Friday, October 22, 2010

Deleuze Again?

It seems that I can not escape the works of the French thinker Gilles Deleuze. Even back when a number of my fellow Fuller seminary students took it upon ourselves to read a little Deleuze (we started with his book on Foucault; I even took my French language qualifiers by translating Foucault's preface to Anti-Oedipus), I came to the conclusion that something special is here.
It appears that his popularity is growing and a renewed interest is here especially as it relates to the realm of the political and the spiritual (thanks to Hallward I believe).
My project from the start is to take Karl Barth's works and have him in conversation (not debate) with so-called postmodern thinkers. This has led me to read and enjoy the works of Derrida, Badiou, Foucault and especially Zizek. When it came to Deleuze I decided to take a Directed Reading with Dr. Carl Raschke on Deleuze because he seemed to be enamored with him (he seems to advocate a rhizomatic theology in his GloboChrist). He recommended that we read the man himself. So I read his book on Nietzsche, Logic of Sense, Thousand Plateaus and What is Philosophy with the help of Negotiations and Dialogues as guides not to mention the commentaries by Badiou, Zizek and Hallward. It was tough reading and quite frankly I keep going back over a number of those texts not simply to glean info but to be moved a bit by his style of thinking.
Where did that study go? Into a look at Deleuze on humor. Deleuze is clear that thinking should be a more dynamic, fluid thing that is not controlled by opinion or certain static ways of thought. I found that Deleuze was open to thought-forms that were not reactionary and resentful (see the influence of Nietzsche). Humor itself can be rather reactionary, so it takes a special type of humor to get away from the "I-told-you-so" ironic versions of it.
This now leads me to try to use Deleuze and Barth to open up a creative way to look at post-modernity in all the various ways it appears to us. Is Barth the right thinker to do this with? We shall see. For starters, one of my goals is to see how they view modernity in an accepting way and at the same time to see the opening up of movements of thought whether or not they have a spiritual bearing. For starters, I have been consuming the Substance article on Deleuze and the spiritual/political. Lets see how the weekend goes in fleshing this out...

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