A Few Elaborations On "A Strong Pessimism"
Is pessimism inevitably a sign of decadence, warp, weakened instincts, as it was once with the ancient Hindus, as it is now with us modern Europeans? Or is there such a thing as a strong pessimism? A penchant of the mind for what is hard, terrible, evil, dubious in existence, arising from a plethora of health, plenitude of being? Could it be, perhaps, that the very feeling of superabundance created its own kind of suffering: a temerity of penetration, hankering for the enemy (the worth-while enemy) so as to prove its strength, to experience at last what it means to fear something?”
Since Nietzsche defined this as a consequence, maybe even a longing, stemming from a superabundance of health and affirmation he was not, it seems, characterizing it as negation or a reactive force, rather as a surplus of the life instinct. There doesn’t seem to be a contradiction here.
In much the same manner Deleuze’s philosophy is an absolute rejection of the powers of the negative. His theory of the event, his redefinition of the concept, and his open system of thought protects his work from nihilism.
Here’s what André Pierre Colombat writes (in Three Powers of Literature and Philosophy from A Deleuzian Century? ed. by Ian Buchanan, 1999, p. 207)
He combines the affirmative forces of Nietzscheanism with the active powers of Spinozist thought so as to strive for Rimbaud’s reinvention of life itself. Death is not characterized in a negative manner. To use a neo-Kantian and constructivist distinction, death is not considered the passive negation of life, but rather to be endorsed as the active negation of actual forms of life.
…according to Kant a distinction must be made between passive and active negations. So, for instance, if a proposition states that “A believes P,” its passive negation would be “No (A believes P),” while its active negation would be “A believes non-P”. The negative reigns over the former, but in the latter the negation appears only as the shadow of another affirmation. In a Deleuzian context, the first “passive” negation constructs a relation between being and nothingness with the difference characterized as a nonrepetition. The second “active” negation renders thinking as a battlefield of forces continually affecting each other. The “active” negation would mark only the point where two different or even opposite powers of affirmation come into contact with one another.
All of Deleuze’s work revolves around active negation and denounces the myths and illusions of representations based primarily on passive negation.
Isn’t a strong pessimism an “active” negation? And in what ways can it then be productive?
Yusef suggests that the concept exposes all that crazy happy-camper optimism as thoroughly negative, the symptom of weakened instincts par excellent.
But isn’t it also an affirmative force? Maybe, in general, we should translate "passive negations" into "active" ones.
I’m just wondering and would appreciate your thoughts.