Three paradigms about life and death

«The first paradigm… the subject is something which is finally identified to the body as such. (…) The subject is something like an experience of its proper limits, an experience of finitude, an experience of the limits of the concrete unity of the body. But finally, what is a limit of the body, a limit of the living body? The strongest limit of the living body is death. (…) Heidegger said that finally Dasein or subject is a subject for death. (…) DEATH IN LIFE (…) I think it is the Western paradigm today; it is, in fact, our paradigm—subject for enjoyment and the experimentation of the limits of the body.

The second one, the second paradigm is an idealistic, theological, metaphysical philosophy of the subject. The subject can be completely separated from its body. In the first paradigm the subject is finally the body itself. In the second paradigm, the subject is completely separated from its body (…). It’s assumption of a new subjective life by the mean of death itself. So we can say that that sort of subjective paradigm is experience of LIFE IN DEATH, which is opposed to the experience of death in life. And we can name sacrifice that sort of subjective experience of life in death.

And the contemporary world is a war between enjoyment and sacrifice. (…) But in this war there is something in common. There is something in common between the two paradigms. What is common to enjoyment and to sacrifice, finally, what is common is the power of death, the power of death as experimentation of the limits of the body on one side but experimentation of death as the means for a new life on the other side. So with the war between enjoyment and sacrifice, we have finally confronted the power of death. And there is no real place for artistic creation in that sort of war (…).

So we have to FIND A THIRD POSSIBILITY, a third paradigm. We have to propose something as a new subjective paradigm which is outside the power of death»

– Badiou


Concept, afect, percept

«C’est que ON COMPREND PAS DU TOUT CE QUE C’EST QUE LA PHILOSOPHIE QUAND ON LA DÉFINIT SIMPLEMENT COMME UN ART… OU, UNE DISCIPLINE DES CONCEPTS… et pourtant elle est cela… C’est alors que je me raccroche à ce que l’on disait la dernière fois sur Nietzsche, mais la philosophie, c’est bien autre chose, parce que un concept, si vous traitez un concept tout seul, bon, ça a pas grand intérêt, c’est satisfaisant pour l’intelligence et puis voilà, et encore il faut aimer… comme ça. Mais, à mon avis, jamais les concept N’ONT ÉTÉ SÉPARABLES de deux autres choses, et ces deux autres choses, il faut les appeler, ne serait ce que pour l’harmonie de la comparaison, il faut les appeler des affects et des percepts. Et un concept, c’est zéro, mais zéro, zéro, zéro, si ça ne change pas la nature de vos affects. Premièrement et deuxièmement, si ça ne vous apporte pas de nouveaux percepts… Qu’est ce que ça veut dire ? Sentez que c’est très nietzschéen, là… Donc un concept, supposons, c’est quelque chose d’intelligible, c’est une intelligibilité… Je dis : tout concept doit être référé à un affect, et à tout concept, il faut demander… quels nouveaux affects m’apportes-tu ? Mais, ce serait rien ça encore, et vous verrez, il faut , seulement il le dit pas, vous avez un concept, bon, il ne le dit pas, les nouveaux affects qu’il apporte. C’est à vous… Les concepts, ils sont de différentes sortes, ils peuvent êtres SCIENTIFIQUES, ils peuvent être PHILOSOPHIQUES. Bon, j’entre pas dans la question : quelle différence y a, mettons, voilà… mais de toute manière, même quand c’est des concepts, scientifiques… tant que nous ne savons pas ce que ça change dans nos affects, on n’a pas encore compris le sens du concept. Je dirai qu’est-ce que c’est, la question, si je reprenais la question du sens ? Qu’est-ce ça veut dire le sens, le sens d’une proposition ? POUR TROUVER LE SENS D’UNE PROPOSITION, à mon avis, IL FAUT D’ABORD LA RAMENER À UN CONCEPT… ou il faut désigner le concept dont elle dépend, et ensuite, il faut découvrir deux choses : à quels affects ce concept est lié et qu’est-ce que ce concept me fait percevoir ? Sous entendu, que je ne percevais pas avant de cette façon.
En d’autres termes, TOUT CONCEPT EST INSÉPARABLE D’UN AFFECT ET D’UN PERCEPT… ou de plusieurs. Je veux dire : ce que vous êtes en droit de demander à la philosophie, si la philosophie vous intéresse, c’est que, lorsque l’on vous propose, ou ce que vous êtes en droit de demander à la science, également, c’est de vous donner, de vous inspirer de nouveaux affects, car de toutes manières elle le fera, même si vous ne le savez pas, alors il vaut mieux le savoir… et vous faire percevoir de nouvelles choses, vous inspirer de nouveaux affects. Là, je voudrais prendre des formules, des formules très fréquentes chez certains philosophes, c’est : augmenter, finalement, c’est augmenter, votre puissance d’exister… j’emploie là, comme un terme qui serait comme commun à Nietzsche et à… et à Spinoza : modifier votre puissance d’exister . (…)».

– Deleuze, Cours, 13/12/1983, “Kant, le temps, Nietzsche, Spinoza”.

Constructionism, expressionism

«What for me takes the place of reflection is constructionism.

And what takes the place of communication is a kind of expressionism.

Expressionism in philosophy finds its high point in Spinoza and Leibniz.

I think I’ve found a concept of the Other, by defining it as neither an object nor a subject (an other subject) but the expression of a possible world.»

– Deleuze, “On Philosophy”, Negotiations

The three evils of translation

«Traduttor, traditore»

– Italian saying.


«Anyone who has crossed a language frontier will readily understand that
such a journey involves a form of shape-shifting or self-translation.

The change of language changes us. All languages permit slightly
varying forms of thought, imagination, and play.

I find my tongue doing slightly different things with my mother
tongue than I do “with,” to borrow the title of a story by Hanif Kureishi,
“your tongue down my throat.”

The greatest writer ever to make a successful journey across the lan-
guage frontier, Vladimir Nabokov, enumerated, in his “Note on Trans-
lation,” the “three grades of evil [that] can be discerned in the strange
world of verbal transmigration.”

He was talking about the translation of books and poems,
but, when as a young writer I was thinking about how
to “translate” the great subject of India into English, how to allow India
itself to perform the act of “verbal transmigration,” the Nabokovian
“grades of evil” seemed to apply.

“The first, and lesser one, comprises obvious errors due to ignorance
or misguided knowledge
,” Nabokov wrote. “This is mere human frailty
and thus excusable.”

Western works of art that dealt with India were
riddled with such mistakes; to name just two, the scene in David Lean’s
film of “A Passage to India” in which he makes Dr. Aziz leap onto Field-
ing’s bed and cross his legs while keeping his shoes on, a solecism that
would make any Indian wince, and the even more unintentionally hilar-
ious scene in which Alec Guinness, as Godbole, sits by the edge of the
sacred tank in a Hindu temple and dangles his feet in the water.

“The next step to Hell,” Nabokov says, “is taken by the translator
who skips words or passages that he does not bother to understand
or that might seem obscure or obscene to vaguely imagined readers

For a long time, or so I felt, almost the whole of the multifarious Indian reality
was “skipped” in this way by writers who were uninterested in anything
except Western experiences of India—English girls falling for mahara-
jahs, or being assaulted, or not being assaulted, by non-maharajahs, in
nocturnal gardens, or mysteriously echoing caves—written up in a
coolly classical Western manner. But of course most experiences of India
are Indian experiences of it, and if there is one thing India is not, it is cool
and classical. India is hot and vulgar, I thought, and it needed a literary
“translation” in keeping with its true nature.

The third and worst crime of translation, in Nabokov’s opinion, was
that of the translator who sought to improve on the original, “vilely
beautifying” it “in such a fashion as to conform to the notions and
prejudices of a given public.”

The exoticisation of India, its “vile beautification,” is what Indians
have disliked most. Now, at last, this kind of fake
glamourising is coming to an end, and the India of elephants, tigers,
peacocks, emeralds, and dancing girls is being laid to rest. A generation
of gifted Indian writers in English is bringing into English their many
different versions of the Indian reality, and these many versions, taken
together, are beginning to add up to something that one might call the

– Salman Rushdie, “Step across the line