Saturday, May 26, 2007

The significance of becoming

My engagement with the work of Gilles Deleuze arose through an accident in the Newcastle Library. When looking for one of Michel Foucault's book I picked up an introduction to the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze written by Claire Colebrook. With reading a few pages I was captured, and have since been struggling and enjoying the work of Gilles Deleuze.
If I would have to pick out one concept of Deleuze that is the most important to me, it is the concept of becoming. The significance of becoming is it is a dynamic process with no being, but nevertheless produces beings. In neitzschian terminology, becoming is a dionysian affirmationa of life, which recognises death and creation are part of the same process. Becoming also has no final end point, and in this sense is different to the teleological histories of people like Karl Marx and Francis Fukuyama.
For me becoming is more that just a concept, but something that claims to be based on a certain type of 'realism'. If becoming is considered as a movement then we can see how this claim works. For Aristole the natural state of an object was at rest until a force moves that object. This could be demonstrated by me kicking a football, changing it from a state of rest to a moving object. However, Newtion challenged this assumption, and argued the the reverse. Where objects were natural in a state of movement unless something stopped this movement. This can be demonstrated by how the chair that i sit on is stopped from moving by the floor. For Deleuze, and becoming, there is no state of rest, and things are in a constant flux of becoming, and it is only our perception that sees things at rest. Take the apple that insipred Newton to think of things in a natural state of movement. For Newton, the apple dropping from the tree to the ground demonstrated for him that things natural move unless they are stopped. The problem, from a Deleuzian perspective of becoming, is the apple has not stopped moving when it has dropped to the ground. If the apple is left there (untouched) the apple will rot and become part of the soil. This shows that things in the world are always in a state of flux of becoming, and how becoming produces beings that have a certain duration as that being before they can become something else.

2 comments:

The Brooks Blog said...

If you're interested in this conception of the self, then you should read David Hume.

robt ™ said...

great blog! keep it up!
as ever, robt