Robert Deuchars (Victoria University of Wellington)

Hi Robbie

Given that we’ve already talked about this (well you are in the office next to mine) here is my recollection of your email (the first one).  Ok you’re pissed off but on a closer reading there are things that we pretty much agree upon.  The epigones of Foucault (I don’t know) how long that script can last – who does? – they are pissing me off as much as the disciples of Discourse Theory  (which as you isn’t even a theory), and the one and only interpreters of Deleuze.   Anyway the discourse peeps have a (limited ) but set of sensible things to say, but they seem to me (the ones I know anyway, take it as a kernel – bad idea).

The only reason I got into Deleuze was incidentally the same reason I got into to Foucault (accidentally).   Some dude in Criminology told me I should read Foucault so I did.  Can’t actually remember how the Deleuze thing happened but it now seems very logical to move from Nietzsche – Marx – Freud – Gramsci – Horkheimer via Heidegger to Deleuze/Guattari.   I suppose Spinoza is the link.

Why do I write about complexity, maths, biology and physics, art, cinema and popular culture as if they were all the same thing.  Well, that’s not got  much to do with reading Deleuze – I’ve always thought that way.  As you know I am a trained economist who did that shit far too young  and it was only when I worked in the City as a financier that I clocked that I didn’t believe a bloody word of it!  It didn’t make me bitter; remember I was wealthy and happy but talking about money 24/7 makes you think a wee bit.  There was a bit of conflict (eg going on PIRA protests to going back to work), fighting skinheads ( I quite enjoyed that actually) but I did get my head kicked in a few times – wasn’t fun.

The idea you proposed initially seemed a wee bit odd (not in logic but in timing – Saturday evening).  Why are you so keen to get this dialogue going?  Everyone pretty much clumps into tribal camps so what’s the big deal?  Well, for me it’s the idea that in seeking an exteriority is almost fuking alien to 99% of academics I know – they even refuse the question – younger people – and I mean pre-uiniversity people are more amenable to the idea of an exteriority to extant social relations of power eg. my step-daughter bunked school to confront the education minister on the question of national standards.  Did she tell us?  like fuk she did! she was in the newspaper before I knew she gave a fuk.

There are good reasons (that will take work – not workshops to tease out these probs).  Why do  people seek oppression for themselves not just others – the Wilhelm Reich question.  There’s an election coming up in Blighty – that’s gonna be one major league fuk up! I’ll tell ya! But the spaces in-between have always seemed to me to be the most fruitful for critical thinking – maybe not in the pragmatic sense but in the spirit of preparing for a long struggle where the clever people ( who have always known what this is about) are already prepared….There’s nothing ideological about this – that’s a smokescreen.  The question(s) are empirical.  i.e. how does it work, who makes it work and, finally,  how can they make us think it makes it work for us when (nearly everybody already knows) its fuk’d up for most people (on a global scale).  These are real questions and not academic ones.  But maybe only privileged academics have the time to think about it long enough….

Don’t even get me started on ” I preferred the Empire” people I used to know – I knew lots of them – peeps that had spent their time in places like Kenya, Rhodesia, India etc etc – thankfully they’re mostly dead but I’ll tell ya their spirit is one of the most powerful drivers of thought in Engerrland.  Forget Britain; it’s finished…Unfortunately the voices that are heard there and here, everywhere actually, and I repeat this will take work to understand, are still the voices of Empire.



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