Deleuze’s “The Logic of Sense”, (Chapters 1 & 2)
In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche critiques what he calls the “superstition of the logicians”: that an event (such as thinking) necessarily requires a thing (such as an ‘I’) to which it can be allocated as a predicate. From this angle, we can read Deleuze’s The Logic of Sense as an attempt to try out the implications of this Nietzschean critical reversal, that is, the ontological prioritization of events over things. Deleuze’s workshop at this early stage of the text? The playful paradox ridden world of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
In the first chapter the paradoxes loom large. Things have been preferred because of their tame, limited nature. However, when one grasps events as primary, one clings to verbs that shoot off in all directions at once. To become larger than one was and smaller than one is. Pure becomings as opposed to stable and static Being.
Of use to him, introduced in chapter 2, is the Stoic distinction between ‘bodies’ and ‘sayables’. For the stoics, a ‘body’ was something that could enter into causal relations. So, extended bodies thus are ‘bodies’, but so are even some ‘intangibles’, such as the soul, and virtues such as ‘courage’ and ‘wisdom’, insofar as these qualities enter into causal explanations. The ‘sayables’ belong to the order of language and are in a curious position insofar as they are, by definition, taken as causally inefficacious. Here is a separation of cause and effect and a double reading of time: bodies and their mixtures burning in the depths of an eternal present, all causes, and events in their proliferation, escaping the present, and stretching out as a thin film into the past and future, pure effects that inhere in language.