looking out for the timely and outlandish

Like all of nature, I have failed.

– Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet, p. 250

I wonder what I was thinking. Because whatever it was it has gone. Should I make an effort to reconstruct? Or make it new?

I could return to my sources. There’s Olkowski’s Ruin of Representation. There’s Deleuze’s virtual ontology, meaning there is something.

And, there’s Bergson: the past is; the present was. However, the present is insofar it is the most intense contraction of the past. It virtually is.

If the past is, were I to undertake it my effort to reconstruct would be useless. That past bears on the present. What then am I holding when I think and commit to writing that I am holding it?

I’m thinking that I ought to commit to writing what comes now of holding the whole thing. Whatever I was thinking need not be wondered at. Should I be mirror-struck?

If I ever held the whole thing it is this which I will be committing to writing as I make sense of it now: it was a prophecy, my understanding of before.

In the Abécédaire, a dialogue with Claire Parnet, filmed in 1988-9, which Deleuze insisted not be published in his lifetime – not that that makes it more or less an authentic expression -, Deleuze talks about forgetting the work he is not engaged with. He says he may be intensely engaged with it at the time but this does not translate to his remembering it after: he has to start again every time. Spinoza, however, stays in his heart.

He talks about knowing nothing and even being scared of those who know everything, like Umberto Eco. Deleuze favours knowing nothing – knowing nothing except what I am doing at the time. And engaging with that fully.

Claire Parnet asks him whether he makes an effort to go out to exhibitions and films and plays and if so what sort of an effort that is. Deleuze answers that he makes an effort to remain on the look out, to be looking out, presumably for an outside, something sufficiently strong that it would take him outside philosophy. He recognises that on his own he only has philosophy to take him outside philosophy.

He also says that he looks out for what feeds in to the work he is engaged with at the time. He looks out for what is both timely and outlandish.

As an aside, he says in this interview that he has no time for theatre generally, except for the work of Carmelo Bene and Robert Wilson.