The following is an excerpt on the syntheses of the unconscious in Difference and Repetition from Véronique Bergen’s L’Ontologie de Gilles Deleuze, Paris: L’Harmattan, 2001. 325-327. Original translation by Taylor Adkins on 11/05/07.
The three syntheses of the unconscious in the times developed in Difference and Repetition, the three “beyonds of the pleasure principle” organizing bio-psychic life
“correspond to figures of repetition, which appear in the work of a great novelist: the binding, the ever renewed fine cord; the every displaced stain on the wall; the ever erased eraser. The repetition-binding, the repetition-stain, the repetition-eraser: the three beyonds of the pleasure principle. The first synthesis expresses the foundation of time upon the basis of a living present, a foundation which endows pleasure with its value as a general empirical principle to which is subject the content of the psychic life in the Id. The second synthesis expresses the manner in which time is grounded in a pure past, a ground which conditions the application of the pleasure principle to the contents of the Ego. The third synthesis, however, refers to the absence of ground into which we are precipitated by the ground itself: Thanatos appears in third place as this groundlessness, beyond the ground of Eros and the foundation of Habit” (Difference and Repetition, tr. Paul Patton, p. 114).