The poison garden
AuthorDeurwaarder, Beau Anthony
AffiliationCentre for Ideas
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
In their three 'Memories of a Sorcerer' passages in 'A Thousand Plateaus', Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari identify as sorcerers instead of as philosophers, and draw a line between the practice of sorcery and writing philosophy. At the heart of these passages, they mysteriously state that "[i]f the writer is a sorcerer, it is because writing is a becoming, writing is traversed by strange becomings that are not becomings-writer...". This thesis is an effort to investigate the strange becomings that dictate the practice of writing philosophy. More firmly, it is an attempt to practice sorcery through the discipline of reading and writing philosophy. To do so, it targets the strange-becomings that traverse Friedrich Nietzsche's writing as cues of an untimely and sorcerous philosophy. In particular, it poses Nietzsche's doctrine of the eternal return as a philosophically ripe motif for practicing sorcery. The allure of the eternal return is at once a blessing and a curse, depending on how its cast is received. Nietzsche articulated the weight of his doctrine philosophically in 'The Gay Science' and 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra'. He also recounts literally experiencing the thought of the eternal return in Sils-Maria in 1881. This experience haunted Nietzsche's life and his writing from its arrival until his collapse in 1889. Accordingly, this thesis will revolve with Nietzsche's thought of the eternal return at its axis, in tandem with a definition of sorcery inspired by Deleuze and Guattari. It will consider significant episodes from Nietzsche's main works, as well as biographical details, and perspectives put forth by other philosophers in his wake, such as Isabelle Stengers, Luce Irigaray, Gilles Deleuze, George Bataille, and Pierre Klossowski. This work treats citations from their texts as fragments of a larger incantation which, when read together, cast Nietzsche's thought of the eternal return into a new light. The practice of sorcery will be rethought philosophically as an active expression of the will to power, and further, as a means of fidelity to Nietzsche's overman and his untimely hope for the future. This will be put in direct contrast to reactive expressions of the will to power championed by ideologies of late-capitalism and neoliberalism. Throughout its course, this strange pairing of sorcery with Nietzschean philosophy is bound by an implicit thematic refrain, The Poison Garden, which is formally addressed and summarised at the conclusion of the work.
KeywordsNietzsche; Deleuze and Guattari; sorcery; eternal return; Stengers; Irigaray; Bataille; Klossowski
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