philosophy as not philosophy: para-ontology, hauntology, schizoanalysis

"Articulating the past historically does not mean recognizing it ‘the way it really was’. It means appropriating a memory as it flashes up in a moment of danger. Historical materialism wishes to hold fast that image of the past which unexpectedly appears to the historical subject in a moment of danger. The danger threatens both the content of the tradition and those who inherit it. For both, it is one and the same thing: the danger of becoming a tool of the ruling classes. Every age must strive anew to wrest tradition away from the conformism that is working to overpower it. The Messiah comes not only as the redeemer; he comes as the victor over the Antichrist. The only historian capable of fanning the spark of hope in the past is the one who is firmly convinced that even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he is victorious. And this enemy has never ceased to be victorious."
- Walter Benjamin, Thesis VI

"The materialist doctrine concerning the changing of circumstances and upbringing forgets that circumstances are changed by men and that it is essential to educate the educator himself. This doctrine must, therefore, divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society. The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-changing can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary practice."
- Karl Marx, Thesis III

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Amor Fati and the Eternal Return

This is my final paper for the course on Heidegger, Bergson, and Deleuze I took last spring. The focus of the paper is Deleuze's articulation of the Eternal Return in Nietzsche. It's a little rough, but overall I'm quite happy with it. Since writing it, I have been reading a lot of Zizek, Badiou, Hegel, Lacan, et cetera, a regimen which has significantly altered my reading of Deleuze. Yet, returning to the paper, I was surprised at how much it prefigured this shift. More on that later.


Yet to Come
Amor Fati
and the Eternal Return in Nietzsche and Deleuze

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sun rise.
- William Blake, “Eternity”


Amor fati: love of fate, fatal love –

We are faced with a volitional intuition and a transmutation. 'To my inclination for death,' said Bousquet, 'which was a failure of the will, I will substitute a longing for death which would be the apotheosis of the will.' From this inclination to this longing there is, in a certain respect, no change except a change of the will, a sort of leaping in place (saut sur place) of the whole body which exchanges its organic will for a spiritual will. It wills now not exactly what occurs, but something in that which occurs, something yet to come which would be consistent with what occurs, in accordance with the laws of an obscure, humorous conformity...It is in this sense that the Amor fati is one with the struggle of free men.1
Who is this man who wants to die? Who wills death, longs for death? Who is capable of affirming his death? He who has becom strong enough to affirm even that most terrible burden, to discover in that most terrible realization a joy more profound than any mere enjoyment or pleasure, a joy that cannot be bound to oneself, but that flies from the self and from every captivity, that mercilessly destroys anything that would try to capture it. He who can kiss that joy as it flies, who can love death for discovering in death the joyous escape from that which dies.

Bousquet distinguished two moments. First, a resignation: I cannot will death, I cannot affirm it; that burden is too heavy, too big for me, I would collapse beneath that weight, and so I can only wait for death to take me. I have an inclination for death, I bend toward it, I submit to it and accept its inevitability. On my knees, hunched over, I yield to its merciless judgment, I await its cruelty in pathetic surrender. I have only my little pleasures which allow me to endure this wretched life, those little joys I was able to capture and bind, and I can forgive myself of them because they will not return once my time has come.

When Blake says this man “does the winged life destroy”, we must read it in the fullest sense: he destroys, diminishes, disgraces that purest joy in capturing it, he possess it on the condition that it will soon be gone, and this is already its death; this little joy is only a corpse, an idol, a fool's joy, for it can no longer take flight and attain its highest power, it is already paralyzed, doomed. Yet we can also repeat this quite differently: it is no longer he who destroys the winged life, but the winged life does destroy him.

He who cannot affirm the highest power of joy, who can affirm his joy “once, only once”, will suffer the wrath of his prisoner when, as a phoenix, it rises out of the ashes of its miserable double in a furious incandescence, casting its captor to the flames. These men content to wait for death, to endure life, to take pleasure in the littlest of joys, will receive the most pitiful fate: “they will have, and be aware of, only an ephemeral life!”2

In the second moment, resignation is overcome, the resignation has transformed into exaltation, apotheosis. The man content to wait for death, unable to affirm it, to will it, to carry this burden, is forsaken in favor of a new strength, a new capability: a longing, a passion for death expresses a will transformed, no longer a failed will, a “nothingness of the will” as Nietzsche says. It is now the most profound expression of a “will to nothingness”, no longer stifled by those petty pleasures that distract one from the immensity of its cruel fulfillment.

The man who wants to die
, who wills that everything of himself that cannot affirm and cannot be affirmed, everything petty, weak, cowardly, that all of this should die with him – and this is the highest power of joy, this is the winged life attained. When everything base, everything that weighs heavy on one's back, has been annihilated, only lightness and joy remain. He has become capable of casting off everything of himself that has failed and of retaining only that highest power of affirmation. Even negation remains only as a power of affirmation: to will death, but to will the death of that which, incapable of affirming even itself, is resigned to die – to affirm this resignation as such. This is the exaltation of the will: the will to nothingness undergoes a transmutation, becoming a will to affirmation; the abyss swallows everything heavy, so that only an arrow swift and sturdy, sent with the whole force of one's being, can escape its gravity; and so that even the abyss itself is swallowed up by the line of flight the arrow draws.

The man who wants to die succeeds in surpassing the man who cannot affirm his death, who waits patiently for the abyss to open and take him. The man who wants to die becomes capable of shouldering this terrible burden, but only so that he can liberate in himself that which is utterly weightless, the winged life. What makes one heroic?— Going out to meet at the same time one's highest suffering and one's highest hope.”3 This weight may lead him all the more quickly into the abyss, but it is precisely everything of himself that is a burden for him that is so annihilated, so that the quickness, exuberance, affirmation and joy are set free.

Does this not imply a third moment, a moment when, after death is affirmed and all that cannot affirm death is annihilated, a will to affirmation flies free into its winged life? We have seen the last man, the man resigned to die, and his nothingness of the will; we have seen the man who wants to die, who, in realizing the completion of the will to nothingness, surpassed the last man and his ephemeral life by liberating from his very being a life that would escape that which dies. Are we not then waiting for this winged life to appear, this life that finally overcomes every burden, every death? Are we not awaiting the Overman?


Amor fati

Today everybody permits himself the expression of his wish and his dearest thought: hence I, too, shall say what it is that I wish from myself today, and what was the first thought to run across my heart this year—what thought shall be for me the reason, warranty, and sweetness of all my life henceforth! I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things:—then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love from henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse, I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation! And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer!4

How does Nietzsche realize this love? How could anyone accomplish such a task? The problem is at once an ethical problem, the problem of how to live, how to make beauty of this life and in this life, to have done with negation and accusation, to make life into pure affirmation. It is through the power of affirmation that beauty and strength and importance is discovered in even the smallest of things, even in cruelty, in pain, in illness, in limitation. To make of one's life an affirmation would mean that the value of everything must be evaluated; of every person, every act, every relationship, every moment. Everything is evaluated so that beauty and worth can be discovered in every thing, so that every thing can be remade on this basis. The will to affirmation would realize and rescue the beauty in everything, in spite of the values imposed on the world that obscure, denigrate, or deny that beauty. Affirmation is the only way in which ethics, as the examination and reinvention of one's very mode of living, one's ethos, can be rescued from the accusation, judgment, and denial of morality.

The problem is also, at the same time, an ontological problem, the problem of “what is necessary in things”. It is not only a matter of “what is”, “what exists”, but rather, of what must exist, of what, in things, necessarily exists. An ontological affirmation cannot affirm everything that is without succumbing to a paralyzing inadequacy. However, it must affirm that which, in every thing, necessarily exists, that which must be made to exist. We seek not a total ontology that would affirm as existing everything, even the most base, most vile, most deserving of inexistence, but a selective ontology that engenders in existence that which must exist, and expels all the rest. Whereas the former would 'let be', the latter will 'make be'. A selective ontology would not simply describe reality, but would engender it as such, as that which must necessarily be; it would select in existence that which purely exists in and for affirmation, and thereby would create a pure ontology. Thus we can see that when ontology becomes pure, it merges with or implicates ethics, it is an ethics, ontological ethics. There is no longer any trace of the classical distinction between what is and what ought to be, a boundary dividing ontology from ethics; there is only what must be, as the traversing of the gap, an arrow crossing the void, a love of fate.

Yet here we must proceed with the utmost caution. For what is the source of this imperative? Doesn't it imply an authority that would reintroduce morality? In what sense can we speak of a pure being, a necessary being, and doesn't this reintroduce a value higher than what is, which opposes existence, which existence merely resembles, against which existence is judged? These concerns will plague us until we consider Nietzsche's solution to the two-fold problem of Amor fati. The will must undergo a test, a torturous crucible, if it is to affirm and love its fate, to make fate itself the object of the will, a will taken to the very limit of its power, to the nth power. The last man, despite his resignation to death, does not know of this love, for his will is reduced to its minimum of power, and so he cannot will his fate. It is only the man who wants to die that can pass the test, that has a will strong enough to affirm death and all the miseries of fate. In becoming capable of this affirmation, becoming-equal to the task, he aspires to overcome himself, his mortality, all of his weaknesses and limitations He prepares the way for the Overman: “At the stage of the 'during,' or the becoming-equal, the 'overman' becomes an ideal we seek to imitate.”
5 Nietzsche's test will eliminate these weaknesses and liberate a winged life from that which dies; the Overman will no longer be an ideal for man, but will have already overcome him. With the force of an arrow escaping the gravity of the abyss, it affirms the must that flashes between ontology and ethics as a bolt of lightning. Nietzsche's test is the eternal return.


Eternal Return

What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you in your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again—and you with it, speck of dust!'— Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine!' If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you; the question in each and every thing, 'Do you desire this once more, and innumerable times more?' would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight! Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal? —6

Nietzsche's test is first presented here as a hypothetical, a mere thought: could you affirm the eternal recurrence of the same events, of every moment of your life, from the most wonderful to the most terrible? Could you affirm it all again to the nth power? Could you will your life, all of your life, without the intrusion of anything new? Yet Nietzsche also says this thought will change you if it does not crush you. What is this change? If one is able to affirm this life once and only once, content with the little pleasures, then one will always confront the intrusion of the new into one's life as miraculous, the mark of a higher power than one's own. One cannot change things or oneself; one can only dwell in those little routines and habits that make one comfortable. The new must come from without, with a strength and a violence greater than one's own. This man would be crushed by the thought of the eternal return, as his only consolation for his miserable life is that it will be over soon enough, and the new will intrude at his death when he is spirited off into the afterlife.

Yet the man who can affirm this terrible weight has discovered the greatest secret. He is able to affirm the eternal recurrence of the same events because he can liberate the new from every past event of his life, drawing out of those same things something different by making difference a power of his acting. It is no longer a divine guarantee, but a immanent imperative. This man lives such that he can affirm all of his past, and the new within everything past, in his every act. It is by making the new, the different, in one's act that one frees from those same events the power of the new, as if the whole of his past is the same, but at the same time, everything has changed. It is as if those same events now mean something completely different, because we now see them as having been necessary for the new to emerge in that very act. One can now affirm all of one's past indefinitely, in every new act that subsequently reacts back on and reveals the new in the same series of events. One can affirm the eternal return of the same events, because this has become the condition for producing the new.

Hence we can draw from this hypothesis an ethical imperative. “The eternal return says: whatever you will, will it in such a manner that you also will its eternal return.”
7 Only will that in which you can eternally discover the new, that which can serve as the condition for something different. This imperative gives rise to a genuine change in one's actions; not a simple modification of habits, but a reorientation of every action towards change itself; to will all of one's life, such that the action of this will changes everything. The same events can be affirmed eternally only if they are said of an internal difference, an eternal differing from themselves; they are affirmed only as opening onto the new. They are the 'same events', but they can be affirmed as such only on the condition that in this affirmative act, every one of them is changed; the 'same' is said only of difference when we can affirm our power to eternally make the difference. One is impelled to think of one's actions in such a way that they can be affirmed eternally as the conditions for something new to emerge, as having been necessary for the new. The thought of the eternal return must discover in every past event the potential for something new, and in fact, the necessity of something new.

Yet insofar as this is only a thought, only hypothetical, it has no real imperative power without the support of an authority. How might we think this test as not hypothetically but really imperative? And if this thought is an ethical imperative, what is the reason for this emphasis on the new and different? What is the ethical value of these, and can they really serve as the highest values, such that our imperative need consider none other? The problem is we have yet to discover the relationship between ethics and ontology, and so we must consider the eternal return not only as an ethical test, but an ontological principle. Nietzsche himself takes up the concept of eternal return from the ancients, but not without making it serve as the condition for something new, a new concept.

The ancient concept was an ontological or cosmological principle that conceived reality in terms of the 'cyclical hypothesis': given an infinite amount of time, every possible finite event will be realized, and after which time every event will be realized again to infinity. In this way, the same events will return identically for all eternity. This hypothesis, in Nietzsche's own time, became a scientific claim, the claim of either a mechanistic universe or a final thermodynamic equilibrium: “The two conceptions agree on one hypothesis, that of a final or terminal state, a terminal state of becoming.”
8 In this way, all change in the universe will terminate in a final equilibrium identical to the beginning state of the universe, after which everything will happen again in the same way, thus subordinating all change to an ultimate identity.

Nietzsche rejects the cyclical hypothesis in both its ancient and scientific formulations. “Nietzsche says that if the universe had an equilibrium position, if becoming had an end or final state, it would already have been attained. But the present moment, as the passing moment, proves that it is not attained and therefore that an equilibrium of forces is not possible.”
9 He defends this claim by denying the necessity of positing a beginning point from which all change is born, as there is an absurdity in this notion: if there was an equilibrium position before change began, it would have had no reason or power to change, it would have remained as it was. Because there was no beginning to becoming, but rather an “infinity of past time”, a final equilibrium would have already been attained if it were at all possible. And if it had ever attained this state, it would again have no reason or power to leave it.10 Thus the eternal return as ontological principle cannot base itself on the idea that there is an ultimate series of events bound between a beginning and an end which are identical, and which will repeat identically whenever the end is reached, a “mechanical process [that] passes through the same set of differences again.”11

How then does the eternal return become an ontological principle? “According to Nietzsche the eternal return is in no sense a thought of the identical but rather a thought of synthesis, a thought of the absolutely different which calls for a new principle outside science. This principle is that of the reproduction of diversity as such, of the repetition of difference...”
12 We must then think this principle of synthesis, this synthesis of difference as such. What returns of the same events is precisely their capacity to be synthesized differently; they must necessarily return, but they only return eternally when, in every act, a new synthesis is carried out, a new combination of those same events is produced, such that everything that returns does so only insofar as it is now made different. The new combination succeeds in discovering in the same events something new, some new possible combination. The same events only return as the condition for something new that subsequently discovers in them a new sense; it is this new sense, created in new combinations, that returns, and the 'same' is said only of this new sense that flees from any necessary identity.

This internal difference, internal to every 'same event', of which the same is said, is what Nietzsche calls will to power. “If...the will to power is a good principle, if it reconciles empiricism with principles, if it constitutes a superior empiricism, this is because it is an essentially plastic principle that is no wider than what it conditions, that changes itself with the conditioned and determines itself in each case along with what it determines.”
13 The same events only return by virtue of this internal principle that makes them serve as the condition of the new, and that determines those events as new at the same time that it determines the new itself. The same events are synthesized as different in the determination of a new combination, and this determination is the destiny of those events. In this way, the affirmation and love of fate must discover in what occurs the destiny of the new. “Destiny never consists in step-by-step deterministic relations between presents which succeed one another according to the order of a represented time. Rather, it implies between successive presents non-localisable connections, actions at a distance, systems of replay, resonance and echoes, objective chances, signs, signals and roles which transcend spatial locations and temporal successions.”14

Destiny is affirmed as the destiny of past presents to enter into new combinations, to produce the new that simultaneously determines them anew, giving them a new sense. This plastic, internal principle of difference is thus the ontological principle of the eternal return. Everything returns, but only insofar as it enters into new combinations: “In the eternal return, identities do not return; combinations return, which differ in their atomistic nature. [It] actually unmasks these illusions by making this moment distinct from all others...The present moment assembles a unique combination, distinct from adjacent ones...When we become aware of different combinations, we become aware of novelty, which, rather than emerging from us, erupts from the random play of combinations within time itself.”
15 Everything exists only as a combination, in which the things combined no longer exist except as pure differences, pure elements of an absolutely different combination. They are no longer identical to what they had been, but differ from themselves in being implicated in a novel combination that determines them anew. The affirmation of fate, of destiny, is thus the affirmation of the necessity of chance; what is necessary in things is their ability to enter into a 'random play of combinations', chance encounters that give rise to a new sense in them. Chance, affirmed as necessary, is the internal principle of that which returns in the eternal return, it is will to power. “Chance is the bringing of forces into relation, the will to power is the determining principle of this relation. The will to power is a necessary addition to force but can only be added to forces brought into relation by chance.”16

If everything exists only in combinations of differences, as combinations of differences, then nothing can be identical to itself, there can be no inner essence or model of things. Here we can think of Plato, who distinguished between the ultimate Forms or Ideas which were identical in themselves, and the things we encounter in the world which are only approximations or copies of those models. Yet there is a third category, the simulacrum: that which resembles or appears to be the copy of some model but does not depend on that model, which only imitates that model as a mask or disguise, hiding a different internal principle. In Plato, simulacra do participate in some other model despite imitating another; for example, the sophist resembles the philosopher, whose Idea is truth, but actually participates in the Idea of prestige or wealth. Yet before the simulacrum is determined as the copy of another model, it is known only as possessing an internal principle different than what was thought. The internal principle of the simulacrum qua simulacrum is difference, only difference.

The ontological principle of the eternal return is precisely that there can be no model, no essence, no identity, of that which returns, and that everything exists only in combinations whose internal principle is difference. The 'same' things exist as such only in returning, in being repeated with a different sense, determined anew in a novel combination that arises out of chance. The 'same' things are said to exist only as an affirmation of chance, of the chance that they might take on a different sense, and this affirmation is the internal principle of that which returns. In this way, things only return as simulacra: “[T]aken in its strict sense, eternal return means that each thing exists only in returning, copy of an infinity of copies which allows neither original nor origin to qualifies as simulacrum that which it causes to be (and to return). When eternal return is the power of (formless) Being, the simulacrum is the true character or form – the 'being' – of that which is.”17 It is in this sense that the eternal return is a selective ontology: it selects, in what exists, that which is capable of differing from itself, of entering into new combinations and attaining a new sense. Only that which can affirm the chance of differing, and has this affirmation as an internal principle, will return. Affirming chance as necessary and as the only necessity is Amor fati.

What returns in the eternal return is every thing, but only the extreme form of every thing; every thing returns only insofar as it is capable of being transformed, insofar as it goes to its limits rather than resting within them. Those forms or senses of things in which they have stable identities, immutable essences, natures already determined, are abolished in the instant of chance, of determination as such, in which everything is determined anew. “Only the extreme forms return – those which, large or small, are deployed within the limit and extend to the limit of their power, transforming themselves and changing one into another.”18 The values of all things are not already determined, but in every moment must be determined anew; in this way, eternal return becomes the ethical test of evaluation, in which everything is evaluated in terms of what it can do, what it can become, in the new combination that thereby determines itself by affirming the chance of this becoming-other. This is the point at which the ontological principle becomes an ethical imperative; not simply a hypothetical imperative, a selective thought, but a real and realized imperative, a selective being. “It is no longer a question of the simple thought of the eternal return eliminating from willing everything that falls outside this thought but rather, of the eternal return making something come into being which cannot do so without changing nature. It is no longer a question of selective thought but of selective being; for the eternal return is being and being is selection.”19

Whatever you will, will it such that you also will its eternal return. This means that every act of the will must select in everything that determines it a different sense, a different way of being. The being selected in the eternal return is always a different way of being, a being said of becoming, an identity said of the absolutely different. The value of everything will give way to an evaluation that selects in everything new values, new powers. This is what extreme form means: that which only exists in its capacity to become other than what it is, by entering into a novel combination. The extreme form abolishes everything weak, limiting, stable, already-determined. “Eternal return alone effects the true selection, because it eliminates the average forms and uncovers 'the superior form of everything that is'...the superior form is...the eternal formlessness of the eternal return itself, throughout its metamorphoses and transformations. Eternal return 'makes' the difference because it creates the superior form.”20 Masked by every formed identity is a formlessness, a chance to become different, and this is what is selected and affirmed. The superior form is what must exist, what must be made to exist, and this is where ethics and ontology coincide – thought and being become indistinguishable in the will, the affirmation of the will to power.

The superior form of everything is realized when form itself becomes a mask for an internal principle of formlessness, when identity becomes a mask for difference. The 'same events' return only when they are capable of differing from what they were. This is the ethical imperative: in everything that has value, discover the power of an evaluation that gives sense to values, and that can endow everything with a new sense, a new value. In what do you believe?— In this: that the weights of all things must be determined anew.”21 This revaluation of all values becomes the task of an ontological ethics that would select the superior forms, that would make exist that which must exist of necessity, and affirm this necessity in a love of fate. But necessity is only the necessity of difference, and fate is only that of what is yet-to-come: not a result whose identity is determined beforehand, but the affirmation in everything that occurs of what is only as yet-to-come, and this affirmation is determination as such. “The extreme formality is there only for an excessive formlessness...In this manner, the ground is superseded by a groundlessness, a universal ungrounding which turns upon itself and causes only the yet-to-come to return.”22 The eternal return affirms in what exists that which exists only as yet-to-come: internal difference, the potential to differ, to become.

In the act that affirms the eternal return and selects the superior form that must exist, the actor affirms all of the past as the necessary condition for action. Yet insofar as all of the past is implicated in this new combination arising from the chance of the act, it is implicated only in its capacity to differ from what it was prior, in its capacity as the condition of something new. The past is affirmed, but only that which, in the past, is eternally yet-to-come. Every sense of things past that would demand identity, stability, limitation, fidelity to the essence, all of these are eliminated. In the same way, the actor's own identity, his self, is abolished, he is dissolved in the act as the pure power to differ from what he was, he becomes unrecognizable. All of the weaknesses, limitations, and failings that characterize him are abolished, and he becomes otherwise.

The last man, resigned to die, unable to will his fate as the advent of the new, remains fixated on the necessity imposed upon him by his conditions, and repeats these conditions incessantly out of his inability to affirm and to act out of necessity. He can only repeat and retain his weaknesses, limitations, and failings. Because he cannot become otherwise, cannot make something new from his conditions, he cannot pass the test of the eternal return. The man who wants to die, on the other hand, becomes capable of affirming his fate, he actively abolishes his weaknesses in discovering in his condition something yet-to-come, the Overman. Yet while he may pass the test, he will be annihilated as such in the process. Everything in him that constituted his identity, his self – weaknesses, limitations, failings – is eliminated, and so this identity, this self, falls into the abyss. In the third moment, the eternal return liberates from this man the pure will to affirmation, the affirmation of the yet-to-come, and the Overman is born as a child. “The 'small man' and 'last man' repeat since they lack the ability to take action (the repetition of the before). The great heroic and active man, or the 'one who wants to perish,' repeats in order to become-equal to the action (the repetition of the during). And yet both of these must perish in the third moment. This agrees with Nietzsche's sentiment that man is something to be overcome: 'he is a bridge and not an end.'”

In the eternal return it is not the past that conditions us, nor ourselves as capable of acting and exceeding these conditions, that returns; they are both led to death, swallowed by the abyss, dissolved in the act. Yet man dies, he is overcome, only in liberating, in his conditions and in himself, that which is yet-to-come. It is not the life of man itself that must die, but man as that which limits his life, which cannot affirm all of chance and find a joy and a love in necessity. Man must be overcome, and what overcomes him is the secret and obscure coherence of the act – the coherence or consistency of every possible outcome, everything in the act that is yet-to-come, affirmed as such. Man will only be overcome when all of chance is affirmed in the act, with a love of fate, whatever fate that may be. When ethics and ontology coincide, there is no longer a distinction between man and his condition, as both are dissolved in the act that retains of them only the power to differ, to become, to make the difference. The act must become the pure affirmation of all of chance, of every possible outcome, and must wager everything on that single throw of the dice. When man and his conditions are transformed in the act, overcome by the act, the will realizes the superior form of everything that is, and it is this form that will return eternally in the secret coherence of the yet-to-come, the winged life of the Overman in eternity's sunrise. The abyss of death is swept up in its line of flight, in a new life that escapes the spirit of gravity.


Eternal Return

In the horizon of the infinite.— We have left the land and have embarked! We have burned our bridges behind us—indeed, we have gone further and destroyed the land behind us! Now, little ship, look out! Beside you is the ocean: to be sure, it does not always roar, and at times it lies spread out like silk and gold and reveries of graciousness. But hours will come when you will realize that it is infinite and that there is nothing more awesome than infinity. Oh, the poor bird that felt free and now strikes the walls of this cage! Woe, when you feel homesick for the land as if it had offered more freedom—and there is no longer any 'land'!24


Friedrich Nietzsche. The Gay Science.

Gilles Deleuze:

D&RDifference and Repetition. New York: Continuum, 2004.

LoS – The Logic of Sense. New York: Continuum, 2004.

N&P – Nietzsche and Philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983.

DTST – Keith Faulkner. Deleuze and the Three Syntheses of Time. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2006.


1LoS p 170
2D&R p 67
3The Gay Science §268
The Gay Science §276
5DTST p 123
6The Gay Science §341
7D&R p 8
8N&P p 46
9Ibid. p 47
10Ibid. p 47-9
11Ibid. p 49
12Ibid. p 46
13Ibid. p 50
14D&R p 105
15DTST p 14
16N&P p 53
17D&R p 80
18Ibid. p 51
19N&P p 71
20D&R p 66
21The Gay Science §269
22D&R 114
23DTST p 124
24The Gay Science §124

1 comment:

Joe said...

You've got a great blog going here. This piece in particular is absolutely excellent work. I'll come back and leave more comments when I've had time to read it more fully.