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May 30, 2006

Living in a material world

Continuing a series of posts on last week's Slavoj Zizek lecture at Birkbeck College, London, K-Punk makes a telling observation about Deleuzians.

What Deleuzianism overlooks - what is has to overlook - is that it is precisely the invocation of an intense, unmediated non-cognitive and non-linguistic experience that introduces an element of transcendence and lack. That is because the philosophical call for an unmediated Real must always repress the Real of the writing and thinking involved in that call itself. (By the by, many of the Deleuzians I've known are exactly the sort of people least able to give themselves over to immediate, noncognized experience - they are those who will be jabbering about philosophy when they are on a drug trip, or taking notes when they are in a nightclub - real examples both).

I used to attend a Deleuze reading group at the now long gone Toronto restaurant, Fabulous Nobodies. One night we were on about embodiment and a refusal of narratives of transcendence. I looked up from where I had been following along with a reading at the chap across from me, the fellow responsible for that week's discussion, who was reading aloud a passage from the bottom of the page of the book he was holding.

"Excuse me," I said. And louder again, "Excuse me, but your book is on fire." While the bottom of the page was fine he was holding the top of his book over the flame of a decorative candle. When I say his book was on fire I do not mean smouldering but dancing flame and black smoke. I credit a Lacanian psychoanalytic perspective for noticing the fact. Not so for the Deleuzians. Having taken a stand against structuralist semiosis and having refused a fixed meaning for referands there is little room for irony in Deleuzian discourse. The book was doused and the reading continued.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at May 30, 2006 09:44 AM