The Energonomics of Nietzsche

9 June 2007 at 6:39 pm Leave a comment

I read Deleuze’s “Nomadic Thought” this morning (published in Deserted Islands and Other Texts 1953-1974) in which he asks, “who is the young Nietzschean today?” In exploring this, he talks about what Nietzsche did in philosophy, how he bypassed the “great instruments of encoding” (the law, contracts, and the institution) how his thought “gets its flows through” such encoding.  At one point he tries to explain the power of the aphorism in Nietzsche’s writings and invokes my sense of energonomics (to some extent):  books, words, thought has a kind of potential energy that is unleashed in its reading:

An aphorism is a play of forces….Nietzsche posits it quite clearly: if you want to know what I mean, find the force that gives what I say meaning, and a new meaning if need be. Hook the text up to this force. In this way, there are no problems of interpretation for Nietzsche, there are only problems of machining: to machine Nietzsche’s text, to find out which actual external force will get something through [the codings], like a current of energy (256, my emphasis).

This isn’t exactly the same as my sense of texts as storing the emergy that has brought it into being, but it does suggest that texts, especially powerful ones like the work of Nietzsche, has a force to it that makes things happen in the world (that is, brings people to take action in the world).  He clarifies this in the question/answer period that follows, in which he contrasts his work to that of deconstruction:

As for the method of textual deconstruction, I know what it is, and I admire it, but it has nothing to do with my own method. I don’t really do textual commentary. For me, a text is nothing but a cog in a larger extra-textual practice. It’s not about using deconstruction, or any other textual practice, to do textual commentary; it’s about seeing what one can do with an extra-textual practice that extends the text. (260)

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Entry filed under: Deleuze, energonomics, philosophy.

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