Constantin V. Boundas - What Difference does Deleuze’s Difference make ?

What Difference does Deleuze’s Difference make ?

Constantin V. Boundas

Philosophies of difference, where difference maintains its grounds from beginning to end without being eclipsed by identity, are exceedingly rare. In fact, if we subtract from their ranks those which, in their struggle to maintain the primacy of difference, succumb to the ineffable and turn their back to the creation of concepts, the number of philosophical heterologies turns out to be miniscule. And of course it is not by chance that the fortunes of philosophical heterologies are better served inside process philosophies. Although to be a process philosopher is not a guarantee that one will also be a philosopher of pure difference, movement and the reflection on movement that constitute the raison d’être of the philosophies of process offer a rich soil for the nurture of tou heterou philia. In the distance traveled between the Heraclitian river with its flowing waters being eternally qualified as ‘alla kai alla’ (different upon different) and the Bergsonian durée, the birthrights of difference are well protected. But a process philosophy, in order to support a purely heterological thought, has to be capable of doing without subjects steering the process or being steered by it, without substantive names designating ‘blocks’ in motion, and without points of origin or destination invigilating over the permitted trajectory. Only a process philosophy where process and product are the same can hope to prevent the subordination, in the final analysis, of difference to identity. It seems to me that Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy meets all these requirements and represents, in the wake of Nietzsche, the most consistent difference philosophy of all.


The mistake in reading Heidegger’s ‘Being’ as if it were a substantive noun is now well recognized. The mistake in reading Deleuze’s ‘difference’ as a noun on the other hand is in the process of being slowly registered. It is not as if we now begin to notice for the first time that in his texts ‘difference’ means differentiation and differenciation1—this became clear to us early on. It is rather that we are now in the process of exploring all the implications of this decision. We understand better, for example, the sense in which difference is not a concept: concepts are not processes, and ‘different/ciation’ names a process—actually, it names the twin processes of the real: the virtual and the actual. Were we to heed Deleuze’s recommendation and opt for a philosophical language revolving around infinitives, the temptation of mistaking ‘different/ciation’ for a noun will be prevented: we will then choose to think in terms of ‘different/ciating.’ A new ontology would then be possible, built on the intuition that ‘to be is to different/ciate and to be different/ciated.’

Indeed, the reason for the grapheme, t/c, is that, in Deleuze’s ontology, processes are made of two intertwining flows—the one virtual, the other actual—with both flows being real. The virtual is a differentiated and differentiating process whose differentiating dynamism coincides with its differenciated actualization. The product is the process, but with a difference: the product-process is the realm of solutions and actualizations of problems. Problems are expressions of tendencies belonging to solutions only because they belong by right to the virtual process that subsists inside the product-process and nowhere else. The plausibility of this point depends on the successful co-ordination of a number of concepts that Deleuze needs in order to build his ontology—force, intensity, tendency, virtuality, and event. The co-ordination will also decide whether or not Deleuze’s ontology is that of a pure process capable of guaranteeing the irreducibility of difference—and it is to the complex issues stemming from this co-ordination that I am now turning my attention.

Deleuze’s ontology is an ontology of forces2 bent on correcting the mistake we make whenever we think exclusively in terms of things and their qualities: in privileging extension and extended magnitudes, we overlook the intensive genesis of the extended. Forces, however, are experienced only in the results they render, and the products of forcefields are extended and qualified. I said ‘forcefields’ because, in an ontology of forces like Deleuze’s, ‘force’ comes to mean relation between forces. Such an ontology therefore amounts to a veritable diacritics of forces in motion: forces are different/ciated—they are what they are only because of the differential relation that they have with other forces. The differential quantity of forces is called ‘intensity’ and intensities—or better, intensifications—are the real subjects of processes.3 But they are not subjects in any ordinary sense, because intensities are not entities; being responsible for the genesis of entities, they are virtual yet real events, whose mode of existence is to actualize themselves in states of affairs. They exist nowhere else but in the extended that they constitute. Despite the fact that they are not identical with the extended, the distinction between virtual intensities and actual extended things cannot be accounted for in terms of an ontological chorismos.

The Deleuzian virtual has generated an endless number of discussions and controversies; 4 but I do not see anything mysterious about it. In Deleuze’s ontology, the virtual and the actual are two mutually exclusive, yet jointly sufficient, characterizations of the real. Actual/real are states of affairs, that is,bodies and their mixtures or individuals existing in the present. Virtual/real are incorporeal events and singularities in a plane of consistency, belonging to a past that Deleuze qualifies as ‘pure’ because he sees in it a past that has never been present. Virtual is something which, without being or resembling an actual x, has nonetheless the capacity to bring about x, without (in being actualized) ever coming to coincide or to identify itself with, or to be depleted and exhausted in the x. The kind of process that we find in Deleuze’s ontology is not properly captured in the scheme, actual/real→actual/real ; its correct schematization is rather this : virtual/real↔actual/real↔virtual/real (DR, 208-21)5 Becoming, instead of being a linear process from one actual to another, should rather be conceived as the movement from an actual state of affairs, through a dynamic field of virtual/real tendencies, to the actualization of this field in a new state of affairs. This schema safeguards the relation of reversibility between the virtual and the actual.

It is best to think of the virtual in terms of tendencies, provided that we remember also to say that tendencies exist in differentiated intensities and subsist in differenciated extended parts6. They, rather than the movement of extended elements, guarantee the continuity of intensive transformations. Although they are incited by the differential relations between material forces and are actualized in them, tendencies cannot be reduced to the material forces without ruining the continuity and indivisibility of the duration of the process. Absence of continuity and indivisibility will render the process vulnerable to the paradoxes of Zeno. It is important not to confuse the virtuality of tendencies with Plato’s ideational Being: the emphasis that Deleuze places on materiality would by itself be a convincing reminder. The virtual can be apprehended only at the end of a chain reaction starting with sensation, affecting all faculties, and orchestrating their resonance in a kind of discordant harmony. However, there are additional safeguards against the return of Platonism: tendencies are problems and problems have no final solutions, but the partial solution of a problem transforms the problem back again into a tendency. Now, to the extent that tendencies stand for problems on the way to the solutions that the actual forces in tension with one another permit them to have, they provide the actual with sense and intelligibility, without resembling it.

This is the reason why the role played by the virtual in processual transformations cannot be overlooked. Indeed, Deleuze often calls the virtual, ‘quasi-cause.’ He also describes it as the horizon of events and he goes on to distinguish events from states of affairs that belong to the actual and are, in fact, actualizations of (incorporeal) events. ‘Every event,’ Deleuze writes, ‘can be said to have a double structure. On the one hand, there is necessarily the present moment of its actualization: the event ‘happens’ and gets embodied in a state of affairs and in an individual…. Here the time of the event, its past and future, are evaluated from the perspective of this definitive present and actual embodiment. On the other hand, the event continues to ‘live on,’ enjoying its own past and future, haunting each present….’ (LS, 151). It is in the context of making the distinction between events and states of affairs that Deleuze claims the infinitive as the best verbal mode for the designation of events: to green, to cut, to grow, to die, are the best designations possible for pure incorporeal events. Infinitives guarantee specificity and determinacy, without imposing subjective or objective coordinates. In their infinitival modes, verbs guarantee reversibility between past and future by virtue of the fact that they themselves are untimely matrices7. They stand for forces, intensities and acts, rather than substances or qualities. To reduce events to states of affairs and then to assign them to the rupture points of a continuum is ‘to grant an unwarranted normative status to that state and to posit the break with it in terms that are both blind and transcendent’(GL,132). 8


Perhaps, now, we can see more clearly why and how Deleuze’s ontology is built around a notion of difference that is not contained in the ‘than’ of the ‘x is different than y’—in which case, difference would be relative to identity—but rather built around the attempt to capture difference in itself. The centrality that Deleuze attributes to intensity is pivotal here. In order to safeguard the continuity of becoming and to prevent the reduction of temporal sequences to sets of discrete moments, ontology requires the distinction between intensive differences and extended parts. Unlike extended magnitudes whose partes extra partes allow to be divided without any corresponding change in their nature (a situation that guarantees the commensurability of their divided parts) intensities cannot be subdivided without corresponding change in their nature; they are, therefore, incommensurable, and their « distance » from one another makes each one of them a veritable difference in itself. Placed in the context of the two sides of the Deleuzian ontology—the virtual and the actual—intensities catalyze the actualization of the virtual, generating extension, linear, successive time, as well as extended bodies and their qualities. The relation of reversibility between virtual and actual guarantees that intensities will not suffer the fate of negentropic death.

The advantages of these moves, from an epistemological and ontological point of view, are significant. Becoming, in the name of which Deleuze’s entire work is mobilized, cannot be constituted through a juxtaposition of ‘immobile cuts.’ Participation in immobile cuts has always been responsible for the hieratic and static world of Being. On the other hand, forces seized in actu, are better candidates for a diagrammatic mapping out of becoming. Of course, the success of these moves depends on the availability of a plausible theory of time and space that will permit the deployment of subject-less processes of a continuum of differentials, with no origin and no end points. No adequate theory of transformation and change can be contemplated as long as it is predicated on a process conceived as a mere sequence of multiple states of affairs. Deleuze’s claim that transformation goes from (actual) states of affairs to (virtual) tendencies and back to (actual) states of affairs prevents the time of transformation from collapsing into discrete temporal blocks and from destroying the kind of continuity and mutual imbrication, necessary for an adequate characterization of the duration of processes. Without it, processes of continua would be possible only as mathematical formulas, devoid of physical embodiments.

Deleuze articulates the structure of temporality required by his ontology of processes through an ingenious re-reading of Bergson’s durée that permits him to advance the following claims: actual presents are constituted simultaneously as both present and past; in all presents, the entire past is conserved in itself; and there is a past that has never been present as well as a future that will never be present (DR, 70-128)9. The idea of a past that has never been present (the immemorial past), as well of a future that would never turn into a present, can also be found (although with different axes to be ground) in the writings of Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel Levinas. The reasons for its postulation vary from one thinker to another, but there is one thing that they share in common: any philosophy that puts a premium on the de-actualization of the present, in order to tap the resources of the past or the future, runs the risk to reify the past (as in Plato’s recollection) and also the future (as in the case of apocalyptic eschatologies). To prevent this reification, the notions of the ‘immemorial past’ and the ‘messianic future’ (Deleuze prefers to talk of the pure past and of the eternal repetition of the different)10 are brought to safeguard the idea of a process that can be conceived without the dead-weight of tendencies determining it a tergo or ab ende.

When Is Thinking Possible?

Deleuze’s uncompromising theory of difference has important implications for knowledge claims. It builds on a critique of the image of thought (recognition through representation) that the philosophical tradition has solidified onto a dogma; it ushers in a new understanding of what philosophy is (creation of concepts); it requires a new methodology—that of ‘transcendental empiricism’; and it works with a non-traditional understanding of the ‘dialectics of truth and error (undecidability between truth and falsehood and ‘the power of the false’).

Platonism raised re-cognition onto the model of thinking, and grounded the model on postulates that gave it a de jure legitimacy which de facto it could not have. With these postulates, it vested an image of thought that retained from our cognitive processes few trivial facts illustrating recognition through representation. Doxa was mistaken for episteme. Error was held to be an evil extrinsic to thought whereas intrinsic to thought malignancies like madness, stupidity and mean-spiritedness were ignored as of no consequence. This traditional paradigm of thought is not able to think difference, without compromising it. In it, difference turns into an object of recognition and representation, and is subsumed under similitude, opposition, analogy and identity. An already constituted and familiar world is greeted by an already constituted and familiar subject. An alternative ‘model’ is needed for thought to become possible, and Deleuze contends that it will have to be responsible for jumpstarting through ‘fundamental encounters’ with intensities our always already reticent and idle thought. It should be the cogitandum (noeteon) that motivates the construction of a thought model, not the cogitatum (noeton)—provided, of course, that (given the axiom of the primacy of materiality) thought becomes the thought of the cogitandum only after the sentiendum and the memorandum have prepared it for this task: from that which ought to be sensed, through that which ought to be recalled, to that which ought to be thought—this is what cognition becomes when it is liberated from the constraints of the representative straight jacket.

The gerundiva that inspire the cognitive ‘ought’ are the result of a bold reading and transformation of the Kantian theory of Ideas undertaken in the pages of Difference and Repetition. An Idea, for Kant, has no instantiations in the empirical world, yet it must be thought. Deleuze retains this imperative when he thinks of the virtual, but he confounds Kantianism with his decision to multiply Ideas by making them the gerundiva of all faculties (the cogitandum, the memorandum, the loquendum, the sentiendum). Now, Ideas do not obey the Platonic imperative, ‘unum nomen unum nominatum.’ They are (differential) structures of singular and ordinary points and intensities, animated by spatio-temporal dynamisms, in the process of actualization. Ideas are virtual and their ‘being’ is that of problem-setting matrices. This is Deleuze’s way of preventing the virtual from being a mere fraudulent and unnecessary duplication of the actual raised to the power of the transcendental: the virtual must not resemble the actual, exactly the way that problems do not resemble or represent their solutions. The tool for this rehabilitation of the transcendental is transcendental empiricism.

Transcendental empiricism—Deleuze’s chosen method—attempts to go beyond experience to the conditions that account for things, states of things and their mixtures given to experience11. Its object is not what is given immediately but rather the immediate given. But the immediate given is the tendency—in other words, the ‘unrepresentable’ virtual. The similarity between transcendental empiricism and the Kantian transcendtalism is misleading. For both Kant and Deleuze, the actual with its de facto existence, is governed by conditions that exist de jure. But the Kantian de jure is not like the Deleuzian in virtu. What is de jure is not characterized by a dynamic thrust toward its own actualization. Moreover, Deleuze’s empiricism, unlike the Kantian critique, is capable of providing a genetic (not merely a static) account of the constitution of the actual, because the conditions that it seeks are themselves given in the virtual as the conditions of actual (not all possible) experience. Whereas in Kantianism, the sought after conditions are those of possible experience, in the case of Deleuze, the targeted conditions do not exceed the conditioned, and, therefore, the concept they form ends up being identical with its object.

Rather than looking in the direction of Kant, we must recognize in the Deleuzian transcendental empiricism the inspiration of Bergson’s intuition12. Things and states of things are mixtures and as such are subject to qualifications according to the more and the less, that is, according to differences of degree. But these (actual) mixtures are the products of (virtual) tendencies which, unlike mixtures, differ in nature or in kind from each other. Bergsonian intuition is a method for dividing the mixture according to tendencies, that is, according to real differences. Viewed in this light, Bergson’s intuition is identical with Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism. In the case of the traditional image of thought, representation, through the mediation of concepts, requires the presence of an identical subject to an identical object. However, the virtuality of the Idea does not require the assistance of an identical subject or an identical object in order to become real. Representation belongs essentially to consciousness and follows the logic of solutions. The Idea, on the contrary, is in Deleuze’s expression, ‘sub-representative’ and is fashioned according to the logic of problems and questions. Transcendental empiricism explores the field of this logic.

To be a transcendental empiricist therefore is to hunt for the ‘referents’ of the gerundiva: sentiendum--> cogitandum. Deleuze, for whom consciousness is the ‘opaque blade’ in the heart of becoming and therefore subject to intensive reduction, assigns to radical empiricism the responsibility of putting perception inside things, rather than of coaxing eloquently about its ineradicably ambiguous grounding in the ‘lived body.’ To put perception inside things, to see things as they are, would seem to contradict Deleuze’s appropriation of the label ‘constructivism’ on behalf of his method. But the contradiction evaporates as soon as we understand Deleuze’s constructivism to be the history of a redemption. This is how Jacques Rancière expresses this Deleuzian point: ‘We must give things the perceptual power that they have already, because they have lost it. And they have lost it, because their phosphorescence and movement have been interrupted by another image—the image of the human brain…that confiscated the interval between action and reaction….and made itself the center of the world. To put perception inside things is a restitution.’13 It is redemption and what is redeemed is aesthesis. The inspiration for all this comes of course from Bergson, for whom matter and mind are best re-configured as a world of images, moving, colliding, being deflected or being arrested. It is the mind that does the arresting, the selecting, and the reacting (after the interpolation of an interval calibrated in a way that permits reactions to ‘fit’ actions). Given the interpolation of the ‘opaque blade,’ it follows that the Bergsonian/Deleuzian sentiendum is nothing but the chaosmos prior to its being stretched on the plane of organization that consciousness constructs.

To radical empiricism, Deleuze also assigns the responsibility of creating concepts that would be adequate to what ought to be thought and sensed. Being neither reflective (one is perfectly capable of reflecting without philosophy) nor communicative (communication arrives either too early or too late), philosophy is creative of concepts14. The concepts that it creates are neither abstract ideas nor universals—they do not name the traditional essence of a thing. They are about the circumstances of the emergence of a thing (the ‘how,’ the ‘when,’ the ‘where,’ the ‘particular case.’). A concept condenses the conditions of the actualization of an entity. As such, therefore, it is an assemblage of singularities that must not be confused with individuals. Made up of singularities, the concept is itself a singularity to the extent that its internal consistency is brought about through a condensation that causes the concept to be as an intensity. Unlike extended magnitudes, concepts cannot be decomposed to their constituent singularities, without becoming different concepts—and this is precisely why concepts are intensities. Although the singularities, that is, the component elements of concepts, are incarnated in actual (sensible, particular) bodies, they are not reducible to the states of affairs of interacting bodies. They are virtual conditions, with no spatio-temporal coordinates and, therefore, best thought of as expressing events—virtual and yet real events—in the process of actualization. The task of philosophy is to draw out concepts from states of affairs inasmuch as it extracts the event from them.

And the concepts that philosophy creates have a history. ‘We say that every concept always has a history, even though this history zigzags, though it passes, if need be, through other problems or onto different planes. In any concept there are usually bits or components that come from other concepts, which correspond to other problems and presuppose other planes. This is inevitable because each concept carries out new cut-outs, takes on new contours, and must be reactivated or recut’ (WiP, 18). To this extent to be a Platonist or a Kantian today means to reactivate Plato’s or Kant’s concepts in our problems. Deleuze quotes approvingly Robbe-Grillet’s answer to the question whether or not there is progress in philosophy: ‘There is of course movement in philosophy, but to try to do philosophy the way Plato did is senseless; not because we know better than Plato, but because Plato cannot be outdone or outsmarted; what he did, he did it for ever. The only choice is between the history of philosophy and Plato-grafts on problems which are no longer his own.’15 If, as Deleuze proposes, the ‘history of philosophy’ is best done in stratigraphic time—rather than chronological—that is, in the time of the simultaneous and non-contradictory co-presence of philosophical problems and events, the contradictions of the philosophical propositions that belong to the actual history of philosophy must give way to the ‘inclusive disjunctions’ of philosophy’s own becoming16.

It is time now to close this section with the addition of two more points: 1. The ability of an ontology grounded on different/ciating processes to deal with questions of genetic constitution; and 2. its contribution to the integration of aesthesis.

1. Kant’s critical philosophy and Husserl’s phenomenology, as I argued elsewhere17, took seriously the need for genetic explanations and constitutions, albeit static conditioning always has had the last word in their work. For both, the answer to the question ‘how is x possible?’—whether this x is an object of experience or whether it is a bit of sense—may be provided when one or more rules or conditions, supposedly given and known a priori, are shown to be involved in its constitution. If the object whose constitution we are attempting to account for is, for the purpose of our investigation, not changing, and if the a priori rules that we bring to bear upon its constitution are not, for the duration of our investigation, scrutinized as to their own constitution, our transcendental investigation is ‘static.’ But if our investigation changes in focus and is brought to bear upon the conditions and rules that could account for x’s coming to be as it is now, or on the coming to be of the conditions and rules themselves as they are now, our transcendental investigation will be ‘genetic.’ It is often thought that the only way to prevent the blasphemy of endowing ourselves with an intellectus archetypus, usurping thereby the creative prerogatives of God, is to introduce into transcendental constitutions—whether of the static or the genetic variety—a neat distinction between activity and passivity (conditioning and being conditioned). Rules, structures and forms act upon (condition) an unformed (primary) matter that passively receives their action.

Now, in an ontology of differentiated and differenciating intensities the slippage from dynamic genesis to static conditioning is prevented. When force overtakes form, intensity—rather than extension—takes center stage and the question of the genesis of form can no longer be sidestepped: genesis discriminates, de-sediments, de-stratifies, different/ciates; it accounts for becomings and unclogs passages. Let us take as an example perception. Perception is the result of a becoming—the result of a ‘summation’ of degrees. To perceive is the result of an integration and integration is not static conditioning—it is a genesis[i]. But an integration of what? A genesis to what? The answer requires that we discern not only one, but two operations: differentiation, as the registering (below the threshold of consciousness) of differentials—petites perceptions—being the reason for perception, and integration, as the summation by means of which the mind tends to connect differentials as a single perception. Borrowing an old Aristotelian distinction, ‘to perceive’ is not a verb marking a process (kinesis), it is a verb marking an achievement (energeia)18 In the center of every perception, there is something that cannot be sensed—albeit something without which there would be no sensation. This ‘unsensed’ is not a mere formal condition of the possibility of sensation in general, but the concrete set of differential petites perceptions—the necessary elements for the genetic constitution of whatever is actually sensed.

Genesis shows that intensity is not only the being of the sensible,--the way that Kant had decided—but also the being of imagination, memory and thought. No longer confined to the category of quality, intensity is the ratio essendi of all categories, Ideas, concepts—as well as of space and time. Genetic constitution reveals that ideas regulate and totalize because they are problem-setters, and also because, far from being the sole prerogatives of reason, they belong to each and every faculty.

Finally, to the extent that genesis is a search for the sentiendum and the cogitandum, it frees transcendental inquiry from the tyranny of what is only possible (DR, 211-14)19; what is being sought in genetic constitutive investigations are not the conditions of all possible experience, but rather the series of ‘sub-representative experiences’ that account for the singularity under investigation. It follows that genesis prevents the transcendental from becoming a sterile repetition and duplication of empirical descriptions. As long as the possible usurps the space of the virtual, genetic constitution and straightforward formal conditioning cannot be distinguished from one another: under such circumstances, genesis would be the process of engendering the real from the possible, and formal conditioning would be the extraction of the possible from the real. No longer conceived in the image and the resemblance of the empirical, the transcendental transforms itself into the virtual (neither sensible nor intelligible, but rather the being of the sensible as well as the being of the intelligible).

2. The strength of genetic accounts is in their ability to show that the sentiendum, memorandum and cogitandum—unlike sensa, memories and cogitationes—reposition the sublime within every faculty—that they inflict violence upon faculties, forcing them to seize that which cannot be experienced in their normal, empirical exercise. The intensive gerundiva underwrite a new pedagogy for our faculties by reconnecting the sensation of our cognitive experience with the affect of our aesthetic appreciation—after all, the Greeks did call them both by the same name: aesthesis. Revisiting, for a moment, the Kantian narrative permits us to see the promise of this pedagogy and the betrayal of the promise. The rational idea was presented all along as a concept with no intuition being adequate to it. But the final concordia discordata shows the aesthetic idea to be an intuition with no concept adequate to it. And yet, this aesthetic idea expresses what could not be expressed in the rational idea20. It looks as if the cogitandum and the sentiendum have both been named. But the problem with the Kantian criticism is that sensibility is never really trained, having been resigned to receptivity and passivity. The sensible manifold of the first Critique continues to be cut off from the sentiendum of the third. Aesthetics, therefore, has to bring down the barriers that Kantianism established between the cognitive, the praxiological and the ludic—which does not mean the reduction of all language games or forms of life to the aesthetic. It means the ‘discordant harmony’ of their distinct problematics. It also means that aesthesis—in all the domains of its exercise—must be understood as the intensive process of capturing forces—not forms—that it is. It means that Deleuze’s text on Francis Bacon and the violence of sensation must be made into a chapter of his Difference and Repetition or, if you wish, Difference and Repetition must me made into a section of The Logic of Sensation21. Bacon—the painter—trades off representation for the aesthetic exploration of a world never seen before—yet familiar and near the way that Deleuze—the ontologist—trades off the image of thought for a new thinking without image.

The Ethics of the Event

The role of pure difference is not confined to the domains of ontology and noology alone. It finds an important place in Deleuze’s ethics, which resolves ‘to be done with (the) judgment (of God)’ and attempts to get rid of the transcendental ought, along with its twin bulwarks of duty and obligation22. In its place, a virtue ethic is being re-built, with intensity as its only foundation. In the succinct formulation of François Zourabichvili, ‘ethical difference distinguishes itself absolutely from moral opposition to the extent that it is no longer possible to pass judgment upon existence in general, in the name of transcendental values.’ 23 But an ethic of virtue (where ‘virtue’ is meant in its Greek and Nietzschean sense) could still be typological and essentialist: it could still permit Aristotle in the case of the ambitextrous to muse about the right hand being NbF,4 the best24. Intensity, on the other hand, disallows partiality to the right hand because intensity does not resonate with good and common sense nor is it derived from the habitual insight of the so called ‘phronimos’ and the expert.

An ethics of intensity is defined by Deleuze as life rendering itself worthy of the event (LS, 149).25 Although the definition reminds of old Stoic admonitions, a direct appropriation of this formula is bound to lead to misunderstandings, as long as the terrain is not yet prepared by one more intensive reduction. This time, what is reduced is my Self and the other Self, on the road to becoming-imperceptible. This is the kind of becoming that carries with it its own pre-personal and pre-subjective intensities—the ‘affects,’ that is, intensities, modifications and expressions of our power to be—the vis existendi of Spinoza’s conatus and Deleuze’s desire.

Intensification and intensity, in order to be capable of delivering us from the judgment of God, must first free themselves from subjectivity, transcendental fields and personological coordinates. They must be re-situated, away from the typologies of the noetico-noematic complexes of reasons, motives and deeds, and closer to the topological diagrammatic configurations of forces and counter-forces. It is in The Logic of Sense that Deleuze demonstrates that freedom from subjectival and personological transcendental fields requires the reduction of the structure-self and the structure-other—in other words, the decision to commit simultaneously altrucide and suicide26.

I can only summarize this demonstration here. If Sartre, Deleuze claims, is correct in arguing for the contemporaneity of ego and other ego—if both structures are the result of a dialectic of non-egological consciousnesses—the (intensive) reduction of the one will precipitate the reduction of the other. And if, as again Sartre argued ‘being seen by the other is the truth of seeing the other,’ it is appropriate to initiate the double murder/suicide through the reduction of the other first. Again, if the other is the structure of the possible (worlds)—as phenomenology tends to maintain—the sine qua non of the ‘worlding of the world’ and of ‘lived perception’—and if the possible by not being actual is the source of negativities, it would follow that the reduction of the other/possible will restore to the transcendental field its fullness and affirmation. Once this reduction is complete, the transcendental field will surface as ‘otherwise other’ (autre qu’autrui), and the anthropogenic force—the vis existendi or, as Deleuze now calls it, desire—will assert itself as the creative energeia of life.

Rather than being a source of phantasms, desire, in Deleuze’s work, produces relations and connections that are real in their functions and revolutionary in their rhizomatic multiplicity because the Deleuzian desire is not defined by the intentionality of ‘wanting to be or to have’;27 lacking nothing, it is defined by the expression of its capacity to make connections. It is not assessed according to the extrinsic telos of pleasure, since it is desire itself that distributes the intensities of pleasure and attempts to stave off the dissipation of intensities in extension. Desire atrophies inside the dialectic of subject and object: either a fully constituted subject will confront a fully constituted object, in which case desire can only be a relation external to both; or, if desire were to be thought as a relation internal to both subject and object, subject and object alike will have to suffer from a Sartrean haemorrhage of being on the road to being related. It is not strange, therefore, that, under these circumstances, desire is downgraded to the need of the ‘have nots.’ The way out of this, Deleuze advocates, is to think of desire as energeia--not kinesis. A process without telos, intensity without intention, desire (like Aristotle's pleasure) has its ‘specific perfection’ in itself, at each moment of its duration.

Conscious of his debt to Spinoza, Deleuze submits that desire is not a passive state of being but rather an act, enhanced by joy, facilitating the formation of adequate ideas and striving towards more and ‘better encounters’—in other words, desire is the power to annex Being. It is at this point that the ‘naturalism’ of Deleuze’s ethics rings loud and clear: the distinction between good and bad annexations—good and bad encounters—is made, not according to the measuring rod of transcendent norms, but rather on the basis of the ability of the constructed, concrete encounter and relation to augment the power to be of its relata. Experimentation, rather than expertise, is required. ‘There are never any criteria other than the tenor of existence, the intensification of life’ (WiP, 74)28.

However, the ‘tenor of existence’ and the ‘intensification of life’ are capable of grounding an ethic of desire/joy only if they are calibrated according to their alliance with the virtual. We must therefore try to reach a better understanding of Deleuze’s claim that ethics must be an ethics of the event—an ‘ethics of the virtual’ that would, at the same time, be a ‘virtue ethics.’ As long as our surrender to the actual has not yet allowed the exploration of the problem-setting virtual, Deleuze’s Stoic characterization of ethics as the search for the becoming worthy of the event can be mistaken for an invitation to resignation; amor fati can in this case be read as the flattest fatalist maxim possible. To prevent this misunderstanding, it is not enough to be reminded, as is frequently done, that the Deleuzian event is not a mere state of affairs. We need also to remember to insert between events and states of affairs the process of ‘counter-actualization;’ it is this process that reveals the true meaning of ‘becoming worthy of the event’—the spinal cord of Deleuze’s ethics.

The moment ethics cuts itself loose from the mooring of the infinite obligation and turns itself into a search for ways and means to multiply the powers of existence or to intensify life, the question of the fit between forms of life and affects imposes itself. To put it in a different way, the moment that ethics can no longer be defined in terms of the right habit formation (which is not to say that habit has not its place), the question of counter-memory, which alone can problematize old and new presents responsible for habits, begins to press. And to the extent that ethics should not be abandoned to the romance of authenticity and bad faith, actual valuations and their standpoints must be accounted for genealogically, and their plane of (virtual) consistency must be constructed.

It follows that a quietist interception of Deleuze’s entreaty to become worthy of the event is impossible, because Deleuze is not suggesting that we acquiesce without demurring to whatever happens. The ethics of the event is not the ethics of the state of affairs (LS, 149)29. The event intended in the formula of (Stoic) ethics is virtual and, to the extent that virtual events are still future and always past, the ethics of the event presupposes a will that seeks in states of affairs the eternal truth of the pure, virtual event which is actualized in them. True amor fati is not the acceptance of the actual state of affairs but rather the counter-actualization of the actual in order for the inherent virtual or pure event to be thought and willed. ‘[One] wills not exactly what occurs,’ writes Deleuze, ‘but something in that which occurs, something yet to come which would be consistent with what occurs, in accordance with the laws of … the Event’ (LS, 149). Or again, ‘counter-actualization is nothing but the affair of buffoons, if it stands alone and pretends to take the value of what could have happened. But to be the mime of what actually happens, to double the actualization with a counter-actualization, the identification with a distance, like a true actor or a dancer does, is to give the truth of the event the only chance of not getting confused with its inevitable actualization’ (LS, 161). The virtual event is actualized in states of affairs that necessarily do not represent it, since actualization is not imitation but differentiation. Consequently, the mime to whom Deleuze entrusts the ethical task is not the hero of the re-presentation of the same (say, the Kantian who ‘repeats’ a maxim until the categorical imperative acquires the extension of a law of nature). The Deleuzian mime is given the twin obligation to unmask the pretension of the actual to be the only player in the field and to re-enact the virtual in its infinite process of differing from itself30.

Nietzsche’s, imperative that Deleuze often makes his own belongs here: whatever you will, will it in such a way that you also will its eternal return31. If the eternal return were about actual bodies, qualities and their mixtures, repetition would be the recycling of the Same, and the only ethics possible would then be the morality of resignation. But the eternal return that Deleuze talks about is ‘the theory of pure events and their linear condensation on the surface’ (LS, 178). Only in their case repetition can be imposed as the task of freedom. As such, Deleuze argues, repetition is like a festival that repeats that which cannot begin again, not in order to multiply the original by so many festivals, but rather in order to take the first time to the nth power, ‘once and for all’ and ‘for all times’ (DR, 300). The repetition intended here is reached through the process of counter-actualization.

In the imperative of the eternal return and in the accompanying invitation that we measure up to the event, we may find, I believe, the elements of an ethics and the means to a delicate negotiation of the relation between obligation and creation, between distance and friendship or sociability, between affect and phronesis. What often prevents us from exploring these inclusive disjunctions is that ‘ethics’ and ‘theory of (moral) obligation’ have often been taken as synonymous—but we must undo the link between the two. There is something definitely amiss whenever philanthropic avocation is taken to be coextensive with ethics. No one suggests that ethics without morality knows no obligations. What Deleuze suggests is that obligation, in order to be admitted, must be measured, in the first place, by men and women whose souls have already been tried and proven noble in the fire of the eternal return. These men and women are not all that far from Aristotle’s megalopsychoi. They are the ones worthy of the event, the actors and dancers—the mimes of the counter-actualization.

We are in a position now to draw the elements for a Deleuzian ethics together. The dehumanization and depersonalization of the transcendental field for the sake of singularities and events deconstructs the onto-metaphysical discourse on values, and lifts their subordination to valuers. It clears up, therefore, the way for an ethics in which decentered subjects experiment and are experimented upon—encompassing, and also being encompassed by the chaosmos of anorganic life. Here, the self is no longer the master or the servant of the Other; nor is it the other’s equal. But this does not prevent it from freely assuming responsibilities for the sake of a new earth. What Deleuze writes about Tournier’s Robinson and his search for a new earth aptly characterizes his own: ‘the end, that is, Robinson’s final goal, is ‘dehumanization,’ the coming together of the libido and of the free elements, the discovery of a cosmic energy or a great elemental Health ….’(LS, 303).

This is what the Deleuzian ‘becoming-imperceptible’ means, in the last analysis: that ‘someone’ comes to be where the ‘I’ used to reign supreme. Becoming-imperceptible would be impossible if the temporality of (my) becoming were strictly limited by the metric time and the nested presents of Chronos. It is the absolute symmetry of the never ceasing to pass and of the never arriving—the very definition of Aion—which is responsible for the fact that I is another. This is the paradoxical structure that no studious distinction between ipse and idem can ever eliminate.32 That which exists partakes of the Aion because it always already has a virtual side; with respect to this side, we can say that all differences coexist in a dynamic ‘state’ of inclusive disjunction. The reality of the virtual side with its inclusive disjunction is a necessary condition of the affect that, in the words of Zourabichvili, is ‘the very consistence of that which exists.’ (Z: 1994, 109)

It is the depersonalization and dehumanization of the transcendental field that makes the construction of the ethical field necessary through an endless experimentation for the sake of the compossibility of abiding differences, with elements that cannot be expected to resemble the finished product. But this experimentation is never a solitary game. An ethics enjoining us to become worthy of the event must be supplemented with powerful politico-philosophical imperatives and tactics. A life filled as much as possible with active joy, and a life of striving to become worthy of the event may be facilitated or, alternatively, made impossible by the conditions prevailing inside the polis.

Deleuze and the Political

Lately, the questions whether or not Deleuze ever succeeded in articulating a philosophico-political theory (rather than an ethical attitude and preference); whether or not he was a friend of democracy and of human rights; and whether or not he was capable of moving the discussion past the nostalgia of the veterans of May 1968, have being vigorously debated. The reader will find in this volume a good sample of these debates. From my point of view (which is in full agreement with the points of view of François Zourabichvili and Jérémie Valentin), Deleuze’s reflections on the political are best understood after we come to appreciate the simultaneous presence of two attitudes in his work—subversion and perversion—and the role that difference plays between the two, in preventing them from ever freezing in iconic immobility, contaminating the one with the other, and joining them together in the space of an inclusive disjunction.

Before I discuss these attitudes, I think that it is important to understand the source of Deleuze’s guarded optimism present in his discussions of the political. In his early work, the fellow traveller (Deleuze would call him an ‘intercessor’) that becomes the foil for his intuitions is David Hume33. Hume assists Deleuze in his claim that the ethico-political project of assembling the multitude inside a livable polis does not begin without resources. It is the case of course that the ethico-political subject is given only as a task (later on, Deleuze will speak of ‘the missing people’ being given as a task)34, but this task is undertaken with the assistance of a natural passion—‘sympathy.’ Sympathy—the bonding substance for the constitution of the political subject—naturally belongs to each one of us. But our sympathies are partial, limited and mutually exclusive. It follows that the constitution of the social space and the limitation of violence requires the extension of our sympathies and their integration through the invention of corrective rules. Deleuze makes no assumptions about subjects prior to the processes of extending and integrating sympathies—assumptions at this point would trap the processes in advance. For him, to be a subject is to invent and experiment—the subject itself is both the process and the unstable result of experimentation and artifice. Without going into the details of this argument, I want to signal the importance, in this context, of the word ‘artifice.’ The subject is not a substantive foundation of an incorrigible intuition; it is something constructed as the correlate of a ‘fiction-of-the-imagination-turned-principle-of-human-nature’; it is the product of a fiction-turned-constitutive. Its precariousness, but also the possibility for its existence, are grounded here35.

Equally early in his work, and this time with Spinoza as his intercessor, Deleuze de-emphasizes the will of the individual to annoy and to injure, denouncing instead the passions which have not yet been educated and socialized through adequate ideas36. What he deplores is less the universality of violence and more the frailty and vulnerability of man. If the state of nature is unlivable, it is because the individual in it is totally exposed to the threatening chaos of accidental encounters. In nature, bodies encounter other bodies but they are not always compatible with one another. Civil society, on the other hand, is the result of the effort to organize encounters, in other words, the effort to organize the useful and to fend off the detrimental. The greater the numbers of those who come together in one body, the more rights they will have in common. Liberation, that is, freedom from the fortuitousness of external causes and, therefore, the affirmation and increase of one’s own vis existendi can be promoted by society, under conditions open to experimentation and discovery. Following upon these premises, an explication of modes of existence (forms of life) replaces the appeal to the transcendental ‘ought.’ It is my contention that in these readings of Spinoza’s and Hume’s ethics one can locate the source of the optimism that moderates Deleuze’s subversive tendencies and ultimately mitigates his perversion.

Now, the presence of subversive tendencies is unmistaken in Deleuze’s works (especially in those that he co-authored with Félix Guattari). They tend to cluster around the concepts minority/majority and nomad/sedentary developed in A Thousand Plateaus in Deleuze and Guattari’s attempt to summon those who are in a position to stand against the State's capturing forces37. This quest is broader than it initially appears, as it involves minor, transformative forces (of life, politics, thought, artistic creation) capable of escaping the sedentarity and stratification being dear to majorities. ‘Nomadic’ are called the minority forces—better still, the minor tendencies—which belong to the events of virtual becoming (rather than to the states of affairs of actual history). Nomads, unlike migrants, have territories. And, having portable roots, they reterritorialize upon the line and the trajectory of their deterritorialization. The object of their ‘knowledge’ is the behaviour of the materials they work with and the intensity of forces, rather than the matter and form of hierarchical and hylomorphic sedentary sciences. The singular, rather than the universal essence, is their objective. Deleuze and Guattari hypothesize that nomads (or better, nomadic tendencies), have the ability to ward off the encroaching forces of the sedentaries. In fact, they assign to them the invention of the ‘war machine.’ But unlike the State that wages war in order to conserve its integrative power nomads wage war when their lines of flight are blocked and their deterritorialization, prevented.

In this nomadology, one can still find the remnants of the Marxist reading of the State as the ‘capturing apparatus’ in the hands of the ruling class being maintained for the sake of that class’s interests. The sedentaries (alias the majority or the majoritarians) are the State or the State-apparatus or, rather, the State-form; the nomads are the multitudes or the masses or the minorities whose desires do not coincide with the interests of the State. But in this post-Marxist context, the nomads do not want to become the State or to take over the State apparatus, but rather to destroy it or to escape it. Here, Nomad is the one who tries to prevent the social sedimentation of desire from blocking the connective process of the production of desire. Nomadic lines of flight are lines of subversion and transformation of the well-organized and smoothly-functioning institutions of the sedentaries.

But there is another side to Deleuze’s (and Guattari’s) posture vis a vis the political—a posture that Jérémie Valentin (whose essay is included in this volume) qualifies as ‘perverse.’38 ‘Politics,’ for Deleuze, Valentin writes, ‘is a posture, a matter of perception, the result of a conversion that allows the development of a mechanics of resistance to the present’ (PED, 106). This posture is ‘the permanent quest for an inner balance (for a liberation of force) ….always an in-between (entre-deux)’ (PED, 138). It is an always ‘in-between’ posture: in-between philosophy and non-philosophy; in-between political philosophy and politics; in-between the aristocracy of thought and the becoming-democratic; in-between the chief and the tribe; in-between the near and the far; in-between a past that has never taken place and a future that will never come to be present; in-between subversion and perversion. François Zourabichvili locates the perversity of this posture in the identity of fleeing and causing something to flee—the twin imperatives of Deleuze’s political platform; and he finds this perverse attitude clearly expressed in passages like this one: ‘It might seem that a disavowal is, generally speaking, much more superficial than a negation or even a partial destruction. But this is not so, for it represents an entirely different operation. Disavowal should perhaps be understood as the point of departure of an operation that consists neither in negating nor even destroying, but rather in radically contesting the validity of that which is: it suspends belief in and neutralizes the given in such a way that a new horizon opens up beyond the given in place of it.’39 Deleuze’s perversion has the structure of disavowal, and this is what makes it always already untimely. Untimeliness better equips the political philosopher in her task to resist the present but also renders Deleuze’s political philosophy incommensurable with traditional political thought.

Faced with Deleuze’s subversive tendencies, we are bound to ask how best to flee, without finding ourselves deprived of weapons or of the artifices needed during the journey of deterritorialization. We already saw the nomad fleeing sedimentation. (Valentin prefers to say that the nomad flees the generality and stratification of the law). It seems to me that the question of the best means available for fleeing leads us to the heart of Deleuze’s ‘perversion.’ With this question in mind, Valentin draws his inspiration from Zourabichvili again, and takes his reader through Deleuze’s writings on Masoch and Masochism where Deleuze repudiates the conventional wisdom that sees in masochism the mere inversion of sadism. The sadist, argues Deleuze, is still steeped in the language of the law; his feat is that, in opposing the deduction of the law from an alleged principle of the good, he chooses to subvert the old law ironically by maintaining its form, while, at the same time, he replaces its content with precepts deduced from a ‘principle of evil.’ A contrario, for Deleuze, the masochist chooses to pervert the law by submitting to it humorously in order to savor the pleasures that the law prohibits by means of punishments.40

In his further efforts to elucidate the sense of the Deleuzian perversion, Valentin visits also Deleuze’s distinction between the tired and the exhausted (epuisé)41 and makes the point that the tired one is more likely to mount the barricades and to mobilize his troops for the sake of the ultimate overthrow of the established power. On the other hand, the exhausted one confronts the depletion of the possible with the quest for the autrement qu’autre of Speranza’s Robinson through counter-actualization and plumbing the field of the virtual. Along with Zourabichvili, Valentin attempts to draw the delicate distinction between ‘ne faire rien’(to do nothing) and ‘faire le rien’ (to make the nothing)42 and to conclude that it is the latter that characterizes Deleuze’s political posture—a posture that problematizes the field of the possibles, without ever articulating a plan in view of a telos. What Deleuze advocates is ataraxia which is not to be confused with apraghia. ‘One still has to move ahead with the event,’ Valentin writes, ‘to act along with it, to draw from it a certain number of principles, and to align here and now with this encounter’ (PED, 37).

Those then who speak of the aristocratic dimension in Deleuze’s thought are right, provided that this aristocratic posture is not confused with hatred for democracy. Deleuze’s interest in Pierre Clastre’s writings on primitive societies is fully intelligible in this context: displacing Clastre’s preoccupation with the issue of power, Deleuze retains nevertheless Clastre’s attribution to the chief of an aristocratic distance from the tribe—the space, in other words, necessary for the chief to exercise his clairvoyance (voyance) and to ponder over the means available for assembling the ‘missing people.’43 Despite all the reservations that Deleuze expresses against actual democracies, his option for a becoming democratic, conceived as the politics of a universal brotherhood à venir, is unmistakable. This universal brotherhood à venir is the answer to the political problem generated by the fact that, in the Deleuzian narrative, the people (to whom the political theorist appeals) is missing (le peuple manque); ‘a new people and a new earth à venir’ gives Deleuze’s political posture ‘a purposefulness without purpose.’—provided, that is, that the clarion for a new people and a new earth is not intercepted as a teleological anticipation with messianic aspirations. Being not a question of ‘les lendemains qui chantent,’ the missing people is both à venir and already there.

I spoke of the clarion for a new people and a new earth; Deleuze speaks of fabulation44: the becoming-democratic of the missing people requires the art of fabulation—and fabulation must be distinguished from a mere fiction. ‘The fable transports us to a territory that was unknown until this moment: the territory of indiscernibility’ (p. 91). The ‘aristocratic touch’ of Deleuze’s posture is once again visible here. Fabulation requires the ability to be receptive to one’s environment, the luxury of a ‘site’ not too near and not too far from the demos, the letting be filled with the affects generated by having seen the intolerable in the present, and a style to speak the possibles that arise the same time that one apprehends the intolerable. It is plausible to assume that the clarion for the creation of the new people and the new earth will be heard primarily by those who recognize themselves in the fable enunciated by the seer. Yet, the ‘aristocratic posture’ is planted firmly inside the becoming-democratic. Deleuze never characterized concretely the people to come or the new earth: he did say that the ‘race’ that fabulation summons up exists only as an oppressed race, and only in the name of the oppression it suffers. He did claim that there is no race but inferior and minoritarian, and that ‘race’ is not defined by its purity, but rather by the impurity conferred upon it by a system of domination.45 Valentin aptly concludes, the posture assumed by Deleuze is not struck for the sake of discovering the ‘plage au dessus le pavé,’ but rather for the sake of re-injecting some disorder in our societies of control—and waiting for the contagious propagation of this disorder to do its work (la hantise des contagions.)

1 The concept ‘different/ciation’ is discussed by Gilles Deleuze’s in his Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 245-7; 279-80; hereafter referred to as DR. For a brief discussion of the concept, see entry ‘Différence’ in Le Vocabulaire de Gilles Deleuze, ed. Robert Sasso and Arnaud Villani Les Cahiers de Noesis, 3 (Spring 2003). See also James Williams, Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition: A Critical Introduction and Guide (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2003), chapt. 3.

2 I discuss in more details Deleuze’s ontology of forces in my “An Ontology of  Intensities,” Epoché 7: 1 (Fall 2002), 15-37. See also on this subject the excellent work of Véronique Bergen, L’Ontologie de Gilles Deleuze (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2001). Recently, François Zourabichvili claimed that Deleuze has no ontology and that it is a mistake to attribute one to him (‘Introduction inédite (2004): l’ontologique et le transcendental,’ François Zourabichvili, Anne Sauvagnargues, Paola Marati, La Philosophie de Deleuze {Paris: Presses Universitaites de France, 2004)6-10}. Zourabichvili speculates that those who attribute an ontology to Deleuze must assume either that Deleuze has something to say about an ultimate reality (vulgar metaphysical position) or that he postulates the primacy of being over knowledge (deeper metaphysical position). I do hold the vulgar metaphysical position and, therefore, Zourabichvili’s reminder reaches me also: Deleuze is ‘a philosopher who, throughout his work, questioned the conditions of experience, insatisfied that he was with Kant and phenomenology.’ I do not see the pertinence of this reminder. Zourabichvili must hold the view that intensities and affects are useful fictions rather than the sentienda and the gerundiva that Deleuze had wanted them to be. He must hold the view that Bergson’s and Deleuze’s structure of temporality have no ontological significance—but I beg to differ.

3 For more details on intensities, see Juliette Simont, Essai sur la quantité, la qualité, la relation chez Kant, Hegel, Deleuze (Paris: L’Harmattan,1997), chapt.V and Appendice; and Manuel Delanda, Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy (New York: Continuum, 2002).

4 See Keith Ansell-Pearson, Philosophy and the Adventure of the Virtual: Bergson and the Time of Life (New York: Routledge, 2002); Alain Badiou, Deleuze: The Clamor of Being, transl. Louise Burchill (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000); Arnaud Villani, ‘La Metaphysique de Deleuze,’and José Gil, ‘Quatre mechantes notes sur un livre mechant,’ both in Future antérieur, 43, pp. 55-70 and

71-84; see Véronique Bergen, ‘A propos de la formule de Badiou “Deleuze un platonicien involontaire”’ in Gilles Deleuze, ed. Pierre Verstraeten and Isabelle Stengers (Paris: Vrin, 1998), 19-30. See also the three essays included in this volume: Bruce Baugh’s ‘real essences without Essentialism,’ Veronique Bergen’s ‘The Precariousness of Being and Thought in the Philosophies of Gilles Deleuze and Alain Badiou, ’ and Bela Egyed’s ‘Counter-Actualization and the Method of Intuition.’

5 See Keith Ansell-Pearson, Germinal Life: The Difference and Repetition of Deleuze (New York: Routledge, 1999); hereafter referred as GL. See also Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet, ‘L’Actuel et le virtuel’ in Dialogues (Paris: Flammarion, 1996), 179-85.

6 Gregory Adamson, Metaphysical Tendencies: The Philosophy of Henri Bergson. Unpublished Doctoral Thesis (Melbourne: Monash University, 1999).

7 See Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, trans. Mark Lester with Charles Stivale. Ed. Constantin V. Boundas (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), 184-5; For a detailed discussion of the historical antecedents of Deleuze’s position see Hubert Elie, Le Complexe Significabile (Paris: Vrin, 1936)

8 See Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 148-53.

9 For an excellent discussion of Deleuze’s theory of temporality, see Peter Pal Pelbart, O Tempo Não-Reconciliado: Imagens de Tempo em Deleuze (São Paulo: Editoria Perspectiva: FAPESP, 1998); for a brief but incisive discussion, see François Zourabichvili, ‘Aion,’ in Le Vocabulaire de Deleuze (Paris: Ellipses, 2003).

10 I have argued elsewhere that caution must be taken against the syncretist tendencies that tend to identify the structures of the Deleuzian and the Derridean temporality; see Constantin V. Boundas “Between Deleuze and Derrida: A Critical Notice,” Symposium (Spring 2005). A useful meditation on (Pauline) temporality that I found very helpful in my reading Deleuze is Giorgio Agamben’s “The Time that is Left,” Epoché 7: 1 (Fall 2002), 1-14.

11 On transcendental empiricism, see Bruce Baugh, ‘Deleuze and Empiricism,’ The Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 24: 1 (Jan.1993): 15-31; and Bruce Baugh, ‘Transcendental Empiricism: Deleuze’s Response to Hegel,’ Man and World 25:2 (1992): 133-48. See also Manola Antonioli, Deleuze et l’histoire de la philosophie (Paris” Kime, 1999), chapt.2.

12 See Gilles Deleuze, Bergsonism, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (New York: Zone Books, 1988), chapt. 1.

13 Jacques Rancière, ‘D’ une image à l’ autre? Deleuze et les âges du cinéma.’ La Fable cinématographique (Paris” Seuil, 2001), 150.

14 See Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, What is Philosophy? trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994) 34, hereafter referred as WiP. See also Paul Patton, ‘Concept and Event,’ Man and World 29:3 (July 1996), 315-26; see also Daniel W. Smith’s essay, ‘Deleuze, Kant, and the Theory of Immanent Ideas,’ in this volume.

15 Gilles Deleuze, ‘Entretiens avec Raymond Bellour and François Ewald.’ Le magazine littéraire, n. 257, 1998, 23.

16 See Manola Antonioli, Deleuze et l’histoire de la philosophie, chapt. 1.

17 See my “An Ontology of Intensities”; see also Juliette Simont’s “Essai sur la Quantité…” chapts. 1 and 4.

18. Aristotle, Metaphysics : Θ, 6 (1048 b 18-35).

19. On the critique of the possible and the preference for the virtual, see the essay of François Zourabichvili, ‘Deleuze et le possible,’ Gilles Deleuze: Une vie philosophique, ed. Eric Alliez. (Le Plessis-Robinson: Institut Synthélabo, 1998), 335-57.

20 See Gilles Deleuze, Kant’s Critical Philosophy: The Doctrine of the Faculties, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjham (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984), chapt. 3; see also Gilles Deleuze’s essay ‘L’Idée de genèse dans l’esthétique de Kant,’ Gilles Deleuze, L’Ĭle Deserte et Autres Textes: Textes et Entretiens 1953-74, ed. David Lapouzade (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 2002), 79-101.

21 Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, trans. Daniel W. Smith (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003)

22 See my essay, ‘The Ethics of Counter-Actualization,’ Concepts Hors Série: Gilles Deleuze 2 (Octobre 2003), 170-99; see also Alan D. Schrift’s essay in this volume, ‘Deleuze becoming Nietzsche becoming Spinoza becoming Deleuze.’

23 François Zourabichvili, Une Philosophie de l’événement (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1994), 113.

24 Aristotle,, Nich0machean Ethics V. 7 (1134b)

25 See also The Logic of Sense, 146-46; 148-51.

26 For a discussion of this ‘murder/suicide’ see my ‘Foreclosure of the Other: From Sartre to Deleuze’ The Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 24: 1 (January 1993). See also Alain Beaulieu, Gilles Deleuze et la phénoménologie (Mons: Editions Sils Maria, 2004), 55-66.

27 See Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet, Dialogues, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987), 103-5; see also Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, Helen R, Lane (New York: Viking Press, 1977), 25-8. Desire without lack and law seems to challenge the premises of Freud’s psychoanalysis and arguably Lacan’s positions as well. For an interesting discussion of the possibilities for a dialogue between Deleuze/Guattari and Lacan, see the essays by Emilia Angelova, Andrew Cutrofello, Daniel Price, and Shannon Winnubst in this volume.

28 See also Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, trans. Hugh Tomlinson (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983), 68-72.

29 See my essay ‘The Ethics of Counter-Actualization.’

30 See The Logic of Sense, 150; 178-9.

31 Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, 68

32 The distinction is explored by Paul Ricoeur for the sake of his discussion of personal identity in his Oneself as Another, trans. Kathleen Blamey (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 2-3

33 Gilles Deleuze, Empiricism and Subjectivity: An Essay on Hume’s Theory of Human Nature, trans. Constantin V. Boundas (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991); see also in this volume the essay of Davide Panagia, ‘Inconsistencies of Character’.

34 See, for example, Gilles Deleuze, C2, 286; see also Essays Critical and Clinical, trans. Daniel W. Smith and Michael A. Greco (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), 4.

35 See Gilles Deleuze,Empiricism and Subjectivity, 126-33.

36 Gilles Deleuze, Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza, trans. Martin Joughin (New York: Zone Books, 1990), 260.

37 Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), chapt. 12. For a discussion of this chapter, see Paul Patton, Deleuze and the Political (New York: Routledge, 2000), passim. See also Eugene Holland’s Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus: Introduction to Schizoanalysis (New York: Routledge, 1999), chapt, 3. For a lucid presentation of Deleuze’s notion of the political, see Todd May, Gilles Deleuze: An Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 154-72.

38 Jérémie Valentin, Politique de l’entre-deux dans la Philosophie de Gilles Deleuze. Umpublished Doctoral Thesis (Ottawa: Université d’Ottawa, 2004), hereafter referred as PED.

39 and 40. see Gilles Deleuze, Coldness and Cruelty, Masochism (New York: Zone Books, 1989), 86-90.

41 See Gilles Deleuze, L’Épuisé in Samuel Becket, Quad et autres pièces pour la télévision, suivi de L’Épuisé par Gilles Deleuze (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1992).

42 Zourabichvili in “Deleuze et le possible” prefers to play with the distinction between “ne faire rien” and “s’ activer pour le rien.”

43 See A Thousand Plateaus, 357-61.

44 On the art of fabulation, see in this volume Ronald Bogue’s essay, ‘Bergsonian Fabulation and the People to come.’

45 On the question of the missing people, consult André-Pierre Colombat, ‘Le Voyant et les enragés: Rimbaud, Deleuze et mai 1968,’ The French Review 63: 5 (April, 1990), 839-48.