*towards a reading of Lacan’s ‘The Mirror Stage’. … —PART II. on ‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’: language, ‘intuition’ & flux in Nietzsche & Bergson, & the fiction of the ‘I’ in Lacan. …

– LACAN & (THE QUESTION OF) THE “REAL” –
*(—a reading group).

Why Lacan & why the real… —? —Introduction to the reading group.

Introduction to Lacan: notes from a lecture.

Outline of a reading of ‘The Mirror Stage’.

Mirror Stage I.—the infant, the mirror, & the nature of the image.

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (i).)

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (ii).): Nietzsche on the intellect, language, the ‘I’ as fiction, and ‘intuition’.

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (iii).): the Undivided Continuity of States. —‘analysis’, ‘duration’ & ‘intuition’ in Bergson.

 

language, ‘intuition’ & flux in Nietzsche & Bergson,
& the fiction of the ‘I’ in Lacan. …

 

So, …

 

For both Nietzsche and for Bergson, then…

 

… —things’… —fragments (fragmented) in (—within-of) space, and the moments-atoms in-of ‘clock-time’ are impositions of language. …

 

on-to a—pre-linguistic,—pre-egoistic, inchoate flux

 

*—(what I’ve dubbed here, for my own purposes) *—the flux of the undivided continuity of states.… —subsisting, then, beneath the individuated concepts of the intellect in Bergson’s conception of ‘duration’, and, I’d argue, in Nietzsche’s… analogous critique of the intellect and championing of ‘intuition’ in the early ‘On Truth’ essay.

 

… ‘Things’ and ‘moments’ (—‘clock-time’) forged, then, from flux. …

 

First as words (a word), an utterance in response to a sense-stimulus. …

 

—The word becomes a concept when it no longer refers exclusive-solely to the sense-stimulus which gave birth-rise to it, but is used to… yoke together disparate phenomena. … *—the (attempted) elision of the differences between diverse experiences (stimuli) and the attempt to equate unequal phenomena (under a single head, so to).

 

—In order to be able to establish a communal linguistic consensus (—the legislation of language). …

 

… —Words, then,… —only ever (in truth) provisional,—inadequate, translations of, and attempts to incorporate experience-sense-stimuli, become (via a process) reified *(—the abstract… —made more concrete,… —real),—taken as-for truth. …

 

—Taken as *corresponding,—absolutely and unproblematically, to things-as-they-are-in-themselves, and there vital, artistic origins (—origins in-as artistic projections) is forgotten-repressed. …

 

…—They become, in effect, stultified metaphysical prejudices——divorced… —alienated from experience.

 

… *—For Bergson, as for Nietzsche, the aim of what both dub ‘intuition’ is to overcome the institutionalised and complacent metaphysical prejudice of the concepts (—formed by the intellect/’analysis),… —a descent (back) into the pre-individuated, undifferentiated flux, and a return with new metaphors and previously ‘unheard-of combinations of concepts’.—To create new metaphors, in order then to capture the *‘vividly felt actual sensation’. …

 

*on flux, then, … & the imposition of the fiction of the ‘I’. …

 

*—It’s possible to read Lacan on the relationship between the subject & the image in-of ‘the mirror stage’, then, alongside, or perhaps rather in terms analogous (—a parallel to) Nietzsche and Bergson on language and flux. …

 

 

*For both Nietzcshe and Bergson… there’s a (however, perhaps, regrettable) necessity in-to the spatial-temporal fragmentation (—into atoms,… quanta) in, or rather through, the impositions of language.

 

*—There is a necessity in-to the formation of a discrete ‘I’. … —In order to overcome, and to repress, the chaotic flux in-of the organism,… *—organs-drives-forces. …

 

—The imposed fiction of the discretion of the ‘I’, and of ‘things’ in space and moments in-of time, are what renders communication and community (the social-political and legal) possible. …

 

*… —Require, then,—the imposition of a fiction. …

 

 

And this is what’s at stake *(I’d argue, at least) in Lacan’s account of the ‘mirror stage’: …

the *|total form| of his body, by which the subject anticipates the maturation of his power in a *|mirage|, is given to him only as a *gestalt, that is, in an *exteriority in which, to be sure, this form is more *constitutive than constituted, but in which, above all, it *|appears to| him as |the *contour of his stature| […] (76).

 

*—The ‘total form’ of the image of the body in the mirror is a fiction,… —necessarily ‘gestalt’ *(that is,—apparently-seeming more than the simple sum of its parts): … complete (whole),—unified (… —no gaps,… no disjuncture(-discord),… —no remainder)… *—bound within the clam, satisfying smoothness of a-the ‘contour’. …

 

It is constituted in the moment of the ‘mirror stage’, and has no existence, either prior to, or beyond it. …

 

—it is a mirage. … —an illusion (or,—a trick of the light (so to) ), the desire for identity with which is spurred (I’d argue) by a desire,… —a need,… —an unrealistic and (ultimately-finally) unrealisable hope,—for fixity *(—stasis). …

 

In order to overcome and—importantly—to repress,… the chaos in-of an underlying flux *(in-within the organism (organs-drives-forces…)… —of an undivided continuity of ‘states’… —?).

 

 

*—The ‘mirror stage’ then, represents an attempt to wrest (the fiction of a) fixity-stasis (—peace and security) from the chaos of an underlying flux of movements: of and within the subject (—psychological and bodily), and in(-within) its environment (surrounds-environs).

 

*An important question I want to address in what follows: …

Is this flux pre-linguistic and (therefore) pre-egoistic for Lacan, as it is for Nietzsche and Bergson… —?

 

 

It’s the necessity-need for fixity (stasis), and the notion of a relationship between the ‘I’ and an underlying flux (whatever its particular nature or status might be), that opens up the possibility, I think, of interrogating-reading the origins of the ‘mirror stage’, and which represents a really interesting basis of comparison for reading Lacan on the ‘real’ (in ‘The Mirror Stage’ essay) in relation to Nietzsche on language and the ‘I’ ( = ego), and Bergson on ‘duration’ and ‘analysis’. …

 


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*towards a reading of Lacan’s ‘The Mirror Stage’. … —PART II. on ‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’: the Undivided Continuity of States. —‘analysis’, ‘duration’ & ‘intuition’ in Bergson. …

– LACAN & (THE QUESTION OF) THE “REAL” –
*(—a reading group).

Why Lacan & why the real… —? —Introduction to the reading group.

Introduction to Lacan: notes from a lecture.

Outline of a reading of ‘The Mirror Stage’.

Mirror Stage I.—the infant, the mirror, & the nature of the image.

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (i).)

Mirror Stage II..—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (ii).): Nietzsche on the intellect, language, the ‘I’ as fiction, and ‘intuition’.

 

*(—the following is taken from: ‘On the Undivided Continuity of States. … —on the “primal unity” &(/as)—“duration”.’ … ).

 

 

 

*the Undivided Continuity of States.
—‘analysis’, ‘duration’, & ‘intuition’ in Bergson. … 

*In An Introduction to Metaphysics (of 1903), Henri Bergson offers a clear, concise, and apt summary of the distinction between ‘analysis’ (—the conceptual) and ‘intuition’, which he had established in his earlier works (Time and Free Will,—Matter and Memory, (etc.)…)…—

By intuition is meant the kind of intellectual sympathy by which one places oneself within an object in order to coincide with what is unique in it and consequently inexpressible. Analysis, on the contrary, is the operation which reduces the object to elements already known, that is, to elements common both to it and other objects.

*(—Henri Bergson, An Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. T.E. Hulme (Cambridge: Hackett, 1999),—23-24).

 

So,…

 

—‘analysis,’ Bergson argues, breaks its object down into parts (—‘elements’) corresponding to pre-existing concepts in which it participates (is made to participate) with other objects. …

 

*—it strikes me that these terms very closely echo—perhaps in a way not dwelt upon (certainly at any length in extant work on the similarities or parallels between Nietzsche and Bergson—Nietzsche’s critique of language, the intellect, and the conceptual in ‘On Truth’, and, in particular here, Nietzsche’s critique of the formation of the ‘Platonic’ concept of the ‘leaf’, which was formed, he argued, by discarding the differences between individual leaves: the awakening of the ‘idea’ that, ‘in addition to the leaves’, there exists in ‘nature’—‘the leaf’.’ (‘OTL’, 117.—see pervious. … ).

 

—(the process of) ‘analysis’, then, reduces the thing (—its object) to these constituent elements and to their conceptual correspondences.

 

 

—by contrast, Bergson wishes to promote the method of ‘intuition,’ which—*as it did for Nietzsche in ‘On Truth’—aims to shatter the reduction of its object to pre-existing conceptual prejudices, and to place the observer back into (in closer proximity to) an original state of disinterested, non-conceptual receptivity *(—‘intellectual sympathy’). …

 

… *—beneath the hardened veneer of the fragmented and atomised spatio-temporal realm of the concepts—the ‘crust solidified on the surface’ of experience (—cf. Bergson, IM, 25)—Bergson identifies ‘one reality […] which we all seize from within, by intuition and not simply by analysis. It is our own personality in its flowing through time—our self which endures.’ (24) …

 

*—Beneath the artificially differentiated, atomistic experience of things in conceptual space, and of moments in conceptual time, Bergson argues, subsists a foundation of undifferentiated states which he calls *‘duration’ (—durée)…

beneath these sharply cut crystals and this frozen surface, a continuous flux which is not comparable to any flux I have ever seen. There is a succession of states, each of which announces that which follows and contains that which precedes it. (25)

 

*—Duration, then, constitutes ‘one reality’,—seemingly paradoxically comprised of a continual flux of successive ‘states’.

 

 

*—We are originally made aware of this flux, according to Bergson, through our consciousness of our own personality (—internal intuition) and (then, subsequently) extend the principle to the outer phenomena of perception (—external intuition).

 

—apparently autonomous, these… states nonetheless interpenetrate, containing all those states which precede them and unfolding ineluctably into all those which are to follow.

 

The ‘states’ of duration constitute neither a simple multiplicity, nor a simple unity, but, ‘instead of being distinct, as they are in any other [comparable form of] multiplicity, encroach upon one another.’ (30)—They constitute ‘a continuity of elements which prolong themselves into one another’, a continuity which ‘participates in unity as much as in multiplicity; but this moving, changing, colored, living unity has hardly anything in common with the abstract, motionless, and empty unity which the concept of pure unity circumscribes.’(30-31.—Cf. Bergson, Creative Evolution, trans. Arthur Mitchell [New York: Dover Publications Inc., 1998],—1-7. … )

 

*—the flux of duration represents an undivided continuity of states’. …

 

 

*—It’s the undivided continuity of this flux which the concepts rend asunder through the what Bergson (again,—with echoes of Nietzsche) characterises as the *imposition of—artistically projected—individuated forms … —

Pure intuition, external or internal, is that of an undivided continuity. We break up this continuity in the one case to distinct words, in the other to independent objects. But, just because we have thus broken the unity of our original intuition, we feel ourselves obliged to establish between the served terms a bond which can only be external and superadded.

*(—Bergson, Matter and Memory, trans. Nancy Margaret Paul and W. Scott Palmer [London: Swan Sonnenchein & Co., Ltd, 1911],—239)

 

—The concepts are generated through the formation and (importantly) the false hypostatisation of words *(… —an echo of Nietzsche’s account of the formation of language in ‘On Truth’), and of independent (that is —apparently discrete) objects. …

 

*—Once fragmented, for any form of discourse to be possible, it becomes necessary, Bergson argues, to artificially form bonds between these—severed entities. …

 

—and this, ultimately, is the role (—the purpose-goal) of ‘analysis’. … (—cf. CE, 4)

 

*(and, again,… —I think that this is significant for my current reading of Lacan’s ‘mirror stage’. …)

*—For Bergson, these bonds, whatever their use value (for language and for action), can in no way afford access to the underlying flux, but are, and must remain, external epiphenomena. …

*(and, again,… —this echoes Nietzsche’s critique of the conceptual quasi-Platonic prostheses to experience in-of the ‘On Truth’ essay. … ).

 

[…]

 

*(—for my attempt to elaborate my reading of Bergson on time & flux, through a reading of ‘The Slow Mo Guys’ slow motion videos, see the original blog post. … ).

 

*… —the shattering of these prejudices-conceptual (—of habit-inertia)… —is what, for Bergson, as it had been for Nietzsche, is at stake in ‘intuition’ (—vs. the concepts of the intellect)—as method. …

 

 

*on ‘intuition’, then,—as method. …

 

*Bertrand Russell very beautifully summarises what he (rightly.—why not?) calls Bergson’s ‘ingenious’ conception of the intellect and his conceptions of ‘matter’ and of ‘time’. …

Intelligence or intellect, “as it leaves the hands of nature, has for its chief object the inorganic solid”; it can only form a clear idea of the discontinuous and immobile; its concepts are outside each other like objects in space, and have the same stability. The intellect separates in space and fixes in time; it is not made to think evolution, but to represent becoming as a series of states [. …] Solid bodies, it would seem, are something which mind has created on purpose to apply the intellect to them.

[…]

The genesis of intellect and the genesis of material bodies, we are told, are correlative; both have been developed by reciprocal adaptation. “An identical process must have cut out matter and the intellect, at the same time, from a stuff that contained both.”

*(—Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy [London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1961],—758).

 

*—‘matter’, then (—so-called)—as a product-creation of the intellect—as that which falls away from duration—from-through its own inertia.

*(… —frozen-carved (away.—‘Solid bodies’) from duration, in order that the intellect—that the subject (as subject) be able to function at all…).

 

*(and this is the same for good ol’ Fritz, I think. …

 

*—‘matter’,—the subject (—the ‘I’-the ‘self’),—the body (as whole-discrete)… (again)—creations of the intellect—as all that which falls away (so to) from flux. …).

 

indeed.

 

 

*though, to my mind, he offers what is still by far one of the most sharp and clear readings of Bergson, Russell, I think, is mistaken in the charges of ‘irrationalism’ and the anti-intellectualism, which he lays against him. …

*(—see Russell, 756 and 762, respectively… ).

 

 

Russell is too dismissive and too reductive. …

 

—I think Russell’s charge of ‘irrationalism’ represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the terms of Bergson’s critique of the intellect, but in a way which is actually genuinely useful to me here and illuminating for my reading of Nietzsche…

 

 

*for Bergson, as for Nietzsche… —we are (all of us) trapped in language. …

 

—locked. in (within) the inadequacies—the limits—of language…

 

*—of the fragments (of things) in space,… —in the atoms (in-)of ‘time. …

 

—for both, there can be no —complacency in (with regard to) language. …

 

—there must, for both, by contrast, be always a (fundamental) wariness-mistrust

*(—of the ability-capacity to ever truly say (have said) anything).

 

 

—no,… sitting still in the arbitrary, illusory, inadequate and ineluctably failing quanta (in-) of language. …

 

language.—as something entered into,… —not (never) as something possessed. …

(—something (sic) thrust into (into which, then, we are thrust). unavoidably.—in-volun-tarily but—necessarily. …). …

 

‘analysis’ (—the intellect) rends asunder the flux of the continuity of ‘states’.

 

*—just as for Nietzsche, in his account of the origins of language in ‘On Truth’, for Bergson language emerges as a process of metaphorical transposition:

*—from the original (sense) stimulus, through the word (—the sound), in-to the abstract concept. …

 

 

*—Modernist poet and critic T.E. Hulme, in his essays-articles on Bergson’s philosophy, argues that these metaphors ‘soon run their course and die. But it is necessary to remember that when they were first used by the poets who created them they were used for the purpose of conveying over a vividly felt actual sensation.’

*(—T.E. Hulme, ‘Bergson’s Theory of Art,’ in Speculations: Essays on Humanism and the Philosophy of Art, ed. Herbert Read, with a Frontispiece and Foreword by Jacob Epstein [London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., 1924],—141-169 [151] ).

 

 

Just as for Nietzsche, for Hulme (—following Bergson… )—language originally emerges from a need to articulate a vividly felt sensible stimulus—an internal or external ‘intuition’.

 

 

*—When this initial stimulus and artistic projection have passed, the metaphor (the word) can then, itself pass into popular usage (—becomes, then, a concept). …

 

—It becomes hypostatised and its artistic origins are forgotten. …

 

—The metaphor reaches the end of its capacity to articulate the ‘vividly felt actual sensation’ and becomes a mere ‘counter’,—akin to the pieces in a game of chequers, to be manipulated (‘moved about’) according to the demands of practical utility.

*(—Cf. Hulme, ‘Bergson’s Theory of Art,’ 151-152, 159-162, 165-166 and ‘The Philosophy of Intensive Manifolds,’ 176. … —The metaphor is also crucial to the notes gathered together under the title of ‘Cinders’,—215-245).

 

*For Bergson, the aim of intuition as method is to ‘recover [the] contact with the real,’ severed in the formation of concepts and of ‘analysis,’ and to ‘restore intuition to its original purity’.

*(—Matter and Memory, 241. Cf. Gille Deleuze, Bergsonism, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam [New York: Zone Books, 1988], 13-35 (—esp. 14), and Suzanne Guerlac, Thinking in Time: An Introduction to Henri Bergson [Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006], 63-64:

‘This is what Bergson is trying to do: to bring to philosophical awareness what has been absolutely repressed by thought and is structurally inaccessible to it’. (—63) ).

 

 

*—Echoing Nietzsche’s claim for the necessity of the redemption of the intellect through ‘forbidden metaphors and in unheard-of combinations of concepts’ in ‘On Truth,’… Bergson argues that intuition is ‘only truly itself when it goes beyond the concept, or at least when it frees itself from rigid and ready-made concepts in order to create a kind very different from those which we habitually use.’ (—Bergson, Introduction to Metaphysics,—30)

 

The aim of intuition, then, is, by an ‘effort,’ to break through the artificial surface of the conceptual and regain the undivided continuity of flux (—duration), and what Bergson dubs ‘the intention of life’: … —‘the simple movement that runs through the lines, that binds them together and gives them significance.’

*(— Creative Evolution,—176-177. Cf. Introduction to Metaphysics,—21-22 and Hulme, ‘Bergson’s Theory of Art,’—144, where the passage is reproduced verbatim… ).

 

*Bergson, and Hulme following him, dub this the *‘aesthetic intuition’, and both view art as the paragon of the attempt to lacerate the conceptual and to bring back new forms (new language, new metaphors, new images and new concepts) from the flux of duration—an (ironic) re-birth and appropriation of the intellect

 

*importantly, then… —rather than a form of straightforward ‘irrationalism’ or anti-intellectualism, as Russell’s reading would suggest—intuition, then, *(as method) represents an attempt (perhaps invariably ill-fated.—inevitably fails-failing), to appropriate the process of the formation of language and the concepts—the intellect (—‘analysis’).—from in-within. *—in the laceration and return. —and to revivify. …

*(—to revivify language—the concepts of the intellect—and to turn to account. …): …

 

*—‘This intention is just what the artist tries to regain in placing himself back within the object by a kind of sympathy and breaking down by an effort of intuition the barrier that space puts between him and his model.’

*(—Creative Evolution,—177.—Cf. Hulme, 144. Hulme goes on to refer to the artist’s shattering of the conceptual and experience of flux as the ‘essentially aesthetic emotion’ [145]. Cf. also 149-150 and 161-162).

 

 

*—towards a reading of Lacan’s ‘The Mirror Stage’. … —PART II. on ‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. …

 

*PART II. —on ‘space fear’ & the ‘ideal’. …

Why Lacan & why the real… —? —Introduction to the reading group.

Introduction to Lacan: brief notes from a lecture on Lacan. …

Outline of a reading of ‘The Mirror Stage’.

*Mirror Stage I.—the infant, the mirror, & the nature of the image.

*the ‘mirror stage’.
(—a brief summary of a reading so far, then). …

 

 

At a certain age, or stage of physical and psychological development (rather),… not yet having developed instrumental intelligence, or indeed physical independence,—the-an infant encounters a specular image of their own body in a mirror *(—mirrored surface. … thus—reflected.). …

 

… —the image presents the infant’s (—the subject’s) body to it in-through-as the form a total ‘outline’ (so to speak. … —a contour)… —it’s presented, then, as a gestalt: —a unity,… —more than the sum of its (manifold) parts (or—quanta). …

 

The infant becomes transfixed by-with the ‘total form’ in-of this specular image of the body, then, which mimics their own movements.

 

—The infant(/subject) recognises—(that is) validates and identifies itself with—the image.  

 

 

—It seeks to struggle free of the constraints presented by the adult (—the parent/guardian/carer), or its walker/carrier.

 

—to get closer to *(—to be alone with… —?) the image, and to try to *fix the ‘total form’ in-of image indelibly (—finally) in its mind. …

 

(That is,… )—The subject attempts to appropriate the image to itself (—to its physical and psychical life). …

 

 

*—The ‘total form’ of the image of the body in the mirror, however is a fiction.

 

 

—It’s constituted in the moment of the ‘mirror stage’, and has no existence, either prior to, or beyond (without-outwith) it. …

 

—it is a *mirage. … —(thus) an illusion (or,… —a trick of the light (so to) ),—the desire for identity with which is spurred (I’d argue at least) by a desire,… —a *need,… —an unrealistic and (ultimately-finally) unrealisable hope,—for fixity *(—for stasis). …

 

*… —The mirror stage represents an attempt to wrest (the fiction of a) fixity-stasis (—peace and security) from the chaos of an underlying (—pre-linguistic and (therefore) pre-egoistic—?) flux of movements: of and within the subject (—psychological and bodily), and in(-within) its environment (surrounds-environs).

 

 

*an—awkward gesture (perhaps). …

 

I want to move on, by way of a sort of an aside (I s’pose) here, to consider what is meant by, and what is at stake in (-within) Lacan’s referring to the ‘mirror stage’ as revealing (or,… —referring the ‘mirror stage’ to the revelation of) an *‘ontological structure’. …

 

*… —I want to look at, and to try to define, the nature of what initially at least, appears to be a pre-linguistic and pre-egoistic flux; the nature of, and relationship between the ‘illusion’-mirage and the ‘ideal’; and what, finally (if anything) might be said to precede the mirror stage and to prompt it.

 

 

… —Over on(-in) the main thread of this blog: *—The fold of the Artist, which I’m adapting from material from my doctoral thesis on artistic inspiration and the figure of the artist in the works of James Joyce and Friedrich Nietzsche *(—in an extremely pretentious and foolhardy attempt to develop my own theory of art), I’ve already posted some work-material looking at some of these questions.

 

 

*—I’ve done some (—preliminary, and really, honestly, quite crude, partial, and… dilettantish) work on subjectivity, the emergence of the ego (= “I”) from language and an underlying pre-linguistic flux, in relation to Nietzsche’s early writing, and especially The Birth of Tragedy and the ‘On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense’ essay.

 

—I’ve compared Nietzsche’s treatment of these questions in particular to the philosophy of Henri Bergson: … Bergson’s conception of language and/as the fiction of fixity in space and in-of time, the flux of ‘duration’, and ‘intuition’ (as philosophical method).

 

 

*—As I mentioned back in the more general introductory post to this reading group,… —I’ve only taught on Lacan,… —I’ve never actually engaged, directly and in-depth, with his work in my own studies – thesis. …

 

Nevertheless,—… for a long time-while now, I’ve had a… sense (sic) that Lacan *(and, in this instance, his account of ‘the mirror stage’) actually frames the problems, philosophical questions, ideas and concepts I found myself drawn to, and working on, in Nietzsche and Bergson (—as a way of framing my reading of the aesthetic theory in Joyce’s early fiction, and Modernist aesthetics and poetics more widely … ),—more clearly and in-with more depth. …

 

*… —the work I’ve already done, then, might help frame the way I want to read ‘The Mirror Stage’ (—the mirror stage) here, and, in a way,… —reading Lacan might help me (finally) to finish (or, at the very least, to address some of the issues and problems I had with) my doctoral thesis.

 

 

So,…

I want to crave you indulgence here, if you’ll allow me, fellow reading group readers, while I draw on some of the ideas I’ve already worked on (elsewhere) and some of the material I’ve already produced. …

 

 

*—in a series of shorter posts here, then,… I want to try to summarise, and to… fuse-bring together material from my doctoral thesis, and latterly the main thread (so to) on-of this blog—on Nietzsche and Bergson. …

 

*—Nietzsche on the intellect, language, the ‘I’ as fiction, and ‘intuition’:

… —examining the intellect, language, ‘intuition’, and account of the fiction of the ‘I’ in (—from early to later) Nietzsche.

 

 

* the Undivided Continuity of States.—‘analysis’, ‘duration’ & ‘intuition’ in Bergson:

… —examining ‘analysis’, language, ‘intuition’, and flux in Bergson’s philosophy.

 

 

What I’m interested in here are the… parallels (for want) in the accounts of language,… —thinghood (so to), and subjectivity (—the “I”. … ) as fictitious (—artistic, after a fashion) projections… —impositions of order on the underlying flux of an undivided continuity of ‘states’, between Nietzsche, Bergson, and Lacan.

 

 

*—More importantly (for the current reading of ‘The Mirror Stage’),…

 

—I’m interested in the question of what it is that *prompts these… impositions.

 

 

*… —I’ve been (ridiculously slowly and gingerly) working my way back through, amending and (hopefully) developing my work on and reading of Modernist poetics and aesthetics in my doctoral thesis, over on the main thread of this blog. …

 

—in what follows here,… I want to jump slightly ahead of myself (so to), and—in laying out my reading of the origins and the structure of the mirror stage (…)—to draw on a key idea from the work of the Modernist critic, poet, and aesthete T.E. Hulme,… —an idea which he himself adopts(-appropriates) from the work of Wilhelm Worringer: …

*(—and so,… —I’ll adapt-be adapting here, some material from my doctoral thesis, as well as some material which I wrote (from the point-of-view (so to) of my protagonist) for my first novel: Notes of a Vanishing Quantity *(—which I’m still trying, and failing, to publish, and which my thesis and its adaptation in this blog, are intended as a kind of a… companion piece), and which I earlier adapted for the blog for an ‘ early C20th political writing’ reading group of which I was a part under the title of: towards an Ethics of Friendship. … ).

 

*… —I want to examine the origins of the ‘mirror stage’—in-as a response to, following Hulme and Worringer, I’ll characterise here as

 

*—‘space fear’. …

 

 

—This, I hope, (in ways that I want to come back to and to clarify and develop later) will lay the groundwork for a reading of Lacan on ‘primary narcissism’ in (-of) ‘the mirror stage’.

 

*concluding early Nietzsche vs. Schopenhauer, & Nietzsche, Bergson, language & intuition… * – the will to power. …

*(follows on from ‘On the “Undivided Continuity of States”.’ …).

 

*conclusion to part I. …
*—on the will to power. …

 

*The origin of the emergence of a thing […] anything in existence, having somehow come about, is continually interpreted anew, requisitioned anew, transformed and redirected to a new purpose by a power superior to it; […] everything that occurs in the organic world consists of overpowering, dominating, and in their turn, overpowering and dominating consist of re-interpretation, adjustment, in the process of which their former “meaning” [Sinn] and “purpose” must necessarily be obscured or completely obliterated.[…T]he whole history of a “thing”, an organ, a tradition can to this extent be a continuous chain of signs, continually revealing new interpretations and adaptations [….] The “development” of a thing, a tradition, an organ is therefore not its progressus towards a goal, still less is it a logical progressus, taking the shortest route with the least expenditure of energy and cost, – instead it is a succession of more or less profound, more or less mutually independent processes of subjugation exacted on the thing, added to this the resistances encountered every time, the attempted transformations for the purpose of defence and reaction, and the results, too, of successful countermeasures. The form is fluid, the “meaning” [Sinn] even more so…

*(Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality, trans Carol Diethe, ed Keith Ansell-
Pearson [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003], *—II, §12, 55).

 

*so,—… (hmm). … —I want to try to conclude this current chapter *(—this thread or string of fragments, here) by moving on to argue that understanding the ‘primal unity’ (the—Ur-Eine) of Birth as representing the ‘eternally suffering and contradictory’ interpenetrating flux of natural drives, as I established this reading in my comparison of Nietzsche and Bergson, places it in far closer proximity to Nietzsche’s later doctrine of the ‘will to power’, than to the (metaphysical) unity of the Schopenhauerian ‘will’ (—Will). …

—This will (it is hoped) help to clarify the anti-metaphysics and naturalism I will argue are at stake in Birth, and (also,—by extension) my reading of Nietzsche’s account of artistic inspiration and creation in the text. …

 

—I want to understand  the ‘will to power’ here in terms of Gilles Deleuze’s reading in Nietzsche and Philosophy, in contrast to that of Rüdiger Bittner (—the editor of Cambridge Press’s recent excellent edition of ol’ Fritz’s later notebooks), who argues that the ‘will to power’ is analogous (in some way) to Schopenhauer’s ‘will’ (—Will…).[1]

 

—In his introduction to Nietzsche’s late notebooks, Bittner claims that ‘[a]s far as its scope is concerned, Nietzsche’s “will to power” simply takes over the place of Schopenhauer’s “will”’, citing Schopenhauer’s claim that ‘it is one and the same will that manifests itself both in the forces of inorganic and the forms of organic nature.’[2]

As such, I would argue, Bittner presupposes the unity, or the—self-identity of the ‘will’ in Nietzsche’s formulation of the will to power. …

—This prejudice leads him to make the mistake, I think, of misreading the formulation, arguing that:

—‘the “will to power” does mean “will for power”: a will to power is a will such as the thing willed is power.’ (LN, xvii.—emphases added here…)

 

so then,…

—Bittner reasons from a falsely assumed original unity of the will to the conclusion that it must be this unitary will which wills for power’. …

*(—Nietzsche’s/the Nietzschean ‘will’, then, (for Bittner), represents a metaphysical unity… —a singular, self-identical, Will, which wills for its own—‘power’. …).

 

He concludes his reading of the will to power as follows:

‘While it is a defect that the present reading makes the doctrine of will to power come out false, it is not a decisive one: I see no reading intelligible in itself and reasonably true to the texts that does better.’ (xxii)

—Such a reading is, in fact, offered by Deleuze. …

 

*—In his analysis of the concept of ‘genealogy,’ ‘sense’, and the philosophy of the will in Nietzsche, Deleuze defines the ‘sense’ of a ‘thing’ as ‘the force which appropriates the thing, which exploits it, which takes possession of it or is expressed in it.’[3]

—For Deleuze (following Nietzsche), the sense of a ‘thing’ (—an event, phenomenon, word or thought) is generated by the accession to dominance of a particular ‘force’ which had been vying for that dominance with rival forces:

*theappropriation, then, of a quantum of reality. … (3-4 (see also 29).—cf. OGM, II, §11, 55). …

—‘The history of a thing’, then (my emph.), expresses—‘the succession of forces which take possession of it and the co-existence of the forces which struggle for possession. The same object, the same phenomenon, changes sense depending on the force which appropriates it.’ (3)

And this precludes any notion of the ‘thing’s’ unity or self-identity…

 

For Nietzsche, Deleuze argues, a thing’s ‘essence’ (so to) would constitute ‘that one among all the senses of a thing, which gives it the force with which it has most affinity.’ (4)

‘Essence’ is that which allows the thing to go to the ends of what it is capable of achieving and does not serve to inhibit or debilitate it, and is neither a priori nor integral to the thing. …

With this conception of force, Deleuze argues, ‘Nietzsche substitutes the correlation of sense and phenomenon for the metaphysical duality of appearance and essence.’ (3)

—In opposition to a Kantian-Schopenhauerian metaphysical distinction between the phenomenon and the thing-in-itself, Nietzsche posits a conception of a flux of natural forces.—The ‘sense’ of a thing names its possession by a dominant force at any one point or moment in time, and its ‘history’ names the succession of such possessions through time. …

 

—Against Bittner’s misreading of a unified, Schopenhauerian, metaphysical Will—the metaphysical unity of the ‘will for power’—according to the terms of Deleuze’s reading (which itself, as I have suggested, closely follows Fritz’s formulation in OGM), ‘Nietzsche’s concept of force is therefore that of a force which is related to another force: in this form force is called will. The will (will to power) is the differential element of force’.[4]

—The will to power, according to the terms of Deleuze’s reading then, represents the ‘differential element’ between the natural forces (sub-wills) struggling for possession of a quantum of reality.—It serves to define the sense of a thing, by expressing the force which has (however temporarily) triumphed in this struggle, and defines the ‘essence’ of the thing, by identifying with which force the thing has the utmost affinity.

Alongside the false assumption of the unity of the will to power, which he thus identifies as a (Schopenhauerian) ‘source’ of events (—? hmm…), one of Bittner’s crucial mistakes is to fail to define the concept of ‘power’ itself correctly…

—He argues that ‘the doctrine maintains that any living thing does whatever it does for the sake of gaining power or of augmenting the power it already has.’ (LN, xx) He is able to misrepresent the will to power as the ‘intention’ of a ‘living thing’ because he at first assumes the (internal) self-identity of the living thing. In fact, what I have already argued is the case in the imposition of the concepts of the intellect on the pre-individuated flux of natural drives in ‘On Truth’ *(and of the parallel with the fictional status of the ‘I’ and the thing in the late notebooks), and is supported by Deleuze’s reading of force and ‘sense’… —for Nietzsche, the discrete, and (only) apparently self-identical ‘thing’ is, in fact, sculpted (—cut away) from the underlying flux of an undivided continuity of states and/or forces through an (essentially) artistic process of ‘individuation’. …

*(and identity (—thing-hood,—(the) I…) itself, then, is—can only ever be—a retrospective fiction,—projected back, onto (what was, in essence) an arrangement—a hierarchy—of forces. …).

*—The will to power names an overcoming within what will be later dubbed the phenomenon (—the Deleuzian ‘sense’ of the thing)…

Power, and the will to power, name, in the first instance, the, a ‘self’-overcoming (so to), and not the ‘intention’ of a living thing with regard to external phenomena, as Bittner argues.[5]

 

 

—As Deleuze argues in his analysis of Nietzsche’s concept of value and evaluation: ‘the value of something is the hierarchy of forces which are expressed in it as a complex phenomenon.’ (7)…

*—the value, then, of any given phenomenon—its will to power—derives as an expression of which force has become dominant within it and which have submitted to this dominance, at any given moment (—at any given point) in-within the arc of that phenomenon…

*(—the retrospective, linguistic, fiction of a given point in-within space,—of an atom in-of-within time,—of the ‘identity’ of the thing (—the ‘I’) itself,… defined by—naming—the succession to dominance of a force and the creation of a hierarchy within a complex of forces constituting a quantum of reality…).

In contrast to the metaphysical unity and myopic struggle ‘for’ power of Bittner’s reading, the Nietzschean ‘will’ is, in fact, a plurality: *—a ‘complex’. …

—As Deleuze argues, this multiplicity and complexity of the ‘will’ is the ‘precise point’ of Nietzsche’s break with Schopenhauerian metaphysics. (cf. 7) …

 

*So. … —Despite Nietzsche’s own claim (within the text itself) that the ‘primal unity’ represents the fundamental ‘metaphysical assumption’ (—?) underpinning Birth, (—and for this see §4, 45), it in fact names the flux of the multiplicity of natural drives, firmly anti-metaphysical and of the realm of representation, prior to and underlying the process of individuation, alluded to in the ‘On Schopenhauer’ fragment, clearly articulated for the first time in ‘On Truth’ and elevated-raised finally to the level of a philosophical doctrine in the formulation of the will to power. …

—In Birth, metaphysical, Schopenhauerian vocabulary is ironically appropriated to a nascent anti-Schopenhauerian, ‘naturalist’ philosophical project. …

 

*and so then,… in what is to follow here *(—the next string-thread of fragments—chapter), I will argue that it is this that underpins Nietzsche’s reading of the appropriation of the drive to the incorporation of lived experience into culture in the forms Apollinian art, and the appropriation of the purgation of lived experience and the suppressed energetic reservoir of the natural drives into culture within Dionysian art, and, finally, in the conjunction of these art forms in the fold of the self-creation of the lyric poet, conceived of as the Apollinian incorporation of the experience of Dionysian purgation.


[1] Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, trans. Hugh Tomlinson (London: Athlone, 1986); Nietzsche, Writings  from the Late Notebooks, (LN) trans. Kate Sturge, ed. Rudiger Bittner (Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press: 2003)

[2] LN, xxi.—The translation is Bittner’s own from Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, I, §27, 170. Cf. Payne’s translation: ‘in all the forces of inorganic and in all the forms of organic nature, it is one and the same will that reveals itself’. (in Schopenhauer, WWR, I, §27, 143)

[3] 3. Deleuze takes as the basis of his reading of the ‘will to power’ the passage cited as-in the epigraph to the current section-fragment: OGM, II, §11, 55-56…

[4] 6. Cf. Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, trans.Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage Books, 1989), IX, §260, in which,  returning to the definition of the pre-history of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ and the ‘noble’ and ‘base,’ first addressed in Human, All Too Human (HH, I, §45, 36-37), and later more fully developed in the first essay of On the Genealogy of Morality, Nietzsche distinguishes between what he calls the ‘two basic types’ of morality: the master and slave moralities. The former is defined by the nobility of a self-felt prerogative to create and legislate values from an overwhelming feeling of an overfullness or excess of power (cf. 205). The latter is ‘base’: ‘violated, oppressed, suffering, unfree, […] weary’, and from this exhausted, resentful state moralises (cf. 207). Nietzsche argues that in what he emphasises as all ‘higher’ and ‘more mixed  cultures’ there is an ‘interpenetration and mutual misunderstanding of both, and at times they occur directly alongside each other]—even in the same human being, within a single soul.’ (204). This conflict and vying for dominance of the master and slave moralities,—of the active and reactive, supports the Deleuzian reading of the will to power and serves to refute Bittner’s conclusions.

[5] On the importance of the primacy of self-overcoming to the will to power see especially Nietzsche, Writings from the Late Notebooks, 34[250], 16; 35[15], 18; 36[22], 25; 38[8], 36-37; 1[44], 57; 10[87], 188 and 14[79], 245-246.

*On the ‘Undivided Continuity of States’.—’intuition’ in Bergson & Nietzsche…

*(follows on from ‘Intuition, Flux, & Anti-metaphysics’…).

*On the Undivided Continuity of States. …
—on the ‘primal unity’ &(/as)—‘duration’…

—‘analysis’ & ‘duration’.
(—Bergson & ‘On Truth’…).

 

 *In An Introduction to Metaphysics (of 1903), Henri Bergson offers a clear, concise, and apt summary of the distinction between ‘analysis’ (—the conceptual) and ‘intuition’, which he had established in his earlier works (Time and Free Will,—Matter and Memory, (etc.)…)…—

By intuition is meant the kind of intellectual sympathy by which one places oneself within an object in order to coincide with what is unique in it and consequently inexpressible. Analysis, on the contrary, is the operation which reduces the object to elements already known, that is, to elements common both to it and other objects.[1]

so,…

—‘analysis,’ Bergson argues, breaks its object down into parts (—‘elements’) corresponding to pre-existing concepts in which it participates (is made to participate) with other objects. …

*—it strikes me that these terms very closely echo—perhaps in a way not identified before and most certainly not dwelt upon in work on the similarities between Nietzsche and Bergson—Nietzsche’s critique of language, the intellect, and the conceptual in ‘On Truth’, and, in particular here, Nietzsche’s critique of the formation of the ‘Platonic’ concept of the ‘leaf’, which was formed, he argued, by discarding the differences between individual leaves: the awakening of the ‘idea’ that, ‘in addition to the leaves’, there exists in ‘nature’—‘the leaf’.’[2]

—(the process of) ‘analysis’, then, reduces the thing (—its object) to these constituent elements and to their conceptual correspondences.

—by contrast, Bergson wishes to promote the method of ‘intuition,’ which—as it did for Nietzsche in ‘On Truth’—aims to shatter the reduction of its object to pre-existing conceptual prejudices, and to place the observer back into (in closer proximity to) an original state of disinterested, non-conceptual receptivity *(—‘intellectual sympathy’). …

… —in terms which I will argue echo Nietzsche’s appropriation of Schopenhauer’s principle of individuation (principium individuationis) in Birth, beneath the hardened veneer of the fragmented and atomised spatio-temporal realm of the concepts—the ‘crust solidified on the surface’ of experience (cf. Bergson, IM, 25)—Bergson identifies ‘one reality […] which we all seize from within, by intuition and not simply by analysis. It is our own personality in its flowing through time—our self which endures.’ (24) …

—Beneath the artificially differentiated, atomistic experience of things in conceptual space, and of moments in conceptual time, Bergson argues, subsists a foundation of undifferentiated states which he calls *‘duration’ (—durée):

‘beneath these sharply cut crystals and this frozen surface, a continuous flux which is not comparable to any flux I have ever seen. There is a succession of states, each of which announces that which follows and contains that which precedes it.’ (25)

—Duration constitutes ‘one reality,’ seemingly paradoxically comprised of a continual flux of successive ‘states’. …

We are originally made aware of this flux, according to Bergson, through our consciousness of our own personality (internal intuition) and (then, subsequently) extend the principle to the outer phenomena of perception (external intuition).

—apparently autonomous, these… states nonetheless interpenetrate, containing all those states which precede them and unfolding ineluctably into all those which are to follow.

The ‘states’ of duration constitute neither a simple multiplicity, nor a simple unity, but, ‘instead of being distinct, as they are in any other [comparable form of] multiplicity, encroach upon one another.’ (30)—They constitute ‘a continuity of elements which prolong themselves into one another’,—a continuity which ‘participates in unity as much as in multiplicity; but this moving, changing, colored, living unity has hardly anything in common with the abstract, motionless, and empty unity which the concept of pure unity circumscribes.’(30-31)[3]

*—the flux of duration represents an undivided continuity of states’. …

It is the undivided continuity of this flux which the concepts rend asunder through the imposition of artistically projected individuated forms:

Pure intuition, external or internal, is that of an undivided continuity. We break up this continuity in the one case to distinct words, in the other to independent objects. But, just because we have thus broken the unity of our original intuition, we feel ourselves obliged to establish between the served terms a bond which can only be external and superadded.[4]

The concepts are generated through the formation and false hypostatisation of words (an echo of the formation of language in ‘On Truth’) and of independent objects. Once fragmented, for any form of discourse to be possible, it becomes necessary, Bergson argues, to artificially form bonds between the severed entities. This is the role of ‘analysis’. (—cf. CE, 4)

For Bergson, these bonds, whatever their use value (for language and for action), can in no way afford access to the underlying flux, but are, and must remain, external epiphenomena.

(and, again,—this echoes Nietzsche’s critique of the conceptual quasi-Platonic prostheses to experience in ‘On Truth’…).

 

*the ‘Limits of the diaphane’. …
—on the fragments in-of space & the atoms in-of time.

 

Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read, seapspawn and seawrack, the nearing tide, that rusty boot. Snotgreen, bluesilver, rust: coloured signs. Limits of the diaphane.

*(—Joyce, Ulysses, ed. Seamus Deane (London: Penguin, 1992).
—‘Proteus’, 45).

Bergson, then, is concerned with the limits of perception. …

*… (that is)—with the limits of what can be perceived—and be known—within or through the constraints of language and of the intellect,…

—his critique of ‘analysis’ and of the concepts of the intellect, echoes Nietzsche’s sarcastic ‘fable’ on the conceit of the intellect, in ‘On Truth’. … —

how miserable, how shadowy and transient, how aimless and arbitrary the human intellect looks within nature. There were eternities during which it did not exist. And when it is all over with the human intellect, nothing will have happened. For this intellect has no additional mission which would lead it beyond human life. (114)

*Bergson’s key concern, of course, is time, and, in particular, the occlusion of the flux of duration in the formation of our conceptual experience of time. …

—of all that is, in essence, lost in-of time in the formation of the atoms of—(everyday) ‘clock-time’. …

—Bergson is concerned primarily with the nature of the perception of time, and, by extension, the effect of this on the perception of things in time.

*in order to—(what?)… —to unpack all that I think is at stake in Bergson’s conception of time, and thus, of course, by the terms of the parallel I’ve established, in Nietzsche’s,—I want to perform a sort of an experiment here. …

*—I want to read two short films, posted online, on the YouTube channel of *THE SLOW MO GUYS,—Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy. …

as the name suggests—Free, with the assistance of Gruchy, films often banal-everyday phenomena in slow motion using a high-definition Phantom Flex high-speed digital camera…

—their introductions to their films, choices of subject—and the channel itself—all have an irreverent, mock-juvenile charm, and yet they’re surprisingly… —beautiful,… awe-inspiring, and moving… (helped in no small part by the score which accompanies the… drop (—the fall (sic.—for want) into the slow-motion sequences). …

*in particular here, I’m interested in how little (of the world) we actually see (perceive). *(that is,—how little is seen. …). …

—how the detail—the qualities—of *(apparently) whole-discrete, persisting things, changes, and the (what?)… —the elevation (sic) of the (again,—apparently) banal,—dull,… —known, to (the status of)—the *sublime (I suppose) in an alteration in-to the perception of time.

*—I want to focus on two films: ‘Molotov Cocktail in Slow Motion’, and ‘Paint Exploding at 15,000fps’

(though I also recommend, particularly: ‘Exploding Lighters in Slow Motion’, ‘Popping Popcorn in super Slow Motion’, and ‘Paint on a Speaker at 2500fps’…).

*(and so, then. … —a note-disclaimer: …

—all this will have been-is meant, in a sense, to be read alongside those video-posts themselves). …

 

 

*—on ‘Molotov Cocktails in Slow Motion’:

*in time as seen in (-of) the everyday (—perceived). …

—(only ever seen as) a (sudden) burst. …

—a flash. (—of light). …

—the fire. moves—like liquid. (water).—spreads-unfolds like a molten wave (—waves).—points,—channels(-cones) (from the core.—blossoming back in bursting plumes.—into themselves…). spreads, in a burst.—swells. (throbs-pulses melting-clouded).—billows. … (and rolls).—dark (in-at the core).—undulates… to bright (a light yellow-white) at the edges (crest.—the cusp) of waves—through deep (dark) (earthy) orange. …

—can see it. in… forms (separate) shapes. elements. … *(—not seen in the fast quotidian.—(absorbed.—lost in a) flash).

and moves in (isolated,—overlapping) waves… —folds. (creased). … —back-in-through itself.

and—darkens (not sudden.—no-not fades…). *—moves from-through light (bright, electric, intense) to dark (cloudy-molten), before exhausting. …

—takes on the form (as it consumes) of the liquid burning (—as it moves)… *(—not separate: a liquid that then burns-is burning.—a simultaneity-continuity (of liquid–flame) undifferentiated. …). (melts). undulates. aqueous.

beautiful (—stunning …).

*on ‘Paint Exploding at 15,000fps’. …

. —yellow, orange, red,—blue, green, purple. (small bottles.—ranged in a rack)…

(with fire-crackers.—to explode. in a row—a sequence…).

yellow.

—paint spurts. in curling lines and tendrils (drops), then rises,—in a ribbon (flowing in undulat waves.—like fabric.—a viscous membrane).—in (slow, heavy) folds (and creases)—tears at the edges.—up.—into a… cloud (of particles). (—a shape (—ragged)). breaking(-ripped).

and continues (flows)… —distends… —into a thinner ribbon (narrow). and lights (from withinside) with a bright, hot light (of fire—bursting (intense)…).—in bright pulses. with small light sparks. (light seems to darken-dull the paint’s colour). …

and shoots off (tears), into sharp line-ribboned tendrils. …

*(the bottles fall…).

red.

explodes.

bright white ragged light (—to yellow). with (viscous) rays and ribbons (—rivulets) of (deep, dark) red…

(—carried. out. on the crest (the cusp) of the wave—riding-bursting out—of light (—pushed-forced)…).

—and droplets (thick). …

(—lit by the fire, burning—pink-orange. …).

—light tears-shatters into (burning) fragment-pieces.

—the… fabric of the paint tears (from withinside).—torn membrane (pieces). (shapes—sharp-edged)…

still white burning droplets. …

and twisting globules—out. ….

expands (and disappears). …

and blue.

bursts.—a spurt.—a jet. (of tendrils-droplets). …

—a plume of hot light folded into.

(white burning spark-droplets)—fizzles. …

green.

explodes. … out.—into-in two (thin) dark arcing waves (folding over into themselves—pleated. curved (—a crease).). undulat (—distend). unfolding (roll). …

bright core of (electric seeming—generat) white light (intense). in liquid-fabric (viscous membrane) waves (a film (skin).—surging plumes)…

and tear. … —into ragged liquid membrane limbs-tendrils (a star—shaped). …

(—linked by tenuous tenril-ribbons—strands.

—heavy mass at the explosion’s crest (outmost).

—traces the circle (the ring) of the wave. …).

and tear (fly off) (—a release). (dissipation). …

purple.

in a pulse. spits.—forces out the white, electric glowing burst of burning.

(electric droplets. spray—like sparks)…

—a jet (thick) thin (—a slicing line)…

orange.

explodes.—in a heavy, thin, curling (torn) ribbon. …

*(a new line (of bottles)… —purple, orange, blue, yellow, green, red. (—ranged in a rack).).

 

purple.

small pulse of liquid. burst.

shower of spark-droplets. …

(a burst of electric light—white, through yellow-pale to darker (heavier) orange.—at its heart (in-at the bottle’s neck).

light in purple, in-at the bottle-top. …

—plume of dark paint (long.—thin)…

orange.

a burst, more substantial

(shot through with globules of white, hot light).

—a taller, thicker plume (stretched-distended.—creasing…).

blue.

erupts. … —ringed cloud-fringe pleated—a wave (heavy, dark).—thick tapering plume (creased-folded) above.

—around a bright, intense burst of white electric light… (—a shower of orange-yellow sparks) explodes out (—a ring)…

yellow.

burst. dark, thick, voluminous folds of fabric-liquid (viscous skin-membrane). tapering.

wide burst spread of hot, yellow (electric) light behind-beneath. …

bursts of sparks-droplets…

…—erupts and tears apart to fibrous tendrils…

(flashes—spherical bursts of light through).

green.

erupts.

—a thin ring (tendrilled)—the crest-event horizon (cusp) of a heavy (viscous) wave (waves.—billow heavy).

bright, sharp, hot core of light (white.—fades-darkens to deep yellow at its leading-cooling edge). …

sharp, thin, twisting-winding plume.—rises to (creased) tearing billow…

and… —evaporates (seems) in-to tiny sparks.

—a thick, jagged plume (falls-collapses). …

red.

vaporous eruption (—a cloud) around a hot, bright core (intense) of white light—obscured by torn fragments-rags of viscous.

—sharp, narrow plume tapers (above—over)…

—showers out.—in-to droplets-sparks…

and—leaves a thick winding plume…

—shoots upward (thinning,—exhausting).

and falls (a fibre-tendril—thread). …

*time.

(hmm.).

*and, so,—what is shown in time (as-slowed), then—? …

*—‘time’ as-is-seen (in the) everyday *(—broken. atomic.—measured…)… —is not, then, time (as-it-is-in) itself. …

*(—there is no time as-it-is-in itself. …).

—an alteration (alterations) in-within the perception of time (—SLOW. MO. …) reveals the arbitrariness,… —the *stupidity,—the limitlimits (limited) of ‘clock-time’ (quotidian), and the potential (—the necessity—?) of-for the retrieval of new forms from a broader (—(slightly) more comprehensive) perception (sensitivity toward-comprehension of) flux. (—behind.—beneath). …

—what we perceive—we read—as discrete things (quanta), then, (in space,—in-through-of time),… —what appear as phenomena-things,—whole, solid, discrete, (clearly) delineated… —known,… —break down, in-within time-as-slowed (drawn out, unpacked,—extended…).

(or, no,… rather: —shown never to have been the solid-known-discretions (quanta) had been taken for…).

—revealed in time-slowed as the playing out of the processes of forces-elements (—themselves can be broken down (—in infinite divisibility)…). …

—reveals qualities which (had) always inhered (sic. —were always present), but never seen (cognised) (before). …

—far more beautiful than (in) the crude unit-atoms of everyday ‘clock-time’, which are, otherwise, all that is available…

*time-slowed, then… —undoes the prejudices (conceptual) of-in time (—as thought was known). …

and closer, then,—to the continuity of interpenetrating states beneath-behind the fragments of space in-through the atoms of time, forged by the intellect (—‘analysis’),—in-from language (from words and-to concepts)…

*and this—the shattering of prejudices-conceptual (of habit-inertia)—is what, for Bergson, as it had been for Nietzsche, is at stake in ‘intuition’ (—vs. the concepts of the intellect)—as method. …

*on ‘intuition’, then,—as method. …

*Bertrand Russell very beautifully summarises what he (rightly.—why not?) calls Bergson’s ‘ingenious’ conception of the intellect and his conceptions of ‘matter’ and of ‘time’. … —

Intelligence or intellect, “as it leaves the hands of nature, has for its chief object the inorganic solid”; it can only form a clear idea of the discontinuous and immobile; its concepts are outside each other like objects in space, and have the same stability. The intellect separates in space and fixes in time; it is not made to think evolution, but to represent becoming as a series of states [. …] Solid bodies, it would seem, are something which mind has created on purpose to apply the intellect to them.

[…]

The genesis of intellect and the genesis of material bodies, we are told, are correlative; both have been developed by reciprocal adaptation. “An identical process must have cut out matter and the intellect, at the same time, from a stuff that contained both.”[5]

*—‘matter’, then (—so-called),—as a product-creation of the intellect. … —as that which falls away from duration—from-through its own inertia. …

(—frozen-carved (away.—‘Solid bodies’) from duration, in order that the intellect—that the subject (as subject) be able to function at all…).

*(and this is the same for good ol’ Fritz, I think. …

*—‘matter’,—the subject (—the ‘I’-the ‘self’),—the body (as whole-discrete)… (again)—creations of the intellect—as all that which falls away from flux. …).

indeed.

*though, to my mind, he offers what is still by far one of the most sharp and clear readings of Bergson, Russell, I think, is mistaken in the charges of ‘irrationalism’ and the anti-intellectualism, which he lays against him.[6]

Russell is too dismissive and too reductive. …

—this is a point that I want to return to when discussing readings (and misreadings) of Nietzsche’s relationship to Romanticism in my own reading of The Birth of Tragedy (in a later chapter-fragments), but… what I want to do here is this

—I think Russell’s charge of ‘irrationalism’ represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the terms of Bergson’s critique of the intellect, but in a way which is actually genuinely useful to me here and illuminating for my reading of Nietzsche…

*for Bergson, as for Nietzsche… —we are (all of us) trapped in language.—locked. in (within) the inadequacies—the limits—of language… *—of the fragments (of things) in space,… —in the atoms (in-)of ‘time. …

—for both, there can be no —complacency in (with regard to) language. …

—there must, for both, by contrast, be always a (fundamental) wariness-mistrust

*(—of the ability-capacity to ever truly say (have said) anything).

—no,… sitting still in the arbitrary, illusory, inadequate and ineluctably failing quanta (in-) of language. …

language.—as something entered into,… —not (never) as something possessed. …

(—something (sic) thrust into (into which, then, we are thrust). unavoidably.—in-volun-tarily but—necessarily. …). …

‘analysis’ (—the intellect) rends asunder the flux of the continuity of ‘states’.

*—just as for Nietzsche, in his account of the origins of language in ‘On Truth’, for Bergson language emerges as a process of metaphorical transposition:

*—from the original (sense) stimulus, through the word (—the sound), in-to the abstract concept. …

*—T.E. Hulme, in his essays-articles on Bergson’s philosophy, argues that these metaphors ‘soon run their course and die. But it is necessary to remember that when they were first used by the poets who created them they were used for the purpose of conveying over a vividly felt actual sensation.’[7]

Just as for Nietzsche, for Hulme (following Bergson) language originally emerges from a need to articulate a vividly felt sensible stimulus—an internal or external ‘intuition’. …

When this initial stimulus and artistic projection have passed, the metaphor (the word) can then, itself pass into popular usage (—becomes a concept). …

—It becomes hypostatised and its artistic origins are forgotten….

—The metaphor reaches the end of its capacity to articulate the ‘vividly felt actual sensation’ and becomes a mere ‘counter,’ akin to the pieces in a game of chequers, to be manipulated (‘moved about’) according to the demands of practical utility.[8]

*For Bergson, the aim of intuition as method is to ‘recover [the] contact with the real,’ severed in the formation of concepts and of ‘analysis,’ and to ‘restore intuition to its original purity’.[9]

Echoing Nietzsche’s claim for the necessity of the redemption of the intellect through ‘forbidden metaphors and in unheard-of combinations of concepts’ (in ‘On Truth’), Bergson argues that intuition is ‘only truly itself when it goes beyond the concept, or at least when it frees itself from rigid and ready-made concepts in order to create a kind very different from those which we habitually use.’ (Bergson, IM, 30)

—The aim of intuition, then, is, by an ‘effort,’ to break through the artificial surface of the conceptual and regain the undivided continuity of flux (duration) and what Bergson dubs ‘the intention of life’: —‘the simple movement that runs through the lines, that binds them together and gives them significance.’[10]

Bergson, and Hulme following him, dub this the *‘aesthetic intuition’, and both view art as the paragon of the attempt to lacerate the conceptual and to bring back new forms (new language, new metaphors, new images and new concepts) from the flux of duration—an (ironic) re-birth and appropriation of the intellect

*importantly, then… —rather than a form of straightforward ‘irrationalism’ or anti-intellectualism, as Russell’s reading would suggest—intuition, then, *(as method), represents an attempt (perhaps invariably ill-fated.—inevitably fails-failing), to appropriate the process of the formation of language and the concepts—the intellect (—‘analysis’).—from in-within. *—in the laceration and return. —and to revivify. …

(—to revivify language—the concepts of the intellect—and to turn to account. …): …

*—‘This intention is just what the artist tries to regain in placing himself back within the object by a kind of sympathy and breaking down by an effort of intuition the barrier that space puts between him and his model.’ (CE, 177).[11]

For Bergson, as for Nietzsche, the aim of intuition is to overcome the institutionalised and complacent metaphysical prejudice of the concepts and to create new metaphors to in order to capture the ‘vividly felt actual sensation’.

The flux of the undivided continuity of states subsisting beneath the veneer of the individuated concepts of the intellect in Bergson’s conception of ‘duration’ and ‘intuition’ is what is at stake in Nietzsche’s analogous critique of the intellect and championing of ‘intuition’ in ‘On Truth’.

For both Nietzsche and Bergson, the laceration of the concepts of the intellect in ‘intuition’ leads to a descent into the pre-individuated, undifferentiated flux, and a return with new metaphors and previously ‘unheard-of combinations of concepts.’

*and so,… —

In essence, I want to argue that the terms of the opposition of ‘intuition’ to the intellect, rendered explicit in ‘On Truth’, are (already, implicitly) at stake in his contrast of ‘the immediate certainty of vision’ (—the ‘intensely clear figures’ of the gods), to ‘logical inference’ and ‘concepts’ in the opening gambit and establishment of the terms of the argument of Birth.

—The laceration of the falsely hypostatised, individuated concepts of the intellect and descent into the flux of the undivided continuity of states of ‘On Truth’ (illuminated through the Bergsonian parallel), is what is ultimately at stake in the relationship of the Apollinian and Dionysian artistic drives and the ‘primal unity’ of Birth and, as I will argue forms the foundation of Nietzsche’s account of artistic inspiration in the text. …

*In Birth, Nietzsche argues that we should ‘not consider the question of our own “reality”’, but instead ‘conceive of our empirical existence, and that of the world in general, as a continuously manifested representation of the primal unity’. (§4, 45)

Nietzsche argues that the empirical existence of the individual and the world which they inhabit are to be conceived of as artistically projected representations, forged from the underlying undifferentiated flux of the ‘primal unity’. This is thus analogous to his later account of the formation of words and concepts and the sculpting of the ‘thing’ from the underlying flux of the undivided continuity of states in ‘On Truth’ and, as I have argued, this latter must be understood in the light of Nietzsche’s refutation of the thing-in-itself (the thing = x) in the essay, and his contrast of ‘dark contradictoriness’ to the metaphysical ‘unity’ of Schopenhauer’s ‘will’, as the thing-in-itself, in ‘On Schopenhauer’.

As Crawford argues, the ‘primal unity’ remains firmly on the side of representation, prior to the imposition of the artistically projected individuated forms of the concepts. For Nietzsche, in Birth, whatever the stammering he is led into by his awkward adherence to Schopenhauerian and Kantian (metaphysical) ‘formulas’, there can be no access to the thing-in-itself, already discredited in the earlier, unpublished fragment and re-emphasised in the later essay. (—see ‘Attempt at a Self-Criticism’, 20, 24)

*—the ‘primal unity’ of Birth represents the ‘eternally suffering and contradictory’ interpenetrating flux of natural drives. (§4, 45)


[1] Henri Bergson, An Introduction to Metaphysics (hereafter, IM), trans. T.E. Hulme (Cambridge: Hackett, 1999), 23-24

[2] ‘OTL,’ 117.

*—on this, see the previous post on *early Nietzsche—vs. Schopenhauerian metaphysics. …

[3] Cf. Bergson, Creative Evolution (hereafter CE), trans. Arthur Mitchell (New York: Dover Publications Inc., 1998), 1-7

[4] Bergson, Matter and Memory (MM), trans. Nancy Margaret Paul and W. Scott Palmer (London: Swan Sonnenchein & Co., Ltd, 1911), 239

[5] Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1961), 758.

[6] see Russell, 756 and 762, respectively…

[7] T.E. Hulme, ‘Bergson’s Theory of Art,’ in Speculations: Essays on Humanism and the Philosophy of Art, ed. Herbert Read, with a Frontispiece and Foreword by Jacob Epstein (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., 1924), 141-169 (151).

[8] Cf. Hulme, ‘Bergson’s Theory of Art,’ 151-152, 159-162, 165-166 and ‘The Philosophy of Intensive Manifolds,’ 176. The metaphor is also crucial to the notes gathered together under the title of ‘Cinders,’ 215-245.

[9] MM, 241. Cf. Gille Deleuze, Bergsonism, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (New York: Zone Books, 1988), 13-35 (esp. 14), and Suzanne Guerlac, Thinking in Time: An Introduction to Henri Bergson (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006), 63-64: ‘This is what Bergson is trying to do: to bring to philosophical awareness what has been absolutely repressed by thought and is structurally inaccessible to it’. (63)

[10] CE, 176-177. Cf. IM, 21-22 and Hulme, ‘Bergson’s Theory of Art,’ 144 where the passage is reproduced verbatim.

[11] Cf. Hulme, 144. Hulme goes on to refer to the artist’s shattering of the conceptual and experience of flux as the ‘essentially aesthetic emotion’ (145). Cf. also 149-150 and 161-162.