Life as Art
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Life as Art

Perspectives on Deleuze: New Landscapes

Exploring Context in Deleuze’s Philosophy

Image by Daniel Hannah from Pixabay

Over the last 20 articles or so, I have attempted to put Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy in context:

Deleuze is experience over authority.

He is the end of meta-narratives, great unifying stories about all of life, consuming life.

And yet a philosophy of difference is a story; but it is an open-ended story without resolution; a story about pure creativity, the power to create stories; and it advocates telling stories that stick to the particular, the immanent.

Linking pure creativity and connectivity as the driver that permeates everything new in the universe.

A Vision Affirming Life

Stories are normative; even Nietzsche and Deleuze, would attribute value to their stories. But it is value at its most basic: affirm life, affirm the power to create value.

Stories in society, the political sphere, must connect, be interactive, open, fluid, pragmatic, and not deified in the universal.

Stories must enchant, illuminate, resonate, evolve perpetually, temporally.

There is no end to history, no telos. A process of becoming produces only more becomings.

The Ethical and Political

A philosophy of difference is a line of flight away from totality in all its forms: transcendent ideas, objective truths, moral imperatives, utopian political ideologies, which all lead only to destruction and death.

If ontology = epistemology when experience counters authority, and if all philosophy is really just ethics, how we experience fulfillment in life and connect with each other in the open, then all roads lead to political theory.

For society is where we play out all of these ideas: where ideas meet action and where the freedom of experience meets the terror of authority.

Connectivity and Interdependence

A world view is forming, one in which we can assert our meaningful place in the universe.

Nothing is transcendent, everything is real, affirmed, including us, our bodies and our minds.

And we are the stuff of connectivity and interdependence, the endless multiplicities internal to creativity in the universe.

Thought, conscious thought, that confronts the challenge of leading a fulfilling life, is meaningful in a universe in which we participate in the flow of life:

We possess the will to create, the ability to see all that there is from multiple perspectives, and the humility not to block the affirmation of becoming.

Interpretation over Objectivity

Knowing the world is inseparable from our agency within it. We transact in the field with nature, rather than represent it from an objective standpoint beyond the universe.

Thought cannot mirror the world; is but an interpretation only.

The importance of a theory is whether it is useful, what effects it produces, whether it enhances social progress. Deleuze would agree, and add: whether it highlights something remarkable.

Experience as Continuous

Experience has a continuous nature; relations among things are broader than scientific causality would allow.

Complex systems of relations change the nature of their constituents.

We can perceive things in this manner, in a stream of consciousness.

There is a depth and surface to things, more than we often see. But it is in things, not mystical, in the relations of things, the temporal quality of things, the plurality of things. And the one force that runs through all of nature is pure difference.


Pure difference is open ended: there is no grand scheme, we are not burdened with telos.

Likewise, our social and political formations are inherently free; free to deterritorialize and reform. Our history can be freed from grand theories.

We can avoid fascism and totalitarianism by rejecting onto-theology wherever it arises in any of our activities, micro or macro.

We do this by rising to the challenge of thinking in terms of diversity, engaging in a pragmatic dialectic, investigating the depth and surface of problems, and evaluating models for social and political formations based on their effects; their usefulness vis a vis the affirmation of life and pure change, the affirmation of evolution.

We do this by waking up to the freedom in everything.

Living Philosophy

This world view is a living philosophy of the real, not a mystical abstraction: a view that enables and empowers us to open up to the remarkable; the striking and original that is here and now, all around us, if we dare to open our eyes.

As actualizations of an eternal process of becoming, life matters to us, this life in this body, our fulfillment matters; and while Deleuze’s philosophy is pre-individual, nothing we’ve discussed suggests this life is not meaningful; that we are barred from finding meaning and fulfillment in this life.

On the contrary:

To have a fuller understanding of our reality, a vision that enchants us with and illuminates our universe, is to gain a perspective that highlights the natural ease with which we can participate in creativity, and go to the limit and become all we can be.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Thanks for reading!


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Excerpt from my forthcoming book, Becoming: A Life of Pure Difference (Gilles Deleuze and the Philosophy of the New) Copyright © 2021 by Tomas Byrne. Learn more here.



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Tomas Byrne

Tomas Byrne

Jagged Tracks Music, Process Philosophy, Progressive Ethics, Transformative Political Theory, Informed Thrillers, XLawyer