Thanks to Zach (can I call you Zach? I’m gonna go ahead and call you Zach) for this quote from Deleuze which I had entirely forgotten about:
… the object itself is force, expression of a force. … There is no object (phenomenon) which is not already possessed since in itself it is not an appearance but the apparition of a force.
— Deleuze, Nietzsche & Philosophy, 1.3, p. 6
It’s been a couple of years since I really sat down and read any Deleuze and I feel like I’m in a much better place to read it now, so I’m going to find the time to (re-)read as much Deleuze as I can this summer. I started Bergsonism today, which I have never read, so we’ll see how much time I have and how much I can get in (I also picked up his Spinoza from the library along with Bergsonism since his books are never available).
To anyone that’s been following along with what I’ve been writing, this tiny quote packs in a lot that I like, though I’m uncomfortable with the idea of reducing objects to “just the apparition of a force,” but I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I think of the relation of drive to ghost, whether a ghostly object can actually be reduced in such a way, or if time/history doesn’t allow for such a move. I think I want to say that while yes, metaphysically, drive comes first (since things are nothing but accidental articulations of drive), we cannot simply reduce these objects to just the drives of Nature, since in their becoming, they create a whole new level of reality. So in this way, an object is not “just” drive, but is rather a further creative act above drive itself, since it is drive-historicized and relationized, that is, not simply drive as lack or craving, but drive as instinct and creative urging, if that makes any sense at all.
[ADDENDUM: I think this is why I am sort of confused by the problem that both Graham and Levi often articulate with Whitehead and Latour (collectively forming the rock supergroup, The Relationists). Both Graham and Levi say that objects can’t be simply nothing more than their relations or else change is impossible, so Graham (I’m not sure how Levi does this, so I’ll speak only of Graham here) takes the position that we need some substance-like-thing, that is, substance that is not inalterable or eternal, but some dark untapped core at the heart of things in order for there to be potentiality and change (while saying also, like Leibniz, that finite things contain infinity or maybe it’s closer to Nicholas of Cusa’s “relative infinity…”) Graham also says that it is this problem that causes Latour to move to his talk of plasma, which approaches monism or at least quasi-monists like Deleuze and Bergson, essentially the idea of an infinite reserve underlying all objects).
It seems to me though that another option besides positing infinity either within all objects, or underlying all objects, is to work with an idea of drive, will, or conatus. In this way, I think you get a model of change which better reflects reality. I suppose this is the option I’ve chosen to explore, which is why I tie myself to the vitalist tradition so strongly, since they, along with certain neo-Platonists (the ones who claim the world-soul to be more primary than the divine intellect) and voluntarists also seem to make this move, or at least a similar one. I’m hoping to write more about this tradition soon.]