Saturday, March 12, 2011

Deleuze and Guattari

Although Deleuze and Guattari present an organized and detailed description of the relationship between the three forms of thought—philosophy, science, and art—a number of questions stem from their characterization of philosophy. According to Deleuze and Guattari, philosophy in its “purest” form is not influenced by the activities that dominate the social arena; contemplation, reflection, and communication are unable to assist the philosopher as (s)he attempts to create the concept. In addition to the philosopher’s detachment from other individuals, Deleuze and Guattari explain that the creation of the concept is a single event that cannot be replicated. Similarly, the plane of immanence, which develops out of an individual’s knowledge of particular concepts and the culmination of his/her own experiences, is specific to each individual. If philosophy requires such independence and is unable to provide consistent events and planes of immanence, how can philosophy contain any amount of objective truth? Deleuze and Guattari explain that only science is concerned with the value of claims and propositions; philosophy searches for solutions to problems, rather than the truth. Should an individual then approach the chaos as a scientist, or would it be more beneficial to search for solutions to the problems that plague society? This description of philosophy directly contrasts with the accurate notion concerning philosophy’s relation to truth: the individuals who participate in philosophy are eventually exposed to objective truth.

The description of the concept that Deleuze and Guattari provide also stimulates a number of questions. After an individual has placed himself in such a position so that the concept is able to “reveal” itself, it is still unclear whether or not (s)he will become the means for the creation of a particular concept. Potentially, an individual could satisfy all of the necessary “requirements” for the creation of a concept without a concept coming even remotely close enough for the individual to grasp. In addition to this problem, the window of opportunity that the individual has to create a concept is limited. Deleuze and Guattari explain that the concept (as a “layer” of the brain subject) is incredibly fragile. Old age creates objective disconnections and disintegrations that prevent individuals from maintaining the infinite speeds of the chaos. Eventually, the concepts that the individual has accumulated throughout his/her lifetime will begin to disintegrate into separate components. Individuals who are near the end of their lives slowly move back into the chaos outside of the plane of immanence and are forced to rely on ready-made opinion (214). Deleuze and Guattari explain that philosophy only comes together in “the moment of grace between life and death” (1). Hence, the philosopher must struggle not only with opinion and chaos, but also with time. How can the individual who aspires to become a philosopher remain optimistic when faced with such an intimidating challenge? Philosophy, then, must be a mode of thought that is available to the individual regardless of his/her specific age.

1 comment:

  1. I disagree with that about old age forcing people to rely on ready made opinion. Old age has created a web of beliefs and understanding about the world that is hard to deconstruct. They aren't hiding from the chaos they are relying on past experiences. Of course this comes from my disagreement with D&G on opinions. Near death people may have just constructed a coherent system of beliefs there concepts aren't fragile they have jsut been cemented.


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