Feel free to check out my Hong Kong Review of Books interview with Alfie Brown about Dark Deleuze. We discuss Deleuze and queer feminism, nomadism, and accelerationism. Hope you enjoy it!
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.
Those who knew Gilles Deleuze consistently note his firm commitment to joyful affirmation and his distaste for the ressentiment of negativity. Beatifying this sentiment, Deleuzians have established a whole canon of joy. But what good is joy in this world of compulsive positivity?
It is time to move from the chapel to the crypt. There is sufficient textual evidence to establish this counter-canon. And from it, we can create a glossary of the “Dark Deleuze.”
|Our Task||Create Conceptions||Destroy Worlds|
|Speed||Acceleration||Withdrawal Continue reading ““Dark Deleuze”: A Glossary”|
1. The accelerationists state that the problems of this world are due to a lack of human mastery – mastery of humanity over itself and its physical environment. A list of these problems includes patriarchy, racism, work, and environmental exploitation. The list probably includes war, colonialism, and illness.
2. If we are to believe Frederic Jameson, in that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism, then the only catastrophe left is political and not scientific or technological.
3. Left politics is named by the accelerationists as an obstacle to their agenda. They declare their allegiance with the political left while simultaneously denouncing all identifiable aspects of it. Accelerationism instead calls for a new hegemony to be built in their image.
4. Mastery, for the accelerationists, will come from scientific models delivered by increasingly powerful technology. Without such advances, accelerationists claim that the world will devolve into primitivism, perpetual crisis, and planetary ecological collapse.
5. It is unclear what accelerationists would dislike about capitalism if it did not impede the development of the science and technology they desire. In classic Proudhonian fashion, they criticize capitalism only as it acts as a fetter on production. (The accelerations proclaim that they need funding; but with money, they offer to do the rest.)
1. Accelerationism is impossible to think outside of the problematic set up by Marx in The Poverty of Philosophy.
… How you can compare petty-bourgeois demonstrations à la 13 June, 1849, etc., with the present struggle in Paris is quite incomprehensible to me.
World history would indeed be very easy to make, if the struggle were taken up only on condition of infallibly favorable chances. It would, on the other hand, be a very mystical nature, if “accidents” played no part. These accidents themselves fall naturally into the general course of development and are compensated again by other accidents. But acceleration and delay are very dependent upon such “accidents,” which included the “accident” of the character of those who at first stand at the head of the movement.
The decisive, unfavorable “accident” this time is by no means to be found in the general conditions of French society, but in the presence of the Prussians in France and their position right before Paris. Of this the Parisians were well aware. But of this, the bourgeois canaille of Versailles were also well aware. Precisely for that reason they presented the Parisians with the alternative of taking up the fight of succumbing without a struggle. In the latter case, the demoralization of the working class against the capitalist class and its state has entered upon a new phase with the struggle in paris. Whatever the immediate results may be, a new point of departure of world-historic importance has been gained.