Saturday, July 05, 2008

Negation, Affirmation: More Than A Rhyme.

Expanding or contracting, flowing or ebbing on our discussion about negation and affirmation here’s a collage of quotes by Deleuze creating Nietzsche,

The negative becomes a power of affirming: it is subordinated to affirmation and passes into the service of an excess of life. Negation is no longer the form under which life conserves all that is reactive in itself, but is, on the contrary, the act by which it sacrifices all its reactive forms. In the man who wants to perish, the man who wants to be overcome, negation changes sense, it becomes a power of affirming, a condition of the development of the affirmative, a premonitory sign and a zealous servant of affirmation as such.

There is no other power but affirmation, no other quality, no other element: the whole of negation is converted in its substance, transmuted in its quality – nothing remains of its own power or autonomy. This is the conversion of heavy into light, of low into high, of pain into joy. This trinity of dance, play, and laughter creates the transubstantiation of nothingness, the transmutation of the negative and the transvaluation or change of power of negation.

We are now perhaps in a position to understand Nietzsche’s texts concerning affirmation, negation and their relations. In the first place, negation and affirmation are opposed as two qualities of the will to power, two ratios of the will to power. They are both opposites, but also wholes which exclude their opposite. We can say that negation has dominated our thought, our ways of feeling and evaluating, up to the present day. In fact it is constitutive of man. And with man the whole world sinks and sickens, the whole of life is depreciated, everything known slides towards its own nothingness. Conversely, affirmation is only manifested above man, outside man, in the Overman which it produces and in the unknown that it brings with it. But the superhuman, the unknown, is also the whole which drives out the negative. The Overman as species is in fact “the superior species of everything that is.”

Zarathustra says yes and amen in a “tremendous and unbounded way”, he is himself “the eternal affirmation of all things”.

While the negative reigns it is vain to seek a speck of affirmation, either in earth or in the other world: what we call affirmation is a sad, grotesque phantom, shaking the chains of the negative. But at the moment of transmutation, negation is dissipated - nothing remains of it as independent power - neither as quality nor ratio.

(Gilles Deleuze: Nietzsche and Philosophy, 1962, (English translation, 1983, p. 176ff.)

(Picture of Deleuze embraced by youthful affirmation)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the picture.

Youthful affirmation or youthful Oedipalization?

Only her here-dresser knows for sure.


8:07 PM  

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