Epstein had already demonstrated that the continuous and the discontinuous were never opposed to each other in cinema. What are opposed, or at least distinguished, are rather two ways of reconciling them.


Movies are, for the most part, made up of short runs of continuous action, called shots, spliced together with cuts. With a cut, a filmmaker can instantaneously replace most of what is available in your visual field with completely different stuff. This is something that never happened in the 3.5 billion years or so that it took our visual systems to develop. You might think, then, that cutting might cause something of a disturbance when it first appeared. And yet nothing in contemporary reports suggests that it did. […]

What if we could go back in time and collect the reactions of naïve viewers on their very first experience with film editing?

It turns out that we can, sort of. There are a decent number of people on the planet who still don’t have TVs, and the psychologists Sermin Ildirar and Stephan Schwan have capitalised on their existence to ask how first-time viewers experience cuts. […] There was no evidence that the viewers found cuts in the films to be shocking or incomprehensible. […]

I think the explanation is that, although we don’t think of our visual experience as being chopped up like a Paul Greengrass fight sequence, actually it is.

Simply put, visual perception is much jerkier than we realise. First, we blink. Blinks happen every couple of seconds, and when they do we are blind for a couple of tenths of a second. Second, we move our eyes. Want to have a little fun? Take a close-up selfie video of your eyeball while you watch a minute’s worth of a movie on your computer or TV. You’ll see your eyeball jerking around two or three times every second.

{ Aeon | Continue reading }

Against those who defined Italian neo-realism by its social content, Bazin put forward the fundamental requirement of formal aesthetic criteria. According to him, it was a matter of a new form of reality, said to be dispersive, elliptical, errant or wavering, working in blocs, with deliberately weak connections and floating events. The real was no longer represented or reproduced but “aimed at.” Instead of representing an already deciphered real, neo-realism aimed at an always ambiguous, to be deciphered, real; this is why the sequence shot tended to replace the montage of representations. […]

[I]n Umberto D, De Sica constructs the famous sequence quoted as an example by Bazin: the young maid going into the kitchen in the morning, making a series of mechanical, weary gestures, cleaning a bit, driving the ants away from a water fountain, picking up the coffee grinder, stretching out her foot to close the door with her toe. And her eyes meet her pregnant woman’s belly, and it is as though all the misery in the world were going to be born. This is how, in an ordinary or everyday situation, in the course of a series of gestures, which are insignificant but all the more obedient to simple sensory-motor schemata, what has suddenly been brought about is a pure optical situation to which the little maid has no response or reaction. The eyes, the belly, that is what an encounter is … […] The Lonely Woman [Viaggio in ltalia] follows a female tourist struck to the core by the simple unfolding of images or visual cliches in which she discovers something unbearable, beyond the limit of what she can person- ally bear. This is a cinema of the seer and no longer of the agent.

What defines neo-realism is this build-up of purely optical situations (and sound ones, although there was no synchronized sound at the start of neo-realism), which are fundamentally distinct from the sensory-motor situations of the action-image in the old realism. […]

It is clear from the outset that cinema had a special relationship with belief. […] The modern fact is that we no longer believe in this world. We do not even believe in the events which happen to us, love, death, as if they only halfconcerned us. It is not we who make cinema; it is the world which looks to us like a bad film. […] The link between man and the world is broken. Henceforth, this link must become an object of belief: it is the impossible which can only be restored within a faith. Belief is no longer addressed to a different or transformed world. Man is in the world as if in a pure optical and sound situation.

{ Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2, The Time-Image, 1985 | PDF, 17.2 MB }

Part II: On the Nature and Origin of the Mind


A concept is not at all something that is a given. Moreover, a concept is not the same thing as thought: one can very well think without concepts, and everyone who does not do philosophy still thinks, I believe, but does not think through concepts–if you accept the idea of a concept as the product of an activity or an original creation.

I would say that the concept is a system of singularities appropriated from a thought flow. A philosopher is someone who invents concepts. Is he an intellectual? No, in my opinion. (…)

Philosophy arises with the action that consists of creating concepts. For me, there are as many creations in the invention of a concept as in the creation by a great painter or musician.

{ Gilles Deleuze, Cours de Vincennes on Leibniz | Continue reading }

In rapture, back to back, sacroiliac


There is a curious text, of an author who, I don’t know why, isn’t read anymore. A psychiatrist, son of an abominable historian of philosophy of the 19th century. He was called Pierre Janet. He used to be very well-known. He was more or less contemporary to Freud, his career is quite parallel to Freud’s. And neither of them understood the other. It’s very curious, there were endeavors to get them in touch but they didn’t get along. Their starting points were the same, it was hysteria; Janet initiated a very important conception of hysteria and he did a quite curious psychology which he proposed to name “Psychology of the Conduct,” even before Americans propounded the “Behavior Psychology.”

Roughly the method was: a psychological determination given, look for the type of conduct it represents. It was very interesting; he said: memory. The memory. Well it bears no interest, it doesn’t mean anything to me. I ask myself: what is the type of conduct one can hold when one remembers? And his answer was: the narration.

Hence, the famous definition of Janet: the memory is a conduct of narration. The emotion, he said, the emotion, one can’t feel if one can’t set down. You see, he used the conduct as a system of coordinates for all things. Everything was conduct.

I have a childhood memory which has impressed me forever. We all have childhood memories like this. It was during the holidays, my father used to give me Mathematics lessons. I was panic-stricken and it was all settled. That is to say, up to a point, I suspect we both did it already resigned, since we knew what was going to happen. In any case, I knew, I knew what was going to happen beforehand, because it was all settled, regular as clockwork. My father for that matter knew not much of Mathematics but he thought he had, above all, a natural gift for enunciating clearly. So he started, he held the pedagogical conduct, the pedagogical conduct. I was doing it willingly because it was no kidding subject at all; and I held the taught conduct. I showed every signs of interest, of maximal understanding, but all very soberly, and very fast there came a derailment. This derailment consisted in this: five minutes later, my father was yelling, set to beat me and I found myself in tears, I have to say, I was really small, and weeping. What was it? It is clear, there were two emotions. My deep grief, his deep anger. What did they respond to? Two failures. He has failed in his pedagogical conduct, he didn’t manage to explain at all. Of course he didn’t, he wanted to explain it to me with algebra, as he always said, because it was simpler and clearer this way. Then if I protested… and there it derailed. I protested arguing the teacher would never let me do algebra because when a six-year-old is given a problem, he hasn’t got the right, he is not supposed to do algebra. So the other was maintaining that it was the only clear way. Well, therefore, we both got into a tizzy. Misfire in the pedagogical conduct: anger; misfire in the taught conduct: tears.

All right. It was a failure. Janet said: emotion, it’s very simple, it’s a failure of conduct. You are upset when there is, when you hold a conduct and this conduct fails; then there is emotion.

{ Gilles Deleuze, Courses at Vincennes, 1980 | Continue reading }

‘It’s a stupid, dangerous, hellish world… But don’t let it frighten you.’ –Hunter S. Thompson


…an important question in philosophy, the problem of presuppositions.

An example is Descartes’ celebrated phrase at the beginning of the Discourse on the Method:

Good sense is the most evenly shared thing in the world . . the capacity to judge correctly and to distinguish the true from the false, which is properly what one calls common sense or reason, is naturally equal in all men…

For Descartes, thought has a natural orientation towards truth, just as for Plato, the intellect is naturally drawn towards reason and recollects the true nature of that which exists. This, for Deleuze, is an image of thought.

Although images of thought take the common form of an ‘Everybody knows…’, they are not essentially conscious. Rather, they operate on the level of the social and the unconscious, and function, “all the more effectively in silence.”

{ Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy | Continue reading }

photo { Jeff Luker }

More fours fives and nines than a deck of cards


Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition (1968) introduces the importance of a philosophy of difference. (…)

Repetition may be variable, and thus may include difference within itself. (…)

A simple repetition is a mechanical, stereotyped repetition of the same element, while a complex repetition is a repetition which has difference hidden within itself. (…)

1) that everyone already knows how “thought” is to be defined; 2) that common sense and good sense guarantee this knowledge and understanding; 3) that recognition of an object is determined by the sameness of the object; 4) that representation can appropriately subordinate the concept of difference to the Same and the Similar, the Analogous and the Opposed; 5) that any error which occurs in thinking is caused by external rather than internal mechanisms; 6) that the truth of a proposition is only determined by what is designated by the proposition; 7) that problems are only defined by their solutions; and 8) that learning is only a means of gaining knowledge. Deleuze explains that these eight postulates are significant obstacles to the understanding of difference and repetition.

{ Alex Scott | Continue reading | Quote: Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 304, 1882 }

‘So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.’ –Kafka


So what does fascinate me in the animal? The first thing that fascinated me is that every animal has a world. It is curious because many people do not have a world. They live the life of everyone’s life, no matter who, no matter what. Animals have worlds. An animal world, what is it? It is sometimes extraordinary limited. And this is it that moves me. Finally the animals react to very few things. Several sorts of things.


So the very first characteristic of the animal is the existence of specific, peculiar animal worlds; and it is perhaps, sometimes, the poverty of those worlds, the reduced character of those worlds that interest me a lot.

For example, we have been previously talking about animals such as the tick. The tick responds or reacts to three things. Three stimuli. Nothing more in a nature that is a huge nature, three stimuli, that’s all. It tends towards the edge of a branch, attracted by light. It can wait on top of that branch for years without eating, without anything, totally amorphous. Well, it waits for a ruminant, an herbivore, an animal that passes under its branch, ready to drop; it is a kind of an olfactory stimulus. The tick smells the animal passing under its branch. The second stimulus; the light then the smell. Then, once fallen on the back of the poor animal, it will look for the least hairy area. Here a tactile stimulus. And it sinks into the skin. It does not care about anything else. In a swarming nature, the tick extracts three things. This is what makes a world.


It is not enough to have a world to be an animal. What absolutely fascinated me are the issues of territory. Because constituting a territory is nearly the birth of art.


If someone would ask me what an animal is, I would answer “a being on the lookout”. It is a being fundamentally on the lookout. (…) The writer is on the lookout. So is the philosopher. You see, the ears of an animal. Well it does nothing without being on the watch. An animal never keeps still. While eating, it has to watch out if anything is happening in its back, on its sides, etc. Such an existence on the lookout is terrible.

{ Gilles Deleuze’s ABC Primer, with Claire Parnet | PDF | Read more | Video 1, Video 2 }

photo { unsourced }

I do not want to be a holy man; sooner even a buffoon.—Perhaps I am a buffoon.




{ Gilles Deleuze, Difference and repetition }

‘There are no fewer things in the mind that exceed our consciousness than there are things in the body that exceed our knowledge.’ –Deleuze


{ Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and philosophy, 1962 | Continue reading }


The body can by the sole laws of its nature do many things which the mind wonders at.

Again, no one knows how or by what means the mind moves the body, nor how many various degrees of motion it can impart to the body, nor how quickly it can move it. Thus, when men say that  this or that physical action has its origin in the mind, which latter has dominion over the body, they are using words without meaning, or are confessing in specious phraseology that they are ignorant of the cause of the said action, and do not wonder at it.

{ Spinoza, The Ethics, 1673 | Continue reading }

Suppose they wouldn’t feel anything after. Who knows? One way out of it.


I feel coming between you and me still a difference. You tend very quickly to stress an authentically Spinozist concept, that of the tendency to persevere in being. The last time, you spoke to me about the conatus, i.e. the tendency to persevere in being, and you asked me: what don’t you do it? I responded that for the moment I cannot introduce it because, in my reading, I am stressing other Spinozist concepts, and the tendency to persevere in being, I will derive it from other concepts which are for me the essential concepts, those of power (puissance) and affect. Today, you return to the same theme. There is not even room for a discussion, you would propose another reading, i.e. a differently accentuated reading. As for the problem of the reasonable man and the insane man, I will respond exactly thus: what distinguishes the insane person and the reasonable one according to Spinoza, and conversely at the same time, there is: what doesn’t distinguish them? From which point of view can they not be distinguished, from which point of view do they have to be distinguished? I would say, for my reading, that Spinoza‚s response is very rigorous.

If I summarize Spinoza’s response, it seems to me that this summary would be this: from a certain point of view, there is no reason to make a distinction between the reasonable man and the insane person. From another point of view, there is a reason to make a distinction.

Firstly, from the point of view of power, there is no reason to introduce a distinction between the reasonable man and the insane man. What does that mean? Does that mean that they have the same power? No, it doesn‚t mean that they have the same power, but it means that each one, as much as there is in him, realises or exercises his power. I.e. each one, as much as there is in him, endeavours [s‚efforce] to persevere in his being. Therefore, from the point of view of power, insofar as each, according to natural right, endeavours to persevere in his being, i.e. exercise his power — you see I always put effort‚ between brackets — it is not that he tries to persevere, in any way, he perseveres in his being as much as there is in him, this is why I do not like the idea of conatus, the idea of effort, which does not translate Spinoza‚s thought because what it calls an effort to persevere in being is the fact that I exercise my power at each moment, as much as there is in me. It is not an effort, but from the point of view of power, therefore, I can not at all say what each one is worth, because each one would have the same power, in effect the power of the insane man is not the same as that of the reasonable one, but what there is in common between the two is that, whatever the power, each exercises his own. Therefore, from this point of view, I would not say that the reasonable man is better than the insane one. I cannot, I have no way of saying that: each has a power, each exercises as much power as there is in him. It is natural right, it is the world of nature. From this point of view, I could not establish any difference in quality between the reasonable man and the insane one.

But from another point of view, I know very well that the reasonable man is better‚ than the insane one. Better, what does that mean? More powerful, in the Spinozist sense of the word. Therefore, from this second point of view, I must make and I do make a distinction between the reasonable man and the insane one. What is this point of view? My response, according to Spinoza, would be exactly this: from the point of view of power, you have no reason to distinguish the reasonable man and the insane one, but from the other point of view, namely that of the affects, you distinguish the reasonable man and the insane one.

From where does this other point of view come? You remember that power is always actual, it is always exercised. It is the affects that exercise them. The affects are the exercises of power, what I experience in action or passion, it is this which exercises my power, at every moment. If the reasonable man and the insane one are distinguished, it is not by means of power, each one realises his power, it is by means of the affects. The affects of the reasonable man are not the same as those of the insane one. Hence the whole problem of reason will be converted by Spinoza into a special case of the more general problem of the affects. Reason indicates a certain type of affect.

{ Gilles Deleuze, Course on Spinoza, 1980 | Continue reading }

photo { Matthu Placek }

Thing is if you really believe in it. Blind faith. Lulls all pain.


When, well after Spinoza, Nietzsche will launch the concept of will to power… (…)

We cannot understand anything in Nietzsche if we believe that it is the operation by which each of us would tend towards power.

Power is not what I want, by definition, it is what I have. I have this or that power and it is this that situates me in the quantitative scale of Beings.

Making power the object of the will is a misunderstanding, it is just the opposite. It is according to power that I have, that I want this or that.

{ Deleuze on Spinoza | Continue reading }

Put that in your pipe and smoke it


Under such circumstances, we are simply determined in our ideas by our fortuitous and haphazard encounter with things in the external world. This superficial acquaintance will never provide us with knowledge of the essences of those things. In fact, it is an invariable source of falsehood and error. This “knowledge from random experience” is also the origin of great delusions, since we –thinking ourselves free– are, in our ignorance, unaware of just how we are determined by causes.

{ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy | Continue reading }

Knowledge of the first kind is based on sense experience and imagination. It includes all our knowledge of the moment-to-moment state of our body (warmth, cold, hunger, thirst, desire, etc.) as well as our knowledge of the properties of external bodies. All knowledge of this sort is partial or inadequate.

Knowledge of the second kind is based on reason or understanding. It includes all our knowledge of the common properties of bodies and minds (and of the sciences that concern these). Knowledge of the second kind also includes our knowledge of the definitions of substance, mode, God [Nature], etc. (…) According to Spinoza, this knowledge is always adequate and necessarily true. Spinoza discusses two important characteristics of knowledge of the second kind: 1) reason always regards things as necessary; 2) reason perceives things “in the light of eternity,” i.e. without any relationship to time. (…)

What we do not acquire in this way, however, is an understanding of our own existence “in the light of eternity.” Instead, we are generally caught up in the flow of time–the past, the present and the future–and this, Spinoza believes, often leads to unhappiness. Regarding the present as the only reality, we regret the loss of the past and either hope or fear for what the future will bring. But this is a confused (or inadequate) conception of our existence.

{ Don Rutherford, Notes on Part II of the Ethics | Continue reading }

more { Deleuze on Spinoza, 1978 | Deleuze on Spinoza, 1981 }

No, you’re not thinkin’. You’re too busy being a smart aleck to be thinkin’. Now I want ya to “think” and stop bein’ a smart aleck. Can ya try that for me?


{ Gilles Deleuze, Dialogues, 1995 | Continue reading | Gilles Deleuze l Wikipedia }

And I find the very mention of you, like the kicker in a julep or two


{ Gilles Deleuze, The fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, 1988 | Continue reading }

‘I only serve white when there is no more red.’ –Baron Philippe de Rothschild


{ Nietzsche and philosophy by Gilles Deleuze | Continue reading }