<The following is the third part of a three-part overview of the eight-hour series of interviews between Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet that were filmed by Pierre-André Boutang in 1989. Destined to be broadcast only after Deleuze's death, these interviews were shown with his permission on the Arte channel between November 1994 and spring 1995, i.e. during the year prior to his death.
Rather than provide a transcription and translation into English, I try to provide the main points of the questions posed by Parnet and Deleuze's responses, and all infelicities and omissions are entirely my responsibility. See the summary of the previous part for details on the interview "set".>
"N as in Neurology"
Parnet announces this title as linking both neurology and the brain. Deleuze says that neurology is very difficult for him, but has always fascinated him. To answer why, he ponders the question of what happens in someone's head when he/she has an idea. When there are no ideas, he says, it's like a pinball machine. How does it communicate inside the head? They don't proceed along pre-formed paths and by ready-made associations, so something happens, if only we knew. That interests Deleuze greatly since he feels that if we understood this, we might understand everything, and the solutions must be extremely varied. He clarifies this: two extremities in the brain can well establish contact, i.e. through electric processes of the synapses. And then there are other cases that are much more complex perhaps, through discontinuity in which there is a gap that must be jumped. Deleuze says that the brain is full of fissures <fentes>, that jumping happens constantly in a probabilistic regime. He believes there are relations of probability between two linkages, and that these communications inside a brain are fundamentally uncertain, relying on laws of probability. Deleuze sees this as the question of what makes us think something, and he admits that someone might object that he's inventing nothing, that it's the old question of associations of ideas. One would almost have to wonder, he says, for example, when a concept is given or a work of art is looked at, one would almost have to try to sketch a map of the brain, its correspondences, what the continuous communications are and what the discontinuous communications would be from one point to another.
Something has struck Deleuze, he admits,
a story that physicists use, the baker's transformation: taking
a segment of dough to knead it, you stretch it out into a rectangle,
you fold it back over, you stretch it out again, etc. etc., you
makes a number of transformations and after *x* transformations,
two completely contiguous points are necessarily caused to
be quite the opposite, very distant from each other. And there are distant points that, as a result of *x* transformations, are found to be quite contiguous. So, Deleuze wonders whether, when one looks for something in one's head, there might be this type of combinations <brassages>, for example, two points that he cannot see how to associate, and as a result of
numerous transformations, he discovers them side by side. He suggests that between a concept and a work of art, i.e. between a mental product and a cerebral mechanism, there are some very, very exciting resemblances, and that for him, the questions, how does one think? and what does thinking mean?, suggest that with thought and the brain, the questions are intertwined. Deleuze says that he believes more in the future of molecular biology of the brain than in the future of information science or of any theory of communication.
Parnet points out that Deleuze always gave a special place to 19th century psychiatry that extensively addressed neurology and the science of the brain, that he gave a priority to psychiatry over psychoanalysis precisely for psychiatry's relations with neurology. So, she asks, is that still the case? Deleuze says, yes, completely. As he said earlier, there is also a relationship with the pharmacy, the possible action of drugs on the brain and the cerebral structures that can be located on a molecular level, in cases of schizophrenia. For Deleuze, these aspects appear to be a more certain future than mentalist psychiatry <la psychiatrie spiritualiste>.
Parnet asks a methodological question: it's no secret that Deleuze is rather self-taught <autodidacte>, when he reads a neurology or a scientific journal. Also he's not very good in math, as opposed to some philosophers he has studied, like Bergson (with a degree in math), Spinoza (strong in math), Leibniz (no need to say, strong in math). So, she asks, how does Deleuze manage to read? When he has an idea and needs something that interests him, but doesn't understand it at all, how does he manage?
Deleuze says that there's something that gives him great comfort, specifically that he is firmly persuaded in the possibility of several readings of a same thing. Already in philosophy, he has believed strongly that one need not be a philosopher to read philosophy. Not only is philosophy open to two readings, philosophy *needs* two readings at the same time. A non-philosophical reading of philosophy is absolutely necessary, without which there would be no beauty in philosophy. That is, with non-specialists reading philosophy, this non-philosophical reading of philosophy lacks nothing and is entirely adequate. Deleuze qualifies this, though, saying that two readings might not work for all philosophy. He has trouble seeing a non-philosophical reading of Kant. But in Spinoza, he says it's not at all impossible that a farmer or a storekeeper could read Spinoza, and for Nietzsche, all the more so, all philosophers that Deleuze admires are like that.
So, he continues, there is no need to
understand, since understanding is a certain level of reading.
If someone were to object that to appreciate a painting by Gauguin,
you have to have some expertise about it, Deleuze responds, of
course, some expertise is necessary, but there are also extraordinary
emotions, authentic, extraordinarily pure, extraordinarily
violent, in a total ignorance of painting. For him, it's entirely obvious that someone can take in a painting like a thunderbolt and not know a thing about the painting. Similarly, someone can be overwhelmed with emotion by a musical work without knowing a word. Deleuze says that he, for example, is very moved by <Alban Berg's operas> Lulu and Wozzeck, and that [Berg's] concerto To the Memory of an Angel has moved him above everything else.
So, he knows it's better to have a competent perception, but he still maintains that everything that counts in the world in the realm of the mind is open to a double reading, provided that it is not something done randomly as a someone self-taught might. Rather, it's something that one undertakes starting from one's problems taken from elsewhere. Deleuze means that it's on the basis of being a philosopher that he has a non-musical perception of music, which makes music extraordinarily stirring for him. Similarly, it's on the basis of being a musician, a painter, this or that, that one can undertake a non-philosophical reading of philosophy. If this second reading (which is not second) did not occur, if there weren't these two, simultaneous readings, it's like both wings on a bird, the need for two readings together. Moreover, Deleuze argues that even a philosopher must learn to read a great philosopher non-philosophically. The typical example for him is yet again Spinoza: reading Spinoza in paperback, whenever and wherever one can, for Deleuze, creates as much emotion as a great musical work. And to a some extent, he says, the question is not understanding since in the courses that Deleuze used to give, it was so clear that sometimes the students understood, sometimes they did not, and we are all like that, sometimes understanding, sometimes not.
Deleuze comes back to Parnet's question on science that he sees the same way: to some extent, one is always at the extreme <pointe> of one's ignorance, which is exactly where one must settle in <s'installer>, at the extreme of one's knowledge or one's ignorance, which is the same thing, in order to have something to say. If he waited to know what he was going to write, Deleuze says, literally, if he waited to know what he was talking about, then he would always have to wait because what he would say would have no interest. If he does not run a risk, if he settles in and speaks with a scholarly air on something he doesn't know, then this is another example without interest. But if he speaks from this very border between knowing and non-knowing, it's there that one must settle in to have something to say.
In science, it is the same, Deleuze maintains, and the confirmation he has found is that he always had great relations with scientists. They never took him to be a scientist, they don't think he understands much, but some of them tell him that it works. He attributes this to the fact that he remains open to echoes, for lack of a better word. He gives the example of a painter that he likes greatly, Delaunay, and asks, what does he do? He observed something quite astounding, and this returns the discussion to the question of what it is to have an idea. Delaunay's idea is that light forms figures itself, figures formed by light, and he paints light figures, not aspects that light takes on when it meets an object. This is how Delaunay detaches himself from all objects, with the result of creating paintings without objects any longer. Deleuze says he read some very beautiful things by Delaunay, in which he judges cubism very severely. Delaunay says that Cézanne succeeded in breaking the object, breaking the bowl <compotier>, and that the cubists spent their time seeking to glue it back together. So in terms of the elimination of objects for rigid and geometric figures Delaunay substitutes figures of pure light. That's something, a pictorial event, a Delaunay-event.
Deleuze suggests that there is a way that this is linked to relativity, to the theory of relativity, and he argues that one need not know much, it's only being self-taught that's dangerous. Deleuze says he only knows something small about relativity, it's this: instead of having subjected lines of light, lines followed by light <lignes suivies par lumière> to geometric lines, belonging to the experiments of Michaelson, there's a total reversal. Now lines of light will condition geometric lines, a considerable reversal from a scientific perspective, that will change everything since the line of light no longer has the constancy of the geometric line, and everything is changed. It's this aspect of relativity, he says, that corresponds the best with Michaelson's experiments. Deleuze does not mean to say that Delaunay applies relativity; Deleuze celebrates the encounter between a pictorial undertaking and a scientific undertaking that should normally not be in relation with each other.
Another example is Riemannian spaces,
about which Deleuze says he knows little in detail, but enough
to know that it's a space constructed piece by piece, and in which
the connections between pieces are not pre-determined. But for
completely different reasons, Deleuze needed a spatial concept for the parts in which there aren't perfect connections and that aren't pre-determined. "I need this," he says <j'en ai besoin, moi!>, and he couldn't spend five years of his life trying to understand Riemann, because at the end of five years, he would not have made any progress with his philosophical concept. And in going to the movies, he sees a strange kind of space that everyone knows as being the use of space in Bresson's films, in which space is rarely global, but constructed piece by piece. One sees little pieces of space that join up, for example, a section of a cell in _Condamné à mort_, the link not being pre-determined. Asking why this is, Deleuze says it's because they are manual, Deleuze says, from which one can understand the importance of hands for Bresson. In fact, in _The Pickpocket_, it's the speed with which the stolen object is passed from one hand to the other that will determine the connections of little spaces. Deleuze does not mean either that Bresson is applying Riemannian spaces, but rather that an encounter can occur between a philosophical concept, a scientific notion, and an aesthetic percept. Perfect! <Deleuze discusses this spatial effect in _The Pickpocket_ at the start of _L'Image-Temps_ <_The Time-Image_>
In science, Deleuze says, he knows just enough to evaluate encounters; if he knew more, he'd do science, not philosophy. So, to a great extent, he speaks well about something he doesn't know, but he speaks of what he doesn't know as a function of what he knows. He argues that all of this is a question of tact, no point in kidding about it, no point in adopting a knowledgeable air when one doesn't know, but still, Deleuze says he has had encounters with painters that were the most beautiful days of his life. Not physical encounters, but in what Deleuze writes -- the greatest of them being <the Hungarian painter Simon> Hantaï <Thanks to Tim Adams for this spelling and the following references: _The Fold _; 33 and _What is Philosophy?_; 195>, with whom something passed between them. Deleuze says that's what his encounter with Carmelo Bene was about <in _Superpositions_>. Deleuze never did any theater, understands nothing about theater, but he has to admit that something important happened there as well. There are scientists with whom these things work too. Deleuze says he knows some mathematicians that were kind enough to read what Deleuze has written, and said that it works quite well.
Deleuze admits that his comments here
are going badly since he feels he is taking on an air of completely
despicable self-satisfaction. For him, though, the question is
not whether or not he knows a lot of science, nor whether he is
capable of learning some of it, the important thing, he admits,
is not to make stupid statements <bêtises>, and to
establish echoes, phenomena of echoes between a concept, a percept
and a function (since, for Deleuze, science does not proceed by
concepts, but by functions). From this perspective, Deleuze needed
Riemannian spaces, he knew they existed, did not know exactly
what they were, but that was enough.
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Parnet starts by admitting that this
title is a bit of a joke since, other than Wozzeck and
Lulu by Berg, it's safe to say that opera is not one of
Deleuze's activities or interests. Compared to Foucault or Francois
Châtelet who liked Italian opera, Deleuze never really listened
to music or opera. What interested him more was the popular song,
particularly Edith Piaf, for whom he has a great passion. So she
asks if he could talk a bit about this.
Deleuze responds that she is being a bit severe in saying that. First he listened to music quite a bit, just a long time ago; since then, he has stopped because he has concluded that it's a chasm, taking too much time, and since he has too much to do -- not social tasks, but his desire to write things --, he just doesn't have the time to listen to music, or listen to enough of it.
Parnet points out that Châtelet worked while listening to opera, to which Deleuze says, first, he couldn't do that, and he's not so sure that Châtelet did while working, maybe, and of course, when he entertained people at his home. Opera sometimes covered over what people were saying when he'd had enough, but for Deleuze, that's not how it works for him. But, he says that he would prefer to turn the question more in his own favor by transforming it into: what is it that creates a community between a popular song and a musical work of art? That's a subject that Deleuze finds fascinating. The case of Edith Piaf, for example: Deleuze considers her to be a great 'chanteuse', with an extraordinary voice; moreover, she has this way of singing off-key and then constantly catching the false note and making it right, this kind of system in imbalance that constantly is catching and making itself right. For Deleuze, this seems to be the case in any style. This is something Deleuze likes a lot because it's the question he poses about everything on the level of the popular song: he wonders, what does it bring to me that is innovative <de nouveau>? Especially in the productions, they bring something innovative. If it's been done 10, 100, 1000 times, maybe even done quite well, Deleuze understands then what Robbe-Grillet said: Balzac was obviously a great writer, but what interest is there in creating novels today like Balzac created them? Moreover, that practice sullies Balzac's novels, and that's how it is in everything.
What Deleuze found particularly moving in Piaf was that she introduced something innovative in relation to the preceding generation, Frehel and Adabia, even in her self-presentation, and in her voice. In more modern singers, one has to think about Charles Trenet. Quite literally, Deleuze claims, one has never heard anyone sing like him. Deleuze insists on this point: for philosophy, for music, for painting, for art, whether it's the popular song or the rest, sports even, the question is exactly the same, what's innovative in it? That's not to be interpreted in the sense of fashion, but just the opposite: what's innovative is something that's not fashionable, perhaps it will become so, but it's not fashionable since people don't expect it. When Trenet was singing well, people said he was crazy; people no longer say so, but one can remark eternally that he was crazy, and he remained so. Piaf appeared grandiose to us all.
Parnet asks about Deleuze's admiration for Claude François, and Deleuze says that, right or wrong, he thought he'd found something fresh in Claude François, who tried to discover something different, whereas there are so many that try nothing at all. For Deleuze, it's the same thing, to bring something fresh and to try to find something different. For Piaf, what was she looking for? Deleuze recalls what he said earlier about weak health and strong life, Piaf is the very example of someone who saw things in life, the force of life, that broke her. Deleuze was receptive to Claude François because he sought a fresh kind of show, a song-show, inventing a kind of danced song, that obviously implied using playback. So much the better or so much for the worse, says Deleuze, that also allowed him to undertake research into sound. To the end, François was dissatisfied with one thing, the texts of his songs that were rather weak and stupid. He tried to arrange his texts so he might achieve greater textual qualities, like "Alexandrie, Alexandra," a good song.
Today, Deleuze says he is not very familiar
with music, but when he turns on the t.v. -- the rights he now
has that he's retired, to turn on the t.v. when he's tired --,
he notes that the more channels there are, the more they look
alike, and the more nil they become, a radical nullity. The regime
of competition, competing with each other, produces the same,
eternal nullity, and the effort to know what will make the listener
turn here to listen instead of there, it's frightening. What he
hears there can't even be called a song, since the voice doesn't
even exist, no one has the least voice.
But then Deleuze says, let's not complain. What they all want, he maintains, is this kind of domain that would be treated doubly by the popular song and by music. Deleuze turns to something that he and Félix Guattari developed, something that he considers a very important philosophical concept, the ritornello <a.k.a. the refrain>, it's the point in common <between the popular song and music>. For Deleuze, the ritornello is this common point. Deleuze suggests defining the ritornello as a little tune, "tra-la-la-la." When do I say "tra-la-la?" Deleuze asks. He insists that he's doing philosophy in asking when does he sing to himself. On three occasions: he sings this tune when he is moving about in his territory, wiping off his furniture, radio playing in the background. So, he sings when he's at home. Then, he sings to himself when not at home at nightfall, at the hour of agony, when he's seeking his way, and needs to give himself courage by singing, tra-la-la. He's heading home. And he sings to himself when he says "farewell, I am leaving, and I will carry you with me in my heart," it's a popular song, and I sing to myself when I am leaving home to go somewhere else. In other words, Deleuze continues, the ritornello is absolutely linked -- which takes the discussion back to "A - Animal" - to the problem of the territory and of exiting or entering the territory, i.e. the problem of deterritorialization. I return to my territory or I try, says Deleuze, or I deterritorialize myself, i.e. I leave, I leave my territory.
What is the relation with music? he asks, and insists that one has to make headway in creating a concept, that's why Deleuze invokes the image of the brain. Taking his own brain at this moment as an example, he suddenly says to himself, "the *lied*. What is the *lied*?" It will always have been the voice as a song elevating its chant as a function of its position in relation to the territory. My territory, the territory I no longer have, the territory that I am trying to reach again, that's what the *lied* is. Whether it's Schumann or Schubert, that's what it is fundamentally. That's what Deleuze considers affect to be. When he was saying earlier that music is the history of becomings and the forces of becomings, it was something of this sort that he meant, great or mediocre.
Deleuze asks, what is truly great music? For Deleuze, it appears as an artistic operation of music. They start from ritornellos, and Deleuze includes even the most abstract musicians. He believes that each musician has his/her kinds of ritornellos, speaking of little tunes, of little ritornellos. He refers to Vinteuil and Proust <in _A la recherche du temps perdu_>, three notes then two, a little ritornello, that passes from Vinteuil, then passes from the septet. For Deleuze, it's a ritornello that one must find in music and even under music, something prodigious that a great musician creates: not ritornellos that he/she places one after the other, but ritornellos that will melt into an even more profound ritornello. This is all ritornellos of territories, of one particular territory and another that will become organized in the heart of an immense ritornello, a cosmic ritornello, in fact! Everything that Stockhausen says about music and the cosmos, this whole way of returning to themes that were current in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance -- Deleuze says that he is quite in favor of this kind of idea that music would have a relationship with the cosmos.
He returns to a musician that he admires and who has greatly affected him, Mahler, his _Song of the Earth_ -- for Deleuze, one can't say it better. This is perpetually like elements in genesis, in which there is perpetually a little ritornellos sometimes based on two cow bells. Deleuze finds extraordinarily moving in Mahler's works the way that all the little ritornellos, which are already musical works of genius -- tavern ritornellos, shepherd ritornellos, etc. -- the way they achieve a composition in a kind of great ritornello that will become the song of the earth. Deleuze suggests yet another example in Bartok, a great genius. Deleuze admires how he connects and reconnects local ritornellos, national ritornellos, ritornellos of national minorities, etc., and collects them in a work that has not yet been fully examined.
Deleuze goes on to unite music and painting as exactly the same. He refers to Klee who said: the painter does "not render the visible, but renders visible"; implied here are forces that are not visible, and for a musician, it's the same thing: the musician does not render the audible, he/she renders audible forces that are not audible, making audible the music of the earth, music in which he/she invents, exactly like the philosopher. The philosopher renders thinkable forces that are not thinkable, that are in nature rather raw, rather brutal. It's this communion of little ritornellos with the great ritornello that, for Deleuze, defines music, something he finds very simple. It's music's force, a force to deliver a truly cosmic level, as if stars began singing a little tune of a cow bell, a little shepherd's tune. Or, he suggests, it might be the reverse, the cow bells that are suddenly elevated to the state of celestial or infernal sounds.
Parnet objects that she can't explain exactly why, but she has the impression from Deleuze's explanation full of musical erudition that he still seeks the visual through music, through the ritornello. She sees him engaging the visual. She says she does understand the extent to which the audible is linked to cosmic forces like the visual, but she points out that Deleuze goes to no concerts, something bothers him there, he does not listen to music, and he goes to art exhibits at least once a week as his usual practice.
Deleuze says that it's a lack of possibilities and a lack of time because, for an answer, what interests him above all in literature is style. Style, for him, is the pure auditory <l'auditif pur>. He says he wouldn't make the distinction she does between the visual and the audible. He admits that he rarely goes to concerts because it's more complicated now reserving in advance. All of this are practical details of life, whereas when there's an art exhibit, no reservations are needed. But, he says that each time he went to a concert, he found it too long since he has very little receptivity, while he always felt deep emotions. Then, he says he's not sure Parnet is completely wrong, but thinks she might be mistaken because her impression is not completely true. In any case, this is even more difficult than speaking of painting. It's the highest point, speaking about music.
Parnet says there are many philosophers who spoke about music. Deleuze interrupts her to say that style is sonorous, not visual, and he's only interested in sonority at that level. Parnet continues: music is immediately connected to philosophy, so lots of philosophers spoke about music, for example, Jankelevitch -- Deleuze agrees -- but other than Merleau-Ponty, there are few philosophers who spoke about painting. Deleuze says, really? He's not that sure, nor is Parnet, she admits, but Barthes, Jankelevitch, even Foucault spoke about music. Deleuze gives his dismissive gesture when she says Foucault since Foucault didn't talk about music, says Deleuze, it was a secret for him, his relations with music were completely a secret. Parnet says yes, that he was very close to certain musicians. Deleuze does not want to discuss it, says these are secrets that Foucault did not discuss. Parnet pursues this, saying Foucault was very close to the musical world, even if a secret -- Deleuze says, yes, yes, yes...
Parnet then points out that there's the exception of <Alban> Berg, for Deleuze... And he picks this up: yes, and to explain his admiration, he says that this is connected to the question of why someone is devoted to something. Deleuze admits he doesn't know why, but he discovered at the same time that musical pieces for orchestras... <as he has done on occasion throughout the interviews, Deleuze here has trouble swallowing, stops and says> You see what an old man is <motions to his throat>, you can't find names... the orchestra pieces by his master <Parnet gives him the name> ...by Schoenberg. Not long ago, Deleuze recalls putting on these orchestra pieces fifteen times in a row, and came to recognize some entirely overwhelming moments. At the same time, Deleuze found Berg, someone he could listen to all day long. But Deleuze sees this also being a question of a relationship to the earth. Mahler, says Deleuze, was someone he came to know much later, but it's music and earth. Deleuze says that in very old musicians, there is fully a relationship of music and earth, but the extent of that kind of relation in Berg's and Mahler's works, Deleuze found this quite overwhelming. For him, it means making sonorous the forces of the earth, for example, <in Berg's> _Wozzeck_, that Deleuze considers to be a great text since it's the music of the earth.
Parnet observes there are lots of cries
in it and that Deleuze likes cries a lot. Deleuze agrees; for
him, there is a relation between the song <chant> and cries,
in fact, that this school <of music> was able to reintroduce
as a problem. The two cries, Deleuze says, never tire him, the
horizontal cry that floats along the earth in _Wozzeck_, and the
completely vertical cry of the countess in <Berg's> _Lulu_
--these are like two dense summits of cries. All of that interests
Deleuze as well because in philosophy, there are songs and cries,
veritable songs in philosophy, concepts are veritable songs, and
cries are in philosophy. Suddenly Aristotle says: you have to
stop! Or another says, no, I'll never stop! Spinoza: what is a
body capable of? <qu'est-ce que peut un corps?> We don't
even know what a body is capable of! So the cry-song or the concept-affect
relation is quite the same, something that Deleuze accepts completely
and that affects him greatly.
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Parnet reminds Deleuze that at 64 years of age, he spent nearly 40 as a professor, first in French high schools (_lycées_), then in the university. By 1988, Deleuze no longer was looking forward to teaching courses, so she asks first if he misses them since he has said he taught his courses with passion, so she wonders if he misses no longer doing them. Deleuze says no, not at all. He agrees that courses had been a very important part of his life, but when he retired, he was quite happy since he was less inclined to meet his courses. This question, for him, is quite simple: courses have equivalents in other domains, but required of him an enormous amount of preparation. Again, like so many other activities, for five or ten minutes at most of inspiration, so much preparation is needed. Deleuze says he always liked doing that a lot, preparing a lot in order to reach these moments of inspiration, but the more he continued, the longer he had to prepare only to have his inspiration progressively reduced. So it was about time, and it didn't make him happy, not at all, since the courses were something he greatly enjoyed, but then became something he needed less. Now he has his writing which poses other kinds of problems, but he did love teaching enormously.
Parnet asks him what he means by preparing
a lot, how long he took to prepare. Deleuze says it's like anything,
rehearsing <des répétitions> for a class.
He compares it to theater or singing, there are rehearsals, and
if one hasn't rehearsed enough, there's no inspiration. In a course,
it means having moments of inspiration, without which the course
means nothing. Parnet says he can't mean that he rehearsed in
the class itself, and Deleuze says, of course not, each activity
has it's modes of inspiration. He describes it as getting something
into one's head <se mettre dans la tête>... Getting
it into one's head and managing to find that what one's saying
is interesting. It's obvious, Deleuze says, that if the speaker
doesn't even find what he's saying of interest... and that doesn't
go without saying, he insists, finding what one is saying is interesting,
impassioned. Deleuze says that this isn't a form of vanity, of
finding oneself passionate and interesting, it's the subject matter
that one is treating and handling that one has to find passionate.
And to do so, Deleuze admits, one sometimes has to drive oneself
hard <se donner parfois de véritables coups de fouet:
whip oneself forward>. The question, he says, isn't whether
it's interesting, but of getting oneself stimulated <se monter
soi-même> to the point at which one is able to speak
about something with enthusiasm: that's what rehearsing is.
So, Deleuze says he needed that less, especially since courses were something quite special, what he calls a cube, a particular space-time in which so many things happen. Deleuze says he likes lectures much less, never liked lectures since they tended to be too small a space-time, whereas a course is something that stretches out from one week to the next. It's a space and a very, very special temporality, something that has successive steps <une suite>. He clarifies that it's not that one can do over or catch up when something might not go well, but there's an internal development in a course. Moreover, the people change from week to week, and the audience for a course, says Deleuze, is quite exciting.
Parnet goes back to the start of Deleuze's
career, as a lycée professor. Deleuze says that doesn't
mean much since it occurred at a time when the lycée was
not at all what the lycée has become. Deleuze says he thinks
of young professors today who are beaten down in the lycées.
Deleuze says he was a lycée professor shortly after the
Liberation, when it was completely different. To Parnet's query,
he says he was in two provincial cities, one he liked, one he
liked less. Amiens was the one he liked because it was a very
free city, very open, whereas Orleans was much more severe. This
was a period, he says, when a philosophy professor was treated
with a lot of generosity, he tended to be forgiven since he was
a bit like the madman, the village idiot. And usually he could
do whatever he wanted. Deleuze says he taught his students using
a musical saw, since he had taken it up at the time, and everyone
found it quite normal. Nowadays, Deleuze thinks that would no
longer be possible in the lycées. Parnet asks him what
he used the musical saw to teach <laughing>, and Deleuze
says he taught them curves, because one had to curve the saw in
order to obtain the sound from the curve, and these were quite
moving curves, something that interested them <Deleuze smiles
back at Parnet>. She says that already it's an infinite variation,
and laughing, Deleuze says yes, but that he didn't only do that,
he taught the baccalaureate program, as a very conscientious professor
<Deleuze laughs>. It was there, Parnet says, that he met
<Jean> Poperen, and Deleuze says yes, but he traveled more
than Deleuze, and stayed very little in Amiens. Deleuze recalls
he had a little suitcase and big alarm clock because he didn't
like watches, and that each day he went out and took his clock
to class. Deleuze found him very charming. Parnet asks who Deleuze
associated with as a lycée professor, and Deleuze recalls
the gymnasts, the gymnastics professors, but says he doesn't recall
very much. He says that the professors' lounge in the lycée
must have changed a lot today as well. Parnet says as a student,
one imagines the professors' lounge as a very oppressive place,
but Deleuze says, no, that there are all sorts of people there,
solemn or jokers, but that in fact, he didn't go there much.
Parnet continues, after Amiens and Orleans, Deleuze was in Paris at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in the preparatory course <Deleuze says, yes, yes, yes, as Parnet reviews this>, so she asks him to recall any students he had that were remarkable or not so. Deleuze repeats this question, reflecting, saying he doesn't really recall, perhaps some became professors, but none that he knows who became government ministers. He laughs as he recalls someone who became a police officer, but says really there were none very special, they all went their own way.
Parnet continues to the Sorbonne years of which one gets the impression, Parnet says, that they correspond to his history of philosophy years. Then he went to Vincennes which was a completely crucial and determining experience after the Sorbonne (Parnet indicates that she is jumping over Lyon that came after the Sorbonne). She asks if he was happy to become a university professor after being in the lycée. Deleuze says happy isn't really an appropriate word in this case, it was simply a normal career, and if he had gone back to the lycée, it wouldn't have been dramatic, just abnormal and a failure, so the way things worked out was normal, no problem, and he has nothing to say about it. Parnet asks if he prepared his university courses differently from the lycée courses, and he says not at all, exactly the same, he always did his courses the same way. Parnet seems astonished, asking again if his lycée preparations were as intense as his university preparations, and he repeats "of course" three times. In any case, Deleuze says, one has to be absolutely imbued <with the material>, one has to love what one is talking about, and that doesn't go all by itself, so one has to rehearse, prepare, go over things mentally, one has to find a gimmick. As the tape runs out, he says it's quite amusing that one has to find something like a door that one can pass through only from a particular position. After the tape change, Parnet asks the same question (about class preparations) a third time, and Deleuze says simply that there was no difference at all for him between the two kinds of courses.
Parnet says that since they are discussing his university work, perhaps he could talk about his doctoral thesis. She asks when he defended it. Deleuze reminds her that he had already written several books before his defense, and to some extent, this happened because he didn't want to finish the thesis, a frequent reaction. He recalls working enormously, and at one point, he realized he had to have the thesis, that it was quite urgent. So he made a maximum effort, and finally he presented it as one of the very first defenses following May '68, in early 1969. This created a very privileged situation for him because the committee was intently concerned with only one thing, how to arrange the defense in order to avoid the gangs roving through the Sorbonne. They were quite afraid, since it was right after the return to school following the May '68 events, so they didn't know what would happen. Deleuze recalls the chairman saying that there are two possibilities: either they have the defense on the ground floor, where there is one advantage, two exits <Deleuze laughs> so they could get out quickly, but the disadvantage was that the gangs mostly roved around on the ground floor; or they could go to the second floor, with the advantage of fewer gangs on that level, but the disadvantage of only one exit, so if something were to happen, they might not be able to get out. So, when Deleuze defended his thesis, he could never meet the gaze of the committee members since they were all watching the door <Deleuze laughs> to see if someone was going to come in. Parnet asks who the committee chairman was, but Deleuze says it's a secret. Parnet says she could make him confess, but Deleuze insists no, especially given the chairman's agony at the time, and also that he was very charming. Curiously, the chairman was more upset than Deleuze was, and it's rare for a committee to be more disturbed about the defense than the candidate. Parnet suggests that he was probably better known at that point than anyone on the committee, but Deleuze says he wasn't all that well-known. Parnet says the defense was of _Difference and Repetition_, and Deleuze says yes, then Parnet recalls that he was very well known for his works on Proust and Nietzsche <here Deleuze makes a kind of growling noise as his only response, visibly embarrassed, then shrugs his shoulders at Parnet>.
Parnet continues on to Vincennes, and
Deleuze says that for Vincennes, Parnet is right that there was
a change, not in the way he prepared his courses (what he calls
his rehearsals), nor in the style of a course, but from Vincennes
onward, Deleuze says he no longer had a student audience. This
was what was so splendid about Vincennes and not generalized in
all the universities that were getting back to normal. At least
in philosophy -- Deleuze doesn't know if it was true for all of
Vincennes --, there was a completely new kind of audience,.no
longer made up of students, but a mixture of all ages, all kinds
of professional activities, including patients in psychiatric
hospitals. It was perhaps the most multi-textured <bigarré>
audience that found a mysterious unity at Vincennes. That is,
it was at once the most diverse and the most coherent as a function
of, even because of, Vincennes, which gave to this disparate crowd
a kind of unity. Deleuze says that he spent his whole career at
Vincennes, but had he been forced subsequently to move to another
_faculté_, he would have completely lost his bearings.
When he visited other schools after that, it was like traveling
back in time for him, landing back in the nineteenth century.
So at Vincennes, he spoke to a mixed audience, young painters, people from the field of psychiatric treatment, musicians, addicts, young architects, people from very different countries. There were waves of visitors that changed each year. He recalls the sudden arrival of 5 or 6 Australians, Deleuze didn't know why, and the next year they were gone. The Japanese were constantly there, each year, and there were South Americans, Blacks... Deleuze says it was an invaluable and fantastic audience. Parnet says that was because, for the first time, Deleuze was speaking to non-philosophers, his practice that he had mentioned earlier, and Deleuze agrees: it was fully philosophy that was addressed equally to philosophers and to non-philosophers, exactly like painting is addressed to painters and non-painters, or music not being limited to music specialists, but it's the same music, the same Berg or the same Beethoven addressed to people that are not specialists in music and are musicians. For philosophy, it must be strictly the same, Deleuze says, being addressed to non-philosophers and to philosophers without changing it. Philosophy addressed to non-philosophers shouldn't be made simple, no more than in music does one make Beethoven simpler for non-specialists. It's the same in philosophy, Deleuze says, and for him, philosophy has always had this double audition, a non-philosophical audition as much as a philosophical one. And if these don't exist together, then there is nothing.
Parnet asks Deleuze to explain a subtle distinction <une finesse>: in conferences there are non-philosophers, but he hates conferences. Deleuze says, yes, he hates conferences because they're artificial and also because of the before and the after of conferences. He says he likes teaching courses so much, which is one way of speaking differently from conferences. There, one talks before, then after, and just doesn't have the purity of a course. And then there's a circus quality in conferences -- although Deleuze admits that courses have their circus quality as well, but at least they amuse him and tend to be more involved <profonds>. In a conference, there is a phony side, and Deleuze says he doesn't enjoy people who go to them, or even just speaking at them: he finds them too tense, too much of a sell-out <trop putain>, too stressed... not very interesting at all.
Parnet brings him back to what she calls
his "dear audience" <cher public> at Vincennes
that was so mixed back then, with madmen, addicts, as Deleuze
said, who made wild interventions, took the floor, and yet none
of that ever seemed to bother Deleuze. Despite all of these interventions
in the middle of his course, it remained completely masterful/authoritative
<magistral; NB: a _cours magistral_ in France is a formal lecture
course>, and no intervention made during the course seemed
ever to be of objectionable value, that is, the masterful aspect
of the course always remained.
Deleuze makes his embarrassed "oui, oui, oui" as she is completing her statement, then says she needs to find another word, since this expression -- _cour magistral_ -- is imposed by the university, but another one is needed. Deleuze sees two conceptions of a course: the first is one in which the object is to incite rather immediate reactions from the audience by means of questions and interruptions. This is a whole trend, Deleuze says, a particular conception of a course. On the other hand, there is the so-called "magistral"conception with one person <le monsieur> who speaks. It's not that he prefers one or the other, Deleuze says, he just had no choice, he only had practice with the second form, the "magistral" conception. So a different word is needed.
It's more like a kind of musical conception, Deleuze suggests. For him, one doesn't interrupt music, good or bad, or only if it's really bad, but usually one doesn't interrupt music whereas one can easily interrupt spoken words. He asks what this musical conception of a course means. He takes things from his experience, although he doesn't mean that this is the best conception, just how he sees things. As he has experienced audiences, his audiences, it occurs frequently that someone doesn't understand at a particular moment, and then there is something like a delayed effect, a bit like in music. At one moment, you don't understand a movement, Deleuze says, and then three or ten minutes later, it becomes clear: something happened in the meantime. So with these delayed effects, suddenly a guy listening <in the course> can certainly understand nothing at one point, and ten minutes later, it becomes clear, there's a kind of retroactive effect. So if he had already interrupted -- that's why Deleuze finds interruptions so stupid, or even certain questions people ask. Instead of asking a question because one is in the midst of not understanding, he/she would be better off waiting. That's a first aspect of it, and Deleuze says the best students were those who asked questions the following week. He hadn't insisted, but toward the end, they would pass him a note from one week to the next -- a practice he appreciated -- saying that he had to go back over a point. So by waiting that way, there was a kind of communication.
Deleuze brings up a second important point in his conception of a course: since a course he taught was two and one-half hours in length and no one could listen that long, for him, a course was not something destined to be understood in its totality. A course, says Deleuze, is a kind of material in movement <matière en mouvement>, really material in movement, which is how it is musical. So let each group or each person take from it what suits him/her. A bad course is one that quite literally suits no one, but of course one can't expect everything to suit just anyone. People have to wait, Deleuze argues, and it is obvious that some people nearly fall asleep, and then, by some mystery, they wake up at the moments that concern them. There is no law that foresees that this or that is going to concern someone or another. It's not even the subjects that are interesting, Deleuze says, but something else. In a course, he sees this as emotion, as much emotion as intelligence, and if there is no emotion, then there is nothing in the course, it has no interest. So, it's not a question of following everything or of listening to everything, but to keep a watch so that one grasps what suits him or her at the right moment. This will be something personal, and that's why for Deleuze a varied audience is so crucially important, because he senses clearly that the centers of interest shift and jump from one spot to another, forming a kinds of splendid fabric, texture.
Parnet reminds him that this corresponds
to the audience, but to the "concert", Deleuze invented
the expression "pop philosophy" and "pop philosopher."
Deleuze nods, yes, that's what he meant. Parnet continues, saying
that his appearance <allure>, like Foucault's, was something
very special, his hat, his fingernails <extremely long, quite
visible in the video>, his voice. So, she asks if Deleuze was
conscious of this kind of mythification by his students around
this appearance, like they had mythified Foucault. First, was
he conscious of having this appearance and then of having this
special voice? Deleuze says, certainly, since the voice in a course
-- Deleuze recalls what he said earlier: if philosophy mobilizes
and treats concepts, which is a vocalization of concepts in a
course, then this is normal just like there is a written style
of concepts. Philosophers aren't people who write without research
into or elaboration of a style, it's like artists, and they are
artists. So a course implies that one vocalizes, even <Deleuze
says he speaks German poorly> a kind of *Sprechgesang*, clearly.
So, if on top of that there are mythifications -- did you see
his nails?, etc. -- that kind of thing occurs to all professors,
already even in grade school. What's more important is the relationship
between the voice and the concept. Parnet says that to make him
happy, his hat was like Piaf's little black dress, with a very
precise _allure_. Deleuze responds that his point of honor resides
in never having worn it for that reason, so if it produced that
effect, so much the better <tant mieux>, very good. Parent
asks if that is a part of his professor's role, and Deleuze repeats
her question aloud before saying no, it's a supplement to it.
What belongs to a professor's role is what he said earlier: prior
rehearsal and inspiration within the moment, that's the professor's
Parnet says that he never wanted either a "school" <based on his works>, nor disciples, and this refusal of disciples corresponds to something very deep in him. Deleuze bursts out laughing at this, saying he doesn't refuse at all, generally it works two ways: no one wants to be his disciple any more than Deleuze wanted to have any. A "school" is awful, he says, for a very simple reason: it takes too much time, one turns into an administrator. Consider philosophers who have their own "school": the Wittgensteinians, it's not a very lively bunch <pas très marrade>. The Heideggerians form a school: first it implies some terrible scores being settled, it implies exclusivities, it implies scheduling, an entire administration. Deleuze says he observed the rivalries between French Heideggerians led by Beaufret and the Belgian Heideggerians led by Develin <sp?>, a real knife fight, abominable for Deleuze, without any interest.
Deleuze clearly thinks of other reasons, saying that even on the level of ambition, being the leader of a "school" <Here he sighs> He says "Just look at Lacan, Lacan"... Lacan was the leader of a "school" as well <Deleuze laughs>. It's awful, he says, it creates so many worries. One has to become Machiavellian to lead it all, and then for Deleuze himself, he despises that. For him, the "school" is the opposite of a movement. He gives a simple example: Surrealism was a "school", with scores settled, trials, exclusions, etc., Breton as the leader; whereas Dada was a movement. Deleuze says that if he had an ideal -- and he states that he doesn't claim to have succeeded --, it would be to participate in a movement, but even to be the leader of a "school" does not seem to Deleuze to be an enviable fate <Deleuze laughs>. The ideal is the movement, not at all to have guarantees and signed notions or to have disciples repeating them. For Deleuze, there are two important things: relations that one can have with students means to teach them that they must be happy with their solitude. They keep saying: a little communication without being alone, we're so alone, etc., and that's why they want "schools." They can do nothing except as a function of their solitude, so it's to teach them the benefit of their solitude, reconcile them with their solitude. That, says Deleuze, was his role as a professor.
The second aspect is a bit the same: rather than introduce notions that would constitute a "school," he wanted notions or concepts that circulate in the course. Not that these become something ordinary, but of common use, that can be manipulated in several ways. That could only occur, Deleuze says, if he addressed this to other solitary people who will twist these notions in their own way, use them as they need them. So all of these notions relate to movements and not to "schools."
Parnet asks if today, the era of great professors has passed, since things don't seem to be going very well. Deleuze says he hasn't many ideas about that since he no longer belongs there. He says he left at a time that was terrifying, and he could no longer understand how professors could continue teaching courses, since they'd become administrators. Deleuze argues that the current trend of politics is clear: the university will cease being a research site, entirely consonant with the forced entry of disciplines that have nothing to do with university disciplines. Deleuze says his dream would be for universities to remain research sites and that, along with universities, technical schools would multiply, where they would teach accounting, information science, but with universities intervening only in accounting and information science on the level of research. And there could be all the agreements one would like between a technical school and the university, with a school sending its students to pursue research courses at the university. But once they introduced material belonging to such schools into the university, it was done for <foutue>. It's no longer a research site, and one gets increasingly eaten up by these management hassles, all of these meetings at the university. That's why, says Deleuze, he said he no longer sees how professors can prepare a course, and he guesses that some do the same one every year. He admits he could be wrong, that maybe they still prepare new ones, so much the better. The tendency seemed to Deleuze to be the disappearance of research at the university, the rise of non-creative disciplines, non-research disciplines, and that's what's called the adaptation of the university to the job market. Deleuze argues that it's not the role of the university to be adapted to the job market, but the role of technical schools.
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Parnet states that philosophy for Deleuze serves to pose questions and problems, and that questions are constructed, with their purpose being not to answer them, but to leave these questions behind. So, for example, leaving the history of philosophy behind <cf. "H as in History of Philosophy"> meant creating new questions. In an interview, one doesn't ask Deleuze questions really, so she asks how Deleuze leaves this behind. Parnet sees it as kind of a forced choice, and so wonders what the difference is for Deleuze between a question in the context of mass media and a question in history of philosophy. Deleuze pauses, saying it's difficult. In the media, there are conversations most of the time, no questions, no problems, only interrogations. If one says, how are you doing?, it doesn't constitute a problem. What time is it?, not a problem, but an interrogation. If one sees the usual level on television, even in supposedly serious broadcasts, it's full of interrogations, saying, "what do you think of this?" does not constitute a problem, but a demand for one's opinion, an interrogation. That's why t.v. isn't very interesting. Deleuze doesn't have a very great interest in people's opinions.
He gives the example of the question: Do you believe in God? He asks where the problem is there, where the question is. There is none. So if one asked questions or problems in a t.v. show, Deleuze admits the number of broadcasts is vast, but it happens rarely that a t.v. show encompasses any problems. Deleuze feels they could, for example, ask about the Chinese question. But what happens usually is they invite specialists on China <Deleuze laughs> who say things about China that one could figure out all by oneself, without knowing anything about China <laughing>. Returning to the large question about God, what is the problem or question about God? It's not whether one believes in God or not, which doesn't interest many people, but what does it meant when one says the word "God"? Deleuze suggests that this might mean: are you judged after death? So how is this a problem? Deleuze sees this as establishing a problematic relationship between God and the agency <instance> of judgment. So is God a judge? This is a question.
Another example is Pascal; someone suggests
his text on the bet: does God exist or not? One bets on it, one
reads Pascal's text and sees that it's not a question of a bet
because, Deleuze argues, Pascal poses another question: it's not
if God exists or not, which would not be very interesting, but
it's: what is the best mode of existence, the mode of someone
who believes that God exists, or the mode of someone who believes
that God doesn't exist? So, Pascal's question does not concern
the existence (or not) of God, but rather the existence of whomever
believes in God's existence or not. For various reasons, says
Deleuze, Pascal develops his own questions, but they can be articulated:
Pascal thinks that someone who believes that God exists has a
better existence than someone who does not. It's Pascal's interest,
there's a problem, a question, and it's already no longer the
question of God. There is an underlying matter, a transformation
of questions within one another.
Deleuze suggests that this is the same when Nietzsche says "God is dead," it's not the same thing as God does not exist. Deleuze asks, if one says God is dead, what question does that refer to, one that is not the same as when one asks whether God exists? In reading Nietzsche, says Deleuze, one notices that he could care less about God's death, and that he's posing another question through that, specifically that if God is dead, there's no reason that man wouldn't be dead as well, one has to find something else than man, etc. What interested Nietzsche was not at all whether God was dead, but something else entirely.
These, says Deleuze, are questions and
problems, and they could certainly be presented on t.v. or in
the media, but that would create a very strange kind of show,
on this underlying story of problems and questions. Whereas in
daily conversations as well as in the media, people stay on the
level of interrogations. Deleuze refers to a particular show (since
this interview is posthumous, he says), "The Hour of Truth"
<Deleuze laughs>, entirely interrogations, of the kind,
"Mme Veil, do you believe in Europe?" It would be interesting,
Deleuze argues, if one asked about the problem of Europe. That's
exactly the same as for the question of China. They constantly
think about preparing the uniformization of Europe, they interrogate
each other about it, on how to make insurance uniform, etc. And
then, they find a million people at the Place de la Concorde from
everywhere, Holland, Germany, etc., and the interrogators don't
control it at all, they call on specialists to tell them why there
are so many Dutch people at the Place de la Concorde. They just
skirt around the real questions when they needed to be asked.
Deleuze admits that what he's been saying is a bit confused <he
Parnet gives the example of Deleuze who used to read daily newspapers, but no longer reads _Le Monde_ or _Libération_. She asks if there's something in the level of the press or the media not asking questions that disgusts him, and Deleuze responds yes! He gets the feeling of learning less and less. He says he's quite ready to learn things, since he knows nothing, but since the newspapers say nothing either, what can one do? Parnet says that he always watches the evening news as the only t.v. show he never misses, and wonders if Deleuze has a question to formulate each time that is never formulated in the media. Deleuze says he doesn't know, and Parnet says that he seems to think that questions never get asked. Deleuze says that he thinks that, to a great extent, the questions can't be asked. Here Deleuze chooses a specific example, a recent French scandal that dates back to the Vichy era, the arrest of Paul Touvier. [Paul Touvier, arrested in 1989 for war crimes against humanity for sending seven Jews to their deaths on June 29, 1944, at Rillieux-la-Pape near Lyon, is the first Frenchman to be found guilty of war crimes and sentenced on April 20, 1994, to life imprisonment. He died of cancer in July, 1996. Touvier had been sentenced to death in absentia in 1946 and spent much of the next 40 years on the run living in Roman Catholic monasteries.] Deleuze suggests how questions are avoided and deliberately not posed. Apparently Touvier was protected from questions about his conduct during the war since he must now possess information that could implicate some Catholic church officials. So, says Deleuze, everyone knows about what Touvier knows, but there's an agreement not to ask questions, and so they won't get asked. This is what's known as a consensus, says Deleuze, i.e. an agreement according to which simple "How are you doing?" interrogations will be substituted for problems and questions, that is, interrogations that ward off any real questions.
Parnet seems to want to object to what Deleuze is saying, so he says he'll try another example, regarding the conservative French party reformers and the political apparatus on the Right. Deleuze says everyone knows what this is about, but the newspapers don't tell the public a thing. For Deleuze, these reformers pose a very interesting question: it's an attempt to shake up elements of the Party apparatus that are always very centralized around Paris. Specifically, the reformers want regional independence, something very interesting that no one is insisting upon. The connection to the European question, says Deleuze, is that they want to create a Europe not of nations, but of regions, i.e. a veritable regional and inter-regional unity, rather than a national and international unity. This is a problem, Deleuze argues, one that the Socialists will have to face at some point, between regionalist and internationalist tendencies. But the Party apparatuses, i.e. the provincial federations, still correspond to an old-fashioned, Paris-centered structure that maintains quite a significant role.
So, Deleuze concludes that the conservative reformers constitute an anti-Jacobine movement, that the Left will have one as well. Deleuze feels that negotiations <pourparlers> should take place about all this, but no one will do so, they even refuse to because, when they do, they will reveal themselves. Hence, they'll only answer interrogations, which are nothing other than conversations without any interest. Except for rare exceptions, television is condemned to discussions, to interrogations. For Deleuze, it's not even a question of deliberate deceptions, just insignificance, without any interest.
Parnet raises the example of a journalist, Anne Saint-Claire, who tries to pose good questions, not at all interrogations, and Deleuze responds, fine, that's her business, he's quite sure that she's very happy with herself. To Parnet's question of why Deleuze never accepted a television interview, whereas Foucault and Serres did so, and whether he is retreating from life as Beckett did, Deleuze says here is the proof, this interview, he'll be on t.v.! But his reasons for not accepting relate to what he had already said: he has no desire at all to have conversations and interrogations with people, something he cannot stand, particularly when no one knows what problem is being raised. He returns to his example of God: is it a matter of the non-existence of God, of the death of God, of the death of man, of the existence of God, of the existence of whoever believes in God, etc.? It's a muddle, very tiring, Deleuze says. So when everyone has their turn to speak, it's domesticity in it's purest state, with some idiot of a host <présentateur à la con> as well... Deleuze ends this muttering "pitié, pitié" <mercy, mercy>...
Parnet says the most important thing is that Deleuze is here today answering their little interrogations. Deleuze responds: "A titre posthume" <on the condition it's posthumous>.
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Parnet reminds Deleuze of something he
said in a recent conference: philosophy creates concepts, and
whenever one creates, one resists. Artists, filmmakers, musicians,
mathematicians, philosophers all resist, but Parnet asks, what
do they resist exactly? She suggests taking this case by case:
philosophers create concepts, but do scientists create concepts?
Deleuze says no, that it's a question of ends since, if we agree to reserve the world "concept" for philosophy, another word is needed then for scientific notions. One doesn't say of an artist either that he/she creates concepts, a painter or a musician doesn't create concepts. So, for science, one needs another word. Let's say that a scientist is someone who creates functions, not the best word: creating new functions, e.g. Einstein, but also the great mathematicians, physicists, biologists, all create functions.
So Deleuze asks again, how does this constitute resisting? It's clearer for the arts, he says, because science is in a more ambiguous position, a bit like cinema: it is caught in so many problems of organization, funding, etc., that the portion of resistance... <Deleuze doesn't complete the thought> But great scientists, he continues, also mount considerable resistance, if one thinks of Einstein, of many physicists and biologists, it's obvious. They resist first against being forced in certain tempting directions <entraînements> and against the demands of popular opinion, that is, against the whole domain of imbecilic interrogation. They really have the strength to demand their own way, their own rhythm, and they can't be forced to set loose just anything in any conditions whatsoever, just as one usually doesn't hassle an artist.
Deleuze approaches the question of creating as resistance with reference to a writer he recently read who affected him on this topic. Deleuze says that one of the great motifs in art and thought is a certain "shame of being a man" <"la honte d'être un homme">. Deleuze feels that Primo Levi is that writer and artist who has stated this most profoundly. [On Primo Levi, see Deleuze and Guattari, What Is Philosophy? 106-107, and Negotiations 172. The authors refer in What Is Philosophy? to Levi's The Drowned and the Saved.] He was able, says Deleuze, to speak of this shame, in an extremely profound book that he wrote following his return from the Nazi death camps. Levi said that when he was freed, the dominant feeling was one of shame of being a man. Deleuze considers this to be at once a beautiful expression, and not at all abstract, quite concrete, this shame of being a man. But Deleuze insists that this phrase does not mean certain stupidities that some people might like to attribute to it. It does not mean that we are all assassins, that we are all guilty of Nazism. Levi says that it doesn't mean that the executioners and the victims are all the same, and Deleuze feels that we should not be made to believe this, there should be no assimilating the executioners with victims.
So the shame of being a man, Deleuze
continues, does not mean we are all the same, or that we are all
compromised. It means several things, a very complex feeling,
not unified. It means at once how could some humans <hommes>
-- _some_ humans, Deleuze insists, that is, others than me --
do that? And second, how have I myself nonetheless taken sides?
Deleuze says this does not mean one has become an executioner,
but still one took sides in order to have survived, and there
is a certain shame in having survived in the place of friends
who did not survive. So the shame of being a man is a composite
feeling, and Deleuze feels that at the basis of all art, there
is this very strong feeling of shame of being a man that results
in art consisting of liberating the life that humans have imprisoned.
Deleuze says that men never cease imprisoning life, killing life
-- "the shame of being a man." So the artist is the
one who liberates a powerful life, a life that's more than personal
life, not his or her life.
After the new tape starts, Parnet brings Deleuze back to this idea of the artist and resistance, the role of the shame of being a man, art freeing life from this prison of shame, but something very different from sublimation. Deleuze insists that it means ripping life forth <arracher la vie>, life's liberation, and that's not at all something abstract. Deleuze asks what a great character in a novel is. It's not a great character borrowed from the real and even inflated: he refers to Charlus in Proust's _Remembrance_ who is not the real-life Montesquiou <friend of Proust>, not even inflated by Proust's brilliant imagination. Deleuze says these are fantastic life forces, however badly it turns out. A fictional character has integrated into itself... Deleuze calls it a kind of giant, an exaggeration in relation to life, but not an exaggeration in relation to art, since art is the production of these exaggerations, and it is by their sole existence that this is resistance. Or another direction, connecting with the theme "A as in Animal," writing is always writing for animals, that is, not to them, but in their place, doing what animals can't, writing, freeing life from prisons that humans have created and that's what resistance is. That's obviously what artists do, Deleuze says, and he adds: there is no art that is not also a liberation of life forces, there is not art of death.
Parnet points out, however, that art doesn't suffice. Primo Levi finished by committing suicide much later. Deleuze responds, yes, but he committed suicide personally, he could no longer hold on, so he committed suicide to his personal life. But, he continues, there are four pages or twelve pages or a hundred pages of Primo Levi that will remain eternal resistances, so it happens this way.
Deleuze pursues the theme of the shame of being a man, not in the grandiose sense of Primo Levi. If one dares to say something of this sort, for each of us in daily life there are minuscule events that inspire in us this shame of being a man. We witness a scene in which someone has really been too vulgar, we don't make a big thing of it, but we are upset, upset for the other, and for oneself because we seem to support this, in almost a kind of compromise. But if we protest, saying what you're saying is base, shameful, we make a big drama out of it, and we're caught. While it doesn't at all compare with Auschwitz, we feel even on this minuscule level a small shame of being a man. If one doesn't feel that shame, there is no reason to create art.
Parnet asks if when one creates, precisely when one is an artist, does one feel the dangers surrounding us everywhere? Deleuze says yes, obviously, even in philosophy -- as Nietzsche said, a philosophy that will damage and resist stupidity <nuire et résister à la bêtise>. [On resistance and stupidity, see Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy 105-110.] But if philosophy did not exist, we cannot guess the level of stupidity [there would be], since philosophy prevents stupidity from being as enormous as it would be were there no philosophy. That's philosophy's splendor, we have no idea what things would be like, Deleuze repeats, just as if there were no arts, what the vulgarity of people would be... When we say "to create is to resist," it's effective, positive <effectif>; the world would not be what it is if not for art, says Deleuze, people could not hold on any more. It's not that they read philosophy, it's philosophy's existence itself that prevents people from being as stupid and beastly <stupide et bête> as they would be were there no philosophy.
Parnet asks what Deleuze thinks when
people announce the death of thought, the death of cinema, the
death of literature, <Deleuze bursts out laughing as she asks>
does that seem like a joke? Yes, Deleuze says, there are no deaths,
there are assassinations, quite simply. He suggests that perhaps
cinema will be assassinated, quite possibly, but there is no death
from natural causes, for a simple reason: as long as there would
be nothing to grasp and take on the function of philosophy, philosophy
will still have every reason to live on, and if something else
takes on the function of philosophy, then it will be something
other than philosophy. If we say that philosophy means creating
concepts and, through that, damaging and preventing stupidity,
what dies then in philosophy? asks Deleuze. It could be blocked,
censored, assassinated, but it has a function, it is not going
to die. Deleuze says the death of philosophy always appeared to
be an imbecilic idea, and it's not because he is attached to philosophy
that it will not die. Deleuze just wonders about this rather stupid,
kind of simpering <gentillette> idea of philosophy's death,
which is just a way of saying things change.
But, he asks, what's going to replace philosophy? Maybe someone will say: you must not create any more concepts, and so, Deleuze concludes, let stupidity rule, fine, it's the idiots who want to do philosophy in. Who is going to create concepts? Information science? Advertising agents who have taken over the word 'concept'? Fine, we will have advertising concepts, which is the concept of a brand of noodles, Deleuze says. They don't risk having much of a rivalry with philosophy because the word concept, he believes, is no longer being used in the same way. But it's advertising that is presented as philosophy's true rival since they tell us: we advertisers are inventing concepts. But, says Deleuze, the concept proposed by information science, by computers, is quite hilarious, what they call a concept.
Parnet asks if we could say that Deleuze, Guattari, and Foucault form networks of concepts like networks of resistance, like a war machine against dominant modes of thought. Deleuze looks visibly embarrassed, and says yes, why not? It would be very nice if it were true. He goes on to reflect on networks: if one doesn't belong to a "school" -- and for Deleuze, these "schools" of thought don't seem good at all --, there is only the regime of networks, of complicities, something that has existed in every period, for example, what we call Romanticism -- German or in general --, and there are networks today as well, Deleuze suspects. Parnet asks if these are networks of resistance, and Deleuze says yes, as the function of the network is to resist, and to create. Parnet says that, for example, Deleuze finds himself both famous and clandestine, living in a kind of clandestinity <Deleuze laughs> that he is fond of. Deleuze says he doesn't consider himself at all famous, nor clandestine, but would in fact like to be imperceptible. <Deleuze seems to hesitate here, starting sentences, but not finishing the thought> But being imperceptible is because one can... These questions, they are nearly quite personal... What he wants is to do his work, for people not to bother him and not make him waste time, and at the same time, he wants to see people, he needs to, like everybody else, he likes people, or a small group of people whom he likes to see. But he insists that he doesn't want this to be the slightest problem, just to have imperceptible relationships with imperceptible people, that's what is most beautiful in the world. Deleuze suggests that we are all molecules, a molecular network.
Parnet asks if there is a strategy in philosophy, for example, when he wrote that year in his book on Leibniz, did he do so strategically? Deleuze smiles, wondering aloud what the word "strategy" means, perhaps that one doesn't write without a certain necessity. But he says, if there is no necessity to create a book, that is a strongly felt necessity by the author, then he/she shouldn't do it. So when Deleuze wrote on Leibniz, it was from necessity because a moment arrived for him -- too long to explain in detail why -- to talk about Leibniz and the fold. And for the fold, it happened that, for Deleuze, it was fundamentally linked to Leibniz. He can say that for each book that he wrote, what the necessity was at each period.
Parnet continues on this: besides the grip of necessity that pushes Deleuze to write, she wonders about his move from writing philosophy and returning to history of philosophy after the cinema books and after books like _Anti-Oedipus_ and _A Thousand Plateaus_. Deleuze says there was no return from philosophy, which is why he previously answered her question quite correctly. He wrote a book on Leibniz because for him, the moment had come to study what a fold was. He does history of philosophy when he needs to, that is, when he encounters and experiences a notion that is already connected to a philosopher. When he got excited about the notion of "expression," he wrote a book on Spinoza because Spinoza is the philosopher who raised the notion of "expression" to an extraordinary level. So it appeared to Deleuze to go without saying that it would be through Leibniz, and it happens that he also encounters notions that are not already dedicated to a philosopher, so then Deleuze doesn't do history of philosophy. But he sees no difference between writing a book on history of philosophy and a book on philosophy, so it's in that way, he says, that he follows his own path <je vais mon chemin>.
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Parnet announces the title, and Deleuze exclaims "ah, fine!" Parnet asks what style is. She reminds him that in _Dialogues_, Deleuze says that style is the property of those of whom it is said they have no style. He says this about Balzac, so what is style? Deleuze says that's no small question, and Parnet responds, no, that's why she asked it so quickly! [Actually, in Dialogues, Deleuze makes no reference to a specific writer. Rather, he says: "I would like to say what style is. It belongs to people of whom you normally say, 'They have no style.' This is not a signifying structure, nor a reflected organization, nor a spontaneous inspiration, nor an orchestration, nor a little piece of music. It is an assemblage, an assemblage of enunciation. A style is managing to stammer in one's own language," 4.]
Deleuze laughs, then says, listen, this
is what he can say to understand what style is: first of all,
one is better off not knowing a thing at all about linguistics.
Linguistics has done a lot of harm, he says; why? There is an
opposition -- Foucault said it well -- and it's even their complementarity,
between linguistics and literature. As opposed to what many say,
they do not fit each other at all. It's because for linguistics,
Deleuze says, a language <langue> is always a system in
balance from which one can create a science. And the rest, the
variations, are placed no longer on the side of language, but
on the side of speech <parole>. When one writes, we know
quite well that language <langue> is a system about which
physicists would say it is a system far from equilibrium, a system
in perpetual imbalance, such that there is no difference of level
between language and speech, but language is constituted by all
sorts of heterogeneous currents in disequilibrium with one another.
So, he continues, what is the style of a great author? Deleuze says he thinks there are two things in style -- he points out that he is answering rapidly and clearly, but that he is ashamed because it's too much of a summary. Style is composed of two things: one submits the language in which one speaks and writes to a certain treatment, not a treatment that's artificial, voluntary, etc., but a treatment that mobilizes everything, the author's will, but also his/her wishes, desires, needs, necessities. So, one submits language to a syntactical and original treatment, which could be... Here Deleuze indicates that they come back to the theme of "Animal": a treatement that could make language stutter <begayer>, and Deleuze says, not stuttering oneself, but making language stutter. Or, and this is not the same thing, he says, to make language stammer <balbutier>.
He chooses examples of great stylists:
Gherasim Luca, a poet, Deleuze suggests that generally, he creates
stuttering, not his own speech, but makes language stutter. Another
example is Charles Péguy, quite odd, says Deleuze, because
Péguy is a certain kind of personality about whom one forgets
that above all he is among the great artists, and is totally crazy.
Deleuze says that never has anyone written like Péguy,
and never will anyone write like Péguy, as his writing
belongs among the great styles of French language, one of the
great creators of the French language. What did he do? One can't
say that his style is a stuttering; rather, he makes the sentence
grow from its middle: instead of having sentences follow each
other, he repeats the same sentence with an addition in the middle
of it which, in its turn, will engender another addition, etc.
He makes the sentence proliferate from its middle, by insertions.
That's a great style, Deleuze concludes.
So, there is the first aspect: have language submitted to an incredible treatment. That's why a great stylist is not someone who conserves syntax, but is a creator of syntax. Deleuze says he doesn't let go of Proust's lovely formula: works of art <chefs d'oeuvre> are always written in a kind of foreign language. A stylist, says Deleuze, is someone who creates a foreign language in his/her language. [Deleuze and Parnet provide the reference to this citation in Dialogues 149, from Proust's By Way of Sainte-Beuve 194-195.] It's true of Celine, of Péguy. He continues: at the same time as this first aspect -- causing syntax to undergo a deforming, contorting treatment, but a necessary one that constitutes something like a foreign language in the language one writes in, -- the second point is, through this very process, to push all language all the way to a kind of limit, the border that separates it from music. One produces a kind of music. If one succeeds, it is with these two things, and it is necessary to do so, it is a style, it belongs to all the great stylists. All of this happens at once: dig within language a foreign language, carry all language to a kind of musical limit: this is what it means to have a style.
Parnet quickly asks if Deleuze thinks he has a style..., and he bursts out laughing, saying "O! la perfidie!" <Oh, the treachery!> Parnet continues, ...because she sees a change from his first books. Deleuze says that the proof of a style is its variability, and that generally one goes toward increasingly sober style. That does not mean less complex, Deleuze insists. Deleuze thinks immediately of one of the writers he admires greatly from the point of view of style, Jack Kerouac. At the end of his career, says Deleuze, Kerouac's writing was like a Japanese line drawing, a pure line, reaching a sobriety, but that really implies then the creation of a foreign language with the language. Deleuze also thinks of Céline, and he finds it odd when people still congratulated Céline for having introduced the spoken language into written language <in _Voyage au bout de la nuit_>. Deleuze considers this stupid <bêtise> because in fact, a complete written treatment is required in language, one must create a foreign language within language in order to obtain through writing the equivalent of the spoken language. So Céline didn't introduce the spoken into language, that's just stupid to say that, Deleuze exclaims. But when Céline received a compliment, Deleuze continues, he knew that he was so far away from what he would have wanted to create, so that would be his second novel. In _Mort à Crédit_, he gets closer, but when it is published and he is told that he has changed his style, he knows again that he is very far from what he wanted, and so what he wanted, he is going to reach with _Guignol's Band_ where, in fact, language is pushed to such a limit that it is close to music. It's no longer a treatment of language that creates a foreign language, but an entire language pushed to the musical limit. So, by it's very nature, style changes, it has its variation.
Parnet mentions that with Péguy, one often thinks of the musical style of Steve Reich, with the repetitive aspect, but Deleuze says that Péguy is a much greater stylist than Reich. Parnet points out that Deleuze still hasn't responded to her "treachery," if he thinks that he has a style. Deleuze says he would like to, but asks her what she wants him to say. Already, to be a stylist, he says, one must live the problem of style. He says he can answer more modestly by saying that he lives the problem <je le vis>. He says he doesn't write while telling himself that he'll deal with style afterward. Deleuze says he is very aware that he will not obtain the movement of concepts that he wants if the writing does not pass through style, and he says he is ready to rewrite the same page ten times.
After the tape changes, Parnet picks up this point again, saying that for Deleuze, style is a kind of necessity for the composition of what he writes, that composition enters into it in a very primordial way. Deleuze agrees completely, rephrasing the question as: is the composition of a book already a matter of style? And he answers, yes, entirely. The composition of a book cannot occur beforehand, but at the same time as the book is written. In what Deleuze has written, "if I dare invoke that," he says, there are two books that seem to be composed. Deleuze says he always attached great importance to the composition itself, for example in _Logic of Sense_, composed by series, constituting for Deleuze truly a kind of serial composition. Then in _A Thousand Plateaus_, it's a composition by plateaus, plateaus constituted by things. But Deleuze sees these as nearly two musical compositions. Composition, he says, is a fundamental element of style.
Parnet asks about something he said earlier: if in Deleuze's mode of expression, today he is now closer to what he wanted than twenty years earlier, or if it's something else entirely. Deleuze says that right now <actuellement> in what he is doing, he feels that, in what is not yet completed, he is getting closer, that he is grasping something that he was looking for and hadn't found before. Parnet suggests that his style is not only literary, that one clearly senses style in all domains. For example, she says, Deleuze lives with an elegant family, his friend Jean-Pierre is also quite elegant, and Deleuze seems very sensitive to this elegance.
Deleuze first says he feels a bit out of his depth <depassé>. He says he'd like to be elegant but knows quite well that he isn't. For him, elegance consists already in perceiving what elegance is. It has to be this way since there are people who miss it entirely and for whom what they call elegance is not at all elegant. So a certain grasp of what elegance is belongs to elegance. This elegance that impresses Deleuze is a domain like anything else, that one has to learn about, one has to be somewhat gifted. He then asks Parnet why she asked him that. She says for the question of style, that is in all domains. He says of course, but this aspect is not part of great art. Deleuze pauses, then says, what's important -- besides elegance that he likes greatly -- is all these things in the world that emit signs. So in this, great elegance as well as vulgarity emit signs, and it's more than just elegance that Deleuze finds important: it's the very emission of signs. This is why he has always liked and still likes Proust so much, for the society life <mondanité>, the social relations <rapports mondains>. This is a fantastic emission of signs, for example, what's known as a "gaffe." This is a non-comprehension of a sign, signs that people don't understand. Society life <exists> as a milieu of the proliferation of empty signs, but it's also the speed of their emission, the nature of their emission. This connects back to animal worlds because animal worlds also are emissions of signs. Animals and social "animals" <mondains> are the masters of signs.
Parnet says that although Deleuze doesn't go out much, he has always been much more favorably disposed to social gatherings <soirées mondaines> than to convivial conversations. Deleuze says of course, because for him, in social milieus, people are not going to argue <discuter>, this vulgarity is not part of that milieu. Rather, conversation moves absolutely into lightness, that is, into an extraordinarily rapid evocation, into speeds of conversations. Again, says Deleuze, these are very interesting emissions of signs.
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Parnet begins by stating that Deleuze has always liked tennis. There is a famous anecdote about Deleuze when he was a child, he tried going after the autograph of a great Swedish tennis player whom he spotted, and it was instead the king of Sweden from whom Deleuze asked for the autograph. Deleuze says no it wasn't a mistake, he knew who it was, the king was already around a hundred <centenaire>. But Deleuze confirms that he asked the king of Sweden for an autograph. There is a photo of Deleuze in _Le Figaro_, of a little boy who approached the elderly king of Sweden for an autograph. Parnet asks if it was the tennis player who Deleuze was going after, and Deleuze says it was Borotras <sp?>, not a great Swedish player, he was one of the king's bodyguards who played tennis with the king, gave him lessons. So he tried kicking Deleuze a few times to keep him from getting too close to the king, but the king was very nice, and Borotras also got nice.
Parnet asks if tennis is the only sport
he watches on television, and Deleuze says no, he adores football
<European: soccer>, so it's that and tennis. Parnet asks
if he played tennis, and Deleuze yes, a lot up until the war,
so that makes him a war victim! Parnet asks what effect that has
in his body when one plays a sport a lot, or when one ceases playing
it after, if there are things that change. Deleuze says he doesn't
think so, at least not for him. He says he didn't turn it into
a trade. In 1939, he was 14 years old and stopped playing tennis,
so that's not serious. Parnet asks if he played well, and Deleuze
says yes, for a 14 year old, he did pretty well, but was a bit
too small. Parnet says that she heard he also did some French
boxing, and Deleuze says he did a bit, but he got hurt, so he
stopped that right away, but did try some boxing.
Parnet asks if he thinks tennis has changed a lot since his youth, and Deleuze says of course, like in all sports, there are milieus of variation, and here one gets back to the topic of style. Deleuze finds quite interesting the question of positions <attitudes> of the body. There is a variation of positions of the body over spaces of greater or lesser length, and one would have to categorize the variables in the history of sports. Deleuze sees several: variables of tactics: in football, tactics have changed enormously since his childhood. There are position variables for the body's posture: there was moment, says Deleuze, when he was very interested in the shotput, not to do it himself, but the build of the shotputter evolved at one point with extreme rapidity. It became a question of force: how, with really strong shotputters, to gain back speed, and how, with builders geared for speed, to gain back force? Deleuze found this question very interesting. He says that the sociologist Marcel Mauss introduced all sorts of studies on the positions of bodies in different civilizations, but sports is a domain of the variation of positions, something quite fundamental.
In tennis, even before the war, Deleuze recalls, the positions were not the same, and something that interests him greatly, again related to style, is the topic of champions that are true creators. Deleuze says that there are two kinds of champion, that do not have the same value for him, the creators and the non-creators. The non-creators are those who maintain a pre-existing style and unequaled strength, for example Lendl. Deleuze does not consider Lendl to be fundamentally a creator in tennis. But then there are the great creators, even on very simple levels, those who invent new "moves" <coups> and introduce new tactics. And after them come flooding in all sorts of followers, but the great stylists are inventors, something one certainly finds in all sports.
Deleuze wonders what was the great turning point in tennis, and considers this to be its proletarization, quite relative of course. It has become a mass sport, kind of young executive with working class pretensions <jeune cadre un peu prolo>, but Deleuze feels we can call it the proletarization of tennis. And of course, he continues, there are deeper approaches to explain all that, but it would not have occurred if there weren't the arrival of a genius at the same time, Bjorn Borg, who made it possible. Why? Because, according to Deleuze, he brought a particular style, and he had to create a mass tennis from the ground up. Then, came after him a crowd of very good champions, but not creators, for example, the Vilas type, etc. So Borg appeals to Deleuze, his Christ-like head, this Christic bearing, this extreme dignity, this aspect that made him so respected by all the players.
After the tape change, Parnet asks if Deleuze attended a lot of tennis matches, and he begins to respond, but then returns to the question of Borg as a Christic character, who created mass tennis, and with that, it was a total creation of a new game. Then come rushing in the all sorts of players of the Vilas-type that impose a generally soporific style onto the game, whereas with a Borg, one always rediscovers the kind of player who hears the compliments, but feels that he's miles from doing what he wanted to do. Deleuze feels that Borg changed deliberately: when he was certain of his moves <coups>, it no longer interested him, so his style evolved tremendously, whereas the drudges stick with the same old thing. Deleuze says that one has to see McEnroe as the anti-Borg.
Parnet asks what kind of style Borg imposed, and Deleuze describes it as: situated at the back of the court, farthest possible retreat, spinning in place <rivetage>, ball placement high over the net. Deleuze says any "prolo" could understand that game, not that he could succeed <Deleuze and Parnet laugh>. So the very principle -- depth of court, spinning, ball high -- is the opposite of aristocratic principles. These are popular principles, but what genius it had to take, Deleuze says, exactly like Christ, an aristocrat who goes to the people. Deleuze admits he's probably saying something stupid <bêtises>, but he found Borg's impact <le coup Borg> to be astonishing, the work of a great creator.
And with McEnroe, he continues, it was pure aristocrat, half Egyptian, half Russian, Egyptian service game, Russian soul, inventing moves <coups> that he knew no one could follow. So he was an aristocrat who couldn't be followed. He invented some prodigious moves, one that consisted of placing the ball, very strange, not even striking it, just placing it. And he developed a movement of service-volley that was unknown, both his and Borg's were completely transformed. Another great player, but without the same importance, is the other American, Connors, who also had the aristocratic principle, Deleuze argues: ball flat barely over the net, a very odd aristocratic principle, and also striking while unbalanced. Deleuze says that Connors never played with such genius than when he was entirely unbalanced. Deleuze says that there is a history of sports, and it has to be stated just as in art, the evolution, the creators, the followers, the changes, the becomings of sports.
Parnet brings Deleuze back to his sentence about having attended something, and he tries to recall what he referred to. He says it it's sometimes difficult to be specific about what or when something really originated <in a sport>, yet Deleuze recalls something particular. Before the war, there were some Australians -- this sets Deleuze off speculating on the questions of national origins, why Australians introduced the two-handed back swing, at least as he recalls. One move that struck him while he was a child was something that had quite an impact, when they saw that the opponent missed the ball, and could not understand why. Deleuze says it was a rather soft blow, and after considering it closely, they saw that it was the return of service. When the opponent served the ball, the player returned it with a rather soft blow, but that had the result of falling at the tips of the server's feet as he was approaching to volley, so he received it as a mid-volley that he could not return. So this was a strange return because Deleuze could not understand very well why it worked. In Deleuze's opinion, the first to have systematized that was a great Australian player, who did not have much of a career on clay courts, called Bromwich, right before or after the war (Deleuze says he doesn't recall exactly). But he does recall that as a child or young man, he was astounded at this stroke that has now become classic. To his knowledge, this was the invention of a return that the generation of Borotras did not know yet, only simple returns.
To finish with tennis, Parnet asks if Deleuze thinks McEnroe will continue as he has, when he insults the referee, in fact insulting himself more than he does the referee, and is this a matter of style, and that he <McEnroe> is unhappy with this form of expression? Deleuze says yes, it is a matter of style because it belongs fully to McEnroe's style. It's a kind of nervous recharging, just like an orator can get angry, while there are orators that remain cold and distant. So McEnroe's style has this as one element, it's the soul, as we say in German, the *Gemut*.
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Parnet begins by stating that philosophy and science supposedly concern themselves with "universals." However Deleuze always says that philosophy must always stay in contact with singularities. Isn't there a paradox here? she asks. Deleuze says there is no paradox because philosophy and even science have strictly nothing to do with universals. This is a ready-made idea, from general opinion, i.e. the opinion about philosophy that it concerns itself with universals, and that science concerns itself with universal phenomena that can always be reproduced, etc. Deleuze suggests considering the statement: all bodies fall. What is important, Deleuze insists, is not that all bodies fall, but rather the fall itself and the singularities of the fall. Even were scientific singularities reproducible -- for example, mathematical singularities in functions, or physical singularities, or chemical singularities, etc. --, fine, and then what? Deleuze argues that these are secondary phenomena, processes of universalization, but what science addresses is not universals, but singularities: when does a body change its state, from the liquid state to the solid state, etc.
Deleuze continues by arguing that philosophy is not concerned with the one, being <l'être>. To suggest that is stupid <betises>. Rather, it is also concerned with singularities. Finally, one almost always discovers multiplicities, which are aggregates of singularities. The formula for multiplicities and for aggregates of multiplicities is n - 1, i.e. the One is what must always be subtracted. So Deleuze maintains that there are two errors not to be made: philosophy is not concerned with universals. There are three kinds of universals, he says: universals of contemplation -- Ideas with a capital I; universals of reflection; and universals of communication, the last refuge of the philosophy of universals [Deleuze and Guattari develop this overview in _What is Philosophy?_, ch. 1; on universals, see 7, 49, and 82.] Habermas likes these universals of communication <Deleuze laughs>.
This means philosophy is defined either as contemplation or reflection, or as communication. In all three cases, it's quite comical, really quite farcical <bouffon>. The philosophy that contemplates, ok, Deleuze says: that makes everybody laugh. The philosophy that reflects doesn't make us laugh, but is even stupider because no one needs philosophy in order to reflect. Mathematicians don't need philosophy in order to reflect on mathematics. An artist does not need to seek out philosophy in order to reflect on painting or on music. Boulez does not need philosophy in order to reflect on music. To believe that philosophy is a reflection *on* anything is to despise it all. And after all, about what is philosophy supposed to reflect on? Deleuze asks. As for philosophy being the restoration of a consensus in communication from the basis of universals of communication, that is the most laughable idea <l'idée la plus joyeuse> that we've heard since... For philosophy has strictly nothing to do with communication. Communication suffices very well in itself, and all this about consensus and opinions is the art of interrogations.
Deleuze reiterates that philosophy consists in creating concepts, which does not mean communicating. Art is not communicative or reflective, Deleuze argues, art isn't, nor is science, nor is philosophy contemplative or reflective or communicative. It's creative, that's all. So, he concludes, the formula is n - 1, suppress the unity, suppress the universal. Parnet replies that Deleuze feels, therefore, that universals have nothing to do with philosophy, and Deleuze smiles, shaking his head.
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Parnet announces this title by saying that it's the demonstration of a concept as a paradox because Deleuze invented the concept, nomadism, but he hates traveling. Why, first of all, does he hate to travel? she asks. Deleuze says he doesn't like the conditions of travel for a poor intellectual. Maybe if he traveled differently, he would adore traveling, but intellectuals <Deleuze laughs>, what does it mean for them to travel? It means going to conferences, at the other end of the world if needed, and all of that includes a talking- before and a talking-after with people who greet you quite kindly, and a talking-after with people who listened to you quite politely, talk talk talk, Deleuze says. So, for him, an intellectual's travel is the opposite of traveling. Go to the ends of the earth to talk, that is, to do something one can do at home, and to see people and talking before, talking after, this is a monstrous voyage.
Having said this, Deleuze says he feels very kindly <beaucoup de sympathie> for people who travel, it's not some sort of principle for him, and he says he does not pretend even to be right, thank God. He asks what is there for him in traveling? First, there is always a small bit of false rupture, the first aspect that makes traveling for him quite unpleasant. So the first reason: it's a cheap rupture <rupture a bon marché>, and Deleuze feels just like Fitzgerald expressed it: a trip is not enough to create a real rupture. If it is a question of ruptures, Deleuze says, there are other things than traveling because finally, what does one see? People who travel a lot, and perhaps are proud of it, someone said it's in order to find a father <Deleuze laughs>. There are great reporters who have written books on this, they all went to Vietnam and other places, seen everything, and in their fragments they all were in search of a father <Deleuze laughs>. They shouldn't have bothered... Traveling can really be Oedipian in a sense, he says laughing. Deleuze concludes: I say no, that just won't do! <Ca ne va pas!>
The second reason relates to an admirable phrase from Beckett that affected Deleuze greatly, who has one of his characters say, more or less -- Deleuze cites poorly, he says, and it's expressed better than this: people are really dumb <con>, fine, but not to the point of traveling for pleasure. Deleuze finds this phrase completely satisfying: I am dumb, he says, but not to the point of traveling for pleasure, no, not to that point <quand même pas>.
And a third aspect of travel: Parnet stated the term "nomad," and Deleuze admits that he has been quite fascinated with nomads, but these are people quite precisely who don't travel. Those who travel are emigrants, and there can certainly be perfectly respectable people who are forced to travel, exiled people, emigrants. This is a kind of trip that it is not even a question of ridiculing because these are sacred forms of travel, forced travel. But nomads don't travel, says Deleuze. Literally, they stay put completely <ils restent immobiles>, all the specialists on nomads say this. It's because nomads don't want to leave, because they grip hold of the earth, their land. Their land becomes deserted and they grip hold of it, they can only nomadize on their land, and it's by dint of wanting to stay on their land that they nomadize. So in a sense, one can say that nothing is more immobile than a nomad, that nothing travels less than a nomad. It's because they don't want to leave that they are nomad. And that's why they are completely persecuted.
And finally, says Deleuze, nearly the last aspect of traveling -- there is a phrase from Proust that is quite beautiful that says: after all, what one always does when one travels is to verify something, one verifies that a color one dreamed about is really there. And he adds something important, Deleuze insists: a bad dreamer is someone who doesn't go see if the color he dreamed about is really there, but a good dreamer knows that one has to go verify if the color is really there. Deleuze finds this a good conception of travel.
Parnet says that this is a fantastic progression, and Deleuze continues: there are trips that are veritable ruptures. For example, Deleuze says, the life of J.M.G. Le Clézio at the moment seems to be a way in which he operates a kind of rupture. Deleuze says the name Lawrence <T.E.>... then says that there are too many great writers that he admires who have a sense of travel. Stevenson is another example, Stevenson's travels aren't negligible, he says. So Deleuze insists that what he is saying has no generality, but that for his own account, someone who doesn't like to travel probably has these four reasons.
Parnet asks if this theme of travel is connected to Deleuze's natural slowness, and Deleuze says no, that he doesn't conceive of traveling as slow, but in any case, he feels no need to move. All the intensities that he has are immobile intensities. Intensities distribute themselves, he says, in space or in other systems that aren't necessarily in exterior spaces. Deleuze assures Parnet that when he reads a book or hears music that he considers beautiful, he really gets the feeling of passing into such states and emotions that he never would find in travel. So, he asks, why would he seek these emotions in places that don't suit him very well, whereas he has the most beautiful of them for himself in immobile systems, like music, like philosophy. Deleuze says that there is a geo-music, a geo-philosophy, that he considers to be profound countries, and that are his countries. Parnet says, foreign lands, and Deleuze continues, his very own foreign lands, that he does not find by traveling.
Parnet says that he is the perfect illustration that movement is not located in displacement, but she points out that he did travel a little, to Lebanon for a conference, to Canada, to the USA. Deleuze says yes, but he has to say that he was always dragged into it, and he no longer does it because he should never have done all that, he feels he did too much. He also says at that time, he liked walking, and now he walks less well, so travel no longer happens. But he recalls walking all alone through the streets of Beirut from morning to night, not knowing where he was going. He says he likes to see a city on foot, but that's all over. <Deleuze nods his head>
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Parnet says, let's move on to W, and Deleuze says, there's nothing in W, and Parnet says, yes, there's Wittgenstein. She knows he's nothing for Deleuze, but it's only a word. Deleuze says, he doesn't like to talk about that... It's a philosophical catastrophe. It's the very type of a "school", a regression of all philosophy, a massive regression. Deleuze considers the Wittgenstein matter to be quite sad. They imposed <ils ont foutu> a system of terror in which, under the pretext of doing something new, it's poverty introduced as grandeur. Deleuze says there isn't a word to express this kind of danger, but that this danger is one that recurs, that it's not the first time that it has arrived. It's serious especially since he considers the Wittgensteinians to be nasty <méchants> and destructive <ils cassent tout>. So in this, there could be an assassination of philosophy, Deleuze says, they are assassins of philosophy, and because of that, one must remain very vigilant. <Deleuze laughs>
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Parnet says that X is unknown and Y is unspeakable <indicible> <Deleuze is laughing>, so they move on directly to the final letter of the alphabet:
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Parnet says they are at the final letter,
Zed, and Deleuze says, "Just in time!" Parnet says that
it's not the Zed of Zorro the Lawman <le Justicier>, since
Deleuze has expressed throughout the alphabet how much he doesn't
like judgment. It's the Zed of bifurcation, of lightning, it's
the letter that one finds in the names of great philosophers:
Zen, Zarathoustra, Leibniz, Nietzsche, Spinoza, BergZon <Deleuze
laughs>, and of course, Deleuze. Deleuze laughs, saying she
has been very witty with BergZon and very kind toward Deleuze
himself. He considers Zed to be a great letter that establishes
a return to A, the fly, the zigging movement of the fly, the Zed,
the final word, no word after zigzag. Deleuze thinks it's good
to end on this word.
So, he continues, what happens in Zed? He reflects that the Zen is the reverse of Nez <nose>, which is also a zigzag. [Deleuze gestures the angle of a nose in the air] Zed as movement, the fly, is perhaps the elementary movement that presided at the creation of the world. Deleuze says that he's currently reading a book on the Big Bang, on the creation of the universe, an infinite curving, how it occurred. Deleuze feels that at the origin of things, there's no Big Bang, there's the Zed which is, in fact, the Zen, the route of the fly. Deleuze says that when he conceives of zigags, he recalls what he said earlier <in U> about no universals, but rather aggregates of singularities. He considers how to bring disparate singularities into relationship, or bringing potentials into relationship, to speak in terms of physics. Deleuze says one can imagine a chaos of potentials, so how to bring these into relation. Deleuze tries to recall the "vaguely scientific" discipline in which there is a term that he likes a lot and that he used in his books <_Logic of Sense_ and _Difference and Repetition_>. Someone explained, he says, that between two potentials occurs a phenomenon that was defined by the idea of a "somber precursor." This somber precursor places different potentials into relation, and once the journey <trajet> of the somber precursor takes place, the potentials enter into a state of reaction from which emerges the visible event.
So, there is the somber precursor and
<Deleuze gestures a Z in the air> then a lightning bolt,
and that's how the world was born. There is always a somber precursor
that no one sees, and then the lightning bolt that illuminates,
and there is the world. He says that's also what thought should
be, and what philosophy must be, the grand Zed, but also the wisdom
of the Zen. The sage is the somber precursor and then the blow
of the stick comes since the Zen master passes among his disciples
striking them with his stick. So for Deleuze, the blow of the
stick is the lightning that makes things visible...
He pauses and says, and so we have finished. Parnet asks a final question: is Deleuze happy to have a Zed in his name, and Deleuze says "Ravi!" <Delighted!> and laughs. He pauses and says, "What happiness it is to have done this." Then standing up, putting on his glasses, he looks at Parnet and says "Posthume! Posthume!" <Posthumous! Posthumous>, and she replies "PostZume!" The camera tracks Deleuze as he leaves the frame, and then from off camera, Deleuze's voice says, "And thank you for all of your kindness."
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End Part III (of III) -- Go to: Part I - A to F -- Go to: Part II - G to M