I just started reading History of Sexuality: Volume One by Michel Foucault. I’m very excited about it; he talks about very different subjects from a lot of the philosophers I read, i.e. it’s much more focused on small scale things like people and institutions than cosmological ones, but I think there’s a thread running through it that connects it very well with Deleuze and the like. The pattern seems to be very Nietzschean, a pattern of ressentiment, where nothing can simply be gotten rid of or transcended, and efforts to do so will only make one increasingly frustrated because it doesn’t go away, it just takes new forms (i.e. sexuality takes the form of prohibitive discourse, but doesn’t “disappear.”)
It seems to me like this is a very immament pattern in line with the ones Deleuze talks about. I was reading Deleuze last night in between spurts of Foucault so I’m sure that biased my reading of Foucault somewhat, but at the same time I think Deleuze acts as a good complement to Foucault.
I read two essays by Deleuze about Henri Bergson. In them he emphasizes how in Bergson all dualities, however paradoxical it might seem, end up folding in on each other and finally on themselves. They are never absolutely dual. He gives the example of matter and duration. Duration creates difference, and acts on matter to make it different. But matter, at its core, is duration, because without duration there could be no matter, and furthermore, duration differs in itself in degrees; it is differentiation differentiating.
That’s a little confusing. I don’t know if I got it all right. But I think I’m on the right track. This seems totally applicable to Foucault’s ideas about sexuality though. We create false dualities regarding sexuality that eventually all just morph back into the same thing if you follow them back far enough, they never escape from anything.
And that seems to be the major pattern in Deleuze and Foucault. I feel like I have a very good understanding of it with Deleuze, because he addresses it cosmologically, and I’ve read a lot about that in Eastern philosophy, and more recently in DeLanda’s A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History. But I am less familiar with how these things work on smaller scales, on individual scales. I think it’s important to explore that more though, because if I want to use these immanent patterns in my fiction, I’ll have to understand them top to bottom. And Foucault seems to be laying out a very good framework for creating a more detailed fictional world that is driven by these immanent, Nietzschean patterns.