Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Deleuze, "The Problem of the Self.."

From here:
Now me, to my knowledge, I’ve never seen an Englishman take seriously the self, the problem of the self, at no level. This is curious ! All the great texts of the English, there are some marvellous, they are all turning around the following idea, that’s why there is a kind of boundary of unintelligibility, of non-communication between for example a Cartesian and an Englishman. A Cartesian it’s a little French flower, it can only be seen in France, Cartesians, but what a pack of them we have ! Well, but roughly speaking you all know it, Descartes it is a certain philosophy based on the self and on the formula which we may find again later, if I’ve got time, on the magic formula, “I think”, “I think therefore I am” ; well, why does an Englishman... The Germans have taken up the “I think therefore I am”, why ? Because they raised the self to a superior power still, they made it what they themselves called “the transcendental ego, e-g-o”, “the transcendental self”. Well, this is good. This is so a German concept, “the transcendental self”. The English, it’s quite good, you understand, under the explicit discussions, there are so much more beautiful things, it makes them laugh. It makes them laugh. Each time the French or the German philosophers talk about the “self”, the “subject”, English philosophers find it to be so very funny, so weird ! They think that this is a truly funny way of thinking. They all turn around a very curious idea ; you know what it is the “self”, they keep saying, but yes the “self”, it certainly means something, it is a habit. To the letter one expects it to go on. I say -me (the self) because of certain phenomena, according to a belief it is due to go on ; that is all they put on... There are the beatings of a heart, there is someone who expects it to go on and says -me (the self, I) ; it’s a habit. It is very beautiful their theory of “the self” as a habit, if we link it to a kind of lived experience. Why don’t they live like us ? This, it requires an analysis of civilizations. Why don’t their thinkers live in any case the concept of “self”...

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