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Critical Analysis of the Philosophy of Deleuze

Deleuze belongs to school of Postmodern, post-structuralist thought. In his philosophical works, he has addressed questions on art, literature, science and philosophy. He has used the Cinema and conceptualized it into a philosophical system.

According to him questions on Science, Literature, Art and Philosophy are extensions of the questioning power of life. Post structuralism responded to the impossibility of founding knowledge either on phenomenology or the structures of language. This argument, a flawed one poses serious questions for philosophy. Phenomenology or the appearances of the contents of consciousness and language as a semantic structure of signs (the signifier and the signified) have structures inherent in them. There is no empty sign. A sign carries a code with an inherent meaning in it. Deleuze also emphasizes the structure of becoming. There is always a being to a becoming.

In his book: Anti Oedipus complex and Schizo-analysis he reiterates that life was an open and proliferating world of connections. The self is in paranoid flux. This statement is rather eccentric as to how can we assume that the self is paranoid. The stability of the self lies in balancing the ID, EGO and the Super Ego. The balancing is not an easy task. The self is always like a tightrope walker adjusting his poles when walking on a rope or a string of wire. Life as a series of connections is quite compatible and deserves no argument.

Deleuze defines Philosophy as providing concepts, art as providing affects and Science as being functional. For example postmodernism as a Philosophy provides us a binary divide of language where signs privilege and marginalize each other. A deconstructive reading of text exposes these contradictions inherent in it. As an example for ART, let's take the 'Persistence of Memory' by the Surreal Artist Salvador Dali. The painting represents an embryo covered with a melting clock. Dream and reality is co-represented in this work of art. Time is interiorized and made as an inherent inner reality. Does the embryo represent the conflict of the artist with his own Oedipus complex? When we look at Science, the DNA codifies our genes and the analysis of a genetic structure is a functional one. According to him Literature should shock, shatter or provoke the reader. It's questionable to ask Deleuze how themes, like incest, rape, murder and pedophilia can be represented in Literature. Sigmund Freud has rightly said that a society has to prevent incest and murder for the continuance of civilization. Deleuze also remarks that events in Science and Art will provoke new problems for Philosophy.

“If you're trapped in the dream of the Other, you're fucked.”

Gilles Deleuze

Deleuze classifies the Cinema and its philosophy into two. They are, the Movement image and the Time image. Movement image is linked to the movement of the camera, giving expression to movement. Thus we find that a series of shots captured on screen are represented in a sequence or a flow. In art cinema there are many variations where images can be presented from multiple perspectives. In the Time Image, time is presented indirectly. Cinema presents images liberated from the everyday organizing structure of life. Deleuze is not very clear about the viewer's perspective. Do we succumb to the Cinema or challenge it. Popular Cinema is mainly made to suit the entertainment needs of the public. There is a lot of stereotyping in popular cinema. On the other hand art Cinema offers different perspectives. I felt like viewing art when I watched Akira Kurosawa's Dreams. I was particularly fascinated by the presentation of Van Gogh's pictures. The question for the Philosophy of Cinema is that when does it become art? Popular Cinema is a commercialized fetish for mass consumption.

Deleuze introduces the concept of life to that of a machine. For him, a machine is not a metaphor but a reality. For Deleuze the machine allows for an active ethics. Machine has no subjectivity or organizing center. Machines work through connections. De-territorialisation occurs when the event of becoming escapes or detaches from the original territory. My question for Deleuze is how we can view life as a machine devoid of subjectivity. For example making love is like writing poetry. The functional aspect of it can be a machine. The sharing and giving of love is not mechanical but poetic and it's an immersion of subjectivity. Again if I am talking of romance to a lover, I am establishing a connection that is not mechanical phenomenon. The subject and consciousness can never exist in a state of de-territorialization. When I read a text, I am not detached but enter into the realm of the reader's thoughts. Deleuze has mistakenly appropriated a political concept into human cognition and effect. De-territorialization lacks conceptual clarity. How can we conceptualize ethics into a system of machines? That would result in anarchy in the world.

Again Deleuze has used the concept of transcendental empiricism. He has mixed up two unrelated concepts together. In existential Philosophy, the concept of transcendence has been shorn of its divine character and given the status of feeling and emotion. Empiricism is a philosophy that relies on the structure of epistemology based on facts and data. An empirical based on approach is scientific or mathematical where as we can say that human relationships are transcendental.

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