“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”
–Alfred North Whitehead

Deleuze on Anamnesis

From Difference and Repetition, p. 85 (in the context of a discussion of the active and passive synthesis of time):

If there is an in-itself of the past, then reminiscence is its noumenon or the thought with which it is invested. Reminiscence does not simply refer us back from a present present to former ones, from recent loves to infantile ones, from our lovers to our mothers. Here again, the relation between passing presents does not account for the pure past which, with their assistance, takes advantage of their passing in order to reappear underneath representation: beyond the lover and beyond the mother, coexistent with the one and contemporary with the other, lies the never-lived reality of the Virgin. The present exists, but the past alone insists and provides the element in which the present passes and successive presents are telescoped. The echo of the two presents forms only a persistant question, which unfolds within representation like a field of problems, with the rigorous imperative to search, to respond, to resolve. However, the response always comes from elsewhere: every reminiscence, whether of a town or a woman, is erotic. It is always Eros, the noumenon, who allows us to penetrate this pure past in itself, this virginal repetition which is Mnemosyne. He is the companion, the fiancé, of Mnemosyne. Where does he get this power? Why is the exploration of the pure past erotic? Why is it that Eros holds both the secret of questions and answers, and the secret of insistence in all our existence? Unless we have not yet found the last word, unless there is a third synthesis of time…









One response to “Deleuze on Anamnesis”

  1. noir-realism Avatar

    In this sense the Orphic and Dionysian visions within the Greek matrix seem to be in resurgence. I’ve always felt that the Greek Mysteries were earthy and portrayed within their ritual use of certain medicinal plants to bring about an immersive experiential practice guided by philosophical principles will return. I think the Lithuanian Algis Uzdavinys is very adept in the regard to the theurgic aspects of these ancient roots within Platonic traditions. Even if I myself tend toward the Epicurean traditions I can understand your need to uncover the roots of Plato. I commend your approach. Reading carefully Plato over the years I’ve come to the conclusion much as Plotinus did that Plato brought the mysteries to the people through the abstraction of the core of their message as philosophy. I’m sure that much of Plato is experiential in essence as well as epistemological. Plato, Aristotle, and Epicurus were all well regarded in their time. The fine line between substantial formalism and the anti-substantialists such as I walk with is indeed minimal.

    Anyway good luck on your doctoral thesis! From what I’ve read on your blog you have a great future ahead of you…

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