L'abécédaire de Gilles Deleuze (1996) - full transcript

The eight-hour series of interviews between Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet, filmed by Pierre-André Boutang in 1988-1989. The individual episodes are "A comme Animal," "B comme Boisson," "C comme Culture," "D comme Désir," "E comme Enfance," "F comme Fidélité," "G comme Gauche," "H comme Histoire de la philosophie", "I comme Idée, "J comme Joie", "K comme Kant", "L comme Literature,"M comme Maladie,"N comme Neurologie", "O comme Opéra", "P comme Professeur", "Q comme question," "R comme Résistance", "S comme Style","T comme Tennis","U comme Un", "V comme Voyage", "W comme Wittgenstein, "X & Y comme inconnues," "Z comme Zigzag"

Parnet: So, “N” is neurology
and the brain.

Parnet: So, “N” is neurology
and the brain.

Deleuze: Yes, it's
very difficult, neurology.

Parnet: We'll go fast.

It's true that neurology
has always fascinated me,

but why? it's the question, what
happens in someones head

when he/she has an idea? I prefer,
“when there's an idea,” because

when there are no ideas, the mind
works like a pinball machine.

So, what happens? How does it
communicate inside the head?

Before people start talking
about communication, etc.,

they ought to see how it
communicates inside the head.

Or in the head of
an idiot... I mean,

it's the same thing as well, someone
who has an idea or an idiot...

In any case, they don't proceed
along pre-formed paths

and by ready-made associations,
and so what happens?

If only we knew, it seems to me
that we'd understand everything.

This interests me greatly,
for example...

And the solutions must be extremely
varied... What I mean is:

Two neural extremities in the brain
can very well establish contact.

That's what we call electrical
processes in the synapses.

And then there are other cases that
are much more complex perhaps,

where it's discontinuous and there's
a gap that must be jumped.

It seems to me that the
brain is full of fissures,

and that jumping occurs, which
happens in a probabilistic regime,

that there are relations of probability
between two linkages,

that all this is much more
uncertain, very, very uncertain,

that these communications inside
a brain are fundamentally uncertain,

regulated by laws
of probability.

What makes me think
about something?

Someone might tell me that
I'm inventing nothing,

that it's the old question of
associations of ideas.

Deleuze: So, one would almost
have to wonder... For example,

when a concept is given or a work
of art is contemplated, looked at,

one would almost have to try
to sketch a cerebral map:

what the [contemplation]
would correspond to,

what the continuous
communications would be,

what the discontinuous
communications would be,

from one point
to another.

Something has impressed me
greatly-and perhaps

this might lead to what
you were looking for-

what has impressed me greatly is a
story that physicists use quite a bit,

called the “baker's

taking a segment of dough
in order to knead it,

stretching it out
into a rectangle,

folding it back over,
sketching it out again, etc. etc.

You make a number
of transformations,

and at the limit of
“X” transformations,

two completely
contiguous points

are necessarily located at a
great distance from each other.

And there are distant points that,
as a result of “X” transformations,

are found to be
quite contiguous.

I tell myself, when one looks for
something in one's head,

aren't there these
types of mixing?

Aren't there two points that
at a particular moment,

in a particular stage
of my idea-

I cannot see how to associate them,
make them communicate-

and as a result of numerous

I discover them
side by side?

So, I would almost say, between
a concept and a work of art,

that is, between a mental product
and a cerebral mechanism,

there are some extremely
exciting similarities.

So it seems to me that with the
questions, how does one think?

Or what does
thinking mean?

The question is that thinking and the
brain are absolutely intertwined.

I mean, I believe more in the future
of the molecular biology of the brain

than in the future of
information science

or of any theory
of communication.

Parnet: You have always given a
place to 19th century psychiatry that

extensively addressed neurology
and the science of the brain

in relation to

and you have given a priority to
psychiatry over psychoanalysis

precisely for psychiatry's attention
to neurobiology. Is it still the case?

Deleuze: Yes, yes, yes.
As I said earlier,

there is also a relationship
with the pharmacy,

the possible action of drugs on the
brain and the cerebral structures

that can be located on a molecular
level, in cases of schizophrenia.

For me, these aspects
appear to have

a more certain future than
mentalist psychiatry.

Parnet: That leads to a
methodological question because

it's no secret that, in regard to
science, you are rather self-taught,

although you read neurobiological
and scientific journals...

Also you're not very good
at math, as opposed to

some philosophers you've studied-
Bergson had a degree in math;

Spinoza, strong in math; Leibniz, no
need to say, very strong in math-

so, how do you
manage to read?

When you have an idea and need
something that interests you,

and you don't necessarily
understand it all,

how do you

Deleuze: Well, there's something
that gives me great comfort:

I'm persuaded by the possibility of
several readings of the same thing,

and in philosophy
-this I believe in strongly-

one need not be a philosopher
to read philosophy.

Not only is philosophy open
to two readings,

philosophy needs two readings
at the same time.

A non-philosophical reading of
philosophy is absolutely necessary,

without which there would be
no beauty in philosophy.

That is, with non-specialists
reading philosophy,

this non-philosophical reading
of philosophy lacks nothing,

it is entirely adequate.
It's simply a reading.

Perhaps that might not
work for all philosophers.

I have trouble seeing the possibility
of a non-philosophical reading of

Kant, for example. But in Spinoza,
I mean, it's not at all impossible

that a farmer could read Spinoza,
it's not at all impossible

that a storekeeper could
read Spinoza...

Parnet: Nietzsche...

Deleuze: Nietzsche, that goes
even more without saying,

all the philosophers that
I admire are like that.

So, there is no need
to understand,

since understanding resides at
a certain level of reading.

It's a little like if you said to me,
to appreciate, for example,

Gauguin or a great painting, you
must have expertise in painting.

Of course, some knowledge
is necessary,

but there are also extraordinary
emotions-extraordinarily authentic,

extraordinarily pure,
extraordinarily violent-

within a total ignorance
of painting.

For me, it's entirely obvious that
someone can take in a painting

like a thunderbolt and not know a
thing about the painting itself.

Similarly, someone can be
overwhelmed with emotion by music

or by a particular musical work
without knowing anything about it.

For example, I am very moved
by Lulu or by Wozzeck,

without mentioning concerto,
To the Memory of an Angel,

that moves me perhaps above
everything else in the world.

So, I know it's better to have
a competent perception,

but I still maintain that everything
that counts in the world,

in the realm of the mind,
is open to a double reading,

provided that the double reading
is not something done randomly

by a self-taught

Rather, it's something
one undertakes starting from

ones problems that
come from elsewhere.

I mean that based on
being a philosopher,

that I have a non-musical
perception of music,

which makes music
extraordinarily thrilling to me.

Similarly, it's based on being a
musician, a painter, this or that,

that one can undertake a non-
philosophical reading of philosophy.

If this second reading, which doesn't
necessarily come second,

didn't occur; if there weren't these
two, simultaneous readings...

it's like both wings on a bird,
this need for two readings...

Moreover, even a philosopher
must learn to read

a great philosopher

The typical example for me
is yet again Spinoza:

having Spinoza in paperback, and
reading him like that, for me,

creates as much emotion
as a great musical work.

And in a way, understanding is not
even remotely the point since

in the courses that I used to teach,
it was so clear that sometimes

the students understood,
sometimes they did not,

and we are all like that
when it comes to books,

sometimes understanding,
sometimes not.

So, to come back to your" question
about science, I think it's true,

and as a result,
to some extent,

one is always at the extreme
point of one's ignorance,

which is exactly where
one must settle.

One must settle at the extreme point
of ones knowledge

or one's ignorance, which
is the same thing,

in order to have
something to say.

If I wait to know what
I am going to write-

literally, if I wait to know
what I am talking about-

then I will always
have to wait and

what I have to say will
have no interest.

If I do not run a risk...
If I settle and also

speak with a scholarly air
about something I don't know,

then this is also
without interest.

But I am speaking about
this very border

between kn owing
and non-knowing:

it's there that one must settle in
order to have something to say.

In science, for me, it's the same,
and the confirmation I have found

is that I've always had great
relations with scientists.

They never took me
to be a scientist,

they don't think I
understand a whole lot,

but they tell me that it works-
well, a few anyway...

You see, I remain open to echoes,
for lack of a better word.

If I give an example... I'll try
to give a simple example:

a painter that I like greatly
is Delaunay, and what-

I'll try to sum this up in a formula-
what does Delaunay do'?

He observed something quite
astounding, and as I say this,

it takes us back to the start:
What is it to have an idea?

What is Delaunay's

His idea is that light itself
forms figures,

there are figures
of light...

it's quite innovative,
although perhaps

someone long ago had this
particular idea already...

What appears in Delaunay's thought
is this creation of figures

that are figures formed
by light, light figures.

He paints light figures, and not-
which is quite different-

aspects that light takes on
when it meets an object.

This is how Delaunay detaches
himself from all objects,

with the result of no longer creating
paintings with any objects at all.

I recall having read some very
beautiful things by Delaunay:

he says, when he judges
cubism severely,

Delaunay says that Cezanne
succeeded in breaking the object,

breaking the
fruit bowl,

and that the cubists spent their time
hoping to glue it back together.

So, regarding the
elimination of objects,

Delaunay substitutes figures of pure
light for rigid and geometric figures.

That's something, a pictorial
event, a Delaunay-event.

Now, I don't know the dates,
but that doesn't matter...

There is a way or an aspect of
relativity, of the theory of relativity,

and I know just enough-
one need not know much,

it's only being self-taught
that's dangerous,

but one does not need
to know a whole lot.

I only know something about an
aspect of relativity, which is this:

instead of having
lines of light-

lines followed by light-
subjected to geometric lines,

with the experiments of Michaelson,
there's a total reversal.

Now lines of light
condition geometric lines.

This is a considerable reversal
from a scientific perspective,

which will change
everything since

the line of light no longer has the
constancy of the geometric line,

and everything
is changed.

I'm not saying that's all of it,
but it's this aspect of relativity

that best corresponds
to Michaelsons experiments.

I don't mean to say that
Delaunay applies relativity;

I would celebrate the encounter
between a pictorial undertaking

and a scientific undertaking that
must somehow be related.

I was saying something similar...
I select another example:

I know only that Riemannian
spaces-ifs really beyond me,

I don't know much in detail-l know
just enough to know that

it's a space that is constructed
piece by piece, and in which

the connections between pieces
are not predetermined.

But for completely
different reasons,

I need a spatial concept
for the parts in which

there aren't perfect connections
and that aren't pre-determined.

I need this!

I'm not going to spend
five years of my life

trying to understand Riemann,
because at the end of five years,

I will not have made any progress
with my philosophical concept.

And I go to the movies, and I see
a strange kind of space-

everyone knows how space is
used in Bresson's films-

in which space is
rarely global,

where space is constructed
piece by piece.

One sees little pieces of space-
for example, a section of a cell,

in the A Man Escaped-the cell,
in my vague recollection,

is never seen in its entirety,
but the cell is a tiny space.

I am not even talking about the
Gare de Lyon in The Pickpocket,

where its incredible. These are little
pieces of space that loin up,

the links are not predetermined,
and why?

It's because they
are manual,

hence the importance
of hands for Bresson.

It's the hand that moves.
Indeed, in The Pickpocket,

it's the speed with which the stolen
object is passed from one hand

to the other that determines
the connections of little spaces.

I do not mean either that Bresson
is applying Riemannian spaces.

I say that an encounter can occur
between a philosophical concept,

a scientific notion, and an aesthetic
percept. So that's quite perfect.

I believe that, in science, I know just
enough to evaluate encounters.

If I knew more,
I'd be in science,

I wouldn't be in philosophy,
so, there you are.

At the limit, I speak well about
something I don't know,

but I speak of what I don't know
as a function of what I know.

All of this is a question of tact,
no point in kidding about it,

no use in pretending
when one doesn't know.

But once again, just as I have
had encounters with painters,

they were the most beautiful
days of my life.

I had a certain encounter-
not physical encounters,

but in what I write-l have had
encounters with painters.

The greatest of them was
Hantai. Hantai told me,

“Yes, there is something.” lt wasn't
on the level of compliments.

Hantai is not someone who is
going to make compliments

to someone like me, we don't
even know each other-

there is something that
“passes” [between us].

What about my encounter
with Carmelo Bene?

I never did
any theater,

I have never understood
anything about theater.

I have to believe that something
important “passed” there as well.

There are scientists with whom
these things work too.

I know some
mathematicians who,

when they were kind enough
to read what I have written,

said that, for them, what [I was]
doing was absolutely coherent.

Now, this is going badly since
I seem to be taking on an air

of completely despicable

but it's in order to
answer the question.

For me, the question is not whether
or not I know a lot about science,

nor whether I am capable
of learning a lot of it.

The important thing is not to
make stupid statements...

it's to establish echoes, the
phenomena of echoes

between a concept, a percept, a
function-since, for me,

the sciences do not proceed with
concepts, but with functions-

a function. From this perspective,
I needed Riemannian spaces,

yes, I know they exist,
I do not know exactly

what they are,
but that's enough.

Parnet: So, “O” is “Opera,”
and as we have just learned,

this heading is a bit
of a joke since,

other than Wozzeck
and Lulu by Berg,

it's safe to say that opera is not
one of your activities or interests.

You can speak to the
exception of Berg,

and in contrast to Foucault or
Chatelet who liked Italian opera...

you never really listened to music
or particularly to opera.

What interested you more
were popular songs,

particularly Edith Piaf... You have
a great passion for Edith Piaf.

So I'd like you to talk
a bit about this.

Deleuze: You are being a
bit severe in saying that.

First, I listened to
music quite a bit

at a particular time,
a long time ago.

Then, I stopped because
I told myself, it's not possible,

it's not possible, it's an abyss,
it takes too much time,

one has to have time,
I don't have the time,

I have too much to do-l'm
not talking about social tasks,

but my desire
to write things-

I just don't have the time to listen
to music, or listen to enough of it.

Parnet: Well, for example, Chételet
worked while listening to opera...

Deleuze: Well, yes, that's one
method. I couldn't do that.

He listened to
opera, yes,

but I'm not so sure that he listened
to it while working, perhaps.

When he entertained people at
his home, that I understand.

At least it covered up what people
were saying when he'd had enough.

But for me, that's not
how it works.

So, I would rather turn the question
more towards my own favor...

if you transformed it into: What is it
that creates a community

between a popular song and
a great musical work of art?

That's a subject that
I find fascinating.

The case of Edith Piaf,
for example:

I think she is a great chanteuse,
with an extraordinary voice.

Moreover, she has this way
of singing off-key

and then constantly
catching the false note

and making it right, this kind
of system in imbalance that

is constantly catching
and making itself right.

For me, this seems to
be the case in any form.

This is something I like a lot,
really a lot,

because it's a question
I pose about everything,

on the level of the popular song,
something I like a lot:

what does it bring
that is original?

Deleuze: The question arises
in all productions

what does it bring
that's original?

If it's been done 10 times, 100,
times, maybe even done quite well,

indeed I understand then
what Robbe-Grillet said:

Balzac is obviously
a great genius,

but what's the point in creating
novels today the way Balzac did?

Moreover, that [practice]
sullies Balzads novels,

and that's how it is
with everything.

What I found particularly moving
in Piaf was that she introduced

something original in relation to
the preceding generation,

in relation to Frehel and...
and the other great [singer]...

Parnet". Damn...

Deleuze: in relation to Frehel and
Damia. [it's] what [Piaf] brought

that was original, even in the
outfit of the chanteuse, all that,

and in Piaf's voice. I was extremely
sensitive to Piaf's voice.

In more modern singers, one
has to think-to understand

what I mean-one has to think
about [Charles] Trenet.

What was innovative in
Trenet's songs, quite literally,

one had never heard anyone sing
like him, singing in that manner.

So I am insisting strongly on this
point: for philosophy, for painting,

for everything, for art, whether
it's the popular song or the rest,

or sports even-we'll see this
when we talk about sports-

the question is exactly the same,
whats happening that's innovative?

If one interprets that in the sense of
fashion-no, it's just the opposite.

What's innovative is something
that's not fashionable,

perhaps it will become so,
but it's not fashionable since

people don't expect it, by definition,
people don't expect it,

something that makes people...
that stupefies them.

When Trenet started singing,
people said he was crazy.

Today, that no longer
seems crazy to us,

but one can comment eternally
on how he was crazy, and

in some ways, he remained so.
Piaf appeared grandiose to us all.

Parnet: And Claude Francois,
you admired him a lot too?

Deleuze: Claude Francois,
right or wrong, I don't know,

but Claude Francois also seemed
to bring something innovative

because... There are a lot of them,
I'm not going to cite them all.

It's really sad because people
have sung like that ten times,

a hundred times, thousands
of times, and furthermore,

they don't have the
least bit of voice,

and they try to
discover" nothing.

That's the same thing, to
introduce something innovative

and to try to
discover" something.

For Piaf, what was she trying
to discover, my God?

All that I can say about weak health
and strong life, what she saw in life,

the force of life, and what broke her,
etc., she is the very example,

we could very well insert
the example of Edith Piaf

every time into what
we said earlier.

I was receptive to Claude Francois.
He was searching for something,

he was looking for an
original kind of show,

a song-show, he invented this kind
of danced song, that obviously

implied using playback.
For better or for worse,

that also allowed him to begin
research into sound.

To the very end, Francois was
dissatisfied with one thing,

his lyrics were stupid, and
that still matters in songs.

His texts were weak, and
he never stopped trying

to arrange his texts so that he might
achieve greater textual qualities,

like “Alexandrie, Alexandra,”
a good song.

So today, I am not very
familiar with music,

but when I turn on the TV-it's the
right of someone who's retired,

to turn on the TV when
I'm tired-l can say that

the more channels there are,
the more they look alike,

and the more nil they become,
a radical nullity.

The regime of competition,
competing with each other

for everything, produces
the same, eternal nullity,

that's what
competition is,

and the effort to know
what will make

the listener turn here to listen
instead of there, it's frightening,

the way they...

What I hear there can't
even be called a song,

since the voice doesn't even exist,
no one has the slightest voice.

But really, let's not complain.
What I mean is,

what they all want is this kind of
domain that would be treated doubly

by the popular song and by music.
And what is this?

With Felix, I feel like we did
some good work here,

because I could say if necessary,
if someone asked me,

“What philosophical concept
have you produced since

you are always talking
about creating concepts?”

We at least created a very
important philosophical concept,

the concept of the ritornello [the
refrain]. And the ritornello is, for me,

this point in common [between
the popular song and music].

What is it? Let's say, the ritornello
is a little tune, “tra-la-la-la,

tra-la-la-la.” When do I say “Va-la-
la?” I'm applying philosophy here,

I'm applying philosophy in asking-
when do I sing “tra-la-la,”

when do I sing to myself?
I sing to myself on three occasions:

I sing to myself when I am
moving about in my territory,

wiping off my furniture, radio playing
in the background, that is,

when I am in my home. Then, I sing
to myself when I am not at home

and I am trying to reach home,
at nightfall, at the hour of agony,

I'm seeking my way, and I give
myself courage by singing,

“tra-la-la,” I'm going
toward my home.

And then, I sing to myself when
I say “Farewell, I am leaving,

and I will carry you with me in
my heart.” it's a popular song...

when I am leaving home to go
somewhere else, and where to go?

In other words, for me, the ritornello
is absolutely linked-

which takes the discussion
back to “A as Animal”-

to the problem of the territory and of
exiting or entering the territory,

that is, to the problem
of deterritorialization.

I return to my territory
or I try,

or I deterritorialize myself, that is,
I leave, I leave my territory.

Fine, but what relation does
this have to music?

One has to make headway
in creating a concept,

that's why I invoke
the image of the brain:

Take my brain at this
moment as an example,

I suddenly say to myself,
“The lied.” What is the lied?

That's what it has
always been:

It has always been
the voice as a chant

that rose from its position
in relation to the territory.

My territory, the territory I no
longer have, the territory that

I am trying to reach again,
that's what the lied is.

Whether it's Schumann
or Schubert,

that's what it is fundamentally.
And I believe that's what affect is.

When I was saying earlier that
music is the history of becomings

and the potentials of becomings,
it was something of this sort...

It could be great or
it could mediocre, but...

What is truly great music?
For me,

it appears as an artistic
operation of music.

They start from
ritornellos, and...

I don't know, I am talking even about
the most abstract musicians.

I believe that each musician has
his/her kinds of ritornellos.

They start from little tunes,
they start from little ritornellos.

We must look at Vinteuil and Proust
[in In Search of Lost Time]...

three notes then two. There's a
little ritornello at the basis

of all Vinteuil, at the
basis of the septet.

For me, it's a ritornello that one
must find in music, under music,

it's something incredible.
So what happens?

A great musician,
on the one hand,

it's not ritornellos that he/she
places one after the other,

but ritornellos that will melt into an
even more profound ritornello.

This is all ritornellos
of territories,

of one particular territory or
another particular territory

that will become organized in the
heart of an immense ritornello,

which is a cosmic
ritornello, in fact!

Everything that Stockhausen says
about music and the cosmos,

this whole way of
returning to themes

that were current in the Middle
Ages and the Renaissance-

I am quite in favor of
this kind of idea

that music has a relationship
with the cosmos...

So, here is a musician that
I admire greatly and who greatly

affects me, Mahler. What is
his Song of the Earth?

One can't say it better. This is
perpetually like elements in genesis,

in which there is perpetually
a little ritornello

sometimes based on
two cow bells.

Deleuze: What I find extraordinarily
moving in Mahler's works is the way

that all the little ritornellos, which are
already musical works of genius-

tavern ritornellos, shepherd
ritornellos, etc.-

they achieve a composition
in a kind of great ritornello

that will become the
Song of the Earth.

If we needed yet another
example, I would say

Bartók is an immensely great
musician, a very great genius.

The way local ritornellos, ritornellos
of national minorities, etc.,

are collected in a work that has
not yet ceased to be explored.

And I think that
music is a bit...

Yes, to link it to painting,
it's exactly the same thing.

When Klee says the painter
does “not render the visible,

but renders visible.” This implies:
Forces are not visible,

and for a musician,
it's the same thing.

He renders audible forces
that are not audible.

He doesn't render
the audible,

he makes audible something
that hasn't yet been,

he makes audible the
music of the earth,

he makes audible the music of...
or he invents it,

almost exactly like
the philosopher:

he renders thinkable forces
that are not thinkable,

that are in nature rather
raw, rather brutal.

I mean it's this communion
of little ritornellos

with the great ritornello that,
for me, defines music,

something I find very simple.
It's music's potential,

its potential to deliver
a truly cosmic level,

as if stars began singing
a little tune of a cow bell,

a little shepherds tune.
Or, it might be the reverse,

the cow bells that are suddenly
elevated to the state

of celestial sounds,
or of infernal sounds.

Parnet: Nonetheless, it seems to
me, and I can't exactly explain it,

with all you tell me, with
all this musical erudition,

that what you are looking for in
music, the ritornello, remains visual.

You seem to be engaging
the visual, much more...

Ok, I do understand the extent
to which the audible

is linked to cosmic forces
like the visual,

but you don't go to any concerts.
It's something that bothers you,

you do not listen
to music,

you go to art exhibits
at least once a week,

and you have your
habitual practice.

Deleuze: it's from a lack
of possibilities and

a lack of time because... I can
only give you one answer.

One single thing interests me
fundamentally in literature, it's style.

Style, for me, is the pure
auditory, the pure auditory.

I wouldn't make the distinction
you do between the visual...

It is true that I rarely go to concerts
because it's more complicated now

reserving in advance. These are
all practical details of life,

whereas when there's an art exhibit,
no reservations are needed.

But, each time I went to a concert,
I found it too long

since I have very little receptivity,
but I always felt deep emotions.

I'm not sure you are
completely wrong,

but I think you might be mistaken,
that it's not completely true.

In any case, I know that
music gives me emotions...

Talking about music is even more
difficult than speaking of painting.

It's nearly the highest point,
speaking about music.

Parnet: Nearly all
philosophers... Well,

there are a lot of philosophers
who spoke about music.

Deleuze: But style is
sonorous, not visual,

and I'm only interested in
sonority at that level.

Parnet: Music is immediately
connected to philosophy, that is,

lots of philosophers spoke about
music, for example, Jankelevitch...

Deleuze: Yes, yes,
that's true...

Parnet: but other than

there are few philosophers
who spoke about painting.

Deleuze: Only a few?
You think so? I don't know...

Parnet: Well, I admit,
I'm not certain... but music,

Barthes talked about it,
Jankelevitch spoke about it.

Deleuze: Yes, he spoke
about it very well.

Parnet: Even Foucault
spoke about music.

Deleuze: Who?

Parnet: Foucault.

Deleuze: Oh, Foucault didn't talk
about music, it was a secret for him.

Parnet: Yes, it was a secret. He
spoke a lot about Monet...

Deleuze: His relations with music
were completely a secret.

Parnet: Yes, he was very close
to certain musicians.

Deleuze: Yes, yes, but
those are all secrets

that Foucault did
not discuss.

Parnet: Well, he would go to
Bayreuth, he was very close

to the musical world,
even if a secret-

Deleuze: Yes, yes, yes...

Parnet: And the
exception of Berg,

as Pierre-André was whispering,
which we skipped, why this cry...?

Deleuze: Yes, where does
this come from?

This is also connected to why one is
devoted to some topic. I don't know.

I discovered at the same time some
musical pieces for orchestras by...

- Oh, listen... You see what being
old is, you can't find names...

the orchestra pieces
by his master...

Parnet : Schoenberg.

Deleuze: by Schoenberg.
I recall that at that moment,

not too long ago, putting on
these orchestra pieces

fifteen times in a row,
fifteen times in a row,

and I recognized the moments
that overwhelmed me.

It was then, at the same time
as I found Berg, and

he was someone to whom
I could listen all daylong. Why?

I see this as also being a question
of a relationship to the earth.

Mahler, I only came to know much
later, it's the music of the earth.

Take this up in the works
of very old musicians,

there it's fully a relationship
of music and earth,

but that music might be
encompassed in the earth

to such an extent, as it is in
Berg's and Mahler's works,

I found this to be
quite overwhelming.

Making, truly making sonorous
the forces of the earth,

that's what [Bergs]
Wozzeck is for me.

It's a great text since it's the
music of the earth, a great work.

Parnet: There are
two cries in it,

you liked Marie's cry
and the cry of...

Deleuze: For me, there is such a
relationship between song and cry.

In fact, this whole school was able
to pose the problem anew.

But the two cries there, I never
get tired of these two cries,

the horizontal cry that floats
along the earth in Wozzeck,

and the completely vertical cry
of the countess-

countess, or baroness,
I don't recall-

Parnet: Countess...

Deleuze: ...of the countess
in [Bergs] Lulu-

these are cries that
are such summits.

All of that interests
me as well

because in philosophy,
there are songs and cries.

Concepts are veritable
songs in philosophy,

and then, there are cries
of philosophy.

Suddenly Aristotle [says]:
you have to stop!

Or another says, no, I'll never stop!
Spinoza-what can a body do?

We don't even know what a body
can do! Those are cries.

So the relation cry-song or concept-
affect is somewhat the same.

It's valid for me, it's something
that moves me.

Parnet: So, “P” is “Professor.”
You are 64 years of age,

and you have spent nearby
40 as a professor,

first in French high schools,
then in the university.

And so this is the first year that you
plan your weeks without teaching.

So, first, do you miss
your courses

since you've said that you taught
your courses with passion,

so I wonder if you miss
no longer teaching them?

Deleuze: No, not at all, not at all.
It's true that courses were my life,

a very important
part of my life.

I really, deeply enjoyed
teaching my courses.

But when my retirement
arrived, I was quite happy

since I was less
inclined to teach.

This question of courses
is quite simple:

I believe that courses
are like-

there are equivalents
in other domains-

a course is something requiring an
enormous amount of preparation.

I mean, it nearly corresponds to a
recipe, like in so many activities:

if you want five, ten minutes
at most, of inspiration,

one has to prepare so very much,
to have this moment of...

If you don't, well...

So I realized that the more
things went on-

I always did that,
I liked doing that a lot,

I prepared a lot in order to reach
these moments of inspiration-

and the more things went on,
the longer I had to prepare

only to have my inspiration
gradually diminished.

So it was about time, and it didn't
make me happy, not at all,

since the courses were
something I greatly enjoyed,

but they became something
I needed less.

Now I have my writing which
poses other kinds of problems,

but I have no regrets, but I did love
teaching enormously, yes.

Parnet: And, for example, when
you say “prepare a lot,”

how much preparation
time was it?

Deleuze: it's like anything,
there are rehearsals for a class,

one rehearses. it's like in theater, in
popular songs, there are rehearsals,

and if one hasn't rehearsed
enough, there's no inspiration.

In a course, it means
having moments of inspiration,

without which the course
means nothing.

Parnet: You don't mean that you
rehearsed in front of your mirror?

Deleuze: Of course not, each
activity has its modes of inspiration.

But there is no word other
than memorizing...

Memorizing and managing to find
that what one's saying is interesting.

Obviously, if the speaker doesn't
think what he's saying is interesting

-and that doesn't
go without saying,

thinking that what one is saying
is interesting, fascinating.

And this isn't a
form of vanity,

it's not finding oneself
interesting or fascinating,

it's the subject matter that one
is treating and handling

that one has to
find fascinating.

And to do so, one sometimes
has to truly whip oneself.

The question isn't
whether it's interesting,

but of getting oneself
stimulated to the point

that one is able to speak about
something with enthusiasm:

that's what
rehearsing is.

So, I needed that less,

And then courses are something
quite special, a course is a cube,

it's a space-time, and so many
things happen in a course.

I like lectures
much less,

I never liked lectures because a
lecture is too small a space-time.

A course is something that stretches
out from one week to the next.

It's a space and a very,
very special temporality.

It has successive

It's not that one can redo or catch
up when something doesn't go well,

but there's an internal
development in a course.

And the people change
from week to week,

and the audience for a
course is quite exciting.

Parnet: Here, we are going to start
with the beginning.

You were first a lycée professor. Do
you have good memories of this?

Deleuze: Well, yes, because
that doesn't mean anything

since it occurred at a time
when the lycée was not at all

what the lycée has become.
I understand...

I think of young professors today
who are demoralized by the lycées.

I was a lycée professor
shortly after the Libération,

when it was completely

Parnet". Where
were you'?

Deleuze: I was in two cities,
one I liked a lot, one I liked less.

Amiens was the one I liked because
it was a very free city, very open,

whereas Orleans was
much more severe.

This was still a period when a
philosophy professor was treated

with a lot of

he tended to be forgiven
a lot since

he was a bit like the madman,
the village idiot.

And usually he could do
whatever he wanted.

I taught my students
using a musical saw,

since I had taken it up
at the time,

and everyone found it
quite normal.

Nowadays, I think that would no
longer be possible in the lycées.

Parnet: What did you explain to
them by using the musical saw?

How did that function
in your course?

Deleuze: I taught them curves,
because the saw is a thing that,

as you know, one had to curve
the saw in order to obtain

the sound from
the curve, and

these were quite moving curves,
something that interested them.

Parnet: Already it was about
the infinite variation...

Deleuze: Yes, but
I didn't only do that,

I taught the baccalaureate

I was a very conscientious

Parnet: It was there that
you met Poperen, I think.

Deleuze: Yes, I knew Poperen quite
well, but he traveled more than me,

and stayed very
little in Amiens.

He had a little suitcase
and a big alarm clock

because he didn't
like watches,

and the first thing he did was
to take out his clock.

He taught with his big clock.
I found him very charming.

Parnet: And who were your friends
in the teachers' lounge,

because when one
is a student

Deleuze: I liked the gymnastics
professors a lot,

but I don't recall very much. The
teachers' lounge in the lycée

must have changed a lot today
as well, it was quite something.

Parnet: As a student, one imagines
the teachers' lounge

as a mysterious and
oppressive place.

Deleuze: No, it's the time when...
there are all sorts of people there,

solemn or jokers. But in fact,
I didn't go there much.

Parnet: After Amiens and Orleans,
you were in Paris

at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in
the preparatory course,

so can you recall
any students you had that

were remarkable or
who didn't amount to much?

Deleuze: Oh, students who
didn't amount to much?

Who amounted to something?
I don't really recall any longer...

Yes, I do recall them.
To my knowledge, they became

professors, but none that I know of
became government ministers.

Someone became
a police officer,

but no, really there were
none very special,

they all went their own way,
they were quite fine.

Parnet: Then there were the
Sorbonne years of which one gets

the impression that they correspond
to your history of philosophy years.

And then, came Vincennes
which was an entirely

crucial experience
after the Sorbonne.

Well, I am jumping here since
Lyon came after the Sorbonne.

First, were you happy to teach at
the university after the lycée?

Deleuze: “Happy, happy”-it isn't
really an appropriate word.

It was simply a normal career.
I had left the lycée;

if I had gone back to the lycée,
it wouldn't have been dramatic,

it just would have been
abnormal, a setback,

so the way things worked out
was normal, normal,

no problem, and I have
nothing to say about it.

Parnet: Well, for example,
the university courses are

differently prepared than
the lycée courses.

Deleuze: Not for me,
not at all.

Parnet: For you,
it was the same.

Deleuze: Exactly the same, I always
taught my courses the same way.

Parnet: Were your lycée

as intense as your
university preparations?

Deleuze: Of course,
of course. In any case,

one has to be absolutely
imbued [with the material],

one has to love what
one is talking about,

and that doesn't
happen by itself,

so one has to rehearse, prepare,
go over things mentally,

one has to find a gimmick. it's quite
amusing that one has to find

something like a door that one cant
pass through from just any position.

Parnet: So you prepared your
courses exactly the same way

at the lycée and at
the university.

It was prepared equally at the lycée
as it was later at the university.

Deleuze: There was no difference
in nature at all between

the two kinds of courses.
Yes, the same.

Parnet: Since we are discussing
your university work,

you can talk about your doctoral
thesis. When did you defend it?

Deleuze: I had already written
several books before [my defense],

I believe, in order not to do it,
that is, it's a frequent reaction.

I was working a lot, and I realized
I had to have the thesis,

that I had to do this,
that it was quite urgent.

So I made a maximum effort, and
finally I presented it among

one of the very first defenses
following May '68.

Parnet: In 1969?

Deleuze: In 1969? Yes, it must have
been in 1969, among the very first.

This created a very privileged
situation for me

because the committee was
obsessed with only one thing,

how to arrange the defense in order
to avoid the student groups roving

through the Sorbonne.
They were quite afraid,

since it was right after the return to
school following the May '68 events,

so they didn't know
what would happen.

I recall the chairman telling me,
“Ok, there are two possibilities:

either we have your defense
on the ground floor,

where there is one advantage,
there are Mo exits,

so the committee
could get out quickly,

but the disadvantage is that,
since it's on the ground floor,

that's where the students are more
likely to be roving around.

Or we could go to the 2nd floor,
with the advantage that

students go upstairs
less frequently,

but the disadvantage of only
one entrance and one exit,

so if something were to happen,
we might not be able to get out.”

So that, when
I defended my thesis,

I could never meet the gaze of the
committee chairman since

he was staring at the door to see
if someone was going to come in,

to see if the students
were coming in.

Parnet: Who was the
committee chairman?

Deleuze: Ah, I'm not saying
his name, it's a secret.

Parnet: I could make
you confess.

Deleuze: No, especially given the
chairman's agony at the time,

and also he was
very charming.

But the chairman was
more upset than I was,

it's rare for a committee to be more
disturbed about the defense than

the candidate in this completely
exceptional situation.

Parnet: You were probably
better known at that point

than most of the
committee members.

Deleuze: Oh, no, I wasn't
all that well known.

Parnet: The defense was on
Difference and Repetition.

Deleuze: Yes.

Parnet: Well, you were already
very well known

for your works on Proust
and Nietzsche.

Parnet: So we can move on
to Vincennes, unless

you have something to say about
Lyon after the Sorbonne...

Deleuze: No, no, no... Vincennes,
there was indeed a change,

you are right, not in nature of the
preparation of my courses,

in what I call my preparation,
my rehearsals for a course,

nor in the style
of a course.

In fact, from Vincennes onward, I
no longer had a student audience.

This was what was so splendid
about Vincennes.

It wasn't the case
in all the universities.

They were getting
back to normal.

At Vincennes, at least
in philosophy

-it wasn't true for
all of Vincennes-

there was a completely
new kind of audience,

which was no longer
made up of students,

which was a mixture
of all ages,

people with all kinds of
professional activities,

including psychiatric hospitals,
even patients.

It was perhaps the most
colorful audience

and finding a mysterious
unity at Vincennes.

That is, it was at once the most
diverse and the most coherent

as a function of, even
because of, Vincennes.

Vincennes gave this disparate
crowd a kind of unity.

And for me, it was
an audience...

Later, had I been
appointed elsewhere-

I subsequently spent my whole
teaching career at Vincennes-

but had I been forced later
to move to another faculté,

I would have completely
lost my bearings.

When I visited other
schools after that,

it seemed like I was traveling
back in time,

landing back in the middle
of the 19th century.

So at Vincennes, I spoke before a
mixed audience, young painters,

people undergoing psychiatric
treatment, musicians, addicts,

young architects, people
from very different countries,

with waves of visitors
that changed each year.

I recall suddenly 5 or 6
Australians who arrived

I don't know why, and the
next year they were gone.

The Japanese were constantly
there, each year,

and there were South
Americans, Blacks...

It was an invaluable audience
and a fantastic audience.

Parnet: Because, for the first time,
you were speaking to

that is, this practice...

Deleuze: It was, I believe,
fully philosophy in its own right,

addressed equally to philosophers
and to non-philosophers,

exactly like painting is addressed
to painters and non-painters,

or music not being limited
to music specialists.

It's the same music, the same Berg
or the same Beethoven

addressed equally to people that
are not specialists in music

and to people who
are musicians.

Philosophy, for me,
must be strictly the same,

it is addressed as much to non-
philosophers as to philosophers

changing it.

Philosophy, when it's addressed
to non-philosophers,

that doesn't mean one has to make
it simple, no more than in music...

One doesn't make Beethoven
simpler for non-specialists.

It's the same in philosophy,
exactly the same.

For me, philosophy has always
had this double audition,

a non-philosophical audition as
much as a philosophical one.

And if these two don't exist together,
then there is nothing.

Without these, philosophy
would be worth nothing.

Parnet: Now, could you explain
a subtle distinction?

In lectures, there are non-
philosophers, but you hate lectures.

Deleuze: Yes, I hate lectures
because they're artificial and

also because of the before and
the after of lectures.

Finally, as much as I like
teaching courses,

which is one way of speaking,
so I hate speaking equally.

Speaking really seems
like an activity for...

So, lectures-talking before,
talking after, etc.,

and all that doesn't possess
at all the purity of a course.

And then, the lecture, there's
a circus quality in lectures-

courses also have their circus
quality as well, but at least

it's a circus that amuses me and
tends to be more involved.

In a lecture, there is a phony side,
and the people who go to them...

Well, I don't know, but I just don't
like lectures, I don't like giving talks:

they're too tense, too much
like prostitution, too stressed,

too I don't know. That doesn't
seem interesting to rne at all.

Parnet: Let's come back to your
venerated audience at Vincennes

that was so mixed, and in
those Vincennes years,

with madmen, addicts, as you said,
who made wild interventions,

took the floor, never, never did any
of that ever seem to bother you.

All of these interventions
in the middle of your course

and you continued
to lecture,

and none of the interventions
were objections.

That is, the magistral aspect
of the course remained.

Deleuze: You need to find another
word, since this expression-

cours magistral-is imposed
by the university,

but we really have to
find another word.

That is, I see two conceptions
of a course:

the first is one in which the object
of the course is to incite

rather immediate reactions
from the audience

by means of questions and the
need for interruptions.

This is an entire trend, a particular
conception of a course.

On the other hand, there is the so-
called magistral conception,

with one formal
person who speaks.

It's not that I prefer
one or the other,

I just had no choice, I only had
experience with the second form,

the so-called magistral

So a different word is needed
because, almost at the limit,

it's more like a kind of musical
conception of a course.

For me, one doesn't interrupt music,
whether good or bad,

or one interrupts if
it's really bad,

but usually one doesn't
interrupt music,

whereas one can easily
interrupt spoken words.

So, what does this musical
conception of a course mean?

I think it means two things,
based on my experience,

although I don't mean that
this is the best conception,

this is just how
I see things.

Considering how I know
my audiences to be,

those that have been my
audiences, I tell myself,

there is always someone who
doesn't understand on the spot,

and then there is something like a
delayed effect, a bit like in music.

At one moment, you don't
understand a movement,

and then three minutes later, it
becomes clear, or ten minutes later:

something happened
in the meantime.

So with these delayed
effects in a course,

someone can certainly understand
nothing atone point,

and ten minutes later,
it becomes clear,

there's a kind of
retroactive effect.

So if he had already

that's why I find interruptions
so stupid,

or even certain questions
people can ask.

You ask a question because
you're in the midst of

not understanding... well, you would
be better off waiting.

Parnet: So these interruptions,
you found them stupid

because people just
didn't wait?

Deleuze: Yes, that's
the first aspect of it:

what someone doesn't

there is the possibility that he'll
understand it afterwards.

The best students were those who
asked questions the following week.

I had a system toward the end,
I don't know who invented it,

it was them, they would pass me a
little note from one week to the next

-a practice I appreciated-saying
that I had to go back over a point.

So they had waited. “You have
to go back over this point”-

I didn't do it, it wasn't

but there was this kind
of communication.

There is the second important point
in my conception of a course:

since a course I taught was two
and one-half hours in length,

no one could listen
that long.

So, for me, a course was
always something

that was not destined to be
understood in its totality.

A course is a kind of
matter in movement,

really matter in movement,
which is how it is musical,

and in which each person,
each group,

or each student at the limit
takes from it what suits him/her.

A bad course is one that
quite literally suits no one,

but of course, one can't expect
everything to suit just anyone.

So, people have to wait,
because at the limit,

it's obvious that some people
nearly fall asleep, and then,

by some mystery, they wake up at
the moments that concern them.

No law can foresee what is
going to concern someone.

It's not even the subjects that are
interesting, but something else.

A course entails as much
emotion as intelligence,

and if there is no emotion, then
there is nothing, it's pointless.

So, it's not a question
of following everything

or of listening to

It's rather a question
of keeping a watch

so that you grasp what suits you,
what suits you personally.

That's why for me a varied audience
is so crucially important,

because I sense clearly that
the centers of interest shift

and jump from one person
to another,

and that creates a kind
of splendid fabric,

a texture, yes. So
there you have it.

Parnet: Well, that's the audience,
but for this “concert,”

you invented the expression “pop
philosophy” and “pop philosopher.”

Deleuze: Yes, that's
what I meant.

Parnet: Yes, but one could say
that your appearance,

like Foucault's, was
something very special,

I mean, your hat, your
fingernails, your voice.

Were you conscious that there
was this kind of mythification

by your students around
this appearance,

like they had mythified Foucault, as
they... mythified the voice of Wahl.

First, were you conscious of
having this appearance

and then of having this
special voice?

Deleuze: Oh yes, certainly,
since the voice in a course-

lets say that if philosophy-
we've talked about this already,

it seems to me-mobilizes
and treats concepts,

then it's normal that there be a
vocalization of concepts in a course,

just like there is a written
style of concepts.

Philosophers aren't people who
write without searching for

or elaborating
a style.

It's like artists, and
they are artists.

So, a course implies that one
vocalizes, even it implies, yes-

I speak German poorly-a kind of
Sprechgesang, clearly, obviously.

So, if on top of that
there are mythifications-

did you see his
nails'.7, etc.-

that kind of thing occurs
to all professors,

already even in
grade school.

What's more
important is

the relationship between
the voice and the concept.

Parnet: To make you happy, your"
hat was like Piaf's black dress...

There is a very
precise allure.

Deleuze: Well, my point of honor is
that I never wore it for that reason,

so if it produced that effect,
so much the better, very good.

There are always

Parnet: Is that a part of
your role as professor?

Deleuze: Is that a part of
my role as professor?

No, that isn't part of my role as
professor, it's a supplement.

What a professor's role is, is what
I said about prior rehearsal

and about inspiration in the moment,
that's the professors role.

Parnet: You never wanted either
a “school,” or disciples,

and that corresponds to
something very deep in you,

this refusal
of disciples...

Deleuze: I don't refuse at all.
Generally it works both ways:

no one wants to be my disciple any
more than I want to have any.

A “school” is awful for a
very simple reason:

a “school” takes a lot of time,
one turns into an administrator.

Consider philosophers who
have their own “school”:

the Wittgensteinians,
it's a “school.”

Ok, it's not much fun. The
Heideggerians, it's a “school.”

First it implies some terrible
scores being settled,

it implies exclusivity,
it implies scheduling,

it implies an entire administration,
a “school” has to be run.

I saw the rivalries between French
Heideggerians led by Beaufret

and the Belgian Heideggerians
led by De Waelhens,

a real knife fight.
It was abominable,

at least for me, without
any interest.

I think of other reasons. I mean,
even on the level of ambition,

being the leader of a “school.”
Just look at Lacan...

Lacan was the leader
of a “school” as well.

But it's awful, it creates
so many worries.

One has to become
Machiavellian to lead it all,

and then for myself,
I despise that.

For me, the “school” is the
opposite of a movement.

A simple example: Surrealism
was a “school,”

with scores settled, trials,
exclusions, etc.

[André] Breton created
a “school.”

Dada was a movement.
If I had an ideal-

and I don't claim
to have succeeded-

it would be to participate
in a movement.

Yes, fine... To be in
a movement, yes,

but to be even the leader
of a “school”

does not seem to me
to be an enviable fate.

A movement, yes...
The ideal is finally...

it's not at all to have guaranteed
and signed notions

or to have disciples
repeating them.

For me, there are
two important things:

the relationship that one can have
with students means

to teach them that they must be
happy with their solitude.

They keep saying: a little
communication, we feel isolated,

we're so alone, etc., and
that's why they want “schools.”

They can only achieve something
as a result of their solitude,

so it's to teach them the
benefit of their solitude,

it's to reconcile them
with their solitude.

That was my role
as a professor.

And then, the second aspect
is a bit the same:

I wouldn't want to introduce notions
that would constitute a “school,”

I'd want to introduce
notions or concepts

that would make it
in the everyday arena.

I don't mean these would
become something ordinary,

but that they would become
commonly accepted ideas,

namely ideas that one could
handle in different ways.

That could only occur if
I addressed this to other

solitary people who will twist
these notions in their own way,

to use them as
they need them.

So all of these are notions

of movements and not
notions of “schools.”

Parnet: And do you think that,
in today's university,

the era of great professors
has passed,

things don't seem to be going
very well in the universities?

Deleuze :Well, I don't have
many ideas about that since

I no longer have a place there. I left
at a time that was terrifying,

and I couldn't understand how
professors could continue teaching.

That is, they'd become

The university, and the current
political trend is clear:

the university will cease
being a place of research,

entirely consonant with the forced
entry of disciplines

that have nothing to do with
university disciplines.

My dream would be for universities
to remain research sites

and that, alongside the universities,
technical schools would multiply,

where they would teach accounting,
information science, etc.,

but with universities
intervening only,

even in accounting and information
science, on the level of research.

And there could be all
the agreements possible

between a technical school
and the university,

with a school sending its students
to pursue research courses.

But once they introduced technical
school subjects into the university,

the university is done for,
it's no longer a research site,

and one gets increasingly eaten up
by these management hassles,

the vast number of meetings
at the university.

That's why I said I don't see how
professors can prepare a course,

so that I assume that they do
the same one every year,

or they just no longer
do any preparation.

Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps
they continue to prepare them,

so much the better. But still,
the tendency seems to be

the disappearance of
research at the university,

the rise of non-creative
disciplines in the university,

those that are not
research disciplines,

and that's called the adaptation of
the university to the job market.

It's not the role of the university
to adapt to the job market.

It's the role of
technical schools.

Parnet: So, “Q” is

Philosophy serves to pose
questions and problems,

and questions are

and as you say, their purpose
is not so much to answer them

as to leave these
questions behind.

So, for example, leaving the
history of philosophy behind

meant creating new
questions for you.

But here, in an interview, one
doesn't ask you questions,

they really aren't questions, so
how do I leave this behind,

how do you leave this behind? What
does one do, make a forced choice?

First, what is the difference between
a question in the mass media

and a question in philosophy,
to start at the beginning?

Deleuze: That's difficult, because...
I'd say... That's difficult, because...

In the media most of the time,
or in conversations,

there are no questions, no
problems, there are interrogations.

If I say, “how are you doing?”,
it doesn't constitute a problem,

even if you aren't doing well at all.
“What time is it?” it's not a problem.

All of those are interrogations.
People inquire about each other.

If one sees the usual level
on television,

even in supposedly serious
broadcasts, it's full of interrogations.

Saying “what do you think of this?”
does not constitute a problem.

It's an interrogation,
it's “what is your opinion?”

That's why t.v. isn't
very interesting.

People's opinions, they don't have
a very lively interest for me.

If someone asks me:
“Do you believe in God?”

That's an interrogation.
Where is the problem there,

where is the question? There is no
question, there is no problem.

So if one asked questions or
problems in a t.v. show,

[the number of broadcasts] is vast,
sure, but it happens rarely...

The political t.v. shows do not
encompass, to my knowledge,

a single problem. They could
do so, they could, for example,

ask about people: “How do
we pose the Chinese question?”

But they don't ask, they usually
invite specialists on China

who say things about contemporary
China that one could figure out

all by oneself, without knowing
anything about China.

It's great! So it's not
at all their domain.

I'll return therefore to my example,
because it's huge:

God, what is the problem or
question about God?

It's not whether one believes
in God or not,

which doesn't interest
many people,

but what does it mean when
one says the word “God”?

Does this mean... I'm going to
imagine the questions.

That could mean: are you going
to be judged after death?

So how is this a problem? Because
this establishes a problematic

relationship between God and the
agency of judgment.

Is God a judge? This is a
question. Ok then...

I suppose someone might say to us,
Pascal. Pascal wrote a famous text,

the one on the bet:
does God exist or not?

One bets on it, and then
one reads Pascal's text,

and one realizes that it's absolutely
not a matter of that question. Why?

Because it's another question
that he asks.

Pascals question is not
whether God exists or not,

which would not be
very interesting,

but it's: what is the
best mode of existence,

the mode of existence of someone
who believes that God exists, or

the mode of existence of someone
who believes God doesn't exist?

Such that Pascal's question
absolutely does not concern

the existence of God or the
non-existence of God.

It concerns the
existence of someone

who believes in
Gods existence

and the existence of someone who
believes that God doesn't exist.

For various reasons that Pascal
develops, which are his own,

but which can be clearly

he thinks that someone who
believes that God exists

has a better existence than
someone who believes the opposite.

That's his business, OK,
it's a Pascalian matter.

In this, there's a problem,
a question, and

it's already no longer the
question of God.

There is a story underlying
the questions,

a transformation of questions
within one another.

This is the same when
Nietzsche says “God is dead,”

it's not the same thing as God
does not exist. I can say...

If I say, “God is dead,” what
question does that refer to,

which is not the same as when
I say, “God does not exist”?

One realizes if one
reads Nietzsche

that he could care
less about Gods death,

and that he's posing another
question in this way, that is,

if God is dead, there's no reason
that man wouldn't be dead as well,

one has to find something
else than man, etc.

What interested Nietzsche was not
at all whether God was dead,

he was interested in the arrival
of something other than man.

That's what the art of
questions and problems is,

and I believe that this could certainly
occur on t.v. or in the media,

but that would create a
very strange kind of show,

on this underlying story of
problems and questions.

Whereas in daily conversations
as well as in the media,

people stay on the
level of interrogations.

One has only to look at...
I can refer to...

sure, all this is posthumous-
the show, “The Hour of Truth.”

There aren't any truths,
it's truly full of interrogations...

“Mme Veil, do you believe in
Europe?” “Ok, fine”...

What does that mean,
“believe in Europe”?

It would be interesting if one asked,
“what is the problem of Europe?”

The problem of Europe, well, I'll tell
you what it is because that way,

I'll have for once expressed
a forewarning.

That's exactly the same as
China right now,

they constantly think about
preparing Europe,

preparing the uniformization
of Europe,

they interrogate each
other about it,

on how to make
insurance uniform, etc.

And then, they find a million people
at the Place de la Concorde

from everywhere, Holland,
Germany, etc., and

[the interrogators] don't control it
at all, they don't control it.

Fine, so they call on specialists to
tell them why there are so many

Dutch people at the Place de la
Concorde. “lt's because... etc.”

They just skirt around the real
questions at the very moment

when they need to be asked... What
I've been saying is a bit confused...

Parnet: No, no,
for example,

for years you used to read
daily newspapers,

but it seems that you no longer read
Le Monde or Liberation daily.

Is there something on the level
of the press or the media

precisely not asking
these questions...

Deleuze: Oh, I don't know...
I have a lot less time...

Parnet: that
disgusts you?

Deleuze: Oh, yes! Listen... I get
the feeling of learning less and less.

I'm quite ready, I want to learn
things, since we know nothing,

but since the newspapers say
nothing either, what can one do?

Parnet: And you,
for example,

each time that you watch
the evening news

since it's the only t.v. show
you never miss,

do you always have a question
to formulate each time

that is never formulated
in the media?

Deleuze: I don't know about
that, I don't know.

Parnet: You seem to think that
questions never get asked.

Deleuze: The questions?
Well, I think that, at the limit,

the questions cant be asked.
If you take the Touvier story,

you cant pose questions-Fm
choosing something quite recent.

They arrested [Paul] Touvier,
ok... So, why now? Ok,

so when everyone says, “Why
has he been protected?”

Everyone knows that there must
have been various machinations.

He was an information director,
so he must have information

on the conduct of distinguished
dignitaries in the Church

during the period of World War ll.
Everyone knows...

Ok, so everyone knows
what he knows about,

but there's an agreement not to ask
questions, and they won't get asked.

That's whats known as a
consensus, it's an agreement,

the convention according to which
problems and questions will be

substituted for simple interrogations,
such as “How are you doing?”

that is, ah, well... “That convent
helped him hide.. Why?” etc.

Everyone knows that's not
the real question...

Parnet: Well,
I don't know...

Deleuze: Everyone knows... Let rne
take another recent example,

regarding the reformers
on the Right

and the political apparatus
on the Right.

Everyone knows
what this is about,

but the newspapers don't tell us
a thing. I don't know,

I am just saying this, but it seems
obvious to me that between

these reformers de droite, there is a
very interesting problem.

These guys-its not that
they are particularly young,

but their problem
is this:

it's an attempt to shake up elements
of the Party organizations

that are always very
centralized around Paris.

Specifically, the reformers want
regional independence,

something very

and yet no one is calling
attention to this aspect.

The connection to the European
question is that they want to create

a Europe not of nations,
they want a Europe of regions.

They want the veritable unity
to be regional and inter-regional,

rather than a national
and international unity.

Now this is
a problem,

one that the Socialists will have
to face at some point,

between regionalist and
internationalist tendencies.

But the Party organizations, that is,
the provincial federations,

still correspond to an old-fashioned
approach, specifically,

all that goes back to Paris, and the
power is extremely centralized.

So, the conservative reformers are
an anti-Jacobine movement,

and the Left will have one as well.
So, I say, fine,

they have to be made to talk about
this, but no one will do so,

they even refuse to because, when
they do, they will reveal themselves.

Hence, they'll only
answer interrogations,

and interrogations
are nothing,

it's just conversation.
It's pointess.

Conversations, interrogations,
they are pointless.

Except for rare exceptions, t.v.
is condemned to discussions,

to interrogations.
It's worthless.

It's not even a question of lies,
it's just insignificant, it's pointless.

Parnet: Well, I'm less of
an optimist than you,

but it seems to me that there is the
journalist Anne Sinclair who,

within the consensus,
doesn't realize it,

and thinks she's posing
good questions,

not at all

Deleuze: Fine, that's
her business,

I'm quite sure that she's very
happy with herself.

Yes, that's certain,
it's her business.

Parnet: You never accept invitations
to go on television.

Foucault and
Serres did it.

Are you retreating from
the world like Beckett did?

Do you
hate television?

Why won't you go on television?
For all these reasons?

Deleuze: Well, here's the proof,
I'll be on t.v.!

But my reasons for
not accepting

relate exactly to what
I have already said:

I don't want to have conversations
and discussions with people.

I cannot stand interrogations,
that doesn't interest me.

And discussions, arguing
about something,

especially when no one knows
what problem is being raised.

I return to my
example of God-

is it a matter of the non-existence
of God, of the death of God,

of the death of man,
of the existence of God,

of the existence of whoever
believes in God, etc.?

It's a muddle,
it's very tiring.

So when everyone has
his turn to speak,

it's domesticity in
its purest state,

moreover with some idiot of
a host as well... Mercy, mercy...

Parnet: The most important thing
is that you are here today

answering our little

Deleuze: On the condition
that it's posthumous!

Deleuze: On the condition
that it's posthumous!

Parnet: “R” is “Resistance.”
As you said in a recent lecture,

philosophy creates concepts,
and whenever one creates,

as you said in this lecture, one
resists. Artists, filmmakers,

musicians, mathematicians,
philosophers all resist,

but, what do they
resist exactly?

First, let's take this
case by case:

philosophers create concepts, but
does science create concepts?

Deleuze: No. These are rather
questions of ends, Claire.

Because if we agree to reserve the
word “concept” for philosophy,

another word is needed then to
designate scientific notions.

One doesn't say of an artist either
that he/she creates concepts.

A painter or a musician
doesn't create concepts,

he/she creates something else.
So, for science,

one needs to find other words. Let's
say, one could say, for example,

a scientist is someone who creates
functions, let's say.

I'm not saying it's the best word: he/she creates new functions,

but creating functions occurs as
much... Creating new functions...

Einstein, Gallois, the great

but not only the mathematicians,
there are physicists,

biologists, all
create functions.

So... how does this
constitute resisting?

How is creating resisting all that?
It's clearer for the arts,

because science is in a more
ambiguous position,

a bit like cinema: it is caught in so
many problems of organization,

funding, etc., that the portion
of resistance...

But great scientists also mount
considerable resistance,

if one thinks
of Einstein,

of many physicists and biologists
today, it's obvious.

They resist first against being forced
in certain tempting directions

and against the trends in
popular opinion, that is,

against the whole domain of
imbecilic interrogation.

They really have the strength
to demand their own rhythm,

they cant be forced to release just
anything prematurely,

just as one usually
doesn't hurry an artist.

No one has the right
to hurry an artist.

But I think that... That creating
would be resistance because...

I believe... Let me tell you,
there is a writer I recently read

who affected me greatly
on this topic.

I believe that one of the great
motifs in art and thought

is a certain “shame
of being a man.”

I think that Primo Levi is
that writer and artist

who has expressed
this most profoundly.

He was able to speak of this
“shame of being a man”

in an extremely
profound book

because he wrote it following his
return from the Nazi death camps.

Levi said, “Yes,
when I was freed,

the dominant feeling was
'the shame of being a man."

it's a statement,
I believe,

that's at once quite splendid,
very beautiful,

and not at all abstract,
it's quite concrete,

“the shame of
being a man.”

But it could be open to

It does not mean that we are all
assassins, that we are all guilty,

for example, all guilty of Nazism.
Levi says it admirably:

it doesn't mean that the
executioners and the victims

are all the same... You cant
make us believe that.

There are a lot of people who
maintain, “Oh yes,

we are all guilty”... No, no, no,
nothing of the sort...

We cannot confuse the
executioner with the victim.

So “the shame of being a man” does
not mean that we are all the same,

that we are all compromised, etc.
It means, I believe, several things.

It's a very complex feeling, not a
unified feeling.

“The shame of being a man”
means at once

how could men do that-some
men, that is, other than me-

how could they
do that?

And second, how have I myself
nonetheless taken sides?

I didn't become an executioner, but I
still took sides to have survived,

and there is a certain shame
in having survived

in the place of certain friends
who did not survive.

So it's therefore an extremely
composite feeling,

“the shame of being a man,” and
I believe that at the basis of art,

there is this idea or this very strong
feeling of shame of being a man that

results in art which liberates the life
that men have imprisoned.

Men never cease imprisoning life,
they never cease killing life-

“the shame of being a man.” The
artist is the one who liberates a life,

a powerful life, a life that's more
than personal, it's not his/her life.

Parnet: Ok, so I guide you back
toward the artist and resistance,

that is, the role of the
shame of being a man,

art freeing life from this
prison of shame,

but it's something very different
from sublimation.

That is, art is not at all this...
it's really a resistance...

Deleuze: No, not at all... It means
ripping art from life, life's liberation,

and that's not at all
something abstract.

What is a great character
in a novel?

A great character is not borrowed
from the real and even inflated:

Charlus is not

He's not even Montesquiou inflated
by Prousts brilliant imagination.

These are fantastic powers
of action for life,

fantastic powers of action for life,
however badly it turns out.

He has integrated worlds into
a fictional character.

It's a kind of giant, it's a kind of
exaggeration in relation to life,

but not an exaggeration
in relation to art,

since art is the production
of these exaggerations,

and it is by their mere existence
that this is already resistance.

Or, we can connect with
the first theme

writing is always writing for animals,
that is, not to them,

but in their place, doing what
animals can't, writing, freeing life,

freeing life from prisons that
men have created,

and that's what resistance is.
I don't know...

That's obviously what artists do,
and I mean

there is no art that doesn't also
liberate a power of action for life,

there is no art
of death, first of all.

Parnet: But sometimes
art doesn't suffice.

Primo Levi ended up committing
suicide much, much later.

Deleuze: He committed suicide...
Ah yes, ah yes,

he could no longer
hold on,

so he committed the suicide
of his personal life.

But, there are four pages
or twelve pages

or a hundred pages of Primo
Levi that will remain,

that will remain eternal resistances,
so it happens this way.

And it's even more... I am talking
about “the shame of being a man,”

but it's not even in the grandiose
sense of Primo Levi, you see?

Because if one dares to say
something of this sort,

for each of us
in daily life,

there are tiny events that inspire in
us this shame of being a man.

We witness a scene in which
someone has really been too vulgar,

we don't make a big thing of it,
but we are upset,

upset for the other,
we are upset for ourselves

because we seem nearly
to accept this.

Here again, we almost make
some sort of compromise.

But if we protest, saying “what
you're saying is base, shameful,”

a big drama gets made out of it,
and we're caught, and we feel-

it doesn't at all compare
with Auschwitz-

but even on this
minuscule level,

there is a small shame
of being a man.

If one doesn't feel that shame,
there is no reason to create art.

It's Ok, I can't
say anything else.

Parnet: But when you create,
precisely when you are an artist,

do you feel these dangers
all the time,

dangers that are surrounding you,
that are everywhere?

Deleuze: Yes, obviously, yes,
in philosophy as well.

It's what
Nietzsche said,

a philosophy that doesn't
damage stupidity-

damage stupidity, resist stupidity.
But if philosophy did not exist-

people act like “oh,
philosophy, after all,

it's good for after-dinner

But if philosophy did not exist, we
cannot guess the level of stupidity.

Philosophy prevents stupidity
from being as enormous

as it would be were
there no philosophy.

That's the splendor of it, we have
no idea what things would be like.

Without art, what would the
vulgarity of people be...

So when we say “to create is to
resist,” it's effective, I mean.

The world would not be
what it is if not for art,

people could not hold
on any more.

It's not that they read

Philosophy's mere existence
prevents people from being

as stupid and beastly as
they would be without it.

Parnet: What do
you think

when people announce the death
of thought, the death of cinema,

the death of literature-does that
seem like a joke to you?

Deleuze: There are no deaths, there
are assassinations, quite simply.

Perhaps cinema will be
assassinated, quite possibly,

but there is no death from natural
causes, for a simple reason:

as long as there would be
nothing to grasp

and take on the function
of philosophy,

philosophy will still have
every reason to live on,

and if something else takes on
the function of philosophy,

then I don't see at all how it could
be anything but philosophy.

If we say that philosophy consists of
creating concepts, for example,

and, through that, damaging
and preventing stupidity,

then how could
philosophy die?

It could be blocked, it could be
censored, it could be assassinated,

but it has a function,
it is not going to die.

The death of philosophy always
seemed to me an imbecilic idea,

it's an idiotic idea. it's not that
I am attached to philosophy...

I'm very pleased that
it doesn't die,

I don't even understand what this
means, “the death of philosophy.”

It just seems to be a rather feeble
idea, kind of simpering,

just to have something
to say,

just a way of saying things change,
and there's no more use...

But, what's going to
replace philosophy?

What's going to create concepts?
So someone might tell me:

“You must not create any more
concepts,” and so, OK,

let stupidity reign-fine, it's the idiots
who want to do philosophy in.

Who is going to create concepts?
Information science?

Advertising agents who have taken
over the word “concept”?

Fine, we will have advertising

which is the “concept”
of a brand of noodles.

They don't risk having much of a
rivalry with philosophy because

I don't think that the word “concept”
is being used in the same way.

But today advertising presents
itself as philosophy's true rival

since they tell us: we advertisers
are inventing concepts.

But, the “concept” proposed by
information science,

“concepts” by computers,
is quite hilarious,

what they call a “concept.” So, we
shouldn't be worried about it.

Parnet: Could we say that you,
Félix, and Foucault form

networks of concepts like networks
of resistance, like a war machine

against dominant modes of
thought and commonplaces?

Deleuze: Yes, why not'? It would
be very nice if it were true,

that would be very nice. In any case,
the network is certainly the only...

if one doesn't create
a “school”-

and these “schools”
don't seem good at all-

if one doesn't create
a “school,”

there is only the regime of
networks, of complicities.

Of course, it's something that
has existed in every period,

what we call Romanticism, for
example, German Romanticism,

or Romanticism in general,
this was a network.

What we call Dadaism,
it's a network.

And I'm sure that there must be
networks today as well.

Parnet: Are these networks
of resistance?

Deleuze: By their
very existence.

The function of the network
is to resist, and to create.

Parnet: For example, you feel
both famous and clandestine,

this notion of clandestinity
that you are fond of.

Deleuze: I don't consider
myself at all famous,

I don't consider myself clandestine.
I would like to be imperceptible.

But there are a lot of people who
would like to be imperceptible.

That doesn't at all mean
that I'm not...

Being imperceptible
is fine because...

But that's a question
that's almost personal.

What I want is to do my work,
for people not to bother me

and not make me waste time,
yes, and at the same time,

I want to see people, because
I need to, like everybody else,

I like people. There are a few people
whom I like to see.

But, when I see them, I don't want
this to create the slightest problem,

to have imperceptible relationships
with imperceptible people,

that's what is most
beautiful in the world.

You can say that we are all
molecules, a molecular network.

Parnet: ls there a strategy in
philosophy, for example,

when you wrote your
book on Leibniz,

was it strategically that you
wrote on Leibniz?

Deleuze: I suppose that depends on
what the word “strategy” means.

I assume that one doesn't write
without a certain necessity.

If there is no necessity
to create a book, that is,

a strongly felt necessity by the
person writing the book,

then it would be
better not to do it.

So when I wrote on Leibniz,
it was necessary for me.

Why was it necessary? Because
a moment arrived for me-

it would take too
long to explain-

to talk, not about Leibniz,
but about the fold.

And for the fold, it was at that time
fundamentally linked to Leibniz.

But I can say for each
book that I wrote

what the necessity was
at each period.

Parnet: But besides the grip of
necessity that pushes you to write,

I mean, your return to a philosopher
as a return to history of philosophy

after the cinema books
and after books like

A Thousand Plateaus and
Anti-Oedipus. ls there...

Deleuze: There was no return
to a philosopher,

which is why I previously answered
your question quite correctly.

I did not write a book on Leibniz,
I only wrote a book on Leibniz

because, for me, the moment had
come to study what “a fold” was.

Deleuze: I study the history of
philosophy when I need to, that is,

when I encounter and
experience a notion

that is itself already connected
to a philosopher.

When I got passionately involved
with the notion of “expression,”

I wrote a book on Spinoza because
Spinoza is a philosopher who

raised the notion of “expression”
to an extraordinarily high level.

When I encountered on my own
the notion of “the fold,”

it seemed to go without saying
that it would be through Leibniz.

Now it does happen that
I encounter notions

that are not already dedicated
to a philosopher,

so then I don't study the
history of philosophy.

But I see no difference
between writing

a book on the history of philosophy
and a book of philosophy,

so it's in that way that
I follow my own path.

Parnet: “S” is “Style”

Deleuze: Ah, well,
good for us!

Parnet: What is style? In Dialogues,
you say that style is the property

precisely of those about whom
it is said they have no style.

I think that you say this about
Balzac, if I recall correctly.

So what
is style?

Deleuze: Well, that's
no small question!

Parnet: No, that's why
I asked it so quickly!

Deleuze: Listen, this is what I can
say: to understand what style is,

one is better off not knowing a
thing at all about linguistics.

Linguistics has done a lot of harm.
Why has it done a lot of harm?

Because there is an opposition-
Foucault said it well-

there is an opposition, and it's
even their complementarity,

between linguistics
and literature.

As opposed to what many say,
they do not fit each other at all.

Because, for linguistics, a language
is always a balanced system,

therefore it can be made
into a science.

And the rest, the variations,
are placed

no longer on the side of language,
but on the side of speech.

When one writes, we know quite
well that language is, in fact,

a system, as physicists would say,
a system which is by nature

far from equilibrium, a system in
perpetual imbalance, such that

there is no difference in level
between language and speech,

but language is constituted by all
sorts of heterogeneous currents

in disequilibrium with
one another.

So, what is the style of
a great author?

I think there are two things
in a style-you see,

I am answering clearly,
rapidly and clearly,

so I'm ashamed because it's
too much of a summary.

Style seems to me composed
of two things:

one submits the language in which
one speaks and writes to

a certain treatment, not a treatment
that's artificial, voluntary, etc.,

but a treatment that mobilizes
everything, the author's will,

but also his/her wishes, desires,
needs, necessities.

One submits language to a
syntactical and original treatment,

which could be-here we come
back to the theme of “Animal”-

which could make
language stutter, I mean,

not stuttering oneself, but
making language stutter.

Or, and this is not the same thing,
to make language stammer.

Let's choose some examples
from great stylists:

Gherasim Luca, a poet, I'd say,
generally, he creates stuttering,

not his own speech, but
he makes language stutter.

Peguy... it's quite curious because
generally for people,

Péguy is a certain kind of
personality about

whom one forgets that above all,
like all great artists,

he's totally crazy. Never has
anyone written like Peguy,

and never will anyone
write like Peguy.

His writing belongs among the great
styles of French language;

he's one of the great creators
of the French language.

What did he do? One cant say that
his style is a stuttering;

he makes the sentence grow
from its middle. it's fantastic.

Instead of having sentences
follow each other,

he repeats the same sentence with
an addition in the middle of it,

which in turn, will engender
another addition, etc.

He makes the sentence proliferate
from its middle, by insertions.

That's a
great style.

So, there is the first aspect: make
language undergo a treatment,

an incredible treatment.
That's why a great stylist

isn't someone who conserves
syntax, but is a creator of syntax.

I never let go of Proust's
lovely formula:

masterpieces are always written
in a kind of foreign language.

A stylist creates a foreign language
in his/her language.

It's true of Céline,
it's true of Péguy,

it's true of... That's what it
means to be a great stylist.

Then, second, at the same time
as this first aspect-specifically,

one causes syntax to undergo a
deforming, contorting treatment,

but a necessary one that constitutes
something like a foreign language

in the language in
which one writes-

the second point is, through this
very process,

one then pushes all language
all the way to a kind of limit,

the border that separates
it from music.

One produces a kind of music. If
one succeeds in these two things,

and if there is necessity
in doing so, it is a style,

that's what the great stylists are.
And it's true of all of them at once:

burrow a foreign language
deep within language,

and carry all language
to a kind of musical limit.

This is what it means to
have a style, yes.

Parnet: Do you think that
you have a style...?

Deleuze: Oh,
the treachery!

Parnet: ...because I see a change
from your first books. it's simplified.

Deleuze: The proof of a style
is its variability, and generally

one goes toward an
increasingly sober style.

But increasingly sober does
not mean less complex.

I think of one of the writers I admire
greatly in terms of style, Kerouac.

At the end of his career, Kerouac's
writing was like a Japanese line,

really, a pure Japanese
line drawing,

his style, reaches a sobriety, but that
really implies then the creation

of a foreign language within the
language, all the more...

Well, yes... I also think
of Céline,

and it's odd when
people said to Céline,

“Oh, you've introduced spoken
language into written language”

which was already a stupid
statement because in fact,

a completely written treatment
is required in language,

one must create a foreign
language within language

to obtain through writing the
equivalent of the spoken language.

So Céline didn't introduce the
spoken into language,

that's just stupid to say that. But
when Celine received a compliment,

he knew very well that he
was so far away

from what he would
have wanted.

So that would be in
his second novel,

in Death on the Installment Plan,
that he is going to get closer.

But when it's published and he is
told, “Oh, you've changed,”

he knows again that he is very,
very far from what he wanted,

and so what he wanted, he is going
to reach with Guignol's Band,

where language is pushed to such a
limit that it is so close to music.

It's no longer a treatment
of language

that creates a foreign

but an entire language pushed
to the musical limit.

So, by its very nature, style
changes, it has its variation.

Parnet: With Peguy, one often
thinks of Steve Reich

with the repetitive aspect
of the music.

Deleuze: Yes, except that Peguy
is a much greater stylist than Reich.

Parnet: You haven't responded
to my “treachery.”

Do you think that you
have a style?

Deleuze: I would like to, but what do
you want me to say? I would like to,

but I have the feeling... If one says
that already to be a stylist,

one must live the problem of style,
then I can answer more modestly:

the problem of style,
for me, I live it, yes.

I don't tell myself
while writing,

“the problem of style,
I'll deal with it afterward.”

I am aware I will not obtain the
movement of concepts that I want

if the writing does not
pass through style,

Parnet: And the necessity
of composition?

Deleuze: I am ready to rewrite
the same page ten times.

Parnet: So, style is like a necessity
of composition in what you write?

That is, composition enters into it
in a very primordial way?

Deleuze: Yes, there, I think you
are completely correct.

But you are saying
something else there.

Is the composition of a book
already a matter of style?

In this, I think:
yes, entirely.

The composition of a book cannot
be decided beforehand,

but at the same time as
the book is written.

I see that in what I have written,
if I dare invoke these examples,

there are two books that
seem to be composed.

I always attached great importance
to the composition itself.

I think, for example, of a
book called Logic of Sense,

which is composed
in a series,

it's truly a kind of serial
composition for me.

And then in A Thousand Plateaus,
it's a composition in plateaus,

plateaus constituted
by things...

But I see these as nearly
two musical compositions.

Composition is a fundamental
element of style.

Parnet: And in your mode
of expression,

to pick up a statement
you made earlier:

today are you now closer to what
you wanted than twenty years ago,

or is it something
else entirely?

Deleuze: At this moment in
what i am doing,

I feel that I'm getting closer... in
what I have not yet completed,

I have a feeling of getting closer',
that I am grasping something that

I was looking for and
haven't yet found.

Parnet: Style is
not only literary,

you are sensitive to it
in all domains.

For example, you live with the
elegant Fanny [Deleuze],

your friend Jean-Pierre is
also quite elegant,

and you seem very sensitive
to this elegance.

Deleuze: Well, they're ahead of me
there. I'd like to be elegant,

but I know quite well that I am not.
For me, elegance is something...

Even in perceiving it, I mean,
there is already an elegance

that consists in perceiving
what elegance is.

Otherwise, there are people
who miss it entirely and

what they call elegance
is not at all elegant.

So a certain grasp of what elegance
is belongs to elegance.

That impresses me greatly. This is a
domain like anything else,

that one has to learn about,
one has to be somewhat gifted,

you have to learn it...
Why did you ask me that?

Parnet: For style,
that is in all domains.

Deleuze: Ah, well, yes, but this
aspect is not really part of great art.

What one might need to... yes, no,
I don't know... it's just that...

I get the impression that it doesn't
only depend on elegance...

Which is something
that I admire a lot, but...

Whats important in the world is
that all these things emit signs.

I mean non-elegance,
vulgarity also emits signs,

that's more what i find important:
the emissions of signs.

So, this is why I have always liked
and still like Proust so much,

for the society life,
the social relations-

these are fantastic
emissions of signs.

What we call a blunder is a
non-comprehension in a sign,

signs that people don't

Society life as a milieu of the
proliferation of empty signs,

absolutely empty, these signs
have no interest at all.

But it's also the speed and the
nature of their emission.

This connects back to
animal worlds

because animal worlds also are
fantastic emissions of signs.

Animals and socialites
are the masters of signs.

Parnet: Although you don't
go out much,

you have always preferred going out
in society to convivial gatherings.

Deleuze: Of course, because
for me, in society,

people don't argue, that sort of
vulgarity is not part of that milieu,

and conversation moves absolutely
into lightness, that is,

an extraordinarily rapid evocation,
speeds of conversations.

Again, these are very interesting
emissions of signs.

Parnet: So, “T” is “Tennis.”

Deleuze: “Tennis”... hmm?

Parnet: You have always
liked tennis.

There is a famous anecdote
about you as a child,

trying to get the autograph of
a great Swedish tennis player

and you realized it was instead
the king of Sweden.

Deleuze: No, I knew who it was.

He was already around a hundred,
and he was well protected,

he had lots of

But I did ask the king of Sweden
for an autograph.

There is a photo of me in Le Figaro,
where there's a little boy asking

the elderly king of Sweden for
an autograph. That's me.

Parnet: And who was
the Swedish tennis player

whom you were
chasing after?

Deleuze: It was Boroira. He wasn't
a great Swedish player,

it was Borotra, who was the
kings main bodyguard

since he played tennis with
the king, gave him lessons.

He kicked me a few times to keep
me away from the king,

but the king was very nice,
and afterwards,

Boroira also got nice. That's not a
very flattering moment for Borotra.

Parnet: There are lots of moments,
even less flattering, for Borotra.

Is tennis the only sport you
watch on television?

Deleuze: No, I adore soccer,
I really like soccer...

Yes, so it's that
and tennis.

Parnet: Did you
play tennis?

Deleuze: Yes, a lot up until the war,
so that makes me a war victim!

Parnet: What changes occur in a
body when one plays a sport a lot,

and when one stops playing it after,
are there things that change?

Deleuze: I don't think so,
at least not for me.

I didn't turn it into a trade.
In 1939, I was 14 year's old,

and stopped playing tennis at 14,
so that's not dramatic.

Parnet: Did you have
a lot of talent?

Deleuze: Yes, for a 14 year old,
I did pretty well.

Parnet: Did you have
a ranking?

Deleuze: Oh, no! At 14, I was
really too small, and then

I did not have the kind of
development they have today.

Parnet: And after', you tried other
sports, I think, some French boxing?

Deleuze: Well, no, I did a bit,
but I got hurt,

so I stopped that right away,
but I did try some boxing.

Parnet: Do you think tennis has
changed a lot since your youth?

Deleuze: Of course, like in all
sports, there are milieus of variation,

and here we get back to
the problem of style.

Sports are very interesting for the
question of positions of the body.

There is a variation of
positions of the body

over spaces of greater
or lesser length.

For example, it's obvious that
athletes don't jump hurdles

in the same way now
as they did fifty years ago.

And one would have to categorize
the variables in the history of sports.

I see several:
variables of tactics.

In soccer, tactics have changed
enormously since my childhood.

There are position variables
for the body's posture.

There are variables that
put into play...

There was a moment when I was
very interested in the shotput,

not to do it myself, but the build
of the shot putter

evolved at one point
with extreme rapidity.

At times it was a
question of force:

how, with really strong shot putters,
to gain back speed,

At other times it was a
question of speed:

and how, with builds geared for
speed, to gain back force?

Now this is very, very
interesting. it's almost...

The sociologist [Marcel] Mauss
introduced all sorts of studies

on the positions of bodies
in different civilizations,

but sports is a domain of
the variation of positions,

something quite

So, in tennis, even
before the war-

and I still remember the champions
from before the war-

it's obvious that the positions
were not the same, not at all.

And then, what interests me greatly,
again related to style,

are the champions
as true creators.

There are two kinds
of great champions,

who do not have the
same value for me,

the creators and
the non-creators.

The non-creators are those who
bring a pre-existing style

to an unequaled level,
for example Lendl.

I don't consider Lendl to be
fundamentally a creator in tennis.

But then there are the great
creators, even on very simple levels,

those who invent new “moves”
and introduce new tactics.

And after them, all sorts of
followers come flooding in,

but the great stylists
are inventors,

something one certainly
finds in all sports.

So, what was the great
turning point in tennis?

It was its proletarization, quite
relative of course. I mean,

it has become a
mass sport,

masses of the young-executive
sort rather than working-class.

But we can call it the
proletarization of tennis.

And of course, there are
deeper approaches

to explain how
that occurs.

But it would not
have occurred

if not for the arrival of a genius
at the same time.

It was Borg who made
it possible. Why?

Because he brought in a particular
style of mass tennis,

and he had to create mass tennis
from the ground up.

Then, a crowd of very good
champions came after him,

but not creators, for example,
the Vilas type, etc.

So Borg appeals to me,
his Christ-like head.

He had this kind of Christ-like
bearing, this extreme dignity,

this aspect that made him so
respected by all the players, etc.

Parnet: You were saying
you attended a lot...

Deleuze: Oh yes, I experienced
a lot of things in tennis...

But I want to finish up Borg. So,
Borg was a Christ-like character.

He made sport for the masses
possible, created mass tennis,

and with that, it was a total
invention of a new game.

Then there are all sorts of worthy
champions, but of the Vilas-type

who came rushing in
and who imposed

a generally soporific style
onto the game,

whereas-and here we
always rediscover the law

“You are paying me compliments,
while I am 100 miles

from doing what
I wanted to do.”

Because Borg changed

when he was certain of his moves,
it no longer interested him,

so his style evolved

whereas the drudges stuck
with the same old thing.

We have to see McEnroe
as the anti-Borg.

Parnet: What was this working-class
style that Borg imposed?

Deleuze: Situated at the back of
the court, at the farthest retreat

possible, and twisting in place, and
ball placement high over the net.

Any worker could understand that
game, any little manager

could understand that game,
not that he could succeed.

Parnet: Th at's

Deleuze: So the very principle-
back of court, twisting, ball high-

is the opposite of
aristocratic principles.

These are popular principles, but
what genius it had to take.

Borg is exactly like Christ, an
aristocrat who goes to the people.

Well... I'm probably saying
something stupid, but..

It still is quite astonishing, quite
astonishing, Borg's stroke,

very, very curious, a
great creator in sports.

And there's McEnroe, it was pure
aristocrat, half Egyptian,

half Russian, Egyptian service
game, Russian soul,

who invented moves that
he knew no one could follow.

So he was an aristocrat who
couldn't be followed.

He invented some
amazing moves.

He invented a move that
consisted of placing the ball,

very strange, not even striking it,
just placing it.

And he developed a service-volley
combination that wasn't...

The service-volley combination
was well known,

but McEnroe's was
completely transformed.

All this, of course, to talk about...
Oh, another great player,

but without the same
importance, I believe,

is the other American,
but I don't recall his name...

Parnet: Connors.

Deleuze: Connors, with whom you
really see the aristocratic principle:

ball flat barely over the net,
a very odd aristocratic principle,

and also striking
while unbalanced.

He was never such a genius as
when he was entirely unbalanced.

Those were some
really odd moves.

There is a history
of sports,

and it has to be explained
about every sport:

their evolution, their creators,
their followers...

it's exactly as in art: there are
creators, there are followers,

there are changes,
there are evolutions,

there's a history, there is
a becoming of sports.

Parnet: And you had started a
sentence with, “I attended...”?

Deleuze: Oh, that's just another
detail. I believe that I attended...

it's sometimes difficult to be specific
about when a move really originated

yet I do
recall that,

before the war, there
were some Australians.

And here, there are questions
of national origins,

why did Australians introduce
the two-handed back swing?

At the beginning of the two-handed
back swing, only Australians did it,

at least as I recall it, I think. Anyhow,
why did the Australians have...

This relation between the two-
handed back swing

and the Australians, I don't know,
it didn't go without saying,

perhaps there was
some reason.

I remember one move that struck
me when I was a child because

it created no effect. We saw that the
opponent missed the ball,

but we had to wonder why.
It was a rather soft blow,

and after considering
it closely,

we saw that it was
the return of service.

When the opponent
served the ball,

the player returned it
with a rather soft blow,

but that had the result of falling
at the tips of the server's feet

as he was approaching
to volley, so he received it,

not even at mid-volley,
and he couldn't return it.

So this was a
strange return

because we couldn't
understand very well

why it succeeded
so well as a move.

In my opinion, the first
to have systematized that

was a great Australian

who did not have much
of a career on clay courts

because he wasn't interested
in it, called Bromwich,

right before or after the war,
I don't recall exactly.

But he was a very great player,
a true inventor of moves.

But I do recall that as
a child or young man,

I was astounded at this move that
has now become classic,

that everybody

So there you are, an invention of a
move that, to my knowledge,

the generation of Borotra didn't yet
know in tennis, this sort of return.

Parnet: To finish with tennis
and McEnroe,

do you think that when he
complains and insults the referee,

in fact insulting himself more than
he does the referee-

is this a matter
of style,

and that he is unhappy with
his form of expression?

Deleuze: No, it's a matter of style
because it belongs to his style.

It's a kind of nervous
recharging, yes,

just like an orator can get angry,
while on the contrary,

there are orators who
remain cold and distant.

So it's fully part of
McEnroe's style.

It's the soul, as we say
in German, the Gemut.

Parnet: So, “U” is
the “One.”

Parnet: So, “U” is
the “One.”

Deleuze: The “One.”

Parnet: The “One,” O-N-E ...

So, philosophy and science concern
themselves with “universals.”

However, you always say that
philosophy must always stay

in contact with

Isn't there a
paradox here?

Deleuze: No, there's no paradox
because philosophy and

even science have strictly nothing
to do with universals.

These are ready-made ideas, ideas
derived from general opinion.

Opinion about philosophy is that it
concerns itself with universals.

Opinion about science is that it
concerns itself with universal

phenomena that can always
be reproduced, etc.

But even if you take a formula like,
“all bodies fall,”

what is important is not
that all bodies fall.

Whats important is the fall and
the singularities of the fall.

Even if scientific
singularities-for example,

mathematical singularities in
functions, or physical singularities,

or chemical singularities,
points of congealing, etc.-

were all reproducible,
well fine, and then what?

These are secondary phenomena,
processes of universalization,

but what science addresses is not
universals, but singularities,

points of congealing: when does
a body change its state,

from the liquid state to
the solid state, etc. etc.

Philosophy is not concerned
with the one, being.

To suggest that
is just stupid.

Rather, it is also concerned
with singularities.

One would almost
have to say...

In fact, one always finds
oneself in multiplicities.

Multiplicities are aggregates
of singularities.

The formula for multiplicities and for
an aggregate of singularities is

n - 1, that is, the One is
what must always be subtracted.

So there are two errors
not to be made:

philosophy is not concerned
with universals.

There are three kinds
of universals, yes,

that one could indicate:
universals of contemplation,

Ideas with
a capital I.

There are universals
of reflexion.

And there are universals
of communication,

the last refuge of the
philosophy of universals.

Habermas likes these universals
of communication.

This means philosophy is defined
either as contemplation,

or as reflexion,
or as communication.

In all three cases, it's quite comical,
really quite farcical.

The philosopher that contemplates,
OK, he's a joke.

The philosopher who reflects
doesn't make us laugh,

but is even stupider

no one needs a philosopher
in order to reflect.

Mathematicians don't
need a philosopher

in order to reflect
on mathematics.

An artist does not need
to seek out a philosopher

in order to reflect on
painting or on music.

Boulez doesn't need a philosopher
in order to reflect on music.

To believe that philosophy
is a reflexion on anything

is to despise it all, to despise both
philosophy and

what philosophy is supposed
to reflect on since,

after all, you don't need
philosophy to reflect... Ok...

As for communication,
let's not even talk about it.

The idea of philosophy as being the
restoration of a consensus

in communication from the basis of
universals of communication,

that is the most laughable
idea that we've heard since...

For philosophy has strictly nothing
to do with communication.

What could it
possibly. . .'.7

Communication suffices
very well in itself,

and all this about consensus and
opinions is the art of interrogations.

Philosophy has nothing
to do with this.

Philosophy, again as I have
been saying from the start,

consists in creating concepts, which
does not mean communicating.

Art is not communicative,
art is not reflexive.

Art, science, philosophy
are neither contemplative,

neither reflexive,
nor communicative.

It's creative, that's all. Hence,
the formula is n - 1,

suppress the unity,
suppress the universal.

Parnet: So you feel that universals
have nothing to do with philosophy?

Deleuze: No, no, they have
nothing to do with it.

Parnet: Let's move directly on to
and “V” is “Voyage,”

and this is the demonstration of a
concept as a paradox because

you invented a notion, a concept,
one could say, which is “nomadism,”

but you hate traveling.
We can make this revelation

at this point of our conversation,
you hate traveling.

First of all, why do you
hate to travel?

Deleuze: I don't like traveling
because of the conditions

for a poor intellectual
who travels.

Maybe if I traveled differently,
I would adore traveling,

but intellectuals, what does
it mean for them to travel?

It means going
to lectures,

at the other end of the world
if need be, and with all that,

this includes before and after,
talking before with people

who greet you quite kindly, and
talking after with people

who listened to you quite
politely talk, talk, talk.

So, an intellectuals travel is the
opposite of traveling.

Go to the ends of the earth to talk,
which he can do very well at home,

and to see people before for talking,
and see people after for talking,

this is a monstrous

Having said this, it's true, I feel
no inclination toward traveling,

but it's not some sort of
principle for me,

and I don't pretend even to be right,
thank God. Ok, so I ask myself,

what is there, what is there
for me in traveling?

First, there is always a
small bit of false rupture.

I'd say it's the
first aspect of:

what is it that makes traveling
for me quite distasteful!

The first reason is:
it's a cheap rupture,

and I understand what
Fitzgerald expressed:

a trip is not enough to
create a real rupture.

If you want rupture, then do
something other than travel because

finally, what does
one see?

People who travel
tend to travel a lot,

and after, they are
even proud of it.

They say it's in order
to find a father.

There are great reporters who have
written books on this, they did it all,

Vietnam, Afghanistan,
wherever you like,

and they say bluntly that they all
were in search of a father.

They shouldn't
have bothered...

Traveling can really
be Oedipian in that sense.

Well, ok... I say no,
that just won't do!

The second reason: it seems
that I am greatly moved by

an admirable phrase,
as always, from Beckett

who has one of his characters
[Camier] say, more or less-

I cite poorly, and it's expressed
better than this:

sure, we're all dumb, but still, not to
the point of traveling for pleasure.

I find this phrase completely
satisfying: I am dumb,

but not to the point of traveling for
pleasure, no, not that dumb!

And there is a third aspect of travel.
You said, “nomad”... Well,

yes, I've always been quite
fascinated with nomads,

but precisely because nomads
are people who don't travel.

Those who travel
are emigrants,

and there can certainly be
perfectly respectable people

who are forced to travel,
exiled people, emigrants.

This is a kind of trip that it is not
even a question of ridiculing

because these are sacred
forms of travel, forced travel.

Ok, fine... But nomads
don't travel.

Nomads, to the contrary, quite
literally, they stay put completely,

all the specialists on
nomads say this.

It's because nomads
don't want to leave,

because they seize hold
of the earth, their land.

Their land becomes deserted
and they seize hold of it,

they can only nomadize
on their land,

and it's by dint of wanting to stay
on their land that they nomadize.

So in a sense, one can say nothing
is more immobile than a nomad,

nothing travels less
than a nomad.

It's because they don't want
to leave that they are nomad.

And that's why they are
completely persecuted.

And finally, the last aspect of
traveling that doesn't make it very...

There is a phrase from Proust that is
quite beautiful that says:

after all, what does one
always do when one travels?

One always verifies

One verifies that a particular color
one dreamed about is really there.

And then he adds something very
important. He says:

a bad dreamer is someone
who doesn't go see

if the color he dreamed about
is really there,

but a good dreamer knows
that one has to go verify

if the color is
really there.

I consider this a good conception
of travel, but otherwise...

Parnet: This is a fantastic

Deleuze: No, at the same time,
there are trips that are true ruptures.

For example, the life of Le Clézio at
the moment seems to be a way

in which he certainly operates
a kind of rupture.

Parnet: Lawrence...

Deleuze: There's [T.E.] Lawrence,
yes, Lawrence...

There are too many great writers
I admire who have a sense of travel.

Stevenson as well, Stevenson's
travels aren't negligible.

So what I am saying has
no generality. I say,

for my own account, someone who
doesn't like to travel

probably has these
four reasons.

Parnet: ls your haired
of travel connected

to your natural

Deleuze: No, I can conceive
of very slow travels,

but in any case,
I feel no need to move.

All the intensities that I have
are immobile intensities.

Intensities distribute themselves in
space or in other systems

that aren't necessarily
in exterior spaces.

I can assure you that when
I read a book that I admire,

that I find beautiful, or when I hear
music that I consider beautiful,

I really get the feeling of
passing into such states...

Never could traveling
inspire such emotions.

So, why would I go seek emotions
that don't suit me very well,

since I have more
beautiful ones for myself

in immobile systems,
like music, like philosophy?

There is a gee-music, a geo-
philosophy, I mean,

they are profound countries, and
these are more my countries, yes?

Parnet: Your
foreign lands.

Deleuze: My very own foreign lands
that I don't find by traveling.

Parnet: You are the perfect
illustration that movement

is not located in displacement,
but you did travel a little,

to Lebanon for a conference,
to Canada, to the USA.

Deleuze: Yes, yes, I did that,
but I have to say that

I was always dragged into it,
and I no longer do it because

I should never have done all that,
I did it too much.

At that time, I liked walking,
and now I walk less well,

so travel is no longer
a possibility.

But I recall walking all alone
through the streets of Beirut

from morning to night,
not knowing where I was going.

I like to see a city on foot,
but that's all over.

Parnet: Let's move
on to

Deleuze: There's
nothing in

Parnet: Yes, there's

I know he's nothing for you,
but could you say a few words.

Deleuze: I don't want to talk
about that... For me,

it's a philosophical catastrophe.
It's the very example of a “school,”

it's a regression of all philosophy,
a massive regression.

The Wittgenstein matter
is quite sad.

They imposed a system
of terror in which,

under the pretext
of doing something new,

it's poverty instituted in
all grandeur...

There isn't a word to describe
this danger,

but this danger
is one that recurs,

it's not the first time that
it has happened. it's serious,

especially since Wittgensteinians
are mean and destructive.

So if they win, there could be
an assassination of philosophy.

They are assassins
of philosophy.

Parnet: it's serious, then.

Deleuze: Yes... One must
remain very vigilant.

Parnet: “X” is unknown,
and “Y” is unspeakable,

so we'll pass directly to the final
letter of the alphabet, it's “Zed.”

Deleuze: Ah, well,
good timing!

Deleuze: Ah, well,
good timing!

Parnet: Now, it's not the Zed of
Zorro, the Lawman,

since we have understood
throughout the alphabet,

you don't like judgment. it's the Zed
of bifurcation, of lightning,

it's the letter that one finds in the
names of great philosophers:

Zen, Zarathustra, Leibniz,
Spinoza, Nietzsche,

BergZon, and of course,

Deleuze: You are very witty with
BergZon and very kind toward me.

I consider Zed to be
a great letter

that helps us connect with
the fly, the zed of the fly,

the zigging movement of the fly,
the Zed, the final word,

there is no word after zigzag.
It's good to end on this word.

So, what happens,
in fact, in Zed?

The Zen is the reverse
of Nez (nose),

which is also a zigzag.
Z as movement, the fly...

What is that about? it's perhaps the
elementary movement,

perhaps the movement that
presided at the creation of the world.

I'm currently reading,
like everyone else,

I'm reading a book
on the Big Bang,

on the creation of the universe,
an infinite curving,

how it occurred, the Big Bang.
One must say that,

at the origin of things, there's no
Big Bang, there's the Zed.

Parnet: So, the Zed of the fly,
the Big Bang... the bifurcation...?

Deleuze: We have to replace the
Big Bang with the Zed, which is,

in fact, the Zen, the route of the fly.
What does that mean? For me,

when I evoke the zigzag, it's what
we said earlier about no universals,

but rather aggregates
of singularities. The question is

how do we bring disparate
singularities into relationship,

or bring potentials into relationship,
to speak in terms of physics.

One can imagine a chaos
full of potentials,

so how to bring these
potentials into relation?

Now I no longer recall in which
vaguely scientific discipline

there is a term that I like a lot
and that I used in my books.

Someone explained that between
two potentials occurs

a phenomenon that was defined by
the idea of a “dark precursor.”

This dark precursor is what places
different potentials into relation,

and once the journey of the
dark precursor takes place,

the potentials enter into a state of
reaction, and between the two,

the visible event flashes,
the bolt of lightning.

So, there is the dark precursor
and then a lightning bolt,

and that's how the
world was born.

There is always a dark precursor
that no one sees,

and then the lightning bolt that
illuminates, and there is the world.

Or that's also what thought must be,
that's what philosophy must be.

That's the great Zed, but that's
also the wisdom of Zen.

The sage is the
dark precursor

and then the blow of
the stick comes,

since the Zen master is
always distributing blows.

The blow of the stick
is the lightning

that makes things visible...
And so we have finished...

Parnet: Are you happy to have
a Zed in you name?

Deleuze: Delighted!

Parnet: The end.

Deleuze: What happiness
it is to have done this.


Parnet: PostZumous!

Deleuze: And so there we are... and
thank you for all of your kindness.