partial surfaces.  In schizophrenia, surfaces are not formed, and instead, ‘each zone is pierced by a thousand orifices which annul it; or, on the contrary, the body without organs is closed on a full depth…  Without exteriority’ (198).  In the depressive phase, no surface is formed either—everything disappears into the orifice [there is a joke about Nietzsche page 198, who ‘discovered the surface from a height of 6000 feet, only to be engulfed by the subsisting orifice’].  The action of the superego is required to permit libidinal drives to operate ‘separated from the destructive drives of the depths’ (198), where they were mixed together.  Libidinal drives arise from the infantile process of acquiring satisfaction only through managing partial objects.

Destructiveness is inherent in the depths, always threatening, mixed together with preservation which produces a drive, and sexuality, which produces a substitute object.  Death can become a drive itself, providing ‘a perpetual subversion’ (199).  Sexuality needs to liberate itself both from earlier models in the stages, and from the destructive drives, in order to operate at the surface it creates.  This involves the construction of images, and the development of libido ‘as a veritable superficial energy’ (199).  However, the other drives still persist, because of the development of the sexual system which necessarily involves confrontational earlier stages and prefiguring of later ones [sometimes in a contiguous way, sometimes by inversion and projection as in the mirror stage].

Normally, the genital zone offers the most general integration, especially through the image of the phallus, projected on to the genital zone.  The penis as an organ is compromised by the tensions in the depths, but it becomes associated with the heights as well: ‘as a wholesome and good organ, it confers love and punishment, while at the same time withdrawing in order to form the whole person or the organ corresponding to the voice, that is, the combined idol of both parents’ (200).  This transition to the good penis is an essential element of the Oedipus complex for Klein [with a lot of strange stuff about how the possession of the phallus is seen as permitting sexual relations with the mother without conflicting with the father].  The phallus here is a good organ, mending wounds from initial destructive drives.  It’s the memory of this earlier destruction which provides anxiety and guilt—Oedipus thinks he is free of fault.

The phallus ‘should trace the line at the surface…  which ties together all the erogenous zones’ (201), and to heal the mother and bring about the father’s return.

Twenty ninth series—good intentions are inevitably punished

Things go wrong because the surface is fragile, and destructive drives might still influence sexual ones, so that phalluses get recuperated by penises.  Schizoid and depressive positions ‘threaten endlessly the oedipal complex’ (202).  There is another reason too—an internal evolution of Oedipus, a new anxiety or new castration.  The superego is involved and gets nasty, after its initial benevolence towards the good intention.

The ego has to be coordinated too.  This requires first of all that the parents are seen as separated into mother and father images.  The mother is identified as the wounded body, the father as the absent good object.  The child sees himself as restoring the mother and bringing back the father—the original good intention.  Incestuous desires towards a mother are not initially aggressive, but restorative.  This is the child ‘creating a total surface from all his partial surfaces, making use of the phallus’ (205).  It turns out badly.  It is attacked from both depths and heights [we have seen threats from depths already]: the superego attacks from the heights, in the form of a condemnation of libidinal drives themselves.  This takes the form of seeing the mother as not only wounded, but lacking, and restoring the father as betrayal [with the anticipation of vengeance]. The phallus is now dissipated as a creative force, raising castration anxiety in the male child.  This form of surface castration gets united with the original destructive aggressive castration in the depths.

This scene reveal something about intentions.  It is not that intentions get frustrated by accomplished actions: they are ‘the mechanism of projection tied to physical surfaces’ (207), a coordination of aspects of the surface which ‘comes finally to designate action in general’ (207).  This means that action is ‘itself neither action [in the depths] nor passion: [it is] events, pure event’, both intended and accomplished.  There is also a double projection on to the ‘sexual and physical surface’ and on to ‘an already metaphysical or “cerebral” surface’ (207).  This enables actions to be seen as both intentional, willed, and ‘produced and not willed, determined by the forms of murder and castration’ (208) [seen by theorists, that is, or by actors themselves?].

The emergence of this metaphysical surface is ‘a long road marked by stages’, and involves a transmutation of the libido, into desexualised energy, which energises the death instinct, but also affects ‘the mechanism of thought’ (208).  Thus the fear of death and castration have a positive role in constructing a ‘surface of pure thought’, as well as for the personality.  This is what is meant by sublimation and later symbolization.  This is also best understood as a kind of surface crack or trace, equally under threat from the depths and heights, which raises the problem of the connection between thought, schizophrenia and depression.

Thirtieth series of the phantasm

[In the next few sections, the Freudian notion of the phantasm is discussed and put to use in discussing the origin of language -- in the topology of Freudianism, which I think influences the whole book and Deleuzian ontology on general. The discussion is, as usual uncompromising, assuming the reader knows all about various influential commentaries, imncludimg Laplanche and Pontalis. So I was very grateful to find on the web a superb commentary{and application in a reading of a novel}  by Musselwhite, sections of which I have copied below)

Laplanche and Pontalis begin by distinguishing their account of the phantasm from all those which tended to regard it as something merely ‘imaginary’ as opposed to the ‘real’. The phantasm is not so much a ‘fantasy’ that one has, as a structure wherein one is placed. ‘…the phantasm,’ they say towards the end of their article, ‘is not the object of desire, it is a scene.’ (Laplanche and Pontalis 1964: 1868)...

Freud had explored the nature of the phantasm with his early interest in the so called ‘scene of seduction’. Freud had found that many of his patients suffering from neurotic symptoms recounted under analysis that they had been subject to some form of sexual aggression at an early, infantile, period. The early experience had not of itself been traumatic and, indeed, had hardly been registered at the time: the traumatic response came later, at a post-pubertal moment, when, again often through an anodyne or indifferent experience, the memory of the earlier event was triggered by some associated trait and provoked a pathogenic response....

{Freud} was beginning to find that phantasms were not simply the materials offered for analysis but also, at times, the result of analysis itself -- so that the phantasm was to be found at both the latent and the manifest levels of consciousness. Secondly, Freud found himself also increasingly confronted by what he began to characterise as ‘typical’ phantasms -- phantasms that recurred from patient to patient and which clearly revealed structural features transcendent to the experience of the individual. Among such phantasms figured what Freud would later characterise as the ‘primal scene’ -- the witnessing of parental intercourse -- as well as phantasms of castration and the already familiar phantasm of seduction...

what these typical phantasms refer to are origins: in the primal scene it is the origin of the individual that is figured; in the phantasm of seduction it is the origin of sexuality; in the phantasm of castration, it is the origin of the difference of sexes. What the phantasm is, above all,
is the interface of biology and culture, of the purely physiological and the quintessentially human -- the phantasm is the very mechanism by means of which the human itself is constituted...The phantasm, then, is the site where desire is separated off from need, where sexuality distinguishes itself from hunger, where the cogitans separates itself from the res, where some measure of mental articulation takes the place of merely inchoate feeling...

To the extent that the nebular clusters of the nascent phantasm make sense they can only offer the unformed subject a sense of decentrement and dispersal. Not only will there be a decentering with respect to space, but so too with respect to time: without doubling and repetition the mere noise of the heard would be as meaningless as the noises emerging from the body: there can be no simple ‘now’ in the phantasm -- the sense of sense can only be a secondary sense, an after-sense, a sense after the event (a ‘double take’: we can now see that the ‘delay’ or ‘after-effect’ of the ‘seduction theory’ was no more than this hiatus peculiar to the phantasm writ large). One can see that this orrery-like (an orrery without a centre) structure is made possible by the very lacks and displacements that constitute it: without these it would have no meaning. It is in this sense that the phantasm is not a response to loss -- to the loss of either the real or the virtual object -- but instead is the constitutive matrix of such losses -- the lacunae, the gaps, the absences -- that make desire and meaning possible...In other words, at the conscious level, the phantasm will have all the coherence of a standard narrative (what Freud would call a ‘family romance’) centred on a subject with all positions stabilised in accordance with normal narrative practice. At the deeper level, however, those same elements will find themselves scrambled and the subject will not be found as an anchor to the scene but will itself be dispersed among the elements of the scene as a whole....

What we have to imagine is that the phantasm will first register at the lowest level of consciousness, at the level of the unconscious, and here it will be a chaotic, nebulous heap of all kinds of heterogenous materials without rhyme or reason: at this level subject and object, noun and verb, past and present, here and there are just tumbled on top of each other.7 As this raft of elements slowly rises up through the layers of the consciousness it will become increasingly organised, changing from a mere heterogeneity through varying degrees of ambiguity (passive/active, sado-masochist, permutations for example) until, as it emerges into the light of full consciousness, it assumes clarity and unambiguity of expression...

{there is also a good discussion of the historidcal meanings of phantasm here in A. Stingl's blog }

Now on with the notes {such as they are}]

The phantasm can be seen as a pure event, not just a representation of action or a passion.  It’s not an issue whether it is imaginary or real: the question is how a corporeal state of affairs’ can become actualised in an event.  Phantasms are affected by both endogenous and exogenous causes, including actual infantile observations of adult behaviour and talk.  Nevertheless, phantasms are not just simple effects, but something emergent [another reference to the notion of a noematic attribute, as above].  It brings into contact internal and external causes, and it occupies a space on an ideational surface [an effect of the time of a quasicause], connected to all sorts of other phantasms.

In this respect, phantasms tell us a lot about events.  It also means that ‘psychoanalysis in general is the science of events, on the condition that the event should not be treated as something who senses to be sought and disentangled.  The event is sense itself’ (211).  Events are seen as located in complexes, caused by elements in the depth, but then separated from them and able to communicate, something in excess of actualizations and causes.  Phantasms also help us to perform counteractualization, and to understand sublimation and symbolisation.

We also learn something about the ego, with reference to Laplanche and Pontalis [see above, on dispersal].  The ego can appear as acting or observing, but it is not fixed.  The phantasm therefore is not a representation of either action or passion [that’s the first time I have noticed a connection between passion and passive], and does not reflect just contradictions or reversals [but a disjunctive synthesis as above].  However, the status of the phantasm is not found in some prelinguistic form of subjectivity [?  Page 213].  It is to be understood instead as a movement with the ego ‘opens itself to the surface and liberates the a- cosmic, impersonal, and pre-individual singularities which it had imprisoned’ (213), as a form of impersonal, neutral energy.  On the surface, the ego is able to take up a subject position in the phantasm, even through roles played by other individuals.

In the phantasm, events get expressed by propositions as well as psychic energy, hence the strange verbalism.  Phantasms are not simply ‘said or signified’ (214), but can be paradoxical or nonsensical.  Disjunctions in the phantasm represent combinations of singularities, each one seen as a solution to a problem—‘of birth, the difference of the sexes, or the problem of death’ (215).

The infinitive form of the verb is also important: ‘the phantasm is inseparable from the infinitive mode of the verb and bears witness thereby to the pure event (214).  The infinitive form generates more specific forms, such as ‘the subject-object connection, the active-passive conjunction, the affirmation-negation disjunction or…  temporalization’ [citing Irigaray, 215].  [it seems that the infinitive is progressively specified as the phantasm gets taken over more by consciousness.  When verbalised, normal grammatical forms appear.  ‘This is how Aion is peopled by events’ (215)].

So how does the phantasm, and therefore normal language arise?  For Isaacs, it arises in the schizoid position ‘in order to indicate the relation of introjected and projected objects’ (216).  For Laplanche and Pontalis, phantasms emerge when sexual drives disconnect from alimentary objects.  Klein stresses the importance of symbolism in phantasms, suggesting they emerge after the schizoid and depressive positions—and Deleuze agrees, suggesting they arise ‘in the ego of the secondary narcissism’ [somehow connected to the development of the neutral infinitive at the ideational level].  The phantasms require the development of surfaces, occupied by images [coordinated by the phallus as in good intentions].

Thirty first series of thought

The phantasm is mobile, linking conscious and unconscious, inner and outer.  It also ‘returns easily to its own origin’ (217) [that is connects us with the original problems?], because it is itself an unfolding.  It is therefore never finalised.

Phantasms originate with the narcissistic wound and the restorative intention of the oedipal scene, as above.  However, it needs to develop on a different surface [of thought, and in order to avoid the fate of those intentions?].  Thus phantasms begin in the void.  This is itself an effect [of the dynamics of oedipal development?].  Phantasms are fuelled by neutral desexualised energy as a way of avoiding the fate of good intentions [apparently castration anxiety produces this desexualised energy from narcissistic libido, 218].  Nevertheless, sexuality is still ‘projected’ over this ‘metaphysical surface of thought’ (218).  [With a reference to Klossowski here.  It seems to have something to do with constructing thought objects from natural or sexual objects such as married couples, in order to establish the relationship between thought and its sexual origins?].

The development of the line of thought can be seen as sublimation.  Symbolisation seems to involve some renewed contact with sexual energy [?, 219].  Certainly, there is a long connection established between castration and the origins of thought, or between ‘sexuality and thought as such’ (219).  It is not just that thought focuses on the respectable, rather that it changes sex into the respectable.  Similarly, ‘the phantasm goes from the figurative to the abstract...  [It]…  Is the process of the constitution of the incorporeal.  It is a machine for the extraction of a little thought’ (220).  It constantly renews this path, and this gives it its persistence.  It never just falls back to an infantile view of sexuality, though.  The reinvestment of sexual energy takes place ‘in the guise of the Event’ (220), that part that is not actualised but remains in thought.  These elements in thought then take over from the passions of the body and supply the energy seen as desires and intentions.

There is therefore element of thought, a metaphysical surface which affects events, as well as their actualizations from bodies.  The phantasm supplies energy to events for its own purposes, but its main function is to supply some independent quality to the event, the nonexistent, the infinitive, the aliquid (221).  At last, these matters can be expressed, and events can communicate.  Up

The ‘entire sexual surface... is intermediary between physical depth and metaphysical surface’ (222).  Sexuality can pull everything down, shattering the surface and dragging it down to the depths as in psychosis.  It can prevent sublimation, and cause thought to collapse.  But it can also project everything, all the dimensions of depth and height as well as the sexual ones, as in successful sublimation.  Even death can be seen as the destruction of the ego, or something impersonal and infinite a death instinct.  These choices and conflicts  affect the whole ‘biopsychic life’ (222).


Thirty second series on the different kinds of series

[More development of Deleuze’s concepts in the context of Freudian psychology.  Some modern concepts from topological maths, and the notion of intensive physics luck in here as well, but basically it is hard to know what is added to Freud—perhaps Freud is generalised?  Taken out of its immediate context as psychotherapy?  Actually, Freudian psychology is a good exemplification of Deleuze’s approach, as good as is complexity theory for DeLanda, as long as you can penetrate the ludicrously poetic language]

Sexuality is an activity can be seen as the  ‘less successful sublimation’ mentioned by Klein.  It has its own series and operates on its own surface.  In the depths, we do not find series, but ‘blocks of coexistence, bodies without organs or words without articulation’, or sequences [not series] of partial objects (224).  Blocks represent condensations, and sequences displacement.  Sexual activity itself clarifies things on its own surface [and is thus a prelude to language]

We have here different sorts of series.  The overall genus owns a preacher genital sexuality are organised as a series converging around a singularity represented by an orifice.  The singularity extends itself, according to ‘the distribution of a difference of potential or intensity’ (225).  However, there is another series, this time of images, ‘a series of objects capable of assuring for the zone an auto erotic satisfaction…  For example, objects of sucking or images of the oral zone’ (225).  These can also extend into a coextensive series [and the example given is moving from sucking to chewing a piece of candy].  The series are fairly simple and homogenous, simply connected.

However a later stage, there is phallic or genital coordination of the zones in a more complex way—the heterogeneous series, ‘a synthesis of coexistence and coordination…  A conjunction of the subsumed series’ (225).  Phallic coordination is also complicated by the oedipal stage, which brings in another series, or heterogeneous one with alternating terms of father and mother and their various qualities.  This series can be linked with the pregenital one, so the images from each stage get related and elaborated.  This is what lies behind Freudian trauma—infantile and post pubescent series resonate, in the phantasm.  In this case, there is a divergence between the series, and they are joined only by resonance—this is the disjunctive synthesis.

This is because the real unifying object linking these images is the idol, which is ‘the lost and withdrawn in the heights’ (227).  It is this lost object which leads to phallic coordination and also parental oedipal images, but it is inextricably lost and can act only ‘as the source of disjunctions, the source of the emission or liberation of alternatives’ (227), including the possibility of identifying with the good or the bad object.  The idol presents parental images as alternatives, and erogenous zones as disjointed and separate.  However, the phallus is an ambiguous object, displaying both excess and lack, especially when it is subject to castration.  In Lacan, it becomes the paradoxical element or object, ‘floating signifier and floated signified, place without occupant and occupant without place, the empty square…  and  supernumerary object’ (228).

But how does the phallus cause the series to resonate?  The pre-genital and so the parental images are divergent.  Their terms are displaced relatively which helps them resonate according to some absolute displacement of the phallic object [?  A mysterious section this, something to do with the series that the phallus itself produces which constantly relativises the other two.  This is a positive use of the divergent synthesis, apparently].  This comes through in the divergent elements of the phantasm.

Sexuality itself produces different aspects and therefore different types of series, ‘erogenous zones, phallic stage, castration complex’ (229).  This seems to presuppose various states of language development, from noises to voice, to familial voice, to abstract voice, and some notion of a preunderstanding before something grasped in language.

[Then there is an amazing discussion of the relation between the development of language and the development of sexuality.  The first one runs from phonemes, to morphemes, and then semantemes, and Deleuze wants to connect these to the development of sexual stages.  A parallel emerges between the coordination and organisation of noises, and the coordination and organisation of various sexual elements into the adult forms.  In passing, we see a progress from infantile esoteric words ‘which integrate phonemes into a conjunctive synthesis of heterogeneous, convergent and continuous series’, through their development into portmanteau words, which refer to the ‘disjunctive synthesis of two series’ (231).  Overall, ‘these series or moments [of sexual development] condition the three formative elements of language—phonemes, morphemes, and semantemes—as much as they are conditioned by them in a circular reaction’ (232).  There is still no social dimension, however, and there is only a sexual reference, a reference to the child’s own body.  In this way, the body is seen as ‘a “conditioning – conditioned” structure…  a surface effects, under its double sonorous and sexual aspect’ (232).  Then proper speech can begin.  [So there is a kind of pre speech capacity, which is not yet capable of making sense—it is non sense, becoming sense]. 

This is the same process as phallic coordination where the phallus is non sense [but in a different way, inaccessible to sense?].  The surface is required to coordinate the ‘infra sense, an under sense’ from the depths, and a pre sense which is the understood but not fully grasped voice from the heights.  In both cases, nonsense is important, alluding to things which are not actualised or organised, but always there when sense is produced.  For Freud, sexuality is always there as well, but it still needs to develop into sense [?].

Thirty third series of Alice’s adventures

Three types of esoteric words in Carroll show the three types of series: the unpronounceable more listenable indicates connective syntheses, the snark-type represents a convergence of two series in a conjunctive series, the portmanteau word, like jabberwocky, indicates disjunctive synthesis of divergent series.  Apparently it also indicates how this synthesis resonates.

[Then there is a reading of Alice, 234-6].  Conventional psychoanalytic readings are a problem, since works of art are not patience, even allowing for sublimation.  Authors themselves ‘are more like doctors and patients…  Astonishing diagnosticians or symptomatologists...  Clinicians of civilisation’ (237).  There is conversely, a great deal of art in psychoanalytic practice.

There is a connection between conventional evaluations of symptoms and the novel, as when Freud says that neurotics create ‘a “familial romance”’ (237).  Myths and dramas have also provided much information.  However, novelists do more than neurotics: ‘The neurotic can only actualise the terms and the story of his novel’, whereas novels as works of art can operate with pure events, [generalise] ‘from everyday actions and passions…  go from the physical surface on which symptoms are played out…  To the metaphysical surface on which the pure event stands and is played out’ (238).  Psychic investment is replaced by speculative investment, which disengages events from sexual objects, in order to ‘compose the unique event’ (238).  This is sexualisation, as activity leaps from one surface to another.  It offers a perverse pleasure.

Thirty fourth series of primary order and secondary organisation

[Deleuze at his most lyrical, delirious, poetic and impenetrable.  This seems to be some set of private musings and rantings, related to Freudian thought terminology, and how sexuality is related to language, crammed with allusions and citations of other people.   Who the fuck is this written for – Mrs Deleuze?]

The phantasm has two diverging sexual series [pregenital and parental oedipal—keep up!]  resonating together, but this is only the extrinsic beginning.  Resonance itself develops ‘a forced movement that goes beyond and sweeps away the basic series’ (231).  This resonance develops ‘an amplitude greater than the initial movement’.  In Freudian terms, it is the initiating movements of Eros and sexualisation being taken over by the death instinct and compulsion.  There is a danger that the depths will reemerge and destroy the surface, but the good side is that a new metaphysical surface can be developed, which can even begin to grasp the devouring objects of the depths.  So the death instinct develops the metaphysical surface.

These developments don’t relate to the usual sexual series but to something larger—the whole drive towards eating and thinking, and the conflict between the two persist on the metaphysical surface.  If thought prevails, symbolic relations ensue, as in sublimation, or in Deleuze’s own words:

‘This is the verb which, in its univocity, conjugates devouring and thinking: it projects eating on to the metaphysical surface and sketches out thinking on it.  And because to eat is no longer an action nor to be eaten a passion, but rather the noematic attribute which corresponds to them in the verb, the mouth is somehow liberated for thought, which fills it with all possible worlds’ (240)

To speak means that the metaphysical surface can cause the event, by expressing it in language, and for sense to emerge as the expression of thought.  This achieves the full independence of sounds as language in human beings.  In this way, speaking ‘presupposes the verb’ (241) [links to the importance of verbs as opposed to nouns above].  Speaking like this also shows ‘the highest affirmative power of the disjunction (univocity, with respect to that which diverges)’ (241).  Verbs enable a secondary organisation, of language.  [Linguistic?] sense also implies non sense as ‘the zero point of thought, the aleatory point of desexualised energy’ (241).  [Back to the notion of the pure infinitive alluding to Aion.  Apparently, the infinitive is also univocal].  So a noematic attribute gets attached to a noetic sense, in a ‘disjunct for an affirmative synthesis, or the equivocity of what there is for and in univocal Being’ (241).

This whole system represents sense and nonsense and their organisation: ‘Sense occurs to states of affairs and insists in propositions, of varying its pure univocal infinitive according to the series of the states of affairs which it sublimates and from which it results, and the series of propositions which it symbolises and makes possible’ (241).  Language then develops according to its own order, of denotations, manifestations and significations.  This development is only possible as a result of going through all the stages of the above ‘dynamic genesis’ (241).

So sexual development founds the development of language [basically as above, the connection between the drives and the use of phonemes and so on].  The phallus plays an important role as the first empty signifier/ied relating to both things and words.  The process of desexualisation represents an amplitude which exceeds the original series, and which makes phonemes morphemes and semantemes into ‘units of denotation, manifestation or signification’ (242).  Sexuality as such no longer serves as the main source of energy, but rather a surface on which linguistic activity appears [?].  So phonemes and the rest are able to turn up on the metaphysical surface with no sexual resonance—‘sexuality exists only as an allusion, as vapour or dust, showing a path along which language has passed, but which it continues to jolt and erase Iike so many extremely disturbing childhood memories’ (242).  [The whole process is described as a phantasm – like process]

This extrinsic sexual beginning reoccurs, in a process of resexualisation as the mechanism of perversion [not like subversion, Deleuze assures us, which involves objects from the depths—perversions are techniques of the surface].  This happens when sexual objects are invested with desexualised energy (243).  It need not be actualised in deviant behaviour—this only occurs when perversion regresses to subversion.  Central to it is the process of Verleugnung [I had to look this up.  It literally means denial, but denial of a particular form in Freudian thought which apparently involves somehow averting the gaze from dangerous objects].  [The example is weird— apparently, we can ascribe the phallus to women even though we know they do not have a penis, which involves ‘the reinvestment of the sexual object insofar as it is sexual by means of desexualised energy: Verleugnung is not an hallucination, but rather an esoteric knowledge’.  Another example is Lewis Carroll getting aroused by the thought of taking a photograph of a small girl, ‘using the desexualised energy of the photographic apparatus as a frightfully speculative eye’ (243)].

The system of sexuality persists in language, as a ‘simulacrum for a phantasm’ (243), offering a hidden sexual history beneath all that language does.  It is repressed, through the agency of the superego, aiming to cover up the depths.  It is also possible that sexuality itself is repressed as in ‘secondary repression’ [and there is a discussion of this in Freud, 244-5.  Apparently, sexuality itself can never actually come to full consciousness because it is impossible to develop its own linguistic elements.  Nor is it that the metaphysical surface is simply equivalent to an individual consciousness.  It is rather ‘an impersonal and pre-individual transcendental field’.  Language can only develop at a conscious level, but the origins of ‘the play of sense and nonsense, and surface effects…  do not belong to consciousness’.  (244) The real mechanism is regression which threatens a constant return of the repressed.  Fixations indicate how regression works, as a descent into the depths.  However, fixations are also found in perverse conduct—here, ‘instead of repressing sexuality…  [perversion]…  uses desexualised energy in order to invest a sexual element as such and to fix it with unbearable attention (the second sense of fixation)’ (245)].

So this collection of surfaces is what is meant by secondary organisation and verbal representation.  Verbal representation particularly includes incorporeal events as well as actions and passions.  It represents expressions ‘made of what is expressed and what is expressing…  The twisting of the one into the other’ (245).  This makes events exist in language, and also adds to them the function of representation.  The whole order of language then develops, with all sorts of ‘tertiary determinations…  Individual, person, concept; world, self, and God’ (245).

Before that final development, the play of surfaces takes on a ‘preliminary, founding, or poetic organisation…  In which only an a-cosmic, impersonal, and pre-individual field is deployed, this exercise of nonsense and sense’ (246).  This primary order occasionally resurfaces through obscenities and insults, as a kind of regression, ‘since the obscene word illustrates the direct action of one body on another…  whereas the insult pursues all at once the one who withdraws, dispossesses this one of all voice, and is itself a voice which withdraws [note 4, 360 seems to have personal abuse in mind, which demands expulsion and also withdraws in disgust.  Deleuze wants to insist therefore that obscenity and insult are similarly explicable in terms of Freudian stages?].  Both obscenities and insults enable satire in the classic sense, apparently.

Irony appear as in a different way, stemming from the ability of language to develop ‘relations of eminence, equivocity, or analogy’, all of them important to classical rhetoric (246).  This operates at the tertiary level, where significations are seen as analogous, denotations equivocal, and manifestation of the eminent open to mockery [?  247].  These qualities are even found in the primary process, however [a ‘primordial form of platonic irony’ apparently demanded to know whether there was an ‘Idea of mud, hair, filth, or excrement’ (247)].  [There is a further baffling discussion about forms which defeat irony, such as ‘exaggerated equivocation…  supernumerary analogy’.  Apparently, equivocation ends with a reference to sexuality—as some kind of universal drive or explanation for all analogies?  It is because sexual histories are always present in language, somehow?  I think this is what underpins the curious bit about the emergence of the univocal again, page 248—we see the infinitive verb somehow behind language and the other words?].

‘The univocity of sense grasps language in its complete system’ (248).  Humour emerges as the art of the surfaces, starting with equivocation and ending in univocity.  Deleuze provides a helpful couple of sentences:

‘It is necessary to imagine someone, one third Stoic, one third Zen, and one third Carroll: with one hand, he masturbates in an excessive gesture, with the other, he writes in the sand the magic words of the pure event open to the univocal: “Mind – I believe – is Essence – Ent –Abstract – that is –an Accident – which we – that is to say – I meant –“ thus he makes the energy of sexuality pass into the pure asexual’ (248) [prat!]

Good sense and common sense will restore meaning to equivocity, analogy and eminence.  The secondary organisation however still tells us something about the ‘most profound noises, blocks, and elements for the univocity of sense—a brief instant for a poem without figures’ (248).  Art can trace this ‘path which goes from noise to the voice, from voice to speech, and from speech to the verb, constructing this Musik fur ein Haus* in order always to recover the independence of sounds and to fix the thunderbolt of the univocal.  This event is, of course, quickly covered over by every day banality or, on the contrary, by the sufferings of madness’ (249).

*typical elitist allusion. Apparently it refers to  music featuring 'juxtaposition and interplay of structural elements and sensual sound'.

[And there, gentle reader, our laborious slog through this stuff ends.  However—there are still the appendices!]

[Much of these is too technical and philosophical for me. This is highly abridged...]

Appendix one: the simulacrum and ancient philosophy.

 Plato and the simulacrum.  People have talked about reversing Platonism, but what this must mean is to analyse what Plato is trying to do.  Plato is trying to distinguish the [real] thing from its images, which include copies and simulacra.  This is revealed in his process of dividing things in various ways, sorting out real from pretend candidates [for important roles].  The intention is to authenticate the Idea, and establish it as inhabiting genuine copies.  Simulacra are not just false copies, but different objects threatening the whole system of copy and model [and produced as a phantasm].  Plato intends to preserve the distinction between copy and simulacrum: ‘the copy truly resembles something only to the degree that it resembles the Idea of that thing’, whereas the simulacrum is merely an image without resemblance.  Thus God made man in his image and resemblance, but original sin left us only with the image but not the resemblance: ‘We have become simulacra’ (257).  Simulacra are not limited by any kind of resemblance, which risks ‘a becoming mad or a becoming unlimited’ (258).  Plato thinks they need to be limited and constrained.

Plato thus introduces the whole issue about representations, whether they are copies or simulacra, and what they might be founded upon.  Modern aesthetics faces the problem of describing representation both in terms of possible experience, and in terms of some theory of art, which is linked to experience.  Hence modern art, which tells several stories at once, unites divergent stories, preserving a kind of decentred chaos [the example is Finnegan's Wake].  The divergent series resonate together, producing the forced movement discussed above which exceeds the series themselves.  This is the power of the simulacrum as phantasm, which has an experiential application in Freud [so ‘the conditions of real experience and the structures of the works of art are reunited’ (261)].

These systems can also be seen as signal – sign systems [signals between systems to communicate, signs as what emerges between the two—‘All physical systems are signal; all qualities are signs’ (261).  This is the intrinsic dynamism of divergent series, as above, not external resemblance.  In this case, similarity and identity emerge from disparity, and not the other way around [and this is the reversal of Platonism].  The simulacrum emerges as positive in its own right, and challenges the supremacy of copies—‘There is no longer any privileged point of view…  No possible hierarchy’ (262).  Identity is itself produced, similarities are themselves simulated.  ‘Simulation is the phantasm itself, that is, the effect of the functioning of the simulacrum as machinery…  The highest power of the false…  Simulacra makes the same and thus similar the model and copy fall under the power of the false’   (263). This establishes a decentred world, with no ultimate foundations [where everything appears as a sign].

This gives us a new take on the notion of the eternal return as a process of subverting representation.  It is not just the repeat of models, but the return this time as simulacrum, where things only look the same.  There is no order established in chaos, but chaos itself is affirmed—the eternal return follows its own ‘chaodyssey’ (264), driven only by a will to power.  It is not the case that everything returns, since what is excluded is ‘that which presupposes the Same and the Similar, that which pretends to correct divergence to recentre the circles or order the chaos’ (265).

Modernity shows the power of the simulacrum.  Nietzsche attempted to critique it by extracting from it ‘the untimely, which pertains to modernity, but which must also be turned against it’ (265).  It involves going back to the past, in this case Platonism, to reverse it; seeing current simulacra as critiques of modernity [sorting out the artificial?] ; seeing the future as dominated by the phantasm of the eternal return [which is at least a belief in the future].  The simulacrum opposes itself to mere artificiality, copies of copies, and preserves at least the constructive aspects of chaos [which include ‘the destruction of Platonism’ (266)].

Lucretius and the simulacrum. [Discusses Greek naturalism and the debates between Lucretius, Epicurus and their rivals.  All this is completely new to me, but what Deleuze gets out of it can be seen in some points at very end of the article:

‘To the question “ what is the use of philosophy?” the answer must be: what other object would have an interest in holding forth the image of the free man and in denouncing all of the forces which need myth and troubled spirit in order to establish their power?  Nature is not opposed to convention...Nature is not opposed to invention.  But Nature is opposed to myth’ (278).  [In particular, theology offers false myths, hence the need to find out what is really natural.] ‘Lucretius established for a long time to come the implications of naturalism: the positivity of Nature; Naturalism is the philosophy of affirmation; pluralism with multiple affirmation; sensualism connected with the joy of the diverse; and the practical critique of all mystifications.’ (279).

Very roughly, myths and theological notions of the infinite arise from simulacra and their combinations. Simulacra emanate from objects but are created , changed and combined in bafflingly rapid ways. Only their images can be perceived and thus misunderstood as playful, idiosyncratic gods creating things. It also seems that Lucretius postulated a world combined of diverse objects whose diversity gets combined and made to appear as similarities in mysterious unperceivable ways [which therefore generate myths]  --pretty much like Deleuze's own admiration for haecceity, heterogeneity,emergence and the rest.

Appendix two: the phantasm and modern literature

Klossowski or bodies-language [The disjunctive syllogism – one with an ‘either/or’ in its first premiss –eg humans are either m or f/this human is not an f/therefore this human must be an m]. This article begins with a discussion of identity and how it is threatened by simulacra, but it is pursued in connection with close readings of some novels by Klossowksi which I have not read.  Klossowski has also written a major commentary on Nietzsche, and I haven’t read that either.  I am sure I have not grasped the argument as a result. I got bored.  Apparently, the disjunctive syllogism is at the heart of practical reasoning for Klossowski, acted out in the form of the dilemma. The literary bit concerns the role of sight in developing a knowledge of somebody –one of the characters wishes to see his wife in a number of sexual liaisons so he can see her in various ways. He discovers that his own identity is equally fragmented by this action. Deleuze says the same effects occur with different linguistic accounts of actions. Thus both sight and language are responsible for the formation of simulacra (possibly). En route, the discussion turns on the ways body language can contradict spoken language and how the body acts as a pantomime (also using disjunctive reasoning – Deleuze adds a bit of embryology, much developed by DeLanda, on how embryos ‘hesitate’ before developing limbs of particular kinds etc), and what pornography tells us about repetitions ( threatening identity rather than the reverse which is the usual view?).

Then we shift to Kant. A phrase appears which had baffled and annoyed me when I first read it in AntiOedipus (written after L of S, of course)  – God is the ‘master of the disjunctive syllogism’.  The argument starts by Kant insisting that we make sense of the world by developing concepts which apply both to specific cases and then to their 'extensions', as in the syllogism: 'Socrates is a man', then the extended concept 'all men are mortal'.  However, some categories already apply to all objects of possible experience, which leaves the problem of finding another concept to fit the extension (‘to condition the attribution’ (295)).  There must be some super generalisations called Ideas.  The self is an Idea, bestowing the category of ‘substance’ to objects, making syllogisms possible [because things have to have substance?].  The world is another Idea bestowing the notion of causality, again important to syllogisms.  However, there is another category of community [things that go together and things that do not?] , and only God can be the Idea here: God has to ‘enact disjunctions, or at least to found them’ (295).  This is what founds reality, as something which is ascribed to things while other categories are excluded, as in the specific divine use of the disjunctive syllogism, determining or 'conditioning' concepts, by exclusion.

[Then back to Klossowski’s work, which apparently extends and removes God's limits on this notion of exclusion to argue that things have ‘an infinity of predicates’ (296), which clearly dissolves identity again.  {This depeoples the structure of the disjunctive syllogism, deactualises it}.  Disjunctive syllogisms become the most important operations in their own right, and are no longer tied to God’s will {and so are neutral}].

What remains apparently is the philosophy of intensity, no fixed identities, permanent differences, ‘pre-individual and impersonal singularities’ (297), a world of ‘intense multiplicity’, as opposed to Christian simplification [there is a closely referenced bit about the relation between intensity and intentionality page 298, ‘the passage from sign to sense’]. ‘ Every intensity wills itself, intends itself, returns on its own trace, repeats and imitates itself through all the others.  This is a movement of sense which must be determined as the eternal return’ (299).  The self is dissolved into a series of roles, but this is a 'joyful message.  For we are so sure of living again (without resurrection) only because so many Beings and things think in us’ (298).  Language can no longer denote, but only express, and express not just individuals, but ‘pure motion or pure “spirit”—sense as a pre-individual singularity, or an intensity which comes back to itself through others’ (299).  ‘The will to power [is seen as] open intensity’ (300).

Disjunctions are not resolved in identities, although they can be synthesised.  They have a positive or affirmative role in preserving mobility and dissolving identities [an extreme form of dereification?].  Singularities are pre-individual, ‘that is,…  Fortuitous’ (300) and communicate with each other, forming disjunctions, but without exclusions.  Thus the eternal return is not the return of the Same, and which would imply persisting identities, but of the Whole [system], which is univocal Being.  It therefore operates at a different level and with different language, which means that it can not be used to describe simple events such as circularities in history [and nor do selves return again simply, but only as a ‘fortuitous moment’ in the whole series].

What returns is ‘the intense, the unequal, or the disjoint (will to power)’ (300).  Difference is at the centre, a coherence which does not depend on self, world, or God.  Events return for an infinite number of times.  The Whole contains disjoint members and divergent series.  ‘The phantasm of Being (eternal return) brings about the return only of simulacra’ (301).  This is ‘the nonsense which distributes sense into divergent series’ (301).

Michel Tournier and the world without others [Comments on a book by Tournier which rewrites Robinson Crusoe.  The main theme, arguably is the role of others in constructing the world that we take as subjective.  Reading it through, it struck me as extremely similar to the arguments in Husserl, but the basis for assuming that there are other people there depends, as I recall on the argument first of all for a transcendental ego, which Deleuze has already rejected.  The basis for Deleuze’s constitution of others presumably is the same as the basis for the constitution of the individual self, the haecceities.]

Because Crusoe lacks others, he comes increasingly to identify himself with the island on which he is marooned.  This is more radical than Defoe’s version which never stops pursuing a parallel with the economic world.  For Tournier, Crusoe becomes dehumanised by the absence of others, elemental.  Crusoe here is ‘related to ends and goals rather than to origins…  Sexual…’ (303).  His world is genuinely deviant, aimed at different ends to our own.  Is he perverse in the Freudian sense? Perversion itself ‘is a bastard concept—half juridical, half medical’ (304).  Perverts introduce desire into different systems.  Tournier has a different theme; what happens to humanity in the absence of others.

Others organize marginal worlds as backgrounds for us, and lend realities to objects which are marginal for us, ‘at the edge of our consciousness but capable at any moment of becoming its centre’ (305).  The perceptions of others totalize objects, and make them contiguous and continuous. Also:  ‘my desire passes through Others, and through Others it receives an object.  I desire nothing that cannot be seen, thought, or possessed by a possible Other’ (306).  Without others, the world shrinks to what can be subjectively perceived, while the rest remains as ‘a groundless abyss, rebellious and devouring’ (306).  We become at the mercy of the elements.

Comparison between ourselves and others help us define what the Other is—neither an object nor a subject, but rather ‘the structure of the perceptual field, without which the entire field could not function as it does’ (307).  This structure may be peopled by actual others.  The structure represents the possible, but does not resemble it: ‘The terrified countenance bears no resemblance to the terrifying thing.  It implicates it’ (307).  Possibilities are expressed in language.

The concepts of modern psychology relating to perception, things like ‘form – background; depth – length’ (308), need philosophy.  What are these categories and do they belong to the field itself or to subjective syntheses, possibly passive ones?  For Deleuze, the structure of the Other ‘conditions the entire field’ (309) and makes possible these concepts.  It is not the ego.

In the absence of the other, the whole perceptual field changes, the novel suggests—even Friday can no longer be seen as an other, nor can the men on the rescue ship.  The whole structure has disappeared, and Crusoe is no longer safe in the world.  [In follows, through several other speculations, that ‘The mistake of theories of knowledge is that they postulate the contemporaneity of subject and object, whereas one is constitutive only through the annihilation of the other’ (310)[meaning the domestication of the object by the perceptions of others?].  Certainly, without others, it is impossible to falsify or verify perceptions.

The absence of the Other also affects the notion of time [because others help us maintain a sense of the present?] Subjective consciousness therefore becomes ‘a pure phosphoresence of things in themselves’ (311).  Crusoe becomes a part of the island itself.  Crusoe realises that it is others who had disturbed this sense of the world.  This includes relating desires to actual objects.

Nevertheless, some doubling seems to exist, ‘an ethereal double of each thing’ (312).  This notion escapes the limits of the others and their activities: Crusoe experiences the results as celestial, composed of pure elements [after being scared shitless].  Deleuze wants to say this is really the discovery of the [pure] Image, which is normally obscured and limited by the actions of others (313).

Crusoe also attempts to reconstruct the world with substitute others, through frenetic work activity, although this is also accompanied with ‘a strange passion for relaxation and sexuality’ (314), taking the form of an infantile regression back to the primordial mother which is the island.  Deleuze see some parallel with the frenetic activities of schizophrenics, or in a neurotic development of a ‘superhuman filiation’ (315).  Thus ‘neurosis and psychosis-- this is the adventure of depth [dissolving moderating structures]’ (315).  Crusoe has to rise to another surface, this time to the air and sky as a surface, where doubles [simulacra?] and ethereal images can be formed, as a phantasm. Friday’s role is to assist in this phantasm, partly by being constructed as a double himself, and generally an ambivalent figure.  Friday can be treated in a number of unlimited ways now he is no longer a proper other—as an object, a slave, a mystic, a phantasm, helping to rediscover the power of elements.  He is not an other, and so he is not a sexual object, and Crusoe cannot use him to rediscover conventional sexuality.

So the other is a structure, with an 'a priori Other', occasionally represented as concrete others.  It expresses the possible.  It conditions the perceptual field, and even desire.  The Other actualizes possibilities [maybe—318].  The alternative constructions of Crusoe in the Tournier novel seem perfectly adequate and healthy rather than perverse—although maybe, the essence of perversity is that it rejects the structure of otherness?  This would help clarify the concept and might fit with Lacan’s work (319 – 20).  In an absent structure, other people can’t play the classic psychological roles [mother, father etc.], but can only act as ‘bodies – victims’ or accomplices (320).  Necessity dominates: nothing is merely possible.  This treatment of others is not a symptom but is presupposed by the structure.

Zola and the crack up [Usual problems here—I haven’t read Zola so I’ve missed lots from the actual discussion of the work].

The crack has been discussed already.  It refers to some ‘hereditary taint... losses of equilibrium’ (321, quoting Zola).  It is a structure that’s inherited, not actual details of failings or weaknesses.  Thus there are both small and grand heredities (324). Small heredities reproduce particular failings, say, but grand heredity is a matter of transmitting the crack itself, as a ‘crevice of thought’.  In Zola, it ‘takes on the appearance of an epic destiny, going from one story or one body to another’ (322) [since it is the grand heredities that provides epic continuity].

The crack reveals certain elements of temperament or instincts.  For Deleuze, instincts are not biological, of course, but rather ‘designate the conditions of life and survival in general—the conditions of the conservation of a kind of life determined in a historical and social milieu’ (322).  Thus the bourgeoisie can celebrate their values as instincts, and, similarly, alcoholism, or even illness and senility can appear as instincts, permitting a way of life to continue.  Instincts can partially mend cracks, or widen them, or reorient them.  The crack lines up instincts with particular objects, types of women, particular characters and temperaments, and alcohol.  These relations look like fixed ideas not feelings as such.  This helps to develop Zola’s naturalism.

Zola had gained from the medical research of his time on heredity, which had proposed both the homologous and dissimilar heredity,  instead of ‘the usual dualism of the hereditary and the acquired’ (325).  Again, the dissimilar variant produces families of characteristics, as potentials which are only actualised if specific properties arise.  Zola extended this notion of a medical family to produce a poetic familial romance, integrating drama and epic.  Epic requires a distinction between petty human affairs and grand movements as a background for the smaller actions of human drama.  In epic, symbolic objects can track the narrative. The crack is therefore the epic element

The crack is the death instinct [and lots of references to Zola novels, plots and characters follow, on the importance of death as underpinning the more specific instincts, pages 326 to 330].  [This links to the epic structure above—action at the level of love and death takes place in the novels].  Can the actions of the crack eventually turn back instincts and avoid death?  Zola was certainly an optimist at times, and an optimistic socialist, showing that ‘the death instinct is reflected inside an open space, perhaps even against itself’ (332).  There is always a future.  In this sense the crack is ‘also the possibility of thought’ (332), its agent, apparently capable of developing ‘the pure element of “scientific” and “progressivist” thought’ (333) [can’t say I get that].

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