Evil spirit: Deleuze, Klossowski, Derrida

Gough, Tim (2008) Evil spirit: Deleuze, Klossowski, Derrida. In: Cultural Studies Association conference 2008; 22 - 24 May 2008, New York, U.S.. (Unpublished)


Deleuze, in a short essay on Pierre Klossowski�s novel Le Souffleur , speaks of his system of pure breaths� which, mythical, becomes at a certain point �a philosophy�. These breaths of pure intensity have the same character as the Nietzschian �relations of force� playing within and against one another which Deleuze had earlier invoked in Nietzsche and Philosophy and Difference and Repetition ; and it is indeed Klossowski�s interpretation of Nietzsche�s eternal return, from his 1957 lecture through to his book Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle (dedicated in the exergue �to Gilles Deleuze�), which drives the movement within this nexus of texts. These are evil spirits or evil breaths � that is, evil to the prevailing philosophical/political order . These evil breaths have of themselves no being, no existence, but are instead pure intensities defined only in their difference to one another - this not in a privative sense, not in the sense that they somehow lack being; but rather in the sense that they �are� prior to any notion of being, fixity or origin. In the same way, these breaths/spirits have no identity; they have no �self�, and as such, they are � says Deleuze � �of the order of the Antichrist� in that they are the destruction and death of God. Deleuze questions the great historic division of philosophy between on the one hand the pre-enlightenment centring of the infinite divine being and, on the other, the Kantian substitution of it by the finite self. For the self can only exist by virtue of God: As long as we maintain the formal identity of the self, doesn�t the self remain subject to a divine order, and to a unique God who is its foundation? Klossowski insists that God is the sole guarantor of the identity of the self and of its substantive base� One cannot conserve the self without also holding onto God This paper will investigate the nature and implication of these spirits, particularly in relation to concepts and ideas (in the Deleuzian sense) of the self; and compare Deleuze�s thesis with that of Derrida�s ghostly deconstruction and the thought of differance.

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