BLOODSHOT EYES AND VISION CONCEPTS: from indifference to disapproval of thinking

Updated: continuing my exegesis of the passage by Deleuze and Guattari cited by Anthony:

I have commented this text in a way that is perhaps too rational and too reasonable, by focusing on the explicit conceptual content; Yet the text also performs that content: it does not only speak of dreams and philosophy, but also seems to be a dream and its interpretation (and one must recall Jung’s dictum “the dream is its own interpretation”). There is a pulsation between image and concept here, that needs to be brought out.

The thinkers are unreasonable and head for the horizon. We know that in science the horizon is only relative: “What is primary in science is relative light or the relative horizon” (WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY?, 42, translation modified by me to bring out the idea that the light of science is relative too, and not just the horizon). The philosopher “heads for the horizon”, that is to say “plunges into the infinite”., his or her horizon is absolute, as is the light. This movement is both physical and mental (“in this respect chaos has as much a mental as a physical existence”, 42). If we “return with bloodshot eyes” it is not only because of an excess of alcohol or of light (this is the physical side of the “unreasonable”, pathological or esoteric measures) but also because of our vision of a power that is almost too strong for us. I say “almost too strong”, because in this text the thinker comes back, only changed, with “bloodshot eyes” and with new vision and new concepts. The eyes of the mind have been opened and strained to their limits.

Both these movements (heading out to, and coming back from ,the infinite) are necessary to thinking. Heading out unreasonably, dangerously and coming back bearing the mark (bloodshot eyes, or in some cases worse) of the voyage towards (which is “inner” only in the sense of being noetic or intensive), or of the encounter with, the horizon, but bearing also the vision, the percepts and the concepts. This double movement is what gives consistency to our philosophical territory: a territory is constituted by the movement of leaving it, which also means exposing oneself to risk, and also by the movement of returning back with a new song or a new colour, a new posture, or a new scent.

Already by heading off outside we risk indifference turning into “disapproval” (42), because the danger becomes obvious. Academic philosophy is not usually very perilous , but there is the danger to one’s career and to that of one’s friends or allies. This is what Deleuze and Guattari call “obvious” danger, easily recognizable. The disapproval is redoubled when one brings back “outlandish” concepts (according to Deleuze in the ABC PRIMER “outlandish” is a good synonym for deterritorialised).

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