“When someone asks, 'what's the use of philosophy?' the reply must be aggressive since the question tries to be ironic and caustic. Philosophy does not serve the State or the Church, who have other concerns. It serves no established power. The use of philosophy is to sadden. A philosophy that saddens no one, that annoys no one, is not philosophy. ”—Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy,
“When someone asks 'what's the use of philosophy?' the reply must be aggressive, since the question tries to be ironic and caustic. Philosophy does not serve the State or the Church, who have other concerns. It serves no established power. The use of philosophy is to sadden. A philosophy that saddens no one, that annoys no one, is not philosophy. It is useful for harming stupidity, for turning stupidity into something shameful. Is there any discipline apart from philosophy that sets out to criticise all mystification, whatever their source and aim, to expose all the fictions without which reactive forces would not prevail?...Finally, turning thought into something aggressive, active and affirmative. Creating free men, that is to say men who do not confuse the aims of culture with the benefit of the State, morality or religion....Who has an interest in all this but philosophy? Philosophy is at its most positive as a critique, as an enterprise of demystification.”—Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, 106.
The univocity of being
The univocity of being and individuating difference are connected outside representation as profoundly as generic difference and specific difference are connected within representation from the point of view of analogy. Univocity signifies that being itself is univocal, while that of which it is said is equivocal: precisely the opposite of analogy. Being is said according to forms which do not break the unity of its sense; it is said in a single same sense throughout all its forms - that is why we opposed to categories notions of a different kind. That of which it is said,however, differs; it is said of difference itself. It is not analogous being which is distributed among the categories and allocates a fixed part to beings, but the beings which are distributed across the space of univocal being, opened by all the forms. Opening is an essential feature of univocity. The nomadic distributions or crowned anarchies in the univocal stand opposed to the sedentary distributions of analogy. Only there does the cry resound: ‘Everything is equal!’ and ‘Everything returns!’. However, this ‘Everything is equal’ and this ‘Everything returns’ can be said only at the point at which the extremity of difference is reached. A single and same voice for the whole thousand-voiced multiple, a single and same Ocean for all the drops, a single clamour of Being for all beings: on condition that each being, each drop and each voice has reached the state of excess – in other words, the difference which displaces and disguises them and, in turning upon its mobile cusp, causes them to return. (378)
Deleuze - Difference and Repetition
Beyond the Linguistic Boundary
(*This is the writing I just submitted/posted to the website for one of my classes this semester.)
Beyond the Linguistic Boundary
Every moment, since I arrived at the JFK International Airport last early August, has not passed without language problem. I have cowered, freaked out, and got depressed, feeling ashamed of not being capable enough of necessary interaction to survive in the new environment. Not to mention the poor performance in every class, even very trivial everyday question such as “for here or to go?” did not reached my ear. I do not think that question really had not come to my sensory organ to be actually heard and understood by me. It might have struck my auditory sense as usual, like every phrase and sentence which had been spoken to and received by me without big problem when I was still in the “mother” tongue speaking place. It was weird that I could not understand people’s speaking because the spoken words I have not gotten right away at the moment were not the stuffs that I had no idea about. Something has totally hindered me from “proper” communication with people.
I could attribute this struggle to the changed knots and nodes of sensory assemblage which have overwhelmingly encompassed me. Not only the sense of alienation both from the place I left and the place I arrived, that is, the feeling of lacking the safety network of people and familiar surroundings (even with the cultivated intimacy through the social networking media such as Facebook and Twitter), but also the gap between my former ability to function as a relatively skilled writer, public speaker, and community organizer and the present inability merely to stay sane have tormented me. Hence there has been unwanted silence, unexpected stress of socializing, and undesirably low productivity both in my scholarly work and activism. As words have shattered into meaningless fragments of sound wave, the world around me has fallen apart altogether. All the senses of time and place I have felt, including the tactility of blowing wind, drifting smells on the streets, new colors and images, and sounds of innumerable different languages and accents were just hostile, even I could have befriended with so many kind and generous people on and off campus. If somebody asked me what I thought about the Deleuzo-Spinozan question “what a body can do?”, I would have answered in a very cynical way “you know what, I cannot speak England. Sorry,” to avoid the further conversation. Alas, I was that much sadly affected. My body was trapped in the circumscribed experience of home and I could not see how to break through that strong bondage to plunge into this whole fresh concatenation of sensorial irritations. I had to make it into constructive impulse not to stay helpless any more but to be engaged in actively.
And this class just began in the middle of the crisis after I had (un)finished the fall semester with only one complete and two incompletes. As you can remember, I could also barely speak in class throughout the last two seasons. Therefore when I told you, at the time we were reading disability studies materials and asked to say our own brief idea of disability in class, that I felt linguistically disabled here, I was absolutely desperate to be understood by everybody, although both without any farther particular expectation and with some serious hesitation for using the category of disability for my case, being afraid of doing injustice to the differentially-abled people who must be undergoing discrimination and violence in specific and irreducible ways in their life. Not to say my inability for articulating my thought efficiently, my speed of thought too was incredibly slowed down according to the impossibility of catching up the ongoing interactions in class, so my crisis caused by the lack of linguistic command seemed to keep me shut up forever.
However, while I was turning the pages and underlining the poignantly written phrases of our reading which try to go beyond and out of the text and language itself, I could be reassured, in that the inspiration these texts had raised in me taught the fact that human language does not have to be the ultimate boundary of “life itself.” That lesson triggered me not only not to be that much disempowered with my pathetic command of American English but also to at least slightly step out of the “linguistic turn” of Western academia’s recent past which has still have much influence on me with my persistent enthusiasm for reading Althusser, Derrida and Butler, to name a few.
Furthermore, when we were not assigned to “write” a paper for the final any more but to create the sense lab collectively, I felt unbelievably saved even I knew immediately that this project would rather be more demanding than the typical practice of writing a term paper. Although we cannot completely shun speaking and/or writing in whatever the language or manner, in that in some sense we still have to share even our ideas of affective, nonhuman and new materialistic living in linguistic and symbolic way, which is at once humanist, anthropological and anthropocentric, this attempt to transgress linguistic limitation seems to me much worth trying. When we say something is ineffable, we are proving the fact that there definitely exists something nonlinguistic as a sheer trace of life, in paradoxical performative.
The awkward self-made video I presented in our last class was the result of my obsession of momentary grasp of environment. Nonetheless, every time I was looking at the way blowing wind made leaves and branches move and the way leaves and branches wheeled the direction of blowing wind, feeling the same wind which took its path along the figure of my body, and putting my fingerprints on the small digital camera which became warmer as recording kept going, I always knew that there are ineffable, unarticulatable things in life. And I always thought that it would be great to share our diverse ways of being affected by those ineffable things even if we cannot go that far beyond our linguistic shackle. Thank you all for sharing the time and place every week during the past few months. I do appreciate the patience and attentiveness you have shown me throughout the whole semester. Hope you enjoy the summer!
“Courage consists, however, in agreeing to flee rather than live tranquilly and hypocritically in false refuges. Values, morals, homelands, religions, and these private certitudes that our vanity and our complacency bestow generously on us, have many deceptive sojourns as the world arranges for those who think they are standing straight and at ease, among stable things” ”— Deleuze & Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.
It is so strange because yesterday I had a lengthy conversation with my dad about ‘rejecting false refuges’. That same evening I went to City Lights to read some Anti-Oedipus and I happened to flip straight to the page that this quote is on.