5 March 2011

Article: Reza Negarestani, "Differential Cruelty"

Reza Negarestani's critical reading of Gilles Deleuze's Difference and Repetition fastens upon the dependent associations of cruelty and determination suggested within the first chapter of Deleuze's text. From here, Negarestani explodes its implications in order to ambitiously exalt in a philosophy of cruelty that remobilises ontology itself within a new reading: that of differential cruelty.

Negarestani proposes by way of a radical Deleuzean reading that the science of ontology is the essence of a philosophy of cruelty. "Cruelty" here refers not to an instrumental form acting as a unidirectional vehicle to the positive determination of being; but rather, as plays of multiple, interrelated sets of cruelty to which determination is fundamentally and problematically bound. Explicating this philosophy from Difference and Repetition as transition from Deleuze's early work "Coldness and Cruelty", Negarestani concludes with the tantalising implication of a different ethical register "wherein the problem is not determiend by its solution or conditions but by its capacity to generate fields of the problematic".
"Deleuze's philosophy of difference is, first of all, a universal ethics in so far as it demonstrates that difference or determination as such qua cruelty creates a field of the problematic for which solutions (correlation with the beyond or a meta-level) remobilize the problem rather than terminate it. ... The philosophy of cruelty ... is capable of seeing ontology as a differential or non-unitary field of cruelty pregnant with the problematic and, therefore, capturing ontology through syntheses between sadistic and masochistic reasons, or between being out of the void and being through the void."
Read Negarestani's article in volume 14(3) of Angelaki, journal of the theoretical humanities (2009).

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