24 Dec 2019

Deleuze (1) “To Have Done with Judgment” / “Pour en finir avec le jugement,” Paragraph 1, “[Introduction to the Doctrine of Judgment, Its General History, and Its Main Opponents (Spinoza, Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud)],” summary and explication

 

by Corry Shores

 

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[The following is a sentence-by-sentence explication and summary of Deleuze’s text. Proofreading is incomplete, so please forgive my typos and other mistakes. Boldface and underlining are my own, unless otherwise noted.]

 

 

 

 

Summary and Explication of

 

“Pour en finir avec le jugement”

“To Have Done with Judgment”

 

 

Paragraph 1

[Introduction to the Doctrine of Judgment, Its General History, and Its Main Opponents (Spinoza, Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud)]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brief summary:

The doctrine of judgment has been under development since its inception in Ancient Greek tragedy. It was originally instituted through the tribunals set up in these plays, with the judgments they pronounced being the real tragic elements of the stories. The first to critique the doctrine of judgment was not Kant (in his Critique of Judgment, which only grounds a subjective, aesthetic sort of judgment), but rather it comes from Spinoza’s ethics of practical physics (here, good and bad are determined not by judgment in accordance with law but rather by what increases or decreases compositional integrity and power). Following Spinoza are Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud, who each suffered but evaded judgment.

 

 

Explicatory summary:

(1.1) From Ancient Greek tragedy to Modern Philosophy, there developed a trend in the conception and implementation of justice that favors judgment, which Deleuze calls the doctrine of judgment. (1.2) The tragic element of Greek tragedy are not the “tragic” actions that characters take but rather the judgments that are made in the stories. And Greek tragedy instituted tribunals for such judgments. (1.3) Although the title of Kant’s Critique of Judgment suggests it might be a critique of the doctrine of judgment, it rather further grounds a subjective, aesthetic sort of judgment. (1.4) Spinoza’s ethics of practical physics (that is to say: doing things that increase the powers of our internal and external compositions) was the first case of a critique of the doctrine of judgment. In it, something is bad not because there is a rule handed out without practical considerations, like God giving commandments, with us being said to have done wrong simply because that authority judges us to have broken the arbitrary or unexplained rule. Rather, something is bad if it does us harm, in terms of the integrity of our internal composition and external social relations. Following Spinoza in the critique of the doctrine of judgment are: Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud. (1.5)  Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud all suffered from judgment in their own lives. (1.6) But although Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud all suffered judgment, they devised tactics for infinitely postponing that judgment, thereby having done with it, in a sense. (1.7) Nietzsche suffered judgment like a defiant condemned person; D.H. Lawrence was accused of immoralism and pornography even in his watercolor paintings; and, Kafka presented himself as innocent, but diabolically so, when a “tribunal” judged him unfit for marriage to Felice (for, he did not actually want the marriage, and in fact he fell in love with one of Felice’s friends, Grete Bloch, who was part of that tribunal.) (1.8) Artaud’s artistic genius was judged by psychiatrists as madness, and they subjected him to cruel treatments like heavy drugs and electroshock therapy. His situation was not unlike Van Gogh’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

 

1.1

[The Historical Trend of the Doctrine of Judgment]

 

1.2

[The Greek Tragedy of Judgment and its Tribunals of Judgment]

 

1.3

[Kant’s Critique of Judgment as No Critique of Judgment]

 

1.4

[Spinoza as the Father of the Critique of the Doctrine of Judgment. Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud as his Disciples.]

 

1.5

[The Personal Suffering of Judgment of Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud]

 

1.6

[The Infinite Point of Convergence of Accusation, Deliberation, and Verdict]

 

1.7

[Nietzsche's, Lawrence’s, and Kafka’s particular judgments and escapes.]

 

1.8

[Artaud’s (and Van Gogh’s) Judgments by Psychiatrists]

 

Bibliography

 

 

 

 

Summary and Explication

 

 

1.1

[The Historical Trend of the Doctrine of Judgment]

 

[From Ancient Greek tragedy to Modern Philosophy, there developed a trend in the conception and implementation of justice that favors judgment, which Deleuze calls the doctrine of judgment.]

 

[Deleuze will discuss justice in the context of judgment, law, and related concepts. He will draw a distinction between two trends. The first one, which he does not favor, is a “doctrine” of judgment. His terming it such suggests already to us that in the first place it is something artificially fabricated and maintained by instituted systems of belief and cultural practice. He also here traces it historically from ancient Greek tragedy to modern philosophy (with the counter trend, as we will see in section 1.4 below, beginning with Spinoza).]

 

De la tragédie grecque à la philosophie moderne, c’est toute une doctrine du jugement qui s’élabore et se développe.

(158)

 

From Greek tragedy to modern philosophy, an entire doctrine of judgment has been elaborated and developed.

(126)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.2

[The Greek Tragedy of Judgment and its Tribunals of Judgment]

 

[The tragic element of Greek tragedy are not the “tragic” actions that characters take but rather the judgments that are made in the stories. And Greek tragedy instituted tribunals for such judgments.]

 

[Deleuze next writes, “What is tragic is less the action than the judgment.” It is not entirely clear what he means here by “the action.” What action? For instance, is there a distinction between the action of judging and the pronounced judgment itself? My guess is that this is not the idea here. He is talking about Greek tragedy. The question we might have in this context is: what is it in a Greek tragedy that we consider to be tragic? Is it the tragic action, perhaps for instance, Oedipus gouging out his own eyes? Deleuze’s answer seems to be that instead what is tragic is not such actions as these but the judgment that is made in the Greek tragedy. He continues to say that the Greek tragedy instituted the tribunal (we return to this later).]

 

Ce qui est tragique est moins l’action que le jugement, et la tragédie grecque instaure d’abord un tribunal.

(158)

 

What is tragic is less the action than the judgment, and what Greek tragedy instituted at the outset was a tribunal.

(126)

 

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.3

[Kant’s Critique of Judgment as No Critique of Judgment]

 

[Although the title of Kant’s Critique of Judgment suggests it might be a critique of the doctrine of judgment, it rather further grounds a subjective, aesthetic sort of judgment.]

 

[Deleuze said above in section 1.1 that the doctrine of judgment historically developed from ancient Greek times to modern philosophy (with the counter trend beginning primarily with Spinoza, as we will see in section 1.4 below.) But someone might here object. Kant famously performed a “critique of judgment” in his book by that name. Does that not count as explicitly going against the doctrine of judgment? we might wonder. Deleuze says that rather than inventing a true critique of judgment here, Kant instead established a “fantastic subjective tribunal.” Let us substantiate this briefly with some ideas from Kant’s book along with ones from Deleuze’s Kant’s Critical Philosophy. We begin the third critique with an analysis of the beautiful. Let us all agree that we have experienced beautiful things. What is it that makes us experience them as being beautiful? Kant first says that we “decide” that the thing is beautiful, and this involves a judgment of taste. It is “not a cognitive judgment, hence not a logical one, but is rather aesthetic, by which is understood one whose determining ground cannot be other than subjective” (Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgment p.89). And as Deleuze comments, “It could be said that a higher pleasure is the sensible expression of a pure judgement, of a pure operation of judging (CJ para. 9). The first aspect of this operation appears in aesthetic judgements of the type ‘this is beautiful’” (Deleuze, Kant’s Critical Philosophy, pp.46-47). It would seem, then, that Deleuze and Kant are thinking of “critique” in different ways. For Kant, the critique might be more like a critical analysis that seeks the conditions of possibility or the like. But what Deleuze has in mind for a critique of judgment involves a critical valuation of it, showing its shortcomings and problematic aspects and giving reason to do away with it altogether for the sake of promoting what he thinks is a better sort of justice.]

 

Kant n’invente pas une véritable critique du jugement, puisque ce livre au contraire érige un fantastique tribunal subjectif.

(158)

 

Kant did not invent a true critique of judgment; on the contrary, what the book of this title established was a fantastic subjective tribunal.

(126)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.4

[Spinoza as the Father of the Critique of the Doctrine of Judgment. Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud as his Disciples.]

 

[Spinoza’s ethics of practical physics (that is to say: doing things that increase the powers of our internal and external compositions) was the first case of a critique of the doctrine of judgment. In it, something is bad not because there is a rule handed out without practical considerations, like God giving commandments, with us being said to have done wrong simply because that authority judges us to have broken the arbitrary or unexplained rule. Rather, something is bad if it does us harm, in terms of the integrity of our internal composition and external social relations. Following Spinoza in the critique of the doctrine of judgment are: Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud.]

 

[Deleuze’s next claim is that the critique of the doctrine of judgment (at least insofar as it is developed in the Judea-Christian tradition) was first carried out by Spinoza. Deleuze elaborates on this idea more in his Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, ch.2, section II. In this chapter, Deleuze is discussing three major resemblances between Nietzsche’s and Spinoza’s philosophies. The second one is “A devaluation of all values, and of good and evil in particular (in favor of ‘good’ and ‘bad’): Spinoza the immoralist” (Deleuze, Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, p.22). He begins by noting that for Spinoza, certain actions will concurrently either increase the powers resulting from improvements in our body’s internal and external relations, or they may decrease the body’s power by degrading those relations. This is more a matter of good and bad rather than Good and Evil, because the distinction here has less of a moral value and more of a pragmatic one, so to speak. What makes something good or bad is not the judgment of some being that transcends the given material situation, like God, but rather it is simply the effects of the immediate combinations of bodies. So we do have certain laws or rules that we live by. Suppose we consider the prohibition against adultery. The Spinozistic view would say that we should not commit adultery, because it will degrade our relations with our spouse (and also, we internally may suffer turmoil, especially as a by-product of the breakdown in our union.) (See Deleuze’s discussion of adultery and Spinoza in Course 1981.01.20). However, if we do not fully conceive the immanent context of this rule and its value in that context, then we might not see any immanent ground for it. We might then think of it as an inexplicable command from a transcendent God that we must follow simply because God orders us to. In the first place, we have an ethics. In the second, we have Morality. But note that in the second case, of a transcendent source of moral law, there is an element of judgment that will determine the moral value of our actions. Suppose we commit adultery. What makes it wrong? God gave us a rule, and now judges us guilty of breaking it. The wrongful action otherwise has no other basis for its immorality. But in the first case, of an immanent source of ethical guidelines, there is no judgment that we did something wrong: there is simply the adverse effects of the breakdown of our union and of our inner bodily integrity (as seen in the inner turmoil we might face). In other words, Spinoza has done with judgment by making ethics a matter of immanent physical consequences. Furthermore, if we can see the practical value of a rule, then we understand it properly. But if we do not, for instance, if we do not realize the physical consequences of committing adultery, then we misunderstand the rule and attribute its rightness to the judgment of the God who ordained it. Deleuze writes: “In this way, Ethics, which is to say, a typology of immanent modes of existence, replaces Morality, which always refers existence to transcendent values. Morality is the judgment of God, the system of Judgment. But Ethics overthrows the system of judgment. The opposition of values (Good-Evil) is supplanted by the qualitative difference of modes of existence (good-bad). [...] It is clear that we have only to misunderstand a law for it to appear to us in the form of a moral ‘You must.’ [...] Adam does not understand the rule of the relation of his body with the fruit, so he interprets God’s word as a prohibition” (Deleuze, Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, p.23). Next, Deleuze says that Spinoza had three disciples in this project of critiquing the doctrine of judgment, namely, Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud.]

 

En rupture avec la tradition judéo-chrétienne, c’est Spinoza qui mène la critique ; et il eut quatre grands disciples pour la reprendre et relancer, Nietzsche, Lawrence, Kafka, Artaud.

(158)

 

Breaking with the Judeo-Christian tradition, it was Spinoza who carried out the critique, and he had four great disciples to take it up again and push it further: Nietzsche, D. H. Lawrence, Kafka, Artaud.

(126)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.5

[The Personal Suffering of Judgment of Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud]

 

[Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud all suffered from judgment in their own lives.]

 

[Deleuze next makes a biographical observation: Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud, the four critics of the doctrine of judgment, who descend from Spinoza, had in their own lives suffered from judgments placed upon them.]

 

Les quatre eurent personnellement, singulièrement, à souffrir du jugement.

(158)

 

These four had personally, singularly suffered from judgment.

(126)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.6

[The Infinite Point of Convergence of Accusation, Deliberation, and Verdict]

 

[But although Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud all suffered judgment, they devised tactics for infinitely postponing that judgment, thereby having done with it, in a sense.]

 

[Deleuze’s next point is not so obvious, so let us quote it first: Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud “experienced that infinite point at which accusation, deliberation, and verdict converge.” I am afraid I cannot tell you exactly what this means. But I will give you my interpretation, and you can suggest your alternative. I am going to guess that Deleuze is working with a geometrical intuition, one that he discusses in other places. The idea is that in projective geometry, all parallel lines converge at a point at infinity. (See for instance Wildberger’s explanation: 31.3 and 32.4. Or this video lecture.) So, an intuition here is that parallel lines – in any given finite vicinity – seem to be positioned in relation to one another such that they would never intersect; nevertheless, they are in fact convergent at infinity, regardless of the appearances to the contrary. Deleuze also mentions a similar idea in the context of Leibniz and Michel Serres’ studies. Think of a cone. On its sides are lines going from the circular base to the point at the apex. Now move that apex point away from the circular base. What happens to those convergent lines? They stay convergent, but they move outward, toward a state of being parallel with each other. Now take the point out to infinity. We still have a point of their convergence, but we also have parallel lines, which seem non-convergeable. So they are parallel but convergent at an infinitely distant place. Such a cone where the apex is out at infinity is a cylinder with the parallel lines of the sides still converging far off. (See Deleuze’s course of  1983.05.03: “si le cône est le point de vue fini, il y a aussi un point de vue infini. Leibniz le dira dans les textes sublimes ; qu’est-ce que c’est que le point de vue infini ? Et finalement les deux, d’une certaine manière, sont isomorphes, et en tout cas parfaitement communicant, le point de vue infini c’est le cylindre. Dieu c’est un cylindre”; and Michel Serres’ Le système de Leibniz, pp. 152-154.) Let us work with that image. We have three things which are not immediately convergent, namely, accusation, deliberation, and verdict. It is not clear in what sense they are separate. The most obvious interpretation is that they are temporally separated. First you are accused of something, next you are tried, during which there is deliberation (of a judge or jury) about your culpability under the law, and finally the verdict is passed upon you. If we take the temporal explanation, their convergence at infinity (whatever that may be) generally speaking would be their simultaneity. Even in that case, it is not obvious what their simultaneity would be. Perhaps it is like Judgment Day, and God conducts all three acts simultaneously. Or maybe the idea is simply that Judgment day is infinitely far off, and that is the moment when all three actions will happen (regardless of simultaneity). Another possibility with regard to temporality is that we are dealing with an eternal sort of temporality, where all three are so but not at some determinate temporal location, and in that sense they are “contemporaneous” in eternity. None of these temporal interpretations is especially compelling. The next interpretation I would offer is vague, and it is working with intuitions of the mysterious. Consider certain operations of judgment in Kafka, for instance, the indefinite postponement that we discuss later. (In the before the law parable (door of the law), there is always another door beyond any given one. The destination (judgment, consisting of accusation, deliberation, and verdict) cannot be attained, but the series of doors is only enterable by that one man standing before them. In other words, the path indeed does lead to the judgment, but the destination is unattainable. As Deleuze will note, in Kafka’s The Trial for instance, there are both the operations of judgment and K’s keeping those operations in motion in such a way that judgment is not finalized. It is a sort of evasive engagement somehow. It is an engagement, because the character is engaging with the mechanisms and figures of the judicial system. But it is evasive, because his manner of engagement (and the system’s manner of engagement) prevents the judgment from becoming determinate (of course at the end of The Trial the man is killed. The unfinished Castle might be more useful to illustrate this somehow). In other words, the process of accusation, deliberation, and verdict are placed into a process with an indefinite end, but the operations are in fact working toward that end as their destination. So it is again like the parallel lines of the cone converging at infinity. K, so to speak, “bends” or “twists” the mechanisms of adjudication such that they never complete but still cooperate together under the common aim of being realized. But if the destination is off at infinity, then how is it that Kafka can immediately experience that convergence? Perhaps it is the ongoing, present action of deferring in such a way that it is an ultimate deferral by means of which we experience both the immediate divergence of the processes, while also experiencing their coming cooperation toward an end that is what currently organizes their relations. Derrida has this notion of the “mystical foundation of the authority of laws” (Derrida, “Force of Law,” p.239). Deleuze here seems to be suggesting something like a mystical end of law. Normally the end of law is something temporally attainable. But this sort of operation of the mechanisms of the legal system removes those ends from finite temporality, even while keeping the present, ongoing operations in place and aimed toward that end. At any rate, the overall general thought here seems to be that these four figures all suffered judgment but devised tactics for infinitely postponing that judgment, thereby having done with it in a way.]

 

Ils ont connu ce point où l’accusation, la délibération, le verdict se confondent à l’infini.

(158)

 

They experienced that infinite point at which accusation, deliberation, and verdict converge.

(126)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.7

[Nietzsche's, Lawrence’s, and Kafka’s particular judgments and escapes.]

 

[Nietzsche suffered judgment like a defiant condemned person; D.H. Lawrence was accused of immoralism and pornography even in his watercolor paintings; and, Kafka presented himself as innocent, but diabolically so, when a “tribunal” judged him unfit for marriage to Felice (for, he did not actually want the marriage, and in fact he fell in love with one of Felice’s friends, Grete Bloch, who was part of that tribunal.)]

 

[Deleuze next seems to elaborate on his prior point that Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud all suffered judgment but also “experienced that infinite point at which accusation, deliberation, and verdict converge” (see 1.6 above for our proposed interpretation of that.) In this sentence, he addresses the first three figures. What he says about Nietzsche I cannot explain or substantiate, “Nietzsche moved like a condemned man from room to room, against which he set a grandiose defiance.” As a first possible direction of investigation, I would turn to Ecce Homo. Here we might find indications of him feeling condemned and defying accusation. In the preface, for instance, he writes: “Hear me! For I am such and such a person. Above all, do not mistake me for someone else” (Nietzsche, Ecce 673); “I am, for example, by no means a bogey, or a moralistic monster—I am actually the very opposite of the type of man who so far has been revered as virtuous. Between ourselves, it seems to me that precisely this is part of my pride. I am a disciple of the philosopher Dionysus; I should prefer to be even a satyr to being a saint” (ibid., 673); “Philosophy, as I have so far understood and lived it, means living voluntarily among ice and high mountains—seeking out everything strange and questionable in existence, everything so far placed under a ban by morality. Long experience, acquired in the course of such wanderings in what is forbidden, taught me to regard the causes that so far have prompted moralizing and idealizing in a very different light from what may seem desirable: the hidden history of the philosophers, the psychology of the great names, came to light for me” (674). But I am not sure what exactly Deleuze had in mind for this. The part about D. H. Lawrence is quite clear and straightforward, but I do not now have any good textual support for it: “Lawrence lived under the accusations of immoralism and pornography that were brought against the least of his watercolors.” But I would suggest looking perhaps at his “Introduction to These Paintings.” For instance: “The reason the English produce so few painters is not that they are, as a nation, devoid of a genuine feeling for visual art. [...] The fault lies in the English attitude to life. [...] What appeared to take full grip on the northern consciousness at the end of the sixteenth century was a terror, almost a horror of sexual life.” (Lawrence, “Introduction,” 551); “All this sounds very far from the art of painting. But it is not so far as it sounds” (ibid., 555); “the terror-horror element led to the crippling of the consciousness of man. Very elementary in man is his sexual and procreative being, and on his sexual and procreative being depend many of his deepest instincts and the flow of his intuition” (ibid., 556); “This movement against the instincts and the intuition took on a moral tone in all countries. It started in hatred. Let us never forget that modern morality has its roots in hatred, a deep, evil hate of the instinctive, intuitional, procreative body. This hatred is made more virulent by fear, and an extra poison is added to the fear by unconscious horror of syphilis” (ibid., 558). However, the final claim about Kafka has a specific textual citation, so we can explore it further. Deleuze writes: “Kafka showed himself to be ‘diabolical in all innocence’ in order to escape from the ‘tribunal in the hotel’ where his infinite engagements were being judged.” It is from Elias Canetti’s Kafka's Other Trial: The Letters to Felice. The section in question begins: “Two decisive events in Kafka's life—events which he of all people would have wanted to keep especially private—had taken place in a way that was embarrassingly public: the official engagement in the Bauer family home on June 1, and, six weeks later, on July 12, 1914, the ‘tribunal’ at the Askanische Hof, which led to the breaking of the engagement. It can be shown that the emotional substance of both events entered directly into The Trial, which Kafka began to write in August. The engagement becomes the arrest in the first chapter; the ‘tribunal’ appears as the execution in the last” (Canetti’s Kafka’s Other Trial, 63). Previously, Canetti notes how “on June 16, he [Kafka] does finally send her [Felice] the ‘treatise,’ on which he has worked haltingly for an entire week. It is the letter in which he asks her to become his wife” (ibid., 45). Shortly after Kafka “begins his unrelenting struggle against the engagement. This persists for the next two months and ends in flight” (ibid., 46). “He pleads the case against himself like an advocate using all available means, and it cannot be denied that these means are sometimes ignominious” (ibid.). “Whenever it is a question of saving himself from marriage, all he can muster is eloquence directed against himself. It can at once be recognized as such; its main feature is the disguising of his own fears as anxieties about Felice” (ibid., 47). “On September 2, after two months of continuously worsening torment, Kafka quite suddenly announces to Felice that he is pulling out” (ibid., 48). “He wrote no more letters—anything, at that time, rather than her insistence on the engagement. Hearing nothing from him, she sent her friend Grete Bloch to Prague, with the request that Grete mediate between them. With the entry of a third person, a new and very remarkable phase in the relationship now began” (ibid., 49). “As soon as Grete Bloch enters the scene, Kafka becomes divided. The letters he was writing to Felice the previous year he now directs to Grete” (ibid.). “In some respects he has an easier time of it than he had with Felice. Grete Bloch is more flexible, more receptive, more passionate. So she follows his suggestions” (ibid., 50). “Since Grete Bloch soon opens her heart to him, and tells him about her own difficulties, he is touched by her sadness and comforts her; she comes to be something of a fellow sufferer, eventually even an alter ego” (ibid.). “Precisely this distance which he achieves through the correspondence with Grete Bloch, and certainly too his conversations with a new friend, the writer Ernst Weiss, who hates Felice and counsels against marriage to her, serve to strengthen Kafka’s self-will, so that once again he is wooing Felice. Now he is manifestly determined to go through with the engagement and marriage, and he fights for them with a singleness of purpose hardly creditable to him after his earlier conduct. He is certainly well aware of his guilt of the previous year, when, at the last moment, just before their engagement was to be announced, he suddenly dropped Felice and absconded to Vienna and Riva. In a long | letter to Felice written at the turn of the year 1913-14, he also tells Felice about the Swiss girl and, simultaneously, he asks her, for a second time, to marry him. Her resistance is no less tenacious than his wooing” (ibid., 51-52). “For two and a half months Felice remains adamant and indifferent” (ibid., 52). “He humbles himself before her ‘like a dog,’ but achieves nothing” (ibid.). “Then Felice became uncertain, due to the loss of her handsome brother [...]. Her defenses crumbled. Kafka at once sees his advantage, and after four more weeks he succeeds in coercing her into an engagement. At Easter 1914, in Berlin, they become unofficially engaged” (ibid., 53). “The warmth of his affection for Grete increases after the Easter engagement. Without her, he would never have brought the engagement about, and he knows this. She gave him the strength he needed, as well as detachment with regard to Felice” (ibid.). “During the course of his very hard struggle for Felice, there came into being his love for the woman without whom he could not have survived this struggle—Grete Bloch. The marriage would only be complete, to his thinking, if she were included” (ibid., 55). “In this regard it must be said that, for Kafka, who seldom felt free in conversation, love came into being through his written word. The three most important women in his | life were Felice, Grete Bloch, and Milena Jesenká. His feelings for each of them came into being through letters. So things turned out as he had expected: the official engagement in Berlin was a time of terror for Kafka. At the reception given by the Bauer family on June 1,1914, despite the much-desired presence of Grete Bloch, he felt ‘tied hand and foot like a criminal. Had they sat me down in a corner bound in real chains, placed policemen in front of me and let me look on simply like that, it could not have been worse. And that was my engagement; everybody made an effort to bring me to life, and when they couldn't, to put up with me as I was.’13 Thus his diary entry a few days afterward. In a letter written to Felice almost two years later, he describes another terror of those days, one that he still felt in his bones; it was the occasion of his going with her ‘to buy furniture in Berlin for an official in Prague’: ‘Heavy furniture which looked as if, once in position, it could never be removed. Its very solidity is what you appreciated most. The sideboard in particular—a perfect tombstone, or a memorial to the life of a Prague official—oppressed me profoundly. If during our visit to the furniture store a funeral bell had begun tolling in the distance, it wouldn’t have been inappropriate’ (462). As early as June 6, a few days after that reception, he wrote from Prague a letter to Grete Bloch which sounds uncannily familiar to the reader of the previous year’s correspondence: ‘Dear Fraulein Grete, yesterday was another of those days when I felt completely tied down, incapable of moving, incapable of writing you the letter that everything still alive within me urged me to write. At times—and for the moment you are the only one to know—I really don’t know how I, being what I am, can bear the responsibility of marriage’ (420)” (ibid., 55-56). Regarding Grete: “between Kafka and herself there were secrets concerning Felice, and certainly she had developed strong feelings for him. The dress she was to wear at the engagement was discussed in their letters; it is as if she were the betrothed. ‘Don’t try to improve it,’ he wrote of her dress, ‘no matter what it’s like, it will be viewed with the, yes, with the most affectionate eyes’ (418). He wrote her this letter one day before his departure and the official engagement” (ibid., 57). And regarding Grete and “the jealousy from which she certainly was suffering. With Felice nearby, since she was now living in Berlin, she could not but feel especially guilty. She could only rid herself of this guilt by crossing to Felice’s side. So now she suddenly became Kafka's adversary and began to watch suspiciously for signs indicating that his decision to marry might not be serious. But he continued to write letters to her, trustingly, and more and more he unloaded into his letters his fears about the ap- | preaching marriage to Felice. She began to urge him on; he defended himself with the old arguments of his hypochondria, and, since it was Grete to whom he was addressing himself, he put his case in a more convincing and collected way than in the previous year's letters to Felice. He succeeded in giving her the alarm, she warned Felice, and Kafka was summoned to Berlin to face the ‘tribunal.’ The ‘tribunal’ at the Askanische Hof hotel in July 1914 marks the point of crisis in Kafka’s double relation to the two women. The breaking of the engagement—although everything in Kafka was moving in that direction—seems to have been imposed on him from outside. But it is as if he himself had selected the members of this court, preparing them as no accused has ever done. The writer Ernst Weiss, though not present at the tribunal, at least lived in Berlin. He had been Kafka’s friend for seven months; together with his literary qualities, he brought to the friendship something of inestimable value to Kafka: his steadfast rejection of Felice. From the very beginning he had opposed the engagement. For the same length of time, Kafka had been seeking Grete’s love. He had bewitched her with his letters and brought her more and more to his side. During the time between the private and the official engagement, his love letters were being written to her, not to Felice. This placed her in a bind, from which she could only extricate herself by an about-face which would make her judge his case. She placed into Felice’s hands the points of the accusation; in Kafka’s letters to her there were passages she had underlined in red. Felice brought to the ‘tribunal’ her sister Erna, perhaps as a counterweight to her absent adversary, Ernst Weiss. The accusation, a hard and spiteful one, was brought forward by Felice herself; the scant records we have do not make it clear whether or not Grete Bloch then directly intervened. But she | was there, and Kafka felt that she was the real judge. He did not say a word, did not defend himself, and the engagement fell to pieces, just as he had wished. He left Berlin and spent two weeks at the seaside with Ernst Weiss. In his diary he describes his numbness during the Berlin days. Or one might quite well view it in retrospect as follows: Grete Bloch was trying, in this way, to prevent an alliance of which she was jealous. Kafka, it can also be said, with a kind of provident premonition had directed her toward Berlin and then, with his letters, induced in her a state of mind in which she, instead of he, found the strength to rescue him from the engagement. But the manner of this break, its concentrated form as ‘tribunal’—which is what Kafka called it afterward—had an overwhelming effect on him. At the beginning of August his reaction begins to formulate itself. The trial, which had been proceeding for two years in letters between him and Felice, now changed into that other Trial, which everybody knows. It is the same trial, he had rehearsed it; he incorporated into it infinitely more than the letters alone reveal, but that should not deceive us as to the identity of the two trials. The strength he had sought in Felice was now given to him by the shock of the tribunal. Simultaneously, the world came to judgment: World War I had begun. The repugnance with which he regarded the mass events accompanying the outbreak of war increased his strength. He did not have for his private and interior processes that disregard which distinguishes insignificant writers from writers of imagination. A person who thinks that he is empowered to separate his inner world from the outer one has no inner world from which something might be separable. But with Kafka the problem was that the weakness he suffered from—the occasional collapse of his vital pow- | ers—made possible only a very sporadic exfoliation and objectification of his “private” processes. To achieve the continuity that he thought indispensable, two things were needed: a very powerful, yet somehow still erroneous shock, like the “tribunal,” which mobilized his agonizing passion for precision as a defense against attacks from outside; and a bond between the external hell of the world and his inner hell. This came about in August 1914. He himself acknowledged the connection, and in his own way he gave distinct expression to it” (ibid., 57-60). In the next section, Canetti then shows the resemblance between these biographical events and certain features of characters and scenes in the Trial (for instance, Grete Bloch is like Fräulein Bürstner) (ibid 63-67). Then Canetti deals with more letter material, which will take us to Deleuze’s cited passages. “To understand now how the ‘tribunal,’ which had an enormous impact on Kafka, became the execution in the last chapter of The Trial, we must additionally consider several passages from the diaries and from letters. Toward the end of July, he sets out to describe the sequence of events, | hurriedly and provisionally, as it were from an external standpoint: ‘The tribunal in the hotel.... F.’s face. She patted her hair with her hand, ... yawned. Suddenly she gathered herself together and said very studied, hostile things she had long been saving up. The trip back with Miss Bl. . . . At her parents’. Her mother’s occasional tears. I recited my lesson. Her father understood the thing from every side.... They agreed that I was right, there was nothing, or not much, that could be said against me. Devilish in my innocence. Miss Bl.’s apparent guilt....’ ‘Why did her parents and aunt wave after me?’18 ‘The next day didn’t visit her parents again. Merely sent a messenger with a letter of farewell. Letter dishonest and coquettish. “Don't think badly of me.” Speech from the gallows.’ Thus, already by July 27, two weeks after the events, the ‘place of execution’ has fixed itself in his mind. With the word Gerichtshof (‘tribunal’), he had entered the sphere of the novel. With Richtplatz (‘gallows,’ or ‘place of execution’), its goal and end are foreshadowed. This early fixing of the goal is worth noting. It explains the sure development of The Trial” (ibid., 67-68).]

 

Nietzsche traverse en accusé toutes les pensions meublées auxquelles il oppose un grandiose défi, Lawrence vit dans l’accusation d’immoralisme et de pornographie qui rejaillit sur sa moindre aquarelle, Kafka se montre « diabolique en toute innocence » pour échapper au « tribunal à l’hôtel » où l’on juge de ses fiançailles infinies1.

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1. Cf. Elias Canetti, L’autre procès, Gallimard.

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Nietzsche moved like a condemned man from room to room, against which he set a grandiose defiance; Lawrence lived under the accusations of immoralism and pornography that were brought against the least of his watercolors; Kafka showed himself to be “diabolical in all innocence” in order to escape from the “tribunal in the hotel” where his infinite engagements were being judged.1

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1. See Elias Canetti, Kafka's Other Trial: The Letters to Felice, trans. Christopher Middleton (New York: Schocken, 1974), p. 68, translation modified.

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[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.8

[Artaud’s (and Van Gogh’s) Judgments by Psychiatrists]

 

[Artaud’s artistic genius was judged by psychiatrists as madness, and they subjected him to cruel treatments like heavy drugs and electroshock therapy. His situation was not unlike Van Gogh’s.]

 

[Deleuze places the fourth elaboration, Artaud, in its own sentence, writing: “And who suffered more from judgment in its harshest form, the terror of psychiatric expertise, than Artaud-Van Gogh?” There is no citation here, but we might note, for instance how Artaud, at the asylum at Rodez, writes to a doctor (Jacques Latrémolière) “You have seen the hordes of demons which afflict me night and day, you have seen them as clearly as you see me. You have seen what filthy erotic manipulations they are constantly performing on me, and because of this and because of the revolt of your conscience which is that of a true and a great Christian, you have found yourself transported alive and awake into the midst of that occult battle which heaven has been waging against Hell for eternities in order to defend the immaculate empire of God.--But one thing has offended and unsettled your conscience: that God in time has not yet put an end to the appalling human depravity of a people, I mean the French people who have now passed over completely to the Antichrist and to Satan and who have kept a man locked up in an Insane Asylum for years for the sole purpose of feeding off of his seminal fluid and his excrement” (Artaud, Selected Writings, 423). To another doctor: “In order to find a little Love around me on this earth, Dr. Ferdière, I had to come to Rodez. I have suffered horribly from human wickedness in all the Asylums I have stayed in from 1937 to 1943. Only here have I found friends who have opened their hearts to me” (ibid., 431). “As a result of close confinement, solitude, isolation, I had lapsed into a stupor and I shall never tire of telling you the astonishing good that you and F. Delanglade have done me in showing your faith in and admiration for my writing and my work” (ibid., 435). “It was the confinement and the harmful treatments I underwent at the beginning which put me in that condition of a hunted animal that I was in when I arrived here” (ibid., 436). To Jacques Latrémolière, “It was you yourself who last August put an end to the electric-shock treatments which were so terrible for me, because you realized that this was not a treatment I should have to undergo, and that a man like myself did not need to be treated but on the contrary, helped in his work. Electric shock, Mr. Latremolière, reduces me to despair, it takes away my memory, it dulls my mind and my heart, it turns me into someone who is absent and who knows he is absent and sees himself for weeks in pursuit of his being, like a dead man alongside a living map who is no longer himself, but who insists on the dead man being present even though he can no longer enter into him. After the last series I remained throughout the months of August and September absolutely incapable of working, thinking, and feeling that I was alive. Each time it brings on those horrible splittings of the personality which I wrote about in the correspondence with Rivière, but which at that time was a perceptual knowledge and not a living agony as with electric shock” (ibid., 438). “[...] never in the world would you have agreed to inflict on me once again the torments of drugged sleep and the horrible mental torpor of electric shock” (ibid., 439). “[...] I do believe that there are on earth some very bad people who desire the reign of evil and who are organized in sects to bring it about and who, by committing their abominations and their crimes, are keeping life at the level of baseness, hatred, war, despair, shame.--And I know that it is the practice of the sins of all the criminals of this ill will that is the source of temptation for us who want to be pure and good.--I know it because it was for trying to denounce them as a body that I was accused of madness, and when Dr. Ferdière or you reproach me for conjuring, it is because you can no longer see the opposing conjurations which | were made against you by the whole army of evil to prevent you from judging me with your mind and your heart; my story, Dr. Latrémolière, is a nameless iniquity and a crime which people do not want to let you see and which they are sealing up in your own mind in order to reverse your judgment of me. I hope that Heaven will help you to understand everything I am trying to tell you, but if Dr. Ferdière refuses to continue to treat me like a sick person because I am leading here the same life that, as I said, I have lived since 1913, I am going to ask my family to come and get me” (ibid., 439-440). But, I am not sure what to do with the hyphenated “Van Gogh” to his name in the quoted Deleuze passage. Yet, Artaud wrote about Van Gogh in “Van Gogh, the Man Suicided by Society.” He writes, for instance, “One can speak of the good mental health of van Gogh who, in his whole life, cooked only one of his hands and did nothing else except once to cut off his left ear” (ibid., 483). “No, van Gogh was not mad, but his paintings were bursts of Greek fire, atomic bombs, whose angle of vision” (ibid., 483). “For it is not a certain conformity of manners that the painting of van Gogh attacks, but rather the conformity of institutions themselves. [...] All the more reason why on the social level institutions are falling apart and medicine resembles a stale and useless corpse which declares van Gogh insane. In comparison with the lucidity of van Gogh, which is a dynamic force, psychiatry is no better than a den of apes who are themselves obsessed and persecuted and who possess nothing to mitigate the most appalling states of anguish and human suffocation but a ridiculous terminology, worthy product of their damaged brains” (ibid., 484). “So society has strangled in its asylums all those it wanted to get rid of or protect itself from, because they refused to become its accomplices in certain great nastinesses. For a madman is also a man whom society did not want to hear and whom it wanted to prevent from uttering certain intolerable truths” (ibid., 485). “Thus on the occasion of a war, a revolution, or a social upheaval still in the bud, the collective consciousness is questioned and questions itself, and makes its judgment” (ibid., 486). “Van Gogh searched for his throughout his life, with a strange energy and determination, and he did not commit suicide in a fit of madness, in dread of not succeeding, on the contrary, he had just succeeded, and discovered what he was and who he was, when the collective consciousness of society, to punish him for escaping from its clutches, suicided him” (ibid., 487). “For it was not because of himself, because of the disease of his own madness, that van Gogh abandoned life. It was under the pressure of the evil influence, two days before his death, of Dr. Cachet, a so-called psychiatrist, which was the direct, effective, and sufficient cause of his death. When I read van Gogh’s letters to his brother, I was left with the firm and sincere conviction that Dr. Cachet, ‘psychiatrist,’ actually detested van Gogh, painter, and that he detested him as a painter, but above all as a genius. It is almost impossible to be a doctor and an honest man, but it is obscenely impossible to be a psychiatrist without at the same time bearing the stamp of the most incontestable madness: that of being unable to resist that old atavistic reflex of the mass of humanity, which makes any man of science who is absorbed by this mass a kind of natural and inborn enemy of all genius. Medicine was born of evil, if it was not born of illness, and if it has, on the contrary, provoked and created illness out of nothing to justify its own existence ; but psychiatry was born of the vulgar mob of creatures who wanted to preserve the evil at the source of illness and who have thus pulled out of their own inner nothingness a kind of Swiss guard to cut off at its root that impulse of rebellious vindication which is at the origin of genius. There is in every lunatic a misunderstood genius whose idea, shining in his head, frightened people, and for whom delirium was | the only solution to the strangulation that life had prepared for him. Dr. Cachet did not tell van Gogh that he was there to straighten out his painting (as Dr. Gaston Ferdière, head physician of the asylum of Rodez, told me he was there to straighten out my poetry), but he sent him to paint from nature, to bury himself in a landscape to escape the pain of thinking. Except that, as soon as van Gogh had turned his back, Dr. Cachet turned off the switch to his mind” (ibid., 492-493). “I, too, am like poor van Gogh, I no longer think, but I direct, every day at closer hand, formidable internal ebullitions, and I would like to see any medical science whatsoever come and reproach me for tiring myself” (ibid., 495). “And there took place between Dr. Cachet and Theo, van Gogh’s brother, how many of those stinking confabulations that families have with the head physicians of insane asylums regarding the patient they have brought them. ‘Keep an eye on him, make sure he forgets all those ideas. You understand, the doctor said so, you must forget all those ideas: they're hurting you, if you keep on thinking about them you’ll stay shut up for the rest of your life’” (ibid., 496). “I myself spent nine years in an insane asylum and I never had the obsession of suicide, but I know that each conversation with a psychiatrist, every morning at the time of his visit, made me want | to hang myself, realizing that I would not be able to cut his throat” (ibid., 496-497).]

 

Et Artaud-Van Gogh, qui a davantage souffert du jugement sous sa forme la plus dure, la terrible expertise psychiatrique ?

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And who suffered more from judgment in its harshest form, the terror of psychiatric expertise, than Artaud-Van Gogh?

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[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography:

 

Deleuze, Gilles. “Pour en finir avec le jugement.” In Critique et clinique, 158–69. Paris: Minuit, 1993.

 

Deleuze, Gilles. “To Have Done with Judgment.” In Essays Critical and Clinical, translated by Daniel Smith and Michael Greco, 126–35. Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota, 1997.

 

Or if otherwise cited:

 

Artaud, Antonin. Selected Writings. Edited by Susan Sontag. Translated by Helen Weaver. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1976.

 

Canetti, Elias. Kafka’s Other Trial: The Letters to Felice. Translated by Christopher Middleton. New York: Schocken, 1974.

 

Deleuze, Gilles. Course 1983.05.03, Part 2. Online recording at Bibliothèque nationale de France/Gallica; recording and transcript at La voix de Gilles Deleuze en ligne, Université Paris 8 (Transcription by Jean-Charles Jarrell); no transcript at Web Deleuze. Paris, 1983.

https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k128341j ; http://www2.univ-paris8.fr/deleuze/article.php3?id_article=243.

 

Deleuze, Gilles. Kant’s Critical Philosophy: The Doctrine of the Faculties. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. London: Athlone, 1995.

 

Deleuze, Gilles. Spinoza: Practical Philosophy. Translated by Robert Hurley. San Francisco: City Lights, 1988.

 

Derrida, Jacques. “Force of Law: The ‘Mystical Foundation of Authority.’” In Acts of Religion, edited by Gil Anidjar, translated by Mary Quaintance, 230–98. New York: Routledge, 2002.

 

Kant, Immanuel. Critique of the Power of Judgment. Edited by Paul Guyer. Translated by Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2000.

 

Lawrence, D. H. “Introduction to These Paintings.” In Phoenix: The Posthumous Papers, edited by Edward McDonald, 550–84. London: Heinemann, 1936.

 

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Ecce Homo. In Basic Writings, edited and translated by Walter Kaufmann, 655–800. New York: Modern library, 1968.

 

Serres, Michel. Le système de Leibniz et ses modèles mathématiques, Vol. 1: étoiles. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1968.

 

 

 

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