Opinions are mundane thought... And other ideas...

So, I've been reading about Deleuze.

I had decided not to like Deleuze based on what I read in this article. The panel for my colloquium had suggested I read Deleuze and Guattari's theory on 'minor literature' because they felt it was what I was expressing in my chapter. I read an article which stated minor literature had three elements:

1. Language is affected with a high coefficience or deterritorialisation
2. Everything in it is political
3. Everything in it takes on a collective value

From these points I told my exegesis supervisor that I did not think flash fiction was a minor literature. He then explained to me (sort of) what Deleuze actually meant by 'territory' and 'political' - shedding light on my utter ignorance of Deleuze's theories or concepts and suggested I read 'Gilles Deleuze' by Claire Colebrook (published by Routeledge as part of their 'Critical Thinkers' series).

So, I have been reading that book, and much to my chagrin, I've come to realise that many of Deleuze's thoughts are very similar to my own, and therefore when I wrote about flash fiction and identity and the identity of flash fiction and how I wasn't interested in defining what flash fiction is, but rather what it might do, I immediately caused all the better-read-than-I academics at the panel to think of Deleuze (and it didn't help that they were all predisposed to Deleuze's way of thinking themselves).

I kind of love what Deleuze has to say about opinion; that it is lazy thinking. It is deciding something is 'so', because it is 'common sense' or 'true', and therefore not engaging thought on the matter further to create new thinking and to encourage difference. Opinions are mundane thought - I'll be thinking twice before stating that I have an opinion on anything anymore, because I like the concept of creating new thought through questioning.

Of course, this is the challenge of my thesis. I must create new thought. I must rethink what has been thought until now about literature, though my exegesis supervisor was also suggesting that if I was engaged by Deleuze and wanted to use his thinking in my thesis, I also needed to rethink Deleuze - I'm not at all sure I am ready to do that just yet (but time is of the essence, as well).

Clair Colebrook discusses Deleuze's criticism of equivocity, the concept of more than one voice. The commonly argued dualism of mind and body, for example. Deleuze is critical of this because it sets up competing elements and a hierarchy, one must be superior, the other inferior (like the battle of science and spirituality; in this day and age, science - so-called facts - are favoured over spirituality and faith. Or vice versa, by those who exalt faith). Instead, he argues for univocity - that there is only one being, it is everything simultaneously. This really harmonises with the post-dualist in me!

Power is not necessarily oppressive, is another concept I find myself nodding my head to. Power is freedom to create rather than ability to suppress or oppress, and everything has power in its creativity. Yes, yes, yes! In trying to express this thinking, I am constantly offending people. Our world is highly idealistic, and therefore ultimately nihilistic when stripping away the perceptions only seems to lead to more perceptions and never the elusive 'true' nature of things which is believed to ground reality. I often find people cling to the perceptions, even when they claim not to want them or not to be deceived by them because there perceptions give them a sense of fate. It has ever been thus, and will ever be thus unless we are saved by something outside of ourselves which we can never quite lay hands on because it is thus.

I think my main supervisor - who is no fan of Deleuze - is going to be quite disappointed when I tell her I see so much of my own thinking in what has been described of his work.

Anyway, these thoughts are what I have taken from Clair Coleman's book on Deleuze, but that said...


Comments