6790328 Deleuze Pure Immanence Essays on a Life Eng Tr

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  • 8/8/2019 6790328 Deleuze Pure Immanence Essays on a Life Eng Tr


    Pure ImmanenceEssays on A Life

    Gilles Deleuzewith an introduction by John Rajchman

    T r an s l a t e d by Anne B o yman



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    2001 Urzone, Ine.611 Broadway, Suite 60 8New York, NY 10012Ali rights reserved.No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrievalsystem, or transmitted in any form or by any means, includingclectronic, meehanical, photoeopying, microfilming, reeording,or otherwise (except for that eopying permitted by Sections 10 7.1Ild 10 8 of the U.S. Copyright Law and except by reviewers foriiI(' puhlic press) without written permission from the Publisher."1 11I1I1I.lIlcnee: Une Vie" originally published in Philosophie 47 1'1'1" hliliollS de Minuit.N"//,,IIC origillally published 1965 PUE'"f 111111(' originally published in La Philosophie: De Galile Jean-1", '//1(" I(ollsseoll (g 1972 Editions de Minuit.1"'"11"!!1. J. 11Il1ll.1IH'1H'( ' (Philosoplly). L BOYlllclll, Anllc.

    Il . Titlt-.Il.'.1 \1).1),1'))1', ').1 )()()I1')1 lit'" 1 -('''l'II'!'}


    Conten t s

    Introduction by John Rajchman 7Immanence: A Life 25

    II Hume 35

    III Nietzsche 53

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    Introduct ion

    John Rajchman

    Gilles Deleuze was an empirici st, a logician. That wasthe source of his lightness, his humor, his navet, hispractice of philosophy as "a sort of art brut" - "1 neverbroke with a kind of empiricism that proceeds to adirect exposition of concepts." 1 1t is a shame to pre-sent him as a metaphysician and nature mystic. Evenin A.N. Whitehead, he admired a "pluralist empiri-cism" that he found in another way in Michel Fou-cault - an empiricism of "multiplicities" that says "theabstract doesn't explain, bu t must itselfbe explained:'2lndeed, it was through his logic and his empiricismthat Deleuze found his way out of the impasses of thetwo dominant philosophical schools of his genera-tion, phenomenological and analytic, and elaborateda new conception of sense, neither hermeneutic norFregean. 3 He tried to introduce empiricism into his


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    very image of thought, and saw the philosopher as anexperimentalist and diagnostician, no t as a judge, evenof a mysticallaw.

    " .. . We will speak of a transcendental empiricismin contrast to everything that makes up the world ofthe subject and the object" he would thus reiterate inthe essay that opens this volume. Transcendental empiricism had been Deleuze's way ou t of the difficultiesintroduced by Kant and continued in the phenomeIlOlogical search for an Urdoxa - th e difficulties of"1 r,lIlsccndental-empirical doubling" and the "traps of(olls{'iousness:' But what does such empiricism have10 do with the two ide as the essay's title joins together

    ".1 lire" and "immanence"?Wc lI1ay think of a life as an empiricist concept in

    (0111 r.lsi to what John Locke called "the self:' 4 A lifeb.iS (I"ite different features than those Locke associ. l l l 'd with the self- consciousness, memory, and persOIl,d idcntity. It unfolds according to another logic: alogie or impcrsonal individuation rather than persOllal individualization, of singularities rather than!l,lI't ieu britics. lt can never be completely specified. Itis ,1Iw,lYS inddnite - a life. It is only a "virtuality" inIhe lire of the corresponding individu al that can somelillll'S ('llIcrge in the st range intcr val bcforc dcath. Inshort, ill (,olllr,lst (0 the self, a lifc is "impersonal and


    yet singular," and so requires a "wilder" sort of empir ic ism - a transcendental empiricism.

    From the start Deleuze sought a conception of empiricism that departs from the classical definition thatsays that all our ide as can be derived from atomisticsensations through a logic of abstraction and generalization. The real problem of empiricism is rather tobe found in a new conception of subjectivity thatacquires its full force in Hume, and goes beyond his"associationism" - the problem of a life. A life involves a different "synthesis of the sensible" than thekind that makes possible the conscious self or person.Sensation has a peculiar rol e in it, and Deleuze talkedof a "being of sensation" quite unlike individual sensedata waiting to be inserted into a categorical or discursive synthesis providin g the unity of their manifold foran "1 think:' The being of sensation is what can only besensed, since there precisely pre-exists no categoricalunity, no sensus communis for it. At once more materialand less divisible than sense data, it requires a synthesis of another, non-categorical sort, found in artworks,fo r example. Indeed Deleuze came to think that artworks just are sensations connected in materials insuch a way as to free aisthesis from the assumptions ofthe sort of "common sense" that for Kant is supposedby the "1 think" or the "1 judge:' Through affect and


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    percept, artworks hi t upon something singular yetimpersonal in our bodies and brains, irreducible toany pre-existent "we:' The "coloring sensations" thatMaurice Merleau-Ponty saw in Czanne are examplesof such a spatializing logic of sensation, no longerdominated by classical subject-object relations. Butwe must push the question of sensation beyond thephenomenological anchoring of a subject in a landscape, for example, in the way Deleuze thinks cinemaintroduces movement into image, allowing for a distinctive colorism in Jean-Luc Godard. 5 There is still akind of sensualist piety in Merleau-Ponty - what hecalled "the flesh" is only the "thermometer of a becoming" given through "asymmetrical syntheses ofthe sensible" that depart from good form or Gestalt.Such syntheses then require an exercise of thought,which, unlike the syntheses of the self or consciousIless, involve a sort of dissolution of the ego. lndeedwhat Deleuze isolates as "cinema" from the fitful history of filmmaking is in effect nothing other than amultifaceted exploration of this other act of thinking,this other empiricism.

    In such cases, sensation is synthesized according toa peculiar logic - a logic of multiplicity that is neitherdialcctical no r transcendental, prior no t simply to theworld of subjcct and ohjcct, bu t also to the logical



    connections of subject and predicate and the sets andfunctions that Gottlob Frege proposed to substitutefor them. lt is a logic of an AND prior and irreducibleto the IS of predications, which Deleuze first finds inDavid Hume: "Think witb AND instead ofthinking IS,instead of thinkingJor IS: empiricism has never hadanother secree'6 It is a constructivist logic of unfinished series rather than a calculus of distinct, countable collections; and it is governed by conventionsand problematizations, no t axioms and fixed rules ofinference. Its sense is inseparable from play, artifice,fiction, as, for example, in the case of Lewis Carroll's"intensive surfaces" for a world that has lost the conventions of its Euclidean skin. Transcendental empiricism may then be said to be the experimentalrelation we have to that element in sensation that precedes the self as weIl as any "we," through which isattained, in the materiality of living, the powers of "alife:'

    In Stoic logic, Deleuze finds a predecessor for sucha view. But, at the end of the nineteenth century, it isHenri Bergson and William James wh o offer us a bette r philosophical guide to it than do either Husserl orFrege. lndeed, at one point Deleuze remarks that thevery idea of a "plane of immanence" requires a kindof "radical empiricism" - an empiricism whose force


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    " .. . begins from the moment it defines the subject: ahabitus, a habit, nothing more than a habit in a field ofimmanence, the habit of saying 1:'7 Among the classical empiricists, it is Hume who poses such questions,Hume who redirects the problem of empiricism to ward the new questions that would be elaborated byBergson and Nietzsche.

    That is the subject of Deleuze's youthful Memoire.He sees Hume as connecting empiricism and subjectivity in a new way, departing from Locke on the ques-1 on of personal identity. In Locke's conception, the.';(' 1 is ncither what the French caIlle moi or le je - the1 ) 1 t he me. 8 Rather it is defined by individual "owner\hip" ( l 1 ~ s e l f ' J o u r s e l f ) and sameness over time (iden-1 l y). \'ocke thus introduces the problem of identity.111

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    or indefinite, and this indefiniteness is real. It is vaguein the Peircian sense that the real is itself ndeterminateor anexact, beyond the limitations of ou r capacitiesto measure it . We thus each have the pre-predicativevaguenessofAdam in Paradise that Leibniz envisaged inhis letters to Arnauld. lO We are always quelconque-we are and remain "anybodies" before we become"somebodies:' Underneath the identity of our bodiesor organisms, we each have what Deleuze caUs a body(a mouth, a stomach, etc). We thus have the singularityof what Spinoza already termed "a singular essence,"and of what makes the Freudian unconscious singular,each of us possessed of a peculiar "complex" unfoldingthrough the time of our lives. How then can we makesuch pre-individual singularities coincide in space andtime; and what is the space and time that includes them?

    We need a ne w conception of society in whichwhat we have in common is our singularities and no tour individualities - where what is common is "impersonal" and what is "impersonal" is common. Thatis precisely what Charles Dickens's tal e shows - onlythrough a process of "im-personalization" in the interval between life and death does the hero becomeour "common friend:' It is also what Deleuze bringsou t in Hume: the new questions of empiricism andsuhjectivity discovcr their full force only in Hume's



    social thought. In the place of the dominant idea of asocial contract among already given selves or subjects, Hume elaborates an original picture of convention that allows for an "attunement" of the passionsprior to the identities of reason; only in this way canwe escape the violence toward others inherent in theformation of our social identities or the problem ofour "partialities:' Hume thus prepares the way for aview of society no t as contract bu t as experimentexperiment with what in life is prior to both possessive individuals and traditional social wholes. Property, for example, becomes nothing more than anevolving jurisprudential convention.

    There is, in short, an element in experience thatcornes before the determination of subject and sense.Shown through a "diagram" that one constructs tomove about more freely rather than a space definedby an a priori "scheme" into which one inserts oneself, it involves a temporality that is always starting upagain in the midst, and relations with others basedno t in identification or recognition, but encounterand ne w compositions. In Difference and Repetition,Deleuze tries to show that what characterizes the"modern work" is no t self-reference bu t precisely theattempt to introduce such difference into the veryidea of sensation, discovering syntheses prior to the



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    of chance as distinct from probability into the veryexperience of thought and th e way the "game ofthought" is played (its rules, its players, its aims). Heasks what it means to think that the world is alwaysmaking itself while God is calculating, such that hiscalculations never come ou t right; and so he extendsthe question ofbelief o the plane of "delirium, chance,indifference" ou t of which the habits of self are formedand from which the potentials of a life take off. Nihilism is then the state in which the belief in the poten-tials of a life, and so of chance and disparity in theworld, has been lost. Conversely, as Ariadne becomeslight. what she affirms is that to think is no t to be cer-tain no r yet to calculate probabilities. It is to say yes(0 what is singular yet impersonal in living; and for(hat one must believe in the world and no t in the fictions of God or the self that Hume thought derivedl'rom it .

    Deleuze caUs this way ou t of nihilism an "empiri-cist conversion," and in his last writing,it gains apcculiar urgency. "Yes, the problem has changed" hedeclarcs in What is Philosophy? "I t may be that tobclieve in this world, in this life, has become our mostdilTicult task, the task of a mode of existence to bediscovcred on our plane of immanence today:'1 AltllOugh the tluce cssays in this volume each take up


    this question, they in fact come from different junc-tures in Deleuze's journey. The essays on Hume andNietzsche are from a first phase, after World War II,when Deleuze tried to extract a new image of thoughtfrom th e many different strata of the philosophicaltradition, and so rethink the relation of thought tolife; the image of a "superior empiricism" accompanies aU these attempts. The first or lead essay, how-ever, was Deleuze's last. It cornes from a late phase of"clinical" essays, in which Deleu ze takes up again themany paths and trajectories co mposing his work, sorneleading to "impasses closed of f by illness:'14 Vital,often humorous, these essays are short, abrupt in theirtransitions and endings. They have something of FranzKafk.a's parables or the aphorisms Nietzsche likened toshouting from one Alpine peak to another - one mustcondense and distill one's message, as with Adorno'simage, invoked by Deleuze, of a bottle thrown into thesea of communication. For it is in the idea of commu-nication that Deleuze came to think philosophy con-fronts a new and most insolent rival. Indeed that is justwhy the problem has changed, caUing for a fresh "em-piricist conversion" and a Kunstwollen or a "becoming-art" of the sort he imagined the art of cinema hadoffered us in the rather different circumstances of uncertainty following World War II.15


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    Written in a strange interval before his own death,"Immanence .. . a life" has been regarded as a kind oftestament. What is clear is that Deleuze took its "lastmessage" to occur at a time of renewed difficulty andpossibility for philosophy. As with Bergson, one need-ed to again introduce movement into thought ratherthan trying to find universals of information or communication - in particular into the very image of thebrain and contemporary neuroscience. In th e placeof artificial intelligence, one needed to construct anew picture of the brain as a "relatively undifferentiated matter" into which thinking and art might int roduce new connections that didn't preexist them- as it were, the brain as materiality of "a life" yet tobe invented, prior and irreducible to consciousnessolS well as machines. In his last writing, "Immanence.. . a life," we sense no t only this new problem andthis new urgency, bu t also the force of the long, incredible voyage in which Deleuze kept alive the singular image of thought which has the navet and thestrcngth to believe that "philosophy brings about avast deviation of wisdom - it puts it in the service ofa pure immanence."II,



    NOTES1. Pourparlers (Paris: Minuit, 1990), p. 122.2. Dialogues (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987),

    p. vii, following the declaration "1 have always felt that 1 am anempiricist, that is, a pluralist:'

    3. Claude Imbert examines "why and how an empiricistphilosopher, as Deleuze certainly was, became aIl the moreinterested in logic" (Unpublished MS). Her Pour une histoire de lalogique (Paris: PUF, 1999) may be read as an attempt to imaginewhat a history oflogic might look like from this peculiar empiricist point of view; it thus expands on her earlier work Phenomenologies et langues formulaires (Paris: PUF, 1992), in which sheclosely examines the internaI difficulties in the phenomenological and analytic traditions leading to the late Merleau-Ponty andWittgenstein. In this way, Imbert offers a more promising approach to the problem of the relation of Deleuzian multiplicityto set theory than does Alain Badiou in his odd attempt to recastit along Lacanian lines.

    4. Etienne Balibar makes a detailed case for Locke ratherthan Descartes as the inventor of the philosophical concept ofconsciousness and the self. See his introduction to John Locke,Identit et diffrence (Paris: Seuil, 1998).

    5. See L'Image-mouvement (Paris: Minuit, 1983), pp. 83ff.for Deleuze's account of why Bergson offers a "cinematic" wayout of the crisis in psychology in the nineteenth century thatcontrasts with Husserl and the subsequent focus on painting in


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    phenomenology. In his Suspensions tif Perception (Cambridge,MA: MIT Press, 1999), Jonathan Crary goes on to show howthis analysis may be extended to painting. In the late Czanne,he finds a more Bergsonian synthesis, as yet unavailable toManet or Seurat, a " ... rhythmic coexistence of radically heterogeneous and temporally dispersed elements," which " .. .insteadof holding together the conte nts of the perceived world, seeksto enter into its ceaseless movements of destabilization" (p.297).

    6. Dialogues, p. 57.7. Qy'est-ce que la philosophie? (Paris: Minuit, 1977), p. 49.8. Paul Patton translates le je and le moi, of which it is ques

    t ion throughout D!fJerence and Repetition, as "the 1" and "theself:' Strictly speaking, however, the self is le soi, which, according to Etienne Balibar, in fact cornes into philosophical FrenchVi.l Locke, its inventor. Balibar tries to sort ou t the philosophicalimplications of such terminological differences in his entry"Je/moi/soi" for Vocabulaire europen des philosophies (Paris:Seuil, 2001). He sees the problem of the 1 and the Me as derivingli"om a Kantian recasting of Descartes's cogito, while the Lockl'an self starts another minor tradition that leads past Kant toJames and Bergson.

    9. Empirisme et subjectiv it (Paris: PUF, 1953), p. 4.10. Sce Logique du sens (Paris: Minuit, 1969), pp. 138ff. The

    prohlem of "vague Adam" is then put in these terms: " ... theindividual is always quelconque (anyone), born like Eve from a



    side of Adam, from a singularity .. . out of a pre- individu al tra nscendental field," (pp. 141-42).

    11. D!fJrence et rptition (Paris: PUF, 1968), p. 79.12. On the contrast between Hume and both Peirce and

    Nietzsche on this score see lan Hacking, The Taming if Chance(New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990). Hacking's "untamed" chance is akin to the "nomadic" chance that Deleuze discusses, for example, in Diffrence et rptition, pp. 36lff. in termsof the transformations of the game of thought.

    13. Qy 'est-ce que la philosophie?, pp. 72-73.14. Critique et clinique (Paris: Minuit, 1993), p. 10.15. See L'image-temps (Paris: Minuit, 1985), pp. 223ff. "Only

    belief in the world can reconnect man to what he sees and hears.. . to give us back belief in the world - such is the power ofmodern cinema .. . :'

    16. Qy'est-ce que la philosophie?, p. 46.


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    Immanence: A Life

    What is a transcendental field? It can be distinguishedfrom experience in that it doesn't refer to an objector belong to a subject (empirical representation). Itappears therefore as a pure stream of a-subjectiveconsciousness, a pre-reflexive impersonal consciousness, a qualitative duration of consciousness withouta self. It may seem curious that the transcendental bedefined by such immediate givens: we will speak of atranscendental empiricism in contrast to everythingthat makes up the world of the subject and the object.There is something wild and powerful in this transcendentaI empiricism that is of course no t th e element of sensation (simple empiricism), for sensationis only a break within the flow of absolute consciousness. It is, rather, however close two sensations maybe, the passage from one to the other as becoming, asincrease or decrease in power (virtual quantity). Must

    2' )


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    we then define the transcendental field by a pure immediate consciousness with neither object nor self,as a movement that neither begins no r ends? (EvenSpinoza's conception of this passage or quantity ofpower still appeals to consciousness.)

    But the relation of the transcendental field to consciousness is only a conceptual one. Consciousnessbecomes a fact only when a subject is produced at thesame time as its object, both being outside the fieldand appearing as "transcendents:' Conversely, as longas consciousness traverses the transcendental field atan infinite speed everywhe re diffused, nothing is able(() reveal it.' It is expressed, in fact, only when it isrdlccted on a subject that refers it to objects. That iswhy the transcendental field cannot be defined by theconsciousness that is coextensive with it, bu t removedl'rom any revelation.

    The transcendent is no t the transcendental. Were itl10 t for consciousness, the transcendental field wouldbe defined as a pure plane of immanence, because itc1udes aIl transcendence of the subject and of theohjcct.2 Absolute immanence is in itself: it is no t insomething, ta something; it do es no t depend on anohjcct or bdong to a subject. In Spinoza, immanenceis I lot immanence ta substance; rather, substance andIllOdcs are in immanence. Whcn the subject or the


    object falling outside the plane of immanence is takenas a universal subject or as any object ta which imma-nence is attributed, the transcendental is entirely denatured, for it then simply redoubles the empirical (aswith Kant), and immanence is distorted, for it thenfinds itself enclosed in the transcendent. Immanenceis no t related to Sorne Thing as a unity superior to anthings or to a Subject as an ac t that brings about asynth e sis of things: it is only when immanence is nolonger immanence to anything other than itself thatwe can speak of a plane of immanence. No more thanthe transcendental field is defined by consciousnesscan the plane of immanence be defined by a subjector an object that is able to contain it.

    We will say of pure immanence that it is A LIFE,and nothing eise. It is no t immanence to life, bu t theimmanent that is in nothing is itself a life. A life is theimmanence of immanence, absolute immanence: it iscomplete power, complete bliss. It is to the degreethat he goes beyond the aporias of the subject andthe object that Johann Fichte, in his last philosophy,presents the transcendental field as a life, no longerdependent on a Being or submitted to an Act - it is anabsolute immediate consciousness whose very activityno longer refers to a being bu t is ceaselessly posed ina life. 3 The transcendentai field then becomes a gen-


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    uine plane of immanence that reintroduces Spinozisminto the heart of the philosophical process. Did Mainede Biran no t go through something similar in his "lastphilosophy" (the on e he was too tired to bring tofruition) when he discovered, beneath the transcendence of effort, an absolute immanent life? The transcendental field is defined by a plane of immanence,and the plane of immanence by a life.

    What is immanence? A life.. . No one has describedwhat a life is better than Charles Dickens, if we take1he indefinite article as an index of the transcenden-1.11. A disreputable man, a rogue, held in contempt bynnyone, is found as he lies dying. Suddenly, those1.lking care ofhim manifest an eagerness, respect, evenlove, for his slightest sign of life. Everybody bustles.d)out to save him, to the point where, in his deepest('C nna, this wicked man himself senses something soft.lIld sweet penetrating him. But to the degree that he(omes back to life, his saviors turn colder, and he be-(Ornes once again mean and crude. Between his life. IIH\ his death, there is a moment that is only that ofd lil'e playing with death. 4 The lil'e of the individual.l',ives way to an impersonal and yet singular life thatrdC,lSCS a pure event l'reed From the accidents of interIl.11 and cxtcrnallil'e, that is, l'rom the subjectivity andol'jcctivity or what happens: a "Homo tantum" with


    whom everyone empathizes and who attains a sort ofbeatitude. It is a haecceity no longer of individuationbut of singularization: a life of pure immanence, neutral, beyond good and evil, for it was only the subjectthat incarnated it in the midst of things that made itgood or bad. The life of such individuality fades awayin favor of the singular life immanent to a man wh ono longer has a name, though he can be mistaken forno other. A singular essence, a life .. .

    But we shouldn't enclose life in the single moment when individual life confronts universal death.A life is everywhere, in aH the moments that a givenliving subject goes through and that are measured bygiven lived objects: an immanent life carrying with itthe events or singularities that are merely actualizedin subjects and objects. This indefinite life does no titself have moments, close as they may be one to an-other, bu t only between-times, between-moments; itdoesn't just come about or come after bu t offers theimmensity of an empty time where one sees the eventyet to come and already happened, in the absolute ofan immediate consciousness. In his novels, AlexanderLernet-Holenia places the event in an in-betweentime that could engulf entire armies. The singularitiesand the events that constitute a life coexist with theaccidents of the life that corresponds to it , bu t they

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    are neither grouped nor divided in the same way. Theyconnect with one another in a manner entirely differ-ent from how individuals connect. It even seems thata singular life might do without any individuality,without any other concomitant that individualizesit. For example, very small children aU resemble oneanother and have hardly any individuality, bu t theyhave singularities: a smile, a gesture, a funny faceno t subjective qualities. SmaU children, through aUtheir sufferings and weaknesses, are infused with animmanent life that is pure power and even bliss. Theindefinite aspects in a life lose aH indetermination tothe degree that they fill ou t a plane of immanence or,what amounts to the same thing, to the degree that theyconstitute the elements of a transcendental field (in-dividual life, on the other hand, remains inseparablefrom empirical determinations). The indefinite as suchis the mark not of an empirical indetermination bu tof a determination by immanence or a transcendentaldeterminability. The indefinite article is the indetermination of the person only because it is determination of the singular. The One is no t the transcendentthat might contain immanence bu t the immanent containcd within a transcendental field. On e is alwaysthe index of a multiplicity: an event, a singularity, alif'c .. . Although it is always possible to invoke a tran-


    scendent that falls outside th e plane of immanence,or that attributes immanence to itself, aIl transcendence is constituted solely in the flow of immanentconsciousness that belongs to this plane. 5 Transcendence is always a product of immanence.

    A life contains only virtuals. It is made up of virtu-alities, events, singularities. What we calI virtual isno t something that lacks realit y bu t something that isengaged in a process of actualization following theplane that gives it its particular reality. The immanentevent is actualized in a state of things and of the livedthat make it happen. The plane of immanence is itselfactualized in an object and a subject to which it attributes itself. But however inseparable an object and asubject may be from their actualization, the plane ofimmanence is itself virtual, so long as the events thatpopulate it are virtualities. Events or singularities giveto the plane aH their virtuality, just as the plane ofimmanence gives virtual events their full reality. Theevent considered as non-actualized (indefinite) is lack-ing in nothing. It suffices to pu t it in relation to itsconcomitants: a transcendental field, a plane of immanence, a life, singularities. A wound is incarnatedor actualized in a state of things or of life; but it isitself a pure virtuality on the plane of immanence thatleads us into a life. My wound existed before me: no t

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    a transcendence of the wound as higher actuality, bu tits immanence as a virtuality always within a milieu(plane or field).6 There is a big diffe rence between thevirtuals that define the immanence of the transcendental field and the possible forms that actualize themand transform them into something transcendent.

    NOTES1. "As though we reflected back to surfaces the light which

    emanates from them, the light which, had it passed unopposed,would never have been revealed" (Henri Bergson, Matter andMemory [New York: Zone Books, 1988], p. 36).

    2. Cf. Jean-Paul Sartre, who posits a transcendental fieldwithout a subject that refers to a consciousness that is impersonal, absolute, immanent: with respect to it, the subject and theobject are "transcendents" (La transcendance de l'Ego [Paris:Vrin, 1966], pp. 74-87). On James, see David Lapoujade's analysis, "Le Flux intensif de la conscience chez William James," Phi-losophie 46 (June 1995).

    3. Already in the second introduction to La Doctrine de lascience: "The intuition of pure activity which is nothing fixed, bu tprogress, no t a being, bu t a life" (Oeuvres choisies de la philosophiepremire [Paris: Vrin, 1964], p. 274). On the concept of lifeaccording to Fichte, see Initiation la vie bienheureuse (Paris:Aubier, 1944), and Martial Guroult's commentary (p. 9).


    4. Dickens, Our Mutual Friend (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 443.

    5. Even Edmund Husserl admits this: "The being of theworld is necessarily transcendent to consciousness, even withinthe originary evidence, and remains necessarily transcendent toit. But this doesn't change the fact that ail transcendence is constituted solely in the l!fe if onsciousness, as inseparably linked tothat life .. . " (Mditations cartsiennes [Paris: Vrin, 1947], p. 52).This will be the starting point of Sartre's text.

    6. Cf. Jo Bousquet, Les Capitales (Paris: Le Cercle du Livre,1955).

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    CHAPT ER T w oHume

    The Meaning of EmpiricismThe history of philosophy has more or less absorbed,more or less digested, empiricism. It has defined empiricism as the reverse of rationalism: 1s there or isthere no t in ideas something that is no t in the sensesor the sensible? It has made of empiricism a critiqueof innateness, of the a priori. But empiricism has al-ways harbored other secrets. And it is they thatDavid Hume pushes the furthest and fully illuminatesin his extremely difficult and subtle work. Hume'sposition is therefore quite peculiar. His empiricism isa sort of science-fiction universe avant la lettre. Asin science fiction, one has th e impression of a fic-tive, foreign world, seen by other creatures, bu t alsothe presentiment that this world is already ours, andthosc creatures, ourselves. A paraUel conversion ofscience or thcory Collows: theory becomes an inquiry

    l' l

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    (the origin of this conception is in Francis Bacon;1mmanuel Kant will recall it while transforming andrationalising it when he conceives of theory as a courtor tribunal). Science or the ory is an inquiry, which isto say, a practice: a practice of the seemingly fictiveworld that empiricism describes; a study of the conditions oflegitimacy of practices in this empirical worldthat is in fact our own. The result is a great conversion of theory to practice. The manuals of the historyof philosophy misunderstand what they caU "asso-ciationism" when they see it as a theory in the ordiIl.1ry sense of the term and as an inverted rationalism.IJuIIle l'aises unexpected questions that seem never-tlH'kss l'amiliar: To establish possession of an abandOllcc! city, does a javelin thrown against the do orsulTicc, or must the door be touched by a finger? Towhat extent can we be owners of the seas? Why is theground more important than the surface in a juridicalsystem, whereas in painting, the paint is more impor-tant than the canvas? 1t is only then that the problemof the association of ideas discovers it s meaning.What is caUed the theory of association finds its direction and its truth in a casuistry of relations, a practice of law, of politics, of economics, that completelychanges the nature of philosophical reflection.


    The Nature of RelationsHume's originality - or one of Hume's originalities-cornes l'rom the force with which he asserts that rela-tions are external to their terms. We can understandsuch a thesis only in contrast to the entire endeavor ofphilosophy as rationalism and it s attempt to reducethe paradox of relations: either by finding a way ofmaking relations internaI to their own terms or byfin ding a deeper and more comprehensive term towhich the relation would itself be internaL "Peter issmaller than Paul": How can we make of this relationsomething internaI to Peter, or to Paul, or to theirconcept, or to the whole they form, or to the 1dea inwhich they participate? Ho w can we overcome theirreducible exteriority of relations? Empiricism hadalways fought fo r the exteriority of relations. But in acertain way, its position on this remained obscured bythe problem of the origin of knowledge or of ideas,according to which everything finds its origin in th esensible and in the operations of the mind upon thesensible.

    Hume effects an inversion that would take empiri-cism to a higher power: if ide as contain nothing otherand nothing more than what is contained in sensoryimpressions, it is precisely because relations are extcrnal and hcterogeneous to their terms - impressions


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    or ideas. Thus the difference isn't between ideas andimpressions but between two sorts of impressions orideas: impr essions or ideas of terms and impressionsor ideas of relations. The real empiricist world isthereby laid out for the first time to the fullest: it is aworld of exteriority, a world in which thought itselfexists in a fundamental relationship with the Outside,a world in which terms are veritable atoms and relations veritable external passages; a world in which theconjunction "and" dethrones the interiority of theverb "is"; a harlequin world of multicolored patternsand non-totalizable fragments where communicationtakes place through external relations. Hume's thoughtis built up in a double way: through the atomism thatshows how ideas or sensory impressions refer to punctuaI minima producing time and space; and throughthe associationism that shows how relations are established between these terms, always external to them,and dependent on other principles. On the one hand,a physics of the mind; on the other, a logic of relations. 1t is thus Hume who first breaks with the constraining form of predicative judgment and makespossible an autonomous logic of relations, discoveringa conjunctive world of atoms and relations, later developed by Bertrand Russell and modern logic, forrelations are the conjunctions themselves.


    Human NatureWhat is a relation? 1t is what makes us pass from agiven impression or idea to the idea of something thatis no t presently given. For example, l think of something "similar" . . When l see a picture of Peter, lthink of Peter, who isn't there. On e would look invain in the given term for the reason for this passage.The relation is itself the effect of so-called principlesof association, contiguity, resemblance, and causality,aIl of which constitute, precisely, a buman nature.Human nature means that what is universal or constant in the human mind is never one idea or anotheras a term bu t only the ways of passing from one particular idea to another. Hume, in this sense, will devote himself to a concerted destruction of the threegreat terminal ideas of metaphysics: the Self, theWorld, and God. And yet at first Hume's thesis seemsdisappointing: what is the advantage of explainingrelations by principles of human nature, which areprinciples of association that seem just another way ofdesignating relations? But this disappointment derivesfrom a misunderstanding of the problem, for theproblem is not of causes bu t of the way relations function as effects of those causes and the practical conditions of this functioning.

    Let us consider in this re gard a very special relation:

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    causality. It is special because it doesn't simply gofrom a given term to the ide a of something that isn'tpresently given. Causality requires that 1 go fromsomething that is given to me to the idea of something that has never been given to me, that isn't evengiveable in experience. For example, based on sornesigns in a book, 1 believe that Caesar lived. Wh en 1 seethe sun rise, 1 say that it will rise tomorrow; havingseen water boil at 100 degree s, 1 say that it necessarilyboils at 100 degrees. Yet expressions such as "tomor-

    " " l " " 1 " th th tow, a ways, necessan y, convey sorne mg acannot be given in experience: tomorrow isn't givenwithout becoming today, without ceasing to be tomorrow, and aIl experience is experience of a contigent particular. In other words, causality is a relationaccording to which 1 go beyond the given; 1 say morethan what is given or giveable - in short, 1 infer an d 1believe, 1 expect that .. . This, Hume's first displacement, is crucial, for it puts belief at the basis and theorigin of knowledge. The functioning of causal relations can then be explained as follows: as similar casesare observed (aIl the time s 1 have seen that a followsor accompanies b), they fuse in the imagination, whileremaining distinct and separate from each other inou r understanding. This property of fusion in theimagination constitutes habit (1 expect . . . , at the


    same time as distinction in the understanding tailorsbelief to th e calculus of observed cases (probabili ty ascalculus of degrees of belief). The principle of habitas fusion of similar cases in the imagination and theprinciple of experience as observation of distinctcases in the understanding thus combine to produceboth the relation and the in erence that follows fromthe relation (belief), through which causality functions.FictionFiction and Nature are arranged in a particular way inthe empiricist world. Left to itself, the mind has thecapacity to move from one idea to another, but it does50 at random, in a delirium that runs throughout theuniverse, creating fire dragons, winged horses, andmonstrous giants. The principles ofhuman nature, onthe other hand, impose constant rules on this delirium: laws of passage, of transition, of inference, whichare in accordance with Nature itself. But then a strangebattle takes place, for if it is true that the principlesof association shape the mind, by imposing on it anature that disciplines the delirium or the fictions ofthe imagination, conversely, the imaginati on uses thesesame principles to make it s fictions or it s fantasiesacceptahle and to give them a warrant they wouldn't

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    have on their own. In this sense, it belongs to fictionto feign these relations, to induce fictive ones, and tomake us believe in our follies. We see this no t only inthe gift fantasy has of doubling any present relationwith other relations that don't exist in a given case.But especially in the case of causality, fantasy forgesfictive causal chains, illegitimate rules, simulacra ofbelief, either by conflating the accidentaI and th eessential or by using the properties of language (goingbeyond experience) to substitute for the repetition ofsimilar cases actually obser ved a simple verbal repetition that only simulates its effect. It is thus that theliar believes in his lies by dint of repeating themj education, superstition, eloquence, and poetry also workin this way. One no longer goes beyond experience ina scientific way that will be confirmed by Natureitself and by a corresponding calculus; one goes beyond it in an the directions of a delirium that forms acounter-Nature, allowing for the fusion of anythingat aIl. Fantasy uses the principles of association toturn them around, giving them an illegitimate extension. Hume thereby effects a second great displacement in philosophy, which consists in ~ u b s t i t u t i n g forthe traditional concept of error a concept of deliriumor illusion, according to which there are beliefs thatare no t false bu t illegitimate - illegitimate exercises


    of faculties, illegitimate functioning of relations. Inthis as well, Kant owes something essential to Hume:we are no t threatened by error, rather and much worse,we bathe in delirium.

    But this would still be nothing as long as the fictions of fantasy turn the principles of human natureagainst themselves in conditions that can always becorrected, as, for example, in the case of causality,where a strict calculus of probabilities can denouncedelirious extrapolations or feigned relations. But theillusion is considerably worse when it belongs to human nature, in other words, wh en the illegitimateexercise or belief is incorrigible, inseparable fromlegitimate beliefs, and indispensable to their organization. In this case, the fanciful usage of the principlesof human nature itself becomes a principle. Fictionand delirium shi ft over to the side of human nature.That is what Hume will show in his most subtle, mostdifficult, analyses concerning the Self, the World, andGod: how the positing of the existence of distinct andcontinuous bodies, how the positing of an identity ofthe self, requir es the intervention of aU sorts of fictiveuses of relations, and in particular of causality, in conditions where no fiction can be corrected bu t whereeach instcad plunges us into other fictions, which aUform part of human nature. In a posthumous work

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    that is perhaps his masterpiece, Dialogues ConcerningNatural Religion, Hume goes on to apply the samecritical method no t sim ply to revealed religions bu talso to so-caIled natural religion and to the teleological arguments on which it is based. Here, Hume is athis most humorous: beliefs, he says, aIl the more formpart of our nature as they are completely illegitimatefrom the point of view of th e principles of humannature. It is no doubt in this way that we should understand the complex notion of modern skepticism developed by Hume. Unlike ancient skepticism, whichwas based on the variety of sensible appearances anderrors of sense, modern skepticism is based on th estatus of relations and their exteriority. The first actof modern skepticism consisted in making belief thebasis of knowledge - in other words, in naturalizingbelief (positivism). The second act consisted in denouncing illegitimate beliefs as those which don'tobey the rules that are in fact productive of knowledge (probabilism, calculus of probabilities). But in afinal refinement, or third act, illegitimate beliefs inthe Self, the World, and God appear as the horizon ofaIl possible legitimate beliefs, or as the lowest degreeof belief. For if everything is belief, including knowledge, everything is a question of degree of belief,even the delirium of non-knowledge. Humor, the



    modern skeptical virtue of Hume, against irony, theancient dogmatic virtue of Plato and Socrates.The ImaginationIf the inquiry into knowledge has skepticism as itsprincip e and its outcome, if it leads to an inextricablemix of fiction and human nature, it is perhaps becauseit is only one part of th e inquiry, and no t even themain one. The principles of association in fact acquiretheir sense only in relation to passions: no t only doaffective circumst ances guide the associations of ideas,bu t the relations themselves are given a meaning, adirection, an irreversibility, an exclusivity as a resultof the passions. In short, what constitutes humannature, what gives the mind a nature or a constancy,is no t only the princip es of association from whichrelations derive bu t also the principles of passionfrom which "inclinatio ns" foIlow. Two things must bekept in mind in this regard: that the passions don'tshape the mind or give it a nature in the same way asdo the principles of association; and that, on the otherhand, the source of the mind as delirium or fictiondoesn't react to th e passions in the same way as itdoes to relations.

    Vle have seen how the principles of association,and espccially causality, required the mind to go be-


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    yond the given, inspiring in it beliefs or extrapola-tions no t aIl of which were illegitimate. But the passions have the effect of restricting the range of themind, fixating it on privileged ide as and objects, forthe basis of passion is no t egotism bu t partiality,which is mu ch worse. We are passionate in the firstplace about our parents, about those who are close tous and are like us (restricted causality, contiguity, resemblance). This is worse than being governed byegotism, for our egotisms would only have to be cur-tailed for society to become possible. From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, the famous theoriesof contract posed the problem of society in such terms:a limitation, or even a renunciation, of natural rights,from which a contractual society might be born. Butwe should no t see Hume's saying that man is by naturepartial rather than egotistical as a simple nuance; rath-er, we should see it as a radical change in the practicalway the problem of society is posed. The problem isno longer how to limit egotisms and the correspond-ing natural rights bu t how to go beyond partialities,how to pass from a "limited sympathy" to an "ex-tended generosity," how to stretch passions and givethem an extension they don't have on their own.Society is thus seen no longer as a system of legal andcontractuallimitations but as an institutional inven-


    tion: how can we invent artifices, how can we createinstitutions that force passions to go beyond theirpartialities and form moral, judicial, political senti-ments (for example, the feeling of justice)? There follows the opposition Hume sets up between contractand convention or artifice. Hume is probably the firstto have broken with the limiting model of contractand law that dominated th e sociology of th e eigh-teenth century and to oppose to it a positive model ofartifice and institution. Thus the entire question ofman is displaced in turn: it is no longer, as with knowl-edge, a matter of the complex relation between fiction and human nature; it is, rather, a matter of therelation between human nature and artifice (man asinventive species).The PassionsWe have seen that with knowledge the principles ofhum an nature instituted rules of extension or extrapolation that fantasy in turn used to make acceptablesimulacra of belief, such that a calculus was alwaysnecessary to correct, to select the legitimate from theillegitimate. With passion, on the other hand, theproblem is posed differently: how can we invent anartificial extension that goes beyond the partiality ofhuman nature? Here fantasy or fiction takes on a new


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    meaning. As Hume says, the mind and its fantasiesbehave with respect to passions no t in the manner ofa wind instrument bu t in the manner of a percussiveinstrument, "where, after each beat, the vibrationsstill retain sorne sound which gradually and imper-ceptibly dies:' In short, it is up to the imagination toreflect passion, to make it resonate and go beyond thelimits of its natural partiality and presentness. Humeshows how aesthetic and moral sentiments are formedin this way: the passions reflected in the imaginationbecome themselves imaginary. In reflecting the passions, the imagination liberates them, stretching themou t infinitely and projecting them beyond their nat-urallimits. Yet on at least one count, we must correctthe metaphor of percussion: as they resonate in theimagination, the passions do no t simply become gradually less vivid and less present; they also change theircolor or sound, as when the sadness of a passion rep-resented in a tragedy turns into the pleasure of analmost infinite play of the imagination; they assume ane w nature and are accompanied by a ne w kind ofbelief. Thus th e will "moves easily in aIl directionsand produces an image of itself, even in places whereit is no t fixed:'

    This is what makes up the world of artifice or ofculture: this resonance, this reflexion of the passions


    in the imagination, which makes of culture at oncethe most frivolous and the most serious thing. Buthow can we avoid tw o deficiencies in these culturalformations? On the one hand, how to avoid the en-larged passions being less vivid than the present ones,even if they have a different nature, and, on the other,ho w to avoid their becoming completely undeter-mined, projecting their weakened images in aIl directions independently of any rule. The first problem isresolved through agencies of social power sanctionsor the techniques of rewards and punishments, whichconfer on the enlarged sentiments or reflected passions an added degree of vividness or belief: princi-pally government, bu t also more subterranean andimplicit agencies, like custom and taste. In this re -gard, too, Hume is the first to have posed the problemof power and government in terms no t of representa-tivity bu t of credibility.

    The second point is also relevant to th e way inwhich Hume's philosophy forms a general system. Ifthe passions are reflected in the imagination or in fantasy, it is no t an imagination that is naked bu t one thathas already been fixed or naturalized by the principlesof association. Resemblance, contiguity, causality - inshort, aIl the relations that are the object of a knowl-edge or a calculus, that provide general rules for the


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    determination of reflected sentiments beyond theimmediate and restricted way in which they are usedby non-reflected passions. Thus aesthetic sentimentsfind in the princip es of association veritable rules oftas e. Hume also shows in detail how, by being reflected in the imagination, the passion of possessiondiscovers in the princip es of association the means todetermine the general rules that constitute the factors of property or the world oflaw. A whole study ofth e variations of relations, a whole calculus of relations, is involved, which allows on e to respond ineach case to the question: Does there exist, between agiven person and a given object, a relation of a naturesuch as to have us believe (or our imagination believe)in an appropriation of one by the other. ''A man whohas chased a hare to the point of exhaustion wouldconsider it an injustice if another person pushed aheadof him and seized his prey. But the same man wh ogoes to pick an apple that hangs within his reach hasno reason to cornplain if another man, quicker thanhe, reaches beyond him and takes it for himself. Whatis th e reason for this difference if no t the fact thatimmobility, which is no t natural to the hare, is closelyrelated to the hunter, whereas this relation is lackingin the other case?" Does the throw of a javelin againsta door ensure the ownership of an abandoned city, or



    must a finger touch the door in order to establish asufficient relation? Why, according to civil law, doesthe ground win out over th e surface, bu t paint overthe canvas, whereas paper wins ou t over writing? Theprinciples of association find their true sense in acasuistry of relations that works ou t the details of theworlds of culture and of law. And this is the trueobject of Hume's philosophy: relations as the meansof an activity and a practice - juridical, economic andpolitical.A Popular an d Scientific PhilosophyHume was a particularly precocious philosopher: ataround twenty-five years old, he wrote his importantbook A Treatise ifHuman Nature (published in 1739-1740). A new tone in philosophy, an extraordinaryfirmness and simplicity emerge from a great complexity of arguments, which bring into play the exercise of fictions, the science of human nature, and thepractice of artifice. A philosophy at once popular andscientific - a sort of pop philosophy, which for itsideal had a decisive clarity, a clarity not of ide as but ofrelations and operations. It was this clarity that Humewould try to impose in his subsequent works, even ifthis meant sacrificing sorne of the complexity and themore difficult aspects of the Treatise: Essays, Moral

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    P U R E I M M A N E N C E

    and Political (1741-1742), Philosophical Essays Con-cerning Human Understanding (1748), An Inquiry Con-cerning the Principles cifMoraIs (1751), and PoliticalDiscourses (1752). He then turned to The History cifEngland (1754-1762). The admirable, Dialogues Con-cerning Natural Religion rediscovers once again thatgreat complexity and clarity. 1t is perhaps the onlycase of real dialogues in philosophy; there are no t twocharacters, bu t three, who play many parts, formingtemporary alliances, breaking them, becoming reconciled, and so on: Demea, the upholder of revealedreligion; Cleanthes, the representative of natural religion; and Philo, the skeptic. Hume-Philo's humor isno t simply a way of bringing everyone to agreementin the name of a skepticism that distributes "degrees"bu t also a way of breaking with the dominant trendsof the eighteenth century and of anticipating a philosophy of the future.


    C H A P T E R T H R E E


    The LijeThe first book of Thus Spoke Zarathustra begins withthe story of three metamorphoses: "How the spiritbecomes camel, th e ca mel becomes lion, and howfinally the lion becomes child:' The camel is the animal wh o carries: he carries the weight of establishedvalues, the burdens of education, morality, and culture. He carries them into the desert, where he turnsinto a lion; the lion destroys statues, tramples burdens, and leads the critique of aIl established values.Finally, th e lion must become child, that is, he whorepresents play and a new beginning - creator of newvalues and new principles of evaluation.

    According to Nietzsche, these three metamorphosesdesignate, among other things, the different momentsof his work, as well as the stages of his life and health.These divisions are no doubt arbitrary: the lion is pre-

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    sent in the camel; the child is in the lion; and in thechild, there is already the tragic outcome.

    Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was born in 1844, inthe presbytery of Rocken, in a region of Thuringia thatwas annexed by Prussia. Both sides of his family camefrom Lutheran priests. His father, delicate and weIl educated, himselfalso a priest, died in 1849 of a softeningof the brain (encephalitis or apoplexy). Nietzsche wasbrought up in Naumburg, surrounded by women, withhis younger sister, Elisabeth. He was a child prodigy;his essays were saved, as weIl as his attempts at musical composition. He studied in Pforta, then in Bonnand Leipzig. He chose philology over theology. But hewas already haunted by philosophy and by the image ofArthur Schopenhauer, the solitary thinker, the "pri-vate thinker:' As early as 1869, Nietzsche's philologicalworks (on Theognis, Simonides, Diogenes Laertius)secured him a professorship in philology at the Uni-versity of BaseI.

    It was then that his close friendship with RichardWagner began. They me t in Leipzig. Wagner lived inTribschen, near Lucerne. Nietzsche said those dayswere among the best of his life. Wagner was almostsixty; his wife, Cosima, just past thirty. Cosima wasLiszt's daughter. She left the musician Hans von Blowfor Wagner. Her friends sometimes called he r Ari-



    adne and suggested the parallelisms: Blow-Theseus,Wagner-Dionysus. Nietzsche encountered here an affective structure that he had already sensed was hisand that he would make more and more his own. Butthese glorious days were no t trouble-free: sometimeshe had the unpleasant feeling that Wagner was usinghim and borrowing his own concept of the tragic;sometimes he had th e delightful feeling that withCosima's help he would carry Wagner to truths thathe, Wagner, couldn't discover on his own.

    Nietzsche's professorship made him a Swiss citizen. He worked as an ambulance driver during the warof 1870. At Basel, he shed his last "burdens": a certainnationalism and a certain sympathy for Bismarck andPrussia. He could no longer stand the identificationof culture with the state, nor could he accept the ideathat victory through arms be taken as a sign of cul-ture. His disdain for Germany was already apparent, asweIl as his incapacity for living among the Germans.But with Nietzsche, the abandonment of ol d beliefsdid no t assume the form of crisis (what occasioned acri sis was rather the inspiration or the revelation of anewidea). Abandonmentwas nothis problem. We haveno reason to suspect his declarations in Ecce Homowh en he says that in religious matters, despite hisancestry, atheism came to him naturaIly, instinctively.

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    Nietzsche retreated further into solitude. In 1871, hewrote The Birth if Tragedy, where the real Nietzschebreaks through from behind the masks of Wagner andSchopenhauer. The book was poorly received by philologists. Nietzsche felt himself to be untimely and discovered the incompatibilitybetween the private thinkeran d the public professor. In the fourth volume ofUntimely Meditations, "Richard Wagner in Bayreuth"(1875), his reservations about Wagner become explicit.The Bayreuth inauguration, with its circus-like atmosphere, its processions, its speeches, the presence ofthe old emperor, made him sick. The apparent changesin Nietzsche astonished his friends. He was more andmore interested in the sciences: in physics, biology,medicine. His health was poor; he had constant headaches, stomachaches, eye trouble, speech difficulties.He gave up teaching. "My illness slowly liberated me: itspared me separations, violent or ugly actions .. . It entitled me to radically chang e my ways:' And since Wagne r was a compensation for Nietzsche-the-Professor,when the professorship went, so did Wagner.

    Thanks to Franz Overbeck, the most loyal and intelligent of his friends, Nietzsche obtained a pensionfrom Basel in 1878. It was then that his itinerant lifebegan: like a shadow, renting simple furnished rooms,sceking favorable climates, he went from resort to


    resort, in Switzerland, in Italy, in the south of France,sometimes alone, sometimes with friends (Malwidavon Meysenbug, an old Wagnerian; his former stu-dent Peter Gast, a musician he hoped would replaceWagner; Paul Re, with whom he shared a taste forthe natural sciences and the dissection of morality).He sometimes returned to Naumburg. In Sorrento, hesaw Wagner for the last time, a Wagner who had become pious and nationalistic. In 1878, with Human,AlI Too Human, he began his great critique of values,the age of the lion. His friends misundcrstood him;Wagner attacked him. But ab ove aIl, he was increasingly ill. "Not to be able to read! To write only veryinfrequently! To see no one! Not to hear any music!"ln 1880, he described his state as follows: "ContinuaIsuffering, for hours every day a feeling of seasickness,a semi-paralysis that makes speaking difficult and, as adiversion, terrible attacks (during the last one 1 vomited for three days and three nights, and hungered fordeath . . . If ! could only describe the relentlessness ofit aU, the continuous gnawing pain in my head, myeyes, and this general feeling of paralysis, from headto toe:'

    ln what sense is illness - or even madness - pre-sent in Nietzsche's work? I t is never a source of inspiration. Ncver did Nietzsche think of philosophy as

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    proceeding from suffering or anguish, even if the philosopher, according to him, suffers in excess. Nor didhe think of illness as an event that affects a bodyobject or a brain-object from the outside. Rather, hesaw in illness a point i f iew on health; and in health, apoint if iew on illness. "To observe, as a sick person,healthier concepts, healthier values, then, conversely,from the height of a rich, abundant, and confident life,to delve into the secret work of decadent instinctssuch is the practice in which 1 most frequently engaged .. :' Illness is no t a motive for a thinking subject, no r is it an object for thought: it constitutes,rather, a secret intersubjectivityat the heart of a singleindividual. IIIness as an evaluation of health, health asan evaluation ofillness: such is the "reversaI," the "shiftin perspective" that Nietzsche saw as th e crux of hismcthod and his calling for a transmutation of values.!Dcspite appearances, however, there is no reciprocityhct wccn the two points of view, the two evaluations.l'hus movemcnt from health to sickness, from sickIlCSS to hcalth, if only as an idea, this very mobility isthc sign of superior health; this mobility, this lightIlCSS in ll1ovement, is the sign of "great health:' That iswhy N idzschc could say until the end (that is, in 1888):"1 ,1111 the opposite or a sick persan; 1 am basicallyw(II." Aild yd OIlC lllust say that it would ail end badly,


    for the mad Nietzsche is precisely the Nietzsche wh olost this mobility, this art of displacement, when hecould no longer in his health make of sickness a pointof view on health.

    With Nietzsche, everything is mask. His health wasa first mask for his genius; his suffering, a second mask,bath for his genius and for his health. Nietzsche didn'tbelieve in the unity of a self and didn't experience it.Subtle relations of power and of evaluation betweendifferent "selves" that conceal but also express otherkinds of forces - forces oflife, forces of thought - suchis Nietzsche's conception, his way of living. Wagner,Schopenhauer, and even Paul Re were experienced ashis own masks. After 1890, his friends (Over beck, Gast)sometimes thought his madness was his final mask. Hehad written: "And sometimes madness itself is th emask that hides a knowledge that is fatal and tao sure:'In faet, it is not. Rather, it marks the moment whenthe masks, no longer shifting and communicating,merge into a death-like rigidity. Among the strongestmoments of Nietzsche's philosophy are th e pageswhere he speaks of the need ta be masked, of thevirtue and th e positivity of masks, of their ultimateimportance. Nietzsche's own beauty resided in hishands, his ears, his eyes (he compliments himself onhis ears; he sees small ears as being a labyrinthine

    ') 9

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    secret that leads to Dionysus). But on this first maskthere cornes another, represented by the enormousmustache: "Give me, please give me . . - What? -another mask, a second mask:'

    After Human, All Too Human, Nietzsche continuedhis project of total criticism: The Wanderer and HisShadow(1879),Daybreak (1880). Heworkedon The GayScience. But something new emerged: an exaltation, anoverabundance, as if Nietzsche had been pushed to thepoint where evaluation changes meaning and whereillness is judged from the height of a strange wellbeing. His suffering continued, but it was often dominated by an "enthusiasm" that affected his very body.Nietzsche then experienced his most exalted states ofbeing, though they were interlaced with menacingfeelings. In August 1881, in Sils-Maria, as he walkedalong the lake of Silvaplana, he had the overwhelmingrevelation of the eternal return, then the inspirationfor Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Between 1883 and 1885,he wrote the four books of Zarathustra and gatherednotes for a book that was to follow. He carried criticism to a higher level than ever before; he made of itthe weapon of a "transmutation" of values, the No thatis at the service of a higher affirmation (Beyond Goodand Fvil, 1886; Thc Gcncalo8Y MoraIs, 1887). This isthe thircl I1wtamorphosis. or the becoming-child.

    (, 0


    But he was often very anxious and experiencedmany frustrations. In 1882, there was the affair withLou von Salom, a young Russian woman who livedwith Paul Re and seemed to Nietzsche an ideal disciple and worthy of his love. Following an affectivestructure he had already had occasion to enact, Nietzsche soon proposed to her through a friend. He waspursuing a dream: with himself as Dionysus, he wouldreceive Ariadne, with Theseus' s approval. T heseus isthe higher man, the image of the father - what Wagne r had already been for Nietzsche. But Nietzsche hadno t dared to aspire openly to Cosima-Ariadne. InPaul Re, and in other friends before him, Nietzschefound other Theseuses, fathers that were younger,less imposing.2 Dionysus is superior to the higherman, as Nietzsche was to Wagner and aIl the more soto Paul Re. Obviously and inevitably, this sort of fantasy had to fail. Ariadne always still prefers Theseus.With Malwida von Meysenbug acting as chaperon, Louvon Salom, Paul Re, and Nietzsche formed a peculiarquartet. Theil' life together was made of quarrels andreconciliations. Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth, who waspossessive and jealous, did he r best to break it up. Shesucceeded, because Nietzsche could neither detachhimself from her nor dampen the harsh judgment hehad of her ("people like my siste r are irreconcilable


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    Zarathustra, "Among the Girls of the Desert," must beread in this light.) Sometimes calm, sometimes in cri-sis, he seemed to have forgotten everything about hiswork, though he still played music. His mother tookhim back to he r home; Elisabeth returned from Para-guay at the end of 1890. His illness s lowly progressedtoward total apathy and agony. He died in Weimar in1900.4

    Though we cannot know for certain, the diagnosisof an overall paralysis seems accurate. But the ques-tion is: Did the symptoms of 1875,1881,1888 constitute one and the same clinical picture? Was it thesame illness? It seems likely. Whether it was dementiarather than psychosis isn't significant. We have seenin what way illness, and even madness, figured inNietzsche's work. The overall paralysis marks the moment when illness exits from the work, interrupts it ,and makes it s continuation impossible. Nietzsche'slast letters testify to this extreme moment, thus theystill belong to his work; they are a part of it. As longas Nietzsche could practice the art of shifting perspectives, from health to illness and back, he enjoyed, sickas he may have been, the "great health" that made hiswork possible. But when this ar t failed him, when themasks were conflated into that of a dunce and a buffoonunder the effect of sorne organic process, the illness


    itself became inseparable from the end of his oeuvre(Nietzsche had spoken of madness as a "comic solu-tion," as a final farce).

    Elisabeth helped her mother take care of Nietzsche.She gave pious interpretations to the illness. She madeacid remarks to Overbeck, who responded with muchdignity. She had great merits: she did everything toensure the diffusion of her brother's ideas; she orga-nized the Nietzsche-Archiv in Weimar. 5 But thcscmerits pale before the highest treason: she tried (0place Nietzsche in the service of national socialism.This was the last stroke of Nietzsche's fate: the abu-sive family member who figures in the procession ofevery "cursed thinker. "The PhilosophyNietzsche introduced tw o forms of expression intophilosophy: aphorism and poetry. They imply a newconception of philosophy, a ne w image of the thinkerand ofthought. Nietzsche replaced the ideal ofknowledge, the discovery of the truth, with interpretationand evaluation. Interpretation establishes the "meaning" of a phenomenon, which is always fragmentaryand incomplete; evaluation determines the hierarchi-cal "value" of the meanings and totalizes the fragmentswithout diminishing or eliminating their plurality.

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    Indeed, aphorism is both the art of interpreting andwhat must be interpreted; poetry, both the ar t of evaluating and what must be evaluated. The interpreter isthe physiologist or doctor, the one who sees phenomena as symptoms and speaks through aphorisms. Theevaluator is the artist who considers and creates "perspectives" and speaks through poetry. The philosopher of the future is both artist and doctor - in oneword, legislator.

    This image of the philosopher is also the oldest,the most ancient one. It is that of the pre-Socraticthinker, "physiologist" and artist, interpreter and evaluator of the world. How are we to understand thiscloseness between the future and the pa st? The phi-10sopher of he future is the explorer of ancient worlds,of peaks and caves, who creates only inasmuch as herecalls something that has been essentially forgotten.That something, according to Nietzsche, is the unityof life and thought. It is a complex unity: one step forlife, one step for thought. Modes of life inspire waysof thinking; modes of thinking create ways of living.Life activa tes thought, and thought in turn ciffirms life.Of this pre-Socratic unity we no longer have even theslightest idea. We no w have only instances wherethought bridles and mutilates life, making it sensible,and where life takes revenge and drives thought mad,


    losing itself along the way. Now we only have thechoice between mediocre lives and mad thinkers. Livesthat are too docile for thinkers, and thoughts too madfor the living: Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Hlderlin. But the fine unity in which madness would ceaseto be such is yet to be rediscovered - a unity thatturns an anecdote of life into an aphorism of thought,and an evaluation of thought into a new perspectiveon life.

    In a way, this secret of th e pre-Socratics was already lost at the start. We must think of philosophy asa force. But the law of forces is such that they canonly appear when concealed by the mask of preexisting forces. Life must first imitate matter. 1t was forthis reason that to survive at the time of its birth inGreece, philosophical force had to disguise itself. Thephilosopher had to assume the air of the precedingforces; he had to take on the mask of the priest. Theyoung Greek philosopher has something of the oldOriental priest. We still confuse them today: Zoroaster and Heraclitus, the Hindus and the Eleatics, theEgyptians and Empedocles, Pythagoras and the Chinese. We speak of the virtue of the ideal philosopher,of his asceticism, of his love of wisdom. We cannotguess the peculiar solitude and the sensuality, the veryunwise ends of the perilous existence that lie beneath

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    tinction between two worlds, by the opposition between essence and appearance, between the true andthe false, the intelligible and the sensible, we have tosay that it is Socrates who invented metaphysics. Hemade oflife something that must be judged, measured,restricted, and of thought, a measure, a limit, that isexercised in the name of higher values: the Divine,th e True, the Beautiful, the Good .. . With Socratesemerges the figure of a philosopher who is voluntarily and subtly submissive. But let's move on and skipthrough the centuries. Wh o can really think that Kantreinstated critique or rediscovered the ide a of the philosopher as legislator? Kant denounces false claims toknowledge, bu t he doesn't question the ideal ofknowing; he denounces false morality, bu t he doesn't question the claims of morality or the nature and the originof its value. He blames us for having confused domainsand interests; bu t the domains remain intact, and theinterests of eason, sacred (true knowledge, true morals,true religion).

    Dialectics itself perpetrates this prestigiditation.Dialectics is the art that invites us to recuperate alienated properties. Everything returns to the Spirit asthe motor and product of the dialectic, or to self-consciousncss, or evcn to man, as generic being. But ifour propcrtics in themsclvcs express a diminished life


    and a mutilating thought, what is the use of recuperating them or becoming their true subject? Did we doaway with religion when we interiorized the priest,placing him into the faithful, in the style of the Reformation? Di d we kill Go d when we pu t ma n in hisplace and kept the most important thing, which is theplace? The only change is this: instead of being burdened from the outside, ma n takes the weights andplaces them on his own back. The philosopher of thefuture, the doctor-philosopher, will diagnose the perpetuation of the same ailment beneath different symptoms; values can change, ma n can pu t himself in theplace of God, progress, happiness; utility can replacethe truth, the good, or the divine - what is essentialhasn't changed: the perspectives or the evaluations onwhich these values, whether old or new, depend. Weare always asked to submit ourselves, to burden ourselves, to recognize only the reactive forms oflife, theaccusatory forms of hought. Wh en we no longer want,when we can no longer bear higher values, we arestill asked to accept "the real as it is" - bu t this "real asit is" is precise1y what the higher values have made ifreality! (Even existentialism retained a frighteningtaste for carrying, for bearing, a properly dialecticaltaste that separates it from Nietzsche.)Nietzsche is the first to tell us that killing God is

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    no t enough to bring about the transmutation of values. In his work, there are at least fifteen versions ofthe death of God, aU of them very beautiful. 7 Bu tindeed, in one of the most beautiful, the murderer ofGod is "the ugliest of men:' What Nietzsche means isthat ma n makes himself even more ugly when, nolonger in need of an external authority, he denieshimselfwhat was denied him and spontaneously takeson the policing and the burdens that he no longerthinks come from the outside. Thus the history ofphilosophy, from the Socratics to the Hegelians, re-mains the long history of man's submissions and thereasons he gives himself for legitimizing them. Thisprocess of degeneration concerns no t only philoso-phy but also becoming in general, or the most basiccatcgory or history - no t a fact in history, but the veryprinciplc l'rom which derive most of the events thathave dctermined our thinking and our life, the symptoms of a decomposition. And so true philosophy, asphilosophy of the future, is no more historical than itis eternal: it must be untimely, always untimely.

    AU interpretations determine the meaning of aphenomenon. Meaning consists of a relation of forcesin which sorne aet and others reaet in a complex andhierarchized who e. Whatever the complexity of aphenomenon, we can distinguish primary forces, of



    conquest and subjugation, from reactive, secondaryforces, of adaptation and regulation. This distinctionis no t only quantitative bu t also qualitative and typo-logical, for it is in the nature of forces to be in relationto other forces and it is in this relation that theyacquire their essence or quality. The relation of forceto force is called "will:' That is why we must avoid ataIl costs the misinterpretations of the Nietzscheanprinciple of the will to power. This principle doesn'tmean (or at least doesn't primarily mean) that thewill wants power or wishes to dominate. As long as thewill to power is interpreted in terms of a "desire todominate," we inevitably make it depend on estab-lished values, the only ones able to determine, in anygiven case or conflict, who must be "recognized" asthe most powerful. We then cannot recognize thenature of the will to power as an elastic principle ofaIl of ou r evaluations, as a hidden principle for thecreation of ne w values no t yet recognized. The will topower, says Nietzsche, consists no t in coveting or evenin taking bu t in creating and giving. Power, as a will topower, is no t that which the will wants, bu t that whiehwants in the will (Dionysus himself). The will topower is the differential element from which derivethe forces at work, as weIl as their respective qualityII I a complcx wholc. Thus it is always given

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    as a mobile, aerial, pluralist element. It is by the willto power that a force commands, bu t it is also by thewill to power that a force obeys. To these two typesor qualities of forces there correspond two faces, twoqualia, of the will to power, which are ultimate andfluent, deeper than the forces that derive from them,for the will to power makes it that active forces ciffirm,and affirm their difference: in them affirmation isfirst, and negation is never bu t a consequence, a sortof surplus of pleasure. What characterizes reactiveforces, on the other hand, is their opposition to whatthey are not, their tendency to limit the other: in them,neBation cornes first; through negation, they arrive ata semblance of affirmation. Affirmation and negationare thus the qualia of the will to power, just as actionand reaction are the qualities of forces. An d just asinterpretation finds th e principles of meaning inforces, evaluation finds the principles of values in thewill to power. Given the preceding terminologicalprecisions, we can avoid reducing Nietzsche's thoughtto a simple dualism, for, as we shaH see, affirmation isitself essentiaUy multiple and pluralist, whereas negation is always one, or heavily monist.

    Yet history presents us with a most peculiar phenomenon: the reactive forces triumph; negation winsin the will to power! This is the case no t only in the



    history of man, bu t in the history of life and the earth,at least on th e face of it inhabited by man. Everywhere we see the victory of No over Yes, of reactionover action. Life becomes adaptive and regulative,reduced to its secondary forms; we no longer und erstand what it means to act. Even the forces of theearth become exhausted on this desolate face. Nietzsche caUs this joint victory of reactive forces and thewill to negate "nihilism" - or the triumph of theslaves. According to him, the analysis of nihilism isthe object of psycholoBY' understood also as a psychology of the cosmos.

    It seems difficult for a philosophy of force or ofthe will to explain how the reactive forces, how theslaves, or the weak, can win. If all that happens is thattogether they form a force greater than that of th estrong, it is hard to see what has changed and what aqualitative evaluation is based on. But in fact, the weak,the slaves, triumph no t by adding up their forces bu tby subtracting those of the other: they separate th estrong from what they can do. They triumph no t because of the composition of their power bu t becauseof the power of their contagion. They bring about abecoming-reactive of aU forces. That is what "degeneration" means. Nietzsche shows early on that thecriteria of the struggle for life, of natural selection,

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    necessarily favor th e weak and the sick, the "secondary ones" (by sick is meant a life reduced to its reactive processes). This is all the more true in the case ofman, where the criteria of history favor the slaves assuch. It is a becoming-sick of alllife, a becoming-slaveof all men, that constitutes the victory of nihilism. Wemust again avoid misconceptions about the Nietzsch-

    " "d" k"" "d" l "an terms strong an wea, master an save:it is clear that the slave doesn't stop being a slave whenhe gets power, no r do the weak cease to be weak.Even when they win, reactive forces are still reactive.ln everything, according to Nietzsche, what is at stakeis a qualitative typology: a question of baseness andnobility. Ou r masters are slaves that have triumphedin a universal becoming-slave: European man, domesticated man, the buffoon. Nietzsche describes modern states as an t colonies, where the leaders and thepowerful win through their baseness, through thecontagion of this baseness and this buffoonery. Whatever the complexity of Nietzsche's work, the readercan easily guess in which category (that is, in whichtype) he would have placed the race of "masters" conceived by the Nazis. When nihilism triumphs, thenand only then does the will to power stop meaning "t ocreate" and start to signify instead "to want power,""t o want to dominate" (thus to attribute to oneself or


    have others attribute to one established values: money,honors, power, and so on). Yet that kind of will topower is precisely that of the slave; it is the way inwhich the slave or the impotent conceives of power,the idea he has of it and that he apphes when he tri-umphs. It can happen that a sick person says, Oh! if1 were well, 1 would do this or that - and maybc hewill, bu t his plans and his thoughts are still thosc ofa sick person, only a sick person. Th e same goes forthe slave and for his conception of mastery or power.The same also goes for the reactive man and his conception of action. Values and evaluations are alwaysbeing reversed, things are always seen from a pettyangle, images are reversed as in a bull's-eye. One ofNietzsche's greatest sayings is: "We must always prote ct the strong from the weak:'

    Let us now specify, for the case of man, the stagesof th e triumph of nihilism. These stages constitutethe great discoveries of Nietzschean psychology, thecategories of a typology of depths.

    1. Resentment: It's your fault. . . It's your fault .. .Projective accusation and recrimination. It's your faultif l'm weak and unhappy. Reactive life gets away fromactive forces; reaction stops being "acted:' It becomessomething sensed, a "resentment" that is exertedagainst everything that is active. Action becomes


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    shameful: life itself is accused, separated from its power' separated from what it can do. The lamb says: lcould do everything that the eagle does; l' m admirable for no t doing so. Let the eagle do as l do ..

    2. Bad conscience: It's my fault. .. The moment ofintrojection. Having captured life like a fish on ahook, the reactive forces can turn in on themselves.They interiorize th e fault, say they are guilty, turnagainst themselves. But in this way they set an example, they invite aIl of life to come and join them,they acquire a maximum of contagious power - theyform reactive communities.

    3. The ascetic ideal: The moment of sublimation.What the weak or reactive life ultimately wants is thenegation of life. /ts will to power is a will to nothingness, as a condition of it s triumph. Conversely, thewill to nothingness can only tolerate a life that isweak, mutilated, reactive - states close to nothing.Then is formed the disturbing alliance. Life is judgedaccording to values that are said to be superior to life:these pious values are opposed to life, condemn it ,lead it to nothingness; they promise salvation only tothe most reactive, the weakest, the sickest forms oflife. Su ch is the alliance between God-N othingnessand Reactive-Man. Everything is reversed: slaves arecalled masters; the weak are called strong; baseness is


    called nobility. We say that someone is noble andstrong because he carries; he carries the weight ofhigher values; he feels responsible. Even life, especially life, seems hard for him to carry. Evaluations areso distorted that we can no longer see that the carrieris a slave, that what he carries is a slavery, that the carrier is a carrier of the weak - the opposite of a creatoror a dancer. In fact, one only carries out of weakness;one only wishes to be carried out of a will to nothingness (see the buffoon of Zarathustra and the figure ofthe donkey).

    These stages of nihilism correspond, according toNietzsche, to Judaic religion, then to Christianity, butthe latter was certainly weIl prepared by Greek philosophy, that is, by the degeneration of philosophy inGreece. More generally, Nietzsche shows ho w thesestages are also the genesis of the great categories ofour thought: the Self, the World, God, causality, finality, and so on. But nihilism doesn't stop there and follows a path that makes up our en ire history.

    4. The death ifGad: Th e moment of recuperation.For a long time, the death of God was thought to bean inter-religious drama, a problem between the Jewish God and the Christian God, to the point wherewe are no longer quite sure whether it is the Sonwho dies out of resentment against the Father or the


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    Father who dies so that the Son can be independent(and become "cosmopolitan"). But Saint Paul alreadyfounded Christianity on the principle that Christ diesfor our sins. With the Reformation, the death of Godbecomes increasingly a problem between God andman, until the day ma n discovers himself to be themurderer of God, wishes to see himself as such and tocarry this new weight. He wants the logical outcomeof this death: to become God himself, to replace God.

    Nietzsche's idea is that the death of God is a grandevent, glamorous yet insufficient, for nihilism contin-ues, barely changing its form. Earlier, nihilism hadmeant depreciation, the negation of life in the nameofhigher values. But now the negation of these highervalues is replaced by human values - aIl too humanvalues (morals repl ace religion; utility, progress, evenhistory replace divine values). Nothing has changed,for the same reactive life, the same slavery that hadtriumphed in the shadow of divine values no w tri-umphs through human ones. Th e same carrier, th esame donkey, who used to bear the weight of divinerelies