A Critical Reader

Blackwell's Critical Readers series presents a collection of linked perspectives on continental philosophers, social and cultural theorists. Edited and introduced by acknowledged experts and written by representatives of different schools and positions, the series embodies debate, dissent and a committed heterodoxy. From Foucault to Derrida, from Heidegger to Nietzsche, Blackwell Critical Readers address figures whose work requires elucidation by a variety of perspectives. Volumes in the series include both primary and secondary bibliographies.

Edited by Paul Patton

David Wood: Derrida: A Critical Reader

Hubert Dreyfus and Harrison Hall: Heidegger: A Critical Reader Gregory Elliot: Althusser: A Critical Reader

Douglas Kellner: Baudrillard: A Critical Reader

Peter Sedgwick: Nietzsche: A Critical Reader

Lewis R. Gordon, T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting and Renee T. White: Fanon: A Critical Reader

Paul Patton: Deleuze: A Critical Reader



Copyright © Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 1996

First published 1996 24681097531

In Memory of Gilles Deleuze 1925-1995

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Six Notes on the Percept (On the Relation between the Critical and the Clinical)

Francois Zourabichvili

To the memory of Gherasim Luca

Deleuze's texts have, in the last few years, become shorter, more abrupt, more condensed, leaving many a hurried reader perplexed, with a disturbing sense of incomprehensible dogmatism tinged with mysticism. Whoever reads like an 'amorous hound",' however, knows and feels that it is nothing of the sort, and that Deleuze has never been so precise, so logical, so argumentational (although thought, grappling with forces of another nature, may not locate its meaning in argumentation alone: a logic that affirms exteriority as such necessarily assumes an irrational position where thought is no longer the master of what it thinks - which is utterly distinct from illogicality). In W'hat is Philosophy? and Critique et clinique, each concept, whether stated succinctly or propounded in fragments, is supported by a small number of discretely posited logical traits that must be located in the texts, and which are in fact to be found there, whether close at hand or far afield. This is particularly the case with the percept ('vision' or 'hearing' in a highly specialized sense), the nature of which we here seek to comprehend in its relations with the affect, creation and health. At first sight, due to its very novelty, the reader is hard put to see how the percept differs from a simple perception, while its ethical application may pass unnoticed.

Six Notes on the Percept


1 Perceiving and Evaluating: the Imperceptible

Herman Melville's Captain Ahab saw the quadrant: not simply its equipmental aspect nor even its function (taking a bearing); rather he saw the relation between this function and life, he evaluated the quadrant from the vitalist point of view. What is the value of the quadrant?

but what after all canst thou do, but tell the poor, pitiful point, where thou thyselfhappenest to be on this wide planet, and the hand that holds thee ... Curse thee, thou vain toy ... (MD 471)2

The life, or the possibility of life, encompassed by the quadrant and which the quadrant expresses, is to take a bearing: to tell me where I am (present). Even to tell me where I am going (future) would not be sufficient; it would doubtless be better, and Ahab may say that he leaves this to the compass; but a compass fixed on Moby Dick, rather than on 'north', is required. A truly vitalist knowledge [savoir] would answer the following question: where, at this precise instant, is the other to which I am related, which I pursue and in relation to which my life is played out (becoming)?

Thou sea-mark! thou high and mighty pilot! thou tellest me truly where I am - but canst thou cast the least hint where I shall be? Or canst thou tell where some other thing besides me is this moment living? Where is Moby Dick? This instant thou must be eyeing him. (MD 470)

The 'where shall I be', or 'where I am going' is ambiguous: not only my current route, which is perhaps the wrong one in relation to the goal which is assigned me; but where is precisely that route called Moby Dick leading, and what is its value? In the [mal analysis, what the quadrant lacks is to be an evaluative instrument, a compass of life, once it is said that 'time is out of joint (cardo)', and that life's possibilities are not judged according to the cardinal points. In actual fact a storm blows up, unsettling the compass and effacing the cardinal points; so Ahab builds another, but what exactly does this one indicate? In what sense can Ahab be called 'lord over the level lodestone'? Because the true East indicated by the new compass is at the same time the direction of Moby Dick, from whence the storm also issues, as if the lightning were a sign sent out by the great sperm-whale: Ahab, magnetically drawn to Moby Dick, commands himself and is thus in control of the lodestone.



i .~.


Francois Zourabichvili

'Here!' cried Starbuck, seizing Stubb by the shoulder and pointing his hand towards the weather bow, 'markest thou not that the gale comes from eastward, the very course Ahab is to run for Moby Dick?' (MD 473)

'Men,' said he, steadily turning upon the crew, as the mate handed him the things he had demanded, 'my men, the thunder turned old Ahab's needles; but out of this bit of steel Ahab can make one of his own, that will point as true as any ... 'Look ye, for yourselves, if Ahab be not lord of the level lodestone! the sun is East, and that compass swears it!' (MD 486-7)

What is a percept? Deleuze says: 'a perception in becoming' (CC 112). Not that the perception is of a moving object, for it is my perception that changes, my power of perceiving rather than the way I perceive the object. In what sense, then, does it change? What is seeing, what is being seen? To see is to potentialize sight, to raise it to a second power, to make sight itself powerful, while in its ordinary employm.ent it is separated from what it can do. How does sight regain its power when it becomes vision, or percept? When one sees the invisible, the imperceptible, or when what cannot be seen is perceived: the invisible enveloped in what one sees, not as a hidden world beyond appearance, but animating sight itself from within appearance, or what one sees. To avoid any arbitrariness in this idea, so that it really is a matter of what one sees, rather than of arbitrarily tacking onto what one sees things that come from elsewhere, seeing it with a second sight, with a third eye, to the nth power," it is necessary that the invisible seen is the invisible of the visible itself, the 'being of the sensible' (DR 236), or that of which the phenomenon is the manifestation, or, still more rigorously, the phenomenon itself as manifestation (since it is only the fixed image of representation gives us the illusion that the invisible exists alongside the visible, independently of it, while haunting it, enveloping itself and unravelling within it, a fold of the visible itself: the invisible as the ground or fold of the visible itself, that without which nothing would ever be seen).

So what is this immanent invisible, what is its nature, what is it that is invisible and yet must be seen, cannot but be seen (videndum)? To see is to seeforces, 'to make visible those forces that are not visible' (FB 39), to grasp the visible as it appears, while the forces that are manifest within it have not yet deserted it. 'The object itself is force, the expression of a force.'

Six Notes on the Percept


At this point, a confrontation with phenomenology appears to be necessary, since the latter has already turned, on this side of the subject-object split, towards the idea of flesh. In certain respects, Deleuze's proximity to the final pages of Merleau-Ponty's The Visible and the Invisible is disturbing." However, Deleuze is less concerned to fix an essence of the appearing of things, than with bringing out and differentiating the non-organic life that they involve. When Deleuze says that it is the landscape that sees, this does not mean the same as it does in Merleau-Ponty, although both have it in common that they take seriously the painter's innermost conviction: Deleuze considers that the notion of 'flesh' does not account for the reversibility of the sensing and the sensed, or, in his own terms, their indiscernability. Reversibility presupposes an underlying instance -' becoming or the differentiation of forces - once it is understood that force exists only relationally, and that this relation, which has a non-dialectical nature, locks terms that are external to each other and yet nevertheless related, into a struggle, so that they may from now on be assimilated to points of view. Merleau-Ponty readily admits that 'the proper essence of the visible is to have a layer of invisibility', and that this layer is itself differentiated. But he recognizes no relations of forces in this, nor a distance between points of view, so the differentiation remains qualitative, rather than intensive and evaluative: such that if this invisible is indeed life, it does not, as with the percept, resonate with the question 'which life?'5

The question of knowing whether the life involved here is only 'for us', and if the concepts of becoming, affect and percept immediately incur the reproach of anthropomorphism, seemed to be badly posed. 'Our' interpretation is rightly concerned with the very force of existence of things, the dynamism of space and time that insists within them and that they affirm, given what they are and the manner in which they exist. The force resonating in us and mixed with our own lives is not anthropomorphism, but the very sign of becoming: things, in their manner of existence, resonate in us, as a manner for us to exist, even if this means, as Deleuze insistently adds, that things conversely become-other, that is, pure sensation (see, for example, ATP ch. 10). We ourselves become-flower, become-whale: there is obviously no room to suppose this is life as it is experienced by the flower or the whale (to the reproach of anthropomorphism, we can only respond: yes, of course; but this is not the problem ... ); it is the resonance of their life in our own, becoming one of its possibilities, one of its levels. This gives us the right to say, literally that,


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Six Notes on the Percept


'I have tasted the life of the flower, the whale.' And sometimes he would forget himself so much in contemplating the beast that he really believed he had, for a moment, sensed the type of existence of such a being."

2 Another Example

Thus seeing, in the sense of vision and not simply sight, is interpreting and evaluating. It is to perceive and estimate the forces in what we see, to take possession of them for an instant, to live them, to test them on oneself (NPh 4). This is called becoming, a test which is necessarily 'too much for me', since we do not see if we remain a subject opposite the object, maintaining its reserve, its personal feelings and its memories, and living what it sees only in the manner of a reminder or a ghost: the seer becomes what he sees, he takes on the internal motion of what he sees, he becomes the very soul of the picture; the seer or the visionary has passed into the picture, which is a case of saying that 'the landscape sees' (WP 169).

What is a percept? A critical-clinical perception. Critical because we discern a force in it, a particular type of force, and clinical because we evaluate the declination of this force, its inclination, its ability to fold or unfold itself (D 119-20). Further, without vision there is no vital diagnosis ~ nor without the percept is there an artist who could be both surgeon and patient at the same time, thereby gaining his health, in the non-organic sense. Or the percept is a monster, as defined by Deleuze: the visible still attached to the invisible, form still mixed with the unformed. In any case, it is literally an overwhelming spectacle: the seer does not re-emerge from it identical to his former self, he has learned, he is a becoming: 'Nor has this thy whale sunwards turned his dying head, and then gone round again, without a lesson to me' (MD 468). Health according to Deleuze is inseparable from this vital education. Indeed, the irreversible mutation that has been acheived is clearly shown when Ahab, in a fit of abandon, tramples the quadrant underfoot. The entirety of Moby Dick is marked by this growing potentialization: we do not recover from what we have seen, we do not recover from it at all without 'our eyes reddened, our eardrums burst' (CC 14).

Let's confirm this first approach with one of the most beautiful passages from Moby Dick: Ahab in the grip of the spectacle of the dying whale (not, however, the one he seeks). The example speaks for itself, so we will be content merely to provide brief, interpolated remarks.

Artists are like philosophers in this respect, they are often frail and in weak health. This is not due, however, to their diseases and their neuroses, but rather because they have seen in life something too much for anyone, too much for them, something that has left the discrete mark of death upon them. But this something is also the source or the breath that makes them live through the diseases of lived experience (what Nietzsche calls health). (CC 163)

It was far down in the afternoon {an indefinite, intermediary time, strangely static, while the day's ending and the onset of the night become indiscernable: the auspicious time of the percept.}; and when all the spearings of the crimson fight were done {first notation of the percept; the sun merged with the whaler} and floating in the lovely sunset sea and sky, sun and whale both stilly died together; then, such a sweetness and such plaintiveness, such inwreathing orisons curled up in that rosy air, that it almost seemed as if far over from the deep green convent valleys of the Manilla isles, the Spanish land-breeze, wantonly turned sailor, had gone to sea, freighted with these vesper hymns.

Soothed again, but only soothed to a deeper gloom, Ahab, who had stemed off from the whale, sat intently watching his final wanings from the now tranquil boat. {Ordinary, informative perception or "cliche":} For that strange spectacle observable in all sperm whales when dying - the turning sunwards of the head, and so expiring - that strange spectacle, beheld of such a placid evening, somehow to Ahab conveyed a wondrousness unknown before. {The same spectacle persists, sending out rhythms and potentialities [puissances], as Ahab sees and is filled with what he contemplates. The percept has four terms: whale, sun, Ahab and ocean, each of which passes into the others or mutually envelop each other}

'He turns and turns him to it, - how slowly, but how steadfastly, his homage-rendering and invoking brow, with his last dying motions. He too worships fire; most faithful, broad, baronial vassal of the sun! - Oh that these too-favouring eyes should see these too-favouring sights. {The percept now crosses another threshold. The oceanic plane of vision, too strong and too large for man, humbles everyday affection and frees the affect:} Look! here, far water-locked; beyond all hum of human weal or woe; in these most candid and impartial seas; where to traditions no rocks furnish tablets; where for long Chinese ages, the billows have still rolled on speechless and unspoken to, as stars that shine upon the Niger's unknown source; here, too, life dies sunwards full of faith; but see! no sooner dead, than death whirls round the corpse, and it heads some other way.

'Oh thou dark Hindoo half of nature, who of drowned bones hast builded thy separate throne somewhere in the heart of these unverdured seas; thou art an infidel, thou queen, and too truly speakest to me in the


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Six Notes on the Percept


3 The Plane of intimate exteriority

Vet it does not suffice to say that this must be positively thought through, nor that the logic of originary transport must be set forth: the latter cannot be assumed because it really requires that the terms are somehow pre-existent (a relation cannot without self-contradiction absolutely precede what it joins). Deleuze therefore seeks the concept of a strict contemporaneousness of terms and relations, or a plurality of terms that are only relationally conceivable. This is so with the concept of forces: 'Every force is thus essentially related to another force. The being of force is plural, it would be absolutely absurd to think about force in the singular' (NPh 6). It is not enough, however, to invoke forces; or rather, the new logic does not function unless it introduces a second instance, unless it projects the relation of forces into an unformed or plastic element, ceaselessly self-differentiating or being differentiated: life. Deleuze constructs the concept oflife on the basis of Bergson (Duration) and Nietzsche (the Will-to-Power). If the relation of two forces induces a resonance, in which sense consists, it is because each force, in a certain way, takes up or repeats the other, at another level. Each one envelops a 'possibility of life', expresses a particular point of view on life, differentiates, in its own way, the indeterminate element of Life and, in its own way, resolves the problem of 'living'. This unformed or plastic element, which Deleuze identifies as the real transcendental field, thus obeys a logic of internal difference or repetition at a distance: there is no identity to Life, nor is there Life in general, there are only differentiated ways of living (and ways of thinking that envelop ways of living). Life exists only in being differentiated, it is internal difference, or that which affirms itself only in differing from itself, ceaselessly repeating itself at various levels. Deleuze is able to propound a type of relation in which the terms communicate by their very difference (and not by at least a minimal resemblance)," only in accordance with this concept, by which 'to differ' means 'to repeat', according to which the different elements [les differentsi, constituting the cases for the differential determination of one and the same element, indeterminate in itself, repeat the same question at various levels, and thus mutually repeat each other at a distance, reappropriating each other, every time from a different point of view. Sense is this repetition that never returns to the same, or that treats the Same as Difference, as the object of a differend, a problem, or dissensus. More precisely, as the distance that resonates when different forces enter into relation. Sense is Life become perspectival, or the resonance of perspectives on life, flashpoints of evaluation. The transcendental field becomes deeper, and with Deleuze, transcendental philosophy gains a depth of field, tracing with him the

wide-slaughtering Typhoon, and the hushed burial of its after calm. Nor has this thy whale sunwards turned his dying head, and then gone round again, without a lesson to me. {The spectacle of forces has passed into Ahab himself, as the affect. Conversely, moreover, Ahab is no longer dissociable from what he sees:} 'Oh, trebly hooped and welded hip of power! Oh, high aspiring, rainbowed jet! - In vain, oh whale, dost thou seek intercedings with yon all-quickening sun, that only calls forth life, but gives it not again. Yet dost thou, darker half, rock me with a prouder, if a darker faith. All thy unnamable irnminglings float beneath me here; I am buoyed by breaths of once living things, exhaled as air, but water now. 'Then hail, for ever hail, 0 sea, in whose eternal tossings the wild fowl finds his only rest. Born of earth, yet suckled by the sea; though hill and valley mothered me, ye billows are my foster-brothers!' (MD 467-8).

But we have still to understand why the vision of death is the percept par excellence. 'Why is every event a kind of plague, war, wound or death?' (LS 148).

What is a literary landscape? What is the function of the spatial and temporal, geographical and atmospheric 'setting' of the action? Is it of interest solely within a symbolic or metaphorical order?

Deleuze undertakes a general critique of metaphor, and his theory of becoming (or the indissociability of percept and affect) is framed within thia problematic. The Logic of Sense prepares the theoretical ground from which the critique develops: sense is inseparable from a play of resonances and consequently, from a coupling, and from the displacement that ensues. Sense emerges only from the conjunction of at least two heterogeneous series. That is to say that the 'transport' invoked in the metaphoric operation is actually part constitutive, part reciprocal. The literal-figurative duality is therefore doubly called into question, because neither term exists apart from the other, or at least one other; and because, consequently, there can be no primacy of one term over the other. The literal is unattainable, sense is originally ambiguous, unattributable, 'a tangled tale', as Deleuze says, taking a title from Lewis Carroll. The concept of metaphor therefore inverts the real distribution of the original and the derivative; transfer does not presuppose primary significations between which it becomes established, rather, transfer itself is originary.


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Six Notes on the Percept


underlying path of Life that connects planes like so many perspectives ."

Every isolated signification therefore refers in principle to a primary intensive position, the force or point of view of which it is only the mutilated trace, since it is abstracted from the relation in the midst of which it exerts itself as force and as point of view. Sense does not spring from a combination of significations; it only flares up on account of a disjunctive synthesis of the existential points of view presupposed by these significations, whose intensity they dim by projecting them into the objective-explicit in the homogeneous field of representation. Points of view are not disjoined without a spark of sense. To start from explicit primary significations, so as to place them in relation to the relation of the literal and the figurative, is once again to depotentialize or to separate sense from what it can do, and to be deprived of understanding how the transport is possible; that is, how it constitutes sense actually creating itself, rather than the approximation of an ineffable but literal sense. Against the concept of metaphor and the interpretative logic that goes with it, Deleuze invokes the literality of becoming: sense belongs to the order of effects, and expression is a production, not something 'from the depths' or a figuration.?

From now on, the relation to the landscape is no longer that of an autonomous and pre-existent inner life and an independent external reality supposed to reflect this life. The landscape is an inner experience rather than the occasion of an echo; not the redundancy of lived experience, but the very element of a 'passage of life'. The landscape does not return me to myself: it involves me in a becoming where the subject is no longer coextensive with itself, where the subjective form is inadequate when faced with the unformedness of becoming. I no longer contain myself, nor can I recover myself in the coherence of a Self or Ego. Similarly, a character in a novel is no longer externally related to what he sees or feels. To live a landscape: one is no longer in front of it, but in it, one passes into the landscape and what I experience is also, in Chekhov's case for example, the boundless moaning of the steppe. The descriptive regime is therefore a sort ofjree indirect discourse: I give the discourse of the steppe, which I am or become. The intimate steppe, like the plane of exteriority where my inner life stirs and is played out, extends beyond me (exteriority is no longer simply the world of heterogeneous singularities, but the intimate itself, which proves to have neither limits nor intimacy, a pure assemblage of heterogeneous singularities, and also a pure limit). To live a landscape: neither an anthropomorphism nor a projection, but

the material landscape of my inner life producing itself, rather than the material of the metaphorical expression of a life and another, properly spiritual, matter. Mind is the membrane of the external world, rather than an autonomous gaze directed towards it. Everyone may therefore say 'I am the world, or a piece of the world,' to the precise extent that spirit only realizes or individuates itself upon encountering the world, beyond which it does not exist, or exists only potentially. 'We are not in the world, we become with the world, we become by contemplating it."? Deleuze freely takes up again Plotinus' conceptual gesture, turning back towards that from which one proceeds in order to contemplate it, although we ourselves are ultimately contemplations.

We do not contemplate ourselves, but we exist only in contemplating that is to say, in contracting that from which we come ... and we are all Narcissus in virtue of the pleasure (auto-satisfaction) we experience in contemplating, even though we contemplate things quite apart from ourselves ... We must always first contemplate something else ... in order to be filled with an image of ourselves. (DR 74-5)

Our mental life is not independent of the milieus and the persons we contemplate, but insofar as we contemplate them and they subconsciously work the mind, they are already something other than milieus and persons. We do not jabulate by substituting the false for the true, but because we always work from the signs, emitted involuntarily by these milieus and persons, that constitute them by extending beyond them, just as we are constituted by extending beyond ourselves. We live overrun by emitted signs, although social and material demands are forever turning us away from them, or making us ashamed to spend time on them, like the Idiot who instead of fleeing the fire, fills his mind with the event 'fleeing-the-fire'. Each tiny act of everyday life, every perceptive fragment, emits questioning signs that outstrip the demands of action and turn towards a still higher urgency.

The texture of the self is a membrane, not a thing but the capture of another thing, since a faculty exists only through the forces it captures, which sometimes captivate it (catatonia) and sometimes carry it away (fulguration). II A writer does not therefore express lived experience, insofar as expression blurs into creation: the percept-affect reveals the intolerable, or with an intolerable force, reveals that which used to remain enveloped within ordinary perceptions and affections (lived experience). Further, the writer, far from reporting lived experience,


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Six Notes on the Percept


makes a vital discovery. He sees at the limit of the livable, he lives what cannot be lived through. Now, ordinary perceptions never reach the intolerable, given the compromising force of the cliche. The writer lives what was enveloped within lived experience, yet nevertheless was not lived through. Doubtless sometimes it happens that vision or the intolerable make an incursion into the flow of existence itself, as a crisis of lived experience, an uncoupling or rupture of the sensorymotor schema, and it is precisely here that Deleuze locates a modern event, particularly perceptible in post-war cinema (C1 205f). This uncoupling and rupture ('no longer feeling concerned') are even the condition of the encounter with the intolerable; thus in Vittorio De Sica's filrrr, the pregnant woman doing the housework, her own belly swelling, almost against her will, looks 'as if all the world's misery were being born' (C2 1-2). We could quite correctly say then that art expresses or relates the very crisis of lived experience when that experience is suddenly confronted with the unbearable.

What is health? We see that it is ambiguous by nature, an overflowing, excess, in other words, violence, but a creative violence, or more precisely, a violence concomitant with creation rather than destructive. Such violence shatters because it carries the subject into an a-subjective, that is, a singular and impersonal becoming-other, rather than shattering by a will-to-shatter or to impose a new, already envisaged, figure of subjectivity (Deleuze does not posit two violences, he deduces them from the perspectival nature of the relations of forces as the active and reactive points of view). This concomitant violence, anonymous and non-intentional, serves no-one nor any ideal figure. 12 The paradox of health is to be inseparable from a supreme passivity that merges, however, with the pure act or becoming-active; it is the dismissal of every order and all submission, which acquiesces, however, to one other in me that acts (so that one will be prevented from assimilation to any great, divine or phallic Other). In a sense, health is mortal; it does not easily co-exist with either the ego or its support, the organism. The mind, which, in keeping with the nature of contemplative individuation, merges with an intense body, cannot live with the organized body. Yet nevertheless, there is no life, and therefore no health, without a minimal organism. Life is non-organic, but its relation to the organism is one of reciprocal presupposition: it builds a house in order to take flight from it, it is House-Cosmos, a house standing against the cosmos, tuned in to the cosmos, haunting as much as inhabiting it. This immediate contact of the Inside and the Outside through mutual capture means that I become the world only insofar as the world, at the same time, overruns me and leads its

infernal life deep within me, making me be or giving me the consistency of the very act that overflows me and throws me outside myself. What is health? Renewing the constituent relation to the outside, which always already passes into and haunts the inside:

Every point has its counterpoints: the plant and the rain, the spider and the fly. An animal or a thing, therefore, are never separable from their relations to the world: the interior is only a selected exterior, the exterior, a projected interior. (SPP 168)

Ultimately, inside and outside cease to be discernible, and the fracture inherent in this mortal health, in this vitality at the edge of an abyss, 'is neither internal nor external, but is rather at the frontier[,] imperceptible, incorporeal and ideal".'? Pessoa knew how to say it: 'You, naval things, old toys of my dreams!! Rearrange, outside me, my inner life!! Keels, sails and masts, helm-wheels, rigging.! Steamer's funnels, propellers, topmasts, pennants flapping in the winds,! Screws, hatchways, boilers, bilges, valves,! Rush down on me in heaps, jumbles,/ In disorder, like a drawer emptied on the floorl/ ... Let yours be the line that links me aesthetically to the outside,/ ... Since, in actual fact, seriously, literally,! My sensations are a boat with its keel turned round,/

.. .'14 On the other hand, the House separates itself from the Cosmos and becomes the fetid home of the neuroses, the family house, when feeling is separated from what it can do, and confined, from now on, to interminable recognition or to cliches. Perception is always already a remembering, always recalls something, the deja-uu that protects against every visual novelty, every event of vision. In this regard, Swann is the anti-Charlus, but equally the bad double of the Proustian narrator, analogous perhaps to Zarathustra's ape which, for Nietzsche, parodies the eternal return by reducing it to an old familiar grind.

Deleuze speaks of the 'intimate ocean' where Moby Dick swims, the projection of which into the ocean outside transmutes the perception of this latter into a percept. Moreover, this projection of the intimate ocean into the ocean outside is at the same time the projection of an image of self, but one that is not an ego, since 'the ruins of his devastated ego' are, on the contrary, its condition. This self will 'live its own life' - a never completed image, a fable and a myth - 'always taken up once more, reassembled, ceaselessly expanding on the way' (CC 146-7). Writing these lines, was Deleuze thinking of Melville's triplet: 'Implacable I, the old implacable sea:/ Implacable most when most I smile serene - / Pleased, not appeased, by myriad wrecks in me'?15 The intimate ocean is not the same thing as the percept, but the


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Six Notes on the Percept


condition of it: at once the plane of immanence or composition where the percept unfolds and connects with other percepts; the plane of contact and the assemblage of different percepts; and the different heights, atmospheres and temperatures of a subjective life, each overflowing the enclosure of the ego from all sides, in such a way that none has priority nor primacy, giving it no consistency other than the disjunctive assemblage of percepts.

In the final instance then, all writers compose an intimate plane of exteriority from percept to percept, which inspires them and which is itself composed of percepts. An immanent support, a condition that, however, does not pre-exist them (just as the transcendental field, of which it realizes or actualizes only a fragment, is 'no larger than what it conditions'): Melville's Ocean, T. E. Lawrence's Desert, Chekhov's Steppe, Virginia Woolfs Town, Faulkner's Hills in the imaginary county of Yoknapatawpha, etc. The plane may be in a particular work, or may encompass their Work in its open-ended totality. In each instance a subjectivity is at work, but one which, stirring up the forces of the outside, cannot, by definition, be reduced to the individuality of a person. Health lies within the percept, that is, in the final analysis, in the addition of new percepts, which resonate infinitely with those already acquired. Health lies in making different percepts play, in bringing them to life, which percepts I, that is, the point pulled in all directions in a disjunctive synthesis, have never finished becoming (rather than being). Consisting only of percepts may also be called becoming-imperceptible. The discrete hero of the percept, basically the 'grand vivant', he of the great life, is not the eccentric or the marginal, since they are too perceptible, preeminently perceived; rather, this hero is the man without qualities or characteristics who goes unperceived by virtue of knowing how to become-everyone and everything, and consequently the contrary of the non-conformist and no less of the conformist (exactly what Fellini, for example, said he loved about Mastroianni) .

Can we speak of a profound landscape, as we say of an idea? An idea is not profound because it is well-founded, in close contact with its foundations, but rather because it makes thought 'founder' [effondant] and liberates the infinite resonances in chaotic communication within it. 10 The aesthetic idea is for Kant that which 'prompts much thought', and Deleuze, who devotes a chapter of Critique et clinique to Kant, also invokes the Idea.!? What is it that prompts infinite thought in this way? The landscape where everything resonates, Ocean, Desert, Steppe, Town, Hills, etc.: in short, the plane of intimacy with the composition that traces and fills it.

4 The Persona, the Process and the Child

So therefore, to see to the nth power is to evaluate, to perceive the forces that animate, captivate and bring about the visible, to perceive the visible in its vibrations, it being understood that its ways of vibrating are variable and of unequal strength. Nietzsche's animals and personae, of which Deleuze made a dictionary in his shorter Nietzsche, are not types or persons: to see them is to apprehend or capture the forces they emit, and 'to sense whether they are in accord or discord'. 18 As an example, Nietzsche brings out the percept of the camel and the bull (what can the camel do? answer: carry, bear; what can the bull do?, and so on). For his part, Deleuze draws a portrait of the principal conceptual personae in philosophy (WP ch. 3). The percept cuts across genres, types and species, mixing or merging them: the draught horse accords more with the ox than with the racehorse; as for Little Hans, he sees the horse (SPP ch. 6; CC 85).

What, then, distinguishes art from life? Is it enough to say that art conserves the crises of lived experience, or of life in the living? When Deleuze says that it is proper to art to conserve, we might think that he is thinking of the souvenir. Obviously not, however, and if art were the souvenir of a life-passage, and not the passage itself, it would have hardly any vital interest, quite the opposite. Art is not composed in order to remember, no more than it is composed of souvenirs; to conserve is something else, conserving is indissociable from feeling. What we are pointing out is that Deleuze appears to give two reasons, two arguments for the idea that the percept exceeds all lived experience and exists in the absence of man: (1) it overflows subjectivity, and (2) it conserves itself independently of that which experiences it and composes it. So, he specifies, it is a matter of a conservation in itself (and not only in some material) (WP 163ff). Necessarily, this must really be one and the same argument; and it is necessary that conservation in itself is related to overflowing or excess, that this is not only a possibility of the percept but its very nature. An, according to Deleuze, does not conserve the percept but creates or assembles percepts that are so many conservations in themselves. At least a first misinterpretation thus seems to be avoided, namely, to think that the percept could be experienced independently of an artistic creation, that is, of working with a material, with colour, sound, language, etc.

One question grows increasingly urgent: is there, independently of art and philosophy (which creates by concepts) a vital creation close to life, a creation of life itself? At this level, it would be true but inadequ-


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Criticism and the clinical: life and work are the same thing, when they have adopted the line of flight which makes them the components of the same war machine. In these conditions life has for a long time ceased to be personal and the work ceased to be literary or textual. CD 141)

consistency to the unbearable as such involved in life, not necessarily due to some violent or terrifying experience (he insists, on the contrary, on the fact that the intolerable may concern even the most banal moments of everyday life): to make the tear or the fracture consistent. What does preserving in itself mean? To give consistency. Art did appear to 'exceed all lived experience' in two senses, but we now see how they make just one: it is because it overflows the subject's unity that the percept is unlivable, unbearable, and must from now on be created, in other words, conserved.

Why, then, does Deleuze appear to make an exception in the case of children, who do not write and are not artists, even when they speak or draw? (WP 164-5). little Hans, who Freud studied, had entered into a becoming-animal, and childhood, or at least early childhood, is presented as a time of happiness that is sadly soon compromised, where existence merges with a vital education, without, however, producing a work (the question here not being of knowing if this is a pity, but if it is possible): to desire, or to renew contact with desire, or to discover lines of flight for desire, in adulthood, would thus be inseparable from a becoming-child ... Or perhaps we are on the wrong track when we think that becoming implies a creation, and that only the artist or the philosopher attains this superior health in the free wandering of desire? In fact, existence has its intense passages and its ruptures: loving, and also forgetting, forgetting as what makes us capable of loving. So why the pessimism that destines us to creation? Is it only a matter of intensity, or is there a more profound reason?

The very concept of the seeing persona, bound up with that of fabulation, imposes this on us. Of what type is the subject or non-subject of the .percept, if it is true that the latter overflows the unity of the person from all sides? It is the schizophrenic, who lives the unlivable on the edge of total disintegration, because he affirms his fracture and lives on its edges. An unattributable, mobile subject, able to connect roles or possible lives without lapsing into identification, the schizophrenic is composed of the disjunctive synthesis of incompossible points of view.j" A persona such as this is hardly viable except in writing (despite this, he is not imaginary, since his becomings are real, and since the writer or the reader are really engaged in a becomingpersona). In existence, this limit experience, or, quite simply, this experiment, corresponds to the positive and enlivening 'schizophrenic process', carrying life to unheard of intensity, but constantly threatened by psychotic and autistic collapse. Critique et clinique states this from the very first page: the process is on the one side creation, and on

ate to recall that art and philosophy are also manifestations of life, and not disciplines adjacent to life. The question is, is this possible, without recourse to signs which are not those of lived experience itself, but a refraction of life in some material? Or can we attain this Health, neither physical nor mental, yet nonetheless real for all that, without creating? The Deleuzian response, it seems, is no.19

The percept, a vital education and incorporeal health are inseparable from means of expression. This is why, in a new sense, literary commentary simultaneously presents a clinical aspect and a critical aspect: the clinician of his own existence, the writer draws up a differential table of vital signs, diagnosing which undermine and which favour health, always on condition of creating appropriate writingsigns (or style) (LS 237ff). Once again we stumble across a misinterpretation, always the same one, perhaps, but this time in a very crude, although fearsome, mask: to believe that life teaches us nothing, and that acculturation resides in books and art. Crude and fearsome in effect, since in a certain way, it is true. Education is literary or artistic, though also existential or vital; it is the education o/life, and concerns nothing other, although it is not actualized outside writing or composition, with the result that life - not lived experience - and the work ultimately become indiscernable, although always distinct.

Education in writing does not therefore replace life, with its everyday experiences and its intense passages, since it has no content besides this. Precisely, however, the 'life-passage that cuts across the bearable and the experienced' , or as Blanchot says, 'the living of life', which for him is unbearable within existence, not a possible object of lived experience, paradoxically, can only be seen, sensed, or lived through in a process of creation. Deleuze can therefore retain the old word 'expression': writing really speaks of something other than itself (life), although this being the case, it comes alive itself (equivalent to 'nonorganic vitality' as content and the 'agrammatical syntax' as expression). Nevertheless, writing creates what it speaks about, or creates vision from it, hearing, the percept, since existence is incapable of presenting it (or rather, for this, existence must necessarily be augmented with a dimension so that it cannot but create, that is, it must become-artistic). It is proper to art, Deleuze states, to give


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Six Notes on the Percept


the other side, psychosis. Rather, it remains silent, fragile, in the midst of their ruthless debate.

5 Death, Shame and the Ethics of the Stroll

matter of information concerning the horse: but, worked by the spectacle, he experiences directly in himself the horse's alternately active and passive power. In other words, through his vision, he enters into a becoming-horse, just like Ahab's becoming-whale, even though this involves very different affects. He learns what it is possible to experience; he discovers the possible lives and the points of view or the forces they imply, the difference that cuts across the affect and life (passive/active, the fall/getting Up).21

The percept mixes the attractive and the repulsive, vitality and death. And if education envelops death, if vision leaves 'the discrete mark of death' on the seer, the ever sensitive, open wound of a rupture, it is because life can only be grasped at the nonsensical point where it acquires sense, that is, also when it enters into a quasi-indiscernable relation with death; not a moribund life, but one that continually pulls away from death, repeating its difference, like the detail or the differential that changes everything. Life as something snatched from death, but equally and just as much a virtual event of dying, a willing-dying indiscernible from vitality as such, it being then a question of avoiding that which, within the willing-dying inherent in the experience of life, could turn back on and against itself, and turn into the 'passion of abolition' pure and simple (ATP 229). Every percept, in this sense, involves death, not simply that of the self-identical subject, but the ° intensity implied by and involved in every sensation, as Deleuze, following Kant, reminds us. In fact, intensity can only be felt as it approaches 0, whatever its degree or level. Also, the active envelops the passive, the affect that carries me along being at the same time too much for me. The death included in every event, whether favourable or unfavourable, is at times the reactive force that wills death and separates me from what I can do, and at times the dazzling vitality of an active force that captivates me and simultaneously sweeps me away, raising me to a becoming-active by imposing on me the final phase of passivity. Life is simultaneously that which differs from death and is always being undermined by it, and that which undermines the living, organized individual through an excess of vitality. Again, the unbearable has two alternating values in Deleuze's texts: sometimes it designates the morbid powers of the ressentiment that jeopardize vitality, while at other times it characterizes the ordeal of vitality. But the one form derives from the other: the 'too much for me' affects an exhausted or insufficiently plastic force, determining a hard line rather than consent (C2 141-2). The ego then wills life to be too much for it, hence the genesis of res sentiment, the will to affirm what limits, encloses, circumscribes and protects life, the valorization of suffering

Seeings and hearings are not a private matter, rather, they form figures in a continually reinvented History and geography. Delirium invents them as a process carrying words from one end of the universe to the other. They are events on the frontiers of language. But when delirium collapses into a clinical condition, words no longer open onto anything, we no longer either hear or see anything through them, except for a night that has lost its history, its colours and its songs. Literature is a health. (CC 9)

Does this mean that the child is somehow spontaneously schizophrenic? And is the threat hanging over the process always extrinsic (the violence of a censure or a repression), or is it also intrinsic (a destruction of the self as the correlate of vitality)? Time and again, after The Logic of Sense, Deleuze returns to the opening sentence of Fitzgerald's The Crack Up: 'Of course all life is a process of breaking down.' How does it happen that desire is so often marked with death, that the percept places 'the discrete mark of death' on the writer? Is the line of flight condemned to become a line of death, where desire loses its balance and wants annihilation?

Once you start thinking, you're bound to enter a line of thought where life and death, reason and madness, are at stake, and the line draws you on. You can think only on this witches' line, assuming you're not bound to lose, not bound to end up mad or dead. (NE 103-4).

'In its way, art says what children say' (CC 86). Little Hans, whatever Freud may say, has his vision, his perception of the street, still current at the beginning of this century, but which he experiences as a percept: 'a horse falls, is whipped, struggles' (CC 85). It is a percept because what he sees cannot be reduced either to simple information (a news item that will provide an excellent basis for table talk), or to a saddening spectacle (a spectacle associated with a feeling, for example, the pity felt by an animal-lover), nor still less to a metaphor (a perception so much rnore disturbing that it evokes something else: in this instance, the father, as Freud would like to have us believe). Little Hans sees the horse fall, and through this fall, sees what a horse 'can do.' He would receive no vital education here if, once again, it were only a


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Six Notes on the Percept


and death (but to speak of a dangerous health does not imply that we valorize suffering: we affirm only a perpetual relation to it).

At this point, we should consider the omnipresent theme of shame in Deleuzes recent texts: shame is a base intensity, no less intense for all that, the affect of an interminable belittling of the self-image. At the same time, it forces us to think: 'the feeling of shame is one of the most potent motives in philosophy' (WP 108). Already in Nietzsche and Philosophy, 'The use of philosophy is to sadden' (NPh 106). How can the philosopher of Joy write that? Because one thinks only in a relation to shame: 1:0 feel shame before stupidity, one's own stupidity, and thus to become capable of thinking. However, even here shame is inseparable from a percept: 'And we can feel shame at being human in utterly trivial situations, too: in the face of too great a vulgarization of thinking, in the face of TV entertainment, of a ministerial speech, of "jolly people" [bon vivants] gossiping' (NE 172). Flaubert, perhaps the first to do so, composed the percept of stupidity on the scale of an entire book, Bouvard et Pecuchet: 'A pitiful faculty then emerges in their minds, tha t of being able to see stupidity and no longer tolerate it ... ' (cited by Deleuze in DR 152). Now this affect is possible only from the point of view of the superior (active) forces that we reach and that shame us. The percept is never the perception of one force, but of a relation of forces; sensation is always differential and for that same reason, evaluative. Shame consists in having seen one's own forces humiliated, having seen oneself as a slave, or a domestic pet."

Nevertheless, it remains the case that the Deleuzian idea of shame seems paradoxical: we would rather be tempted to say that it paralyses thought, that it puts up fences, that it is supported by the forces of conformity rather than a flight of creation. How in fact, according to Nietzsche, do reactive forces triumph over active ones? 'One feels shame towards action, life itself is accused, separated from its power, separated from what it can do' (N 28). And to separate a force from what it can do, to render it reactive, is to turn it against itself by a process of internalization, from which responsibility and guilt are born (NPh 131, 142). There are therefore two really distinct shames, whose struggle is described in the book on Kafka. The originality in this consists in suggesting an active sense of shame, the feeling of quasiannihilation. Further, the idea of an active shame makes sense only according to a becoming, to the point of view of becoming. For guilt does not belong a priori to the concept of shame; shame becomes a making-guilty when the ego is given as the very form of existence, from which there is no escape, and therefore when the possibility of be coming is nullified. From now on, shame must be internalized: it no longer

qualifies what we cease to be but what we inalterably are; it is what we must take responsibility for and we will never have done with it (ego).

This being the case, Nietzsche could equally say that disease gave him a point of view on health and vice-versa, since he had seen and felt disease (what it can do), just as shame gives Deleuze a point of view on glory, and from there a glorious point of view on shame (hence the frequency of the verbs dresser, 'to raise', and se redresser, 'to draw oneself up', since the book on Kafka). 'There is always some glory to be taken in shame ... >23 What then is glory, that giant image of the self, rather than the self as giant, if not the percept, or rather the connection of percepts, that traces a perpetually mobile and perpetually increasing plane of intimate exteriority, and in this manner, composing a Character? (CC 150, 156). Following what we have said about the nature of the percept, it is clear that this image is not at all narcissistic or megalomaniac; on the contrary, for a glory that renounces shame, while continuing to struggle with it, is a glory that is always 'too much for me', for the shameful pettiness of the ego: a glory always to come and yet already there, there insofar as it is to come or as becoming, and which never stops tolling the bell for my nasty and persistent little glories.

So let's go back to Little Hans and his vision. A horse falls: percept of the fall, base intensity. The fall gives the child a point of view on pride (drawing himself up), no less than on humiliation, and makes him feel the affect as difference, or as the relation of forces inherent in the horse he is becoming. Little Hans becomes-horse without taking himself to be a horse, or playing at being a horse: Deleuze rejects the idea of imitation as he does identification, to the extent that they still presuppose persons and individuals, whereas becoming, far from simply making the subject pass from one individuality to another, involves it in another type of individuation altogether, at once singular and impersonal, from which persons derive when the existent is separated from what it can do. Deleuze calls this non-personal individuation, of the order of an event, haecceity (ATP 253ff). Hans sees the horse fall, and it really is a matter of a real horse falling on a particular day at a particular time in a particular street. But what he sees with a second sight, what he experiences through his vision - a complex of forces - overflows the particularity of the horse, without for all that lapsing into generalizations: force is never the force of a subject, but cuts across and carries away the subject constituted at the core of the relation. Every individuality refers to singular relations of forces that animate it and that it presupposes, rather than the reverse, since the relations by nature exceed the individual form. In this sense, Little Hans does not


Francois Zourabichvili

become <.1 horse unless the real horse becomes something else, a pure perception, a virtual 'affective horse' (the indefinite does not so much express some variable or some peculiarity as it does the determination proper to the singular: what a horse can do exceeds every possible attribution, whether demonstrative or possessive; this horse, my horse). The percept is therefore also a crystal, a two-sided image where the actual and the virtual are ceaselessly exchanged, distinct-obscure, 'distinct but indiscernable' (CC 83; C2 25-43).

We see that the percept and the affect contain within them the principle of an immanent ethical decisiveness, which is health itself (a health that is equally irreducible either to the flawless performance of the body, or to a socially impeccable mental stability, which, for all that, makes it no less real or literal). 'Nietzsche became insane precisely because, having lost this mobility, this art of displacement, he could no longer through his health turn disease into a point of view on health' (N 10). Evaluation is inherent in every real experience, in every conjunction that carries the subject into a becoming. It operates directly on life in the disjunctive synthesis of vitally experienced points of view, instead of hanging over it and submitting it to transcendental criteria, to hypostatized cliches and to the moral machine of judgement. It is immanent since the evaluating points of view are not a priori, but objects encountered that can only be felt. So understood, ethics is restored to its true sense: the exploration of ways of living, or even of the Character, in the specific sense that we have just defined in accordance with its ambiguous etymology. And yet we continue to resist the idea of an immanent evaluation, and so carry on judging as if, trapped by the alternative, we had no way out other than nihilism.

What hampered us was that by renouncing judgement, we had the impression that we were depriving ourselves of any means of distinguishing between beings or ways of being, as if everything from now on amounts to the same. (CC 168)

This is because judgement has the property of creating the illusion of an alternative: literally Ego or Chaos. Judging consists in treating the entirety of the visible as material for surveying rather than educating, always relating it to something else, the memory or the latent content that explains it, the pre-existent values according to which it is assessed. It is also the most secure bastion against the event, the best defence for cliches against the emergence of a percept that challenges them by promoting new, active forces:

Six Notes on the Percept


Judgement prevents the advent of every new mode of existence. For the latter creates itself out of its own forces, that is, by forces it is able to capture, and proves its worth insofar as it brings a new combination into existence. This, perhaps, is the secret: bring into existence, don't judge. It is so distasteful to judge not because everything is of equal value, but on the contrary, because everything of value can only produce itself and distinguish itself by defying judgement. What expert judgement in art could bear on the work to come? It is not for us to judge other beings, but to feel whether they agree or disagree with us, that is, if they supply us with forces or return us to the misfortunes of war, to the paucity of dreams or the demands of the organisation.i"

Deleuzian ethics may be summed up by the following formula: be like everyone else, on condition of being able to takes one's strolls; or, following Kafka's expression, of 'having nothing to do but take one's walks' which equally means, as Patrice Loraux reminds us in his excellent book,25 'being not yet born and already forced to go for a stroll'. The two formulas do not, however, contradict each other: the forces of the encounter, as Deleuze likes to say, come unexpectedly upon us: no-one is ready for a encounter, which necessarily contains its share of violence ('too much for me') as a concomitant of the relation of forces. To take a stroll is to 'extend one singularity right into the neighbourhood of another' (passim), to extend every percept into another percept, following inevitably hazardous external connections or relations, and in this way, to compose the richest possible artistic disjunctive synthesis. Or grasp the event in things and in what happens, and in each case, carve out the corresponding concept in such a way as to constitute and constantly enrich a resonant philosophical constellation. 'Kleist invented a writing of this type, a broken chain of affects and variable speeds, with accelerations and transformations, always in relation with the outside' (ATP 9). Anti-Oedipus also opens with these intensive and contemplative strolls, in the course of which one becomes-active:

A schizophrenic out for a walk is a better model than a neurotic Lying on the analyst's couch. A breath of fresh air, a relationship with the outside world. Lenz's stroll, for example, as reconstructed by Buchner. This walk outdoors is different from the moments when Lenz finds himself closeted with his pastor, who forces him to situate himself socially, in relationship to the God of established religion, in relationship to his father, to his mother. While taking a stroll outdoors, on the other hand, he is in the mountains, amid falling snowflakes, with other gods or without any gods at all, without a family, without a father or a



Francois Zourabichvili

mother, with nature. 'What does my father want? Can he offer me more than that? Impossible. Leave me in peace.' Everything is a machine. Celestial machines, the stars or rainbows in the sky, alpine machines - all of t:hem connected to those of his body. The continual whirr of machines. 'He thought that it must be a feeling of endless bliss to be in contact: with the profound life of every form, to have a soul for rocks, metals, water and plants, to take into himself, as in a dream, every element of nature, like flowers that breathe with the waxing and waning of the moon'. To be a chlorophyll- or a photosynthesis-machine, or at least slip his body into such machines as one part among the others. Lenz has projected himself back to a time before the man-nature dichotomy, before all the coordinates based on this fundamental dichotomy have been laid down. He does not live nature as nature, but as a process of production. There is no such thing as either man or nature now, only a process that produces the one within the other and couples the machines together. Producing-machines, desiring-machines everywhere, schizophrenic machines, all of species life: the self and the non-self, outside and inside, no longer have any meaning whatsoever.i"

6 Becoming-Child

The imrrranent ethic is inseparable from a creation. When we asked whether t:he experience of full health is possible, or whether life could do without creation, the answer was no, and we stumbled against the curious and enigmatic exception that Deleuze seems to make for young children. Once again, why say that 'in its way, art says what children say', while otherwise emphasizing the distance that separates a child's drawing from a Paul Klee canvas? Why, in the middle of a book devoted to writing, is there a text entitled 'What Children Say'? (CC ch. IX). The answer is literally in the title: children have singular means of expression and an original mode of questioning, that psychoanalysis, to its shame, exploits by repressing; hence the indefinite reduced to a possessive (a horse = your daddy); or talking of a machine, of a function rather than an organ (the 'making-pee' of a horse), and so on. Psychoanalysis gives itself over to linguistic reductions in order to reduce the becoming inherent in the percept to a simple m eraphor, and to reduce the experience of the outside to a closed circuit of tired formulae (whatever you see and feel, it is always a way of t:hinking of daddy).

In this way however, we have only partially answered the question.

Does there remain a second aspect, namely, the viability of becoming

Six Notes on the Percept


and the affect in the child, its relation to the schizophrenic adult? In Critique et clinique, Deleuze does not confine himself to the young child, he also raises the issue of the infant (CC 82, 167). This is to raise the potentialization inherent in becoming by one degree: the becoming-child goes beyond itself to a becoming-baby, just as, in the final instance, writing leads to that which does not speak but snorts, gurgles and screams. This intense vocality resonates in and through writing, insofar as it lives and creates (WP 55; CC ch. XIII).

Babies display a vitality, an obstinate, stubborn, untameable will-to-live, different from all organic life. With a young child there is already a personal, organic relationship, but not with a baby that, for all its smallness, concentrates the energy that shatters paving stones (Lawrence's tortoise-baby). With the baby there is only an affective, athletic, impersonal, vital relationship. It is certain that the will-to-power appeared in the baby in an infinitely more precise manner than in the man of war. For the baby is combat, and the small is the irreducible site of forces.F

From now on, does childhood for Deleuze designate the glorious and perhaps unreal state of an overabundant and extravagant force, supple, plastic, capable of every metamorphosis, but doomed to dry up and settle down in the face of the reactive demands of the social and familial world? (Deleuze does not deny the utility of reactive forces for life; on the contrary, since life requires at least a minimal conservation. But putting reactive forces at the service of active ones is not the same thing as separating active forces from what they can do, in order to put them at the service of reaction (NPh 111-14) ). Isn't childhood the name of vitality itself, of that force, captured at birth, which we continually betray in 'developing' ourselvesr" Adults often say that a child is that to which everything must be given, but which gives nothing in return: reading Deleuze, we come to wonder if it is not the reverse. And insofar as they create, the writer and the artist are constantly renewing contact with childhood as viable vitality, in the mode of a becoming rather than a remembering: child-becoming, block of childhood. 29

Perception related to what it can do, immanent evaluation, composition of the self on a plane of exteriority: such have seemed to us to be the principal characteristics of the percept according to Deleuze, marking the indissociability of aesthetics and ethics. We do not know if we have been really understood, or even sufficiently understood. We have read round the edges, and it is the cruelty of commentary sometimes to diminish the author, but also and to the same extent, to

i .1..


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bring to light exactly what the commentator can do, what only he can do. Each is in a position to detect and to form the cold architecture of the concept, requiring only a little technique and patience; the problem is to know if one captures, at the same time, only those vital resonances capable of making sense of it, and if one has gone far enough with these resonances, if one has sufficiently 'potentialized' the concept.

MD: Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1994. N: Nietzsche, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1965.

NE: Negotiations, trans. Martin Joughin, New York: Columbia University Press, 1995.

NPh: Nietzsche and Philosophy, trans. Hugh Tomlinson, London: Athlone, 1983.

translated by lain Hamilton Grant

PS: Proust and Signs, trans. Richard Howard, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973. SPP: Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, trans. Robert Hurley, San Francisco: City Lights, 1988.

WP: What is Philosophy? trans. Graham Burchell and Hugh Tomlinson, London: Verso, 1994.


The following book abbreviations are used:

A-Oe: Ami-Oedipus, trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane, New York: Viking Press and London: Athlone, 1983.

ATP: A Thousand Plateaus, trans. Brian Massumi, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press and London: Athlone, 1987.

B: Bergsonism, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam, New York:

Zone, 1988.


D: Dialogues, trans, Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam, London:

Athlone, 1987.

To use Toni Negri's image of Kafkaesque haste, borrowed from Deleuze in the first place.

2 Ahab's strange relationship with Moby Dick, mixing desire with death, is, since Dialogues, the example of becoming that Deleuze most frequently provides. Given the brevity of Deleuze's remarks, we believe that it is useful to show, with the help of the texts themselves, the difference he proposes to establish between a perception and a percept (we do not ask, however, that the texts 'illustrate' the notion of the percept, since the relation is rather the opposite: we bring them together as the source from which this notion draws its sense, as the element in which it is engaged).

3 On potentialization, or raising to the nth degree, see NPh 107 [Tomlinson gives 'reanimated' - tr.]; DR 7-8. On seeing [voyance], second sight and the third eye, see SPP 24; C2 2-3, 21, 128; CC 16.

4 Consider notions such as resonance, coexistence, reciprocal insertion, the conjunctive membrane (closely related to the membrane that we will examine later in this text); also, of course, the invocation of the fold as the ground of the visible (The Visible and the Invisible, trans. Alphonso Lingis, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1968, p. 152). Deleuze himself refers to this in The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, p. 146, n. 28. Note also the common reference to Proust. Given the extent of these seeming resemblances, concepts such as intertwining (Merleau-Pcnry) and becoming (Deleuze) must be differentiated with the greatest care: the difference bears upon the notion of flesh.

5 'Eye and Mind', trans. Carleton Dallery in Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Primacy of Perception, ed. James M. Edie, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1964, p. 187; The Visible and the Invisible, pp. 156-9. More generally, Deleuze objects to Husserl's and his successors having

CC: Critique et clinique, Paris: Minuit, 1993.

C 1: Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjarn, London: Athlone, 1986.

C2: Cinema 2: The Time-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta, London: Athlone, 1989.

DR: Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton, London: Athlone, 1994. EP: Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinosa, trans. Martin Joughin, New York:

Zone Books, 1990.

F: The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, trans. Tom Conley, Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 1993.

FB: Francis Bacon. Logique de la sensation, Paris: Editions de la Difference, 1981. KML: Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, trans. Dana Polan, Minneapolis:

Minnesota University Press, 1986.

LS: The Logic of Sense, trans. Mark Lester and Charles J. Stivale, New York:

Columbia University Press, 1990.


Francois Zourabichvili

held onto 'functions of lived experience', which really remain originary opinions or cliches: being-in-the-world, flesh, ideality, etc. Cf. WP 142. 6 Karl-Phillip Moritz, Anton Reiser, cited, most importantly in FB, p. 21.

7 Traditional theories of metaphor always cite resemblance or analogy as criteria.

8 It is generally thought that following Kant, it is Husserl that revives the transcendental question. However, Deleuze's work in its entirety consists in showing that there is an alternative: the critical lineage of Nietzsche and Bergson. The logic of internal difference and repetition at a distance is a hybrid product, resulting from a telescoping of the Nietzschean concept of the Will-to-Power, along with the Bergsonian concept of the pure Past. This transcendental perspectivism is set out in Difference and Repetition, then in The Logic of Sense (particularly in the 24th series). On the idea of a 'plastic principle', see NPh 50.

Let's make it clear that sense is inseparable from an encounter with and the capture of a new force. Again, this encounter must necessarily take place, or acquire consistency: if no encounter is ruled out in advance (condition of immanentism), equally none are, nor can be, artificially effected or engineered solely by subjective whim. For force is that which may only be feit, or experienced; the affect alone, in this sense, gives necessity or effectivity to a relation - and, in consequence, to a thought. This is not a 'subjective' criterion, since: (1) the affect, by contrast, involves the subject in a becoming where the individuating points of view overlap, distinct but indiscernable; (2) it stimulates, in the subject thus stripped of its mastery, the supreme activity of vital evaluation (the ethical activity itself, which we shall come to later). Deleuze continues to pose the question of necessity: NPh 109; PS 22-3,159-67; DR ch. 3, esp. p. 143ft.

9 The book on Kafka is exemplary in this respect. It will be noted that Jacques Derrida, who also sees difference, or rather "differance' as the real transcendental principle, is equally, although in a different way and from another perspective, led to a critique of metaphor. See 'White Mythology', in Margins of Philosophy, trans. Alan Bass, Brighton: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1982.

10 WP 169. On the membrane and immediate inside-outside contact, see C2262ff.

11 Etienne Balibar has suggested that over and above the express references to Plotinus, Hume and Butler (the concept of contemplation, of the contemplative habit), maintaining that the faculties are indissociable from constituent sensations, Deleuze rejoins a line of French empiricism opposed to Locke (Condillac, Lamarck).

12 The Bolshevik demiurge, in this respect, appeared as a dark caricature of the artist and the revolutionary, and it became increasingly important to him after 1917 to annihilate the nascent Constructivism, or rather to bolshevize it, to make it over so that it appeared - even to the eyes of the

Six Notes on the Percept


anti-Bolsheviks - congenitally Bolshevik. In a general way, Deleuze vigorously distinguishes two irreconcilable political attitudes, however often they are confused: concern for the 'future of the Revolution,' and for 'becoming-revolutionary', to which latter, for his part, he subscribes. On this distinction, as well as the Constructivist movement, see KML 75-6; NE 152-3, 158, 171.

13 LS 155. On the House and the Cosmos, see WP 178-81; on the intense

body, or body-with out-organs, in its relation to vision, see FB 33. 14 'Maritime Ode' , in Poems of Alvaro de Campos (emphasis added). 15 L'arc 41, 'Melville', p. 84.

16 Cf. DR 194 on 'ungrounding' [effondementJ, and 229ff on profundity or depth as the ground of spatial perception. See also C2 1 07ff on depth of field and its temporalizing role.

17 CC 16: 'The writer as seer and hearer, the object of literature: it is the passage of life into language that constitutes Ideas.'

18 CC 169. See also ch. XII on Ariadne, Theseus and Dionysus.

19 We see no reason on this point to warn of an elitist ethic, on the pretext that we may not ourselves be capable of this. Not only because ressentiment is not an argument, and because the idea of social justice happily does not depend on this, but because such an ethic is genuinely addressed to everyone (perhaps the only one that is), to the extent that it implies the immanent condition that one cannot know in advance who commands favourable circumstances and the raising of obstacles, social and familial in the first instance. In fact, what sense do we give to social injustice, if not knowing too well in advance who will 'pull through' and who will not 'pull through', as long as, and with the result that, many are separated from what they can 00, and even, in consequence, from their ability to rebel? What sense do we give to the Idea of democracy, if not that destinies may be played out over and again, entirely within, and not beside or above, existence itself (immanence), according to the laws, customs and milieus that extend beyond and territorialize it? In a general way, Deleuzianism is in fact an elitism, if this is understood to mean that all ways of existing and thinking are not of equal value, and that the selective evaluation of possibilities for existence is the immanent activity of life and thought. Other than this, Deleuze asks only that little humility necessary in order to perceive the extraordinary health gained by a few great creators and to marvel at them; perhaps also to gain something from them, even though I

we may not feel equal to claiming this. -~

20 LS 175; A-Oe 75ff. On the persona in a novel as a fabulated giant, see WP 171 and CC 13,71,147.

21 Politjq~ et psychanalyse, Alencon: Editions des mots perdus, 1977, in collaboration with Felix Guattari, Claire Parnet and A. Scala.

22 An affect such as this, as we have seen, has an irrepressibly political dimension. As such, it already surrounds the active forces of a revolutionary-becoming, which lacks ressentiment's grinding protests.



Francois Zourabichvili

23 CC 153. On Nietzschean perspectivism and its relation to Health, see N

9-15andLS 173-4.

2-1 CC 169. See also C2 137-47.

25 Le tempo de la pensee, Paris: Seuil, 1993.

26 A-Oe 2. See also CC 96; and the 'voyage/ballad" (balmade] in post-war cinema: Cl 209 to end and C2 1-18.

27 CC 167. Deleuze also cites Kafka's statement, 'the great shame that makes itself very small'.

28 Cf. ATP 276: 'Just as a dessicated child makes a much better child, there being no childhood flow emanating from it any longer.'

29 KML 141; also the note on the education of Kafka's nephew, Felix.


The Autonomy of Affect

Brian Massumi

A man builds a snowman on his roof garden. It starts to melt in the afternoon sun. He watches. After a time, he takes the snowman to the cool of the mountains, where it stops melting. He bids it good-bye, and leaves.

Just images, no words, very simple. It was a story depicted in a short shown on German TV as a fill-in between programmes. The film drew complaints from parents reporting that their children had been frightened. That drew the attention of a team of researchers. Their study was notable for failing to find much of what it was studying: cognition.

Researchers, headed by Hertha Sturm, used three versions of the film: the original wordless version and two versions with voice-overs added. The first voice-over version was dubbed 'factual'. It added a simple step-by-step account of the action as it happened. A second version was called 'emotional'. It was largely the same as the 'factual' version, but included at crucial turning points words expressing the emotional tenor of the scene under way.

Sets of nine-year-old children were tested for recall, and asked to rate the version they saw on a scale of 'pleasantness'. The factual version was consistently rated the least pleasant, and was also the worst remembered. The most pleasant was the original wordless version, which was rated just slightly above the emotional. And it was the emotional version that was best remembered.

This is already a bit muddling. Something stranger happened when the subjects of the study were asked to rate the individual scenes in the film simultaneously on a 'happy-sad' scale and a 'pleasant-unpleasant' scale. The 'sad' scenes were rated the most pleasant, the sadder the better.

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