Fragment on The Logic of Sense

So Deleuze is going to introduce his conception of the event, becoming, good sense/commonsense/nonsense. Sense is a peculiar term – it combines meaning with feeling. The sense of something, the meaning of a state of affairs, the direction of a situation, the shape of a movement, presupposing an idea of where things are going even if it does not specify a location. But at the same time there is the side of sense which is feeling, locating, positioning oneself in relation to the world, not just feeling but feeling out and feeling around – like Beckett’s character, blind old Malone with his stick, poking around the room where he is interned – haptic cartography –  where am I? what is the shape of my body? This side of feeling assumes a subject navigating an environment. Like in Beckett, the environment is not solely conceptual or perceptual.

Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland, with its reverses of cause and effect. What Deleuze calls savoir is maintained by naming, the name guaranteed by savoir. But when Alice goes underground, the grammatical fixtures of identity come unstuck, the order of words and the direction of sense is upset (do cats eat bats? do bats eat cats?): ‘when substantives and adjectives begin to dissolve, when the names of pause and rest are carried away by the verbs of pure becoming and slide into the language of events, all identity disappears from the self, the world and God’ (LoS, 3)… Being takes up a residence, it can only be identified in the present, with where it is now, when it is now. But becoming undoes this assurance of Being:

For personal uncertainty is not a doubt foreign to what is happening, but rather an objective structure of the event itself, insofar as it moves in two directions at once, and insofar as it fragments the subject following this double direction. (3)

Becoming which pulls backwards and forwards at once, like an oscillator, eluding a present where the two could finally be distinguished.

The relation between the material and immaterial… Matter and sense…

The two planes of being in Stoicism. The plane of forces and the plane of facts ‘which frolic on the surface of being’ (quoting Emile Brehier):

What do the Stoics mean when they contrast the thickness of bodies with these incorporeal events which would play only on the surface, like a mist over the prairie (even less than a mist, sing a mist is after all a body)? (Deleuze 5)

Events do not exist but ‘subsist or inhere’. Two readings of time:

First, it [time] must be grasped entirely as the living present in bodies which act and are acted upon. Second it must be grasped entirely as an entity infinitely divisible into past and future, and into the incorporeal effects which result from bodies, their actions and their passions. (5)

This is a radical upheaval on the part of the Stoics, setting them against Aristotle, for whom Being is divided into ‘substance as the primary sense and the other categories which are related to it as accidents’ (like subject and predicates). But for the Stoics, events, qualities and states of affairs are equally beings – equally a part of substance – the Stoics take a more expansive idea of substance, but place Ideas in another realm, outside of being, ‘on the surface of things’. Hence ‘the ideational or the incorporeal can no longer be anything other than an “effect” (7).


I’m going to leave this as a fragment and come back to the Logic of Sense in a little while. I’ve basically got a stack of books I’ve read over the last year which I want to write about in relation to one another. So I’d rather do that first so I can put them away for a bit. Juggling that with raw close reading Deleuze is gonna be too much, especially with Logic of Sense cos I’m not familiar with it.

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