I have been commenting a passage from Deleuze and Guattari’s WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY? cited by Anthony on his very interesting blog, TIMES FLOW STEMMED. The piece describes a movement typical of philosophy, different from the extensive movement of “travel”. In the ABC PRIMER Deleuze talks about such movements and calls them “immobile voyages” or voyages in intensity:
I feel no need to move. All the intensities that I have are immobile intensities. Intensities distribute themselves in space or in other systems that aren’t necessarily in exterior spaces. I can assure you that when I read a book that I admire, that I find beautiful, or when I hear music that I consider beautiful, I really get the feeling of passing into such states… Never could traveling inspire such emotions. So, why would I go seek emotions that don’t suit me very well, since I have more beautiful ones for myself in immobile systems, like music,
like philosophy? There is a geo-music, a geo- philosophy, I mean, they are profound countries, and these are more my countries, yes?
Parnet: Your foreign lands.
Deleuze: My very own foreign lands that I don’t find by traveling.
I think it may be useful to pay attention to the particular words used. The passage begins:
Thinking provokes general indifference.
This “indifference” is a sort of de-differentiated doxa, that just after the passage cited, in the same paragraph, Deleuze and Guattari call “opinion”. “Difference” is a key word for Deleuze, and we know that each intensity envelops an internal difference. So indifference means also without intensity, without affect, what Badiou calls the a-tonal world of democratic materialism. “Thinking” renders what in the French text is called “penser”, i.e. the infinitive “to think” (Note: I am not criticising the translation, but merely pointing out other conceptual latencies contained in the original French). The infinitive is associated by Deleuze and Guattari with the event. Here they are talking about the event of thinking, as a rupture with the doxa and a departure on an immobile voyage. This is echoed later when they say “We head for the horizon”. In French the text reads “On court à l’horizon”. The subject is not “we” (nous), but “one” (on), what Deleuze and Guattari call the fourth person singular, and which they propose as the impersonal subject of the event. The verb is not “head for”, a fairly neutral moving in a particular direction, but “run”. So the notion of speed, of more than normal intensity of movement, is present in the French