Tuesday, February 13, 2007

On Sense and Nonsense . . .

“The name saying its own sense can only be nonsense (Nn). Nonsense is of a piece with the word “nonsense,” and the word “nonsense” is of a piece with words which have no sense. . . .”

“One could object that all this means nothing. It is a bad play on words to suppose that nonsense expresses its own sense since, by definition, it has none. But this objection is unfounded. The play on words would be to say that nonsense has a sense, the sense being precisely that it hasn’t any. This is not our hypothesis at all.”

“Nonsense is that which has no sense, and that which, as such and as it enacts the donation of sense, is opposed to the absence of sense. This is what we must understand by “nonsense.”

“And how could we not feel that our freedom and strength reside, not in the divine universal nor in the human personality, but in these singularities which are more us than we ourselves are, more divine than the gods, as they animate concretely poem and aphorism, permanent revolution and partial action? What is bureaucratic in these fantastic machines which are peoples and poems? It suffices that we dissipate ourselves a little, that we be able to be at the surface, that we stretch our skin like a drum, in order that the ‘great politics’ begin. An empty square for neither man nor God; singularities which are neither general nor individual, neither personal nor universal. All of this is traversed by circulations, echoes, and events which produce more sense, more freedom, and more strength than man has ever dreamed of, or God ever conceived. Today’s task is to make the empty square circulate and to make pre-individual and nonpersonal singularities speak – in short, to produce sense.”

(Gilles Deleuze. The Logic of Sense. Trans. Mark Lester)

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