Deleuze insists “ask…not what a text means but how it works” (p. xxxii).
“In order to begin to read and respond to an event we need to see its underlying problem” (p. xxxiv). The eye is the response to a problem of how to deal with light. A date in history is the confluence of all sorts of events and series of events.
“For Deleuze…we can only really really think or respond to problems if we do not accept the current terminology and orthodoxy of the problem” (p. xxxv).
Existentialism is a way of saying that there is no fundamental human nature but rather, human beings are nothing other than processes of decision” (p. xxxvi). We are “‘radically free'” according to Sartre. In my words, we are defined by our decisions.
Phenomonolgy suggests that a human world only exists because humans make it a meaningful project and there is no world without language. We have language only because we have projects; human life is essentially creative.
On Deleuze being difficult to understand:
“If thinking and human life have no fixed essence, and if thinking is the effect of forces that are not decided by thought itself, then we need to produce a style of writing that constantly produces problems. Instead of just accepting the questions and terms within whcih a culture already operates, we need to look at (and transform) the assumptions, propositions, distinctions or differences upon which a system of thought relies.”
True thinking must go beyond images of thought and overturn our terminologies and differences.
“All life is constant becoming…we need to do away with the idea that nature merely is while man decides his being” (p. xlii). All of nature is a constant process of decision in creative response to forces it confronts; as part of nature we are shaped by (a part of?) a multiplicity of forces that serve to create us. It is this shaping that we need to examine. How is our meaning and humanity shaped from pre-human forces?
Deleuze believed that “thinking out to be creative and affirmative” (p. xliii) and should be about creating new concpets and problems, not providing answers. It’s not about disclosing some hidden meaning about art or literature but responding actively and creatively through allowing something to affect our established ways of perception.
Life is a plane of a series of signs which create lines of difference; and difference is life.
“Instead of finding a meaning behind events and texts, we need to ask hwo texts that appear as meaningful are created” (p. xliii).