Logic of Sense: Series 25

comments 2
being and event / counter-actualization / Deleuze / disjunctive synthesis / extra-being / Logic of Sense / Monads / univocty

Of course, with Series 25, one could, along with Badiou, single out the title as the concept that needs to be unpacked, especially since univocity has a particularly Deleuzian ring to it. But the term—and Deleuze starts using it around p. 150 in the text—that most interests me in this series is counter-actualization.

On the one hand, we can remember the play of the virtual/actual couple that Badiou finds so fun to dismantle. On the other, the most important thing is to signify how this term works in this particularly situated part of the text. So, giving Deleuze the benefit of the doubt, we should keep in mind that Deleuze doesn’t use the word virtual anywhere in this passage. Neither does he use the word compossible in this passage, but since he has introduced this term with reference to Leibniz, I think it’s important to stress a point that Deleuze makes at the beginning of the series: there is no such thing as incompatibility between events because such a term can only be used when referring to worlds, individuals, or persons (177). Since the disjunctive synthesis is the basis for the affirmation of the divergent, worlds that actualize events can become incompatible because of the divergent singularities that populate their series; strictly speaking though, “it seems that all events, even contraries, are compatible” (177).

So, simply put, Deleuze’s question is: how is the individual able to “transcend his form and his syntactical link with a world” in order to “attain the universal communication of events” (178). But this is not so simple. Here Deleuze seems to mean the following: if, as quoted above, all events are compatible, then how is any language of the event possible? Before following Deleuze’s argument more closely, we should bring Leibniz back to the center of discussion. Deleuze draws on and explicates Leibniz’s theory of monads through The Logic of Sense, and so it would not be inappropriate here to talk about his theory of monads: all monads “perceive” the world from a distinct perspective and also link up with other monads, causing permutations in the vicinity as they link up–Deleuze continues this discussion in Difference and Repetition in order to explain the ways in which the monads express a differential relation between themselves (47). So, in themselves, monads contain a grain of truth about the world which they inhabit. Each monad must be considered in itself, a part which has a reciprocal relationship with other parts, like a link in a signifying chain, and thus a world is constructed from this double action.

Yet, as Deleuze points out, with the event we cannot refer to a grammar of worlds. Syntactically, the event seems both to insist on its extra-being and also entail a pre-individuality that lacks any true communicability. That’s unless we can bring about counter-actualization. In the sense that I understand it, counter-actualization comes about when an individual considers herself as an event and that event as “another individual grafted onto her” (178). This double affirmation extends to treating other individuals as events and their events as individuals—it is this affirmation that brings events “to the power of the eternal return” (178). The power of the eternal return is what allows for an affirmation of the disjunctive synthesis; in other words, the divergence of two series (individuals with respect to the distance of other individuals/events) is not only affirmative but it necessarily alters the other series by resonating in it and vice versa. It is the conjunction of Leibnizian monads and counter-actualization that allows for Deleuze to talk of a unique Event. It is this unique Event that the univocity of Being is: “if Being is the unique event in which all events communicate with one another, univocity refers both to what occurs and to what is said” (180).

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  1. Kamal Shlbei says

    Event in Deleuze prsupposes pre-interplaying between different events. In the case of beings as events it could be understood. How could this pre- interplaying be understood in the case of the univocal being? It seems to me that we are to be forced here to assume either many univocal beings or to assign another sense to the meaning of event in regard to the univocical being.

    • Deleuze is viewing univocal being (first through the use of Duns Scotus and second through an entirely Spinozist conception) as a particular angle which levels every being out as a modality of Being (a fold is a modality of the material—it isn’t entirely divided from the material, yet it sustains itself as something we can call somewhat plural etc). Basically, univocal Being is what every being can only express to its fullest potential as to what it is, forming (what is understood as) a multiplicity of the event. Deleuze’s question is, if every being is the fullest expression of what it can be according to the fact it is modality of Being (threshold), how can we mistake this multiplicity which is rolled in on itself as a multiplicity which isn’t connected to its predicates? It’s from the angle of what a thing can do, how it functions and what its relations are composed of. And what can be said of all beings is that every single one is fully that which it is, it can be no other. In this sense every being is nothing more than an expression of univocal Being. Disjunctive synthesis is a series of divergences which in themselves (like the monad) are along a total line of convergence. There is thus always a double line of divergence away from Being (as is the case also with the signifier/signified) but always an expression of that Being itself no matter how much it constantly differentiates.

      It isn’t that we’re forced to assume many univocal Beings, its that each being is a modality of univocal Being, which forms multiplicities of beings which are at their limit in terms of the power they have to be what they can be and be what they are (this is not taking into account becomings, which opens up an entirely other set).

      This is what leads to Badiou claiming that Deleuze is a Platonist of the One. He says that Deleuze’s univocal Being is basically a kind of pure concept (empty of anything other than the ability to diverge in its productions) which means that all beings need constant recourse to the One as differentiated productions of a transcendent One (just as Plato always determined the best side of the dichotomy as that which has recourse to the form of the Good).

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