Deleuze Probiotics

March 02 — December 31 2020

What got me by during that period, Deleuze famously said of his time deep reading philosophy, was conceiving of the history of philosophy as a kind of ass-fuck, or, what amounts to the same thing, an immaculate conception. I imagined myself approaching an author from behind and giving him a child that would indeed be his but would nonetheless be monstrous.

This provocative fantasy – reading as a kind of fucking – is clarifying here about the phallic lineage of philosophy, even as it suggests an intervention that breaks the line. It acknowledges that seriously engaging the history of western philosophy has meant – & continues to mean – engaging a long line of conceptual sodomy & immaculate conceptions. Considered from within the radiance of its own luminosity, it is a miraculous multi-millennial homo-erotics.

But we have entered a phase now where philosophy's reproductive organs are being necessarily decoupled from the phallus. As part of this necessity, doubt has been cast on the idea of immaculate conceptions & the ideal of a child. We exist now in a horizon of thought – one which Deleuze made decisive contributions to – in which it is possible to wonder if philosophy might give birth to something other than a human child.

What got me by during that period was conceiving – this opening phrase is the key for us here, with its admittance of the ardor required to read the history of philosophy & the hot tip for how creative conceptualisation is the way to get through it. What's going to get us by in the arduous task of reading Deleuze closely is to conceive of reading him as taking a course of probiotics. We think then not of philosophy's reproductive organs but of its stomach. We think of reading in terms of nutrient cycles, in short – we redistribute the weight of metaphor from sex to eating.

At times it will doubtless feel less probiotic & more homeopathic – a vast labyrinth of terminological poison that true believers keep promising will make us better. At the end of the year, if all goes well, our intellectual gut health will be much improved. Perhaps, if things go really well, we will have become conceptual super poopers – microbiomes of theory – ready to up-cycle in contact with others. If so, the task of deep reading philosophy will not have been about giving birth to a brilliant child but rather delivering a monstrous stool.

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Reading Program

Feb & March

David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature (1740)

Empirisme et subjectivité (1953). Trans. Empiricism and Subjectivity (1991).

April & May

Différence et répétition (1968). Trans. Difference and Repetition (1994).

Logique du sens (1969). Trans. The Logic of Sense (1990).

June & July & August

Spinoza's Ethics – George Eliot translation!

Spinoza et le problème de l'expression (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1968 & 1985).
Trans. Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza (1990).

Spinoza – Philosophie pratique, 2nd ed. (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1981).
Trans. Spinoza: Practical Philosophy (1988).

Sept & Oct & Nov & Dec

Capitalisme et Schizophrénie 1. L'Anti-Œdipe (1972). Trans. Anti-Oedipus (1977).

Capitalisme et Schizophrénie 2. Mille Plateaux (1980). Trans. A Thousand Plateaus (1987).