JUNG/DELEUZE (3): re-naming, purging, and imaging

My hypothesis is that just as James Hillman tried to resolve Jung’s conceptual/theoretical insufficiencies (scientism, biologism, abstract universalism, dualist metaphysics, binary oppositions) by means of his « archetypal » turn Deleuze responded to those same inadequacies by a « structuralist » turn.

Deleuze’s « Lacanism » in DIFFERENCE AND REPETITION and LOGIC OF SENSE was an experiment in trying to preserve Jung’s insights by shedding their dogmatic shell. This solution proved unsatisfactory, and Deleuze quickly abandoned it.

Deleuze’s turn to Guattari was in essence a return to himself. Unfortunately, Guattari had been more Lacanised than Deleuze before rejecting Lacan’s theoretical apparatus. Hence the ambivalent pronouncement’s about Jung ( favourable and unfavourable) in the D&G collaborations.

Despite the ambivalence of their pronouncements about Jung, the use of the Jungian conceptual apparatus continues through the D&G collaborations, except that it has been renamed, purged of biologistic and metaphysical elements. Notably, « Anima » is called « becoming-woman », the Self is called « body without organs », and the Shadow is often referenced as such.

Beneath the level of explicit pronouncements (D&G’s ambivalence about Jung) and the conceptual apparatus (Jungian concepts re-named and purged), there is the imagistic level, which is pure Jungian-Hillmanian imaginative theorising.

This imaginal level becomes even more explicit and emancipated, to be explored for itself, in Deleuze’s cinema books, CINEMA I & II, where an image-ontology is proposed and implemented, with no relation to Freudian or Lacanian concepts and symbols.

The Lacanian « codes » of the imaginary and the symbolic are avoided as overly reductive « slowing down » of Jungian concepts. The plane of immanence of the image (the imaginal plane) is far vaster than a supposedly inherently binary « imaginary ». Jung’s « symbolic » life pluralises Lacan’s notion of the symbolic. These deconstructions are already implicit in the concepts of becoming-animal, becoming-woman, becoming-molecule (Alchemy!) in A THOUSAND PLATEAUS.

Translations that are not sensitive to this Jungian resonance misrepresent the text, e.g. in English we have:

« This is the central chamber, which one need no longer fear is empty since one fills it with oneself » (Deleuze, FOUCAULT, page 123).

In French the last part reads: « puisqu’on y met le· soi »: « since one fills it with the self ». In the translation the concept of « le soi » « the self » has been omitted in favour of the less Jungianly connoted « oneself ».

In the FOUCAULT book the re-naming continues, e.g. Jung’s « process of individuation » (realisation of the Self) becomes the process of subjectivation. The link between the two concepts (individuation/subjectivation) can be seen in a note:

« The question would be: is there a Self or a process of subjectivation in Oriental techniques » (FOUCAULT, 148).

Deleuze’s FOUCAULT is the great book on the Self, there are multiple references to it on almost every page in the second half of the book (the self, techniques of the self, relation to self.

This omnipresence of the concept of « self » is a little obscured in the English translation, which translates « rapport à soi » (literally: relation to self) as « relation to oneself ». This rendition is linguistically correct, but conceptually unfortunate. A whole continent of Deleuze/Jung convergences is partially submerged and needs to raised again.

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4 commentaires pour JUNG/DELEUZE (3): re-naming, purging, and imaging

  1. dmf dit :

    see what you make of Swiatkowski casting Ahab as being possesed/driven « by the phantasm of a white whale » on page 7


  2. dmf dit :

    « Replacing metaphysics with (genealogical) history, Nietzsche finds not timeless and eternal secrets behind things, but the secret that they have no essence or that if such an essence exists it was fabricated in a piecemeal manner from alien forms. »
    and Rorty along these lines:
    “In the Davidsonian account of metaphor, which I summarized in Chapter I, when a metaphor is created it does not express something which previously existed, although, of course, it is caused by something that previously existed. For Freud, this cause is not the recollection of another world but rather some particular obsession-generating cathexis of some particular person or object or word early in life. By seeing every human being as consciously or unconsciously acting out an idiosyncratic fantasy, we can see the distinctively human, as opposed to animal, portion of each human life as the use for symbolic purposes of every particular person, object, situation, event, and word encountered in later life. This process amounts to redescribing them, thereby saying of them all, “Thus I willed it.” Seen from this angle, the intellectual (the person who uses words or visual or musical forms for this purpose) is just a special case – just somebody who does with marks and noises what other people do with their spouses and children, their fellow workers, the tools of their trade, the cash accounts of their businesses, the possessions they accumulate in their homes, the music they listen to, the sports they play or watch, or the trees they pass on their way to work. Anything from the sound of a word through the color of a leaf to the feel of a piece of skin can, as Freud showed us, serve to dramatize and crystallize a human being’s sense of self-identity. For any such thing can play the role in an individual life which philosophers have thought could, or at least should, be played only by things which were universal, common to us all. It can symbolize the blind impress all our behavings bear. Any seemingly random constellation of such things can set the tone of a life. Any such constellation can set up an unconditional commandment to whose service a life may be devoted – a commandment no less unconditional because it may be intelligible to, at most, only one person. Another way of making this point is to say that the social process of literalizing a metaphor is duplicated in the fantasy life of an individual. We call something “fantasy” rather than “poetry” or “philosophy” when it revolves around metaphors which do not catch on with other people – that is, around ways of speaking or acting which the rest of us cannot find a use for. But Freud shows us how something which seems pointless or ridiculous or vile to society can become the crucial element in the individual’s sense of who she is, her own way of tracing home the blind impress all her behavings bear. “


  3. Ping : BIBLIOGRAPHY OF MY WRITINGS (10): Deleuze and Jung (and Hillman) | AGENT SWARM


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