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Marcel Swiboda Immanence

Marcel Swiboda Immanence

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Published by Masson68

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Published by: Masson68 on Dec 04, 2012
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This chapter deals with work published around the theme of immanence in the year2001 and is divided into three sections: 1. Introduction; 2. Pure Immanence; 3.Immanent Embodiments.
1. Introduction
Compared with the previous year, 2001 turned out to be a relatively quiet one on thetopic of immanence, in particular in the area of scholarship that has—for better orworse—become almost synonymous with the term, namely the works of Deleuzeand Guattari. In terms of major publications, 2001 yielded barely a handful:Deleuze's own writings comprising the Zone volume,
Pure Immanence,
Gilles Deleuze,
featured as part of Routledge's Critical Thinkers seriesof theory primers, John Protevi's
Political Physics,
published in Athlone's timelyand pertinent
series of books and noteworthy amongst journalspublished in this year, the themed issue of
entitled 'Immanent Trajectories'
7:iv[2001]). Deleuze's early study of Hume,
Empiricism and Subjectivity,
was also reissued in 2001 (Columbia UP [2001]), yet whilst this text has hithertobeen somewhat neglected as a key component of Deleuze's
its reissue doesnot really constitute
new contribution to Anglophone critical and cultural theory inthis year. That said, Deleuze's work on Hume does feature quite prominently in twoof the texts that have already been mentioned.
Pure Immanence
Pure Immanence: Essays on a Life,
by Gilles Deleuze, features just three shortessays each of which provides a snapshot of the philosopher's work at three differentkey stages in his career. The book is introduced by John Rajchman, who providedone of the previous year's most notable contributions to studies based aroundDeleuze and the problematic of immanence with his short and lively book,
TheDeleuze Connections
(MIT Press [2000]). His 'Introduction' carries over the clarityand concision that marked the earlier outing in order to provide a punctual©
The English Association
IMMANENCE 103restatement of Deleuze's aims at these various stages and how his project took shapeoverall. Importantly, as well as providing a point of departure for the reader, heappeals to the future of Deleuze scholarship and, arguably even more importantly, tothe pragmatic deployment of Deleuze's thought with a mind to transforming socialand political relations. Anyone with even the most passing acquaintance with thework of Deleuze will most likely be aware that a key concern of this work hadalways been to produce 'a philosophy of the future'. As Rajchman states:We need a new conception of society in which what we have incommon is our singularities and not our individualities where what iscommon is 'impersonal' and what is 'impersonal' is common, (p. 14)The first essay in the volume, 'Immanence: A Life' turns out to be one of the lastthings Deleuze wrote before his death in 1995 and—as such—is something of aswansong, bringing together as it does a number ofthethemes that preoccupied himthroughout his long career, in a lucid and poignant restatement of his project. Thesecond essay, 'Hume', harks back to the work that Deleuze produced in the early
the earliest of his recognized work (Deleuze did not consider the work of thelate 1940s as an integral part of his oeuvre). Although this essay was actuallypublished in French in 1972, it largely summarizes the work that he producedaround Hume as early as 1953, published in
Empiricism and Subjectivity,
a workthat in many ways heralds the first recognizable beginnings of Deleuze'stranscendental empiricism, a full fifteen years before the French publication of itsprimary solo-signed elaboration,
Difference et Repetition
(Presses Universitaires deFrance [1993]). The last essay in the volume, 'Nietzsche', published in French in
is introduced to the Anglophone reader here once again as a summary ofDeleuze's larger project on the philosopher,
Nietzsche and Philosophy
with which the English-speaking world has been familiar with now forquite some time (one of the first of Deleuze's works to actually receive an Englishtranslation back in 1983).The title of the first essay, 'Immanence: A Life' resonates quite strongly with anumber of aspects of Deleuze's own 'life' and 'work'. Firstly, it points up theperennial preoccupation with the notion of immanence, of causes inhering in their
of complex material or virtual expression, the challenge to any transitive orfinal conception of causality bound up with his favourite target transcendence andthe ultimate aim of creating a philosophy that most effectively founds a 'plane ofimmanence' capable of staking out the numerous paralogisms that continue to hauntphilosophy. Secondly, in its subtitle, 'A Life', the title reiterates the crucial ethicaldimension of the philosopher's work, whereby the laying of a plane of immanenceis in its very execution an overcoming of superstition and its aim to promote anaffirmative relation to the world, or in the language of Deleuze, the 'Outside'. 'A
harks back most explicitly to the work on the 'event' in the
Logic of Sense
(Continuum [1990]), reminding us that the privations of a person's life, the life ofthe so-called (neoliberal) individual, the mundane interiorized conception ofsubjectivity and selfhood which remains so prevalent and in some ways becomesincreasingly more insidious and embedded with each turn of the Late Capitalistscrew, is not a legacy that the world need uphold and that before it is my life;
lifeis always already an embodiment of events or of pre-individual singularities. The
104 IMMANENCErenewed appeal to the work the First World War poet Joe Bousquet, an appeal thatcontributed so memorably to the
Logic of Sense,
illustrates this ethical aspect:My wound existed before me: not a transcendence of the wound ashigher actuality, but its immanence as a virtuality always within amilieu (plane or field), (p. 32)Despite its title, the essay is as much a meditation upon death as it is on life(Deleuze, at least since
Difference and Repetition,
gave a place of prominence to asingular conception of death in his immanent philosophy). The engagement withdeath is also the source of the essay's poignancy, given Deleuze's increasinglyterminal state and his imminent suicide. It is this meditation that provides the essaywith its most insightful moment, although it has to be said that the insight is perhapsmore attributable to Charles Dickens than to Deleuze:The life of the individual gives way to an impersonal and yet singularlife that releases a pure event freed from the accidents of internal andexternal life, that is, from subjectivity and objectivity of what happens:a
'Homo tantum'
with whom everyone empathizes and who attains asort of beatitude, (pp. 28-9)The life in question is that of that of Riderhood, a character from Dickens' novel
A disreputable man, a rogue, held in contempt by everyone, is found ashe lies dying. Suddenly, those taking care of him manifest aneagerness, respect, even love, for his slightest sign of
(p. 28)The receding of constituted subjectivity, investment, indeed 'personality' into thezone of indiscernibility between life and death heralds the extraction of an eventfrom the life of the character whereby the life becomes 'A LIFE'—the capitalizationused by Deleuze, almost as if he is struggling with the forces of life and deathaffecting him. It is perhaps this more than anything that provides the piece with itsmoving tenor.It should be pointed out that there is very little, if anything, that is genuinely newor original about this last piece of work. It really does seem to be something of aswansong, paradoxically, perhaps, a highly personal restatement of profoundimpersonality. The appeal to Stoicism and the work of Bousquet still carry the samedifficulties and dangers that they did in the
Logic of Sense,
in that they belie aresidual asceticism, diagnosed by Badiou in another of the previous year's greatworks on immanence,
Deleuze: The Clamor of Being
(University of MinnesotaPress [2000]), which Deleuze himself has always been at pains to avoid.The second essay, 'Hume', deals with Deleuze's characteristically skewed viewof the Western philosophical tradition, taking the ostensibly conservativeempiricism of the Scottish philosopher and unearthing from it a sophisticatedphilosophy of immanence, relationality, radical politics and jurisprudence, a preludeto Deleuze's later, more explicit attempts to develop a transcendental empiricismand to his collaborations with Felix Guattari. Pre-empting his work on Nietzsche and

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