13 Nov 2008

Difference & Repetition Introduction §§1-2

Corry Shores
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§1: "Repetition and Generality: first distinction from the point of view of conduct"

We normally associate repetition with generality, because we think that a repetition is a recurrence of something in the same genus. Generality allows the substitution of one particular for another, so long as they resemble or equal one another. We firstly distinguish two types of generality according to how we perform this exchange, hence our conduct is the criteria. (7b/1b) [Citations give French version first, followed by English.]

§2: "Two orders of generality: resemblance and equality"

Generality has two orders:
1) the qualitative order of resemblances (symbolized by cycles)

2) the quantitative order of equivalences (symbolized by equalities)

Unlike generalities, repetitions cannot be exchanged, because they are repeating instances of singularities which cannot substitute for each other. We cannot exchange one person's soul for another's; they are too unique. Hence "reflections, echoes, doubles and souls do not belong to the domain of resemblance or equivalence" (7c/1c).

Each time we celebrate a recurring festival, we are not adding one more of the same holiday to the previous ones. Each festival is a new singularity, not added to the first, but each time taking it to a new and higher level, that is, carrying the first time to the "nth" power. Thus repetition interiorizes: within the first event are envelopments of envelopments of envelopments of infinitely more singularities expressing themselves in each repetition.

As Péguy says, it is not Federation Day which commemorates or represents the fall of the Bastille, but the fall of the Bastille which celebrates and repeats in advance all the Federation Days; or Monet's first water lily which repeats all the others.

comme dit Péguy, ce n'est pas la fête de la Fédération qui commémore ou représente a prise de la Bastille, c'est la prise de la Bastille qui fête et qui répète à l'avance toutes le Fédérations ; ou c'est le premier nymphéa de Monet qui répète tous les autres.

There is no generality to a singularity, hence "a work of art is like a singularity without a concept" (8b/1d). Poems must be learned by heart, because they cannot be summarized, that is, generalized. There is no category for each poem; each one is in a category of its own.

Pius Servien distinguishes languages according to this difference between economies of replaceable exchange and those of inexchangeability: the first is the "language of science, dominated by the symbol of equality, in which each term may be replaced by others," the second kind is "lyrical language, in which every term is irreplaceable and can only be repeated." (8bc/2a)

Deleuze, Gilles. Différence et répétition. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1968.

Deleuze, Gilles. Difference & Repetition. Transl. Paul Patton. New York:Columbia University Press, 1994.

1 comment:

  1. belle parole!

    about how Generality has two orders.
    what does symbolized by cycles and symbolized by equalities mean? this seems to maybe be a comparisons of the two orders. I think i understand the latter, but the former? (i would think a cycle = 1)