The idea that philosophers are in pursuit of ‘K’nowledge for ‘K’nowledge’s own sake, or that philosophers are seeking to follow ‘R’eason as it leads them to ‘T’’ruth are ideas that are no longer popular in academia. Nevertheless, the traditional understanding of philosophy as concerned with metaphysics, ethics, and epistemology has not been entirely discarded. Thus, the pursuit of some sort of absolute substratum of truths that explain the basic nuts and bolts of an otherwise inscrutable existence has also not died.
Despite postmodernism’s best efforts to run away from any kind of philosophical foundationalism, its proponents, like their modernist predecessors, sometimes spill the beans about what it is they think they are doing, as well as what it is that drives their pursuit.
Thus, even the radical postmodernist philosopher like Gilles Deleuze occasionally spills the beans in his writing. Some time ago, GIlles Deleuze collaborated with philosopher Claire Parnet. Their exchanges have been published in a small book titled Dialogues II. The book is typical French postmodernist clap-trap hardly worth mentioning. However, in it the apathy of postmodernist anti-foundationalism is contradicted by a very clear identification of sin against God as the principle means whereby human thinking, human conceptual “freedom,” flourishes. The apathy of postmodernism, at least as it is articulated by Deleuze and Parnet, is a false calm hiding a consistent antagonism to God the Trinity.
Here is a short quotation of the content wherein Deleuze and Parnet praise being a traitor to God, even as Cain was, for in doing so the traitor is free to establish his own path or paths.
“We betray the fixed powers that try to hold us back, the established powers of the earth. The movement of betrayal has been defined as a double turning-away: man turns his face away from God, who also turns his face away from man. It is in this double turning-away, in the divergence of faces, that the line of flight – that is, the deterritorialization of man – is traced. […] God who turns away from man who turns away from God is the primary theme of the Old Testament. It is the story of Cain. Cain’s line of flight. It is the story of Jonah: the prophet is recognizable by the fact that he takes the opposite path to that which is ordered by God and thereby realizes God’s commandment than if he had obeyed. A traitor, he has taken misfortune upon himself. […] The great ‘discoveries’, the great expeditions, do not merely involve uncertainty as to what will be discovered, the conquest of the unknown, but the invention of a line of flight, and the power of treason: to be the only traitor, and traitor to all – Aguirre, Wrath of God. […] The Old Testament is not an epic, or a tragedy, but the first novel…The traitor is the essential character of the novel, the hero. A traitor to the world of dominant significations, and to the established order. […] the experimenter [e.g. Satan, Eve, Adam, and, by implication, postlapsarian humanity] is a traitor…”
— Dialogues II, (Columbia University Press, 2002), 40-41.
I was enjoying the warmth of the sun and trying to slough my way through the book, and when I read these words, I had to stop and reread them. Deleuze blatantly says, in essence: “It is good for man to turn away from God, for in doing so man will become wise.” I can hear the serpent hissing in the garden, saying: “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.”
The presence of the above quotation, and there are likely to be more,underscores a Scriptural truth: Man’s thoughts are not neutral. Deleuze was most likely not trying to reveal himself as perfectly embodying Scripture’s depiction of the wicked. Yet God, in his wisdom, has used Deleuze’s boasting in sin to corroborate the Truth of Scripture, and for that we can be thankful.
Just thought I’d share :)