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6790328 Deleuze Pure Immanence Essays on a Life Eng Tr

6790328 Deleuze Pure Immanence Essays on a Life Eng Tr

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Pure Immanence

Essays on A Life
Gilles Deleuze
with an introduction by John Rajchman
Translated by Anne Boyman
'/,ONlt BOOKS· NHW YOHK
_',HII
© 2001 Urzone, Ine.
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iiI(' puhlic press) without written permission from the Publisher.
"1 ·11I1I1I.lIlcnee: Une Vie" originally published in Philosophie 47 ©
1'1'1" hliliollS de Minuit.
N"·//,,IIC origillally published © 1965 PUE
'"f 111111(''' originally published in La Philosophie: De Galilée à Jean-
1", '//1(" I(ollsseoll (g 1972 Editions de Minuit.
1"'"11"<1 in Ihe United States of America.
1 hSlrih"led hy The MIT Press,
(·.,",hridge, Massachusetts, and London, Englalld
1 ihr.,ry 01" (:ollgress CataIoging-in-Publicatioll Data
1>cI..,m·,(;ilIt-s.
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PIIlT illllH,\lH'Il(,C: CS!'i.lyS 011 a life / Gilles Deleuze; with an
illl'o.],,('(ioll by John Rajdllllan; lrallslalcd hy Anne Boyman.
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Contents
Introduction by John Rajchman 7
Immanence: A Life 25
II Hume 35
III Nietzsche 53
Introduction
John Rajchman
Gilles Deleuze was an empiricist, a logician. That was
the source of his lightness, his humor, his naïveté, his
practice of philosophy as "a sort of art brut" - "1 never
broke with a kind of empiricism that proceeds to a
direct exposition of concepts."
1
1t is a shame to pre-
sent him as a metaphysician and nature mystic. Even
in A.N. Whitehead, he admired a "pluralist empiri-
cism" that he found in another way in Michel Fou-
cault - an empiricism of "multiplicities" that says "the
abstract doesn't explain, but must itselfbe explained:'2
lndeed, it was through his logic and his empiricism
that Deleuze found his way out of the impasses of the
two dominant philosophical schools of his genera-
tion, phenomenological and analytic, and elaborated
a new conception of sense, neither hermeneutic nor
Fregean.
3
He tried to introduce empiricism into his
7
PURE IMMANENCE
very image of thought, and saw the philosopher as an
experimentalist and diagnostician, not as a judge, even
of a mysticallaw.
" ... We will speak of a transcendental empiricism
in contrast to everything that makes up the world of
the subject and the object" he would thus reiterate in
the essay that opens this volume. Transcendental em-
piricism had been Deleuze's way out of the difficulties
introduced by Kant and continued in the phenome-
IlOlogical search for an Urdoxa - the difficulties of
"1 r,lIlsccndental-empirical doubling" and the "traps of
(olls{'iousness:' But what does such empiricism have
10 do with the two ide as the essay's title joins together
".1 lire" and "immanence"?
Wc lI1ay think of a life as an empiricist concept in
(0111 r.lsi to what John Locke called "the self:' 4 A life
b.iS (I"ite different features than those Locke associ-
.lll'd with the self- consciousness, memory, and per-
sOIl,d idcntity. It unfolds according to another logic: a
logie or impcrsonal individuation rather than per-
sOllal individualization, of singularities rather than
!l,lI't ieu britics. lt can never be completely specified. It
is ,1Iw,lYS inddïnite - a life. It is only a "virtuality" in
Ihe lire of the corresponding individu al that can some-
lillll'S ('llIcrge in the st range intcrval bcforc dcath. In
short, ill (,olllr,lst (0 the self, a lifc is "impersonal and
INTRO DUCTION
yet singular," and so requires a "wilder" sort of em-
piricism - a transcendental empiricism.
From the start Deleuze sought a conception of em-
piricism that departs from the classical definition that
says that all our ide as can be derived from atomistic
sensations through a logic of abstraction and general-
ization. The real problem of empiricism is rather to
be found in a new conception of subjectivity that
acquires its full force in Hume, and goes beyond his
"associationism" - the problem of a life. A life in-
volves a different "synthesis of the sensible" than the
kind that makes possible the conscious self or person.
Sensation has a peculiar role in it, and Deleuze talked
of a "being of sensation" quite unlike individual sense
data waiting to be inserted into a categorical or discur-
sive synthesis providing the unit y of their manifold for
an "1 think:' The being of sensation is what can only be
sensed, since there precisely pre-exists no categorical
unit y, no sensus communis for it. At once more material
and less divisible than sense data, it requires a synthe-
sis of another, non-categorical sort, found in artworks,
for example. Indeed Deleuze came to think that art-
works just are sensations connected in materials in
su ch a way as to free aisthesis from the assumptions of
the sort of "common sense" that for Kant is supposed
by the "1 think" or the "1 judge:' Through affect and
9
PURE IMMANENCI
percept, artworks hit upon something singular yet
impersonal in our bodies and brains, irreducible to
any pre-existent "we:' The "coloring sensations" that
Maurice Merleau-Ponty saw in Cézanne are examples
of su ch a spatializing logic of sensation, no longer
dominated by classical subject-object relations. But
we must push the question of sensation beyond the
phenomenological anchoring of a subject in a land-
scape, for example, in the way Deleuze thinks cinema
introduces movement into image, allowing for a dis-
tinctive colorism in Jean-Luc Godard.
5
There is still a
kind of sensualist pi et y in Merleau-Ponty - what he
called "the flesh" is only the "thermometer of a be-
coming" given through "asymmetrical syntheses of
the sensible" that depart from good form or Gestalt.
Such syntheses then require an exercise of thought,
which, unlike the syntheses of the self or conscious-
Iless, involve a sort of dissolution of the ego. lndeed
what Deleuze isolates as "cinema" from the fitful his-
tory of filmmaking is in effect nothing other than a
multifaceted exploration of this other act of thinking,
this other empiricism.
In such cases, sensation is synthesized according to
a peculiar logic - a logic of multiplicity that is neither
dialcctical nor transcendental, prior not simply to the
world of subjcct and ohjcct, but also to the logical
10
INTRODUCTION
connections of subject and predicate and the sets and
functions that Gottlob Frege proposed to substitute
for them. lt is a logic of an AND prior and irreducible
to the IS of predications, which Deleuze first finds in
David Hume: "Think witb AND instead ofthinking IS,
instead of thinkingJor IS: empiricism has never had
another secree'6 It is a constructivist logic of unfin-
ished series rather than a calculus of distinct, count-
able collections; and it is governed by conventions
and problematizations, not axioms and fixed rules of
inference. Its sense is inseparable from play, artifice,
fiction, as, for example, in the case of Lewis Carroll's
"intensive surfaces" for a world that has lost the con-
ventions of its Euclidean skin. Transcendental em-
piricism may then be said to be the experimental
relation we have to that element in sensation that pre-
cedes the self as weIl as any "we," through which is
attained, in the materiality of living, the powers of "a
life:'
In Stoic logic, Deleuze finds a predecessor for such
a view. But, at the end of the nineteenth century, it is
Henri Bergson and William James who offer us a bet-
ter philosophical guide to it than do either Husserl or
Frege. lndeed, at one point Deleuze remarks that the
very idea of a "plane of immanence" requires a kind
of "radical empiricism" - an empiricism whose force
Il
PURE IMMANENCe
" ... begins from the moment it defines the subject: a
habitus, a habit, nothing more than a habit in a field of
immanence, the habit of saying 1:'7 Among the classi-
cal empiricists, it is Hume who poses su ch questions,
Hume who redirects the problem of empiricism to-
ward the new questions that would be elaborated by
Bergson and Nietzsche.
That is the subject of Deleuze's youthful Memoire.
He sees Hume as connecting empiricism and subjec-
tivity in a new way, departing from Locke on the ques-
1 ion of personal identity. In Locke's conception, the
.';(' 1 fis ncither what the French caIlle moi or le je - the
1 () 1 t he me.
8
Rather it is defined by individu al "owner-
\hip" and sameness over time (iden-
1 il y). \'ocke thus introduces the problem of identity
.111<1 divcrsity into our philosophical conception of
Olll.\clvcs. What the young Deleuze found singular in
11111I](''s cmpiricism is then the ide a that this self, this
pnSOll, this possession, is in fact not given. Indeed the
.\\,11' is oilly a fiction or artifice in which, through habit,
Wc' COIllC to believe, a sort of incorrigible illusion of
livillg; and it is as this artifice that the self becomes
l'ully p.J.rt of nature - our nature. Hume thus opens up
l!Je question of other ways of composing sensations
t!J,11l those of the hahits of the self alld the "human
Il.lIule'' t!J,tt t!tey supposc. A IlCW or "supcrior empiri-
INTRODUCTION
cism" becomes possible, one concerned with what is
singular yet "in -human" in the composition of ourselves.
Deleuze would find it in Bergson and Nietzsche, who
imagined a "free difference" in living, un -conscious and
no longer enclosed within a personal identity.
While Deleuze shared with his French contempo-
raries a suspicion about a constituting subject or con-
sciousness, in Hume he found a new empiricist way
out of it, which he urged against phenomenology and
its tendency to reintroduce a transcendental ego or
a material a priori. The real problem dramatized in
Hume's humorous picture of the self as incorrigible
illusion is how our lives ever acquire the consistency
of an enduring self, given that it is born of " , .. delir-
ium, chance, indifference"9; and the question then is:
can we construct an empiricist or experimental rela-
tion to the persistence of this zone or plane of pre-
subjective delirium and pre-individual singularity in
our lives and in our relations with others?
Immanence and a life thus suppose one another.
For immanence is pure only when it is not immanent
to a prior subject or object, mind or matter, only when,
neither innate nor acquired, it is always yet "in the
making"; and "a life" is a potential or virtuality sub-
sisting in just such a purely immanent plane. Unlike
the life of an individual, a life is thus necessarily vague
\
PURE IMMANENCE
or indefinite, and this indefiniteness is real. It is vague
in the Peircian sense that the real is itself indeterminate
or anexact, beyond the limitations of our capacities
to measure it. We thus each have the pre-predicative
vagueness of Adam in Paradise that Leibniz envisaged in
his letters to Arnauld.
lO
We are always quelconque-
we are and remain "anybodies" before we become
"somebodies:' Underneath the identity of our bodies
or organisms, we each have what Deleuze caUs a body
(a mouth, a stomach, etc). We thus have the singularity
of what Spinoza already termed "a singular essence,"
and of what makes the Freudian unconscious singular,
each of us possessed of a peculiar "complex" unfolding
through the time of our lives. How then can we make
such pre-individual singularities coincide in space and
time; and what is the space and time that includes them?
We need a new conception of society in which
what we have in common is our singularities and not
our individualities - where what is common is "im-
personal" and what is "impersonal" is common. That
is precisely what Charles Dickens's tale shows - only
through a process of "im-personalization" in the in-
terval between life and death does the hero become
our "common friend:' It is also what Deleuze brings
out in Hume: the new questions of empiricism and
suhjectivity discovcr their full force only in Hume's
14
INTRODUCTION
social thought. In the place of the dominant idea of a
social contract among already given selves or sub-
jects, Hume elaborates an original picture of conven-
tion that allows for an "attunement" of the passions
prior to the identities of reason; only in this way can
we escape the violence toward others inherent in the
formation of our social identities or the problem of
our "partialities:' Hume thus prepares the way for a
view of society not as contract but as experiment-
experiment with what in life is prior to both posses-
sive individuals and traditional social wholes. Prop-
erty, for example, becomes nothing more than an
evolving jurisprudential convention.
There is, in short, an element in experience that
cornes before the determination of subject and sense.
Shown through a "diagram" that one constructs to
move about more freely rather than a space defined
by an a priori "scheme" into which one inserts one-
self, it involves a temporality that is always starting up
again in the midst, and relations with others based
not in identification or recognition, but encounter
and new compositions. In Difference and Repetition,
Deleuze tries to show that what characterizes the
"modern work" is not self-reference but precisely the
attempt to introduce such difference into the very
idea of sensation, discovering syntheses prior to the
15
\
PURE IMMANENCE
identities of figure and perception - a sort of great
laboratory for a higher empiricism. Of this experience
or experiment, Nietzsche's Ariadne figures as the dra-
matic heroine or conceptual persona: " ... (Ariadne
has hung herself). The work of art leaves the domain
of representation to become 'experience; transcen-
dental empiricism or science of the sensible ... "11
But to assume this role Ariadne must herself un-
dergo a transformation, a "becoming:' She must hang
herself with the famous thread her father gave her
to help the hero Theseus escape from the labyrinth.
For tied up with the thread, she remains a "cold crea-
ture of resentment:' Such is her mystery - the key to
Deleuze' s subtle view of Nietzsche. The force of her
femininity is thus unlike that of Antigone, who pre-
serves her identification with her dead father, Oedi-
pus, through a defiant "pure negation" that can no
longer be reabsorbed in Creon's city. Ariadne be-
th h . h "" th th " " cornes e erome w 0 says yes ra er an no -
yes to what is "outside" our given determinations or
identities. She bec ornes a heroine not of mourning
but of the breath and plasticity of life, of dance and
lightness - of the light Earth of which Zarathustra
says that it must be approached in many ways, since
the way does not exist. She thus points to an empiri-
cist way out of the impasses of nihilisrn.
INTRODUCTION
For the problem with Theseus becoming a Ger-
man, aIl-too-German hero is that even if God is dead,
one still believes in "the subject," "the individual,"
"human nature:' Abandoned by Theseus, approaching
Dionysius, Ariadne introduces instead a belief in the
world and in the potentials of a life. We thus arrive at
an original view of the problem of nihilism in Nietz-
sche as that partiaIly physiological condition in which
such belief in the world is lost. In fact it is a problem
that goes back to Hume. For it is Hume who substi-
tutes for the Cartesian problem of certainty and doubt,
the new questions of belief and probable inference.
To think is not to be certain, but, on the contrary, to
believe where we cannot know for sure. In his Dia-
logues on Natural Religion (which Deleuze counts as
the only genuine dialogue in the history of philoso-
phy), Hume suggests that God as weIl as the self
be regarded as a fiction required by our nature. The
problem of religion is then no longer whether God
exists, but whether we need the idea of God in order
to exist, or, in the terms of Pascal's wager, who has
the better mode of existence, the believer or the non-
believer. It is here that Deleuze thinks Nietzsche goes
beyond Hume, who, in connecting belief and proba-
bility, found the idea of chance to be quite meaning-
ICSS.
12
By contrast, Nietzsche introduces a conception
17
\
PURE IMMANENCE
of chance as distinct from probability into the very
experience of thought and the way the "game of
thought" is played (its rules, its players, its aims). He
asks what it means to think that the world is always
ma king itself while God is calculating, such that his
calculations never come out right; and so he extends
the question ofbelief to the plane of" delirium, chance,
indifference" out of which the habits of self are formed
and from which the potentials of a life take off. Nihil-
ism is then the state in which the belief in the poten-
tials of a life, and so of chance and disparity in the
world, has been lost. Conversely, as Ariadne becomes
light. what she affirms is that to think is not to be cer-
tain nor yet to calculate probabilities. It is to say yes
(0 what is singular yet impersonal in living; and for
(hat one must believe in the world and not in the fic-
tions of God or the self that Hume thought derived
l'rom it.
Deleuze caUs this way out of nihilism an "empiri-
ci st conversion," and in his last writing,it gains a
pcculiar urgency. "Yes, the problem has changed" he
declarcs in What is Philosophy? "It may be that to
bclieve in this world, in this life, has become our most
dilTicult task, the task of a mode of existence to be
discovcred on our plane of immanence today:'1î Al-
tllOugh the tluce cssays in this volume each take up
INTRODUCTION
this question, they in fact come from different junc-
tures in Deleuze's journey. The essays on Hume and
Nietzsche are from a first phase, after World War II,
when Deleuze tried to extract a new image of thought
from the many different strata of the philosophical
tradition, and so rethink the relation of thought to
life; the image of a "superior empiricism" accompa-
nies aU these attempts. The first or lead essay, how-
ever, was Deleuze's last. It cornes from a late phase of
"clinical" essays, in which Deleuze takes up again the
many paths and trajectories composing his work, sorne
leading to "impasses closed off by illness:'14 Vital,
often humorous, these essays are short, abrupt in their
transitions and endings. They have something of Franz
Kafk.a's parables or the aphorisms Nietzsche likened to
shouting from one Alpine peak to another - one must
condense and distill one's message, as with Adorno's
image, invoked by Deleuze, of a bottle thrown into the
sea of communication. For it is in the idea of commu-
nication that Deleuze came to think philosophy con-
fronts a new and most insolent rival. Indeed that is just
why the problem has changed, caUing for a fresh "em-
piricist conversion" and a Kunstwollen or a "becoming-
art" of the sort he imagined the art of cinema had
offered us in the rather different circumstances of un-
certainty following World War II.15
19
PURE IMMANENCE
Written in a strange interval before his own death,
"Immanence ... a life" has been regarded as a kind of
testament. What is clear is that Deleuze took its "last
message" to occur at a time of renewed difficulty and
possibility for philosophy. As with Bergson, one need-
ed to again introduce movement into thought rather
than trying to find universals of information or com-
muni cation - in particular into the very image of the
brain and contemporary neuroscience. In the place
of artificial intelligence, one needed to construct a
new picture of the brain as a "relatively undifferen-
tiated matter" into which thinking and art might in-
t roduce new connections that didn't preexist them
- as it were, the brain as materiality of "a life" yet to
be invented, prior and irreducible to consciousness
olS well as machines. In his last writing, "Immanence
... a life," we sense not only this new problem and
this new urgency, but also the force of the long, in-
credible voyage in which Deleuze kept alive the sin-
gular image of thought which has the naïveté and the
strcngth to believe that "philosophy brings about a
vast deviation of wisdom - it puts it in the service of
a pure immanence."II,
10
INTRODUCTION
NOTES
1. Pourparlers (Paris: Minuit, 1990), p. 122.
2. Dialogues (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987),
p. vii, following the declaration "1 have always felt that 1 am an
empiricist, that is, a pluralist:'
3. Claude Imbert examines "why and how an empiricist
philosopher, as Deleuze certainly was, became aIl the more
interested in logic" (Unpublished MS). Her Pour une histoire de la
logique (Paris: PUF, 1999) may be read as an attempt to imagine
what a history oflogic might look like from this peculiar empiri-
cist point of view; it thus expands on her earlier work Phenome-
nologies et langues formulaires (Paris: PUF, 1992), in which she
closely examines the internaI difficulties in the phenomenologi-
cal and analytic traditions leading to the late Merleau-Ponty and
Wittgenstein. In this way, Imbert offers a more promising ap-
proach to the problem of the relation of Deleuzian multiplicity
to set theory than does Alain Badiou in his odd attempt to recast
it along Lacanian lines.
4. Etienne Balibar makes a detailed case for Locke rather
than Descartes as the inventor of the philosophical concept of
consciousness and the self. See his introduction to John Locke,
Identité et différence (Paris: Seuil, 1998).
5. See L'Image-mouvement (Paris: Minuit, 1983), pp. 83ff.
for Deleuze's account of why Bergson offers a "cinematic" way
out of the crisis in psychology in the nineteenth century that
contrasts with Husserl and the subsequent focus on painting in
21
PURE IMMANENCE
phenomenology. In his Suspensions tif Perception (Cambridge,
MA: MIT Press, 1999), Jonathan Crary goes on to show how
this analysis may be extended to painting. In the late Cézanne,
he finds a more Bergsonian synthesis, as yet unavailable to
Manet or Seurat, a " ... rhythmic coexistence of radically hetero-
geneous and temporally dispersed elements," which " .. .instead
of holding together the contents of the perceived world, seeks
to enter into its ceaseless movements of destabilization" (p.
297).
6. Dialogues, p. 57.
7. Qy'est-ce que la philosophie? (Paris: Minuit, 1977), p. 49.
8. Paul Patton translates le je and le moi, of which it is ques-
t ion throughout D!fJerence and Repetition, as "the 1" and "the
self:' Strictly speaking, however, the self is le soi, which, accord-
ing to Etienne Balibar, in fact cornes into philosophical French
Vi.l Locke, its inventor. Balibar tries to sort out the philosophical
implications of such terminological differences in his entry
"Je/moi/soi" for Vocabulaire européen des philosophies (Paris:
Seuil, 2001). He sees the problem of the 1 and the Me as deriving
li"om a Kantian recasting of Descartes's cogito, while the Lock-
l'an self starts another min or tradition that leads past Kant to
James and Bergson.
9. Empirisme et subjectivité (Paris: PUF, 1953), p. 4.
10. Sce Logique du sens (Paris: Minuit, 1969), pp. 138ff. The
prohlem of "vague Adam" is then put in these terms: " ... the
individual is always quelconque (anyone), born like Eve from a
22
INTRODUCTION
side of Adam, from a singularity ... out of a pre-individu al tran-
scendental field," (pp. 141-42).
11. D!fJérence et répétition (Paris: PUF, 1968), p. 79.
12. On the contra st between Hume and both Peirce and
Nietzsche on this score see lan Hacking, The Taming if Chance
(New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990). Hacking's "un-
tamed" chance is akin to the "nomadic" chance that Deleuze dis-
cusses, for example, in Différence et répétition, pp. 36lff. in terms
of the transformations of the game of thought.
13. Qy 'est-ce que la philosophie?, pp. 72-73.
14. Critique et clinique (Paris: Minuit, 1993), p. 10.
15. See L'image-temps (Paris: Minuit, 1985), pp. 223ff. "Only
belief in the world can reconnect man to what he sees and hears
... to give us back belief in the world - such is the power of
modern cinema ... :'
16. Qy'est-ce que la philosophie?, p. 46.
2)
CHAPT ER ONE
Immanence: A Life
What is a transcendental field? It can be distinguished
from experience in that it doesn't refer to an object
or belong to a subject (empirical representation). It
appears therefore as a pure stream of a-subjective
consciousness, a pre-reflexive impersonal conscious-
ness, a qualitative duration of consciousness without
a self. It may seem curious that the transcendental be
defined by such immediate givens: we will speak of a
transcendent al empiricism in contra st to everything
that makes up the world of the subject and the object.
There is something wild and powerful in this tran-
sc endentaI empiricism that is of course not the ele-
ment of sensation (simple empiricism), for sensation
is only a break within the flow of absolute conscious-
ness. It is, rather, however close two sensations may
be, the passage from one to the other as becoming, as
increase or decrease in power (virtual quantity). Must
2')
PURE IMMANENCE
we then define the transcendental field by a pure im-
mediate consciousness with neither object nor self,
as a movement that neither begins nor ends? (Even
Spinoza's conception of this passage or quantity of
power still appeals to consciousness.)
But the relation of the transcendental field to con-
sciousness is only a conceptual one. Consciousness
becomes a fact only when a subject is produced at the
same time as its object, both being outside the field
and appearing as "transcendents:' Conversely, as long
as consciousness traverses the transcendental field at
an infinite speed everywhere diffused, nothing is able
(() reveal it.' It is expressed, in fact, only when it is
rdlccted on a subject that refers it to objects. That is
why the transcendental field cannot be defined by the
consciousness that is coextensive with it, but removed
l'rom any revelation.
The transcendent is not the transcendental. Were it
l10t for consciousness, the transcendental field would
be defined as a pure plane of immanence, because it
c1udes aIl transcendence of the subject and of the
ohjcct. 2 Absolute immanence is in itself: it is not in
something, ta something; it do es not depend on an
ohjcct or bdong to a subject. In Spinoza, immanence
is Ilot immanence ta substance; rather, substance and
IllOdcs are in immanence. Whcn the subject or the
IMMANENCE: A LIFE
object falling outside the plane of immanence is taken
as a universal subject or as any object ta which imma-
nence is attributed, the transcendent al is entirely de-
natured, for it then sim ply redoubles the empirical (as
with Kant), and immanence is distorted, for it then
finds itself enclosed in the transcendent. Immanence
is not related to Sorne Thing as a unit y superior to an
things or to a Subject as an act that brings about a
synthe sis of things: it is only when immanence is no
longer immanence to anything other than itself that
we can speak of a plane of immanence. No more than
the transcendental field is defined by consciousness
can the plane of immanence be defined by a subject
or an object that is able to contain it.
We will say of pure immanence that it is A LIFE,
and nothing eise. It is not immanence to life, but the
immanent that is in nothing is itself a life. A life is the
immanence of immanence, absolute immanence: it is
complete power, complete bliss. It is to the degree
that he goes beyond the aporias of the subject and
the object that Johann Fichte, in his la st philosophy,
presents the transcendental field as a life, no longer
dependent on a Being or submitted to an Act - it is an
absolute immediate consciousness whose very activity
no longer refers to a being but is ceaselessly posed in
a life.
3
The transcendentai field then becomes a gen-
27
\
PURE IMMANENCE
uine plane of immanence that reintroduces Spinozism
into the heart of the philosophical process. Did Maine
de Biran not go through something similar in his "last
philosophy" (the one he was too tired to bring to
fruition) when he discovered, beneath the transcen-
dence of effort, an absolute immanent life? The tran-
scendental field is defined by a plane of immanence,
and the plane of immanence by a life.
What is immanence? A life ... No one has described
what a life is better than Charles Dickens, if we take
1 he indefinite article as an index of the transcenden-
1.11. A disreputable man, a rogue, held in contempt by
nnyone, is found as he lies dying. Suddenly, those
1.lking care ofhim manifest an eagerness, respect, even
love, for his slightest sign of life. Everybody bustles
.d)out to save him, to the point where, in his deepest
('C nna, this wicked man himself senses something soft
.lIld sweet penetrating him. But to the degree that he
(omes back to life, his saviors turn colder, and he be-
(Ornes once again mean and crude. Between his life
.IIH\ his death, there is a moment that is only that of
d lil'e playing with death.
4
The lil'e of the individual
.l',ives way to an impersonal and yet singular life that
rdC,lSCS a pure event l'reed From the accidents of inter-
Il.11 and cxtcrnallil'e, that is, l'rom the subjectivity and
ol'jcctivity or what happens: a "Homo tantum" with
IMMANENCE: A LIFE
whom everyone empathizes and who attains a sort of
beatitude. It is a haecceity no longer of individuation
but of singularization: a life of pure immanence, neu-
tral, beyond good and evil, for it was only the subject
that incarnated it in the midst of things that made it
good or bad. The life of such individuality fades away
in favor of the singular life immanent to a man who
no longer has a name, though he can be mistaken for
no other. A singular essence, a life ...
But we shouldn't enclose life in the single mo-
ment when individual life confronts universal death.
A life is everywhere, in aH the moments that a given
living subject goes through and that are measured by
given lived objects: an immanent life carrying with it
the events or singularities that are merely actualized
in subjects and objects. This indefinite life does not
itself have moments, close as they may be one to an-
other, but only between-times, between-moments; it
doesn't just come about or come after but offers the
immensity of an empty time where one sees the event
yet to come and already happened, in the absolute of
an immediate consciousness. In his novels, Alexander
Lernet-Holenia places the event in an in-between
time that could engulf entire armies. The singularities
and the events that constitute a life coexist with the
accidents of the life that corresponds to it, but they
PURE IMMANENCE
are neither grouped nor divided in the same way. They
connect with one another in a manner entirely differ-
ent from how individuals connect. It even seems that
a singular life might do without any individuality,
without any other concomitant that individualizes
it. For example, very small children aU resemble one
another and have hardly any individuality, but they
have singularities: a smile, a gesture, a funny face-
not subjective qualities. SmaU children, through aU
their sufferings and weaknesses, are infused with an
immanent life that is pure power and even bliss. The
indefinite aspects in a life lose aH indetermination to
the degree that they fill out a plane of immanence or,
what amounts to the same thing, to the degree that they
constitute the elements of a transcendental field (in-
dividual life, on the other hand, remains inseparable
from empirical determinations). The indefinite as such
is the mark not of an empirical indetermination but
of a determination by immanence or a transcendental
determinability. The indefinite article is the indeter-
mination of the person only because it is determina-
tion of the singular. The One is not the transcendent
that might contain immanence but the immanent con-
taincd within a transcendent al field. One is always
the index of a multiplicity: an event, a singularity, a
lif'c ... Although it is always possible to invoke a tran-
IMMANENCE: A LIFE
scendent that falls outside the plane of immanence,
or that attributes immanence to itself, aIl transcen-
dence is constituted solely in the flow of immanent
consciousness that belongs to this plane.
5
Transcen-
dence is always a product of immanence.
A life contains only virtuals. It is made up of virtu-
alities, events, singularities. What we calI virtual is
not something that lacks reality but something that is
engaged in a process of actualization following the
plane that gives it its particular reality. The immanent
event is actualized in a state of things and of the lived
that make it happen. The plane of immanence is itself
actualized in an object and a subject to which it attri-
butes itself. But however inseparable an object and a
subject may be from their actualization, the plane of
immanence is itself virtual, so long as the events that
populate it are virtualities. Events or singularities give
to the plane aH their virtuality, just as the plane of
immanence gives virtual events their full reality. The
event considered as non-actualized (indefinite) is lack-
ing in nothing. It suffices to put it in relation to its
concomitants: a transcendental field, a plane of im-
manence, a life, singularities. A wound is incarnated
or actualized in a state of things or of life; but it is
itself a pure virtuality on the plane of immanence that
leads us into a life. My wound existed before me: not
PURE IMMANENCE
a transcendence of the wound as higher actuality, but
its immanence as a virtuality always within a milieu
(plane or field).6 There is a big difference between the
virtuals that define the immanence of the transcen-
dental field and the possible forms that actualize them
and transform them into something transcendent.
NOTES
1. "As though we reflected back to surfaces the light which
emanates from them, the light which, had it passed unopposed,
would never have been revealed" (Henri Bergson, Matter and
Memory [New York: Zone Books, 1988], p. 36).
2. Cf. Jean-Paul Sartre, who posits a transcendental field
without a subject that refers to a consciousness that is imper-
sonal, absolute, immanent: with respect to it, the subject and the
object are "transcendents" (La transcendance de l'Ego [Paris:
Vrin, 1966], pp. 74-87). On James, see David Lapoujade's analy-
sis, "Le Flux intensif de la conscience chez William James," Phi-
losophie 46 (June 1995).
3. Already in the second introduction to La Doctrine de la
science: "The intuition of pure activity which is nothing fixed, but
progress, not a being, but a life" (Oeuvres choisies de la philosophie
première [Paris: Vrin, 1964], p. 274). On the concept of life
according to Fichte, see Initiation à la vie bienheureuse (Paris:
Aubier, 1944), and Martial Guéroult's commentary (p. 9).
IMMANENCE: A LIFE
4. Dickens, Our Mutual Friend (New York: Oxford Univer-
sity Press, 1989), p. 443.
5. Even Edmund Husserl admits this: "The being of the
world is necessarily transcendent to consciousness, even within
the originary evidence, and remains necessarily transcendent to
it. But this doesn't change the fact that ail transcendence is con-
stituted solely in the l!fe if consciousness, as inseparably linked to
that life ... " (Méditations cartésiennes [Paris: Vrin, 1947], p. 52).
This will be the starting point of Sartre's text.
6. Cf. Joë Bousquet, Les Capitales (Paris: Le Cercle du Livre,
1955).
CHAPT ER Two
Hume
The Meaning of Empiricism
The history of philosophy has more or less absorbed,
more or less digested, empiricism. It has defined em-
piricism as the reverse of rationalism: 1s there or is
there not in ideas something that is not in the senses
or the sensible? It has made of empiricism a critique
of innateness, of the a priori. But empiricism has al-
ways harbored other secrets. And it is they that
David Hume pushes the furthest and fully illuminates
in his extremely difficult and subtle work. Hume's
position is therefore quite peculiar. His empiricism is
a sort of science-fiction universe avant la lettre. As
in science fiction, one has the impression of a fic-
tive, foreign world, seen by other creatures, but also
the presentiment that this world is already ours, and
thosc creatures, ourselves. A paraUel conversion of
science or thcory Collows: theory becomes an inquiry
l'l
PURE IMMANENCE
(the origin of this conception is in Francis Bacon;
1mmanuel Kant will recall it while transforming and
rationalising it when he conceives of theory as a court
or tribunal). Science or the ory is an inquiry, which is
to say, a practice: a practice of the seemingly fictive
world that empiricism describes; a study of the condi-
tions oflegitimacy of practices in this empirical world
that is in fact our own. The result is a great conver-
sion of theory to practice. The manuals of the history
of philosophy misunderstand what they caU "asso-
ciationism" when they see it as a theory in the ordi-
Il.1ry sense of the term and as an inverted rationalism.
IJuIIle l'aises unexpected questions that seem never-
tlH'kss l'amiliar: To establish possession of an aban-
dOllcc! city, does a javelin thrown against the do or
sulTicc, or must the door be touched by a finger? To
what extent can we be owners of the seas? Why is the
ground more important than the surface in a juridical
system, whereas in painting, the paint is more impor-
tant than the canvas? 1t is only then that the problem
of the association of ideas discovers its meaning.
What is caUed the theory of association finds its di-
rection and its truth in a casuistry of relations, a prac-
tice of law, of politics, of economics, that completely
changes the nature of philosophical reflection.
HUME
The Nature of Relations
Hume's originality - or one of Hume's originalities-
cornes l'rom the force with which he asserts that rela-
tions are external to their terms. We can understand
such a thesis only in contrast to the entire endeavor of
philosophy as rationalism and its attempt to reduce
the paradox of relations: either by finding a way of
making relations internaI to their own terms or by
fin ding a deeper and more comprehensive term to
which the relation would itself be internaL "Peter is
smaller than Paul": How can we make of this relation
something internaI to Peter, or to Paul, or to their
concept, or to the whole they form, or to the 1dea in
which they participate? How can we overcome the
irreducible exteriority of relations? Empiricism had
always fought for the exteriority of relations. But in a
certain way, its position on this remained obscured by
the problem of the origin of knowledge or of ideas,
according to which everything finds its origin in the
sensible and in the operations of the mind upon the
sensible.
Hume effects an inversion that would take empiri-
cism to a higher power: if ide as contain nothing other
and nothing more than what is contained in sens ory
impressions, it is precisely because relations are ex-
tcrnal and hcterogeneous to their terms - impressions
PURE IMMANENCE
or ideas. Thus the difference isn't between ideas and
impressions but between two sorts of impressions or
ideas: impressions or ideas of terms and impressions
or ideas of relations. The real empiricist world is
thereby laid out for the first time to the fullest: it is a
world of exteriority, a world in which thought itself
exists in a fundamental relationship with the Outside,
a world in which terms are veritable atoms and rela-
tions veritable external passages; a world in which the
conjunction "and" dethrones the interiority of the
verb "is"; a harlequin world of multicolored patterns
and non-totalizable fragments where communication
takes place through external relations. Hume' s thought
is built up in a double way: through the atomism that
shows how ideas or sens ory impressions refer to punc-
tuaI minima producing time and space; and through
the associationism that shows how relations are estab-
lished between these terms, always external to them,
and dependent on other principles. On the one hand,
a physics of the mind; on the other, a logic of rela-
tions. 1t is thus Hume who first breaks with the con-
straining form of predicative judgment and makes
possible an autonomous logic of relations, discovering
a conjunctive world of atoms and relations, later de-
veloped by Bertrand Russell and modern logic, for
relations are the conjunctions themselves.
,
HUME
Human Nature
What is a relation? 1t is what makes us pass from a
given impression or idea to the idea of something that
is not presently given. For example, l think of some-
thing "similar" ... When l see a picture of Peter, l
think of Peter, who isn't there. One would look in
vain in the given term for the reason for this passage.
The relation is itself the effect of so-called principles
of association, contiguity, resemblance, and causality,
aIl of which constitute, precisely, a buman nature.
Human nature means that what is universal or con-
stant in the human mind is never one idea or another
as a term but only the ways of passing from one par-
ticular idea to another. Hume, in this sense, will de-
vote himself to a concerted destruction of the three
great terminal ideas of metaphysics: the Self, the
World, and God. And yet at first Hume's thesis seems
disappointing: what is the advantage of explaining
relations by principles of human nature, which are
principles of association that seem just another way of
designating relations? But this disappointment derives
from a misunderstanding of the problem, for the
problem is not of causes but of the way relations func-
tion as effects of those causes and the practical condi-
tions of this functioning.
Let us consider in this regard a very special relation:
PURE IMMANENCE
causality. It is special because it doesn't simply go
from a given term to the ide a of something that isn't
presently given. Causality requires that 1 go from
something that is given to me to the idea of some-
thing that has never been given to me, that isn't even
giveable in experience. For example, based on sorne
signs in a book, 1 believe that Caesar lived. Wh en 1 see
the sun rise, 1 say that it will rise tomorrow; having
seen water boil at 100 degrees, 1 say that it necessarily
boils at 100 degrees. Yet expressions such as "tomor-
" " l " " ·1 " th· th t row, a ways, necessan y, convey sorne mg a
cannot be given in experience: tomorrow isn't given
without becoming today, without ceasing to be to-
morrow, and aIl experience is experience of a conti-
gent particular. In other words, causality is a relation
according to which 1 go beyond the given; 1 say more
than what is given or giveable - in short, 1 infer and 1
believe, 1 expect that ... This, Hume's first displace-
ment, is crucial, for it puts belief at the basis and the
origin of knowledge. The functioning of causal rela-
tions can then be explained as follows: as similar cases
are observed (aIl the times 1 have seen that a follows
or accompanies b), they fuse in the imagination, while
remaining distinct and separate from each other in
our understanding. This property of fusion in the
imagination constitutes habit (1 expect ... ), at the
HUME
same time as distinction in the understanding tailors
belief to the calculus of observed cases (probability as
calculus of degrees of belief). The principle of habit
as fusion of similar cases in the imagination and the
principle of experience as observation of distinct
cases in the understanding thus combine to pro duce
both the relation and the in fer en ce that follows from
the relation (belief), through which causality func-
tions.
Fiction
Fiction and Nature are arranged in a particular way in
the empiricist world. Left to itself, the mind has the
capacity to move from one idea to another, but it does
50 at random, in a delirium that runs throughout the
universe, creating fire dragons, winged hors es, and
monstrous giants. The principles ofhuman nature, on
the other hand, impose constant rules on this delir-
ium: laws of passage, of transition, of inference, which
are in accordance with Nature itself. But then a strange
battle takes place, for if it is true that the principles
of association shape the mind, by imposing on it a
nature that disciplines the delirium or the fictions of
the imagination, conversely, the imagination uses these
same principles to make its fictions or its fantasies
acceptahle and to give them a warrant they wouldn't
PURE IMMANENCE
have on their own. In this sense, it belongs to fiction
to feign these relations, to induce fictive ones, and to
make us believe in our follies. We see this not only in
the gift fantasy has of doubling any present relation
with other relations that don't exist in a given case.
But especially in the case of causality, fantasy forges
fictive causal chains, illegitimate rules, simulacra of
belief, either by conflating the accidentaI and the
essential or by using the properties of language (going
beyond experience) to substitute for the repetition of
similar cases actually observed a simple verbal repeti-
tion that only simulates its effect. It is thus that the
liar believes in his lies by dint of repeating themj edu-
cation, superstition, eloquence, and poetry also work
in this way. One no longer goes beyond experience in
a scientific way that will be confirmed by Nature
itself and by a corresponding calculus; one goes be-
yond it in an the directions of a delirium that forms a
counter-Nature, allowing for the fusion of anything
at aIl. Fantasy uses the principles of association to
turn them around, giving them an illegitimate exten-
sion. Hume thereby effects a second great displace-
ment in philosophy, which consists in for
the traditional concept of error a concept of delirium
or illusion, according to which there are beliefs that
are not false but illegitimate - illegitimate exercises
HUME
of faculties, illegitimate functioning of relations. In
this as well, Kant owes something essential to Hume:
we are not threatened by error, rather and much worse,
we bathe in delirium.
But this would still be nothing as long as the fic-
tions of fantasy turn the principles of human nature
against themselves in conditions that can always be
corrected, as, for example, in the case of causality,
where a strict calculus of probabilities can den ounce
delirious extrapolations or feigned relations. But the
illusion is considerably worse when it belongs to hu-
man nature, in other words, wh en the illegitimate
exercise or belief is incorrigible, inseparable from
legitimate beliefs, and indispensable to their organi-
zation. In this case, the fanciful usage of the principles
of human nature itself becomes a principle. Fiction
and delirium shi ft over to the side of human nature.
That is what Hume will show in his most subtle, most
difficult, analyses concerning the Self, the World, and
God: how the positing of the existence of distinct and
continuo us bodies, how the positing of an identity of
the self, requires the intervention of aU sorts of fictive
uses of relations, and in particular of causality, in con-
ditions where no fiction can be corrected but where
each instcad plunges us into other fictions, which aU
form part of human nature. In a posthumous work
PURE IMMANENCE
that is perhaps his masterpiece, Dialogues Concerning
Natural Religion, Hume goes on to apply the same
critical method not sim ply to revealed religions but
also to so-caIled natural religion and to the teleologi-
cal arguments on which it is based. Here, Hume is at
his most humorous: beliefs, he says, aIl the more form
part of our nature as they are completely illegitimate
from the point of view of the principles of human
nature. It is no doubt in this way that we should un-
derstand the complex notion of modern skepticism de-
veloped by Hume. Unlike ancient skepticism, which
was based on the variety of sensible appearances and
errors of sense, modern skepticism is based on the
status of relations and their exteriority. The first act
of modern skepticism consisted in making belief the
basis of knowledge - in other words, in naturalizing
belief (positivism). The second act consisted in de-
nouncing illegitimate beliefs as those which don't
obey the rules that are in fact productive of knowl-
edge (probabilism, calculus of probabilities). But in a
final refinement, or third act, illegitimate beliefs in
the Self, the World, and God appear as the horizon of
aIl possible legitimate beliefs, or as the lowest degree
of belief. For if everything is belief, including knowl-
edge, everything is a question of degree of belief,
even the delirium of non-knowledge. Humor, the
44
HUME
modern skeptical virtue of Hume, against irony, the
ancient dogmatic virtue of Plato and Socrates.
The Imagination
If the inquiry into knowledge has skepticism as its
princip le and its outcome, if it leads to an inextricable
mix of fiction and human nature, it is perhaps because
it is only one part of the inquiry, and not even the
main one. The principles of association in fact acquire
their sense only in relation to passions: not only do
affective circumstances guide the associations of ideas,
but the relations themselves are given a meaning, a
direction, an irreversibility, an exclusivity as a result
of the passions. In short, what constitutes human
nature, what gives the mind a nature or a constancy,
is not only the princip les of association from which
relations derive but also the principles of passion
from which "inclinations" foIlow. Two things must be
kept in mind in this regard: that the passions don't
shape the mind or give it a nature in the same way as
do the principles of association; and that, on the other
hand, the source of the mind as delirium or fiction
doesn't react to the passions in the same way as it
does to relations.
Vle have seen how the principles of association,
and espccially causality, required the mind to go be-
4')
PURE IMMANENCE
yond the given, inspiring in it beliefs or extrapola-
tions not aIl of which were illegitimate. But the pas-
sions have the effect of restricting the range of the
mind, fixating it on privileged ide as and objects, for
the basis of passion is not egotism but partiality,
which is mu ch worse. We are passionate in the first
place about our parents, about those who are close to
us and are like us (restricted causality, contiguity, re-
semblance). This is worse than being governed by
egotism, for our egotisms would only have to be cur-
tailed for society to become possible. From the six-
teenth to the eighteenth century, the famous theories
of contract posed the problem of society in such terms:
a limitation, or even a renunciation, of natural rights,
from which a contractual society might be born. But
we should not see Hume's saying that man is by nature
partial rather than egotistical as a simple nuance; rath-
er, we should see it as a radical change in the practical
way the problem of society is posed. The problem is
no longer how to limit egotisms and the correspond-
ing natural rights but how to go beyond partialities,
how to pass from a "limited sympathy" to an "ex-
tended generosity," how to stretch passions and give
them an extension they don't have on their own.
Society is thus seen no longer as a system of legal and
contractuallimitations but as an institutional inven-
HUME
tion: how can we invent artifices, how can we create
institutions that force passions to go beyond their
partialities and form moral, judicial, political senti-
ments (for example, the feeling of justice)? There fol-
lows the opposition Hume sets up between contract
and convention or artifice. Hume is probably the first
to have broken with the limiting model of contract
and law that dominated the sociology of the eigh-
teenth century and to oppose to it a positive model of
artifice and institution. Thus the entire question of
man is displaced in turn: it is no longer, as with knowl-
edge, a matter of the complex relation between fic-
tion and human nature; it is, rather, a matter of the
relation between human nature and artifice (man as
inventive species).
The Passions
We have seen that with knowledge the principles of
hum an nature instituted rules of extension or extrap-
olation that fantasy in turn used to make acceptable
simulacra of belief, such that a calculus was always
necessary to correct, to select the legitimate from the
illegitimate. With passion, on the other hand, the
problem is posed differently: how can we invent an
artificial extension that goes beyond the partiality of
human nature? Here fantasy or fiction takes on a new
47
PURE IMMANENCE
meaning. As Hume says, the mind and its fantasies
behave with respect to passions not in the manner of
a wind instrument but in the manner of a percussive
instrument, "where, after each beat, the vibrations
still retain sorne sound which gradually and imper-
ceptibly dies:' In short, it is up to the imagination to
reflect passion, to make it resonate and go beyond the
limits of its natural partiality and presentness. Hume
shows how aesthetic and moral sentiments are formed
in this way: the passions reflected in the imagination
become themselves imaginary. In reflecting the pas-
sions, the imagination liberates them, stretching them
out infinitely and projecting them beyond their nat-
urallimits. Yet on at least one count, we must correct
the metaphor of percussion: as they resonate in the
imagination, the passions do not simply become grad-
ually less vivid and less present; they also change their
color or sound, as when the sadness of a passion rep-
resented in a tragedy turns into the pleasure of an
almost infinite play of the imagination; they assume a
new nature and are accompanied by a new kind of
belief. Thus the will "moves easily in aIl directions
and produces an image of itself, even in places where
it is not fixed:'
This is what makes up the world of artifice or of
culture: this resonance, this reflexion of the passions
HUME
in the imagination, which makes of culture at once
the most frivolous and the most serious thing. But
how can we avoid two deficiencies in these cultural
formations? On the one hand, how to avoid the en-
larged passions being less vivid than the present ones,
even if they have a different nature, and, on the other,
how to avoid their becoming completely undeter-
mined, projecting their weakened images in aIl direc-
tions independently of any rule. The first problem is
resolved through agencies of social power sanctions
or the techniques of rewards and punishments, which
confer on the enlarged sentiments or reflected pas-
sions an added degree of vividness or belief: princi-
pally government, but also more subterranean and
implicit agencies, like custom and taste. In this re-
gard, too, Hume is the first to have posed the problem
of power and government in terms not of representa-
tivity but of credibility.
The second point is also relevant to the way in
which Hume's philosophy forms a general system. If
the passions are reflected in the imagination or in fan-
tasy, it is not an imagination that is naked but one that
has already been fixed or naturalized by the principles
of association. Resemblance, contiguity, causality - in
short, aIl the relations that are the object of a knowl-
edge or a calculus, that provide general rules for the
49
PURE IMMANENCE
determination of reflected sentiments beyond the
immediate and restricted way in which they are used
by non-reflected passions. Thus aesthetic sentiments
find in the princip les of association veritable rules of
tas te. Hume also shows in detail how, by being re-
flected in the imagination, the passion of possession
discovers in the princip les of association the means to
determine the general rules that constitute the fac-
tors of property or the world oflaw. A whole study of
the variations of relations, a whole calculus of rela-
tions, is involved, which allows one to respond in
each case to the question: Does there exist, between a
given person and a given object, a relation of a nature
such as to have us believe (or our imagination believe)
in an appropriation of one by the other. ''A man who
has chased a hare to the point of exhaustion would
consider it an injustice if another person pushed ahead
of him and seized his prey. But the same man who
goes to pick an apple that hangs within his reach has
no reason to corn plain if another man, quicker th an
he, reaches beyond him and takes it for himself. What
is the reason for this difference if not the fact that
immobility, which is not natural to the hare, is closely
related to the hunter, whereas this relation is lacking
in the other case?" Does the throw of a javelin against
a door ensure the ownership of an abandoned city, or
50
HUME
must a finger touch the door in order to establish a
sufficient relation? Why, according to civil law, does
the ground win out over the surface, but paint over
the canvas, whereas paper wins out over writing? The
principles of association find their true sense in a
casuistry of relations that works out the details of the
worlds of culture and of law. And this is the true
object of Hume's philosophy: relations as the means
of an activity and a practice - juridical, economic and
political.
A Popular and Scientific Philosophy
Hume was a particularly precocious philosopher: at
around twenty-five years old, he wrote his important
book A Treatise if Human Nature (published in 1739-
1740). A new tone in philosophy, an extraordinary
firmness and simplicity emerge from a great com-
plexity of arguments, which bring into play the exer-
cise of fictions, the science of hum an nature, and the
practice of artifice. A philosophy at once popular and
scientific - a sort of pop philosophy, which for its
ideal had a decisive clarity, a clarity not of ide as but of
relations and operations. It was this clarity that Hume
would try to impose in his subsequent works, even if
this meant sacrificing sorne of the complexity and the
more difficult aspects of the Treatise: Essays, Moral
PURE IMMANENCE
and Political (1741-1742), Philosophical Essays Con-
cerning Human Understanding (1748), An Inquiry Con-
cerning the Principles cif MoraIs (1751), and Political
Discourses (1752). He then turned to The History cif
England (1754-1762). The admirable, Dialogues Con-
cerning Natural Religion rediscovers once again that
great complexity and clarity. 1t is perhaps the only
case of real dialogues in philosophy; there are not two
characters, but three, who play many parts, forming
temporary alliances, breaking them, becoming recon-
ciled, and so on: Demea, the upholder of revealed
religion; Cleanthes, the representative of natural reli-
gion; and Philo, the skeptic. Hume-Philo's humor is
not simply a way of bringing everyone to agreement
in the name of a skepticism that distributes "degrees"
but also a way of breaking with the dominant trends
of the eighteenth century and of anticipating a philos-
ophy of the future.
')2
CHAPTER THREE
Nietzsche
The Lije
The first book of Thus Spoke Zarathustra begins with
the story of three metamorphoses: "How the spirit
becomes camel, the cam el becomes lion, and how
finally the lion becomes child:' The camel is the ani-
mal who carries: he carries the weight of established
values, the burdens of education, morality, and cul-
ture. He carries them into the desert, where he turns
into a lion; the lion destroys statues, tramples bur-
dens, and leads the critique of aIl established values.
Finally, the lion must become child, that is, he who
represents play and a new beginning - creator of new
values and new principles of evaluation.
According to Nietzsche, these three metamorphoses
designate, among other things, the different moments
of his work, as well as the stages of his life and health.
These divisions are no doubt arbitrary: the lion is pre-
PURE IMMANENCE
sent in the camel; the child is in the lion; and in the
child, there is already the tragic outcome.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was born in 1844, in
the presbytery of Rocken, in a region of Thuringia that
was annexed by Prussia. Both sides of his family came
from Lutheran priests. His father, delicate and weIl edu-
cated, himself also a priest, died in 1849 of a softening
of the brain (encephalitis or apoplexy). Nietzsche was
brought up in Naumburg, surrounded by women, with
his younger sister, Elisabeth. He was a child prodigy;
his essays were saved, as weIl as his attempts at musi-
cal composition. He studied in Pforta, then in Bonn
and Leipzig. He chose philology over theology. But he
was already haunted by philosophy and by the image of
Arthur Schopenhauer, the solitary thinker, the "pri-
vate thinker:' As early as 1869, Nietzsche's philological
works (on Theognis, Simonides, Diogenes Laertius)
secured him a professorship in philology at the Uni-
versity of BaseI.
It was then that his close friendship with Richard
Wagner began. They met in Leipzig. Wagner lived in
Tribschen, near Lucerne. Nietzsche said those days
were among the best of his life. Wagner was almost
sixt y; his wife, Cosima, just past thirty. Cosima was
Liszt's daughter. She left the musician Hans von Bülow
for Wagner. Her friends sometimes called her Ari-
54
NIETZSCHE
adne and suggested the parallelisms: Bülow-Theseus,
Wagner-Dionysus. Nietzsche encountered here an af-
fective structure that he had already sensed was his
and that he would make more and more his own. But
these glorious days were not trouble-free: sometimes
he had the unpleasant feeling that Wagner was using
him and borrowing his own concept of the tragic;
sometimes he had the delightful feeling that with
Cosima's help he would carry Wagner to truths that
he, Wagner, couldn't discover on his own.
Nietzsche's professorship made him a Swiss citi-
zen. He worked as an ambulance driver during the war
of 1870. At Basel, he shed his last "burdens": a certain
nationalism and a certain sympathy for Bismarck and
Prussia. He could no longer stand the identification
of culture with the state, nor could he accept the idea
that victory through arms be taken as a sign of cul-
ture. His disdain for Germany was already apparent, as
weIl as his incapacity for living among the Germans.
But with Nietzsche, the abandonment of old beliefs
did not assume the form of crisis (what occasioned a
cri sis was rather the inspiration or the revelation of a
newidea). Abandonmentwas nothis problem. We have
no reason to suspect his declarations in Ecce Homo
wh en he says that in religious matters, despite his
ancestry, atheism came to him naturaIly, instinctively.
PURE IMMANENCE
Nietzsche retreated further into solitude. In 1871, he
wrote The Birth if Tragedy, where the real Nietzsche
breaks through from behind the masks of Wagner and
Schopenhauer. The book was poorly received by phi-
lologists. Nietzsche felt himself to be untimely and dis-
covered the incompatibility between the private thinker
and the public professor. In the fourth volume of
Untimely Meditations, "Richard Wagner in Bayreuth"
(1875), his reservations about Wagner become explicit.
The Bayreuth inauguration, with its circus-like atmos-
phere, its processions, its speeches, the presence of
the old emperor, made him sick. The apparent changes
in Nietzsche astonished his friends. He was more and
more interested in the sciences: in physics, biology,
medicine. His health was poor; he had constant head-
aches, stomachaches, eye trouble, speech difficulties.
He gave up teaching. "My illness slowly liberated me: it
spared me separations, violent or ugly actions .... It en-
titled me to radically change my ways:' And since Wag-
ner was a compensation for Nietzsche-the-Professor,
when the professorship went, so did Wagner.
Thanks to Franz Overbeck, the most loyal and in-
telligent of his friends, Nietzsche obtained a pension
from Basel in 1878. It was then that his itinerant life
began: like a shadow, renting simple furnished rooms,
sceking favorable climates, he went from resort to
NIETZSCHE
resort, in Switzerland, in Italy, in the south of France,
sometimes alone, sometimes with friends (Malwida
von Meysenbug, an old Wagnerian; his former stu-
dent Peter Gast, a musician he hoped would replace
Wagner; Paul Rée, with whom he shared a taste for
the natural sciences and the dissection of morality).
He sometimes returned to Naumburg. In Sorrento, he
saw Wagner for the last time, a Wagner who had be-
come pious and nationalistic. In 1878, with Human,
AlI Too Human, he began his great critique of values,
the age of the lion. His friends misundcrstood him;
Wagner attacked him. But ab ove aIl, he was increas-
ingly ill. "Not to be able to read! To write only very
infrequently! To see no one! Not to hear any music!"
ln 1880, he described his state as follows: "ContinuaI
suffering, for hours every day a feeling of seasickness,
a semi-paralysis that makes speaking difficult and, as a
diversion, terrible attacks (during the last one 1 vom-
ited for three days and three nights, and hungered for
death ... ). If! could only describe the relentlessness of
it aU, the continuous gnawing pain in my head, my
eyes, and this general feeling of paralysis, from head
to toe:'
ln what sense is illness - or even madness - pre-
sent in Nietzsche's work? It is never a source of inspi-
ration. N cver did Nietzsche think of philosophy as
PURE IMMANENCE
proceeding from suffering or anguish, even if the phi-
losopher, according to him, suffers in excess. Nor did
he think of illness as an event that affects a body-
object or a brain-object from the outside. Rather, he
saw in illness a point if view on health; and in health, a
point if view on illness. "To observe, as a sick person,
healthier concepts, healthier values, then, conversely,
from the height of a rich, abundant, and confident life,
to delve into the secret work of decadent instincts-
such is the practice in which 1 most frequently en-
gaged ... :' Illness is not a motive for a thinking sub-
ject, nor is it an object for thought: it constitutes,
rather, a secret intersubjectivity at the heart of a single
individual. IIIness as an evaluation of health, health as
an evaluation ofillness: such is the "reversaI," the "shift
in perspective" that Nietzsche saw as the crux of his
mcthod and his calling for a transmutation of values.!
Dcspite appearances, however, there is no reciprocity
hct wccn the two points of view, the two evaluations.
l'hus movemcnt from health to sickness, from sick-
IlCSS to hcalth, if only as an idea, this very mobility is
thc sign of superior health; this mobility, this light-
IlCSS in ll1ovement, is the sign of "great health:' That is
why N idzschc could say until the end (that is, in 1888):
"1 ,1111 the opposite or a sick persan; 1 am basically
w(·II." Aild yd OIlC lllust say that it would ail end badly,
NIETZSCHE
for the mad Nietzsche is precisely the Nietzsche who
lost this mobility, this art of displacement, when he
could no longer in his health make of sickness a point
of view on health.
With Nietzsche, everything is mask. His health was
a first mask for his genius; his suffering, a second mask,
bath for his genius and for his health. Nietzsche didn't
believe in the unit y of a self and didn't experience it.
Subtle relations of power and of evaluation between
different "selves" that conceal but also express other
kinds of forces - forces oflife, forces of thought - such
is Nietzsche' s conception, his way of living. Wagner,
Schopenhauer, and even Paul Rée were experienced as
his own masks. After 1890, his friends (Overbeck, Gast)
sometimes thought his madness was his final mask. He
had written: "And sometimes madness itself is the
mask that hides a knowledge that is fatal and tao sure:'
In faet, it is not. Rather, it marks the moment wh en
the masks, no longer shifting and communicating,
merge into a death-like rigidity. Among the strongest
moments of Nietzsche's philosophy are the pages
where he speaks of the need ta be masked, of the
virtue and the positivity of masks, of their ultimate
importance. Nietzsche's own beauty resided in his
hands, his ears, his eyes (he compliments himself on
his ears; he sees small ears as being a labyrinthine
')9
PURE IMMANENCE
secret that leads to Dionysus). But on this first mask
there cornes another, represented by the enormous
mustache: "Give me, please give me ... - What? -
another mask, a second mask:'
After Human, All Too Human, Nietzsche continued
his project of total criticism: The Wanderer and His
Shadow(1879),Daybreak (1880). Heworkedon The Gay
Science. But something new emerged: an exaltation, an
overabundance, as if Nietzsche had been pushed to the
point where evaluation changes meaning and where
illness is judged from the height of a strange well-
being. His suffering continued, but it was often domi-
nated by an "enthusiasm" that affected his very body.
Nietzsche then experienced his most exalted states of
being, though they were interlaced with menacing
feelings. In August 1881, in Sils-Maria, as he walked
along the lake of Silvaplana, he had the overwhelming
revelation of the eternal return, then the inspiration
for Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Between 1883 and 1885,
he wrote the four books of Zarathustra and gathered
notes for a book that was to follow. He carried criti-
cism to a higher level than ever before; he made of it
the weapon of a "transmutation" of values, the No that
is at the service of a higher affirmation (Beyond Good
and Fvil, 1886; Thc Gcncalo8Y ~ f MoraIs, 1887). This is
the thircl I1wtamorphosis. or the becoming-child.
(,0
NIETZSCHE
But he was often very anxious and experienced
many frustrations. In 1882, there was the affair with
Lou von Salomé, a young Russian woman who lived
with Paul Rée and seemed to Nietzsche an ideal disci-
ple and worthy of his love. Following an affective
structure he had already had occasion to enact, Niet-
zsche soon proposed to her through a friend. He was
pursuing a dream: with himself as Dionysus, he would
receive Ariadne, with Theseus' s approval. Theseus is
the higher man, the image of the father - what Wag-
ner had already been for Nietzsche. But Nietzsche had
not dared to aspire openly to Cosima-Ariadne. In
Paul Rée, and in other friends before him, Nietzsche
found other Theseuses, fathers that were younger,
less imposing.
2
Dionysus is superior to the higher
man, as Nietzsche was to Wagner and aIl the more so
to Paul Rée. Obviously and inevitably, this sort of fan-
tasy had to fail. Ariadne always still prefers Theseus.
With Malwida von Meysenbug acting as chaperon, Lou
von Salomé, Paul Rée, and Nietzsche formed a peculiar
quartet. Theil' life together was made of quarrels and
reconciliations. Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth, who was
possessive and jealous, did her best to break it up. She
succeeded, because Nietzsche could neither detach
himself from her nor dampen the harsh judgment he
had of her ("people like my sis ter are irreconcilable
61
PURE IMMANENCE
adversaries of my way of thinking and my philosophy,
this is due to the eternal nature of things .. :'; "souls
such as yours, my poor sister, 1 do not like them"; "1
am profoundly tired of your inde cent moralizing
chatter.. :'). Lou von Salomé's fondness for Nietzsche
was not truly love; but many years later, she did write
a beautiful book about him.
3
Nietzsche felt more and more isolated. He learned
of Wagner's death, which revived in him the Ariadne-
Cosima idea. In 1885, Elisabeth married Bernhard
Forster, a Wagnerian and an anti-Semite who was also
a Prussian nationalist. Forster went to Paraguay with
Elisabeth to found a colony of pure Aryans. Nietzsche
didn't attend their wedding and found his cumber-
sorne brother-in-Iaw hard to put up with. To another
racist he wrote: "Please stop sending me your publi-
cations; 1 fear for my patience:' Nietzsche's bouts of
euphoria and depression followed more closely on
each other. At times, everything seemed excellent to
him: his clothes, what he ate, the people who received
him, the fascination he believed he caused in stores.
At other times, despair won over: a lack of readers, a
l'lTlillg of death, of dcceit.
Theil came the great year 1888: TWilight if the
h/o/s, 'J'he WClflner Case, The Antichrist, Ecce Homo. It is
.IS il' his ncative Elcultics werc bccoming exacerbated
NIETZSCHE
in a last momentum before the final collapse. Even his
tone changes in these masterful works: a new violence,
a new humor, as with the comedy of the Overman.
Nietzsche paints a picture of himself that is global,
provoking ("one day the memory of something extra-
ordinary will be linked to my name"; "it is only thanks
to me that there are great politics on earth"); but at the
same time, he focused on the present and was concerned
with immediate success. By the end of 1888, he had
started to write strange letters. To August Strindberg: "1
convened in Rome an assembly of princes, 1 want to
have the young Kaiser shot. Good-bye for now! For we
will me et again. On one condition: Let's divorce ...
Nietzsche-Caesar:' On January 3, 1889, he had a crisis
in Turin. He again wrote letters, signed them Diony-
sus, or the Crucified one, or both. To Cosima Wagner:
"Ariadne, 1 love you. Dionysius." Overbeck rushed to
Turin, where he found Nietzsche overwrought and lost.
He managed to take him to Basel, where Nietzsche
calmly allowed himself to be committed. The diagno-
sis was "progressive paralysis:' His mother had him
transferred to J ena. The doctors in J ena suspected a
syphilitic infection dating back to 1866. (Was this
based on sorne declaration of Nietzsche's? As a young
man, he told his friend Paul Deussen of a strange ad-
venture in which he was saved by a piano. A text of
PURE IMMANENCE
Zarathustra, "Among the Girls of the Desert," must be
read in this light.) Sometimes calm, sometimes in cri-
sis, he seemed to have forgotten everything about his
work, though he still played music. His mother took
him back to her home; Elisabeth returned from Para-
guay at the end of 1890. His illness slowly progressed
toward total apathy and agony. He died in Weimar in
1900.
4
Though we cannot know for certain, the diagnosis
of an overall paralysis seems accurate. But the ques-
tion is: Did the symptoms of 1875,1881,1888 con-
stitute one and the same clinical picture? Was it the
same illness? It seems likely. Whether it was dementia
rather than psycho sis isn't significant. We have seen
in what way illness, and even madness, figured in
Nietzsche's work. The overall paralysis marks the mo-
ment when illness exits from the work, interrupts it,
and makes its continuation impossible. Nietzsche's
last letters testify to this extreme moment, thus they
still belong to his work; they are a part of it. As long
as Nietzsche could practice the art of shifting perspec-
tives, from health to illness and back, he enjoyed, sick
as he may have been, the "great health" that made his
work possible. But when this art failed him, when the
masks were conflated into that of a dunce and a buffoon
under the effect of sorne organic process, the illness
NIETZSCHE
itself became inseparable from the end of his oeuvre
(Nietzsche had spoken of madness as a "comic solu-
tion," as a final farce).
Elisabeth helped her mother take care of Nietzsche.
She gave pious interpretations to the illness. She made
acid remarks to Overbeck, who responded with much
dignity. She had great merits: she did everything to
ensure the diffusion of her brother's ideas; she orga-
nized the Nietzsche-Archiv in Weimar. 5 But thcsc
merits pale before the highest treason: she tried (0
place Nietzsche in the service of national socialism.
This was the last stroke of Nietzsche's fate: the abu-
sive family member who figures in the procession of
every "cursed thinker."
The Philosophy
Nietzsche introduced two forms of expression into
philosophy: aphorism and poetry. They imply a new
conception of philosophy, a new image of the thinker
and ofthought. Nietzsche replaced the ideal ofknowl-
edge, the discovery of the truth, with interpretation
and evaluation. Interpretation establishes the "mean-
ing" of a phenomenon, which is always fragmentary
and incomplete; evaluation determines the hierarchi-
cal "value" of the meanings and totalizes the fragments
without diminishing or eliminating their plurality.
PURE IMMANENCE
Indeed, aphorism is both the art of interpreting and
what must be interpreted; poetry, both the art of eval-
uating and what must be evaluated. The interpreter is
the physiologist or doctor, the one who sees phenom-
ena as symptoms and speaks through aphorisms. The
evaluator is the artist who considers and creates "per-
spectives" and speaks through poetry. The philoso-
pher of the future is both artist and doctor - in one
word, legislator.
This image of the philosopher is also the oldest,
the most ancient one. It is that of the pre-Socratic
thinker, "physiologist" and artist, interpreter and eval-
uator of the world. How are we to understand this
closeness between the future and the pa st? The phi-
10sopher of the future is the explorer of ancient worlds,
of peaks and caves, who creates only inasmuch as he
recalls something that has been essentially forgotten.
That something, according to Nietzsche, is the unit y
of life and thought. It is a complex unit y: one step for
life, one step for thought. Modes of life inspire ways
of thinking; modes of thinking create ways of living.
Life activa tes thought, and thought in turn ciffirms life.
Of this pre-Socratic unit y we no longer have even the
slightest idea. We now have only instances where
thought bridles and mutilates life, making it sensible,
and where life takes revenge and drives thought mad,
NIETZSCHE
losing itself along the way. N ow we only have the
choice between mediocre lives and mad thinkers. Lives
that are too docile for thinkers, and thoughts too mad
for the living: Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Hûlder-
lin. But the fine unit y in which madness would cease
to be such is yet to be rediscovered - a unit y that
turns an anecdote of life into an aphorism of thought,
and an evaluation of thought into a new perspective
on life.
In a way, this secret of the pre-Socratics was al-
ready lost at the start. We must think of philosophy as
a force. But the law of forces is such that they can
only appear when concealed by the mask of preexist-
ing forces. Life must first imitate matter. 1t was for
this reason that to survive at the time of its birth in
Greece, philosophical force had to disguise itself. The
philosopher had to assume the air of the preceding
forces; he had to take on the mask of the priest. The
young Greek philosopher has something of the old
Oriental priest. We still confuse them today: Zoro-
aster and Heraclitus, the Hindus and the Eleatics, the
Egyptians and Empedocles, Pythagoras and the Chi-
nese. We speak of the virtue of the ideal philosopher,
of his asceticism, of his love of wisdom. We cannot
guess the peculiar solitude and the sensuality, the very
unwise ends of the perilous existence that lie beneath
PURE IMMANENCE
this mask. The secret ofphilosophy, because it was lost
at the start, remains to be discovered in the future.
It was therefore fated that philosophy degenerate
as it developed through history, that it turn against
itself and be taken in by its own mask. Instead oflink-
ing an active life and an affirmative thinking, thought
gives itself the task of judging life, opposing to it sup-
posedly higher values, measuring it against these val-
ues, restricting and condemning it. And at the same
time that thought thus becomes negative, life depre-
ciates, ceases to be active, is reduced to its weakest
forms, to sickly forms that are alone compatible with
the so-called higher values. It is the triumph if "reac-
tion" over active life and if neBation over affirmative
thouBht. The consequences for philosophy are dire,
for the virtues of the philosopher as legislator were
first the critique of aIl established values - that is, of
values superior to life and of the principles on which
they depend - and then the creation of new values, of
values of life that call for another principle. Hammer
and transmutation. While philosophy thus degener-
ates, the philosopher as legislator is replaced by the
submissive philosopher. Instead of the cri tic of estab-
lished values, instead of the creator of new values
and new evaluations, there emerges the preserver of
acccptcd values. The philosopher ceases to be a phys-
68
NIETZSCHE
iologist or doctor and becomes a metaphysician. He
ceases to be a poet and becomes a "public professor:'
He daims to be beholden to the requirements of truth
and reason; but beneath these requirements of reason
are forces that aren't so reasonable at aIl: the state,
religion, aIl the current values. Philosophy becomes
nothing more than taking the census of aIl the reasons
man gives himself to obey. The philosopher invokes
love of the truth, but it is a truth that harms no one
("it appears as a self-contented and happy creature
which is continuaIly assuring aIl the powers that be
that no one needs to be the least concerned on its
account; for it is, after aIl, only "pure science").6 The
philosopher evaluates life in accordance with his abil-
ity to uphold weights and carry burdens. These bur-
dens, these weights, are precisely the higher values.
Such is the spirit of heaviness that brings together, in
the same desert, the carrier with the carried, the reac-
tive and depreciated life with negative and depreciat-
ing thinking. AlI that remains then is an illusion of
critique and a phan tom of creation, for nothing is
more opposed to the creator than the carrier. To cre-
ate is to lighten, to unburden life, to invent new pos-
sibilities of life. The creator is legislator - dancer.
The degeneration of philosophy appears clearly
with Socrates. If we define metaphysics by the dis-
PURE IMMANENCE
tinction between two worlds, by the opposition be-
tween essence and appearance, between the true and
the false, the intelligible and the sensible, we have to
say that it is Socrates who invented metaphysics. He
made oflife something that must be judged, measured,
restricted, and of thought, a measure, a limit, that is
exercised in the name of higher values: the Divine,
the True, the Beautiful, the Good .... With Socrates
emerges the figure of a philosopher who is voluntar-
ily and subtly submissive. But let's move on and skip
through the centuries. Who can really think that Kant
reinstated critique or rediscovered the ide a of the phi-
losopher as legislator? Kant den ounces false claims to
knowledge, but he doesn't question the ideal ofknow-
ing; he denounces false morality, but he doesn't ques-
tion the claims of morality or the nature and the origin
of its value. He blames us for having confused domains
and interests; but the domains remain intact, and the
interests of reason, sacred (true knowledge, true morals,
true religion).
Dialectics itself perpetrates this prestigiditation.
Dialectics is the art that invites us to recuperate alien-
ated properties. Everything returns to the Spirit as
the motor and product of the dialectic, or to self-con-
sciousncss, or evcn to man, as generic being. But if
our propcrtics in themsclvcs express a diminished life
NIETZSCHE
and a mutilating thought, what is the use of recuper-
ating them or becoming their true subject? Did we do
away with religion when we interiorized the priest,
placing him into the faithful, in the style of the Refor-
mation? Did we kill God when we put man in his
place and kept the most important thing, which is the
place? The only change is this: instead of being bur-
dened from the outside, man takes the weights and
places them on his own back. The philosopher of the
future, the doctor-philosopher, will diagnose the per-
petuation of the same ailment beneath different symp-
toms; values can change, man can put himself in the
place of God, progress, happiness; utility can replace
the truth, the good, or the divine - what is essential
hasn't changed: the perspectives or the evaluations on
which these values, whether old or new, depend. We
are always asked to submit ourselves, to burden our-
selves, to recognize only the reactive forms oflife, the
accusatory forms of thought. Wh en we no longer want,
when we can no longer bear higher values, we are
still asked to accept "the real as it is" - but this "real as
it is" is precise1y what the higher values have made if
reality! (Even existentialism retained a frightening
taste for carrying, for bearing, a properly dialectical
taste that separates it from Nietzsche.)
Nietzsche is the first to tell us that killing God is
PURE IMMANENCE
not enough to bring about the transmutation of val-
ues. In his work, there are at least fifteen versions of
the death of God, aU of them very beautiful. 7 But
indeed, in one of the most beautiful, the murderer of
God is "the ugliest of men:' What Nietzsche means is
that man makes himself even more ugly when, no
longer in need of an external authority, he denies
himself what was denied him and spontaneousl y takes
on the policing and the burdens that he no longer
thinks come from the outside. Thus the history of
philosophy, from the Socratics to the Hegelians, re-
mains the long history of man' s submissions and the
reasons he gives himself for legitimizing them. This
process of degeneration concerns not only philoso-
phy but also becoming in general, or the most basic
catcgory or history - not a fact in history, but the very
principlc l'rom which derive most of the events that
have dctermined our thinking and our life, the symp-
toms of a decomposition. And so true philosophy, as
philosophy of the future, is no more historical than it
is eternal: it must be untimely, always untimely.
AU interpretations determine the meaning of a
phenomenon. Meaning consists of a relation of forces
in which sorne aet and others reaet in a complex and
hierarchized who le. Whatever the complexity of a
phenomenon, we can distinguish primary forces, of
7
2
NIETZSCHE
conquest and subjugation, from reactive, secondary
forces, of adaptation and regulation. This distinction
is not only quantitative but also qualitative and typo-
logical, for it is in the nature of forces to be in relation
to other forces and it is in this relation that they
acquire their essence or quality. The relation of force
to force is called "will:' That is why we must avoid at
aIl costs the misinterpretations of the Nietzschean
principle of the will to power. This principle doesn't
mean (or at least doesn't primarily mean) that the
will wants power or wishes to dominate. As long as the
will to power is interpreted in terms of a "desire to
dominate," we inevitably make it depend on estab-
lished values, the only ones able to determine, in any
given case or conflict, who must be "recognized" as
the most powerful. We then cannot recognize the
nature of the will to power as an elastic principle of
aIl of our evaluations, as a hidden principle for the
creation of new values not yet recognized. The will to
power, says Nietzsche, consists not in coveting or even
in taking but in creating and giving. Power, as a will to
power, is not that which the will wants, but that whieh
wants in the will (Dionysus himself). The will to
power is the differential element from which derive
the forces at work, as weIl as their respective quality
III a complcx wholc. Thus it is always given
PURE IMMANENCE
as a mobile, aerial, pluralist element. It is by the will
to power that a force commands, but it is also by the
will to power that a force obeys. To these two types
or qualities of forces there correspond two faces, two
qualia, of the will to power, which are ultimate and
fluent, deeper than the forces that derive from them,
for the will to power makes it that active forces ciffirm,
and affirm their difference: in them affirmation is
first, and negation is never but a consequence, a sort
of surplus of pleasure. What characterizes reactive
forces, on the other hand, is their opposition to what
they are not, their tendency to limit the other: in them,
neBation cornes first; through negation, they arrive at
a semblance of affirmation. Affirmation and negation
are thus the qualia of the will to power, just as action
and reaction are the qualities of forces. And just as
interpretation finds the principles of meaning in
forces, evaluation finds the principles of values in the
will to power. Given the preceding terminological
precisions, we can avoid reducing Nietzsche's thought
to a simple dualism, for, as we shaH see, affirmation is
itself essentiaUy multiple and pluralist, whereas nega-
tion is always one, or heavily monist.
Yet history presents us with a most peculiar phe-
nomenon: the reactive forces triumph; negation wins
in the will to power! This is the case not only in the
74-
NIETZSCHE
history of man, but in the history of life and the earth,
at least on the face of it inhabited by man. Every-
where we see the victory of No over Yes, of reaction
over action. Life becomes adaptive and regulative,
reduced to its secondary forms; we no longer und er-
stand what it means to act. Even the forces of the
earth become exhausted on this desolate face. Niet-
zsche caUs this joint victory of reactive forces and the
will to negate "nihilism" - or the triumph of the
slaves. According to him, the analysis of nihilism is
the object of psycholoBY' understood also as a psychol-
ogy of the cosmos.
It seems difficult for a philosophy of force or of
the will to explain how the reactive forces, how the
slaves, or the weak, can win. If all that happens is that
together they form a force greater th an that of the
strong, it is hard to see what has changed and what a
qualitative evaluation is based on. But in fact, the weak,
the slaves, triumph not by adding up their forces but
by subtracting those of the other: they separate the
strong from what they can do. They triumph not be-
cause of the composition of their power but because
of the power of their contagion. They bring about a
becoming-reactive of aU forces. That is what "degen-
eration" means. Nietzsche shows early on that the
criteria of the struggle for life, of natural selection,
PURE IMMANENCE
necessarily favor the weak and the sick, the "secon-
dary ones" (by sick is meant a life reduced to its reac-
tive processes). This is all the more true in the case of
man, where the criteria of history favor the slaves as
such. It is a becoming-sick of alllife, a becoming-slave
of all men, that constitutes the victory of nihilism. We
must again avoid misconceptions about the Nietzsch-
" "d" k"" "d" l " ean terms strong an wea, master an save:
it is clear that the slave doesn't stop being a slave when
he gets power, nor do the weak cease to be weak.
Even when they win, reactive forces are still reactive.
ln everything, according to Nietzsche, what is at stake
is a qualitative typology: a question of baseness and
nobility. Our masters are slaves that have triumphed
in a universal becoming-slave: European man, domes-
ticated man, the buffoon. Nietzsche describes mod-
ern states as ant colonies, where the leaders and the
powerful win through their baseness, through the
contagion of this baseness and this buffoonery. What-
ever the complexity of Nietzsche's work, the reader
can easily guess in which category (that is, in which
type) he would have placed the race of "masters" con-
ceived by the Nazis. When nihilism triumphs, then
and only then does the will to power stop meaning "to
create" and start to signify instead "to want power,"
"to want to dominate" (thus to attribute to oneself or
NIETZSCHE
have others attribute to one established values: money,
honors, power, and so on). Yet that kind of will to
power is precisely that of the slave; it is the way in
which the slave or the impotent conceives of power,
the ide a he has of it and that he apphes when he tri-
umphs. It can happen that a sick person says, Oh! if
1 were well, 1 would do this or that - and maybc he
will, but his plans and his thoughts are still thosc of
a sick person, only a sick pers on. The same goes for
the slave and for his conception of mastery or power.
The same also goes for the reactive man and his con-
ception of action. Values and evaluations are always
being reversed, things are always seen from a petty
angle, images are reversed as in a bull's-eye. One of
Nietzsche's greatest sayings is: "We must always pro-
te ct the strong from the weak:'
Let us now specify, for the case of man, the stages
of the triumph of nihilism. These stages constitute
the great discoveries of Nietzschean psychology, the
categories of a typology of depths.
1. Resentment: It's your fault ... It's your fault ...
Projective accusation and recrimination. It's your fault
if l'm weak and unhappy. Reactive life gets away from
active forces; reaction stops being "acted:' It becomes
something sensed, a "resentment" that is exerted
against everything that is active. Action becomes
77
PURE IMMANENCE
shameful: life itself is accused, separated from its pow-
er' separated from what it can do. The lamb says: l
could do everything that the eagle does; l'm admir-
able for not doing so. Let the eagle do as l do ...
2. Bad conscience: It's my fault. .. The moment of
introjection. Having captured life like a fish on a
hook, the reactive forces can turn in on themselves.
They interiorize the fault, say they are guilty, turn
against themselves. But in this way they set an ex-
ample, they invite aIl of life to come and join them,
they acquire a maximum of contagious power - they
form reactive communities.
3. The ascetic ideal: The moment of sublimation.
What the weak or reactive life ultimately wants is the
negation of life. /ts will to power is a will to nothing-
ness, as a condition of its triumph. Conversely, the
will to nothingness can only tolerate a life that is
weak, mutilated, reactive - states close to nothing.
Then is formed the disturbing alliance. Life is judged
according to values that are said to be superior to life:
these pious values are opposed to life, condemn it,
lead it to nothingness; they promise salvation only to
the most reactive, the weakest, the sickest forms of
life. Su ch is the alliance between God -N othingness
and Reactive-Man. Everything is reversed: slaves are
called masters; the weak are called strong; baseness is
NIETZSCHE
called nobility. We say that someone is noble and
strong because he carries; he carries the weight of
higher values; he feels responsible. Even life, espe-
cially life, seems hard for him to carry. Evaluations are
so distorted that we can no longer see that the carrier
is a slave, that what he carries is a slavery, that the car-
rier is a carrier of the weak - the opposite of a creator
or a dancer. In fact, one only carries out of weakness;
one only wishes to be carried out of a will to nothing-
ness (see the buffoon of Zarathustra and the figure of
the donkey).
These stages of nihilism correspond, according to
Nietzsche, to Judaic religion, then to Christianity, but
the latter was certainly weIl prepared by Greek phi-
losophy, that is, by the degeneration of philosophy in
Greece. More generally, Nietzsche shows how these
stages are also the genesis of the great categories of
our thought: the Self, the World, God, causality, final-
ity, and so on. But nihilism doesn't stop there and fol-
lows a path that makes up our en tire history.
4. The death if Gad: The moment of recuperation.
For a long time, the death of God was thought to be
an inter-religious drama, a problem between the Jew-
ish God and the Christian God, to the point where
we are no longer quite sure whether it is the Son
who dies out of resentment against the Father or the
79
PURE IMMANENCE
Father who dies so that the Son can be independent
(and become "cosmopolitan"). But Saint Paul already
founded Christianity on the principle that Christ dies
for our sins. With the Reformation, the death of God
becomes increasingly a problem between God and
man, until the day man discovers himself to be the
murderer of God, wishes to see himself as such and to
carry this new weight. He wants the logical outcome
of this death: to become God himself, to replace God.
Nietzsche's idea is that the death of God is a grand
event, glamorous yet insufficient, for nihilism contin-
ues, barely changing its form. Earlier, nihilism had
meant depreciation, the negation of life in the name
ofhigher values. But now the negation of these higher
values is replaced by human values - aIl too human
values (morals replace religion; utility, progress, even
history replace divine values). Nothing has changed,
for the same reactive life, the same slavery that had
triumphed in the shadow of divine values now tri-
umphs through human ones. The same carrier, the
same donkey, who used to bear the weight of divine
relies, for which he answered before God, now bur-
dens himself on his own, as an auto-responsibility. We
have even taken a further step in the desert of nihil-
ism: wc daim to embracc aIl of reality, but we em-
bracc ol1ly what the highcr values have left of it, the
Xo
NIETZSCHE
residue of reactive forces and the will to nothingness.
That is why Nietzsche, in book IV of Zarathustra,
traces the great misery of those he calls "the higher
men!' These men want to replace God; they carry
hum an values; they even believe they are rediscover-
ing reality, recuperating the meaning of affirmation.
But the only affirmation of which they are capable is
the Yes of the donkey, Y-A, the reactive force that bur-
dens itself with the products of nihilism and that
thinks it says Yes each time it carries a no. (Two mod-
ern works are profound meditations on the Yes and
the No, on their authenticity or their mystification:
those of Nietzsche and James Joyce.)
5. The la st man and the man who wants ta die: The
moment of the end. The death of God is thus an event
that still awaits its meaning and its value. As long as
our principle of evaluation remains unchanged, as
long as we replace old values with new ones that only
amount to new combinations between reactive forces
and the will to nothingness, nothing has changed; we
are still under the aegis of established values. We know
full weIl that sorne values are born old and from the
time of their birth exhibit their conformity, their con-
formism, their inability to upset any established order.
And yet with each step, nihilism advances further, in-
anity further reveals itself. What appears in the death
PURE IMMANENCE
of God is that the alliance between reactive forces
and the will to nothingness, between reactive man
and nihilist God, is in the process of dissolving: man
claimed he could do without God, be the same as
God. Nietzsche's concepts are categories of the un-
conscious. What counts is how this drama is played
out in the unconscious: when reactive forces daim to
do without a "will," they fall further and further into
the abyss of nothingness, into a world more and more
devoid of values, divine or even human. Following
the higher men there arises the last man, the one who
says: all is vain, better to fade away passively! Better a
nothingness of the will than a will of nothingness! But
thanks to this rupture, the will to nothingness turns
<tgainst the reactive forces, becomes the will to deny
reactive life itself, and inspires in man the wish to
actively destroy himself. Beyond the last man, then,
there is still the man who wants ta die. And at this
moment of the completion of nihilism (midnight),
everything is ready - ready for a transmutation.
8
The transmutation of aIl values is defined in the
following way: an active becoming of forces, a tri-
umph <if affirmation in the will ta power. Under the rule
of nihilism, negation is the form and the content of
the will to power; <tffirmation is only sccOlHbry, sub-
ordinaicd io ncgatioll, gathcring and carrying its fruit.
NIETZSCHE
Hence the Yes of the donkey, Y -A, becomes a false
yes, a sort of caricature of affirmation. N ow every-
thing changes: affirmation becomes the essence or
the will to power itself; as for the negative, it sub-
sists, but as the mode of being of one who affirms, as
the aggressivity that belongs to affirmation, like the
lightning that announces and the thunder that fol-
lows, what is affirmed -like the total critique that
accompanies creation. Thus Zarathustra is pure affir-
mation but also he who carries negation to its highest
point, making of it an action, an agency that services
he who affirms and creates. The Yes of Zarathustra is
opposed to the Yes of the donkey, as creating is op-
posed to carrying. The No of Zarathustra is opposed
to the No of nihilism, as aggressivity is opposed to
resentment. Transmutation signifies this reversaI in
the relation of affirmation-negation. But we can see
that a transmutation is possible only at the close of
nihilism. We had to get to the last man, then to the
man who wants to die, for negation finally ta tUIn
aBainst the reactive forces and become an action that
serves a higher affirmation (hence Nietzsche' s saying:
nihilism conquered, but conquered by itself. .. ).
Affirmation is the highest power of the will. But
what is affirmed? The earth, life ... But what form do
the carth and life assume wh en they are the objects of
PURE IMMANENCE
affirmation? A form unbeknownst to we who inhabit
only the desolate surface of the earth and who live in
states close to zero. What nihilism condemns and
tries to deny is not so much Being, for we have known
for sorne time that Being resembles N othingness like
a brother. It is, rather, multiplicity; it is, rather, be-
coming. Nihilism considers becoming as something
that must atone and must be reabsorbed into Being,
and the multiple as something unjust that must be
judged and reabsorbed into the One. Becoming and
multiplicity are guilty - such is the first and the last
word of nihilism. That is why under its aegis, philoso-
phy is motivated by dark sentiments: a "discontent," a
certain anguish, an uneasiness about living, an ob-
scure sense of guilt. By contrast, the first figure of the
transmutation elevates multiplicity and becoming to
their highest power and makes of them objects of an
affirmation. In the affirmation of the multiple lies the
practical joy of the diverse. Joy emerges as the sole
motive for philosophizing. To valorize negative senti-
ments or sad passions - that is the mystification on
which nihilism bases its power. (Lucretius, then Spin-
oza, already wrote decisive passages on this subject.
Before Nietzsche, they conceived philosophy as the
power to affirm, as the practical struggle against mys-
tifications, as the expulsion of the negative.)
NIETZSCHE
Multiplicity is affirmed as multiplicity; becoming
is affirmed as becoming. That is to sayat once that
affirmation is itself multiple, that it becomes itself,
and that becoming and multiplicity are themselves
affirmations. There is something like a play of mirrors
in affirmation properly understood: "Eternal affirma-
tion ... eternally 1 am your affirmation!" The second
figure of the transmutation is the affirmation of the
affirmation, the doubling, the divine couple Dionysus
and Ariadne.
Dionysus can be recognized in aU the preceding
characteristics. We are far from the first Dionysus,
the one that Nietzsche had conceived under the influ-
ence of Schopenhauer, who had reabsorbed life into a
primaI ground and, forming an alliance with Apollo,
had created tragedy. It is true that starting with The
Birth if TraBedy, Dionysus was defined through his
opposition to Socrates even more th an through his
alliance with Apollo; Socrates judged and condemned
life in the name of higher values, but Dionysus had
the sense that life is not to be judged, that it is just
enough, holy enough, in itself. And as Nietzsche pro-
gresses further in his work, the real opposition ap-
pears to him: no longer Dionysus versus Socrates, but
Dionysus versus the Crucified. Their martyrdom seems
the samc, but the interpretation, the evaluation of it
PURE IMMANENCE
are different: on one side, a testimony against life, a
vengeance that consists in denying life; on the other,
the affirmation of life, the affirmation of becoming
and multiplicity that extends even in the very lacera-
tion and scattered limbs of Dionysus. Dance, light-
ness, laughter are the properties ofDionysus. As power
of affirmation, Dionysus evokes a mirror within his
mirror, a ring within his ring: a second affirmation is
needed for affirmation to be itself affirmed. Dionysus
has a fiancée, Ariadne ("You have sm aIl ears, you have
my ears: put a clever word in them"). The only clever
word is Yeso Ariadne completes the set of relations
that define Dionysus and the Dionysian philosopher.
Multiplicity is no longer answerable to the One,
nor is becoming answerable to Being. But Being and
the One do more than lose their meaning: they take
on a new meaning. Now the One is said of the multi-
ple as the multiple (splinters or fragments); Being is
said of becoming as becoming. That is the Nietzsch-
ean reversaI, or the third figure of the transmutation.
Becoming is no longer opposed to Being, nor is the
multiple opposed to the One (these oppositions being
the categories of nihilism). On the contrary, what is
affirmed is the One of multiplicity, the Being of be-
coming. Or, as Nietzsche puts it, one affirms the
necessity of chance. Dionysus is a player. The real
NIETZSCHE
player makes of chance an object of affirmation: he
affirms the fragments, the elements of chance; from
this affirmation is born the necessary number, which
brings back the throw of the dice. We now see what
this third figure is: the play of the eternal return. This
return is precisely the Being of becoming, the one of
multiplicity, the necessity of chance. Thus we must
not make of the eternal return a return if the sarne. To
do this would be to misunderstand the form of the
transmutation and the change in the fundamental re-
lationship, for the same does not preexist the diverse
(except in the category of nihilism). ft is not the sarne
that cornes back, since the coming back is the original
form of the same, which is said only of the diverse,
the multiple, becoming. The same doesn't come back;
only coming back is the same in what becomes.
The very essence of the eternal return is at issue.
We must get rid of aIl sorts of useless themes in this
question of the eternal return. It is sometimes asked
how Nietzsche could have believed this thought to be
new or extraordinary, because it was qui te common
among the ancients. But, precisely, Nietzsche knew
full weIl that it was not ta be Jound in ancient philoso-
phy, either in Greece or in the Orient, except in a
piecemeal or hesitant manner and in a very different
sense from his own. Nietzsche already had the most
PURE IMMANENCE
explicit reservations about Heraclitus. And in putting
the eternal return in the mouth of Zarathustra, like a
serpent in the gullet, Nietzsche meant only to impute
to the ancient figure of Zoroaster what Zoroaster
himself was the least able to conceive. Nietzsche ex-
plains that he takes Zarathustra as a euphemism, or
rather as an antithesis and a metonymy, purposely
giving him new concepts that he himself could not
create.
9
It is also asked why the eternal return is so surpris-
ing if it consists of a cycle, that is, of a return of the
whole, a return of the same, a return to the same. But
in fact it is not that at aIl. Nietzsche's secret is that
the eternal return is selective. And doubly so. First as a
thought, for it gives us a law for the autonomy of the
will freed from any morality: whatever 1 want (my
laziness, my gluttony, my cowardice, my vice as weIl
as my virtue), 1 "must" want it in such a way that 1
also want its eternal return. The world of "semi-
wants" is thus eliminated: everything we want when
we say "once, only once:' Even a cowardice, a lazi-
ness, that would wish for its eternal return would be-
come something other than a laziness, a cowardice; it
would become an active power of affirmation.
The eternal return is not only selective thinking
but also selective Iking. Only affirmation COI11CS back,
NIETZSCHE
only what can be affirmed cornes back, only joy re-
turns. AIl that can be negated, aIl that is negation, is
expeIled by the very movement of the eternal return.
We may fear that the combination of nihilism and
reaction will eternaIly come back. The eternal return
should be compared to a wheel whose movement is
endowed with a centrifugaI force that drives out every-
thing negative. Because Being is affirmed of becom-
ing, it expels aIl that contradicts affirmation, aIl the
forms of nihilism and of reaction: bad conscience,
resentment ... we will see them only once.
Yet in many texts, Nietzsche conceives of the eter-
nal return as a cycle where everything cornes back, or
the same cornes back, which amounts to the same.
But what do these texts mean? Nietzsche is a thinker
who "dramatizes" ideas, that is, who presents them as
successive events, with different levels of tension. We
have already seen this with the death of God. Simi-
larly, the eternal return is the object of two accounts
(and there would have been more had his work not
been interrupted by madness, which prevented a pro-
gression that Nietzsche had explicitly planned). Of
the two accounts, one concerns a sick Zarathustra, the
other, a Zarathustra who is convalescent and nearly
cured. What makes Zarathustra sick is precisely the
ide a of the cycle: the idea that everything cornes back,
PURE IMMANENCE
that the same returns, that everything cornes back to
the same. In this case, the eternal return is only a
hypothesis, a hypothesis that is both banal and terrify-
ing: banal because it corresponds to a natural, animal,
immediate, certitude (that is why, when the eagle and
the serpent try to console him, Zarathustra answers:
you have made of the eternal return a tired refrain,
you have reduced the eternal return to a formula that
is common, aIl too common); 10 terrifying because, if
it is true that everything cornes back, and cornes back
to the same, then small and petty man, nihilism and
reaction, will come back as weIl (that is why Zara-
thustra cries out his great disgust, his great contempt,
and declares that he can not, will not, dares not, say
the eternal return).
What happened when Zarathustra was convales-
cent? Did he simply decide to bear what he couldn't
bear before? He accepts the eternal return; he grasps
its joy. Is this simply a psychological change? Of course
not. It is a change in the understanding and the mean-
ing of the eternal return itself. Zarathustra recognizes
that while he was sick, he had understood nothing of
the eternal: that it is not a cycle, that it is not the
return of the same, nor a return to the same; that it is
not a simple, natural assumption for the use of ani-
maIs or a sad moral pUllishment for the use of men.
(JO
NIFf/SCHE
Zarathustra ul1dnstands the equation "eternal return
= selective Being." How can reaction and nihilism,
how can negation come back, sin ce the eternal return
is the Being that is only said of affirmation, and be-
coming in action? A centrifugaI wheel, "supreme
constellation of Being, that no wish can attain, that no
negation can soi!:' The eternal return is repetition;
but it is the repetition that selects, the repetition that
saves. The prodigious secret of a repetition that is lib-
erating and selecting.
The transmutation thus has a fourth, and final,
dimension: it implies and produces the Overman. In
his human essence, man is a reactive being who com-
bines his forces with nihilism. The eternal return
repels and expels him. The transmutation involves an
essential, radical conversion that is produced in man
but that produces the Overman. The Overman refers
specifically to the gathering of an that can be affirmed,
the superior form of what is, the figure that repre-
sents selective Being, its offspring and subjectivity.
He is thus at the intersection of two genealogies. On
the one hand, he is produced in man, through the in-
termediary of the last man and the man who wants to
die, but beyond them, through a sort of wrenching
apart and transformation of human essence. Yet on
the other hand, although he is produced in man, he is
PURE IMMANENCE
not produced by man: he is the fruit of Dionysus and
Ariadne. Zarathustra himself follows the first genea-
logicalline; he remains thus inferior to Dionysus, whose
prophet or herald he becomes. Zarathustra caUs the
Overman his child, but he has been surpassed by his
child, whose real father is Dionysus. Thus the figures
of the transmutation are complete: Dionysus or affir-
mation; Dionysus-Ariadne, or affirmation doubled;
the eternal return, or affirmation redoubled; the Over-
man, or the figure and the product of the affirmation.
We readers of Nietzsche must avoid four potential
misinterpretations: (1) about the will to power (be-
lieving that the will to power means "wanting to dom-
inate" or "wanting power"); (2) about the strong and
the weak (believing that the most powerful in a social
regime are thereby the strong); (3) about the eternal
return (believing that it is an old idea, borrowed from
the Greeks, the Hindus, the Babylonians ... ; believing
that it is a cycle, or a return of the same, a return to
the same); (4) about the last works (believing that
they are excessive or disqualified by madness).
Dictionary of the Main Characters in
Nietzsche 's Work
Eagle and Serpent: They are Zarathustra's animaIs. The
serpent is coilcd around the caglc's Ileck. Roth thus
1111 1
representthc Ctl'I'I.II )('111111 .L".I 1111,:'. ,1 1 III,!', \\1111111 !I\('
ring, the engagl'llH'1I1 01' IIi(' .11\111<' '''"I,k 1
and Ariadne. Bul IIH'y (('Pl (',';('111 Il III .111 .I111111.1i \\'.Iy,
as an immediate ccrlilll,k ni .1 II.III1I.tI
(What escapes thcm is Il,,, ,'",,('11<'(' "ltll(' !'l''III.II
return, that is, the ('ael Ih.1I il is s .. I('(1 ive, bolh as
thought and as Being.) Thlls tlll'y 11I.lk,' or Ihl' ctcrnal
return a "babbling," a "rerr.lill." Wh.1I 's more: the
uncailed serpent reprcscnls wh.1I is illiolcrable and im-
possible in the eternal rdum whcll il is seen as a nat-
ural certitude according 10 which "everything cornes
back:'
Dankey and Caruel: They are beasts of the desert
(nihilism). They carry loads to the heart of the desert.
The donkey has two flaws: his No is a false no, a no
ofresentment. And moreover, his Yes (Y-A, Y-A) is a
false yeso He thinks that to affirm means ta carry, ta
burden. The donkey is primarily a Christian animal: he
carries the weight of values said to he "superior to
life:' After the death of God, he burdens himself, he
carries the weight of human values, he pur ports to
deal with "the real as it is": he is thus the new god of
the higher men. From beginning to end, the donkey is
the caricature of the hetrayal of Dionysus's Yes; he
affirms, but only the products of nihilism. His long
93
PURE IMMANENCE
ears are also the opposite of the small, round laby-
rinthine ears of Dionysus and Ariadne.
Spider (or Tarantula): It is the spirit of revenge or
resentment. Its power of contagion is its venom. Its
will is a will to punish and to judge. Its weapon is the
thread, the thread of morality. It preaches equality
(that everyone become like it!).
Ariadne and Tbeseus: She is the anima. She was loved
by Theseus and loved him. But that was just when she
hcld the thread and was a bit of a spider, a cold crea-
ture of resentment. Theseus is the hero, a picture of
the higher man. He has an the inferiorities of the
higher man: to carry, to bear, not to know to unhar-
ness, to know nothing of lightness. As long as Ariadne
loves Theseus and is loved by him, her femininity re-
mains imprisoned, tied up by the thread. But wh en
1 )ionysus-the-Bull approaches, she discovers true
,IITirmation and lightness. She becomes an affirma-
tive anima who says Yes to Dionysus. Together they
.IIT the couple of the ctcrnal rcturn and give birth to
the ()yerman, for "it is only when the hero aban-
dOlls his soul that the ()yerman approaches as in a
d re ,1111."
N 11- 1 / ( III
Tbe BtifJoon (Monkcy. /)lFurj: O/' /)('/1/011): Il,' 1.',1111 '.11
icature of Zarathuslr.l. 1 k Ililll. 11111 ,1",11<,111
ness imitates lighllH'ss. Tlllls lit' Il'IlI''';''llh 11\1 ""1,',1
danger for ZarathllslLI: Ill\' 1 ... 11.1)' . .1 "l' ill< .1 .. ,111111
The buffoon is con1clllj)1 bllt 0111 ,,1' I,'sntllill'iti.
He is the spirit or he'\villt'ss. I.ik!' lit'
daims to go bcyond, tu OV('r('OIlH'. 1\111 10 ()\'('nOIII"
means for him eithcr to 1)(' c.IITi('(1 (to dilllb Oll 1I1.1I1's
shoulders, or even on Zarathllstr,I's) or to jlllllP ovn
him. These represent the two possible misrcadings of'
the "Overman:'
Christ (Saint Paul and Buddha): (1) He represents an
essential moment of nihilism: that of bad conscience,
after Judaic resentment. But it is still the same enter-
prise of vengeance and animosity toward life, for
Christian love valorizes only the sick and desolate as-
pects of life. Through his death, Christ seems to be-
come independent of the Jewish God: He becomes
univers al and "cosmopolitan:' But he has only found a
new way of judging life, of universalizing the con-
demnation of life, by internalizing sin (bad consci-
ence). Christ died for us, for our sins! Such at least is
the interpretation of Saint Paul, and it is the one that
has prevailed in the Church and in our history. Christ's
martyrdom is thus opposed to that of Dionysus: in
95
PURE IMMANENCE
the first case, life is judged and must atone; in the sec-
ond, it is sufficiently just in itself to justify every-
thing. "Dionysus against the Crucified:'
(2) But if beneath Paul's interpretation we seek
the personal type that is Christ, we can surmise that
Christ belongs to nihilism in a very different way. He
is kind and joyful, doesn't condemn, is indifferent to
guilt of any kind; he wants only to die; he seeks his
own death. He is thus weIl ahead of Saint Paul, for
he represents the ultimate stage of nihilism: that of
the last man or the man who wants to die - the stage
closest to Dionysian transmutation. Christ is "the most
intcresting of decadents," a sort of Buddha. He en-
ables a transmutation; the synthesis of Dionysus and
Christ is now possible: "Dionysus-Crucified:'
f)ionysus: There are many different aspects of Diony-
sus - in relation to Apollo, in opposition to Socrates,
ill contrast with Christ, in complementarity with
!\riadne.
Fhe Higher Men: They are multiple but exemplify the
cndeavor: after the death of God, to replace
divillc values with human values. They thus represent
1 hl' bccol1ling of culture, or the attcmpt to put man in
Ihl' pl.H'C of Cod. As the principlc of evaluation re-
1111 1 III
mains the S,\III\', III<' Il.111'.111111.1111'11 11.1', 11<>1 1", Il
effected, they 1>l'loII,:', l'IIII\' 1 .. 11111111',111 ,111,1 ,II' ,1 .. ", 1
to Zarathustr.1's hullo"ll 111,111 1" /',11 ,il 1111',1 1 ,1 111111'" Il
They are "faikd," ,111.1 1',11"\\ Il,,1 11<'\\ 1 ..
laugh, to play, 10 d.III('('. III l'',:',it,d Illt'll
parade goes as follows:
1. The Last POfle: 1 le IUIOWS 111.ti (;"d i,s d(,,,d hui
believes that God sul'l'o(',i!('(1 hiIIIS(·II', "ul 01 pit y, 1)('
cause he could no IOllger sLlIlIl his lov,' l'()I' 1))('11. Th('
last pope has becol11c lll.lstlT-kss, yd IlC is Ilot l'l'CC;
he lives on his mcmories.
2. The Two Kings: They reprcsent the movement
of the "morality of mores," which seeks to train and
form men, to create free men through the most vio-
lent and restrictive means. Thus there are two kings:
one on the left for the means, one on the right for the
ends. But before, as weIl as after, the death of God,
for the means as for the ends, the morality of mores
itself degenerates, trains and selects the wrong way,
falls in favor of the rabble (triumph of the slaves). The
two kings are the ones who bring in the donkey so
that the higher men will turn into their new god.
3. The Ugliest 1 Men: He is the one who killed
God, for he could no longer tolerate his pity. But he is
still the old man, uglier yet: instead of the bad con-
science of a god who died for him, he experiences the
97
PURE IMMANENCE
bad conscience of a god who died because of him;
instead of feeling God's pit y, he feels man's pit y, the
pit Y of the rabble, which is even more unbearable. He
is the one who leads the litany of the donkey and en-
courages the false Yeso
4. The Man with the Leech: He wants to replace
divine values, religion, and even morality with knowl-
edge. Knowledge must be scientific, exact, incisive,
whether its object be big or small; the exact knowl-
edge of the smallest thing will replace our belief in
"grand," vague values. That is why this man gives his
arm to the leech and gives himself the task and the
ideal of knowing a very small thing: the brain of the
leech (without going back to first causes). But the
man with the leech doesn't know that knowledge is
the leech itself and that it acts as a relay for morality
and religion by pursuing the very same goals: cutting
up life, mutilating and judging life.
5. The Voluntary Beggar: He has given up on
knowlcdge. He believes only in hum an happiness; he
sccks happiness on earth. But hum an happiness, dull as
il lll.\y be, cannot be found among the rabble, moti-
y,ltcd as it is by resentment and bad conscience.
IltlInan happiness can only bc found among cows.
6. nlC Sorccrer: He is the man of bad conscience,
who pcrsists under the rcign of God as weIl as aftcr
NIETZSCHE
his death. Bad conscience is fundamentally a come-
dian, an exhibitionist. It plays every role, even that of
the atheist, even that of the poet, even that of Ari-
adne. But it always lies and recriminates. When it says
"it's my fault," it wants to incite pit y, inspire guilt,
even in those who are strong; it wants to shame every-
thing that is alive, to propagate its venom. "Your
complaint is a decoy!"
7. The Wandering Shadow: 1t is the enterprise of
culture that has sought everywhere to accomplish the
same goal (to free men, select and train them): under
the reign of God, after his death, in knowledge, in
happiness, and so on. Everywhere it has failed, for this
goal is itself a shadow. This goal, higher man, is also a
failure. 1t is the shadow of Zarathustra, nothing but
his shadow, who follows him everywhere but disap-
pears at the two important moments of the transmu-
tation: noon and midnight.
8. The Soothsayer: He says "aIl is vain." He an-
nounces the last stage of nihilism: the moment when
man, having measured the vanity of his effort to re-
place God, preferred not to wish at aIl rather than to
wish for nothing. The soothsayer thus announces the
last man. Prefiguring the end of nihilism, he goes fur-
ther than the higher men. But what escapes him is
what is beyond even the last man: the man who wants
99
PURE IMMANENCE
ta die, the man who wants his own end. It is with him
that nihilism truly cornes to an end, defeats itself:
transmutation and the Overman are near.
Zarathustra and the Lion: Zarathustra is not Dionysus,
but only his prophet. There are two ways of express-
ing this subordination. One could first say that Zara-
thustra remains at No, though this No is no longer
that of nihilism: it is the sacred No of the Lion. It is
the destruction of aIl established values, divine and
human, that constituted nihilism. It is the trans-nihilist
No inherent to the transmutation. Thus Zarathustra
seems to have completed his task when he sinks his
hands into the mane of the Lion. But in truth, Zara-
thustra doesn't remain at No, even the sacred and
transmutative No. He full y participates in Dionysian
affirmation; he is already the idea of this affirmation,
the idea of Dionysus. Just as Dionysus is engaged to
Ariadne in the eternal return, Zarathustra finds his
fiancée in the eternal return. Just as Dionysus is the
/'ather of the Overman, Zarathustra calls the Over-
man his child. N onetheless, Zarathustra is overtaken
by his own children and is only the pretender to, not
the constitutive clement of, the ring of the eternal
rl'turil. He docsn't so much producc the ()yerman as
CIlSUIT this productioll within man, by crcating all the
100
1111 1 1 III
conditions ill ,,111111 111.111 0\('1 ('ollles himself and is
overcome ,111<1 ill ,,111,11 i/w 1.1011 IlCcomes Child.
NOTES
1. "Why 11\111 ,')0 W,·,,· ... l, ill 1:((( Homo.
2. In 1 ~ 7 h , Ni,·I!."I,,· Il.,,1 1'){)I'0sed to a younger woman
through his J'ri(,l1.1 1111.1'." 1011 S(,lIgn, who cventually married her.
3. Lou Andre.ls S.doll"'" Friedrich Nietzsche (Vienna: C. Ko-
negen, 1894),
4. About Nidzsclll''s illn('ss, sec Erich Friedrich Podach's
TheMadness?j'Nic//sc!.e (N('.w York: Putnam, 1931).
5. After 1950, (h(' 1ll,1Iluscripts were taken to the former
building of thc Goethe-Schiller Archiv in Weimar.
6. "Schopenhauer as Educator," vol. 3 of Untimely Medita-
tions.
7. "The Madman," Gay Science, book III, 125, is sometimes
quoted as the first major version of the death of God. This is not
the case: in The Wanderer and His Shadow, there is a wonderful
tale called "The Prisoners." This text resonates mysteriously
with Franz Kafka.
8. This distinction between the last man and the man who
wants to die is fundamental in Nietzsche's philosophy: in Zara-
th ustra , for example, compare the prediction of the soothsayer
("The Soothsayer," book II) with the cali of Zarathustra (Pro-
logue,4 and 5).
lOI
PURE IMMANENCE
9. See "Why 1 Am a Fatality," 3, in Ecce Homo. In fact, it is
unlikely that the idea of the eternal return had ever been enter-
tained in the ancient world. Greek thought as a whole was reti-
cent on this theme: see Charles Mugler, Deux Thèmes de la cos-
mologie grècque: Devenir cyclique et pluralité des mondes (Paris:
Klincksieck, 1953). Specialists admit that the same is true of Chi-
nese, Indian, Iranian, and Babylonian thought. The opposition
between a circular time of the ancients and a linear time of the
moderns is facile and incorrect. In al! respects, we can, with
Nietzsche, consider the eternal return a Nietzschean discovery,
though with ancient premises.
10. "The Convalescent," 2, in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, book
III.
JO}

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Broadway, Suite 608 New York, NY 10012
611

Contents

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N"·//,,IIC

Introduction by John Rajchman
Immanence: A Life
II
25

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origillally published © 1965 PUE

Hume

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La Philosophie: De Galilée à Jean-

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III

Nietzsche

53

1"'"11"<1 in Ihe United States of America. 1hSlrih"led hy The MIT Press, (·.,",hridge, Massachusetts, and London, Englalld 1 ihr.,ry 01" (:ollgress CataIoging-in-Publicatioll Data 1>cI..,m·,(;ilIt-s. Il'ss.,ys. l'nglish. Selectionsl
PIIlT illllH,\lH'Il(,C: CS!'i.lyS 011 a life / Gilles Deleuze; with an illl'o.],,('(ioll by John Rajdllllan; lrallslalcd hy Anne Boyman.

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Introduction
John Rajchman

Gilles Deleuze was an empiricist, a logician. That was the source of his lightness, his humor, his naïveté, his practice of philosophy as "a sort of art brut" - "1 never broke with a kind of empiricism that proceeds to a direct exposition of concepts." 1 1t is a shame to present him as a metaphysician and nature mystic. Even in A.N. Whitehead, he admired a "pluralist empiricism" that he found in another way in Michel Foucault - an empiricism of "multiplicities" that says "the abstract doesn't explain, but must itselfbe explained:'2 lndeed, it was through his logic and his empiricism that Deleuze found his way out of the impasses of the two dominant philosophical schools of his generation, phenomenological and analytic, and elaborated a new conception of sense, neither hermeneutic nor Fregean. 3 He tried to introduce empiricism into his
7

PURE

IMMANENCE

INTRO DUCTION

very image of thought, and saw the philosopher as an experimentalist and diagnostician, not as a judge, even of a mysticallaw. " ... We will speak of a transcendental empiricism in contrast to everything that makes up the world of the subject and the object" he would thus reiterate in the essay that opens this volume. Transcendental empiricism had been Deleuze's way out of the difficulties introduced by Kant and continued in the phenomeIlOlogical search for an Urdoxa - the difficulties of "1 r,lIlsccndental-empirical doubling" and the "traps of (olls{'iousness:' But what does such empiricism have 10 do with the two ide as the essay's title joins together ".1 lire" and "immanence"? Wc lI1ay think of a life as an empiricist concept in (0111 r.lsi to what John Locke called "the self:' 4 A life b.iS (I"ite different features than those Locke associ.lll'd with the self- consciousness, memory, and persOIl,d idcntity. It unfolds according to another logic: a logie or impcrsonal individuation rather than persOllal individualization, of singularities rather than !l,lI't ieu britics. lt can never be completely specified. It is ,1Iw,lYS inddïnite - a life. It is only a "virtuality" in Ihe lire of the corresponding individu al that can somelillll'S ('llIcrge in the st range intcrval bcforc dcath. In short, ill (,olllr,lst (0 the self, a lifc is "impersonal and

yet singular," and so requires a "wilder" sort of empiricism - a transcendental empiricism. From the start Deleuze sought a conception of empiricism that departs from the classical definition that says that all our ide as can be derived from atomistic sensations through a logic of abstraction and generalization. The real problem of empiricism is rather to be found in a new conception of subjectivity that acquires its full force in Hume, and goes beyond his "associationism" - the problem of a life. A life involves a different "synthesis of the sensible" than the kind that makes possible the conscious self or person. Sensation has a peculiar role in it, and Deleuze talked of a "being of sensation" quite unlike individual sense data waiting to be inserted into a categorical or discursive synthesis providing the unit y of their manifold for an "1 think:' The being of sensation is what can only be sensed, since there precisely pre-exists no categorical unit y, no sensus communis for it. At once more material and less divisible than sense data, it requires a synthesis of another, non-categorical sort, found in artworks, for example. Indeed Deleuze came to think that artworks just are sensations connected in materials in su ch a way as to free aisthesis from the assumptions of the sort of "common sense" that for Kant is supposed by the "1 think" or the "1 judge:' Through affect and
9

PURE

IMMANENCI

INTRODUCTION

percept, artworks hit upon something singular yet impersonal in our bodies and brains, irreducible to any pre-existent "we:' The "coloring sensations" that Maurice Merleau-Ponty saw in Cézanne are examples of su ch a spatializing logic of sensation, no longer dominated by classical subject-object relations. But we must push the question of sensation beyond the phenomenological anchoring of a subject in a landscape, for example, in the way Deleuze thinks cinema introduces movement into image, allowing for a distinctive colorism in Jean-Luc Godard. 5 There is still a kind of sensualist pi et y in Merleau-Ponty - what he called "the flesh" is only the "thermometer of a becoming" given through "asymmetrical syntheses of the sensible" that depart from good form or Gestalt. Such syntheses then require an exercise of thought, which, unlike the syntheses of the self or consciousIless, involve a sort of dissolution of the ego. lndeed what Deleuze isolates as "cinema" from the fitful history of filmmaking is in effect nothing other than a multifaceted exploration of this other act of thinking, this other empiricism. In such cases, sensation is synthesized according to a peculiar logic - a logic of multiplicity that is neither dialcctical nor transcendental, prior not simply to the world of subjcct and ohjcct, but also to the logical
10

connections of subject and predicate and the sets and functions that Gottlob Frege proposed to substitute for them. lt is a logic of an AND prior and irreducible to the IS of predications, which Deleuze first finds in David Hume: "Think witb AND instead ofthinking IS, instead of thinkingJor IS: empiricism has never had another secree'6 It is a constructivist logic of unfinished series rather than a calculus of distinct, countable collections; and it is governed by conventions and problematizations, not axioms and fixed rules of inference. Its sense is inseparable from play, artifice, fiction, as, for example, in the case of Lewis Carroll's "intensive surfaces" for a world that has lost the conventions of its Euclidean skin. Transcendental empiricism may then be said to be the experimental relation we have to that element in sensation that precedes the self as weIl as any "we," through which is attained, in the materiality of living, the powers of "a

life:'
In Stoic logic, Deleuze finds a predecessor for such a view. But, at the end of the nineteenth century, it is Henri Bergson and William James who offer us a better philosophical guide to it than do either Husserl or Frege. lndeed, at one point Deleuze remarks that the very idea of a "plane of immanence" requires a kind of "radical empiricism" - an empiricism whose force
Il

through habit.rt of nature . is in fact not given. mind or matter.tt t!tey supposc. and the question then is: can we construct an empiricist or experimental relation to the persistence of this zone or plane of presubjective delirium and pre-individual singularity in our lives and in our relations with others? Immanence and a life thus suppose one another.\ PURE IMMANENCe INTRODUCTION " . begins from the moment it defines the subject: a habitus. Wc' COIllC to believe. and it is as this artifice that the self becomes l'ully p. nothing more than a habit in a field of immanence.(' 1fis ncither what the French caIlle moi or le je . departing from Locke on the ques1ion of personal identity. given that it is born of " .111<1 divcrsity into our philosophical conception of Olll. 8 Rather it is defined by individu al "owner\hip" (l1~self'Jourself) and sameness over time (iden1il y). a sort of incorrigible illusion of livillg. Unlike the life of an individual. While Deleuze shared with his French contemporaries a suspicion about a constituting subject or consciousness. indifference"9. In Locke's conception.our nature. Deleuze would find it in Bergson and Nietzsche. in Hume he found a new empiricist way out of it. . That is the subject of Deleuze's youthful Memoire. Hume who redirects the problem of empiricism toward the new questions that would be elaborated by Bergson and Nietzsche.. it is Hume who poses su ch questions.\clvcs. one concerned with what is singular yet "in -human" in the composition of ourselves. un -conscious and no longer enclosed within a personal identity.11l those of the hahits of the self alld the "human Il.'.lIule'' t!J. this possession. For immanence is pure only when it is not immanent to a prior subject or object. What the young Deleuze found singular in 11111I](''s cmpiricism is then the ide a that this self. who imagined a "free difference" in living.the 1 () 1 t he me. neither innate nor acquired. The real problem dramatized in Hume's humorous picture of the self as incorrigible illusion is how our lives ever acquire the consistency of an enduring self. chance..11' is oilly a fiction or artifice in which.\\. it is always yet "in the making". only when. A IlCW or "supcrior empiri- cism" becomes possible. a life is thus necessarily vague . \'ocke thus introduces the problem of identity . which he urged against phenomenology and its tendency to reintroduce a transcendental ego or a material a priori. a habit.J. the habit of saying 1:'7 Among the classical empiricists. this pnSOll. and "a life" is a potential or virtuality subsisting in just such a purely immanent plane. Indeed the . He sees Hume as connecting empiricism and subjectivity in a new way. Hume thus opens up l!Je question of other ways of composing sensations t!J.. delirium. the .

That is precisely what Charles Dickens's tale shows . becomes nothing more than an evolving jurisprudential convention.only through a process of "im-personalization" in the interval between life and death does the hero become our "common friend:' It is also what Deleuze brings out in Hume: the new questions of empiricism and suhjectivity discovcr their full force only in Hume's 14 social thought. We thus have the singularity of what Spinoza already termed "a singular essence. it involves a temporality that is always starting up again in the midst. an element in experience that cornes before the determination of subject and sense. for example. It is vague in the Peircian sense that the real is itself indeterminate or anexact. Shown through a "diagram" that one constructs to move about more freely rather than a space defined by an a priori "scheme" into which one inserts oneself. There is." and of what makes the Freudian unconscious singular. How then can we make such pre-individual singularities coincide in space and time. a stomach. We thus each have the pre-predicative vagueness of Adam in Paradise that Leibniz envisaged in his letters to Arnauld. only in this way can we escape the violence toward others inherent in the formation of our social identities or the problem of our "partialities:' Hume thus prepares the way for a view of society not as contract but as experimentexperiment with what in life is prior to both possessive individuals and traditional social wholes. beyond the limitations of our capacities to measure it. Deleuze tries to show that what characterizes the "modern work" is not self-reference but precisely the attempt to introduce such difference into the very idea of sensation. Property. and relations with others based not in identification or recognition. and this indefiniteness is real. etc). we each have what Deleuze caUs a body (a mouth.\ PURE IMMANENCE INTRODUCTION or indefinite. Hume elaborates an original picture of convention that allows for an "attunement" of the passions prior to the identities of reason.where what is common is "impersonal" and what is "impersonal" is common. each of us possessed of a peculiar "complex" unfolding through the time of our lives. lO We are always quelconquewe are and remain "anybodies" before we become "somebodies:' Underneath the identity of our bodies or organisms. In the place of the dominant idea of a social contract among already given selves or subjects. and what is the space and time that includes them? We need a new conception of society in which what we have in common is our singularities and not our individualities . in short. but encounter and new compositions. In Difference and Repetition. discovering syntheses prior to the 15 .

We thus arrive at an original view of the problem of nihilism in Nietzsche as that partiaIly physiological condition in which such belief in the world is lost. or. cornes th e h erome w h 0 says " " ra th er th an " no " yes yes to what is "outside" our given determinations or identities. Oedipus. but whether we need the idea of God in order to exist. on the contrary. aIl-too-German hero is that even if God is dead. the believer or the nonbeliever.a sort of great laboratory for a higher empiricism. but... who preserves her identification with her dead father. Ariadne be. She thus points to an empiricist way out of the impasses of nihilisrn. "11 But to assume this role Ariadne must herself undergo a transformation. Nietzsche introduces a conception 17 ." "the individual. in the terms of Pascal's wager. Nietzsche's Ariadne figures as the dramatic heroine or conceptual persona: " .the key to Deleuze' s subtle view of Nietzsche. found the idea of chance to be quite meaningICSS.. To think is not to be certain. one still believes in "the subject. of dance and lightness .. Hume suggests that God as weIl as the self be regarded as a fiction required by our nature." "human nature:' Abandoned by Theseus. In fact it is a problem that goes back to Hume. in connecting belief and probability. to believe where we cannot know for sure. In his Dialogues on Natural Religion (which Deleuze counts as the only genuine dialogue in the history of philosophy). a "becoming:' She must hang herself with the famous thread her father gave her to help the hero Theseus escape from the labyrinth. who. she remains a "cold creature of resentment:' Such is her mystery . through a defiant "pure negation" that can no longer be reabsorbed in Creon's city. For the problem with Theseus becoming a German. She bec ornes a heroine not of mourning but of the breath and plasticity of life. transcendental empiricism or science of the sensible . The problem of religion is then no longer whether God exists. Of this experience or experiment. the new questions of belief and probable inference. 12 By contrast. The work of art leaves the domain of representation to become 'experience. approaching Dionysius. For tied up with the thread. The force of her femininity is thus unlike that of Antigone. For it is Hume who substitutes for the Cartesian problem of certainty and doubt.PURE IMMANENCE INTRODUCTION identities of figure and perception . who has the better mode of existence. Ariadne introduces instead a belief in the world and in the potentials of a life. (Ariadne has hung herself).of the light Earth of which Zarathustra says that it must be approached in many ways. since the way does not exist. It is here that Deleuze thinks Nietzsche goes beyond Hume.

abrupt in their transitions and endings.a's parables or the aphorisms Nietzsche likened to shouting from one Alpine peak to another . chance. after World War II. its players. indifference" out of which the habits of self are formed and from which the potentials of a life take off. has been lost. "Yes.one must condense and distill one's message. however. the task of a mode of existence to be discovcred on our plane of immanence today:'1î AltllOugh the tluce cssays in this volume each take up this question. and so he extends the question ofbelief to the plane of" delirium. has become our most dilTicult task. was Deleuze's last. Nihilism is then the state in which the belief in the potentials of a life. the image of a "superior empiricism" accompanies aU these attempts. Indeed that is just why the problem has changed. Deleuze caUs this way out of nihilism an "empirici st conversion.\ PURE IMMANENCE INTRODUCTION of chance as distinct from probability into the very experience of thought and the way the "game of thought" is played (its rules.it gains a pcculiar urgency. of a bottle thrown into the sea of communication. For it is in the idea of communication that Deleuze came to think philosophy confronts a new and most insolent rival. in which Deleuze takes up again the many paths and trajectories composing his work. when Deleuze tried to extract a new image of thought from the many different strata of the philosophical tradition. and so rethink the relation of thought to life. in this life. and so of chance and disparity in the world. Conversely. invoked by Deleuze. they in fact come from different junctures in Deleuze's journey. these essays are short. It is to say yes (0 what is singular yet impersonal in living. It cornes from a late phase of "clinical" essays." and in his last writing.15 19 . often humorous. caUing for a fresh "empiricist conversion" and a Kunstwollen or a "becomingart" of the sort he imagined the art of cinema had offered us in the rather different circumstances of uncertainty following World War II. as Ariadne becomes light. what she affirms is that to think is not to be certain nor yet to calculate probabilities. and for (hat one must believe in the world and not in the fictions of God or the self that Hume thought derived l'rom it. They have something of Franz Kafk. as with Adorno's image. The first or lead essay. He asks what it means to think that the world is always ma king itself while God is calculating. the problem has changed" he declarcs in What is Philosophy? "It may be that to bclieve in this world. sorne leading to "impasses closed off by illness:'14 Vital. The essays on Hume and Nietzsche are from a first phase. such that his calculations never come out right. its aims).

. Identité et différence (Paris: Seuil.. In the place of artificial intelligence.as it were. vii.PURE IMMANENCE INTRODUCTION Written in a strange interval before his own death.. In this way. Her Pour une histoire de la logique (Paris: PUF. See his introduction to John Locke. the brain as materiality of "a life" yet to be invented. a life" has been regarded as a kind of testament. 1992). 2." we sense not only this new problem and this new urgency. p. 4."II. that is. a life. Claude Imbert examines "why and how an empiricist philosopher. it thus expands on her earlier work Phenomenologies et langues formulaires (Paris: PUF. in which she closely examines the internaI difficulties in the phenomenological and analytic traditions leading to the late Merleau-Ponty and Wittgenstein. prior and irreducible to consciousness olS well as machines. 1990). became aIl the more interested in logic" (Unpublished MS). 1987).. In his last writing. one needed to construct a new picture of the brain as a "relatively undifferentiated matter" into which thinking and art might int roduce new connections that didn't preexist them . NOTES 1. pp. 83ff. Pourparlers (Paris: Minuit. Dialogues (New York: Columbia University Press. Etienne Balibar makes a detailed case for Locke rather than Descartes as the inventor of the philosophical concept of consciousness and the self. for Deleuze's account of why Bergson offers a "cinematic" way out of the crisis in psychology in the nineteenth century that contrasts with Husserl and the subsequent focus on painting in 10 21 . See L'Image-mouvement (Paris: Minuit. as Deleuze certainly was. "Immanence . "Immanence . What is clear is that Deleuze took its "last message" to occur at a time of renewed difficulty and possibility for philosophy. a pluralist:' 3. 122. one needed to again introduce movement into thought rather than trying to find universals of information or communi cation .it puts it in the service of a pure immanence. incredible voyage in which Deleuze kept alive the singular image of thought which has the naïveté and the strcngth to believe that "philosophy brings about a vast deviation of wisdom . 1998). Imbert offers a more promising approach to the problem of the relation of Deleuzian multiplicity to set theory than does Alain Badiou in his odd attempt to recast it along Lacanian lines. 1999) may be read as an attempt to imagine what a history oflogic might look like from this peculiar empiricist point of view. 1983). p. but also the force of the long. following the declaration "1 have always felt that 1 am an empiricist.in particular into the very image of the brain and contemporary neuroscience. 5. As with Bergson.

36lff. of which it is quest ion throughout D!fJerence and Repetition. 138ff. 1990). Qy 'est-ce que la philosophie?. 1953). in Différence et répétition. p. Critique et clinique (Paris: Minuit. 9. 1968).. p. side of Adam. 1977). 1985).PURE IMMANENCE INTRODUCTION phenomenology. Balibar tries to sort out the philosophical implications of such terminological differences in his entry "Je/moi/soi" for Vocabulaire européen des philosophies (Paris: Seuil. pp. in terms of the transformations of the game of thought. however. 11. from a singularity . 141-42). p. 1969). while the Lockl'an self starts another min or tradition that leads past Kant to James and Bergson. 2001). 6.. p. rhythmic coexistence of radically heterogeneous and temporally dispersed elements. 46. in fact cornes into philosophical French Vi. He sees the problem of the 1 and the Me as deriving li"om a Kantian recasting of Descartes's cogito. Hacking's "untamed" chance is akin to the "nomadic" chance that Deleuze discusses. pp.. Empirisme et subjectivité (Paris: PUF. out of a pre-individu al transcendental field. The prohlem of "vague Adam" is then put in these terms: " . Dialogues. 13..l Locke. 79. MA: MIT Press. 72-73. the individual is always quelconque (anyone). :' 16.instead of holding together the contents of the perceived world. "Only belief in the world can reconnect man to what he sees and hears . for example. 49. according to Etienne Balibar. Sce Logique du sens (Paris: Minuit. 297). 1999). See L'image-temps (Paris: Minuit. . Qy'est-ce que la philosophie?. 10. p." (pp. to give us back belief in the world . 10." which " . The Taming if Chance (New York: Cambridge University Press. seeks to enter into its ceaseless movements of destabilization" (p.. On the contra st between Hume and both Peirce and Nietzsche on this score see lan Hacking. 4. born like Eve from a 2) 22 .. 12. Qy'est-ce que la philosophie? (Paris: Minuit. 1993). 8. the self is le soi. 223ff. pp. In the late Cézanne. D!fJérence et répétition (Paris: PUF..such is the power of modern cinema . Paul Patton translates le je and le moi. 57. he finds a more Bergsonian synthesis. which. self:' Strictly speaking. its inventor. a " .. 7. Jonathan Crary goes on to show how this analysis may be extended to painting. In his Suspensions tif Perception (Cambridge. as yet unavailable to Manet or Seurat. p... pp. 14. as "the 1" and "the 15..

rather. a qualitative duration of consciousness without a self. as increase or decrease in power (virtual quantity). for sensation is only a break within the flow of absolute consciousness.CHAPT ER ONE Immanence: A Life What is a transcendental field? It can be distinguished from experience in that it doesn't refer to an object or belong to a subject (empirical representation). It may seem curious that the transcendental be defined by such immediate givens: we will speak of a transcendent al empiricism in contra st to everything that makes up the world of the subject and the object. Must 2') . the passage from one to the other as becoming. however close two sensations may be. It is. There is something wild and powerful in this transc endentaI empiricism that is of course not the element of sensation (simple empiricism). a pre-reflexive impersonal consciousness. It appears therefore as a pure stream of a-subjective consciousness.

Whcn the subject or the object falling outside the plane of immanence is taken as a universal subject or as any object ta which immanence is attributed. In Spinoza. That is why the transcendental field cannot be defined by the consciousness that is coextensive with it. It is not immanence to life. The transcendent is not the transcendental. only when it is rdlccted on a subject that refers it to objects. It is to the degree that he goes beyond the aporias of the subject and the object that Johann Fichte. in his la st philosophy. in fact. because it c1udes aIl transcendence of the subject and of the ohjcct. Were it l10t for consciousness. 3 The transcendentai field then becomes a gen- 27 . but the immanent that is in nothing is itself a life. as a movement that neither begins nor ends? (Even Spinoza's conception of this passage or quantity of power still appeals to consciousness. but removed l'rom any revelation. 2 Absolute immanence is in itself: it is not in something. substance and IllOdcs are in immanence. A life is the immanence of immanence. both being outside the field and appearing as "transcendents:' Conversely. We will say of pure immanence that it is A LIFE. presents the transcendental field as a life. ta something.it is an absolute immediate consciousness whose very activity no longer refers to a being but is ceaselessly posed in a life.\ PURE IMMANENCE IMMANENCE: A LIFE we then define the transcendental field by a pure immediate consciousness with neither object nor self. nothing is able (() reveal it. rather. Immanence is not related to Sorne Thing as a unit y superior to an things or to a Subject as an act that brings about a synthe sis of things: it is only when immanence is no longer immanence to anything other than itself that we can speak of a plane of immanence. No more than the transcendental field is defined by consciousness can the plane of immanence be defined by a subject or an object that is able to contain it. for it then sim ply redoubles the empirical (as with Kant).' It is expressed. Consciousness becomes a fact only when a subject is produced at the same time as its object. immanence is Ilot immanence ta substance. as long as consciousness traverses the transcendental field at an infinite speed everywhere diffused. for it then finds itself enclosed in the transcendent. absolute immanence: it is complete power. the transcendent al is entirely denatured.) But the relation of the transcendental field to consciousness is only a conceptual one. and immanence is distorted. and nothing eise. no longer dependent on a Being or submitted to an Act . it do es not depend on an ohjcct or bdong to a subject. complete bliss. the transcendental field would be defined as a pure plane of immanence.

an absolute immanent life? The transcendental field is defined by a plane of immanence. it doesn't just come about or come after but offers the immensity of an empty time where one sees the event yet to come and already happened. 4 The lil'e of the individual . held in contempt by nnyone. A singular essence. that is. if we take 1he indefinite article as an index of the transcenden1. for it was only the subject that incarnated it in the midst of things that made it good or bad. But to the degree that he (omes back to life. between-moments.PURE IMMANENCE IMMANENCE: A LIFE uine plane of immanence that reintroduces Spinozism into the heart of the philosophical process. respect.lIld sweet penetrating him. Alexander Lernet-Holenia places the event in an in-between time that could engulf entire armies. is found as he lies dying. The singularities and the events that constitute a life coexist with the accidents of the life that corresponds to it. for his slightest sign of life.IIH\ his death. in the absolute of an immediate consciousness. This indefinite life does not itself have moments. But we shouldn't enclose life in the single moment when individual life confronts universal death. Everybody bustles . In his novels. The life of such individuality fades away in favor of the singular life immanent to a man who no longer has a name. in aH the moments that a given living subject goes through and that are measured by given lived objects: an immanent life carrying with it the events or singularities that are merely actualized in subjects and objects. this wicked man himself senses something soft . to the point where.d)out to save him.l'. and he be(Ornes once again mean and crude. and the plane of immanence by a life.. there is a moment that is only that of d lil'e playing with death.. even love. Did Maine de Biran not go through something similar in his "last philosophy" (the one he was too tired to bring to fruition) when he discovered.11 and cxtcrnallil'e. his saviors turn colder.lking care ofhim manifest an eagerness. beyond good and evil. A disreputable man. A life is everywhere.. It is a haecceity no longer of individuation but of singularization: a life of pure immanence. in his deepest ('C nna. beneath the transcendence of effort. a rogue. those 1. though he can be mistaken for no other. l'rom the subjectivity and ol'jcctivity or what happens: a "Homo tantum" with whom everyone empathizes and who attains a sort of beatitude.ives way to an impersonal and yet singular life that rdC. a life .11. Suddenly. but they . but only between-times. What is immanence? A life . Between his life . No one has described what a life is better than Charles Dickens. close as they may be one to another.lSCS a pure event l'reed From the accidents of interIl. neutral..

a gesture. to the degree that they constitute the elements of a transcendental field (individual life. just as the plane of immanence gives virtual events their full reality. But however inseparable an object and a subject may be from their actualization. Events or singularities give to the plane aH their virtuality. One is always the index of a multiplicity: an event.. 5 Transcendence is always a product of immanence. what amounts to the same thing. a funny facenot subjective qualities. a singularity. The indefinite aspects in a life lose aH indetermination to the degree that they fill out a plane of immanence or. but it is itself a pure virtuality on the plane of immanence that leads us into a life. The indefinite article is the indetermination of the person only because it is determination of the singular. It suffices to put it in relation to its concomitants: a transcendental field. A wound is incarnated or actualized in a state of things or of life. The immanent event is actualized in a state of things and of the lived that make it happen. a plane of immanence. events. without any other concomitant that individualizes it. The event considered as non-actualized (indefinite) is lacking in nothing. They connect with one another in a manner entirely different from how individuals connect. but they have singularities: a smile. on the other hand. or that attributes immanence to itself. SmaU children. are infused with an immanent life that is pure power and even bliss. so long as the events that populate it are virtualities. A life contains only virtuals. very small children aU resemble one another and have hardly any individuality. a lif'c . What we calI virtual is not something that lacks reality but something that is engaged in a process of actualization following the plane that gives it its particular reality. aIl transcendence is constituted solely in the flow of immanent consciousness that belongs to this plane. My wound existed before me: not . It is made up of virtualities. For example. The One is not the transcendent that might contain immanence but the immanent containcd within a transcendent al field. It even seems that a singular life might do without any individuality. remains inseparable from empirical determinations).. The indefinite as such is the mark not of an empirical indetermination but of a determination by immanence or a transcendental determinability. singularities. Although it is always possible to invoke a tran- scendent that falls outside the plane of immanence. a life. through aU their sufferings and weaknesses. The plane of immanence is itself actualized in an object and a subject to which it attributes itself. singularities.PURE IMMANENCE IMMANENCE: A LIFE are neither grouped nor divided in the same way. the plane of immanence is itself virtual.

1947]. 1966]. "Le Flux intensif de la conscience chez William James. 52). and remains necessarily transcendent to it. immanent: with respect to it. 4. had it passed unopposed. p. " (Méditations cartésiennes [Paris: Vrin. . Cf. Even Edmund Husserl admits this: "The being of the world is necessarily transcendent to consciousness. But this doesn't change the fact that ail transcendence is constituted solely in the l!fe if consciousness. Jean-Paul Sartre...PURE IMMANENCE IMMANENCE: A LIFE a transcendence of the wound as higher actuality. pp." Philosophie 46 (June 1995). not a being. 36).6 There is a big difference between the virtuals that define the immanence of the transcendental field and the possible forms that actualize them and transform them into something transcendent. p. 6. who posits a transcendental field without a subject that refers to a consciousness that is impersonal. see David Lapoujade's analysis. 1955). p. 443. 1989). NOTES This will be the starting point of Sartre's text. Dickens. 274). as inseparably linked to that life . 1. "As though we reflected back to surfaces the light which emanates from them. absolute. 1964]. would never have been revealed" (Henri Bergson. Joë Bousquet. Already in the second introduction to La Doctrine de la science: "The intuition of pure activity which is nothing fixed. and Martial Guéroult's commentary (p. but a life" (Oeuvres choisies de la philosophie première [Paris: Vrin. On the concept of life according to Fichte. 5. 3. even within the originary evidence. p. Les Capitales (Paris: Le Cercle du Livre. the light which. 9). but its immanence as a virtuality always within a milieu (plane or field). On James. Our Mutual Friend (New York: Oxford University Press. but progress. 1988]. 1944). see Initiation à la vie bienheureuse (Paris: Aubier. the subject and the object are "transcendents" (La transcendance de l'Ego [Paris: Vrin. 74-87). Matter and Memory [New York: Zone Books. 2. Cf.

ourselves. It has defined empiricism as the reverse of rationalism: 1s there or is there not in ideas something that is not in the senses or the sensible? It has made of empiricism a critique of innateness. Hume's position is therefore quite peculiar. but also the presentiment that this world is already ours. and thosc creatures. A paraUel conversion of science or thcory Collows: theory becomes an inquiry l'l . one has the impression of a fictive. foreign world. As in science fiction. of the a priori. more or less digested. But empiricism has always harbored other secrets. empiricism.CHAPT ER Two Hume The Meaning of Empiricism The history of philosophy has more or less absorbed. seen by other creatures. And it is they that David Hume pushes the furthest and fully illuminates in his extremely difficult and subtle work. His empiricism is a sort of science-fiction universe avant la lettre.

The Nature of Relations Hume's originality .PURE IMMANENCE HUME (the origin of this conception is in Francis Bacon. or to Paul. or to their concept. or to the 1dea in which they participate? How can we overcome the irreducible exteriority of relations? Empiricism had always fought for the exteriority of relations. Hume effects an inversion that would take empiricism to a higher power: if ide as contain nothing other and nothing more than what is contained in sens ory impressions. of politics.impressions . according to which everything finds its origin in the sensible and in the operations of the mind upon the sensible. does a javelin thrown against the do or sulTicc.or one of Hume's originalitiescornes l'rom the force with which he asserts that relations are external to their terms. We can understand such a thesis only in contrast to the entire endeavor of philosophy as rationalism and its attempt to reduce the paradox of relations: either by finding a way of making relations internaI to their own terms or by fin ding a deeper and more comprehensive term to which the relation would itself be internaL "Peter is smaller than Paul": How can we make of this relation something internaI to Peter. it is precisely because relations are extcrnal and hcterogeneous to their terms . whereas in painting. or to the whole they form. The manuals of the history of philosophy misunderstand what they caU "associationism" when they see it as a theory in the ordiIl. a study of the conditions oflegitimacy of practices in this empirical world that is in fact our own. IJuIIle l'aises unexpected questions that seem nevertlH'kss l'amiliar: To establish possession of an abandOllcc! city.1ry sense of the term and as an inverted rationalism. that completely changes the nature of philosophical reflection. a practice of law. which is to say. a practice: a practice of the seemingly fictive world that empiricism describes. its position on this remained obscured by the problem of the origin of knowledge or of ideas. Science or the ory is an inquiry. What is caUed the theory of association finds its direction and its truth in a casuistry of relations. But in a certain way. the paint is more important than the canvas? 1t is only then that the problem of the association of ideas discovers its meaning. of economics. 1mmanuel Kant will recall it while transforming and rationalising it when he conceives of theory as a court or tribunal). or must the door be touched by a finger? To what extent can we be owners of the seas? Why is the ground more important than the surface in a juridical system. The result is a great conversion of theory to practice.

and God. a world in which terms are veritable atoms and relations veritable external passages. and dependent on other principles. a world in which thought itself exists in a fundamental relationship with the Outside. later developed by Bertrand Russell and modern logic. The real empiricist world is thereby laid out for the first time to the fullest: it is a world of exteriority. 1t is thus Hume who first breaks with the constraining form of predicative judgment and makes possible an autonomous logic of relations. who isn't there. a world in which the conjunction "and" dethrones the interiority of the verb "is". which are principles of association that seem just another way of designating relations? But this disappointment derives from a misunderstanding of the problem. For example. the World. on the other. and through the associationism that shows how relations are established between these terms. Hume.. Human nature means that what is universal or constant in the human mind is never one idea or another as a term but only the ways of passing from one particular idea to another. resemblance. in this sense. When l see a picture of Peter. l think of Peter. will devote himself to a concerted destruction of the three great terminal ideas of metaphysics: the Self. Hume' s thought is built up in a double way: through the atomism that shows how ideas or sens ory impressions refer to punctuaI minima producing time and space. Let us consider in this regard a very special relation: .. One would look in vain in the given term for the reason for this passage. On the one hand. And yet at first Hume's thesis seems disappointing: what is the advantage of explaining relations by principles of human nature. The relation is itself the effect of so-called principles of association. contiguity. for the problem is not of causes but of the way relations function as effects of those causes and the practical conditions of this functioning. a physics of the mind. a buman nature.. precisely. l think of something "similar" . for relations are the conjunctions themselves. a logic of relations. Human Nature What is a relation? 1t is what makes us pass from a given impression or idea to the idea of something that is not presently given. and causality. a harlequin world of multicolored patterns and non-totalizable fragments where communication takes place through external relations. PURE IMMANENCE HUME or ideas. aIl of which constitute. always external to them. Thus the difference isn't between ideas and impressions but between two sorts of impressions or ideas: impressions or ideas of terms and impressions or ideas of relations. discovering a conjunctive world of atoms and relations.

. but it does 50 at random. they fuse in the imagination. without ceasing to be tomorrow. on the other hand. The principle of habit as fusion of similar cases in the imagination and the principle of experience as observation of distinct cases in the understanding thus combine to pro duce both the relation and the in fer en ce that follows from the relation (belief). Wh en 1 see the sun rise. 1 expect that .. The functioning of causal relations can then be explained as follows: as similar cases are observed (aIl the times 1 have seen that a follows or accompanies b). in a delirium that runs throughout the universe. at the same time as distinction in the understanding tailors belief to the calculus of observed cases (probability as calculus of degrees of belief). Fiction Fiction and Nature are arranged in a particular way in the empiricist world. It is special because it doesn't simply go from a given term to the ide a of something that isn't presently given. 1 say that it will rise tomorrow. and aIl experience is experience of a contigent particular. Left to itself. causality is a relation according to which 1 go beyond the given." convey sorne th·mg th at cannot be given in experience: tomorrow isn't given without becoming today. 1 say more than what is given or giveable . the imagination uses these same principles to make its fictions or its fantasies acceptahle and to give them a warrant they wouldn't . creating fire dragons. having seen water boil at 100 degrees. ). 1 say that it necessarily boils at 100 degrees. Causality requires that 1 go from something that is given to me to the idea of something that has never been given to me.PURE IMMANENCE HUME causality. is crucial. which are in accordance with Nature itself. The principles ofhuman nature. winged hors es. for if it is true that the principles of association shape the mind. For example. This property of fusion in the imagination constitutes habit (1 expect . of inference. In other words. " " always. Yet expressions such as "tomor·1 row.. conversely. for it puts belief at the basis and the origin of knowledge. based on sorne signs in a book. through which causality functions. This. But then a strange battle takes place. Hume's first displacement.in short. of transition. by imposing on it a nature that disciplines the delirium or the fictions of the imagination. impose constant rules on this delirium: laws of passage. that isn't even giveable in experience." " necessan y. and monstrous giants. 1 believe that Caesar lived. while remaining distinct and separate from each other in our understanding. 1 infer and 1 believe. the mind has the capacity to move from one idea to another..

But the illusion is considerably worse when it belongs to human nature. and in particular of causality. in conditions where no fiction can be corrected but where each instcad plunges us into other fictions.illegitimate exercises of faculties. In a posthumous work . it belongs to fiction to feign these relations. and to make us believe in our follies. and indispensable to their organization. superstition. most difficult. wh en the illegitimate exercise or belief is incorrigible. the World. and poetry also work in this way. allowing for the fusion of anything at aIl. Hume thereby effects a second great displacement in philosophy. simulacra of belief. one goes beyond it in an the directions of a delirium that forms a counter-Nature. according to which there are beliefs that are not false but illegitimate . But this would still be nothing as long as the fictions of fantasy turn the principles of human nature against themselves in conditions that can always be corrected. That is what Hume will show in his most subtle. which aU form part of human nature. analyses concerning the Self. But especially in the case of causality. eloquence. the fanciful usage of the principles of human nature itself becomes a principle. we bathe in delirium. how the positing of an identity of the self. in the case of causality. Fantasy uses the principles of association to turn them around. where a strict calculus of probabilities can den ounce delirious extrapolations or feigned relations. illegitimate rules. One no longer goes beyond experience in a scientific way that will be confirmed by Nature itself and by a corresponding calculus. inseparable from legitimate beliefs. It is thus that the liar believes in his lies by dint of repeating themj education. In this case. fantasy forges fictive causal chains. and God: how the positing of the existence of distinct and continuo us bodies. as. for example. which consists in ~ubstituting for the traditional concept of error a concept of delirium or illusion. In this sense. In this as well. either by conflating the accidentaI and the essential or by using the properties of language (going beyond experience) to substitute for the repetition of similar cases actually observed a simple verbal repetition that only simulates its effect. Fiction and delirium shi ft over to the side of human nature. Kant owes something essential to Hume: we are not threatened by error. We see this not only in the gift fantasy has of doubling any present relation with other relations that don't exist in a given case. to induce fictive ones. rather and much worse.PURE IMMANENCE HUME have on their own. in other words. giving them an illegitimate extension. illegitimate functioning of relations. requires the intervention of aU sorts of fictive uses of relations.

Here. a direction. Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. and that. in naturalizing belief (positivism). it is perhaps because it is only one part of the inquiry.PURE IMMANENCE HUME that is perhaps his masterpiece. including knowledge. even the delirium of non-knowledge. But in a final refinement. Unlike ancient skepticism. The first act of modern skepticism consisted in making belief the basis of knowledge . which was based on the variety of sensible appearances and errors of sense. what gives the mind a nature or a constancy. It is no doubt in this way that we should understand the complex notion of modern skepticism developed by Hume. an irreversibility. but the relations themselves are given a meaning. against irony. The Imagination If the inquiry into knowledge has skepticism as its princip le and its outcome. if it leads to an inextricable mix of fiction and human nature. Vle have seen how the principles of association. illegitimate beliefs in the Self.in other words. For if everything is belief. or third act. Humor. modern skepticism is based on the status of relations and their exteriority. he says. The second act consisted in denouncing illegitimate beliefs as those which don't obey the rules that are in fact productive of knowledge (probabilism. and God appear as the horizon of aIl possible legitimate beliefs. an exclusivity as a result of the passions. Two things must be kept in mind in this regard: that the passions don't shape the mind or give it a nature in the same way as do the principles of association. or as the lowest degree of belief. the ancient dogmatic virtue of Plato and Socrates. the source of the mind as delirium or fiction doesn't react to the passions in the same way as it does to relations. required the mind to go be4') . In short. is not only the princip les of association from which relations derive but also the principles of passion from which "inclinations" foIlow. Hume goes on to apply the same critical method not sim ply to revealed religions but also to so-caIled natural religion and to the teleological arguments on which it is based. aIl the more form part of our nature as they are completely illegitimate from the point of view of the principles of human nature. calculus of probabilities). Hume is at his most humorous: beliefs. the World. on the other hand. and not even the main one. and espccially causality. The principles of association in fact acquire their sense only in relation to passions: not only do affective circumstances guide the associations of ideas. everything is a question of degree of belief. what constitutes human nature. the 44 modern skeptical virtue of Hume.

This is worse than being governed by egotism. But the passions have the effect of restricting the range of the mind. the famous theories of contract posed the problem of society in such terms: a limitation. to select the legitimate from the illegitimate. or even a renunciation. the feeling of justice)? There follows the opposition Hume sets up between contract and convention or artifice. The Passions We have seen that with knowledge the principles of hum an nature instituted rules of extension or extrapolation that fantasy in turn used to make acceptable simulacra of belief. inspiring in it beliefs or extrapolations not aIl of which were illegitimate. for the basis of passion is not egotism but partiality. from which a contractual society might be born. which is mu ch worse. From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. contiguity. a matter of the complex relation between fiction and human nature. political sentiments (for example. The problem is no longer how to limit egotisms and the corresponding natural rights but how to go beyond partialities. rather. a matter of the relation between human nature and artifice (man as inventive species). as with knowledge. such that a calculus was always necessary to correct. how to pass from a "limited sympathy" to an "extended generosity. it is. Society is thus seen no longer as a system of legal and contractuallimitations but as an institutional inven- tion: how can we invent artifices. With passion. But we should not see Hume's saying that man is by nature partial rather than egotistical as a simple nuance. judicial. rather." how to stretch passions and give them an extension they don't have on their own. Hume is probably the first to have broken with the limiting model of contract and law that dominated the sociology of the eighteenth century and to oppose to it a positive model of artifice and institution. We are passionate in the first place about our parents. on the other hand. we should see it as a radical change in the practical way the problem of society is posed. about those who are close to us and are like us (restricted causality.PURE IMMANENCE HUME yond the given. fixating it on privileged ide as and objects. Thus the entire question of man is displaced in turn: it is no longer. the problem is posed differently: how can we invent an artificial extension that goes beyond the partiality of human nature? Here fantasy or fiction takes on a new 47 . for our egotisms would only have to be curtailed for society to become possible. of natural rights. resemblance). how can we create institutions that force passions to go beyond their partialities and form moral.

projecting their weakened images in aIl directions independently of any rule. as when the sadness of a passion represented in a tragedy turns into the pleasure of an almost infinite play of the imagination. Thus the will "moves easily in aIl directions and produces an image of itself. the passions do not simply become gradually less vivid and less present. this reflexion of the passions in the imagination. how to avoid their becoming completely undetermined. The first problem is resolved through agencies of social power sanctions or the techniques of rewards and punishments. to make it resonate and go beyond the limits of its natural partiality and presentness. which makes of culture at once the most frivolous and the most serious thing. the vibrations still retain sorne sound which gradually and imperceptibly dies:' In short. on the other. but also more subterranean and implicit agencies. stretching them out infinitely and projecting them beyond their naturallimits. it is not an imagination that is naked but one that has already been fixed or naturalized by the principles of association. Yet on at least one count. aIl the relations that are the object of a knowledge or a calculus. even in places where it is not fixed:' This is what makes up the world of artifice or of culture: this resonance. we must correct the metaphor of percussion: as they resonate in the imagination. If the passions are reflected in the imagination or in fantasy. "where. Resemblance. that provide general rules for the 49 . it is up to the imagination to reflect passion. the mind and its fantasies behave with respect to passions not in the manner of a wind instrument but in the manner of a percussive instrument. and. The second point is also relevant to the way in which Hume's philosophy forms a general system. contiguity. Hume is the first to have posed the problem of power and government in terms not of representativity but of credibility. too. how to avoid the enlarged passions being less vivid than the present ones. even if they have a different nature. like custom and taste. they assume a new nature and are accompanied by a new kind of belief.PURE IMMANENCE HUME meaning. the imagination liberates them. In this regard. causality . after each beat. Hume shows how aesthetic and moral sentiments are formed in this way: the passions reflected in the imagination become themselves imaginary. As Hume says. which confer on the enlarged sentiments or reflected passions an added degree of vividness or belief: principally government. But how can we avoid two deficiencies in these cultural formations? On the one hand.in short. they also change their color or sound. In reflecting the passions.

A philosophy at once popular and scientific . whereas this relation is lacking in the other case?" Does the throw of a javelin against a door ensure the ownership of an abandoned city. according to civil law. ''A man who has chased a hare to the point of exhaustion would consider it an injustice if another person pushed ahead of him and seized his prey. But the same man who goes to pick an apple that hangs within his reach has no reason to corn plain if another man. What is the reason for this difference if not the fact that immobility. is closely related to the hunter. by being reflected in the imagination. which bring into play the exercise of fictions. reaches beyond him and takes it for himself. between a given person and a given object. he wrote his important book A Treatise if Human Nature (published in 17391740). A whole study of the variations of relations. Hume also shows in detail how.juridical. Moral . a relation of a nature such as to have us believe (or our imagination believe) in an appropriation of one by the other. Thus aesthetic sentiments find in the princip les of association veritable rules of tas te. which for its ideal had a decisive clarity. It was this clarity that Hume would try to impose in his subsequent works.a sort of pop philosophy. which is not natural to the hare. an extraordinary firmness and simplicity emerge from a great complexity of arguments. a clarity not of ide as but of relations and operations. economic and political. A new tone in philosophy. which allows one to respond in each case to the question: Does there exist. is involved. a whole calculus of relations. A Popular and Scientific Philosophy Hume was a particularly precocious philosopher: at around twenty-five years old. whereas paper wins out over writing? The principles of association find their true sense in a casuistry of relations that works out the details of the worlds of culture and of law. and the practice of artifice. but paint over the canvas. the passion of possession discovers in the princip les of association the means to determine the general rules that constitute the factors of property or the world oflaw. quicker th an he. even if this meant sacrificing sorne of the complexity and the more difficult aspects of the Treatise: Essays. And this is the true object of Hume's philosophy: relations as the means of an activity and a practice . the science of hum an nature. does the ground win out over the surface.PURE IMMANENCE HUME determination of reflected sentiments beyond the immediate and restricted way in which they are used by non-reflected passions. or 50 must a finger touch the door in order to establish a sufficient relation? Why.

These divisions are no doubt arbitrary: the lion is pre- ')2 . He carries them into the desert. who play many parts. but three. and Political Discourses (1752). and how finally the lion becomes child:' The camel is the animal who carries: he carries the weight of established values. among other things. and leads the critique of aIl established values. Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding (1748).creator of new values and new principles of evaluation. He then turned to The History cif England (1754-1762).PURE IMMANENCE and Political (1741-1742). becoming reconciled. 1t is perhaps the only case of real dialogues in philosophy. there are not two characters. the lion destroys statues. and Philo. that is. The admirable. these three metamorphoses designate. the burdens of education. he who represents play and a new beginning . the cam el becomes lion. Cleanthes. morality. The Lije The first book of Thus Spoke Zarathustra begins with the story of three metamorphoses: "How the spirit becomes camel. and so on: Demea. the skeptic. Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion rediscovers once again that CHAPTER THREE Nietzsche great complexity and clarity. the different moments of his work. breaking them. the representative of natural religion. Hume-Philo's humor is not simply a way of bringing everyone to agreement in the name of a skepticism that distributes "degrees" but also a way of breaking with the dominant trends of the eighteenth century and of anticipating a philosophy of the future. Finally. where he turns into a lion. the lion must become child. According to Nietzsche. and culture. forming temporary alliances. as well as the stages of his life and health. tramples burdens. the upholder of revealed religion. An Inquiry Concerning the Principles cif MoraIs (1751).

He studied in Pforta. Nietzsche said those days were among the best of his life. Nietzsche encountered here an affective structure that he had already sensed was his and that he would make more and more his own. Abandonmentwas nothis problem. couldn't discover on his own. sometimes he had the delightful feeling that with Cosima's help he would carry Wagner to truths that he. near Lucerne. he shed his last "burdens": a certain nationalism and a certain sympathy for Bismarck and Prussia. surrounded by women. the child is in the lion. We have no reason to suspect his declarations in Ecce Homo wh en he says that in religious matters. atheism came to him naturaIly. . Both sides of his family came from Lutheran priests. But he was already haunted by philosophy and by the image of Arthur Schopenhauer. Nietzsche was brought up in Naumburg. His disdain for Germany was already apparent. He chose philology over theology. with his younger sister. They met in Leipzig. as weIl as his attempts at musical composition. Cosima was Liszt's daughter. as weIl as his incapacity for living among the Germans. died in 1849 of a softening of the brain (encephalitis or apoplexy). his wife. the solitary thinker. Wagner was almost sixt y. instinctively. delicate and weIl educated. At Basel. Nietzsche's professorship made him a Swiss citizen. But these glorious days were not trouble-free: sometimes he had the unpleasant feeling that Wagner was using him and borrowing his own concept of the tragic. He was a child prodigy. then in Bonn and Leipzig. the abandonment of old beliefs did not assume the form of crisis (what occasioned a cri sis was rather the inspiration or the revelation of a newidea). Simonides. just past thirty.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE sent in the camel. in a region of Thuringia that was annexed by Prussia. Wagner lived in Tribschen. Diogenes Laertius) secured him a professorship in philology at the University of BaseI. Wagner-Dionysus. Her friends sometimes called her Ari54 adne and suggested the parallelisms: Bülow-Theseus. the "private thinker:' As early as 1869. Nietzsche's philological works (on Theognis. It was then that his close friendship with Richard Wagner began. But with Nietzsche. nor could he accept the idea that victory through arms be taken as a sign of culture. His father. himself also a priest. his essays were saved. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was born in 1844. in the presbytery of Rocken. Wagner. She left the musician Hans von Bülow for Wagner. despite his ancestry. and in the child. there is already the tragic outcome. He worked as an ambulance driver during the war of 1870. Elisabeth. Cosima. He could no longer stand the identification of culture with the state.

its processions. But ab ove aIl. he described his state as follows: "ContinuaI suffering. sometimes alone. my eyes. so did Wagner. a Wagner who had become pious and nationalistic.. a semi-paralysis that makes speaking difficult and. when the professorship went. AlI Too Human. terrible attacks (during the last one 1 vomited for three days and three nights. its speeches. "Not to be able to read! To write only very infrequently! To see no one! Not to hear any music!" ln 1880. in Switzerland.. The apparent changes in Nietzsche astonished his friends. eye trouble. He sometimes returned to Naumburg. "My illness slowly liberated me: it spared me separations.present in Nietzsche's work? It is never a source of inspiration. N cver did Nietzsche think of philosophy as . His friends misundcrstood him. violent or ugly actions ... from head to toe:' ln what sense is illness . Nietzsche obtained a pension from Basel in 1878. he saw Wagner for the last time. It entitled me to radically change my ways:' And since Wagner was a compensation for Nietzsche-the-Professor.. with its circus-like atmosphere. his former student Peter Gast. where the real Nietzsche breaks through from behind the masks of Wagner and Schopenhauer. biology. If! could only describe the relentlessness of it aU. an old Wagnerian. It was then that his itinerant life began: like a shadow. The Bayreuth inauguration. In Sorrento. for hours every day a feeling of seasickness. He gave up teaching. Nietzsche felt himself to be untimely and discovered the incompatibility between the private thinker and the public professor. in the south of France. sometimes with friends (Malwida von Meysenbug. Thanks to Franz Overbeck. made him sick.or even madness . renting simple furnished rooms. as a diversion. the presence of the old emperor. the continuous gnawing pain in my head. he was increasingly ill. he went from resort to if resort. his reservations about Wagner become explicit. ). He was more and more interested in the sciences: in physics. speech difficulties. The book was poorly received by philologists. His health was poor.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE Nietzsche retreated further into solitude. in Italy. and hungered for death . "Richard Wagner in Bayreuth" (1875). the most loyal and intelligent of his friends. medicine. he began his great critique of values. he wrote The Birth Tragedy. with Human. sceking favorable climates. the age of the lion. and this general feeling of paralysis. In 1871. Paul Rée. with whom he shared a taste for the natural sciences and the dissection of morality). In 1878. stomachaches. he had constant headaches. a musician he hoped would replace Wagner. In the fourth volume of Untimely Meditations. Wagner attacked him.

Nietzsche's own beauty resided in his hands.1111 the opposite or a sick persan. l'hus movemcnt from health to sickness. no longer shifting and communicating. a point if view on illness. as a sick person. then. this mobility. His health was a first mask for his genius. :' Illness is not a motive for a thinking subject. Nietzsche didn't believe in the unit y of a self and didn't experience it. it marks the moment wh en the masks. from sickIlCSS to hcalth. his ears. bath for his genius and for his health. it is not. according to him. nor is it an object for thought: it constitutes. abundant. Wagner. Nor did he think of illness as an event that affects a bodyobject or a brain-object from the outside. to delve into the secret work of decadent instinctssuch is the practice in which 1 most frequently engaged . this lightIlCSS in ll1ovement.." Aild yd OIlC lllust say that it would ail end badly. He had written: "And sometimes madness itself is the mask that hides a knowledge that is fatal and tao sure:' In faet.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE proceeding from suffering or anguish. his friends (Overbeck. "To observe. from the height of a rich. Schopenhauer. a second mask. healthier concepts. he saw in illness a point if view on health. healthier values. Gast) sometimes thought his madness was his final mask. of their ultimate importance.such is Nietzsche' s conception.forces oflife. conversely.! Dcspite appearances. IIIness as an evaluation of health. and in health. he sees small ears as being a labyrinthine ')9 . everything is mask." the "shift in perspective" that Nietzsche saw as the crux of his mcthod and his calling for a transmutation of values. the two evaluations. a secret intersubjectivity at the heart of a single individual. his way of living. is the sign of "great health:' That is why N idzschc could say until the end (that is. After 1890. for the mad Nietzsche is precisely the Nietzsche who lost this mobility. health as an evaluation ofillness: such is the "reversaI. when he could no longer in his health make of sickness a point of view on health. Subtle relations of power and of evaluation between different "selves" that conceal but also express other kinds of forces . however. of the virtue and the positivity of masks. rather. Rather. in 1888): "1 . if only as an idea. even if the philosopher. Among the strongest moments of Nietzsche's philosophy are the pages where he speaks of the need ta be masked. and even Paul Rée were experienced as his own masks.. and confident life. 1 am basically w(·II. suffers in excess. his suffering. there is no reciprocity hct wccn the two points of view. merge into a death-like rigidity. forces of thought . this art of displacement. Rather. his eyes (he compliments himself on his ears. With Nietzsche. this very mobility is thc sign of superior health.

Thc Gcncalo8Y ~f MoraIs. represented by the enormous mustache: "Give me. . he wrote the four books of Zarathustra and gathered notes for a book that was to follow. Nietzsche then experienced his most exalted states of being. this sort of fantasy had to fail.Daybreak (1880). less imposing. Lou von Salomé. Paul Rée. In August 1881. did her best to break it up. but it was often dominated by an "enthusiasm" that affected his very body. Obviously and inevitably. he had the overwhelming revelation of the eternal return. he would receive Ariadne.What? another mask.what Wagner had already been for Nietzsche.0 But he was often very anxious and experienced many frustrations. who was possessive and jealous. Nietzsche soon proposed to her through a friend. (. Theseus is the higher man. with Theseus' s approval. In Paul Rée. But Nietzsche had not dared to aspire openly to Cosima-Ariadne.. he made of it the weapon of a "transmutation" of values. as he walked along the lake of Silvaplana. She succeeded. a young Russian woman who lived with Paul Rée and seemed to Nietzsche an ideal disciple and worthy of his love. Theil' life together was made of quarrels and reconciliations. In 1882.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE secret that leads to Dionysus). 1886. Between 1883 and 1885. His suffering continued. because Nietzsche could neither detach himself from her nor dampen the harsh judgment he had of her ("people like my sis ter are irreconcilable 61 . in Sils-Maria. the image of the father . He was pursuing a dream: with himself as Dionysus. But on this first mask there cornes another. But something new emerged: an exaltation. 2 Dionysus is superior to the higher man. as Nietzsche was to Wagner and aIl the more so to Paul Rée. This is the thircl I1wtamorphosis. Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth. then the inspiration for Thus Spoke Zarathustra. though they were interlaced with menacing feelings.. as if Nietzsche had been pushed to the point where evaluation changes meaning and where illness is judged from the height of a strange wellbeing. Nietzsche found other Theseuses. the No that is at the service of a higher affirmation (Beyond Good and Fvil. Following an affective structure he had already had occasion to enact. an overabundance. Nietzsche continued his project of total criticism: The Wanderer and His Shadow(1879). 1887). and Nietzsche formed a peculiar quartet. fathers that were younger. All Too Human. Heworkedon The Gay Science. He carried criticism to a higher level than ever before. a second mask:' After Human. there was the affair with Lou von Salomé. or the becoming-child. and in other friends before him. With Malwida von Meysenbug acting as chaperon. Ariadne always still prefers Theseus. please give me .

. Theil came the great year 1888: TWilight the h/o/s. He again wrote letters. 1 fear for my patience:' Nietzsche's bouts of euphoria and depression followed more closely on each other. where Nietzsche calmly allowed himself to be committed. :'). everything seemed excellent to him: his clothes. Nietzsche paints a picture of himself that is global. Good-bye for now! For we will me et again. At other times. where he found Nietzsche overwrought and lost. By the end of 1888. Ecce Homo. but many years later. despair won over: a lack of readers. as with the comedy of the Overman. Forster went to Paraguay with Elisabeth to found a colony of pure Aryans. he told his friend Paul Deussen of a strange adventure in which he was saved by a piano.. a Wagnerian and an anti-Semite who was also a Prussian nationalist. 1889. the people who received him. this is due to the eternal nature of things . Dionysius.. what he ate. he had a crisis in Turin. Lou von Salomé's fondness for Nietzsche was not truly love. Even his tone changes in these masterful works: a new violence. but at the same time. He learned of Wagner's death. my poor sister. signed them Dionysus. Nietzsche-Caesar:' On January 3. or both. 1 do not like them". The doctors in Jena suspected a syphilitic infection dating back to 1866. the fascination he believed he caused in stores.IS il' his ncative Elcultics werc bccoming exacerbated if in a last momentum before the final collapse. The Antichrist. The diagnosis was "progressive paralysis:' His mother had him transferred to Jena. "1 am profoundly tired of your inde cent moralizing chatter. To another racist he wrote: "Please stop sending me your publications. :'. he focused on the present and was concerned with immediate success. 1 love you.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE adversaries of my way of thinking and my philosophy. A text of . 1 want to have the young Kaiser shot. To Cosima Wagner: "Ariadne. He managed to take him to Basel. he had started to write strange letters.. she did write a beautiful book about him. To August Strindberg: "1 convened in Rome an assembly of princes. Elisabeth married Bernhard Forster. At times." Overbeck rushed to Turin. provoking ("one day the memory of something extraordinary will be linked to my name". It is . a l'lTlillg of death. of dcceit. or the Crucified one. Nietzsche didn't attend their wedding and found his cumbersorne brother-in-Iaw hard to put up with. which revived in him the AriadneCosima idea. a new humor. In 1885. "souls such as yours. 3 Nietzsche felt more and more isolated. On one condition: Let's divorce . (Was this based on sorne declaration of Nietzsche's? As a young man. 'J'he WClflner Case. "it is only thanks to me that there are great politics on earth").

5 But thcsc merits pale before the highest treason: she tried (0 place Nietzsche in the service of national socialism. they are a part of it. She made acid remarks to Overbeck. She gave pious interpretations to the illness. Elisabeth returned from Paraguay at the end of 1890. Whether it was dementia rather than psycho sis isn't significant. when the masks were conflated into that of a dunce and a buffoon under the effect of sorne organic process. which is always fragmentary and incomplete. and makes its continuation impossible." as a final farce). As long as Nietzsche could practice the art of shifting perspectives. evaluation determines the hierarchical "value" of the meanings and totalizes the fragments without diminishing or eliminating their plurality. Interpretation establishes the "meaning" of a phenomenon. His illness slowly progressed toward total apathy and agony. But when this art failed him. she organized the Nietzsche-Archiv in Weimar.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE Zarathustra. Nietzsche's last letters testify to this extreme moment. "Among the Girls of the Desert. from health to illness and back. sometimes in crisis." must be read in this light. She had great merits: she did everything to ensure the diffusion of her brother's ideas. 4 Though we cannot know for certain. the discovery of the truth. He died in Weimar in 1900. he seemed to have forgotten everything about his work. the "great health" that made his work possible. But the question is: Did the symptoms of 1875. His mother took him back to her home. the illness itself became inseparable from the end of his oeuvre (Nietzsche had spoken of madness as a "comic solution. figured in Nietzsche's work. and even madness. .1888 constitute one and the same clinical picture? Was it the same illness? It seems likely. a new image of the thinker and ofthought. who responded with much dignity.) Sometimes calm. he enjoyed. the diagnosis of an overall paralysis seems accurate. with interpretation and evaluation. Nietzsche replaced the ideal ofknowledge. interrupts it.1881. Elisabeth helped her mother take care of Nietzsche. They imply a new conception of philosophy." The Philosophy Nietzsche introduced two forms of expression into philosophy: aphorism and poetry. though he still played music. We have seen in what way illness. sick as he may have been. The overall paralysis marks the moment when illness exits from the work. This was the last stroke of Nietzsche's fate: the abusive family member who figures in the procession of every "cursed thinker. thus they still belong to his work.

and thought in turn ciffirms life. The young Greek philosopher has something of the old Oriental priest.a unit y that turns an anecdote of life into an aphorism of thought. aphorism is both the art of interpreting and what must be interpreted. of his asceticism. In a way. We must think of philosophy as a force. It is that of the pre-Socratic thinker.in one word. Life activa tes thought. How are we to understand this closeness between the future and the pa st? The phi10sopher of the future is the explorer of ancient worlds. the Egyptians and Empedocles. But the fine unit y in which madness would cease to be such is yet to be rediscovered . of his love of wisdom. The philosopher had to assume the air of the preceding forces. he had to take on the mask of the priest. The evaluator is the artist who considers and creates "perspectives" and speaks through poetry. This image of the philosopher is also the oldest. interpreter and evaluator of the world. this secret of the pre-Socratics was already lost at the start. the very unwise ends of the perilous existence that lie beneath . legislator. philosophical force had to disguise itself. 1t was for this reason that to survive at the time of its birth in Greece. It is a complex unit y: one step for life. N ow we only have the choice between mediocre lives and mad thinkers. both the art of evaluating and what must be evaluated. We cannot guess the peculiar solitude and the sensuality. making it sensible. The philosopher of the future is both artist and doctor . That something. We still confuse them today: Zoroaster and Heraclitus. We speak of the virtue of the ideal philosopher.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE Indeed. The interpreter is the physiologist or doctor. Modes of life inspire ways of thinking. is the unit y of life and thought. of peaks and caves. Life must first imitate matter. one step for thought. who creates only inasmuch as he recalls something that has been essentially forgotten. Lives that are too docile for thinkers. losing itself along the way. poetry. the Hindus and the Eleatics. the most ancient one. Pythagoras and the Chinese. modes of thinking create ways of living. and thoughts too mad for the living: Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Hûlderlin. the one who sees phenomena as symptoms and speaks through aphorisms. according to Nietzsche. We now have only instances where thought bridles and mutilates life. Of this pre-Socratic unit y we no longer have even the slightest idea. "physiologist" and artist. But the law of forces is such that they can only appear when concealed by the mask of preexisting forces. and an evaluation of thought into a new perspective on life. and where life takes revenge and drives thought mad.

Instead oflinking an active life and an affirmative thinking. The creator is legislator .6 The philosopher evaluates life in accordance with his ability to uphold weights and carry burdens. religion. Philosophy becomes nothing more than taking the census of aIl the reasons man gives himself to obey. The consequences for philosophy are dire. of values superior to life and of the principles on which they depend . of values of life that call for another principle. opposing to it supposedly higher values. the carrier with the carried. And at the same time that thought thus becomes negative. While philosophy thus degenerates. To create is to lighten. only "pure science"). is reduced to its weakest forms. to invent new possibilities of life. These burdens. to unburden life. restricting and condemning it.and then the creation of new values.dancer. If we define metaphysics by the dis- 68 . in the same desert. aIl the current values. these weights. the reactive and depreciated life with negative and depreciating thinking. but beneath these requirements of reason are forces that aren't so reasonable at aIl: the state. Such is the spirit of heaviness that brings together. for the virtues of the philosopher as legislator were first the critique of aIl established values . there emerges the preserver of acccptcd values. ceases to be active. are precisely the higher values. AlI that remains then is an illusion of critique and a phan tom of creation. It is the triumph "reaction" over active life and neBation over affirmative thouBht. instead of the creator of new values and new evaluations. that it turn against itself and be taken in by its own mask. The philosopher ceases to be a phys- if if iologist or doctor and becomes a metaphysician. Hammer and transmutation. The secret ofphilosophy. life depreciates.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE this mask. It was therefore fated that philosophy degenerate as it developed through history. the philosopher as legislator is replaced by the submissive philosopher. because it was lost at the start. The degeneration of philosophy appears clearly with Socrates. for it is. to sickly forms that are alone compatible with the so-called higher values. He ceases to be a poet and becomes a "public professor:' He daims to be beholden to the requirements of truth and reason.that is. Instead of the cri tic of established values. but it is a truth that harms no one ("it appears as a self-contented and happy creature which is continuaIly assuring aIl the powers that be that no one needs to be the least concerned on its account. for nothing is more opposed to the creator than the carrier. after aIl. thought gives itself the task of judging life. remains to be discovered in the future. measuring it against these values. The philosopher invokes love of the truth.

man can put himself in the place of God. the good. what is the use of recuperating them or becoming their true subject? Did we do away with religion when we interiorized the priest. the intelligible and the sensible. and of thought.. but he doesn't question the claims of morality or the nature and the origin of its value. but the domains remain intact. we have to say that it is Socrates who invented metaphysics. we are still asked to accept "the real as it is" . With Socrates emerges the figure of a philosopher who is voluntarily and subtly submissive. the Good . He made oflife something that must be judged. the accusatory forms of thought. a limit. or the divine . true religion). restricted. a properly dialectical taste that separates it from Nietzsche. when we can no longer bear higher values. will diagnose the perpetuation of the same ailment beneath different symptoms. between the true and the false. progress. or evcn to man. sacred (true knowledge. The philosopher of the future. Dialectics itself perpetrates this prestigiditation. but he doesn't question the ideal ofknowing. utility can replace the truth. placing him into the faithful. to recognize only the reactive forms oflife. happiness.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE tinction between two worlds. in the style of the Reformation? Did we kill God when we put man in his place and kept the most important thing. the True. as generic being. he denounces false morality.) Nietzsche is the first to tell us that killing God is if . whether old or new. that is exercised in the name of higher values: the Divine. for bearing. But let's move on and skip through the centuries. Wh en we no longer want. which is the place? The only change is this: instead of being burdened from the outside. or to self-consciousncss.. Dialectics is the art that invites us to recuperate alienated properties. Who can really think that Kant reinstated critique or rediscovered the ide a of the philosopher as legislator? Kant den ounces false claims to knowledge. and the interests of reason. values can change. the doctor-philosopher. We are always asked to submit ourselves. a measure. by the opposition between essence and appearance.but this "real as it is" is precise1y what the higher values have made reality! (Even existentialism retained a frightening taste for carrying.what is essential hasn't changed: the perspectives or the evaluations on which these values. measured. Everything returns to the Spirit as the motor and product of the dialectic. man takes the weights and places them on his own back. He blames us for having confused domains and interests.. true morals. the Beautiful. But if our propcrtics in themsclvcs express a diminished life and a mutilating thought. depend. to burden ourselves.

7 But indeed. This distinction is not only quantitative but also qualitative and typological. remains the long history of man' s submissions and the reasons he gives himself for legitimizing them. The relation of force to force is called "will:' That is why we must avoid at aIl costs the misinterpretations of the Nietzschean principle of the will to power. Whatever the complexity of a phenomenon. And so true philosophy. The will to power. This process of degeneration concerns not only philosophy but also becoming in general. AU interpretations determine the meaning of a phenomenon. consists not in coveting or even in taking but in creating and giving." we inevitably make it depend on established values. who must be "recognized" as the most powerful. as a hidden principle for the creation of new values not yet recognized.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE not enough to bring about the transmutation of values. As long as the will to power is interpreted in terms of a "desire to dominate. as philosophy of the future.not a fact in history. Thus the history of philosophy. but the very principlc l'rom which derive most of the events that have dctermined our thinking and our life. the murderer of God is "the ugliest of men:' What Nietzsche means is that man makes himself even more ugly when. as weIl as their respective quality III a complcx wholc. from the Socratics to the Hegelians. we can distinguish primary forces. aU of them very beautiful. no longer in need of an external authority. Thus it is always given 72 . Power. always untimely. says Nietzsche. the symptoms of a decomposition. secondary forces. from reactive. in any given case or conflict. there are at least fifteen versions of the death of God. for it is in the nature of forces to be in relation to other forces and it is in this relation that they acquire their essence or quality. as a will to power. but that whieh wants in the will (Dionysus himself). or the most basic catcgory or history . of conquest and subjugation. Meaning consists of a relation of forces in which sorne aet and others reaet in a complex and hierarchized who le. in one of the most beautiful. the only ones able to determine. We then cannot recognize the nature of the will to power as an elastic principle of aIl of our evaluations. of adaptation and regulation. he denies himself what was denied him and spontaneousl y takes on the policing and the burdens that he no longer thinks come from the outside. The will to power is the differential element from which derive the forces at work. This principle doesn't mean (or at least doesn't primarily mean) that the will wants power or wishes to dominate. is not that which the will wants. is no more historical than it is eternal: it must be untimely. In his work.

Given the preceding terminological precisions. on the other hand. we no longer und erstand what it means to act. triumph not by adding up their forces but by subtracting those of the other: they separate the strong from what they can do. as we shaH see. for the will to power makes it that active forces ciffirm. is their opposition to what they are not. reduced to its secondary forms. According to him. neBation cornes first. it is hard to see what has changed and what a qualitative evaluation is based on. through negation. affirmation is itself essentiaUy multiple and pluralist. evaluation finds the principles of values in the will to power. . two qualia. of the will to power. Even the forces of the earth become exhausted on this desolate face.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE as a mobile. Affirmation and negation are thus the qualia of the will to power. they arrive at a semblance of affirmation. a sort of surplus of pleasure. but it is also by the will to power that a force obeys. They triumph not because of the composition of their power but because of the power of their contagion. just as action and reaction are the qualities of forces. and negation is never but a consequence. of reaction over action. It seems difficult for a philosophy of force or of the will to explain how the reactive forces. That is what "degeneration" means. which are ultimate and fluent. Nietzsche caUs this joint victory of reactive forces and the will to negate "nihilism" . To these two types or qualities of forces there correspond two faces. Life becomes adaptive and regulative. their tendency to limit the other: in them. we can avoid reducing Nietzsche's thought to a simple dualism. pluralist element. aerial. whereas negation is always one. or the weak. But in fact. or heavily monist. Nietzsche shows early on that the criteria of the struggle for life. What characterizes reactive forces. and affirm their difference: in them affirmation is first. the weak. deeper than the forces that derive from them. the slaves. at least on the face of it inhabited by man. negation wins in the will to power! This is the case not only in the 74- history of man. It is by the will to power that a force commands. for. but in the history of life and the earth. of natural selection. Yet history presents us with a most peculiar phenomenon: the reactive forces triumph. Everywhere we see the victory of No over Yes. how the slaves. And just as interpretation finds the principles of meaning in forces. If all that happens is that together they form a force greater th an that of the strong. can win. the analysis of nihilism is the object of psycholoBY' understood also as a psychology of the cosmos. They bring about a becoming-reactive of aU forces.or the triumph of the slaves.

It is a becoming-sick of alllife. This is all the more true in the case of man. Values and evaluations are always being reversed. where the criteria of history favor the slaves as such. Whatever the complexity of Nietzsche's work." "to want to dominate" (thus to attribute to oneself or have others attribute to one established values: money. The same goes for the slave and for his conception of mastery or power... The same also goes for the reactive man and his conception of action. then and only then does the will to power stop meaning "to create" and start to signify instead "to want power. It's your fault . We must again avoid misconceptions about the Nietzschd k"" l " ean terms " strong"an " wea. Even when they win. a becoming-slave of all men. nor do the weak cease to be weak. what is at stake is a qualitative typology: a question of baseness and nobility. Yet that kind of will to power is precisely that of the slave. Nietzsche describes modern states as ant colonies. Resentment: It's your fault . master "d" save: an it is clear that the slave doesn't stop being a slave when he gets power. domesticated man. Reactive life gets away from active forces. It can happen that a sick person says. through the contagion of this baseness and this buffoonery. but his plans and his thoughts are still thosc of a sick person. reaction stops being "acted:' It becomes something sensed.and maybc he will. it is the way in which the slave or the impotent conceives of power. Action becomes 77 . a "resentment" that is exerted against everything that is active. images are reversed as in a bull's-eye. the buffoon. and so on). One of Nietzsche's greatest sayings is: "We must always prote ct the strong from the weak:' Let us now specify. It's your fault if l'm weak and unhappy. power. where the leaders and the powerful win through their baseness. Projective accusation and recrimination. in which type) he would have placed the race of "masters" conceived by the Nazis.. reactive forces are still reactive. These stages constitute the great discoveries of Nietzschean psychology. 1 would do this or that . 1. things are always seen from a petty angle. Oh! if 1 were well.. ln everything. the reader can easily guess in which category (that is. the categories of a typology of depths.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE necessarily favor the weak and the sick. the ide a he has of it and that he apphes when he triumphs. When nihilism triumphs. for the case of man. Our masters are slaves that have triumphed in a universal becoming-slave: European man. the "secondary ones" (by sick is meant a life reduced to its reactive processes). that constitutes the victory of nihilism. honors. according to Nietzsche. only a sick pers on. the stages of the triumph of nihilism.

Nietzsche shows how these stages are also the genesis of the great categories of our thought: the Self. The moment of introjection. The lamb says: l could do everything that the eagle does. a problem between the Jewish God and the Christian God. Then is formed the disturbing alliance. the weakest.states close to nothing. that is. Su ch is the alliance between God -N othingness and Reactive-Man. according to Nietzsche. l'm admirable for not doing so. the World. one only wishes to be carried out of a will to nothingness (see the buffoon of Zarathustra and the figure of the donkey). that the carrier is a carrier of the weak . The death Gad: The moment of recuperation. the weak are called strong. In fact. they promise salvation only to the most reactive. mutilated. These stages of nihilism correspond. 2. to Judaic religion. and so on. But nihilism doesn't stop there and follows a path that makes up our en tire history.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE shameful: life itself is accused. causality. Everything is reversed: slaves are called masters. More generally. condemn it. . one only carries out of weakness. Let the eagle do as l do . Conversely. Even life. turn against themselves. finality. especially life. seems hard for him to carry. the death of God was thought to be an inter-religious drama. to the point where we are no longer quite sure whether it is the Son who dies out of resentment against the Father or the if 79 .they form reactive communities. /ts will to power is a will to nothingness. They interiorize the fault. separated from its power' separated from what it can do.. But in this way they set an example. he carries the weight of higher values. lead it to nothingness. Having captured life like a fish on a hook. What the weak or reactive life ultimately wants is the negation of life. We say that someone is noble and strong because he carries. then to Christianity. they invite aIl of life to come and join them. say they are guilty. baseness is called nobility. Evaluations are so distorted that we can no longer see that the carrier is a slave.. they acquire a maximum of contagious power . 3. but the latter was certainly weIl prepared by Greek philosophy. The ascetic ideal: The moment of sublimation. the sickest forms of life.the opposite of a creator or a dancer. Life is judged according to values that are said to be superior to life: these pious values are opposed to life. 4. God. he feels responsible. Bad conscience: It's my fault. the reactive forces can turn in on themselves. that what he carries is a slavery.. For a long time. as a condition of its triumph. reactive . by the degeneration of philosophy in Greece. the will to nothingness can only tolerate a life that is weak.

(Two modern works are profound meditations on the Yes and the No. We know full weIl that sorne values are born old and from the time of their birth exhibit their conformity.) 5. who used to bear the weight of divine relies. they carry hum an values. That is why Nietzsche. Y-A. their conformism. the negation of life in the name ofhigher values. wishes to see himself as such and to carry this new weight. recuperating the meaning of affirmation.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE Father who dies so that the Son can be independent (and become "cosmopolitan"). the residue of reactive forces and the will to nothingness. progress. to replace God. even history replace divine values). And yet with each step. With the Reformation. the same donkey. but we embracc ol1ly what the highcr values have left of it. traces the great misery of those he calls "the higher men!' These men want to replace God. The death of God is thus an event that still awaits its meaning and its value. What appears in the death Xo . as an auto-responsibility. Nietzsche's idea is that the death of God is a grand event. utility. As long as our principle of evaluation remains unchanged. The la st man and the man who wants ta die: The moment of the end. barely changing its form. the reactive force that burdens itself with the products of nihilism and that thinks it says Yes each time it carries a no. the death of God becomes increasingly a problem between God and man. their inability to upset any established order. The same carrier. inanity further reveals itself. He wants the logical outcome of this death: to become God himself. for nihilism continues. as long as we replace old values with new ones that only amount to new combinations between reactive forces and the will to nothingness. Earlier. they even believe they are rediscovering reality.aIl too human values (morals replace religion. until the day man discovers himself to be the murderer of God. we are still under the aegis of established values. for which he answered before God. on their authenticity or their mystification: those of Nietzsche and James Joyce. But the only affirmation of which they are capable is the Yes of the donkey. nothing has changed. now burdens himself on his own. glamorous yet insufficient. the same slavery that had triumphed in the shadow of divine values now triumphs through human ones. But Saint Paul already founded Christianity on the principle that Christ dies for our sins. nihilism had meant depreciation. But now the negation of these higher values is replaced by human values . Nothing has changed. nihilism advances further. We have even taken a further step in the desert of nihilism: wc daim to embracc aIl of reality. in book IV of Zarathustra. for the same reactive life.

divine or even human. between reactive man and nihilist God. be the same as God. what is affirmed -like the total critique that accompanies creation. Following the higher men there arises the last man. but conquered by itself. Affirmation is the highest power of the will. Nietzsche's concepts are categories of the unconscious. Beyond the last man. then. but as the mode of being of one who affirms." they fall further and further into the abyss of nothingness. for negation finally ta tUIn aBainst the reactive forces and become an action that serves a higher affirmation (hence Nietzsche' s saying: nihilism conquered.. then to the man who wants to die. What counts is how this drama is played out in the unconscious: when reactive forces daim to do without a "will. Transmutation signifies this reversaI in the relation of affirmation-negation. an agency that services he who affirms and creates. becomes a false yes. ).PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE of God is that the alliance between reactive forces and the will to nothingness. But what is affirmed? The earth. there is still the man who wants ta die. it subsists. gathcring and carrying its fruit. becomes the will to deny reactive life itself. negation is the form and the content of the will to power. a triumph <if affirmation in the will ta power. 8 The transmutation of aIl values is defined in the following way: an active becoming of forces.. like the lightning that announces and the thunder that follows. everything is ready . But we can see that a transmutation is possible only at the close of nihilism. as creating is opposed to carrying. The No of Zarathustra is opposed to the No of nihilism. N ow everything changes: affirmation becomes the essence or the will to power itself. subordinaicd io ncgatioll. and inspires in man the wish to actively destroy himself.. And at this moment of the completion of nihilism (midnight). the will to nothingness turns <tgainst the reactive forces. as aggressivity is opposed to resentment. Hence the Yes of the donkey.ready for a transmutation. Under the rule of nihilism. into a world more and more devoid of values. The Yes of Zarathustra is opposed to the Yes of the donkey. a sort of caricature of affirmation. is in the process of dissolving: man claimed he could do without God. life . the one who says: all is vain. as the aggressivity that belongs to affirmation. better to fade away passively! Better a nothingness of the will than a will of nothingness! But thanks to this rupture. <tffirmation is only sccOlHbry. But what form do the carth and life assume wh en they are the objects of . making of it an action. Y-A. Thus Zarathustra is pure affirmation but also he who carries negation to its highest point. as for the negative. . We had to get to the last man.

already wrote decisive passages on this subject.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE affirmation? A form unbeknownst to we who inhabit only the desolate surface of the earth and who live in states close to zero." a certain anguish. the real opposition appears to him: no longer Dionysus versus Socrates. We are far from the first Dionysus. it is. an obscure sense of guilt. Dionysus was defined through his opposition to Socrates even more th an through his alliance with Apollo. then Spinoza. rather. becoming.. but the interpretation. Dionysus can be recognized in aU the preceding characteristics. as the practical struggle against mystifications. Joy emerges as the sole motive for philosophizing. It is.that is the mystification on which nihilism bases its power. but Dionysus had the sense that life is not to be judged. in itself.such is the first and the last word of nihilism. What nihilism condemns and tries to deny is not so much Being. the one that Nietzsche had conceived under the influence of Schopenhauer. becoming is affirmed as becoming. Socrates judged and condemned life in the name of higher values. they conceived philosophy as the power to affirm. Nihilism considers becoming as something that must atone and must be reabsorbed into Being. That is to sayat once that affirmation is itself multiple.) Multiplicity is affirmed as multiplicity.. for we have known for sorne time that Being resembles N othingness like a brother. And as Nietzsche progresses further in his work. the evaluation of it if . holy enough. Their martyrdom seems the samc. It is true that starting with The Birth TraBedy. as the expulsion of the negative. By contrast. Becoming and multiplicity are guilty . the first figure of the transmutation elevates multiplicity and becoming to their highest power and makes of them objects of an affirmation. To valorize negative sentiments or sad passions . and the multiple as something unjust that must be judged and reabsorbed into the One. There is something like a play of mirrors in affirmation properly understood: "Eternal affirmation . forming an alliance with Apollo. In the affirmation of the multiple lies the practical joy of the diverse. but Dionysus versus the Crucified. and that becoming and multiplicity are themselves affirmations. who had reabsorbed life into a primaI ground and. the divine couple Dionysus and Ariadne. rather. an uneasiness about living. the doubling. that it is just enough. that it becomes itself. philosophy is motivated by dark sentiments: a "discontent. multiplicity. (Lucretius. Before Nietzsche. eternally 1 am your affirmation!" The second figure of the transmutation is the affirmation of the affirmation. That is why under its aegis. had created tragedy.

the one of multiplicity. which brings back the throw of the dice. becoming. or the third figure of the transmutation. one affirms the necessity of chance. The very essence of the eternal return is at issue. Nietzsche knew full weIl that it was not ta be Jound in ancient philosophy. except in a piecemeal or hesitant manner and in a very different sense from his own. the multiple. nor is becoming answerable to Being. Or. lightness. But Being and the One do more than lose their meaning: they take on a new meaning. We must get rid of aIl sorts of useless themes in this question of the eternal return. either in Greece or in the Orient. Dionysus has a fiancée. The same doesn't come back. the Being of becoming. But. Multiplicity is no longer answerable to the One. the elements of chance. from this affirmation is born the necessary number. To do this would be to misunderstand the form of the transmutation and the change in the fundamental relationship. Thus we must not make of the eternal return a return the sarne. which is said only of the diverse.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE are different: on one side. the affirmation of becoming and multiplicity that extends even in the very laceration and scattered limbs of Dionysus. Nietzsche already had the most if . a vengeance that consists in denying life. nor is the multiple opposed to the One (these oppositions being the categories of nihilism). The only clever word is Yeso Ariadne completes the set of relations that define Dionysus and the Dionysian philosopher. That is the Nietzschean reversaI. The real player makes of chance an object of affirmation: he affirms the fragments. what is affirmed is the One of multiplicity. a ring within his ring: a second affirmation is needed for affirmation to be itself affirmed. the affirmation of life. This return is precisely the Being of becoming. a testimony against life. since the coming back is the original form of the same. As power of affirmation. Becoming is no longer opposed to Being. because it was qui te common among the ancients. precisely. On the contrary. Ariadne ("You have sm aIl ears. Dance. only coming back is the same in what becomes. on the other. the necessity of chance. Being is said of becoming as becoming. Now the One is said of the multiple as the multiple (splinters or fragments). as Nietzsche puts it. Dionysus evokes a mirror within his mirror. laughter are the properties ofDionysus. We now see what this third figure is: the play of the eternal return. Dionysus is a player. ft is not the sarne that cornes back. It is sometimes asked how Nietzsche could have believed this thought to be new or extraordinary. for the same does not preexist the diverse (except in the category of nihilism). you have my ears: put a clever word in them").

a return of the same. aIl that is negation. Yet in many texts. for it gives us a law for the autonomy of the will freed from any morality: whatever 1 want (my laziness. that is. The world of "semiwants" is thus eliminated: everything we want when we say "once. only once:' Even a cowardice. And in putting the eternal return in the mouth of Zarathustra. or rather as an antithesis and a metonymy. only what can be affirmed cornes back.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE explicit reservations about Heraclitus. is expeIled by the very movement of the eternal return. a cowardice.. The eternal return is not only selective thinking but also selective Iking. First as a thought. my cowardice. purposely giving him new concepts that he himself could not create. Because Being is affirmed of becoming. it expels aIl that contradicts affirmation. But in fact it is not that at aIl. it would become an active power of affirmation. AIl that can be negated. The eternal return should be compared to a wheel whose movement is endowed with a centrifugaI force that drives out everything negative. my vice as weIl as my virtue). a laziness. a Zarathustra who is convalescent and nearly cured. Nietzsche's secret is that the eternal return is selective. a return to the same. Similarly. which prevented a progression that Nietzsche had explicitly planned). like a serpent in the gullet. Nietzsche conceives of the eternal return as a cycle where everything cornes back. only joy returns. Nietzsche meant only to impute to the ancient figure of Zoroaster what Zoroaster himself was the least able to conceive. Of the two accounts. 1 "must" want it in such a way that 1 also want its eternal return. one concerns a sick Zarathustra. that would wish for its eternal return would become something other than a laziness. Nietzsche explains that he takes Zarathustra as a euphemism. Only affirmation COI11CS back. 9 It is also asked why the eternal return is so surprising if it consists of a cycle.. which amounts to the same. or the same cornes back. of a return of the whole. the eternal return is the object of two accounts (and there would have been more had his work not been interrupted by madness. aIl the forms of nihilism and of reaction: bad conscience. the other. But what do these texts mean? Nietzsche is a thinker who "dramatizes" ideas. And doubly so. who presents them as successive events. resentment . that is. . with different levels of tension. What makes Zarathustra sick is precisely the ide a of the cycle: the idea that everything cornes back. my gluttony. We have already seen this with the death of God. we will see them only once. We may fear that the combination of nihilism and reaction will eternaIly come back.

10 terrifying because. and becoming in action? A centrifugaI wheel. although he is produced in man. when the eagle and the serpent try to console him. The prodigious secret of a repetition that is liberating and selecting. In his human essence. that everything cornes back to the same. What happened when Zarathustra was convalescent? Did he simply decide to bear what he couldn't bear before? He accepts the eternal return. Zarathustra answers: you have made of the eternal return a tired refrain. On the one hand. Yet on the other hand. but beyond them. The transmutation involves an essential. The transmutation thus has a fourth. then small and petty man. sin ce the eternal return is the Being that is only said of affirmation. (JO Zarathustra ul1dnstands the equation "eternal return = selective Being. the figure that represents selective Being. aIl too common). certitude (that is why. radical conversion that is produced in man but that produces the Overman. and final. and declares that he can not. man is a reactive being who combines his forces with nihilism. a hypothesis that is both banal and terrifying: banal because it corresponds to a natural. animal. dimension: it implies and produces the Overman. the repetition that saves. through the intermediary of the last man and the man who wants to die. The eternal return repels and expels him. In this case. he is produced in man. the superior form of what is. dares not. nihilism and reaction. immediate. Zarathustra recognizes that while he was sick. how can negation come back. The Overman refers specifically to the gathering of an that can be affirmed. say the eternal return).PURE IMMANENCE NIFf/SCHE that the same returns. and cornes back to the same. Is this simply a psychological change? Of course not. nor a return to the same. "supreme constellation of Being. its offspring and subjectivity." How can reaction and nihilism. It is a change in the understanding and the meaning of the eternal return itself. his great contempt. he is . he had understood nothing of the eternal: that it is not a cycle. that it is not a simple. He is thus at the intersection of two genealogies. that it is not the return of the same. natural assumption for the use of animaIs or a sad moral pUllishment for the use of men. if it is true that everything cornes back. will not. he grasps its joy. that no negation can soi!:' The eternal return is repetition. you have reduced the eternal return to a formula that is common. the eternal return is only a hypothesis. will come back as weIl (that is why Zarathustra cries out his great disgust. that no wish can attain. but it is the repetition that selects. through a sort of wrenching apart and transformation of human essence.

.!'. believing that it is a cycle. . They carry loads to the heart of the desert. or the figure and the product of the affirmation.III1I. I('(1 ive. the ('ael Ih. and Ariadne. \\1111111 !I\(' ring. he burdens himself. or affirmation doubled.tI~.Iy. (What escapes thcm is Il.I111111.1i \\'. Dionysus-Ariadne.('11<'(' "ltll(' !'l''III.1 II. as an immediate ccrlilll.' or Ihl' ctcrnal return a "babbling. .I 1111.I1I\1ll1inll.. Y-A) is a false yeso He thinks that to affirm means ta carry. the engagl'llH'1I1 01' IIi(' . ta burden.11\111<' '''"I.('111 Il III ..PURE IMMANENCE 1111 1 not produced by man: he is the fruit of Dionysus and Ariadne.1I 's more: the uncailed serpent reprcscnls wh. whose prophet or herald he becomes.~. the eternal return... his Yes (Y-A.1I is illiolcrable and impossible in the eternal rdum whcll il is seen as a natural certitude according 10 which "everything cornes back:' Dankey and Caruel: They are beasts of the desert (nihilism). Thus the figures of the transmutation are complete: Dionysus or affirmation.:'.'".k ni ." Wh. he pur ports to deal with "the real as it is": he is thus the new god of the higher men. but he has been surpassed by his child. he affirms.k 1)IOII\'~.II return. The donkey has two flaws: his No is a false no. borrowed from the Greeks.L". (3) about the eternal return (believing that it is an old idea. Roth thus . the Babylonians . but only the products of nihilism.. We readers of Nietzsche must avoid four potential misinterpretations: (1) about the will to power (believing that the will to power means "wanting to dominate" or "wanting power"). And moreover. the Overman. bolh as thought and as Being.".111 .'." a "rerr.tI . that is. Zarathustra himself follows the first genealogicalline. he remains thus inferior to Dionysus.) Thlls tlll'y 11I.II )('111111 . His long 93 Dictionary of the Main Characters in Nietzsche 's Work Eagle and Serpent: They are Zarathustra's animaIs. (2) about the strong and the weak (believing that the most powerful in a social regime are thereby the strong). or a return of the same. he carries the weight of human values. the donkey is the caricature of the hetrayal of Dionysus's Yes.1 1III. the Hindus. representthc Ctl'I'I. Zarathustra caUs the Overman his child. or affirmation redoubled. (4) about the last works (believing that they are excessive or disqualified by madness). Bul IIH'y (('Pl ('. whose real father is Dionysus. From beginning to end.1I il is s. The donkey is primarily a Christian animal: he carries the weight of values said to he "superior to life:' After the death of God. .lk. a no ofresentment. The serpent is coilcd around the caglc's Ileck.lill. a return to the same).

Christ's martyrdom is thus opposed to that of Dionysus: in 95 . Christ died for us.. her femininity remains imprisoned. Theseus is the hero.'. Christ (Saint Paul and Buddha): (1) He represents an essential moment of nihilism: that of bad conscience. These represent the two possible misrcadings of' the "Overman:' /)lFurj: O/' /)('/1/011): Tbe BtifJoon (Monkcy. Through his death.1111.'.1 danger for ZarathllslLI: Ill\' 1. She becomes an affirmative anima who says Yes to Dionysus. Spider (or Tarantula): It is the spirit of revenge or resentment. As long as Ariadne loves Theseus and is loved by him. 1k illlil.I's) or to jlllllP ovn him. .lI..111111 The buffoon is con1clllj)1 1I()11. But wh en 1)ionysus-the-Bull approaches.l. for "it is only when the hero abandOlls his soul that the ()yerman approaches as in a d re .''llh 11\1 ""1. tied up by the thread. for our sins! Such at least is the interpretation of Saint Paul. lit' daims to go bcyond. Together they . to bear.1I1's shoulders.~. 11. 11111 . Christ seems to become independent of the Jewish God: He becomes univers al and "cosmopolitan:' But he has only found a new way of judging life.1)' . It preaches equality (that everyone become like it!).'~. and it is the one that has prevailed in the Church and in our history.II.II. of universalizing the condemnation of life. I.1' I. But that was just when she hcld the thread and was a bit of a spider. a cold creature of resentment.11<. or even on Zarathllstr.' 1. Ililll.. bllt 0111 .ltllll~.. But it is still the same enterprise of vengeance and animosity toward life.11 icature of Zarathuslr.'sntllill'iti.1 "l' ill< . round labyrinthine ears of Dionysus and Ariadne. tu OV('r('OIlH'.1111 '. Ariadne and Tbeseus: She is the anima.IITi('(1 (to dilllb Oll 1I1.PURE IMMANENCE N 11." Il. Its weapon is the thread. the thread of morality.ik!' /'. after Judaic resentment.111 ness imitates lighllH'ss.1 / ~. for Christian love valorizes only the sick and desolate aspects of life. He has an the inferiorities of the higher man: to carry.1". 1\111 10 ()\'('nOIII" means for him eithcr to 1)(' c. to know nothing of lightness. Its will is a will to punish and to judge.I. She was loved by Theseus and loved him.1 . Tlllls lit' Il'IlI'''. a picture of the higher man. she discovers true . by internalizing sin (bad conscience). Its power of contagion is its venom. He is the spirit or he'\villt'ss.IITirmation and lightness. not to know to unharness. ( III ears are also the opposite of the small..IIT the couple of the ctcrnal rcturn and give birth to the ()yerman.

doesn't condemn. 2. one on the right for the ends. ill contrast with Christ.. he lives on his mcmories. to create free men through the most violent and restrictive means. or the attcmpt to put man in Ihl' pl. 1 97 . for he could no longer tolerate his pity.111'. The Ugliest Men: He is the one who killed God. Illt'll parade goes as follows: 1. 1 to Zarathustr. III<' Il. uglier yet: instead of the bad conscience of a god who died for him.." "w.PURE IMMANENCE 1111 1 III the first case.. The Two Kings: They reprcsent the movement of the "morality of mores.~. He is kind and joyful.' l'()I' 1))('11.s d(.III('('..111 . in the second.1 . Il effected.11"\\ Il.l~. for the means as for the ends. in opposition to Socrates.1 .it. 11111111'.the stage closest to Dionysian transmutation. falls in favor of the rabble (triumph of the slaves). he experiences the f)ionysus: There are many different aspects of Dionysus . He enables a transmutation. Thus there are two kings: one on the left for the means..:'. life is judged and must atone.11 . laugh.t'tlll<'Il<t'. . the synthesis of Dionysus and Christ is now possible: "Dionysus-Crucified:' mains the S.111111. the death of God.111. Fhe Higher Men: They are multiple but exemplify the cndeavor: after the death of God.kd. l'IIII\' 1.1 1'..~.1's hullo"ll 111.lstlT-kss.in relation to Apollo. The Last POfle: 1le IUIOWS 111. ". is indifferent to guilt of any kind. to play.H'C of Cod.d ~.d hui believes that God sul'l'o('. trains and selects the wrong way.1 11<'\\ 1. for he represents the ultimate stage of nihilism: that of the last man or the man who wants to die . yd IlC is Ilot l'l'CC.1 111111'" Il They are "faikd. 11<>1 1"." which seeks to train and form men. they 1>l'loII.lI11(. As the principlc of evaluation re. Th(' last pope has becol11c lll. But before." .II' . But he is still the old man. He is thus weIl ahead of Saint Paul. we can surmise that Christ belongs to nihilism in a very different way. 1)(' cause he could no IOllger sLlIlIl his lov. it is sufficiently just in itself to justify everything. as weIl as after. III l''. "Dionysus against the Crucified:' (2) But if beneath Paul's interpretation we seek the personal type that is Christ.1'.1111'11 11.ti (. 3.i!('(1 hiIIIS(·II'. the morality of mores itself degenerates..il 1111'. 10 d. The two kings are the ones who bring in the donkey so that the higher men will turn into their new god. Christ is "the most intcresting of decadents. he seeks his own death. to replace divillc values with human values."d i.111.1 1." a sort of Buddha. he wants only to die.111 1" /'. "ul 01 pit y. They thus represent 1hl' bccol1ling of culture.\III\'. in complementarity with !\riadne.:'.

5. nothing but his shadow. even that of the atheist. and even morality with knowl- edge. higher man. The Man with the Leech: He wants to replace divine values. an exhibitionist. The Voluntary Beggar: He has given up on knowlcdge. The Wandering Shadow: 1t is the enterprise of culture that has sought everywhere to accomplish the same goal (to free men." He announces the last stage of nihilism: the moment when man. in happiness. That is why this man gives his arm to the leech and gives himself the task and the ideal of knowing a very small thing: the brain of the leech (without going back to first causes). inspire guilt. 6. instead of feeling God's pit y. But hum an happiness. Bad conscience is fundamentally a comedian. after his death. Knowledge must be scientific. he feels man's pit y. He is the one who leads the litany of the donkey and encourages the false Yeso 4.PURE IMMANENCE NIETZSCHE bad conscience of a god who died because of him. IltlInan happiness can only bc found among cows. which is even more unbearable.ltcd as it is by resentment and bad conscience. preferred not to wish at aIl rather than to wish for nothing. Prefiguring the end of nihilism. who follows him everywhere but disappears at the two important moments of the transmutation: noon and midnight. dull as il lll. even that of Ariadne." vague values. But it always lies and recriminates. The soothsayer thus announces the last man. it wants to shame everything that is alive. Everywhere it has failed. When it says "it's my fault. exact. he sccks happiness on earth. "Your complaint is a decoy!" 7. whether its object be big or small. But what escapes him is what is beyond even the last man: the man who wants 99 . cannot be found among the rabble.\y be. who pcrsists under the rcign of God as weIl as aftcr nlC his death. the pit Yof the rabble. He believes only in hum an happiness. having measured the vanity of his effort to replace God. This goal. It plays every role." it wants to incite pit y. incisive. The Soothsayer: He says "aIl is vain. even that of the poet. 8. mutilating and judging life. and so on. to propagate its venom. 1t is the shadow of Zarathustra. the exact knowledge of the smallest thing will replace our belief in "grand. select and train them): under the reign of God. motiy. for this goal is itself a shadow. religion. even in those who are strong. Sorccrer: He is the man of bad conscience. is also a failure. But the man with the leech doesn't know that knowledge is the leech itself and that it acts as a relay for morality and religion by pursuing the very same goals: cutting up life. in knowledge. he goes further than the higher men.

Zarathustra and the Lion: Zarathustra is not Dionysus..·I!. the idea of Dionysus.')0 W. for example. though this No is no longer that of nihilism: it is the sacred No of the Lion. there is a wonderful tale called "The Prisoners.· . This is not the case: in The Wanderer and His Shadow. lOI . who cventually married her. 125. But in truth.. 3 of Untimely Meditations. but only his prophet.11 i/w 1. He docsn't so much producc the ()yerman as CIlSUIT this productioll within man. Konegen. divine and human. sec Erich Friedrich Podach's TheMadness?j'Nic//sc!.lIgn. Lou Andre.PURE IMMANENCE 1111 1 1 III ta die. 1931).· Il. not the constitutive clement of. the ring of the eternal rl'turil. 5.."I. Zarathustra doesn't remain at No.·. 7. It is the destruction of aIl established values. Thus Zarathustra seems to have completed his task when he sinks his hands into the mane of the Lion. Just as Dionysus is engaged to Ariadne in the eternal return.4 and 5)..111111 111. After 1950." Gay Science. he is already the idea of this affirmation. One could first say that Zarathustra remains at No. 8. Zarathustra is overtaken by his own children and is only the pretender to. ill 1:((( Homo. by crcating all the 100 conditions ill overcome . NOTES 1. In 1~7h.1Iluscripts were taken to the former building of thc Goethe-Schiller Archiv in Weimar. book III." vol. (h(' 1ll..doll"'" Friedrich Nietzsche (Vienna: C.. the man who wants his own end. There are two ways of expressing this subordination. "Schopenhauer as Educator. He full y participates in Dionysian affirmation. l.111 0\('1 ('ollles ill . It is the trans-nihilist No inherent to the transmutation. is sometimes quoted as the first major version of the death of God. 2. This distinction between the last man and the man who wants to die is fundamental in Nietzsche's philosophy: in Zarath ustra .1 1111.. Just as Dionysus is the /'ather of the Overman. About Nidzsclll''s illn('ss. that constituted nihilism." book II) with the cali of Zarathustra (Prologue. 6. Zarathustra calls the Overman his child. Ni. compare the prediction of the soothsayer ("The Soothsayer. Zarathustra finds his fiancée in the eternal return.1'. even the sacred and transmutative No.1011 himself and is IlCcomes Child.e (N('.w York: Putnam.111." This text resonates mysteriously with Franz Kafka.111<1 .. defeats itself: transmutation and the Overman are near.l1.ls S. N onetheless. 3. "Why 11\111 . "The Madman. 1894)." 1011 S(.1 1'){)I'0sed to a younger woman through his J'ri(. It is with him that nihilism truly cornes to an end. 4.

Greek thought as a whole was reticent on this theme: see Charles Mugler. with Nietzsche. it is unlikely that the idea of the eternal return had ever been entertained in the ancient world. we can. Indian. 10. book III. consider the eternal return a Nietzschean discovery. Iranian." 2. In al! respects. Deux Thèmes de la cosmologie grècque: Devenir cyclique et pluralité des mondes (Paris: Klincksieck." 3. though with ancient premises. "The Convalescent. Specialists admit that the same is true of Chinese. and Babylonian thought. See "Why 1 Am a Fatality.PURE IMMANENCE 9. in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. in Ecce Homo. The opposition between a circular time of the ancients and a linear time of the moderns is facile and incorrect. In fact. 1953). JO} .

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