Final Reflections: Muddling Through the Rhizome

After writing this paper – starting and restarting it – I have come to some conclusions. Deleuze is difficult to write about. In particular trying to write a traditional academic (analytical) essay… In On Philosophy he writes,

In barren times philosophy retreats to reflecting on things.

But what is an essay if not a self-serving (or self-defeating) reflection on things? I’m no philosopher and I don’t intend to reinvent the wheel with my work, but Deleuze’s challenge to always aim to be creating the new is a tempting bait. While working on our final, reading and rereading, I have been goaded into abandoning the striated format of tracing one idea onto another work. Instead I have found myself trying to fill in the gaps of my piece with the unexpected. While writing, I have made allowances for unexpected tangents and asides, usually reserved from being put down on paper. While this is fun and exciting, I am not sure I will end up ever ‘proving’ my ‘thesis’.

I was talking to a friend who is a visual artist about what it is like to read Deleuze. He was surprised to find that I was attempting to understand the concepts in a real, concrete way. My friend had always used the books as a springboard for his own ideas. He said that whenever he was feeling uninspired, he would randomly open up his copy of A Thousand Plateaus and read a passage. The imagery in the language would always provide him fodder for his work. (He is especially partial to imaging The Fold). But to him, these ideas weren’t to be unraveled and explained. They continued expanding out into an open space. Deleuze is so hard to write about because he is not structuring his arguments to be read from beginning to end and to result in conclusions. His work is for inspiration of other new ideas, for the creators and the artists. The ideas he writes about inspired me to challenge myself to try something new. But the rigorous analysis, the outlining, is difficult when everything seems to start in the middle.

One Response to “Final Reflections: Muddling Through the Rhizome”

  1. Saishigo Says:

    I understand your point here, Sarah, and I think your artist-friend is perfectly within his rights to use the material as a springboard for his own acts of creation. I don’t know though that it is true that one can’t write a rigorous analysis following Deleuzian principles/insights. There are any number of philosophers and cultural theorists who have done exactly this. (In the realm of film see, for example, David Rodowick’s DELEUZE”S TIME MACHINE.) We should also be wary of being led to the conclusion that because of Deleuze’s experiments with style that he himself was not rigorous, or does not allow for rigor. His rigor is particularly clear in his early monographs on the history of philosophy and, most of all, in his philosophical magnum opus DIFFERENCE AND REPETITION.


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