On Completing Gilles Deleuze’s Logic of Sense

– Ari Berenbaum
Practicing modern social theory is a faddish game, but generally players acknowledge two existing camps: Deleuzians and Lacanian-Hegelians.  Most theoreticians will tell you that they belong to neither camp, but only because it is important to academics to maintain the appearance of intellectual neutrality.

Deleuze’s Logic of Sense (LOS) is intensely difficult, and difficult in a way that is different from his later writings that earned him more acclaim (Anti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1977)).  Those works, paragraph to paragraph, are simply difficult to read.  LOS, by contrast, is difficult to understand because of the complexity of the structures it describes.  Everything that is in Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus is also in LOS (albeit in different clothing): Machines, Bodies without Organs, Immanence, Difference, Becoming, Oedipus/Psychoanalysis, Lines of FlightStrata.  Moreover, many topics that arose earlier in his career (primarily from Difference and Repetition and Nietzsche and Philosophy) also are featured in LOS.  LOS to me is a skeleton key for all the rest of his work.  The only problem is that it is brutally difficult.  There were days that I worked on it, and if I completed a page, I was happy.  I read the entire work, taking notes, and then I re-read it, blogging what I felt was worthwhile, often in note form.  It took me nine months.

Originally, I began the study with a friend who pooped out after Chapter Four.  After Chapter Four, things get more “insider-y” on the blog and assume that you’ve either read the book or have read the blog from the beginning, both of which are sort of presumptuous (I know) but it was the best I could do.

The reason for our planned study of the book was to discover how LOS related to New Pioneerism (which is the mission of this online rag).  And what did we/I learn?  Could I re-explain it if I tried?

No, I guess not.  But I would start here and here and here for a taste of where an application of LOS to New Pioneerism could lead.  New Pioneerism, to me, is viewing the world inside out, seeing the commonplace as analogy, metaphor, structure.  NewPioneerism is a rediscovery of a socio-cultural milieu, with an emphasis on treating ordinary, banal objects as found objects as if we had happened upon them in the process of an archaeological dig.  Under the banner of New Pioneerism, readings in literature and the arts trend towards an emphasis on semiotics, structure, mythology, and complexity.  Perhaps rather than leave you with any answers, I will close with study questions for the book should you decide to pick it up:

1. Can we understanding the moral and ethical worlds neutrally?
2. What is the longest anyone has ever surfed a wave?
3. If you cut open a Mobius strip and contemplate its two sides, is it preferred to re-stitch it as a closed loop or as a Mobius strip?
4. In what way is the Fifteen Puzzle a metaphor for life?
5. Please work on a genealogical expedition to discover the origins of all the words of theJabberwocky.
6. Why did Werner Herzog love Klaus Kinski?
7. Perform a harmonic variation (on a melodic instrument) of a turntablist scratch routine (example).

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