4.23.2013

Podcast on Deleuze & Guattari's "What is Philosophy?"

After participating in a podcast discussion about this book with the folks at The Partially Examined Life (to be published in a few weeks), I was inspired to give my rant on my own about this tome that changed my life.  Hopefully, it makes sense.

Philosophy, for D&G, is not thinking about the so-called big issues. It is, rather, the creation of concepts. Each philosopher — each philosophy — asks different questions, poses different problems, and creates concepts as solutions that make sense within that particular field (what they call a "field of immanence").

Philosophers have no need to argue and even less need to discuss — they run away from discussions. Concepts and philosophies create immanent fields, zones that enjoy an internal logic that is idiosyncratic, strange, particular and, at the same time, overlaps and participates with other zones.

What we're left with is this vision of philosophy, this image of thought, that is generous and multiple. Each philosophy is the center of philosophy, posing and resolving problems of its own intuition, its own thinking, its own perspective ("own," here, is qualified by the fact that everything is networked; network and immanence are not opposed; on the contrary.....).

Concepts are not true or false, right or wrong. They are either interesting, remarkable, and important — or they're not. There are many boring concepts. What makes a concept important is that it shifts the very manner in which we conceive of thinking, of what it means to think, of what it is to be one who thinks.

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3 comments:

* said...

Great to have you back on the air! so to speak.

dustygravel said...

It's good to hear your voice again.

'What is Philosophy' is my favorite book, and I first heard about it through your lectures.

Concerning this latest installment I really liked imagining the insanity of what painting would be like without the art scene, and philosophers without philosophical history.
I think telling people that they will never fully understand any book they read is probably the best thing you could ever tell anyone.
I approach 'What is Philosophy' primarily as an artist; I think it’s the best thing I have ever read about art.
Philosophy is the production of ideas, but art is the assembling of moods that exist before the artist. Yet both are made, true inventions. We take for granted that Apples didn't always exists, but it's totally missed that no one ever really felt 'kinda’ Blue' before Miles Davis blew his horn. There is such a thing as a modern mood, thanks entirely to people that make shit.
One thing that has struck me lately is that with all the talk about Deleuze and Guattari applied in this or that way, I’ve never really heard about their application in real world psychiatry. I work in the psychiatric field, as an entry level staff person at a transitional housing facility, I'm just there dealing with the people in their day to day. It’s usually pretty chill. But I wander what Guattari was like as a psychiatrist. I bought the biography to find out, but it was all pretty vague. There are a few procedures that remind me of their approach; aversion therapy, activity based group therapy, you know, a schizophrenic on a walk. But these things don’t really feel like “schizoanalysis.” Are there really Schizoanalysts out there? Can you actually go to a Guattarian analyst and get all rearranged?
Oh, and we were talking about the cinema books. I have some ideas about this. I think its Peirce’s contribution that makes those books so different. Peirce is known as a pragmatist, but he is really a mystic, maybe a mystic pragmatist. Firstness is really unlike any other Deleuzian concept. Firstness is a genuinely subjective quality almost like a pure humanity untouched by becoming, like a sentiment that sticks it’s self to some object or other, the object then would be secondness and so on un tell you have hole symbolic network; Deleuze relates it to the affection image, so he’s not talking about a human he’s talking about a movie. In a thousand plateaus he destroys the face, like an iconoclast. In the cinema books the face is holy, I think, maybe, this is Peirce’s firstness shining through. Later on in the book you have all these different ways that black and weight interact with each other. In some cases there in conflict and in some cases they are in harmony, somehow he even sees Marxist dialectics in them. Oh and one of the best things about the cinema books is the way he quotes the directors, they might be talking about movies or actors or something else but he makes them speak like sages. Something I don’t understand is the ‘any (moment) space whatever’. There are a lot of weird things about those books. It’s the way he forces Peirce’s trichotomy . It’s a building of a symbolic cinema.

Daniel Coffeen said...

@ *: Thanks for the props.

@ Dusty: Many beautiful things here.
So: Schizoanalysts. I have a friend in NYC who is one — he practices psychotherapy with acupuncture and homeopathy and calls himself a schizoanalyst.

Your read on the Cinema books is gorgeous and has me inspired to reread them. And, what's funny, is the only thing I really understand in that book — or think I do — is the any moment/space whatever. I've always read that in terms of Gene Kelly vs. Fred Astaire, the anywhere vs. the stage, the proliferation of events vs. the Big Event, etc. Cinema as non or event anti-monumental, taking in anything and everything, anywhere and everywhere.