Saturday, November 26, 2022

22nd Series – Porcelain and Volcano

In this series Deleuze explores a concept he calls "the crack," a crack in the surface organization. He uses F. Scott Fitzgerald's memoir piece, The Crack-Up as a jumping off point. In it, Fitzgerald discusses the disintegration of his life comparing it to a cracked plate (porcelain). He also looks at the crack through Malcolm Lowry's novel Under the Volcano. Deleuze attributes the crack in both these cases to alcoholism and does a brief psychological analysis of that disease.

However, the crack may have a beneficial side: "If one asks why does health not suffice, why the crack is desirable, it is perhaps because only by means of the crack and at its edges does thought occur, that anything that is good and great in humanity enters and exits through it, in people ready to destroy themselves - better death than the health we are given." (Logic of Sense, p. 164 - 165 Bloomsbury edition). Deleuze wants to know if it's possible to utilize the crack without compromising our health. The crack can also be brought about by schizophrenia (Artaud & Nietzsche), drugs or sudden loss of wealth or love, etc. Is it possible to get the revelations given by drugs and alcohol without chemical means? Counter-actualization seems a key to using the crack. Counter-actualization takes a difficult or tragic event and turns it into something else. The Crack-Up is both the title of a post-humous collection of Fitzgerald's letters and short stories and the name of a particular piece containing three short memoir stories originally written for and published in Esquire magazine. In the video, I incorrectly state that it was for Vogue magazine. It is the short story, The Crack-Up, that Deleuze uses. It can be read for free at the Internet Archive by registering for a free account. It begins on page 69 at this link.
It can also be purchased here. Under the Volcano is available here.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

21st Series of the Event

Transforming hardship like a Stoic. Illustrated with the story of French poet Joe Bousquet and his wound. How he apprehended the universal truth of the pure event of his wound and through Will became a quasi-cause for transmuting it into something else; in his case, becoming a poet and writer.

The only ethics worth having - to be not unworthy of what happens to you. This relates with Nietzsche's concept of Amor Fati. Also goes into Nietzsche's concept of "ressentiment" (resentment) as an attitude of slave morality. Those who feel the events of their life seem unwarranted or unjustified - it's always someone else's fault - are full of ressentiment as are those who "pick at their sores." Touches upon the two big problems of war and death. "There is, nevertheless, a good deal of ignominy in saying that war concerns everybody. It does not concern those who use it or serve it – creatures of ressentiment." The Stoic sage, the "actor," also called the Operator in this Series - I would also call a Magician - becomes a quasi-cause relative to any event in the depth of the body that may bring misfortune (a wound) by willing the pure event with splendor and magnificence which is sense. Sense can dry up the misfortune, this gets done by the static genesis and the immaculate conception, i.e. humans who know how to produce sense. The Operator takes the splendor and contour of the pure event and transmutes the misfortune into something else. The example of Bousquet using his wound (which left him bed-ridden for life) to establish a writing career. The Operator aims to turn war against war and death against death. The paradox of the actor and the ambiguity of the event relate to the two modes of time, Chronos and the Aion. The actor actualizes the event in the present moment in a state of affairs (Chronos); the pure event always bypasses the present moment splitting into the infinite past and the infinite future. The pure event is the actor's role. Quotes from The Space of Literature by Maurice Blanchot illustrate this ambiguity.