Wednesday, August 23, 2017
The death of Gilles Deleuze
I know — do I know it? — that the one the Germans were already aiming at, while waiting only for the final command, experienced then a feeling of extraordinary lightness, a sort of beatitude (nothing to do with happiness however), — a sovereign rejoicing? The meeting of death with death?
M. Blanchot, L’Instant de ma mort, 10.1
For Deleuze as for Blanchot there are two kinds of deaths: “Any death is double, by the cancellation of the great difference that it represents in extension, by the swarming and the liberation of small differences that it implies in intensities” (DR 333). The ego is confronted with the “first” death. This death is the end of everything, of every form or “shape” of life. It is a more “personal” death. It is the actual death I wrongly think “I” experience when “I kill myself”. However, this death is impossible to realize since, through this extreme voluntary act, “I” am asserting myself as an individual. Or, as Blanchot put it: “when I kill myself, maybe it is ‘I’ that actually commits the killing but it is not ‘I’ that dies and it is not ‘my death’ either — the death I provoked — that I experience, but the death I rejected, neglected, and that is this negligence itself, a perpetual escape and unaccomplishment” (L’Espace litteraire 134). Then there is also another death, impersonal and beyond the ego. A death that is always ahead of me. It is the extreme form of my power to become other or something else. An absolute and dynamic fissure that does not define the “possible” but that which will never end, the virtual that never gets accomplished, the unending and unceasing through which “I” lose the power to die because through it “we” (the impersonal French “on”, one/we, used by Blanchot) are dying, that is to say “we never cease and we never finish to die” (Blanchot, quoted by Deleuze, DR 149. See also AO 393–395).
“November 4, 1995: Deleuze’s death as an event”
André Pierre Colombat
Department of Modern Literatures, Loyola College in Leuven, Belgium
Man and World 29: 235–249, 1996. 235