Theatre is real movement, and it extracts real movement from all the arts it employs. This is what we are told: this movement, the essence and the interiority of movement, is not opposition, not mediation, but repetition. Hegel is denounced as the one who proposes an abstract movement of concepts instead of a movement of the Physis and the Psyche. Hegel substitutes the abstract relation of the particular to the concept in general for the true relation of the singular and the universal in the Idea. He thus remains in the reflected element of 'representation', within simple generality. He represents concepts instead of dramatizing Ideas: he creates a false theatre, a false drama, a false movement. We must see how Hegel betrays and distorts the immediate in order to ground his dialectic in that incomprehension, and to introduce mediation in a movement which is no more than that of his own thought and its generalities. When we say, on the contrary, that movement is repetition and that this is our true theatre, we are not speaking of the effort of the actor who 'repeats' because he has not yet learned the part. We have in mind the theatrical space, the emptiness of that space, and the manner in which it is filled and determined by the signs and masks through which the actor plays a role which plays other roles; we think of how repetition is woven from one distinctive point to another, including the differences within itself. (When Marx also criticizes the abstract false movement or mediation of the Hegelians, he finds himself drawn to an idea, which he indicates rather than develops, an essentially 'theatrical' idea: to the extent that history is theatre, then repetition, along with the tragic and the comic within repetition, forms a condition of movement under which the 'actors' or the 'heroes' produce something effectively new in history.) The theatre of repetition is opposed to the theatre of representation, just as movement is opposed to the concept and to representation which refers it back to the concept. In the theatre of repetition, we experience pure forces, dynamic lines in space which act without intermediary upon the spirit, and link it directly with nature and history, with a language which speaks before words, with gestures which develop before organised bodies, with masks before faces, with spectres and phantoms before characters - the whole apparatus of repetition as a 'terrible power'.
It then becomes easy to speak of the differences between Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. Even this question, however, must no longer be posed at the speculative level of the ultimate nature of the God of Abraham or the Dionysus of Zarathustra. It is rather a matter of knowing what it means to 'produce movement', to repeat or to obtain repetition. Is it a matter of leaping, as Kierkegaard believes? Or is it rather a matter of dancing, as Nietzche thinks? He does not like the confusion of dancing and leaping only Zaratustra's ape, his demon, his dwarf, his buffoon, leaps).
Kierkegaard offers us a theatre of faith; he opposes spiritual movement, the movement of faith, to logical movement. He can thus invite us to go beyond all aesthetic repetition, beyond irony and even humour, all the while painfully aware that he offers us only the aesthetic, ironic and humoristic image of such a going-beyond. With Nietzsche, it is a theatre of unbelief, of movement as Physis, already a theatre of cruelty. Here, humour and irony are indispensable and fundamental operations of nature. And what would eternal return be, if we forgot that it is a vertiginous movement endowed with a force: not one which causes the return of the Same in general, but one which selects, one which expels as well as creates, destroys as well as produces? Nietzsche's leading idea is to ground the repetition in eternal return on both the death of God and the dissolution of the self. However, it is a quite different alliance in the theatre of faith: Kierkegaard dreams of an alliance between a God and a self rediscovered. All sorts of differences follow: is the movement in the sphere of the mind, or in the entrails of the earth which knows neither God nor self? Where will it be better protected against generalities, against mediations? Is repetition supernatural, to the extent that it is over and above the laws of nature? Or is it rather the most natural will of Nature in itself and willing itself as Physis, because Nature is by itself superior to its own kingdoms and its own laws? Has Kierkegaard not mixed all kinds of things together in his condemnation of 'aesthetic' repetition: a pseudo-repetition attributable to general laws of nature and a true repetition in nature itself; a pathological repetition of the passions and a repetition in art and the work of art? We cannot now resolve any of these problems; it has been enough for us to find theatrical confirmation of an irreducible difference between generality and repetition.
Repetition and generality are opposed from the point of view of conduct and from the point of view of law. It remains to specify a third opposition from the point of view of concepts or representation. Let us pose a question quid juris: a concept may be in principle the concept of a particular existing thing, thus having an infinite comprehension. Infinite comprehension is the correlate of an extension = 1. It is very important that this infinity of comprehension be supposed actual, not virtual or simply indefinite. It is on this condition that predicates in the form of moments of concepts are preserved, and have an effect on the subject to which they are attributed. Infinite comprehension thus makes possible remembering and· recognition, memory and self-consciousness (even when these two faculties are not themselves infinite). The relation of a concept to its object under this double aspect, in the form that it assumes in this memory and this selfconsciousness, is called representation. From this may be drawn the principles of a vulgarized Leibnizianism. According to a principle of difference, every determination is conceptual in the last instance, or actually belongs to the comprehension of a concept. According to a principle of sufficient reason, there is always one concept per particular thing. According to the reciprocal principle of the identity of indiscernibles, there is one and only one thing per concept. Together, these principles expound a theory of difference as conceptual difference, or develop the account of representation as mediation.
However, a concept can always be blocked at the level of each of its determinations or each of the predicates that it includes. In so far as it serves as a determination, a predicate must remain fixed in the concept while becoming something else in the thing (animal becomes something other in man and in horse; humanity something other in Peter and in Paul). This is why the comprehension of the concept is infinite; having become other in the thing, the predicate is like the object of another predicate in the concept. But this is also why each determination remains general or defines a resemblance, to the extent that it remains fixed in the concept and applicable by right to an infinity of things. Here, the concept is thus constituted in such a fashion that, in its real use, its comprehension extends to infinity, but in its logical use, this comprehension is always liable to an artificial blockage. Every logical limitation of the comprehension of a concept endows it with an extension greater than 1, in principle infinite, and thus of a generality such that no existing individual can correspond to it hic et nunc (rule of the inverse relation of comprehension and extension). Thus, the principle of difference understood as difference in the concept does not oppose but, on the contrary, allows the greatest space possible for the apprehension of resemblances. Even from the point of view of conundrums, the question 'What difference is there?' may always be transformed into: 'What resemblance is there?' But above all, in classification, the determination of species implies and supposes a continual evaluation of resemblances. Undoubtedly, resemblance is not a partial identity, but that is only because the predicate in the concept is not, by virtue of its becoming other in the thing, a part of that thing.
We wish to indicate the difference between this type of artificial blockage and a quite different type which must be called a natural blockage of the concept. One refers to logic pure and simple, but the other refers to a transcendental logic or a dialectic of existence. Let us suppose that a concept, taken at a particular moment when its comprehension is finite, is forcibly assigned a place in space and time - that is, an existence corresponding normally to the extension = 1. We would say, then, that a genus or species passes into existence hic et nunc without any augmentation of comprehension. There is a rift between that extension = 1 imposed upon the concept and the extension = 00 that its weak comprehension demands in principle. The result will be a 'discrete extension' - that is, a pullulation of individuals absolutely identical in respect of their concept, and participating in the same singularity in existence (the paradox of doubles or twins). This phenomenon of discrete extension implies a natural blockage of the concept, different in kind from a logical blockage: it forms a true repetition in existence rather than an order of resemblance in thought. There is a significant difference between generality, which always designates a logical power of concepts, and repetition, which testifies to their powerlessness or their real limits. Repetition is the pure fact of a concept with finite comprehension being forced to pass as such into existence: can we find examples of such a passage? Epicurean atoms would be one: individuals localised in space, they nevertheless have a meagre comprehension, which is made up for in discrete extension, to the point where there exists an infinity of atoms of the same shape and size. The existence of Epicurean atoms may be doubted. On the other hand, the existence of words, which are in a sense linguistic atoms, cannot be doubted. Words possess a comprehension which is necessarily finite, since they are by nature the objects of a merely nominal definition. We have here a reason why the comprehension of the concept cannot extend to infinity: we define a word by only a finite number of words. Nevertheless, speech and writing, from which words are inseparable, give them an existence hic et nunc; a genus thereby passes into existence as such; and here again extension is made up for in dispersion, in discreteness, under the sign of a repetition which forms the real power of language in speech and writing.
The question is: are there other natural blockages besides those of discrete extension and finite comprehension? Let us assume a concept with indefinite comprehension (virtually infinite). However far one pursues that comprehension, one can always think that it subsumes perfectly identical objects. By contrast with the actual infinite, where the concept is sufficient by right to distinguish its object from every other object, in this case the concept can pursue its comprehension indefinitely, always subsuming a plurality of objects which is itself indefinite. Here again, the concept is the Same - indefinitely the same - for objects which are distinct. We must therefore recognise the existence of non-conceptual differences between these objects. It is Kant who best indicates the correlation between objects endowed with only an indefinite specification, and purely spatia-temporal or oppositional, non-conceptual determinations (the paradox of symmetrical objects). However, these determinations are precisely only the figures of repetition: space and time are themselves repetitive milieux; and real opposition is not a maximum of difference but a minimum of repetition - a repetition reduced to two, echoing and returning on itself; a repetition which has found the means to define itself. Repetition thus appears as difference without a concept, repetition which escapes indefinitely continued conceptual difference. It expresses a power peculiar to the existent, a stubbornness of the existent in intuition, which resists every specification by concepts no matter how far this is taken. However far you go in the concept, Kant says, you can always repeat - that is, make several objects correspond to it, or at least two: one for the left and one for the right, one for the more and one for the less, one for the positive and one for the negative.
Such a situation may be better understood if we consider that concepts with indefinite comprehension are concepts of Nature. As such, they are always in something else: they are not in Nature but in the mind which contemplates it or observes it, and represents it to itself. That is why it is said that Nature is alienated mind or alienated concept, opposed to itself. Corresponding to such concepts are those objects which themselves lack memory -that is, which neither possess nor collect in themselves their own moments. The question is asked why Nature repeats: because it is partes extra partes, mens momentanea. Novelty then passes to the mind which represents itself: because the mind has a memory or acquires habits, it is capable of forming concepts in general and of drawing something new, of subtracting something new from the repetition that it contemplates.
Concepts with finite comprehension are nominal concepts; concepts with indefinite comprehension but without memory are concepts of Nature. Yet these two cases still do not exhaust the examples of natural blockage. Take an individual notion or a particular representation with infinite comprehension, endowed with memory but lacking selfconsciousness. The comprehensive representation is indeed in-itself, the memory is there, embracing all the particularity of an act, a scene, an event or a being. What is missing, however, for a determinate natural reason, is the for-itself of consciousness or recognition. What is missing in the memory is remembrance - or rather, the working through of memory. Consciousness establishes between the I and the representation a relation much more profound than that which appears in the expression 'I have a representation': it relates the representation to the I as if to a free faculty which does not allow itself to be confined within any one of its products, but for which each product is already thought and recognised as past, the occasion of a determinant change in inner meaning. When the consciousness of knowledge or the working through of memory is missing, the knowledge in itself is only the repetition of its object: it is played, that ,is to say repeated, enacted instead of being known. Repetition here appears as the unconscious of the free concept, of knowledge or of memory, the unconscious of representation. It fell to Freud to assign the natural reason for such a blockage: repression or resistance, which makes repetition itself . a veritable 'constraint', a 'compulsion'. Here, then, is a third case of blockage, one which concerns, this time, the concepts of freedom. Here too, from the standpoint of a certain Freudianism, we can discover the principle of an inverse relation between repetition and consciousness, repetition and remembering, repetition and recognition (the paradox of the 'burials' or buried objects): the less one remembers, the less one is conscious of remembering one's past, the more one repeats it - remember and work through the memory in order not to repeat it. Self-consciousness in recognition appears as the faculty of the future or the function of the future, the function of the new. Is it not true that the only dead who return are those whom one has buried too quickly and too deeply, without paying them the necessary respects, and that remorse testifies less to an excess of memory than to a powerlessness or to a failure in the working through of a memory?
There is a tragic and a comic repetition. Indeed, repetition always. appears twice, once in the tragic destiny and once in the comic aspect. In, the theatre, the hero repeats precisely because he is separated from an' essential, infinite knowledge. This knowledge is in him, it is immersed in' him and acts in him, but acts like something hidden, like a blocked representation. The difference between the comic and the tragic pertains to two elements: first, the nature of the repressed knowledge - in the one case. immediate natural knowledge, a simple given of common sense, in the other terrible esoteric knowledge; second, as a result, the manner in which . the character is excluded from this knowledge, the manner in which 'he does not know that he knows'. In general the practical problem consists in this: this unknown knowledge must be represented as bathing the whole scene, impregnating all the elements of the play and comprising in itself all the powers of mind and nature, but at the same time the hero cannot represent it to himself - on the contrary, he must enact it, play it and repeat it until the acute moment that Aristotle called 'recognition'. At this point, repetition and representation confront one another and merge, without, however, confusing their two levels, the one reflecting itself in and being sustained by the other, the knowledge as it is represented on stage and as repeated by the actor then being recognised as the same.
The discrete, the alienated and the repressed are the three cases of natural I blockage, corresponding respectively to nominal concepts, concepts of nature and concepts of freedom. In all these cases, however, conceptual identity or Sameness of representation is invoked to account for repetition: repetition is attributed to elements which are really distinct but nevertheless share strictly the same concept. Repetition thus appears as a difference, . but a difference absolutely without concept; in this sense, an indifferent difference. The words 'really', 'strictly', 'absolutely' are supposed to refer to the phenomenon of natural blockage, in opposition to logical blockage which only determines a generality. However, an important drawback compromises this whole endeavour. As long as we invoke absolute conceptual identity for distinct objects, we suggest a purely negative explanation, an explanation by default. The fact that this default should be grounded in the nature of concepts or representations themselves changes nothing. In the first case, repetition occurs because nominal concepts naturally possess a finite comprehension. In the second case, repetition occurs because concepts of nature are naturally devoid of memory, alienated and outside themselves. In the third case, because the concept of freedom remains unconscious while memories and representations remain repressed. In all these cases, that which repeats does so only by dint of not 'comprehending', not remembering, not knowing or not being conscious. Throughout, the inadequacy of concepts and of their representative concomitants (memory and self-consciousness, remembrance and recognition) is supposed to account for repetition. Such is therefore the default of every argument grounded in the form of identity in the concept: these arguments give us only a nominal definition and a negative explanation of repetition. No doubt the formal identity which corresponds to simple logical blockage may be opposed to real identity (the Same) as this appears in natural block, age. But natural blockage itself requires a positive supra-conceptual force capable of explaining it, and of thereby explaining repetition.
Let us return to the example of psychoanalysis: we repeat because we repress ... Freud was never satisfied with such a negative schema, in which repetition is explained by amnesia. It is true that, from the beginning, repression was considered a positive power. However, he borrowed this positivity from the pleasure principle or from the reality principle: it was merely a derived positivity, one of opposition. The turning point of Freudianism appears in Beyond the Pleasure Principle: the death instinct is discovered, not in connection with the destructive tendencies, not in connection with aggressivity, but as a result of a direct consideration of repetition phenomena. Strangely, the death instinct serves as a positive, originary principle for repetition; this is its domain and its meaning. It plays the role of a transcendental principle, whereas the pleasure principle is only psychological. For this reason, it is above all silent (not given in experience), whereas the pleasure principle is noisy. The first question, then, is: How is it that the theme of death, which appears to draw together the most negative elements of psychological life, can be in itself the most positive element, transcendentally positive, to the point of affirming repetition? How can it be related to a primordial instinct? But a second question immediately arises: Under what form is repetition affirmed and !/prescribed by the death instinct? Ultimately, it is a question of the relation , between repetition and disguises. Do the disguises found in the work of dreams or symptoms - condensation, displacement, dramatisation rediscover while attenuating a bare, brute repetition (repetition of the Same)? From the first theory of repression, Freud indicated another path: Dora elaborates her own role, and repeats her love for the father, only through other roles filled by others, which she herself adopts in relation to those others (K., Frau K., the governess ... ). The disguises and the variations, the masks or costumes, do not come 'over and above': they are, on the contrary, the internal genetic elements of repetition itself, its integral and constituent parts. This path would have been able to lead the analysis of the unconscious towards a veritable theatre. However, if it did not do so, this was because Freud was unable to prevent himself maintaining the model of a brute repetition, at least as a tendency. We see this when he attributes fixation to the Id: disguise is then understood from the perspective of a simple opposition of forces; disguised repetition is only the fruit of a secondary compromise between the opposed forces of the Ego and the Id. Even beyond the pleasure principle, the form of a bare repetition persists, since Freud interprets the death instinct as a tendency to return to the state of inanimate matter, one which upholds the model of a wholly physical or material repetition.
Death has nothing to do with a material model. On the contrary, the death instinct may be understood in relation to masks and costumes. I Repetition is truly that which disguises itself in constituting itself, that it which constitutes itself only by disguising itself. It is not underneath the • masks, but is formed from one mask to another, as though from one distinctive point to another, from one privileged instant to another, with and within the variations. The masks do not hide anything except other masks. There is no first term which is repeated, and even our childhood love for the mother repeats other adult loves with regard to other women, rather like the way in which the hero of In Search of Lost Time replays with his mother Swann's passion for Odette. There is therefore nothing t repeated which may be isolated or abstracted from the repetition in which it was formed, but in which it is also hidden. There is no bare repetition which may be abstracted or inferred from the disguise itself. The same thing is both disguising and disguised. A decisive moment in psychoanalysis occurred when Freud gave up, in certain respects, the hypothesis of real childhood events, which would have played the part of ultimate disguised terms, in order to substitute the power of fantasy which is immersed in the death instinct, where everything is already masked and disguised. In short, repetition is in its essence symbolic; symbols or simulacra are the letter of repetition itself. Difference is included in repetition by way of disguise and by the order of the symbol. This is why the variations do not come from without, do not express a secondary compromise between a repressing instance and a repressed instance, and must not be understood on the basis of the still negative forms of opposition, reversal or overturning. The variations express, rather, the differential mechanisms which belong to the essence and origin of that which is repeated. We should even overturn the relations between 'covered' and 'uncovered' within repetition. Take an uncovered or bare repetition (repetition of the Same) such as an obsessional ceremony or a schizophrenic stereotype: the mechanical element in the repetition, the element of action apparently repeated, .serves as a cover for a more profound repetition, which is played in another dimension, a secret verticality in which the roles and masks are furnished by the death instinct. Theatre of terror, Binswanger said of schizophrenia. There, the 'never seen' is not the contrary of the 'already seen': both signify the same thing, and are lived each in the other. Nerval's Sylvie already introduced us into this theatre, and the Gradiva, so close to a Nervalian inspiration, shows us the hero who lives at once both repetition as such and the repeated which is always disguised in the repetition. In the analysis of obsession, the appearance of the theme of death coincides with the moment at which the obsessed has command of all the characters of his drama and brings them together in a repetition of which the 'ceremony' is only the external envelope. The mask, the costume, the covered is everywhere the truth of the uncovered. The mask is the true subject of repetition. Because repetition differs in kind from representation, the repeated cannot be represented: rather, it must always be signified, masked by what signifies it, I itself masking what it signifies.
I do not repeat because I repress. I repress because I repeat, I forget because I repeat. I repress, because I can live certain things or certain experiences only in the mode of repetition. I am determined to repress whatever would prevent me from living them thus: in particular, the representation which mediates the lived by relating it to the form of a similar or identical object. Eros and Thanatos are distinguished in that Eros must be repeated, can be lived only through repetition, whereas Thanatos (as transcendental principle) is that which gives repetition to Eros, that which submits Eros to repetition. Only such a point of view is capable of advancing us in the obscure problems of the origin of repression, its nature, its causes and the exact terms on which it bears. For when Freud shows beyond repression 'properly speaking', which bears upon representations the necessity of supposing a primary repression which concerns first and foremost pure presentations, or the manner in which the drives are necessarily lived, we believe that he comes closest to a positive internal principle of repetition. This later appears to him determinable in the form of the death instinct, and it is this which, far from being explained by it, must explain the blockage of representation in repression properly speaking. This is why the law of an inverse relation between repetition and remembering is in every respect hardly satisfactory, in so far as it makes repetition depend upon repression.
Freud noted from the beginning that in order to stop repeating it was not enough to remember in the abstract (without affect), nor to form a concept in general, nor even to represent the repressed event in all its particularity: it was necessary to seek out the memory there where it was, to install oneself directly in the past in order to accomplish a living connection between the knowledge and the resistance, the representation and the blockage. We are not, therefore, healed by simple anamnesis, any more than we are made ill by amnesia. Here as elsewhere, becoming conscious counts for little. The more theatrical and dramatic operation by which healing takes place - or does not take place - has a name: transference. Now transference is still repetition: above all it is repetition.10 . If repetition makes us ill, it also heals us; if it enchains and destroys us, it also frees us, testifying in both cases to its 'demonic' power. All cure is a voyage to the bottom of repetition. There is indeed something analogous to scientific experimentation in transference, since the patient is supposed to repeat the whole of his disturbance in privileged, artificial conditions, taking the person of the analyst as 'object'. In transference, however, repetition does not so much serve to identify events, persons and passions as to authenticate the roles and select the masks. Transference is not an experiment but a principle which grounds the entire analytic experience. The roles themselves are by nature erotic, but the verification of these roles appeals to the highest principle and the most profound judge, the death instinct. In effect, reflection on transference was a determinant motive behind the discovery of a 'beyond'. In this sense, repetition constitutes by i itself the selective game of our illness and our health, of our loss and our salvation. How can this game be related to the death instinct? No doubt in a sense close to that in which Miller, in his wonderful book on Rimbaud, says: 'I realized that I was free, that the death I had gone through had liberated me.,ll It seems that the idea of a death instinct must be understood in terms of three paradoxical and complementary requirements: to give repetition an original, positive principle, but also an autonomous disguising power; and finally, to give it an immanent meaning in which terror is closely mingled with the movement of selection and freedom.
Our problem concerns the essence of repetition. It is a question of knowing why repetition cannot be explained by the form of identity in concepts or representations; in what sense it demands a superior 'positive' principle. This enquiry must embrace all the concepts of nature and freedom. Consider, on the border between these two cases, the repetition of a decorative motif: a figure is reproduced, while the concept remains absolutely identical ... . However, this is not how artists proceed in reality. They do not juxtapose instances of the figure, but rather each time combine an element of one instance with another element of a following instance. They introduce a disequilibrium into the dynamic process of construction, an instability, dissymmetry or gap of some kind which disappears only in the overall effect. Commenting on such a case, Levi-Strauss writes: 'These elements interlock with each other through dislocation, and it is only at the end that the pattern achieves a stability which both confirms and belies the dynamic process according to which it has been carried out.' These remarks stand for the notion of causality in general. For it is not the elements of symmetry present which matter for artistic or natural causality, but those which are missing and are not in the cause; what matters is the possibility of the cause having less symmetry than the effect. Moreover, causality would remain eternally conjectural, a simple logical category, if that possibility were not at some moment or other effectively fulfilled. For this reason, the logical relation of causality is inseparable from a physical process of signalling, without which it would not be translated into action. By 'signal' we mean a system with orders of disparate size, endowed with elements of dissymmetry; by 'sign' we mean what happens within such a system, what flashes across the intervals when a communication takes place between disparates. The sjgn is indeed an effect, but an effect with two aspects: in one of these it expresses, qua sign, the productive dissymmetry; in the other it tends to cancel it. The sign is not entirely of the order of the symbol; nevertheless, it makes way for it by implying an internal difference (while leaving the conditions of its reproduction still external).
The negative expression 'lack of symmetry' should not mislead us: it indicates the origin and positivity of the causal process. It is positivity itself. For us, as the example of the decorative motif suggests, it is essential to break down the notion of causality in order to distinguish two types of repetition: one which concerns only the overall, abstract effect, and the other which concerns the acting cause. One is a static repetition, the other is dynamic. One results from the work, but the other is like the 'evolution' of a bodily movement. One refers back to a single concept, which leaves only an external difference between the ordinary instances of a figure; the other is the repetition of an internal difference which it incorporates in each of its moments, and carries from one distinctive point to another. One could try to assimilate these two repetitions by saying that the difference between the first and the second is only a matter of a change in the content of the concept, or of the figure being articulated differently, but this would be to fail to recognise the respective order of each repetition. For in the dynamic order there is no representative concept, nor any figure represented in a pre-existing space. There is an Idea, and a pure dynamism which creates a corresponding space.
Studies on rhythm or symmetry confirm this duality. A distinction is drawn between arithmetic symmetry, which refers back to a scale of whole or fractional coefficients, and geometric symmetry, based upon proportions or irrational ratios; a static symmetry which is cubic or hexagonal, and a dynamic symmetry which is pentagonal and appears in a spiral line or in a geometrically progressing pulsation - in short, in a living and mortal 'evolution'. Now, the second of these is at the heart of the first; it is the vital, positive, active procedure. In a network of double squares, we discover radiating lines which have the centre of a pentagon or a pentagram as their asymmetrical pole. The network is like a fabric stretched upon a framework, 'but the outline, the principal rhythm of that framework, is almost always a theme independent of the network': such elements of dissymmetry serve as both genetic principle and principle of reflection for symmetrical figures.13 The static repetition in the network of double squares thus refers back to a dynamic repetition, formed by a pentagon and 'the decreasing series of pentagrams which may be naturally inscribed therein'. Similarly, the study of rhythm allows us immediately to; distinguish two kinds of repetition. Cadence-repetition is a regular division of time, an isochronic recurrence of identical elements. However, a period i exists only in so far as it is determined by a tonic accent, commanded by intensities. Yet we would be mistaken about the function of accents if we said that they were reproduced at equal intervals. On the contrary, tonic and intensive values act by creating inequalities or incommensurabilities between metrically equivalent periods or spaces. They create distinctive points, privileged instants which always indicate a poly-rhythm. Here again, the unequal is the most positive element. Cadence is only the envelope of a rhythm, and of a relation between rhythms. The reprise of points of inequality, of inflections or of rhythmic events, is more profound than the reproduction of ordinary homogeneous elements. As a result, we should distinguish cadence-repetition and rhythm-repetition in every case, the first being only the outward appearance or the abstract effect of the second. A bare, material repetition (repetition of the Same) appears only in the sense that another repetition is disguised within it, constituting it and constituting itself in disguising itself. Even in nature, isochronic rotations are only the outward appearance of a more profound movement, the revolving cycles are only abstractions: placed together, they reveal evolutionary cycles or spirals whose principle is a variable curve, and the trajectory of which has two dis symmetrical aspects, as though it had a right and a left. It is always in this gap, which should not be confused with the negative, that creatures weave their repetition and receive at the same time the gift of living and dying.
Finally, to return to nominal concepts: is it the identity of the nominal concept which explains the repetition of a word? Take the example of rhyme: it is indeed verbal repetition, but repetition which includes the difference between two words and inscribes that difference at the heart of a poetic Idea, in a space which it determines. Nor does its meaning lie in marking equal intervals, but rather, as we see in a notion of strong rhyme, in putting tonal values in the service of tonic rhythm, and contributing- to the independence of tonic rhythms from arithmetic rhythms. As for the repetition of a single word, we must understand this as a 'generalised rhyme', not rhyme as a restricted repetition. This generalisation can proceed in two ways: either a word taken in two senses ensures a resemblance or a paradoxical identity between the two senses; or a word taken in one sense exercises an attractive force on its neighbours, communicating an extraordinary gravity to them until one of the neighbouring words takes up the baton and becomes in turn a centre of repetition. Raymond Roussel and Charles Peguy were the great repeaters of literature, able to lift the pathological power of language to a higher artistic level. Roussel takes ambiguous words or homonyms and fills the entire distance between their meanings with a story presented twice and with objects themselves doubled. He thereby overcomes homonymity on its own ground and inscribes the maximum difference within repetition, where this is the space opened up in the heart of a word. This space is still presented by Roussel as one of masks and death, in which is developed both a repetition which enchains and a repetition which saves - which saves above all from the one which enchains. Roussel creates an after-language where,f once everything has been said, everything is repeated and recommenced.1 Peguy's technique is very different: it substitutes repetition not for homonymity but for synonymity; it concerns what linguists call the function of contiguity rather than that of similarity; it forms a before-language, an auroral language in which the step-by-step creation of an internal space within words proceeds by tiny differences. This time, everything leads to the problem of aging and premature deaths, but in relation to this problem also to the extraordinary chance to affirm a repetition which saves against that which enchains. Both Peguy and Roussel take language to one of its limits: in the case of Roussel, that of similarity and selection, the 'distinctive feature' between billard and pillard; in the case of Peguy, that of contiguity or combination, the famous tapestry points. Both substitute a vertical repetition of distinctive points, which takes us inside the words, for the horizontal repetition of ordinary words repeated. Both substitute a positive repetition, one which flows from the excess of a linguistic and stylistic Idea, for a repetition by default which results from the inadequacy of nominal concepts or verbal representations. How does death inspire language, given that it is always present when repetition is affirmed?
The reproduction of the Same is not a motor of bodily movements. We know that even the simplest imitation involves a difference between inside and outside. Moreover, imitation plays only a secondary and regulatory role in the acquisition of a behaviour: it permits the correction of movements being made, but not their instigation. Learning takes place not in the relation between a representation and an action (reproduction of the Same) but in the relation between a sign and a response (encounter with the Other). Signs involve heterogeneity in at least three ways: first, in the object which bears or emits them, and is necessarily on a different level, as though there were two orders of size or disparate realities between which the sign flashes; secondly, in themselves, since a sign envelops another 'object' within the limits of the object which bears it, and incarnates a natural or spiritual power (an Idea); finally, in the response they elicit, since the movement of the response does not 'resemble' that of the sign. The movement of the swimmer does not resemble that of the wave, in particular, the movements of the swimming instructor which we reproduce on the sand bear no relation to the movements of the wave, which we learn to deal with only by grasping the former in practice as signs. That is why it is so difficult to say how someone learns: there is an innate or acquired practical familiarity with signs, which means that there is something amorous - but also something fatal - about all education. We learn nothing from those who say: 'Do as I do'. Our only teachers are those who tell us to 'do with me', and are able to emit signs to be developed in heterogeneity rather than propose gestures for us to reproduce. In other words, there is no ideo-motivity, only sensory-motivity. When a body combines some of its own distinctive points with those of a wave, it espouses the principle of a repetition which is no longer that of the Same, but involves the Other - involves difference, from one wave and one gesture to another, and carries that difference through the repetitive space thereby constituted. To learn is indeed to constitute this space of an encounter with signs, in which the distinctive points renew themselves in each other, and repetition takes shape while disguising itself. Apprenticeship always gives rise to images of death, on the edges of the space it creates and with the help of the heterogeneity it engenders. Signs are deadly when they are lost in the distance, but also when they strike us with full force. Oedipus receives a sign once from too far away, once from too close, and between the two a terrible repetition of the crime is woven. Zarathustra receives his 'sign' either from too near or from too far, and only at the end does he foresee the correct distance which will turn that which in eternal return makes him ill into a liberatory and redemptive repetition. Signs are the true elements of theatre. They testify to the spiritual and natural powers which act beneath the words, gestures, characters and objects represented. They signify repetition as real movement, in opposition to representation which is a false movement of the abstract.
We are right to speak of repetition when we find ourselves confronted by identical elements with exactly the same concept. However, we must distinguish between these discrete elements, these repeated objects, and a secret subject, the real subject of repetition, which repeats itself through them. Repetition must be understood in the pronominal; we must find the Self of repetition, the singularity within that which repeats. For there is no . repetition without a repeater, nothing repeated without a repetitious soul. . As a result, rather than the repeated and the repeater, the object and the subject, we must distinguish two forms of repetition. In every case repetition is difference without a concept. But in one case, the difference is taken to be only external to the concept; it is a difference between objects represented by the same concept, falling into the indifference of space and time. In the other case, the difference is internal to the Idea; it unfolds as pure movement, creative of a dynamic space and time which correspond to the Idea. The first repetition is repetition of the Same, explained by the identity of the concept or representation; the second includes difference, . and includes itself in the alterity of the Idea, in the heterogeneity of an 'a-presentation'. One is negative, occurring by default in the concept; the other affirmative, occurring by excess in the Idea. One is conjectural, the other categorical. One is static, the other dynamic. One is repetition in the , effect, the other in the cause. One is extensive, the other intensive. One is ordinary, the other distinctive and singular. One is horizontal, the other vertical. One is developed and explicated, the other enveloped and in need of interpretation. One is revolving, the other evolving. One involves equality, commensurability and symmetry; the other is grounded in inequality, incommensurability and dissymmetry. One is material, the other spiritual, even in nature and in the earth. One is inanimate, the other carries the secret of our deaths and our lives, of our enchainments and our liberations, the demonic and the divine. One is a 'bare' repetition, the other a covered repetition, which forms itself in covering itself, in masking and disguising itself. One concerns accuracy, the other has authenticity as its criterion.
The two repetitions are not independent. One is the singular subject, the interiority and the heart of the other, the depths of the other. The other is only the external envelope, the abstract effect. The repetition of dissymmetry is hidden within symmetrical ensembles or effects; a repetition of distinctive points underneath that of ordinary points; and everywhere the Other in the repetition of the Same. This is the secret, the most ... profound repetition: it alone provides the principle of the other one, the reason for the blockage of concepts. In this domain, as in Sartor Resartus, it is the masked, the disguised or the costumed which turns out to be the truth of the uncovered. Necessarily, since this repetition is not hidden by something else but forms itself by disguising itself; it does not pre-exist its own disguises and, in forming itself, constitutes the bare repetition within which it becomes enveloped. Important consequences follow from this. When we are confronted by a repetition which proceeds masked, or comprises displacements, quickenings, slowdowns, variants or differences which are ultimately capable of leading us far away from the point of departure, we tend to see a mixed state in which repetition is not pure but only approximative: the very word repetition seems to be employed symbolically, by analogy or metaphor. It is true that we have strictly defined repetition as difference without concept. However, we would be wrong to reduce it to a difference which falls back into exteriority, because the concept embodies the form of the Same, without seeing that it can be internal to the Idea and possess in itself all the resources of signs, symbols and alterity which go beyond the concept as such. The examples invoked above concern the most diverse kinds of case, from nominal concepts to concepts of nature and freedom, and we could be charged with having mixed up all kinds of physical and psychical repetitions, even with having run together stereotypical repetitions and latent, symbolic repetitions in the psychical domain. However, we wished to show the coexistence of these instances in every repetitive structure, to show how repetition displays identical elements which necessarily refer back to a latent subject which repeats itself through these elements, forming an 'other' repetition at the heart of the first. We therefore suggest that this other repetition is in no way approximative or metaphorical. It is, on the contrary, the spirit of every repetition. It is the very letter of every repetition, its watermark or: constitutive cipher. It forms the essence of that in which every repetition consists: difference without a concept, non-mediated difference. It is both the literal and spiritual primary sense of repetition. The material sense results from this other, as if secreted by it like a shell.
We began by distinguishing generality and repetition. Then we distinguished two forms of repetition. These two distinctions are linked: the consequences of the first are unfolded only in the second. For if we were content to treat repetition abstractly and as devoid of any interior, we would remain incapable of understanding why and how a concept could be naturally blocked, allowing a repetition which has nothing to do with generality to appear. Conversely, when we discover the literal interior of repetition, we have the means not only to understand the outer repetition as a cover, but also to recapture the order of generality (and, following Kierkegaard's wish, to carry out the reconciliation of the singular with the general). For to the extent that the internal repetition projects itself through a bare repetition which covers it, the differences that it includes appear to be so many factors which oppose repetition, which attenuate it and vary it according to 'general' laws. Beneath the general operation of laws, however, there always remains the play of singularities. Cyclical generalities in nature are the masks of a singularity which appears through their interferences; and beneath the generalities of habit in moral life we rediscover singular processes of learning. The domain of laws must be understood, but always on the basis of a Nature and a Spirit superior to their own laws, which weave their repetitions in the depths of the earth and of the heart, where laws do not yet exist. The interior of repetition is always affected by an order of difference: it is only to the extent that something is linked to a repetition of an order other than its own that the repetition appears external and bare, and the thing itself subject to the categories of generality. It is the inadequation between difference and repetition which gives rise to the order of generality. Gabriel Tarde suggested in this sense that resemblance itself was only displaced repetition: real repetition is that which corresponds directly to a difference of the same degree as itself. Better than anyone, Tarde was able to elaborate a new dialectic by discovering in mind and nature the secret effort to establish an ever more perfect correspondence between difference and repetition.
So long as we take difference to be conceptual difference, intrinsically conceptual, and repetition to be an extrinsic difference between objects represented by the same concept, it appears that the problem of their relation may be resolved by the facts. Are there repetitions -yes or no? Or is every difference indeed intrinsic and conceptual in the last instance? Hegel ridi- ( culed Leibniz for having invited the court ladies to undertake experimental metaphysics while walking in the gardens, to see whether two leaves of a tree could not have the same concept. Replace the court ladies by forensic scientists: no two grains of dust are absolutely identical, no two hands have the same distinctive points, no two typewriters have the same strike, no two revolvers score their bullets in the same manner ... . Why, however, do we feel that the problem is not properly defined so long as we look for the criterion of a principium individuation is in the facts? It is because a difference can be internal, yet not conceptual (as the paradox of symmetrical ob, jects shows). A dynamic space must be defined from the point of view of an observer tied to that space, not from an external position. There are internal differences which dramatise an Idea before representing an object. Difference here is internal to an Idea, even though it be external to the concept which represents an object. That is why the opposition between Kant and Leibniz seems much less strong to the extent that one takes account of the dynamic factors present in the two doctrines. If, in the forms of intuition, Kant recognised extrinsic differences not reducible to the order of concepts, these are no less 'internal' even though they cannot be regarded as 'intrinsic' by the understanding, and can be represented only in their external relation to space as a whole. In other words, following certain neo-Kantian interpretations, there is a step-by-step, internal, dynamic construction of space which must precede the 'representation' of the whole as a form of exteriority. The element of this internal genesis seems to us to consist of intensive quantity rather than schema, and to be related to Ideas rather than to concepts of the understanding. If the spatial order of extrinsic differences and the conceptual order of intrinsic differences are finally in harmony, as the schema shows they are, this is ultimately due to this intensive differential element, this synthesis of continuity at a given moment which, in the form of a continua repetitio, first gives rise internally to the space corresponding to Ideas. With Leibniz, the affinity between extrinsic differences and intrinsic conceptual differences already appealed to the internal process of a continua repetitio, grounded upon an intensive differential element which ensures the synthesis of continuity at a point in order to engender space from within.
There are repetitions which are not only extrinsic differences, just as there are internal differences which are neither intrinsic nor conceptual. We are thus in a better position to identify the source of the preceding ambiguities. When we define repetition as difference without concept, we are drawn to conclude that only extrinsic difference is involved in repetition; we consider, therefore, that any internal 'novelty' is sufficient to remove us from repetition proper and can be reconciled only with an approximative repetition, so-called by analogy. Nothing of the sort is true. For we do not yet know what is the essence of repetition, what is positively denoted by the expression 'difference without concept', or the nature of the interiority it may imply. Conversely, when we define difference as conceptual difference, we believe we have done enough to specify the . concept of difference as such. Nevertheless, here again we have no idea of difference, no concept of difference as such. Perhaps the mistake of the philosophy of difference, from Aristotle to Hegel via Leibniz, lay in confusing the concept of difference with a merely conceptual difference, in remaining content to inscribe difference in the concept in general. In reality, so long as we inscribe difference in the concept in general we have no singular Idea of difference: we remain only with a difference already mediated by representation. We therefore find ourselves confronted by two questions: what is the concept of difference -one which is not reducible to simple conceptual difference but demands its own Idea, its own singularity at the level of Ideas? On the other hand, what is the essence of repetitionone which is not reducible to difference without concept, and cannot be confused with the apparent character of objects represented by the same concept, but bears witness to singularity as a power of Ideas? The meeting between these two notions, difference and repetition, can no longer be assumed: it must come about as a result of interferences and intersections between these two lines: one concerning the essence of repetition, the other the idea of difference.
An excerpt from introduction to the Book: Difference and Repetition by Gilles Deleuze
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Joshua Carswell - EVALUATING DELEUZE’S “THE IMAGE OF THOUGHT” (1968) AS A PRECURSOR OF HYPERSTITION // PART 1
Joshua Carswell - Evaluating Deleuze’s “The Image of Thought” (1968) as a Precursor of Hyperstition // Part 2
Jose Rosales - ON THE END OF HISTORY & THE DEATH OF DESIRE (NOTES ON TIME AND NEGATIVITY IN BATAILLE’S ‘LETTRE Á X.’)
Jose Rosales - BERGSONIAN SCIENCE-FICTION: KODWO ESHUN, GILLES DELEUZE, & THINKING THE REALITY OF TIME
GILLES DELEUZE - Capitalism, flows, the decoding of flows, capitalism and schizophrenia, psychoanalysis, Spinoza.
Obsolete Capitalism - THE STRONG OF THE FUTURE. NIETZSCHE’S ACCELERATIONIST FRAGMENT IN DELEUZE AND GUATTARI’S ANTI-OEDIPUS
Obsolete Capitalism - Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 1)
Obsolete Capitalism - Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 2)
Obsolete Capitalism: Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 3)
Obsolete Capitalism - Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 4)
Obsolete Capitalism: Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 5)
Steven Craig Hickman - David Roden and the Posthuman Dilemma: Anti-Essentialism and the Question of Humanity
Steven Craig Hickman - The Intelligence of Capital: The Collapse of Politics in Contemporary Society
Steven Craig Hickman - The Carnival of Globalisation: Hyperstition, Surveillance, and the Empire of Reason
Steven Craig Hickman - Shaviro On The Neoliberal Strategy: Transgression and Accelerationist Aesthetics
Steven Craig Hickman - Hyperstition: Technorevisionism – Influencing, Modifying and Updating Reality
Terence Blake - CONCEPTS OUT OF THE SHADOWS: Notes on Deleuze and Guattari’s “What is Philosophy?” (2)
Terence Blake - GUATTARI’S LINES OF FLIGHT (2): transversal vs transferential approaches to the reading contract
Himanshu Damle - Games and Virtual Environments: Playing in the Dark. Could These be Havens for Criminal Networks?
Himanshu Damle - Hegelian Marxism of Lukács: Philosophy as Systematization of Ideology and Politics as Manipulation of Ideology.
Nick Land - The unconscious is not an aspirational unity but an operative swarm, a population of 'preindividual and prepersonal singularities'