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The Journal of Aesthetic Education, Volume 48, Number 2, Summer
2014, pp. 36-63 (Article)

For additional information about this article

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Deleuze’s New Meno:
On Learning, Time, and Thought
A new Meno would say: it is knowledge that is nothing more than an empirical figure, a simple result which continually falls back into experience;
whereas learning is the true transcendental structure which unites difference to difference, dissimilarity to dissimilarity, without mediating between
them—not in the form of a mythical past or former present, but in the pure
form of an empty time in general.1

In Difference and Repetition (1968), Gilles Deleuze calls for a new Meno. The
Meno is one of the Platonic dialogues in which Socrates asserts that learning
is recollection. While Deleuze’s central philosophical writing has not been
interpreted as a text on learning, his treatment of Plato’s Meno cannot be
reduced to the dominant theme pervading much of his thought: that of overturning Platonism. Indeed, the call for a new Meno signals the overturning
of Platonism, but it requires the development of a theory of learning that
renders it possible to begin with. If learning is not one of the central themes
of Difference and Repetition, on what basis can Deleuze claim to have conjured
up a new Meno? Deleuze’s argument is that learning or apprenticeship is
oriented toward the future, rather than the past. In other words, a new Meno
arises along with Deleuze’s philosophy of time, which is the most powerful
theme pervading Difference and Repetition. But the argument that learning is
oriented toward the future does not originate with Difference and Repetition.
It is developed by Deleuze in his earlier work Proust and Signs (1964).
In recent years, the study of Deleuze’s theory of learning has flourished,
with works such as Nomadic Education: Variations on the Themes of Deleuze and
Guattari (2008) and Educational Life-Forms: Deleuzian Teaching and Learning
Practice (2011) being published. In spite of this, aside from Alberto Toscano’s
brief mention of the Meno in his introduction to Eric Alliez’s The Signature of
Sanja Dejanovic received her PhD from York University. Her dissertation deals with
the paradox of sense or the event of thought in Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy. She is editor of Nancy and the Political (EUP, 2014), and is working on another book project, the
working title of which is The Question of Freedom: On the Mutually Reflected Affirmation.
Journal of Aesthetic Education, Vol. 48, No. 2, Summer 2014
© 2014 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois

I intend to show that. It is in light of Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time. Foreshadowing what will later become the theory of recollection. I then turn to Deleuze’s conception of learning as a temporal apprenticeship to signs in Proust and Signs. Once this is demonstrated by Plato. Its themes are reiterated in the Phaedo and Theaetetus. Deleuze’s new image of thought lends weight to a new image of the Meno. To demonstrate this. Such a formulation. I turn to Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition. The initial question is whether being good is something that can be taught. Meno appears to have forgotten what he has been taught. the act of learning involves different lines. my aim in this paper is limited. gives way to a new paradox. as Meno has gotten into the habit of acquiring knowledge and. This detail is relevant in the study. Socrates pleads ignorance of the matter when stating. hence. the theme in question remains largely unexamined. In the final section of this paper. takes the same approach when conversing with Socrates.Deleuze’s New Meno  37 the World: What Is Deleuze and Guattari’s Philosophy? (2005) and Claire Colebrook’s essay “Leading Out. I revisit Plato’s claim in the Meno that learning is reminiscence. This question. “[S]o far from knowing whether or not it’s teachable. we have become friends of the concept but not lovers of learning. despite having given public lectures on the matter. however. it is posed by Meno. I haven’t the faintest idea what being good is!”2 Socrates claims that he cannot know if virtue is teachable if he does not know what it is to begin with. the Meno opens up with an inquiry into what is x. the two characters go on to inquire into what virtue . In addition to this. when it is learning that gives way to the pedagogy of the concept. Leading On: The Soul of Education” in Nomadic Education. For Deleuze. for Deleuze. is not Socrates’. commentators rely too heavily on the pedagogy of the concept to develop Deleuze’s theory of learning. or fragments of time that cannot be co-opted to form a cohesive whole as in Plato’s philosophy. so as to explore how learning involves the transcendental use of faculties. In contrast to Meno’s arrogance. Meno’s Paradox The Meno is considered the earliest dialogue in which Plato asserts that learning is recollection. As is typical of the Platonic dialogues. This essay addresses the gap in the literature by responding to Deleuze’s call for a new Meno. In this respect. Remembrance of Things Past) that Deleuze begins to differentiate Plato’s philosophical approach to learning from his own. Socrates returns the favor by asking Meno to remember what his teacher Gorgias has taught him on the subject. learning is oriented toward the future and not a recollection of things past. Because such an endeavor deserves a more comprehensive and nuanced consideration. one that does not require us to reconcile the being of the past and the future. I argue. a young aristocrat influenced by the teachings of the sophist Gorgias.

Once the nature of knowledge is emphasized as an essential component of the problematic. The parts of being good refer to the good without our having any knowledge of it. marking a transition to the second segment of the study. yet the dialogue does not end there.4 Contrary to a state of puzzlement that would incite a discussant to engage in further dialogue.5 He rearticulates the paradox by adding a fragment to it that equally endangers the sophists’ method of acquiring knowledge: [Y]ou can’t try to find out about something you know about. more specifically. in which case there’s no point in trying to find out . renders any search for knowledge futile and. Socrates. This agreement signals an impasse in the inquiry. the question of whether virtue is teachable appears unresolved. By remaining pious to the idea that he only knows that he does not know. The inquiry is itself meant to be an answer to the question. Meno raises an objection to Socrates’ way of proceeding by posing the following paradox: But how can you try to find out about something. targets and unsettles his mode of inquiry in the absence of knowledge. if you didn’t know what it was to begin with? (Meno. At this critical juncture of the exchange. who. how can you put before your mind a thing that you have no knowledge of. even though he has taught others what being good is countless times.38  Dejanovic is in order to decide if it is indeed teachable. once again professes not to know that which they are seeking. Socrates insists that. or what it is in itself (Meno. He teaches nothing while repeating the question in the three segments that compose the dialogue. The first segment of the Meno (70a–79d) consists of a refutation of the argument that one knows what being good is. as we will soon see—that the question cannot be answered with reference to different parts or instances of virtue since the parts themselves refer to a whole that we know nothing of. 100) Socrates recognizes Meno’s paradox as the “famous quibbler’s argument. how would you know that that was it. one must have knowledge of the whole (the form of the good). because you know about it. to know what being good is. Socrates behaves like an exemplary teacher. in general. Meno attributes his bafflement entirely to Socrates’ doing. because Meno is searching for the kind of answer he is accustomed to receiving. which is most likely what Plato intended. if one has acquaintance with its parts or properties (that is.3 Meno and Socrates arrive at an agreement—for different reasons. being able to rule). 98). Nevertheless. the initial question is restated by Socrates. in order to try to find out about it? And even supposing you did come across it. The problem likewise endures with the reader. he himself does not know the answer to the question. The second segment is the most relevant for our purposes (80a–86c). in turn. It begins with Meno’s shameful confession that. if you haven’t got the faintest idea what it is? I mean.” which.

he states that he would “like to learn a bit more about” the idea that learning is remembering (Meno. the search for knowledge that provokes recollection or learning is distinguished from beliefs and habits acquired through an engagement with the empirical world. one cannot learn from others.6 Meno is enticed by Socrates’ theory. Because Socrates is able to show that the slave is “retrieving the knowledge from within himself. In other words. . With the aid of this premise. with its corresponding state of puzzlement and desire to know. . the things it used to know. then recollection by inquiry cannot be understood as teaching or “putting something into” the soul. therefore.7 . (ibid. (Meno. it is insufficient in discrediting the latter’s claim that one cannot inquire into what one does not know. one can only recollect the things that the soul already knows. since the notion that we already have knowledge of the whole appears to lend weight to his argument that one cannot inquire in the absence of knowledge. Plato himself must have deemed it a potential threat to his epistemology. We surely agree that if anyone recollects anything he must have known it before. According to this. in which Plato writes. 100–102) For Socrates. Socrates reiterates that inquiry does not teach anything: it only “leads out” what the slave implicitly has access to. and what there is in the world beyond . So it wouldn’t be surprising if it managed to remember things. 102). and you can’t try to find out about something you don’t know about.. Socrates must. since the soul can never die.. emphasis added) While Plato’s mouthpiece Socrates appears unaffected by the deadlock he has reached with Meno. . because then you don’t even know what it is you’re trying to find out about. In addition to this. we must at some previous time have learned what we now recollect. in his willingness to address the paradox. defuse the paradox by offering a reply that preserves the consistency of his approach. While the slave has no previous knowledge of geometry. This assertion is repeated in the Phaedo. “Learning is no other than recollection. He begins his argument by reminding Meno of the true belief held by poets and priests that the soul endures after death. despite Socrates’ polemical response to Meno’s formulation of the paradox. 112). he begins to recall the solution without being taught anything at all.Deleuze’s New Meno  39 about it. by becoming immersed in a problem. If the soul has previous knowledge of the whole. and has been born over and over again. .” he satisfies the argument that one can inquire into things that one does not know and that the absence of knowledge entices one to learn (ibid. and has already seen what there is in this world. he agrees to demonstrate the theory by leading one of Meno’s slaves through a series of questions on geometry. either. In the typical style of the sophist. there’s nothing it hasn’t already learned about.” but has forgotten it. . he goes on to assert that. Though Socrates recognizes Meno’s request as a ruse.

it instead illustrates that propositional results fall short of defining what being good is.9 Socrates searches in vain for examples of virtuous people who not only know what virtue is but have taught it to others. and if it isn’t then it can’t. we have effectively come full circle and returned to Meno’s objection. Despite Socrates’ display of recollection. In light of this. 134). as he delineates a hypothesis that would resolve the matter once and for all.” seems to resonate with Meno (Meno.10 The search is aborted thereafter as Socrates mystifies Meno by claiming that virtue must be a “gift of the gods. His conditional proposition that. but he has regressed to his initial position. if being good is “a kind of knowledge. However. Anytus. we are shown in the third segment of the dialogue (86d–100c) that not only has Meno learned nothing in the course of the inquiry. The simultaneity of the two states complicates the theory of learning because Plato must call knowledge that which has already been learned by the soul. . It is through the process of questioning that one cares for the soul. Plato must maintain the two contrary states to uphold the importance of inquiry and the continual search for knowledge in spite of ignorance. all the while referring to recollection as true belief on the way to knowledge. the reader does have an indication of what virtue is for Plato. questioning itself also becomes problematic. It appears as though Socrates is looking to put Meno’s mind at ease. Plato’s response might be that the reader has not recollected anything and that his or her search for knowledge resembles Meno’s. if the reply is steeped in contradiction and not definitive enough to satisfy the reader. cannot answer how anyone learned to be virtuous in the first place. Notwithstanding the inconclusive way in which the dialogue wraps up. with this sort of question.40  Dejanovic Has Socrates effectively defused the paradox? The reply preserves the consistency of Plato’s epistemology. an Athenian politician who has acquaintance with various decent people residing in the city.” He too reverts to his initial position when adding that the only way to be certain is to inquire into what being good is in itself (Meno. once we assume that recollection is true belief on the way to knowledge. Socrates arrives at the conclusion that virtue is “something that can’t be passed on or handed over from one person to another” (ibid.. The distinction between the two different times of having learned and learning—along with the transitional phase of forgetting—preserves the problematic status of the search. but it does not explicitly unravel two states that appear at odds with one another: knowing and unknowing. he must also then infer that being good is not a kind of knowledge after all. 115). This claim does not contradict Socrates stance that virtue is knowledge. In accordance with the stated hypothesis. How does someone with true beliefs begin to inquire into that which one does not know?8 Remaining within Plato’s philosophy. 134). Nevertheless. The third segment of the dialogue shows that a definitive answer to Meno’s question in a style that he is accustomed to is likewise impossible. then it can be taught.

17). The Search is oriented to the future. (Proust and Signs. It is only from the perspective of time regained.11 It becomes evident in the movement of the dialogue that. This new conception of learning is developed in light of Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu. The idea that the continuous apprenticeship to signs becomes apparent in a final act of apprenticeship. not the past. as a kind of remembering. I was to understand later.13 Deleuze’s Proust and Signs is one of the only texts in contemporary philosophy that cultivates a theory of learning as an aesthetic apprenticeship to signs. in his willingness to inquire in the absence of knowledge. toward the future instead of the past. but to learn. which is an event of an abrupt encounter with a sign that unhinges the faculties in an act of learning. does not signal that the search has a predetermined destination.. I was no longer interested once I ceased to learn. A new paradox is already evident in Proust and Signs. echoes Plato’s philosophy. and also. memory intervenes only as the means of an apprenticeship that transcends recollection both by its goals and by its principles. 3–4)14 Though the search for lost time is a search for the truth of things past.15 Neither does Proust’s progressive apprenticeship necessarily constitute a linear search. Deleuze establishes the tone of the search in the first few paragraphs of his study: One might invoke Proust’s Platonism: to learn is still to remember. Proust’s search is like no other. But however important its role [is]. according to Deleuze. This subtle shift in orientation. however. because it is an instance of a birth or beginning of the world that is irreducible to the past that it nonetheless envelops. time regained cannot be thought of as reminiscence. 50). Meno “leaves virtue an empty word. has radical effects on the way in which Deleuze will go on to conceive of a new Meno in Difference and Repetition. A Lover of the Search What is essential [in the Search] is not to remember. not only in the style of writing that is expressed but also . the slave is more virtuous than the man who rules over him.”12 Meno is not a lover of the search. what was there in the beginning is not simply recovered in the end (Proust and Signs.Deleuze’s New Meno  41 since the soul is improved only by recollecting the potential knowledge that it holds. that one “recollects” having learned all along: “We discover what we could not know at the start: that we were already apprenticed to signs when we supposed we were wasting our time” (ibid. Because of his inability to inquire when confronted by a problem and his dogmatic desire to satisfy his own conditions of knowledge so as to proceed to teach. The leitmotifs of the Search are: I did not yet know. Because of this. The reader will quickly note that the search.

Deleuze offers a clear conception of learning as an apprenticeship to signs. precisely because it not only has a different relationship with its sense or meaning but also because each one corresponds to a different temporal structure (Proust and Signs. and declares itself adequate” to its meaning. a being as if it emitted signs to be deciphered. 5). because this sort of sign “anticipates action as it does thought.. and wrong roads taken. sensuous signs. emphasis added) Learning consists of encounters with signs. exclude. To learn is first of all to consider a substance. it is empty or hollow (ibid. regressions. The problem with worldly signs. and how the change of code transforms the value of signs emitted by people occupying that milieu. do not directly instigate the apprentice to search for truth. the search for truth is riddled with episodes of delays. is that they are conventional gestures (that is. because these signs. (4. and distribute people in that milieu. what sort of codes admit.16 signs of love. These signs teach us very little. we will begin with the sort of signs Deleuze considers populate Proust’s literature. We will now turn to a more nuanced exposition of what the search itself entails. they do have the effect of “nervous exaltation” . They are instead essential fragments that configure a life of learning. their address is more likely to stimulate the intelligence to search for logical or possible truths. Since coming to grips with what a sign teaches presupposes that we have undertaken the search itself. Such a life of learning reveals that “we never know how someone learns” ahead of time or what sort of encounters with signs make them a brilliant writer (ibid. we mean that such signs do not point to some other content besides what they “stand for. 15). annuls thought as it does action. according to Deleuze. b As Deleuze notes. thus. It is appropriate to begin with worldly signs.). writes that. . Each sign provokes a distinct address. There are four kinds of signs that produce the texture of the search: signs of worldliness.42  Dejanovic ­ ecause of the singular rhythm that structures his apprenticeship to signs. along with a number of complexities that it involves. Everything that teaches us something emits signs. a sign of respect) made to produce a desired effect that is sufficient onto itself (ibid..17 By sufficient onto itself. . Although worldly signs project a commonsensical reaction that falls short of forcing thought into action.” Deleuze. not of an abstract knowledge. Signs are the object of a temporal apprenticeship. and signs of art. though most frequently encountered. . disenchantments. in the first chapter of Proust and Signs: [L]earning is essentially concerned with signs. every act of learning is an interpretation of signs. The apprentice turns to such signs when trying to decipher how a social milieu is organized. Or rather. as signs are indicators of a differentiation (of things past) that the faculties are called upon to unfold. an object. which cannot be dismissed once the hero recovers lost time. 55). Vocation is always predestination with regard to signs.

of its own accord. He turns to the things themselves to point the way: Struck by a place-name. He imagines her bathing as in a sunset in the orange light that emanates from the final syllable—antes. . not unlike the mood Meno experiences when conversing with Socrates. however. It is no surprise.. the apprentice is disposed to things potentially manifesting their truth to him. Deleuze shows that the apprentice becomes uninspired by the truths that he acquires. He vigorously seeks to extract from them the valuable treasures that he thinks they possess. observes things through a finely tuned microscope. as it is arbitrary. then. however. leads to dead ends. because they “lack the mark of necessity and always give the impression that they ‘might have been’ different and differently expressed” (Proust and Signs. in the hope of receiving their essential meaning. 19)18 The inexperienced way in which the apprentice approaches things as objective entities that intentionally manifest their true content in the signs they emit. produces little to nothing. In the beginning of the search. The chain of associations one can construct with the aid of voluntary memory is limitless..Deleuze’s New Meno  43 or anxiety. by a person’s name. [the apprentice] dreams first of the landscapes and people these names designate. to discover or to receive or to communicate” (ibid. no matter how elaborate and cleaver the linkages made. 20). cannot be solely attributed to the sign. he begins to question his own adequacy as a writer. The sign has a subjective pole. that the hero of Proust’s literature would become disenchanted with the search. the subjective interpretation of signs. the secret of her name. This method of approaching the world and writing literature. In turn. 24). like the objectivist illusion. On this. he ceased to learn when he relied on such interpretations.. Its vocation corresponds to the tendency of the intelligence to represent things or relate them to recognizable content. Perhaps he does not have the intelligence or resolve required to become a writer. This form of self-questioning makes him vulnerable to the subjectivist illusion that the truth of signs resides in his association of ideas. 18). Deleuze writes that the “intelligence dreams of objective content. this sort of mood propels the apprentice to search for possible truths of signs in the things that designate them (Proust and Signs. but. He sharpens his skills. by turning to the thing itself or to the association of ideas. as he feels alienated from what he is observing and describing. he believes. of explicit objective significations that it is able. Mme de Guermantes seems to him glamorous because she must possess. All of the effort exerted in an attempt to decipher signs. The time spent on interpreting signs in this way is time wasted. At this stage. More will be said on voluntary memory below. we want to stress that. (ibid. Before he knows her. is equally inadequate in producing any truths that the writer deems necessary to express. 61). The apprentice no longer awaits the object to disclose its truth but associates the sign with some quality that he recalls (ibid. which attempts to offset the failures of the former. 21. for now.

Deleuze shows that signs of love are equally signs of deception and torment because each embrace. our habituation to a social milieu. among other things.. or the imparting of knowledge to another. or our ability to respond correctly to stimuli. 4). 15). As Deleuze notes. since it is in distinguishing them from others. 7). as we will soon see. we should not assume that worldly signs are irrelevant in the search.44  Dejanovic We should not assume from what has been said that the signs emitted ceased to teach us something. we learn when unfolding the signs that are emitted in our relation to another. and caress by the beloved repeats others from which we are excluded and points to an unknown world in which we may not be favored (ibid. Learning does not consist of the exchange of ideas among friends. are not synonymous with the object. and these illusions. But. The apprentice learns far less from knowledgeable men who are far more enlightened than he is than he does when engaging directly with his immediate world. 5–6 emphasis added). but also to create a world of encounters with signs in the process. that the dual quality of these signs becomes apparent. The search for truth in signs of love arises with the individualization of our beloved. our effective immersion in a discipline. As Deleuze writes. which remains abstract unless the apprentice “arrives at it by other means. not only to individualize another while individuating oneself.. persist in other spheres. the acquisition of information. we are prevented from comprehending the truth of these signs because we attribute them to the beloved.” It is not. and the sort of address that they evoke change as the apprentice dispenses with certain illusions along the way. then. as has been shown. kiss.19 We do not learn from another. “we never learn by doing like someone. Deleuze reminds us that time wasted brings with it the awareness that we do not learn from others. In other words. Deleuze writes that “to fall in love is to individualize someone by the signs he bears or emits. but by doing with someone. who bears no resemblance to what we are learning” (ibid. We also do not intend to say that the illusions discussed above belong to the realm of worldly signs alone. The search is not a linear one. Becoming apprenticed to signs of love is becoming implicated in the signs that will trigger our suffering in the future. role. and creating a world in which we are sensitive to their signs. “[A] man can be skillful at deciphering the signs of one realm but remain a fool in every other case” (Proust and Signs. The signs. Signs of love constitute a different type of apprenticeship because we become more intimately entangled in the relation that produces their vocation. Their status. how do signs become decipherable? We leave this question open for now and turn to signs of love. It is to become sensitive to those signs” in order to unravel a possible world that the beloved inhabit apart from us (Proust and Signs. even though our past loves are . nor do they coincide with the intelligence that the subject brings to bear on them.20 To learn is precisely to become sensitive to signs. Having said this.

How. 46–47). Our suffering is turned into joy once it induces the intelligence to arrive at the general idea that the series of our loves transcend any particular one: hence. . 13). “Ideas are the substitutes for sorrows. my memory had not been forwarded in time” (quoted in ibid.. 17. The idea propels us toward more encounters with signs of love. instead. The search involved in deciphering these signs tends to be circular. . Substitutes in the order of time only. and the sorrow merely the mode according to which certain ideas first enter into us” (quoted in ibid. therefore. understands sensuous signs as precursors to signs of art. emphasis added). The search for truth in signs of love is. so that we may uncover the truth of things past.Deleuze’s New Meno  45 equally implicated in the selection of the signs that the beloved emits. Signs of love. does the apprentice arrive at the sense of these signs if not by recollecting their truth? Deleuze argues that the apprenticeship to signs is unconscious. I would try to remember. moreover. confronting the lie in so many words or seized by an anxious doubt. The sense of the signs of love is. allowing us to recognize that our pain is not caused by the beloved (Proust and Signs... they are the most fundamental signs of apprenticeship because they “afford us a means of regaining time” (Proust and Signs. for it seems that the initial element is the idea. . such general ideas or essences are brought about by the dual nature of signs of love. Although sensuous signs are not as predominant in Proust and Signs as signs of love. therefore. memory in its voluntary form never prompts the intelligence in time to search for truth in signs of love. For Deleuze. . in which the beloved is no longer distinguished. When is it that we should have known that they did not love us? Proust writes of the apprentice: “Later. Deleuze. in the search itself: “love unceasingly prepares its own disappearance. motivated by jealousy. We gain a more thorough understanding of the being of the sensible or the sentiendum and its relationship to the pure past in Difference and Repetition. then. Jealously forces the apprentice to survey memories of the beloved in order to decipher the earliest moments of their transgressions. As has been shown. signal time lost. In retrospect. it was no use. not only because we forget so that we can love (again) in the future. Proust writes. thus. emphasis added).” as it gives the apprentice temporary reprieve from sorrow and allows him to love again by forgetting or de-individualizing another. but also because signs of love encountered repeat episodes of past ones by introducing differences that we wrongfully attribute to the possible world of the beloved or to our selection of them. This sort of idea is a “substitute in the order of time. 34). acts out its dissolution” (ibid. 48. Deleuze claims that these ideas are general since they are not essences of things past but rather offer us a transpersonal or more impersonal overall theme of our former loves. prepares us to waste time again. voluntary memory cannot assist us to discern what events should be highlighted or given significance. It does not retrieve time lost but. therefore.

[the apprentice] feels something divine [or joyous]. the tendency to interpret banal encounters with such signs as time lost). involuntary memory brings him the lacerating recollection of his dead grandmother” (Proust and Signs. 36. have the power to “restore us at least at the heart of lost time. things. which is tied to the boot in the present moment. Deleuze writes. 26–7).” they continue to refer the apprentice to two distinct times along with two dissimilar objects that mislead him into seeking the truth of things past in their association (Proust and Signs. it is associated with two different things: the boot and the grandmother. how can we explain that an encounter with a sensuous sign can recover the past in a way that the apprentice has never experienced it before in reality. he goes on to ask. emphasis added) Moreover. Having said this. “Doubtless the two impressions. Deleuze raises the question most relevant for us: How [do we] explain the complex mechanism of reminiscences? At first sight. unconscious. have one and the same quality. 17). the latter sounding quite proximal to Plato’s signs of contrary qualities in The Republic and elsewhere. however. What the apprentice recollects with the help of involuntary memory is a past encounter with the same sensuous quality now associated with the death of the grandmother. on the other hand. Deleuze argues that the differentiation of a quality signalled by a sign arises as an encounter with two impressions because this sort of sign remains coupled to matter. past and present: “Leaning over to unbutton his boots. it is an associative mechanism: on the other hand. the present one and the past. a contiguity of the past sensation with a whole that we experienced then and that revives under the effect of the present sensation.. to a large degree. Although these signs. 14). a sensuous sign can trigger the faculty of memory in its involuntary form by signaling a differentiation of a quality that becomes interpreted as two simultaneous impressions. Deleuze points to this example in Proust’s literature to demonstrate that the sensuous sign. they correspond to countless minute perceptions and contemplations that are seldom accounted for (hence. but they are no less materially two” (ibid. Why is it that we experience such joy in reviving it? These musings signal both the limitations and the potentials . unlike the others we have examined. Commenting on this inconsistency. but tears stream from his eyes. or people. Though the sign itself points to a common quality across the two events. (ibid. we want to highlight that apprenticeship concerned with sensuous signs is. These signs signal differentiations of qualities—for instance.. forces involuntary memory to intervene and uncover its meaning. In accordance with Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism. a resemblance between a present and a past sensation. the variation in the atmosphere of a room when a friend enters—that the apprentice unfolds by implicating past events. At this juncture.46  Dejanovic At this stage of our discussion.

or the past sensation is solicited by a sign that introduces an internal difference that is equal to neither the whole of the past nor the present object. we have essentially reversed the search to unfold the being of the past from the perspective of the sign itself. Signs of . [. Thereafter.Deleuze’s New Meno  47 of sensuous signs. Either the recollection of the whole of the past sensation and the effect of the present object are identical (indeed. Deleuze proposes a disjunction that challenges Plato’s approach to recollection. Deleuze himself must confront the first indicator of Platonist tendencies in Proust’s text. This assertion remains true in Plato’s philosophy. because it is in itself” (Proust and Signs. just as the search is oriented toward it. . does not venture to ask the question that Proust does after reading the former’s work on memory: “But what is a memory that one does not recall?” (ibid. arrive at this final revelation? Before we proceed to the final signs of the search. involuntary memory gives us immediate access into what is— the being of the past—as opposed to involving various series of past presents linked to matter. The notion that learning has this fortuitous dimension is evident both in the idea that we do not know how someone learns ahead of time and when Deleuze claims that what has been learned will remain “buried in us if we do not make the necessary encounters” (Proust and Signs. To lay out this new comprehension of the past. or the relation of two objects. however. who equally seeks to transcend empirical relations. though profound according to Deleuze. To do this. neither can association explain why something is encountered for the first time. Deleuze once again refers to Bergson’s virtual.] [it] does not have to preserve itself in anything but itself. How does the apprentice. we must stress that there is something fortuitous in learning that is explicated in greater detail by Deleuze in Difference and Repetition. however. 18). cannot explain the sensuous quality that transcends their temporal distance. But this would mean ignoring that the sign itself activates the pure past by bringing some new element to it that is unequal to it. Bergson’s idea of the virtual. but the way in which the past is solicited by something other than itself. The apprentice of Proust’s search has reached a plateau riddled with paradoxes. On the one hand. He argues that the being of the past “does not represent something that has been . Conversely. The latter claim could be misinterpreted as the recollection of a mythical past that the apprentice has learned previously. It will become apparent in what follows that the sign comes from the future (as the lover had anticipated).) In other words. 38). . this is how Plato goes on to explain how the parts participate in the whole). Rather than explaining the past from the perspective of the present. It is only by making the necessary chance encounters that the lover of the search is apprenticed to signs of art. as is the case with voluntary memory. he begins by arguing that the associative mechanism. it is not the being in itself of the past or memory that is emphasized by Proust.

21 With signs of art. Even though involuntary memory is solicited in time to seek the meaning of sensuous signs. therefore. differentiation itself produces a dematerialized meaning that only becomes apparent with the development of the sign. This is because time regained in fortuitous encounters with signs of art is the birth of time. by being in part enveloped by an object. In other words. 58). The sign points . we have shown that. However. This is why the apprentice continues to inquire into the sudden joy he experiences when encountering sensuous qualities. however. ideal essence is difference. “involuntary memory has found its spiritual equivalent. in life tending toward artistic creation and in art producing new possibilities of a life). In turn. this definition of signs of art is quite enigmatic. This final stage of the search is itself demonstrative of the process of learning and not merely the recollection of something already learned. by forcing pure thought to intervene in the search. we begin to grasp how the development of the sign is a repetition of the past in light of an internalized difference. or the beginning of a new world. once time is recovered? Thus far. “meaning itself is identified with this development of the sign as the sign was identified with the involution of meaning. Deleuze notes. for Deleuze. however. the sign and its spiritual or dematerialized meaning were not unified. pure thought. are signs of art. Signs of art are. by pointing to an association between or among objects. that presides over their movement: essence complicates the sign and meaning” (Proust and Signs. In art.48  Dejanovic art are immaterial signs that “find their meaning in an ideal essence” (ibid. or the search for the cause of the sign in matter itself. both producing and produced” (Proust and Signs. 9). the meaning of these signs is equally a material one. have much more potential than the others. 100). that cannot be explained by the past but instead explains it. Worldly signs and signs of love are especially prone to promoting such interpretations because they do not stimulate the faculties in time to intervene in the search. Considered by itself. indicators of the reversal of the search in which memory is secondary to the involuntary workings of thought (this reversal works when considered from either side of the aesthetic. The only signs that do not tend toward a material meaning. because oftentimes the material sense of these signs is not sufficient enough to explain them away. in each of the worlds that preceded art. Deleuze writes. The apprentice had sought the cause of the sign in matter emitting it. Sensuous signs. it is only with signs of art that the apprentice arrives at the joyful revelation of how something is experienced for the first time. This is because. Only the faculty of thought can recover the essence of time in its pure state at the limits of the being of the past. the sign misled the apprentice to decipher it in relation to something other than the genesis of its effect.. once we understand that. How are we to understand ideal essences. They yield an ideal essence because they go one step further than sensuous signs. So that Essence is finally the third term that dominates the other two.

which is the sufficient reason of its effect. which “unites different to difference without mediation. writes that “to learn is indeed to constitute this space of encounters with signs. This is precisely why. However. does this mean that the act of apprenticeship is subjective? In accordance with Deleuze’s definition of learning. the repetitive milieu in which it is developed corresponds to a vocation or a question. In the course of our discussion. Now.Deleuze’s New Meno  49 back. central to the idea of apprenticeship to signs. while also maintaining the notion that this repetitive field gives birth to the sign that the apprentice must decipher? While Proust and Signs moves from external difference toward internal differentiation of the transcendental itself. on the one hand. the sign can be interpreted as an effect (or a material sense) in which repetition is disguised. on the other hand. In both cases. and. Each encounter with signs reconstitutes or renews this repetitious field by introducing a differentiation of the being of the past. and the differentiation that constitutes the being of the sensible produces the sign as an effect. to an essential difference that pointed the way. in which the distinctive points (each singular encounter) renew themselves in each other. Each sign has also served as an indicator of different kinds of metamorphosis that the apprentice undergoes in the course of the search. therefore. the sign is implicated in what Deleuze refers to as the being of the sensible. which is explored by Deleuze in Difference and Repetition under Simondon’s concept of individuation. we have not been able to determine why learning ­remains . In Difference and Repetition.” The sign is. it has become apparent that the sign is partly folded in material objects and that it simultaneously points toward another field that is itself differentiated as the sign is unfolded. the limit of the sensible gives way to the given: the former deals with the transcendental exercise of the faculties. the sign itself arises in the process of being unfolded. Paradoxically. then. Despite discussing how the apprentice sheds certain illusions and the way in which the four signs evoke different uses of the faculties. If signs of art are signs of an internalized difference. Deleuze argues that to become apprenticed to signs is to constitute a repetitive or problematic field. How does Deleuze explain the idea that the apprenticeship to signs involves the differentiation of the repetitive field and the workings of the transcendental faculties. let us return to our exposition of signs of art. hence. 22–23). and repetition takes shape while disguising itself” (Difference and Repetition. It is through the being of the sensible that Deleuze develops the idea of internal differentiation. unfolded with the differentiation of the being of the sensible. thus. this field was not apparent from the perspective of the other signs. Deleuze. so as to point forward. Difference and Repetition explains why internal differentiation is disguised in the sign. The ontology of difference and repetition invoked by Deleuze in Proust and Signs is. while the latter makes possible the exercise of the empirical use of the faculties. we have shown how apprenticeship to signs involves a corresponding subjective pole or vocation.

 . our own. ‘in the way the world looks to us’” (Proust and Signs.” which is that of art: “We realize that our idle life was indissociable from our work: ‘My whole life . By virtue of an internal difference. as long as the apprentice envelops the differentiation enclosed within the signs emitted in such encounters. even though the signs to which the lover of the search is apprenticed do not form a coherent uni- . In turn. we are prepared to add another significant fragment to the previously stated definition of learning. or a way of being. sensibilities. the viewpoint of the apprentice surfaces as itself enveloped by an essence that is not only shared by other beings (in an exchange of determination) but also multiplied by their singular viewpoints. . Learning entails differentiation. the idea of envelopment remains tied to apprenticeship to signs because signs present internal differentiations that individuate the viewpoint of the apprentice. Deleuze argues that. Though they can be thought of as the products of individuation. as many original artists as there are. The idea of u internalized difference moves us in that direction. Learning is continuous throughout the course of the search. what is learned is a sensibility. do not involve only fortunate encounters with signs that displace the harmonious workings of the faculties. In other words. we see it multiply.” because art gives the apprentice access to a world that external reality failed to deliver. instead of seeing a single world. Proust’s subject is very much like the Leibnizian monad. .” until it is revealed by signs of art. For Proust. a vocation’” (ibid. can we know what another sees of this universe that is not the same as ours. . rather than requiring repetition of the same thing. a metamorphosis of the self. Thanks to art. such products disguise the process of individuation that remains implicated in the continuous variation of the repetitive field. essence in Proust’s text is “something like the presence of a final quality at the heart of a subject: an internal difference . The products of such individuation are qualities.50  Dejanovic ­ nconscious. Though distinct from the voluntary use of the faculties. . All sorts of worlds spring up once the apprentice learns that he finds his truth in internal differentiation. even while learning itself always displaces the stability of any subject position by emerging with an essential difference. Better yet. 27). Proust writes that “[o]nly by art can we emerge from ourselves. 28). or “buried in us. learning involves a repetition of encounters with the same things.. . Such individuations. what is learned—the discontinuous products of individuations—shapes our occasion for learning. With this new development. art is the “final quality at the heart of a subject.. All of life’s learning tends toward an “unconscious destination. According to Deleuze. . and characteristics that are thought to “belong” to the apprentice. and to what extent we are capable of exercising the power of our faculties. in this respect. traits. the sort of signs we become sensitive to. so many worlds” (quoted in ibid. This internal difference determines the singular points of view of a subject that expresses a world. 17). however.

the act of learning involves different lines. Are we to conclude that essences are viewpoints? Deleuze argues that Proust’s essences are akin to Platonic ones in that they have an “independent reality” (Proust and Signs. and is enveloped by. remains significant from the perspective of time regained. What remains paradoxical is that the essences of signs of art do not merely react on sensuous signs. but it is expressed as the essence not of the subject but of Being. 25). 54. cannot be reduced to any particular viewpoint. What are we to make of these Platonic themes in Proust’s search for lost time? Is the unity of the search from the perspective of time regained identical to Plato’s recollection of the whole? We have delved into the distinction between Deleuze’s Proust and Plato on the problem of recollection. we learn that they already incarnated. In addition to this.Deleuze’s New Meno  51 verse. complication or development of essence. They are progressively developed by apprenticeship to sensuous signs. that of involuntary thought. Time regained is itself the birth of time. is awakened by signs of art. and explication of signs on the part of the apprentice are themselves neo-Platonic concepts that are given new grounding in Leibniz’s philosophy. 28). even while the viewpoint itself is enveloped by essence. though secondary to the workings of the faculty of thought. The apprentice is unaware that he has been learning all along until the faculty of essences. or of the region of Being that is revealed to the subject” (ibid. “Once they are manifested in the work of art. Rather than concerning one structure of time. This independent reality. We will turn to this complex relationship in the next section of this paper. but it equally recovers an essence that is progressively developed in past encounters with sensuous impressions. 64). We will deal with the unity of the search in a moment. series of past individuations or viewpoints that have determined the apprentice.” Deleuze writes. The movements of implication of a viewpoint. This is why Deleuze argues that sensuous signs prepare us for signs of art. and individuated by it. The paradoxical nature of learning instead has the potential to help us further explain the workings of forgetting and memory at the heart of Deleuze’s idea of apprenticeship. But now this conception of essence—and its reaction on other spheres of the search— . or fragments of time that cannot be coopted to form a cohesive whole.). the notion that essences react on other signs by ascribing their place in the search according to their effectiveness is not most problematic (ibid. Each point of progressive development envelops.. in all the types of apprenticeship” (Proust and Signs. the idea that thinking itself becomes active when “forced to conceive essence” in the encounter with signs is one that remains inspired by Plato (ibid. that they were already there in all these kinds of sings. Learning as recollection of things past.22 referred to by Proust as the real.. essences “react upon all the other realms. Despite implying a kind of ascending dialectic followed by a descending reminiscent of Plato. Deleuze writes that “essence does not exist outside the subject expressing it. 57).

The act of thought. for Deleuze. It is in this sense that the work of art always constitutes and reconstitutes the beginning of the world. along with the questions that ensued. 69). since they too demonstrate how the apprentice develops distinct viewpoints of the world. lies in Proust’s conception of time. In our study of the Meno.. all the while maintaining their unity. Even the state of bewilderment becomes ironic according to Deleuze. for the simple reason that it is itself the instance that prevents the whole” (Proust and Signs. or one might even call it a question of pedagogy. It prevents the whole because it is an instance that reveals how the apprentice is implicated in the very constitution of the world. Deleuze notes that Proust’s essence is not predetermined. the different fragments are not understood as lacking anything. In turn. Though style of expression may appear to have very little to do with pedagogy. “is the dialectical trick by which we discover what we have already given ourselves. The parallels we have raised between the two thinkers. 72). In addition to this. but rather by uncovering a part. a state of bewilderment does not permit an inquirer to discover something new. Only through inquiry can we understand the way in which the parts themselves participate in the whole. style itself unifies or weaves together the multiple fragments that compose Proust’s work of art. it addresses a central problem. hence.. because. essence itself as time recovered does not form an organic unity. such as the form of the good. as opposed to where he belongs in it. through an original style of expression. Proust creates these distinct viewpoints. it instead “signifies at once the birth of a world and the original character of a world. The difference in style. precisely because it is tolerated so long as the parts or fragments are restored to a stable essence by the intelligence itself (ibid. The different levels of the search are not disregarded. which “comes after” for Proust. we showed that Plato’s dialectic is aimed at recovering essences that had been previously learned by the soul. style or pedagogy is just as relevant in Plato’s dialogues as his dialectic is itself a type of production of essences in the course of learning. These essences.” The concern raised is a question of style. according to Deleuze.23 Deleuze claims that the idea that the intelligence exists before inquiry. In turn. must be considered in relation to what Deleuze calls “style. 73). Is not the dialectic this attempt to harmonize the whole so that we may discern between true and false participants in the idea? In contrast. is not purely produced by essence: it is itself producing. to go onto recovering the whole. Time as the essential weaver of the search “is not a whole. but also forms a specific world absolutely different from others” (ibid. that the whole is already known. by which we derive from things only what we have put there” (Proust and Signs.52  Dejanovic risks reintroducing the idea that learning is the recollection of the whole. must be known as a whole prior to inquiry. 104). which is that of use . This is the reason they correspond to structures of time that remains wasted without regret or melancholy.

On the contrary.. If life itself tends toward art and if art is the highest vocation that does not merely create thought but also the act of thinking as a kind of creation.” He goes on to ask. truth as always already turned toward thought are challenged by him. . The taken-for-granted relationship of truth to thought. Learning and the Transcendental Faculties A singular act of learning happens in an instant. and neither do we think because it is possible to do so: “[M]an can think in the sense that he possesses the possibility to do so. Other kinds of expression also address this question. we would like to note that the greatest divergence between Plato’s and Proust’s style can be found in the response to that question. and how does it operate in the world?” (Difference and Repetition. and that thinking is not reduced to its possibility. permits us to posit the common sense and harmonious workings of the faculties. always confronts one familiar question: What is to be done? Before we move on to the next section. finding its sufficient reason in the apprenticeship to signs (ibid.Deleuze’s New Meno  53 (Proust and Signs. Proust’s literature multiplies the possibilities of life by devising encounters with sensuous qualities that can neither be attributed solely to the teachings of the text or to the reader. who is unable to depose paradoxes so as reduce the problematic to already existing solutions or forms of knowledge. 63). then such a vocation. the innate power of thought to be turned toward truth. “But what is such a thought. [it] is a thought without image. learning entails “thought which is born in thought. So how. and. 167). does thinking itself emerge? In “The Image of Thought. This sort of philosophical prejudice. however. 95). the dialectic is an exercise in the care of the soul that prepares the philosopher for death. the act of thinking which is neither given by innateness nor presupposed by reminiscence but engendered in its genitality. This possibility alone. As Plato points out in the Theaetetus. His work is one type of response to the problem of genesis or production. he argues. In the place of such an image. is meant to reinforce the idea that the act of thinking is engendered in thought. in turn. According to Deleuze. rather than being related to an image in accordance with which it can be verified. It is an intervention in this life for the benefit of whatever it is that comes after. Deleuze’s struggle to displace the orthodox image of thought becomes possible with Nietzsche’s critique of the will to truth. but from within the specific worlds of apprenticeship to signs that produce their vocation.”24 The notion that we are not yet thinking. then. the stupid person even. Deleuze is interested in the idiot.” Deleuze quotes Heidegger to show that the act of thinking itself never resembles its possibility alone. is no guarantee to us that we are capable of thinking. But this instant can be the longest pause puzzling thought.

Rather. “Insofar as we are at all. This argument is meant to preserve the notion that thinking is not simply accessible to us whenever we set out to think. Glen Gray writes the following: for Heidegger thinking is a response on our part to a call which issues from the nature of things. but a violation of it. By considering that which is thought-provoking as a gift. we are devoted to that which gives us food for thought by committing it to memory: by both saving it from perishing and recalling it. hence.”25 Although the approaches of the two are distinct in many ways. we would like to briefly lay out what Heidegger means by thinking. for the latter.. How do we give thanks by thinking? Thinking itself is considered a gift by Heidegger because. 146)... 121). cared for. as that which is concealed.. and it is thought-provoking precisely because it is that which is most proximal to us yet distant. . our essential nature is itself manifested. emphasis added).. Indeed. 49). For Heidegger. what calls for thinking is that which is most thought-provoking (whatever we are concerned with). this would not be giving thanks for being. so as to demonstrate how Deleuze resolves a similar problematic. In other words. “thinking does not stem from thought. “original thinking is the thanks owed for being (What Is Called Thinking?. to which we. In his introduction to What Is Called Thinking?. in thinking. it is that with which we are concerned that “appropriates us to thought” (ibid. Heidegger also proposes that there is a kind of reciprocity between thinking and the call that emerges in our relatedness to and contact with things. He writes that what gives us food for thought “wants itself to be thought about according to its nature. . 141.54  Dejanovic Deleuze. though much does depend on whether we prepare ourselves to hear the call to think. husbanded in its own essential nature. . give thanks or thinking. . he argues that we are not yet thinking because that which is to be thought “has turned away from us. turns to Heidegger because. by being devoted to that which is thought-provoking in its problematic being (ibid. The call remains a kind of imperative to which thinking responds. 121). Thinking is determined by that which is to be thought as well as by him who thinks. Heidegger conceives of that which is thought-provoking as a gift. . by thought” (ibid. Heidegger writes: . in turn. from Being itself. .” or it has withdrawn from us in being constituted. [It] demands for itself that it be tended.” he notes “we are already in relatedness to what gives food for thought” (ibid. he is not arguing that by thinking we can appropriate whatever spurs us to think. for Heidegger.. (xi) A tension runs throughout Heidegger’s text on thinking. To be able to think does not wholly depend on our will and wish. On the one hand. [T]hought first arises out of thinking. What does memory have to do with thinking? In the opening pages of What is Called Thinking?. On the other hand.

however. the unfolding of memory (What Is Called Thinking?. in effect. the founder—of the orthodox image of thought. It is a kind of recollection. 145. In inquiring. to the “presence of that which is present” (ibid. What is learning? Man learns when he disposes everything he does so that it answers to whatever essentials are addressed to him at any given moment. In the first place. In order to be capable of thinking. Heidegger’s response is that we become capable of thinking by learning. with reference to Heidegger. that everyone must “learn to do it for himself” or herself (ibid. we return to the previous point. In the process. along with that which remains to be thought in what is recalled. however. At the same time. perhaps. memory as the keeping of that which essentially is and. the presence of our essential relatedness to beings. For Deleuze. Only when we are so inclined toward what in itself is to be thought about. a gift given because we incline toward it. a thinking back. (3–4. what we shall refer to. Thought of what? Thought of what holds us. then thinking is. therefore. only then are we capable of thinking. 150). We have proposed the rationale behind Deleuze’s claims that thinking is not given by innateness. if memory is the gathering of thought. is the development of a sense of responsiveness. in that we give it thought precisely because It remains what must be thought about. By becoming disposed to the call of being in every instance. in Plato’s ­philosophy. as though what is to be recalled in thought is something originary.Deleuze’s New Meno  55 Memory is the gathering of thought. Heidegger avoids positing a dogmatic image of thought. 242). He is the exception because. pointing us back to Plato. his emphasis on the linguistic meaning and historical lineage of concepts obscures what is to be thought. “learning is truly the transcendental movement of the soul. or how do we become capable of thinking? As was noted. in this way. Thought has the gift of thinking back. It is true that. or becoming attuned. we need to learn it first. It is from ‘learning’ and not from knowledge. we are directed to recollect that which is committed to memory.. The two explain the tension that we outlined earlier. Learning. irreducible to knowledge as to non-knowledge. xii). Plato is the exception—and. We learn to think by giving our mind to what there is to think about. This sort of approach is consistent with the argument that thinking cannot be taught. that the transcendental conditions of thought . On the other hand. Now.. which is that we learn in every moment that we heed the call of that which gives us food for thought. This answer is somewhat disappointing since Heidegger does not precisely tell us how we learn to think. for Heidegger. as being on the way to thinking. emphasis added) There are two central ideas that stem from the argument that memory is the gathering of thought. the problem of reminiscence or recollection re-emerges with Heidegger’s work. remains to be thought about is intimately tied to concealment and forgetting. how it is that we become prepared to think.

it involves the introduction of time into thought (Difference and Repetition. as the folding or doubling of the outside—the line of the repetitive field that is equivalent to the plane of immanence—on the inside. in the unfolding of signs.56  Dejanovic must be drawn. 166). we wanted to highlight the continued relevance that memory plays in the movement of thought. but there is a drastic difference in the way in which he posits the process of learning itself. points of fusion. which we explored to some degree with reference to signs of art in the second section of our study. 165). transcendental field itself arises with the internalization of difference. 166). remained problematic in the Meno. that thinking itself emerges with the unfolding of memory. why does Deleuze reject his image of thought? The answer lies in the movement of the soul.” but the act of learning. which makes the solution explode like something abrupt. If Plato does posit a form of learning that involves the transcendental movement of the soul. but. however. also. . . the sign forces the apprentice to “raise each faculty to the level of its transcendent exercise” (Difference and Repetition. that Deleuze discusses in his text on Leibniz. This is why Plato determines the conditions in the form of reminiscence not innateness” (Difference and Repetition. congelation or condensation in a sublime occasion. Kairos. From this perspective. to use Nietzsche’s term. This abrupt event is crucial in two ways. not only does Plato posit a dogmatic image of thought when he makes the movement of the soul “disappear with the result. Deleuze maintains this notion. As has been already noted. as we saw. This is having an Idea as well” (ibid. 190). In what way is time infused into thought. however? Why does Deleuze argue that a new Meno would involve a transcendental structure in the “form of an empty time in general”? By outlining Heidegger’s inquiry into thought. alternatively. does not primarily consist of the movement of the soul. learning emerges between folds. as if happening between the two floors. or time out of joint. to the division of nonknowledge and knowledge that. as a process of individuation. We argued that the problematic or.” renders the act of learning an instant in which we “condense all singularities. dissolves . By alluding to the fold throughout this paper. It presents us with an empty form of time. for Deleuze. Raising the faculties to their transcendental exercise. without reducing it to the empirical. Deleuze also argues. in enabling the “gathering” of the being of the past. the untimely. indeed.. which is itself an instance of unfolding. This is precisely why Deleuze argues that learning is not concerned with reminiscence but with the empty form of time or. precipitate all the circumstances. Rather. that. . which is explored by Deleuze in Foucault. Thinking is itself generated in a type of unfolding. We have pointed to this process with reference to the problematic field in relation to signs. we aim to suggest that. that the act of learning can present us with the paradoxical use of the faculties. the soul and state of affairs. “repeating a little.

count upon the contingency of an encounter with that which forces thought to raise up and educate the absolute necessity of an act of thought or a passion to think” (Difference and Repetition. What account does Deleuze offer of this sublime occasion or abrupt event? Why is this torn image so important with reference to the faculties? Wherever the occasion for thinking presents itself as a chance encounter with a sign. in this case. hence. it is like a flash of lightening. As discussed previously. According to Deleuze. a signal of a difference in intensity that corresponds to a question. is itself a minimal time. The search corresponds to an order according to which the transcendental use of the faculties becomes triggered. Rather. [receives] from (or communicat[es] to) the other only a violence which brings it face to face with its own element. ungrounds it. apprenticeship involves the “second power” of the faculties..” the faculties emerge only to be exhausted in their own element or the property that belongs to them alone (ibid. 139. because each one emerges already repeating something new: a differentiation of the virtual object. In other words. as chronological time is disturbed. in this way. It is the being of the sensible. A differential of intensity forces sensibility to sense the being of the sensible.26 Deleuze’s positing of “an image torn in two unequal parts” coincides with what he calls the discordant use of the faculties. Each faculty reaches this state of exhaustion or is born in a state of dissolution that is its perfection. that the entirety of the transcendental field unfolds. Conversely. Although there are an order and communication among the faculties at their limits.” we mean that the sign perplexes the apprentice. what Deleuze understands as an inequality implicated in itself (plane of immanence). as though with its disappearance or its perfection” (ibid. 111). thinking is no longer a mere possibility. unknown to the repetitious soul. in this way pointing to a kind of harmony among them. the raising of the faculties to their transcendental exercise always begins with sensibility or affection. that the search itself is set off. implicated in the problematic field. argues that the “discord of the faculties. He. . “Do not count upon thought to ensure the relative necessity of what it thinks.) It is a chance encounter with a sign. It is disturbed because the time of thinking. Rather than “converging and contributing to a common project. forcing him or her to unfold the problematic field. chain of forces and fuse along which each confronts its limit. the explication of thought is maximal or an indeterminate amount of time.. by “search. the apprentice cannot interpret a difference in intensity as a perceptible thing in the actual but interprets it as the imperceptible that serves as a precursor of an internalized difference and the disappearance of a subject position. the movement of one to the other is thought of as discordant by Deleuze. and does not permit the apprentice to unify the image (ibid. 141). give rise to others. Deleuze says.).Deleuze’s New Meno  57 it. When it is a question of the third repetition that introduces the internalization of difference. by which he means that they are brought to their limit and.

its qualitative determinations. 202). that which can only be recalled” (Difference and Repetition. or it emerges in being ungrounded.. We want to pause for a moment here because the tracing of the repetitive field from one singularity to the adjacent fields of the problem all the way to the vicinity of another one belongs primarily to the being of the past explored by the faculty of memory. This sort of tracing of singularities is itself informed by the difference in intensity. it dissolves because it arises with an empty form of time. an inequality in intensity. even while each repeats the other (being of the encounter with a sign).. As we saw in the second section in the study of sensuous signs. . At its limits. 141). however. Deleuze writes that a “characteristic of transcendental memory is that. in turn. it forces thought to grasp that which might be something other than thought . a linear narrative does not inform their use. Deleuze writes that “sensibility. however. He goes on to say that that which has been disguised. triggers the being of the past. Although we have spoken about the faculties in the order that they arise. The “forgotten thing. “appears in person to the memory which apprehends it” (ibid. or disguises itself in the movement of explication. The being of the past plays a crucial role in the recollection of what has been learned since it is the gathering and tracing of what the apprentice has been hitherto thinking. 141). . as the surveying of that which is unequal gives way to the cogitandum. E’’-E’’). Or “beyond the grounded . the being of the past arises as that which always has been seen and the never seen. Time out of joint could not mean anything else but that the ground itself emerges in being dissolved. we have gotten ahead of ourselves. How is this faculty. born repeating? The being of the past. The tracing of the folding of singularities in the adjunct fields or centers of envelopment offers an obscure image of the disconnected solutions of the problematic—it is an image of the folds of the soul. and not a quality referring to two moments. itself arises with an ungrounding. the whole of the image is torn in two. The being of the past is central insofar as. the tracing of the ground. at its limits. involuntary memory intervenes in an effort to decipher a sensuous quality. The being of the past does not merely dissolve because it is exhausted.” Deleuze writes. Here. “is no longer a contingent incapacity separating us from a memory which is itself contingent: it exists within essential memory as though it were the ‘nth’ power of memory with regard to its own limits or to that which can only be recalled” (ibid. each is differentiated from another in intensity (E-E. the faculty of memory or the memorandum is no longer separated from what is forgotten. According to Deleuze. E’-E’. as though this were both the final power of thought and the unthinkable” (Difference and Repetition. however. forces memory in its turn to remember the memorandum. 141).58  Dejanovic With such a thought. forced by the encounter to sense the sentiendum. Deleuze writes that “an origin assigns a ground only in a world already precipitated into universal ungrounding” (Difference and Repetition. 140). however.

how could the asymmetrical adjunct fields themselves arise or the differences in potential from one singularity to the next).Deleuze’s New Meno  59 and grounding repetitions. The other one. Certainly. which induce the differentials of thought in the Idea. that comes back to thought and revives it” (What Is Philosophy. Along with Guattari. In other words. we would return to this process. we must turn to his idea of the plane of immanence (the line of life or singular events). Second nature merely refers to the differentials in intensity (the making of a life). however. “It does not think without becoming something else. . “another always thinks in me. there is no God whose calculations turn every roll of the dice into a predictable outcome. Now. it can be recalled by virtue of an internal differentiation. that which is not thought forces itself on the cogitandum. this “another” is often interpreted in the secondary literature as the fracturing of the “I” by time. he writes in What Is Philosophy? that “the plane of immanence has two facets as thought and nature.28 This is but one form of affection. the process of individuation that we mentioned earlier consists of such self-affection as a moment of reciprocal determination. [there is] a repetition of ungrounding on which depend both that which enchains and that which liberates” (ibid. and the entire image is split and thrown into discord. Deleuze does not mean primary nature but a second nature. it is concerned with the complex relationship of nature and mind. as nous and physis. something that does not think—an animal. The potentials of the pure past are gathered from only the perspective of the third synthesis of time or ontological repetition. in retrospect. all of the singular events that compose the repetitive field itself are. another who must also be thought” (Difference and Repetition. a molecule . however. When asking ourselves what Deleuze is referring to when he argues that thinking arises at its limit or powerlessness. 292). for Deleuze. it is these differentials in the being of the sensible that he is pointing to. In Deleuze’s philosophy. If we want to understand how the metamorphoses of the self and internal memory are formed. When Deleuze refers to something outside of thought that addresses itself to thought. something of nature passes into thought and vice versa. which appears at the limit of that which is thought. In other words.. we may draw the general conclusion that. For Deleuze. Thought does not arise by itself. the repetitive field. divergent. because learning involves the unconscious. a notion that is proximal to Spinoza’s conception. revolves around a mutual affection and . 42.”27 By nature. which arises only by virtue of being implicated in the other one. . along the lines of the Kantian self-affection. emphasis added). The relationship of the act of thinking and that which is not thought but must be thought is quite an interesting one in Deleuze’s philosophy. 200). Earlier we made a brief remark that. the past is born in repeating the future. It is the future that is itself repeated in each and every singular point composing the conditions of the problematic (otherwise. By virtue of this discord or inequality. In light of these remarks.

this fracturing is caused by the empty form of time. . To advance Deleuze’s new Meno. To reiterate. creates a life within which learning takes place. only thought can attempt to unfold the incorporeal sense of the virtual. In other words. The apprenticeship to signs involves a development of the repetitious field of problems. The imperative that it places on thought can be related to the notion of vocation or. a creative act. As Deleuze writes. . that point at which ‘powerlessness is transmuted into power. a problematic Idea is itself formed. aspect of the event generates the act of thinking by fracturing it. or the nonactualizable. When Deleuze argues that thought is always a thought of the couple in The Logic of Sense. however? In The Logic of Sense. it “signifies our greatest powerlessness . we have shown that learning is making a world or a life and that making a life gives way to both individuations and ideas. 220). We have shown that signs “cause” their dematerialized sense to be developed by the apprentice. Deleuze writes that the faculty of thought only arises “with the part of the event that we should call non-actualizable. The former reinforces the idea that the unequal of the sentiendum addresses itself to the cogitandum as that which remains to be thought. that point which develops in the work in the form of a problem” (Difference and Repetition. This is essentially how thinking becomes. where the act of thinking is generated by differences giving way to spiritual or dematerialized meanings (faculty of essences). we now understand that it is always coupled to the something that is nonthought. Conclusion: Learning to Live Throughout this essay.” formed through the differentials of thought. the incorporeal. in turn. 147). As we have been arguing. learning is never final because nonthought persists in thought. the differentiation of this repetitive field forces the cogitandum to emerge.”29 As in Proust and Signs. that is to say. or remains. “[T]hought is (also) forced to think its central collapse. By way of this fracturing of thought by time itself. 199).30 These two positions are not contradictory. alternatively. its fracture. we outlined the key premise behind Deleuze’s . The Idea remains problematic as such. we also saw that “thought is formed out of what it thinks through. here we have a reintroduction of the theme that thinking is forced to decipher the “incorporeal splendor of the event” (Logic of Sense. The apprentice.60  Dejanovic cocreation of singular events that are preindividual and impersonal. questioning we discussed earlier. Why does thought arise in light of the differentiation of this field of impersonal singularities. Through a study of Proust and Signs. we briefly returned to Plato’s central claim that learning is recollection. By reviewing the transcendental faculties. its own natural ‘powerlessness’ which is undistinguishable from the greatest power” (Difference and Repetition. however. therefore. Insofar as questioning corresponds to the unequal that is introduced in thought.

Notes 1. which is that learning is oriented to the future. All further quotations from this translation will be cited in the text. the different times cannot be unified. 1994). we have aimed to show that the conception of learning as a singular act that is always reconstituted anew renders learning an unlimited task. 2 (1985): 261–81. which inheres in the quality of the sign as its sufficient reason. we painted a torn image of thought. Plato. instead. no. which cannot be reduced to the movement of the soul. Paul Patton (New York: Columbia University Press. we emphasized the third synthesis of time.” The Review of Metaphysics 39. On the question of whether virtue is teachable. trans. Meno. 1998). and Francisco J. The privileging of the future instead of the past shows us the radical difference of Plato’s and Deleuze’s approach to the Ideas. Since the parts participate in the whole. As Gonzalez points out. see Rosemary Desjardin’s “Knowledge and Virtue: Paradox in Plato’s Meno. According to Deleuze. not reminiscence. 3. 2. This dialogue is orchestrated by Plato to demonstrate not only the distinction between the sophist’s and the philosopher’s approach to teaching but also their different positions on learning. that renders the image of the common use of the faculties. The problem is. the latter is a creative act that multiples the possibilities of life in which we learn. 166–67. for Deleuze. apprenticeship involves the infusion of time into thought. Gilles Deleuze. Meno’s demeanor and bafflement are meant to . Gonzalez’s chapter “Failed Virtue and Failed Knowledge in the Meno” in Dialectic and Dialogue: Plato’s Practice of Philosophical Inquiry (Evanston. in Deleuze’s philosophy. including the idea that to learn is to recollect. 2005). Above all. we wanted to show that learning involves something other that cannot be reduced to a subject that learns. learning involves the movement of the soul. that we cannot make a judgment of how the parts participate in the good. while the former proposes an apprentice that merely retrieves the knowledge that is held captive by the soul. 85. also see the Protagoras. Adam Beresford (Toronto: Penguin Classics. All further quotations from this translation will be cited in the text. except that. IL: N ­ orthwestern ­University Press. the kind of knowledge that Socrates is after cannot be grasped by our compiling true propositions and various properties of something such as virtue. In turn. In the process. For an extended analysis of the first segment of the Meno. they are not considered false instances of the good. 4.Deleuze’s New Meno  61 new Meno. By placing emphasis on the discordant use of the transcendental faculties. therefore. Difference and Repetition. however. For Plato. or the ontological repetition of difference. To do this. It is an unlimited task since it is the bridge that connects a life and what is to be thought. one in which before and after do not coincide. an invalid one. That which has been learned and the singular act of learning appear to remain in tension as they did in Plato’s Meno. The latter posits an apprentice that creates Ideas or problems through their chance encounter with signs. that knowing the parts does not mean that we know what being good is and. To learn is to unfold the problematic or repetitive field. trans.

5. since Plato does not discuss the theory of recollection in the Meno alone. This position is flawed not only because Plato does not define virtue by way of propositions but also as it does not focus on the most relevant aspect of the theory of recollection. John M. On the idea of leading out of the soul in relationship to Deleuze’s philosophy.” that we do not know how someone comes to inquire in the first place. The notion that recollection consists of propositional knowledge is critiqued by Gonzalez in his chapter “Failed Virtue and Failed Knowledge in the Meno. see Carol Colebrook. the theory itself cannot simply be surpassed in an effort to provide clear-cut resolutions to the paradox Plato presents. According to Plato. M. Meno questions whether virtue can be learned since his inquisitive nature has been numbed.” in Nomadic Education. “Failed Virtue and Failed Knowledge in the Meno.62  Dejanovic demonstrate that the sophist is not truly interested in learning and that his method of acquiring knowledge is faulty. Jane M. She also makes the argument that the theory of recollection is not a claim that Plato was “committed” to and that we need not comprehend knowledge as something that had been acquired previously by the soul. Further quotations from this work will be cited in the text.” 177. 1997). Euthydemus. ed. 9. we recognize this state of forgetfulness and what it is that we are searching for when we recollect or learn what we have already always known. can be found in the Apology. 10. Fine makes an error when she concludes that the elenchus and the theory of recollection are two distinct methods of acquiring knowledge. see Julius Moravcsik. 14. His theory remains relevant in the Phaedo. 13. Proust and Signs (New York: Continuum. 1992). Gonzalez.” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 109. “Leading In. This question arises with McCabe’s argument in “Escaping One’s Own Notice Knowing. Day (New York: Routledge. see Ronald Bogue.” in Plato’s Meno in Focus. The state of not knowing is understood by Plato as a state of forgetfulness. Richard Kraut (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1–16. Gilles Deleuze. Fine assumes that inquiry is possible as long as one has true belief. ed. along with the idea that Plato does not teach. which is that of the state of the inquirer. learning is the recollection of a priori propositions. The care of the soul. For Moravcsik. Though one might question its explanatory power and how one might inquire into something that one does not know to begin with. 8. 2008).” 174. Socrates asks whether knowledge is teachable. and The Republic. For more on learning and signs. “Learning as Recollection. Her position on the question of inquiry is discussed by M. “Search. Inna Semetsky (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. not by Socrates but by his unwillingness to examine his own presuppositions. ed. among other dialogues. no. 6. or what she refers to as partial knowledge (even though Plato does not recognize the idea of partial knowledge). “Failed Virtue and Failed Knowledge in the Meno.” 7. 35–42. Phaedo.” in Nomadic Education: Variations on a Theme by Deleuze and Guatteri. Cooper (Cambridge: Hackett. for further discussion on how one might inquire in the absence of knowledge. Theaetetus. Swim and See: Deleuze’s Apprenticeship in Signs and Pedagogy of Images. 2008). These arguments are unfounded. but he does not dispute the idea that virtue can be learned. See Gail Fine’s “Inquiry in the Meno” in The Cambridge Companion to Plato. 58. rather than a total lack of knowledge. “Escaping One’s Own Notice Knowing: Meno’s Paradox Again. For more on the theory of recollection. Leading Out. Forgetting is just as relevant as recollection in maintaining the consistency of Plato’s epistemology. 63–64. 1 (2009): 233–56. 12. 11. ed. 1994). Plato. . in which the soul is considered as a separate entity from the body. Gonzalez. McCabe. McCabe problematizes Fine’s response to Meno’s paradox when writing that “belief is not enough to account for the interrogative” (234). in Plato: Complete Works.

The same idea is reiterated on page 21.” before becoming acquainted with her. In addition to this. Verdurin. 21. What Is Philosophy? trans. in turn. Here. metamorphosis. 1988). This idea has some resemblances with Plato’s notion that one must become acquainted with something before one can know anything about it. 19. There are a number of different concepts used by Deleuze to designate the independent reality of the virtual. This is what Deleuze posits as thanatos. or the Inside of Thought” in Foucault. 220. 145. 38. 2004). 30. and the death of the ego/the fracturing of the I. 1990). and Mme Verdurin does not laugh. Michel Foucault. The worldly signs evoke Heidegger’s notion of the “worldhood of the world. This is what Socrates claims once the slave begins to recollect what he has already known. Mme Verdurin makes a sign that she laughing. 22. 17.” 20. All further quotations from this source will be cited in the text. . Mark Lester with Charles Stivale (New York: Columbia University Press. Becoming sensitive to signs is not restricted to love relationships. It is noteworthy that it is not the encounter itself that forms the being of the sensible but something that occurs within the encounter or the being of each encounter with a sign which is its event. See Deleuze’s chapter on the “The Image of Thought” in Difference and Repetition. not to be outdone. What Is Called Thinking? trans. 26. Theatrum Philosophicum.” especially when Deleuze notes that such signs arouse a “nervous exaltation” in the apprentice. Séan Hand (London: Althone. ed. 29. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell (New York: Columbia University Press.generation-online . the future itself or a divergent instance. 15. All further quotations from this translation will be cited in the text. 24. Martin Heidegger. but Cottard makes a sign that he is saying something funny. I am referring to the two different aspects of Kant’s aesthetics that Deleuze seeks to reconcile in Difference and Repetition. The same critique is available in the first few paragraphs of the “Image of Thought” in Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition. seeks in his turn an appropriate mimicry. J. Such sensitivity to signs arises when we become more proximal to others or when we individualize anything in the world. In this study. while thanatos is that which enables us to ground or determine by ungrounding or unmaking. 1994).Deleuze’s New Meno  63 15. when Deleuze writes that “superior men teach [the apprentice] nothing. Gilles Deleuze. the possible world that the other entails need not be limited to the beloved. Deleuze gives an example of such an interpretation when he writes. Each encounter with a sign will be conceived of as constituting this repetitive field and. as being conditioned by it.htm (accessed Oct. 16.” 18. the ability to ground/determine. we will refer to it as the repetitive or problematic field. trans. “[N]othing funny is said at the Verdurins’. and trans. All further quotations from this translation will be cited in the text. 23. See Deleuze’s chapter “Foldings. Any sort of intimate relations implies such sensitivity to signs. 27. 25. I have added an emphasis on “before he knows her. Glenn Gray (New York: Perennial Library. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. The Logic of Sense. http://www. Eros is grounding. 2012). and her sign is so perfectly emitted that M. It is a torn image of repetition and that which is repeated.