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The Exhausted

The Exhausted

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Published by Arka Chattopadhyay
Deleuze on Beckett
Deleuze on Beckett

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Published by: Arka Chattopadhyay on Jun 07, 2010
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05/30/2013

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The ExhaustedAuthor(s): Gilles Deleuze and Anthony UhlmannSource:
SubStance,
Vol. 24, No. 3, Issue 78 (1995), pp. 3-28Published by: University of Wisconsin PressStable URL:
Accessed: 19/12/2008 05:14
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TheExhausted
GillesDeleuzetranslatedyAnthonyUhlmannExhausted sawhole lotmore thantired."It'snotjusttiredness,I'mnotjusttired,inspiteof theclimb."2The tirednolongerpreparesoranypossibility(subjective):etherefore annotrealize the smallestpossibility(objective).Butpossibilityremains,becauseyounever realizeallofthepossible,youevenbringitintobeingasyourealize some of it. Thetiredhasonlyexhaustedrealization,whiletheexhausted exhaustsallof thepossible.Thetiredcannolongerrealize,but the exhaustedcan nolongerpossibilitate.That theimpossibleshouldbe askedofme,good,what elsecouldbe askedof me?"(Unnamable0).There is nomorepossibility:arelentlessSpinozism.Doesheexhaust thepossiblebecause he ishimselfexhausted,oris he exhaustedbecause hehas exhaustedthepossible?Heexhaustshimselfinexhaustingthepossible,andviceversa. Heexhauststhat whichis not realizedhroughthepossible.Hehashaddone with thepossible,beyondalltiredness,"for oendyet again."3God is theoriginary,or the ensembleofallpossibility.Thepossibleisonlyrealized in thederivative,throughtiredness,whereasyouareex-haustedbeforebirth,before self-realizationorrealizinganythingwhat-soever("Igave upbeforebirth").4Whenyourealize some ofwhat ispossible,it'sinrelation ocertaingoals,projectsandpreferences:putonshoestogoout andslipperstostayin.WhenIspeak,whenIsayforexample,"it'sdaytime,"theinterlocutorresponds,"it'spossible...,"becauseheiswaitingto knowwhatpurposeIwish thedayto serve:I'mgoingout because it'sdaytime...5Languagestatesthepossible,butinpreparingtforarealization.AnddoubtlessI canusethedaytostayathome:orfor that matterI canstayat home dueto some otherpossibility("itisnight-time").But the realizationof thepossible always proceedsthroughexclusion,because tpresupposespreferencesndgoalsthatvary,foreverreplacingpredecessors.tis thesevariations,hesesubstitutions,lltheseexclusivedisjunctionsdaytime/night-time,goingout/stayingin...)thataretiringntheend.Exhaustionsaltogetherdifferent:oucombine heset ofvariablesofasituation,providedyourenounceall orderofpreferencendallorganiza-
SubStance#78,1995
3
 
4GillesDeleuze
tion ofgoal,allsignification.It isnolongerso astogoout orstayin,andyounolongermake use ofdaysandnights.Younolongerrealize,eventhough you accomplish.Inshoesyou stayin,inslippers you goout. Thatdoesnot mean thatyoufall intoindifferentiation,or intothecelebratedidentifiedcontraries,6andyouarenotpassive: you presson,buttowardnothing.Youweretiredbysomething,butexhaustedbynothing.Thedisjunctionssubsist,andthedistinction of termsmayevenbe moreandmorecrude,but thedisconnectedterms assert themselvesthroughtheirnondecomposabledistance,since alltheyaregoodforispermutation.Ofanevent,ingeneralterms,it'senoughtosaythat it ispossible,since it doesnothappenwithoutinterminglingwithnothingandabolishingthe realtowhich itlaysclaim. Thereisonlypossibleexistence.Itisnight,it is notnight,it israining,itisnotraining.7"Yes,IwasmyfatherandIwasmyson."8Thedisjunctionhas becomeinclusive,everythingdivides,but withinitself,andGod,who is theensemble ofthepossible,intermingleswithNothing,ofwhicheachthingisamodification."[S]imple gamesthat timeplayswithspace,nowwith thesetoys,andnow withthose"(Watt,71).Beckett'sprotagonists playwith thepossiblewithoutrealizingit;theyaretooinvolved withapossibilitythat ismoreand morerestrictedinkindtocareabout what isstillhappening.Thepermutationof"suckingstones"inMolloyis oneof thebetter knowntexts.EvenasearlyasMurphythe herogiveshimself overtothecombinatorial[lacombinatoire]f five smallbis-cuits,but onconditionofhavingvanquishedallpreferentialorderand ofhaving conqueredinthiswaythe120 modes of the totalpermutability:OvercomebytheseperspectivesMurphyellforwardonhis faceinthegrass,besidethosebiscuitsofwhich t couldbesaidastrulyas of thestars,thatone differedromanother,but of whichhe could notpartakentheirfullnessuntilhe hadlearntnottopreferanyone toanyother.Murphy,7)Iwouldprefernotto[Englishinoriginal],intheBeckettian formulaofBartleby.AllofBeckett'sworkispervadedbyexhaustive[exhaustives]series,that is tosay exhausting [epuisantes],notablyWatt,withitsseriesoffootwear(sock-stocking,boot-shoe-slipper),or offurniture(tallboy-dressing-table-night-table-washstand,onits feet-onitshead-on itsface-on itsback-onitsside,bed-door-window-fire: fifteenthousandarrangements)(Watt,200-202,204-206).9Wattisthegreatserialnovel,whereMr.Knott,withno otherneed thanto bewithoutneed,does notreserveanycombinationforasingularusethatwould excludeothers-whose circumstances areyettocome.
SubStance#78,1995
4GillesDeleuze

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