A point of departure

“It was therefore fated that philosophy degenerate as it developed through history, that it turn against itself and be taken in by its own mask.  Instead of linking an active life and affirmative thinking, thought gives itself the task of judging life, opposing to it supposedly higher values, measuring it against these values, restricting and condemning it.

And at the same time that thought thus becomes negative, life depreciates, ceases to be active, is reduced to its weakest forms, to sickly forms that are alone compatible with the so-called higher values.  It is the triumph of “reaction” over active life and of negation over affirmative thought.  The consequences for philosophy are dire, for the virtues of the philosopher as legislator were first the critique of all established values –– that is, of values superior to life and of the principles on which they depend –– and then the creation of new values, of values of life that call for another principle.  Hammer and transmutation. While philosophy thus degenerates, the philosopher as legislator is replaced by the submissive philosopher. Instead of the critic of established values, instead of the creator of new values and new evaluations, there emerges the preserver of accepted values.  The philosopher ceases to be a physiologist or doctor and becomes a metaphysician.  He ceases to be a poet and becomes a “public professor.” He claims to be beholden to the requirements of truth and reason; but beneath these requirements of reason are forces that aren’t so reasonable at all: the state, religion, all the current values.  Philosophy becomes nothing more than taking the census of all the reasons man gives himself to obey.  The philosopher invokes love of the truth, but it is a truth that harms no one (“it appears as a self-contented and happy creature which is continually assuring all the powers that be that no one needs to be the least concerned on its account; for it is, after all, only “pure science”).¡  The philosopher evaluates life in accordance with his ability to uphold weights and cary burdens.  These burdens, these weights, are precisely the higher values.  Such is the spirit of heaviness that brings together, in the same desert, the carrier with the carried, the reactive and depreciated life with negative and depreciated thinking.  All that remains then is an illusion of critique and a phantom of creation, for nothing  is more opposed to the creator than the carrier.  To create is to lighten, to unburden life, to invent new possibilities of life. The creator is legislator –– dancer.”    Pure Immanence,  Gilles Deleuze                                      ¡ Untimely Meditations Friedrich Nietzsche


So much for a three line quote to modestly start things off!  I realize I’m expecting more than a little from those I am fortunate enough to have led here but if you did read through the above I’m hoping you came away with a useful concept. In laying a foundation for my justifications regarding painting (and life) I can’t think of a better starting point than the above perspective. Although Deleuze can be nearly indecipherable in other writings he took care here to ease up on his hieroglyphics to remind us of something important, simple, yet easily forgotten.

Bias is with us everywhere, whether it’s the conclusions we come to in science or art; whatever truth we arrive at is our own creation and has no association with a pure truth untouchable by bias.  When we maintain perspectives that devalue life and when we call them eternal truth we create a burden to be carried. Worst of all, we often times think ourselves virtuous for shouldering such a burden.

If you’re still reading and you’re not my mother I’m honored. (But yes of course I’m grateful my mother is reading). My intent for the future of this blog is to post, at a minimum of twice a month, entries accompanied by images or video, sharing what I’m up to in regards to painting and more or less why I’m up to it (and of course figuring that out all the better during the process of blogging it).  By joining the far from diminishing blogger population I can take advantage of the catalyzing effect following any sort of meaningful public expression of personal belief, an effect that will help (i.e. oblige) me to internalize any philosophies or perspectives I write about and quote.  Making this commitment to combine philosophy, painting, and technique, or at the very least come up with something worth posting, ensures I’ll have one more tool on hand to better cultivate lucidity and enthusiasm for my craft.

6 thoughts on “A point of departure

  1. I ‘m not sure I really want to jump into this, but this is heavy reading; I am curious about the line “nothing is more opposed to the creator than the carrier”. Can you shed some light here on the meaning? Sometimes similar things are said by many different authors, in different ways; appealing to various minds. I am reminded, when I read this, of a man called Sadhguru who maintains that our minds are nothing more than a garbage deposit of the culture we live in. In other words rarely do you find anyone who has ventured onto the journey of finding out ‘truth’ for themselves, but merely parrot the messages of a lifetime from education, family, religion, etc. These are the shackles that thinking humans have sought to shed for eons- I think the artists particularly have led the way for us, not to a path, but encouragement to take the road ‘never’ traveled!!

    • Lynda!
      You are the first person to comment on my b!#g. Thank you! I would say that you understand the comment in the way it’s intended to be understood (or at least the way I understand it). The “carrier” as someone who maintains the values handed to them without question is one example. Often times something just as repulsive emerges from a partial emancipation, when values we are born into are understood as having no eternal substance yet are carried nonetheless. Or the renunciation of a pleasure (ie the expression of a drive inside us) without the necessary rechanneling of that drive. The creator Deleuze refers to doesn’t walk a path marked by cairns of refrain, but goes beyond just restricting barbarism and replaces it with a new affirmation.

      As a disclaimer I don’t propose to have somehow overcome reactive behavior but I definitely work towards replacing rejection with an entirely new affirmation. For me my painting is just this, rechanneling a drive in me instead of just renouncing it.

  2. I know I’m a close second to your mother but I’m still pumped to see what you’re up to. Very cool video and intro to the blog. I’m not sure how many flies you will catch with that Niche intro, but you might get some good ones. Good luck brother!

  3. Thanks man! No doubt about the niche thing, but I’m hoping the time lapse videos make for some tasty bait.

    • Thanks Camille! I tried to find the original french text for you but had no luck. I believe the pages I cited in the above text spanned from 68 to 69 in the english translation. The french title would be “L’Immanence: Une Vie”

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