When meditating for a period of time on Difference & Repetition, one is increasingly struck by an awareness, peculiar though it is, that while Deleuze composed DR as a book of philosophy, it is also very suitably read, perhaps most deliberately, as a work of heterodox political economy. In actuality DR is an abstract, pure, high-theoretical text, giving philosophical transformation to mathematical and scientific concepts, through its difficult and dense but ultimately rich exposition of the overlapping dynamical orders of difference and repetition: Deleuze, throughout, illustrates the deep ontology of difference and repetition, irreducible and universal to any dynamical system. But then again, when read as political economy, the book’s final intention flips forward into the proposition of a radical alternative concept of value, predicated on the profound, historical-materialist, monstrous ontological power of the synthetic. This itself is a possibility if only because difference and repetition are also irreducible to the dynamical systems collectively called the economy, which progressively actualizes the system of exchange called finance.
However much I may profess that Difference and Repetition is the greatest of all books of philosophy, it is, nonetheless, admittingly quite difficult to fully grasp its many dimensions for the singular reason that Deleuze presumes, or even demands, a working understanding of many mathematical and several scientific fields of study (e.g. group theory, non-Euclidean geometry, calculus, topology, a little biology and physics, and dynamical systems theory). It is quite dense, because Deleuze ‘zips-up’ these various discourses into a compressed, cohesive whole. But it is ultimately very rich because it draws out the deep ontological significance –as only a great book of philosophy can– of their combined mathematical and scientific insights, i.e. of Galois, Riemann, Leibniz, Curie, Einstein, and so on: as if they were able to sit in a room, discussing a pure ontology amongst themselves, but now equipped with a (Deleuzian) language to streamline their collective discourse.
For this reason, throughout the course of the indefinite period of time it takes to do so, here at SpecMat we’ll be doing a close reading of Difference and Repetition in order to illustrate what has simply been asserted above -namely, that it is not only possible and virtual, but virtually possible to actually read DR a book of heterodox political economy.
It will be a course on Deleuze’s Guidebook to Synthetic Finance.
The second post, in which we will officially begin our reading of Difference & Repetition, will begin soon. Grab your copy of DR and read along!