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.

Continue reading “Dark Deleuze Project Abstract”

“Dark Deleuze”: A Glossary


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.”

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 Continue reading ““Dark Deleuze”: A Glossary”

Leading By Example, or, the power of a good example

Brian Massumi suggests in the introduction to his 2002 book “Parables For The Virtual” that the most Bergsonian form of argumentation follows from an “exemplary method,” by which he means supporting an argument through an example. There are three major arguments, which, while not stated explicitly, forms the subterranean structure by which Massumi makes his case for the example: singularity, detail, and connectability.

Continue reading “Leading By Example, or, the power of a good example”

death to “flat ontology”

Too much peddling in ‘flat ontology’ when it should really be process ontology.

(not to even mention the impossibly pernicious ‘paracite‘ of D&G that claims ‘ontology first’ when it’s really ‘politics first’ –> “For politics precedes being. Practice does not come after the emplacement of the terms and their relations, but actively participates in the drawing of the lines […]” ATP, 203).

To put the false Deluezism of ‘flat ontology’ to rest, I present to you a wonderfully strong philosophical reading of the rapport between the molar/molecular in ATP. Note, this does away with any lingering base/superstructure that may have tinged Anti-Oedipus. Rather, it’s the ‘telescopic’ doubling also called reflexive clearly articulated through Hjemselv, but found in other places like Luhmann, and expanded into the general D&G metaphysics, but missed by DeLanda… Continue reading “death to “flat ontology””

ontological communism – self-valorization

certain brands of post-structuralism scared off most ontological thinking. mapping the path would distract, so i’ll just lay it at the feet of post-sausserian epistemological analysis. recent returns to communism (no doubt partially due to the ground-clearing after the fall of ‘actually exiting socialism’) have begun highlighting the ontological definition of the concept: the production of man by man, the abolition of the present state of things, etc etc.

but the question begged by the autonomist citing of the ‘fragment on machines’ and the foucaultian concept of biopower is whether or not capitalism is already communism of a sort. changes marx attributed to the exclusive domain of communism seem to have been anticipated by capitalism – species being, etc etc. it is important to differentiate the subsequent strategy of capitalism from the old frankfurt school fear of complete colonization, however. instead of investing itself in communism (something that zizek comes too close to claiming by sarcastically entitling its subjects ‘liberal communists’), it offers a ‘third way’ that ideologically forecloses communism — ie: it naturalizes or de-libidinizes the potentiality of a communism that de-links from capitalist valorization.

early-mid negri follows the hegelian optimism for capitalism creating its own grave diggers via the tactic of the “self-valorization” whereby critical flows in the circuits of capital are diverted from capital valorization (understood here as the process of re-articulating or re-territorializing the flows necessary for the expanded reproduction of a given mode of production). the capitalist valorization process serves as the source of the freeing of flows, but its extraordinarily fine-tuned ability to re-capture those flows provides it a surplus to re-invest in additional circuits of valorization. the “self-valorization” (‘self’ being ‘auto‘ in both french/italian, indicating a auto-poietic feedback loop that its source is also its product, gesturing to Marxist assumption that the basis for surplus value is labor power) is the re-capture of relative amounts of surplus value which is then put to use within a non-capitalist valorization circuit. [i apologize if this prose is un-readable, it’s incredibly technical and i’m not proofreading very closely]

so a string of questions — what is the ontology of communism, and how is it reached? is this ontology unleashed by capitalist de-territorialization? are the conditions for a future ontology of communism produced by capitalism (the “it will have been” of the future anterior)?

a final provocation — in what ways does “communization” (or more continental, ‘communisation’) differ from self-valorization? my understanding is that ‘communization’ sees communism as the contingent possibility in every ‘moment’ (and for now, i’ll keep the definition of ‘moment’ open) — and in opposition to communism is socialization. so to restate: every moment has the contingent possibility of communization or socialization. the exact terrain of “the social” of course, varies. for a hegelian marxist, socialization is the tendency of increased relationality of abstract labor within the production process. further following the accompanying neo-hegelian state theory – the secular state emerges co-constitutively with its outside, the social, which is the private life of the citizen (civil society being the space of contact between the two). tiqqun’s subsequent work on these in “introduction to civil war” is pretty illustrative of their implication in the formation of Empire.

returning to the question at hand — communization appear to be a set of relations that doesn’t map onto any of this typology, in fact it seems to be relations necessarily take on a different articulation. rather than being strongly different than self-valorization, then, communization might be a clarification of the relationality necessary for a circuit of valorization to be properly defined as “self-valorization” rather than just alternately capitalist (surplus value not appropriated by the capitalist firm but still immediately placed back into circuits of capital valorization like 401k pay-ins, etc), parallel (black markets relations that look like capitalism only without the sanction of the law),or supplemental (non-capitalist relations partly used to benefit capitalist production, ie: household production).

i guess i skirted any deep ontological questions & any positive steps v/v ‘ideology’. whoops.