Jason (jcreed) wrote,

Tried to get some work today, but mostly I am stuck without a working laptop. Again I feel it's kind of dangerous how unproductive I am outside my usual obsessive rut-like work habits.

I got some reading done in the evening anyway —

Like, some day I may actually get through the Deleuze book max_ambiguity lent me quite a while ago. I'm approaching half-way through The Fold, and it is still pretty dizzying. Some of what he says geometrically about points of inflection being intrinsic singularities of curves in a way that mere first-order extrema like maxima and minima aren't (because they're not invariant up to rotation) makes sense on a purely mathematical level, but I can't see what he's getting out of bringing it up. A lot of the math and references to Leibniz confound me utterly because I'm sure he isn't talking about the math and about the Leibniz I know. The Leibnizian monads I was taught had no interior, not just a lack of "windows" which still permits them to have some kind of inner structure, however concealed. The Leibnizian notion of identity I thought I knew wasn't a property of a thing (i.e. something has an Identity or not, which seems to be Deleuze's usage) but a property of the extensions of two intensions; two descriptions are of the same thing if their extensions identically satisfy (or not) every predicate. I have no clue what his "infinite series" are supposed to be, but they have a baggage of analogy attached to them far beyond what I can suss out in a first reading.

There is something about his claim of "difference" being prior to "identity" seems very Saussurean to me, though, and to whatever extent that's true, I'm sympathetic. Something along the lines of the world not being so much populated by a discrete collection of things but more being carved up into territories by linguistic and cognitive distinctions, which we turn around and treat (the territories, the regions) as if they had been hard-edged things, present before we named them.

I tried reading a little Nietzsche for background; I got through Ecce Homo in not very long at all, and also some other random bits. I don't think I understand Deleuze any better for it, but hot damn if I don't love reading me some Nietzsche when I'm feeling mundane and mediocre. His exuberance is poisonous, and thrilling. Life lived at (and, finally, over) the edge of madness isn't always beautiful, but here it is.

From section 3 of "Why I Am So Wise" in Ecce Homo:

[...] to whom alone does he want to narrate his riddle?
To you, the bold venturers and adventurers, and whoever has embarked with cunning sails upon dreadful seas,
to you who are intoxicated with riddles, who take pleasure in twilight, whose soul is lured with flutes to every treacherous abyss —
for you do not desire to feel for a rope with cowardly hand; and where you can guess you hate to calculate...

From "Die fröhliche Wissenschaft", section 334:

This is what happens to us in music: First one has to learn to hear a figure and melody at all, to detect and distinguish it, to isolate it and delimit it as a separate life. Then it requires some exertion and good will to tolerate it in spite of its strangeness, to be patient with its appearance and expression, and kind-hearted about its oddity. Finally there comes a moment when we are used to it, when we wait for it, when we sense that we should miss it if it were missing; and now it continues to compel and enchant us relentlessly until we have become its humble and enraptured lovers who desire nothing better from the world than it and only it.
But that is what happens to us not only in music. That is how we have learned to love all things that we now love ... Even those who love themselves have learned it in this way; for there is no other way. Love, too, has to be learned.
Tags: books, deleuze, nietzsche

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    Didn't sleep well. Long day of work. Dinner with akiva at hanamichi.

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    K was going to do a thing for her dad's birthday, but scheduling kept slipping and slipping so I guess we're going to try doing it tomorrow instead.

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    Had a pleasant lunch with paul and gabe back from working-at-facebook times. Discussed the important issues of the day, by which I mean video games…

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