Friday, August 10, 2007

Vintage GD: sense in the logic

Alcoholism does not seem to be a search for pleasure, but a search for an effect which consists mainly in an extraordinary hardening of the present. One lives in two lives, of two moments at once, but not at all in the Proustian manner. The other moment may refer to projects as much as to memories of sober life; it nevertheless exists in an entirely different and profoundly modified way, held fast inside the hardened present which surrounds it like a tender pimple surrounded by indurate flesh. In this soft centre of the other moment, the alcoholic may identify himself wit the object of his love, or the objects of his “horror and compassion,” whereas the lived and willed hardness of the present moment permits him to hold reality at a distance.

The alcoholic does not like this rigidity which overtakes him any less than the softness that it surrounds and conceals. One of the moments is inside the other, and the present is hardened and tetanized, to this extent, only in order to invest this soft point which is ready to burst.

The two simultaneous moments are strangely organized; the alcoholic does not live at all in the imperfect or the future; the alcoholic has only a past perfect (passé composé ) – albeit a very special one. In drunkenness the alcoholic puts together an imaginary past, as if the softness of the past participle came to be combined with the hardness of the present auxiliary: I have – loved, I have-done, I have-seen. The conjunction of the two moments is expressed here, as much as the manner in which the alcoholic experiences on in the other, as one enjoys a manic omnipotence. Here the past perfect does not at all express a distance or a completion. The present moment belongs to the verb “to have”, whereas all being is “past” in the other simultaneous moment, the moment of participation and of the identification of the participle.

But what a strange, almost unbearable tension there is here… this embrace, this manner in which the present surrounds, invests, and encloses the other moment. The present has become a circle of crystal or of granite, formed about a soft core, a core of lava, of liquid or viscous glass.

From Gilles Deleuze, the Logic of Sense, trans. Mark Lester. (Columbia university Press, New york 1990) p 158

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