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 ). 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 , 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.
|Our Task||Create Conceptions||Destroy Worlds|
|Difference||Inclusive Disjunction||Exclusive Disjunction|
|Distribution||Crowned Anarchy||The Outside|
|Cinema||The Forces of Bodies||The Powers of the False|
|Ethics||Processural Democracy||Immanent Communism|
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 ) Difference and Repetition
Dosse, François (2010 ) 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.