Dark Deleuze Project Abstract

alienTitle: Dark Deleuze: A Glossary

Author: Andrew Culp, PhD, The Ohio State University

Abstract: This paper explores the Dark Deleuze by dramatizing the difference between joyfully creating concepts and apocalyptically destroying worlds. Contextualizing this dispute in recent work, the paper draws a contrast between the use of Gilles Deleuze’s thought for a realist ontology of the object and a revolutionary materialism of destruction.

The contemporary turn to realist ontology commonly adopts Deleuze’s metaphysics of positivity (DeLanda 2002; Bryant 2011; Protevi 2013). The basis for the realist side of Deleuze is perhaps best evinced by his biography: those who knew Deleuze consistently note his firm commitment to joyful affirmation and his distaste for the ressentiment of negativity (Dosse 2010 [2007]). Beatifying this sentiment, Deleuze has been used to establish a whole canon of joy. In the canon of joy, the cosmos is a complex collection of assemblages produced through the ongoing processes of differentiation (Stengers 2011, Braidotti 2005/2006; DeLanda 2006; DeLanda 2011). The effect of this image of thought is a sense of wonder but also the joy of creating concepts for knowing how the world really exists.

A different Deleuze, a darker one, has slowly cast its shadow. Emerging from scholars concerned with the condition of the present, the darkness refashions a revolutionary Deleuze; revolutionary negativity in a world characterized by compulsory happiness, decentralized control, and overexposure (Caserio et al 2005; Galloway 2006; Lovink 2014). The refashioned Deleuze forms a counter-canon out of the perfuse negativity of his concepts and affects.* On the level of concept, negativity impregnates the many prefixes of difference, becoming, movement, and transformation: de-, a-, in-, and non-. On the level of affect, Deleuze talks of indiscernibility and concealment, the shame of being human, and monstrous power of the scream. The ultimate task of this approach is not the creation of concepts, and to the extent that it does, the Dark Deleuze creates concepts only to write apocalyptic science fiction (Deleuze 1994 [1968], xx-xxii).

It is time to move from the chapel of joy to the darkness of the crypt.

There are two parts to my Dark Deleuze counter-canon project: a philosophical justification of Dark Deleuze based on textual evidence and a consideration of recent secondary literature; a description of terms that outlines the elements of the counter-canon for use.

Neither of the two parts has been published yet. I leave it up to the editors of xxxx to determine which half of the project they would prefer.

Joyous: Dark:
Our Task Create Conceptions Destroy Worlds
Substance Techno-Science Political Anthropology
Existence Genesis Transformation
Ontology Realism Materialism
Subjects Assemblages Un-becoming
Speed Acceleration Withdrawal
Diagrams Complexity Asymmetry
Affects Intensity Cruelty
Flows Production Interruption
Difference Inclusive Disjunction Exclusive Disjunction
Organization Rhizome Unfolding
The Sensible Experience Indiscernibility
Distribution Crowned Anarchy The Outside
Cinema The Forces of Bodies The Powers of the False
Nomadism Pastoral Barbarian
Politics Molecular Cataclysmic
Ethics Processural Democracy Immanent Communism

Works Cited:

Braidotti, Rosi (2005/2006) “Affirming the Affirmative: On Nomadic Affectivity,” Rhizomes 11/12

Bryant, Levi R. (2011) The Democracy of Objects

Caesrio, Robert L., Lee Edelman, Judith Halberstam, José Esteban Muñoz, and Tim Dean (2005) “The Antisocial Thesis in Queer Theory,” PMLA 121.3

DeLanda, Manuel (2002) Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy

— (2006) A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity

— (2011) Philosophy & Simulation: The Emergence of Synthetic Reason

Deleuze, Gilles (1994 [1968]) Difference and Repetition

Dosse, François (2010 [2007]) Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: Intersecting Lives

Galloway, Alexander R. (2006) Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization

Lovink, Geert (2014) “Hermes on the Hudson: Notes on Media Theory after Snowden,” e-flux 54

Protevi, John (2013) Life, War, Earth: Deleuze and the Sciences

Reid, Julian (2012) “The Disastrous and Politically Debased Subject of Resilience,” Development Dialogue 58

Stengers, Isabelle (2011) Thinking with Whitehead: A Free and Wild Creation of Concepts

*Thank you to Terence Blake for this formulation.


10 thoughts on “Dark Deleuze Project Abstract

  1. Reblogged this on AGENT SWARM and commented:
    Another Deleuzian negative prefix is “dis-” as in disjunction, dissemblance, and also difference (dif- is a variant of dis-). Any idea of a continuist or “lavalampy” Deleuze is not just mistaken, absurd, laughable, it is strictly illiterate: it cannot read the letter of Deleuze’s text.

  2. Hello AWC,
    As you can see, I have now added “dis-” as in disjunction, dissemblance, and also difference (dif- is a variant of dis-) to the list of negative prefixes rampant in Deleuze. I have reblogged your 2 “Dark Deleuze” posts as I think that your project is very important in correcting the dualist black vs white grid which has been imposed on Deleuze’s work. “Dark” for me is not “black” as opposed to white, but all the intensities between, and including, these extremes. Thanks for finding my contribution useful, and i would very much like to see your worked out version, when you have finished..

    PS: I couldn’t resist making use of your posts to correct the reductive and erroneous interpretation of Deleuze that Harman repeats to provide an alibi for his own simplistic views, see most recently here: http://doctorzamalek2.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/beatnik-brothers-between-graham-harman-and-the-deleuzo-whiteheadian-axis/.

    Friendly salutations,

  3. Hey man,

    Just found myself going through this post again and it struck me that what is missing from your chart regarding the joyous vs. the dark in Deleuze’s work is the status of Time/Temporality. For obvious reasons (e.g., Diff & Rep, Bergsonism, the pure and empty form of time as the eternal return of difference from Nietzsche & Phil., etc.), time is fundamental to Deleuze’s metaphysics. I am really interested in seeing if, on this schema of joy vs. dark, one could pull out 2 distinct accounts, conceptions, or w/e of the role of time. Not only would that distinction be super useful for this project, but it would be really important in terms of Deleuze scholarship to show how Deleuze has different understandings of the metaphysical status of time within his own work and thus is a more complicated thinker of time as opposed to the crass and simplistic formula of substance = time = becoming. Thoughts?

    1. Yeah – hadn’t really thought about time enough. I’d just kinda lumped it in the “un-becoming” stuff that Grosz does a good job arguing through Bergson. I have a friend who wrote a “third synthesis = counter-control” through some of the Cinema books. I always imagined it this way, too, maybe it’s a way to break it out of the Whitheadian process / image of the future in the present.

      Any further ideas on how time fits in?

  4. Interesting. Haven’t checked out Grosz’s piece so I will give that a quick read and see what I can come up with after that. However, the only thing that I can really say at this point (since I’m trying to work through this currently) is that the kind of time constitutive of a ‘dark deleuze’ might be something of an ‘inhuman’ time. Inhuman, because Deleuze’s affirmation of Bergson’s analysis of time leads him to really make a lot of use of Bergson’s idea that the task of philosophy is to do violence to thought and to ‘move beyond the human condition.’ Keith Ansell Pearson also does a lot on the topic of going beyond the human (or ‘beyond the turn of experience’ as Deleuze says elsewhere), so his stuff might be useful as well. I can email you some of his essays if you want.

    In any event, I think this idea of ‘inhuman’ time, or moving beyond the human condition, really opens up something like an ‘active nihilism’ at the heart of Deleuze’s thought – that is, once we accept the death of god, and that human meaning can no longer be indexed to some divine narrative, we are left with the fact that there is no telos for humanity itself. Thus, the challenge that nihilism poses for us – where nihilism is understood as a properly temporal category – is how does one/we live when the futural horizon, which has historically given the human being meaning and purpose, is destroyed/wiped away? How do we transform our relationship to time as the proper site of the problem of nihilism? So, the temporality of the Dark Deleuze might seek to deepen the idea of nihilism as a problem of time (from here you can talk about the temporality of crisis, catastrophe, etc.).

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