Heidegger versus Deleuze: On Events and Being

Although Richard Grusin voiced some concerns about the effect of ‘live’ Twitter use at conferences and whether or not the increased intensity is positive, Troy Rhoades very kindly asked a question I had posted to Twitter during the question time of Erin Manning’s plenary of the Nonhuman Turn conference currently underway. Video of Erin’s plenary and the rest are are available online. Jordan Peacock captured my question in his blogging of the plenary papers on his Google+ blog. My question was:

ok, q: Alexander Galloway suggests, ‘Heidegger’s claim that “being is mine”, while Deleuze’s claim is that “the event is mine”‘ 1/3
what sort of ontological claims can be made by your use of the concept of the ‘event’? Without returning to 2/3
neoplatonic truth (Badiou) is there a being of the event? 3/3 #c21nonhuman

In three parts of course because it was posed through Twitter. Erin misheard Troy and thought he said ‘mind’ instead of ‘mine’, and rightly directed the concerns about ‘mind’ to Steven Shaviro’s plenary about ‘Panpsychism/experientialism’ that was happening the next day of the conference and which can also be found online.

The reference to Galloway is from his French Theory Today edited book of pamphlets (which also includes responses from participants in the seminars for which the pamphlets were written) about five French thinkers today is available as a PDF (via Sam Kinsley on Twitter). Galloway has an interesting observation that appears in the Steigler chapter regarding the relation between Deleuze and Badiou’s respective conceptions of the event and their similar relation to Heidegger’s claim regarding being. Galloway’s claim is striking as it clarifies something for me about OOO or OOO-derived philosophies. Galloway’s observation is crossed out, which means that it was not spoken by Galloway as part of the seminar/lecture version of the document, but was originally included in the written prepared version. I have retained the previous section of the paragraph, with the point of interest in bold:

Recall that in Deleuze the event is often posed in relationship to the accident. Essentially, there are two kinds of phenomena: the mere level of things that occur, which Deleuze calls accidents, and the pure event selected from out of all those accidental occurrences. So while it might not seem so at first glance, Deleuze’s theory of the event is in fact quite similar to Badiou’s theory of the event, and certainly had an influence on the younger philosopher. “My wound existed before me, I was born to embody it,” is Deleuze’s intonation of the event. For Badiou the refrain is something similar: I am a subject of truth by virtue of my fidelity to an event. In other words, my wound existed before me; I have a fidelity to my wound.(Compare this Deleuzian-Badiousian claim that “the event is mine” to Martin Heidegger’s claim that “being is mine” and one will see the outline of Heideggerian phenomenology framed in stark contrast against the work of the two Frenchmen.)

Alhough the framing of the relation in terms of ownership or mastery (“is mine”) is problematic, and I am sure Galloway would expand on this if that was the focus of his lecture/pamphlet with a more nuanced exploration, the comparison brings into stark relief something I read in Harman’s book on Latour. I described Harman’s take on the event as Harman’s “quaint neo-Heideggerianism” to the ire of OOO eco-philosopher Tim Morton. In different ways he and Levi Bryant got stuck into me about my professional standing as a scholar, my capacity as a thinker and the quality of my writing. All the while they were avoiding engaging with the clear differend between Heideggerian understandings of the event, as an ontological subsidiary of ‘objects’, and Deleuze’s understanding of events, as virtual singular multiplicities. It was entertaining to see Jane Bennett frame her plenary clearly in terms of these competing understandings as they articulated through different conceptions of materiality.

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