Олесь Манюк
Author: Oles Maniuk
Ph.D. in philosophy, consultant in advanced studies Jansen Capital Management
3 minutes for reading

GILLES DELEUZE: Philosopher of the Absurd

GILLES DELEUZE: Philosopher of the Absurd
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Source: cla.purdue.edu


One of the most paradoxical philosophers of the second half of the 20th century, Gilles Deleuze was born on January 18, 1925, not far from Paris. Deleuze received a very solid philosophical background, was a student of Merleau-Ponty, a graduate of the elite Sorbonne, carefully studied the works of Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Bergson and, especially, Sartre – his Being and Nothingness. But, having fundamentally assimilated European classical philosophy, Deleuze rejected it and proposed a fundamentally, radically different philosophical project.

At first glance, this project is absurd – Deleuze found it necessary to introduce empiricism (the doctrine of experience, or direct living experience) into the very core of philosophy – metaphysics. In what appeared to be absolute, Deleuze brought development.

The end of the sixties and the beginning of the seventies were marked by bright and stormy creativity. Deleuze is in a continuous stream of work, writing one research paper after another, a dissertation on Spinoza, and his famous article on Sacher-Masoch (the first attempt at literary criticism).

The philosopher accepts an invitation from the University of Lyon, where he gives courses on Spinoza, Leibniz and Nietzsche. In the same place, he gets to know cinema better, is fond of the work of Godard, Fellini, Bergman and many other famous directors. This love will subsequently result in a two-volume dedicated to cinema.

In 1967, in a report to the French Philosophical Society, Deleuze outlined the main ideas of his monumental work Difference and Repetition. In it, the author overthrows the foundation of European philosophy – not unity lies at the basis, but difference, infinite in nature.

Almost a decade later, the Deleuzian revolution will be transferred to the very thick of life – together with the psychoanalyst Guattari, Deleuze writes Anti-Oedipus, a book about how the ontology of difference turns out to be the beginning of the endless desire of the individual, the loner and the nomad, the force that allows you to overcome all the traps of false thinking and unified society.

According to Deleuze, desire never comes from within; it cannot be thought by analogy with the essence of the subject, naturally endowed with inner wealth and virtue and striving to express himself outwardly; desire arises from the relation to the external, from the encounter with it and overcoming it; therefore, it is nothing but a way of learning.

Deleuze was so severely ill since the late 1980s that he was put on a ventilator with which he would spend the last two years of his life. He could no longer write and spoke with difficulty. His psychological state was gradually deteriorating, the philosopher could not bear his own weakness, and in the end, on November 4, 1995, the great Frenchman jumped from the window of his apartment in Paris.

He was buried on November 10th. Like the legendary Aesop, instead of torment, Deleuze chose the abyss for free people. But Deleuze’s thinking, free and boundless, continues to be a guide for thinking people in the era of virtual reality.

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