Truth = Joy = Power: Spinoza's Galaxy Brain

We live in a bourgeois culture where people hate intellectuals, the truth is. So, yes, of course there are stupid people on the internet who are really pretentious and think they're really smart. However, there are also really smart people on the internet who are very interesting and independent, and I think real intellectuals actually know this type of exploding galaxy brain moment, and it's one of the things that we live for as thinkers, I think. And I think the fact that the galaxy brain meme was a thing, and that it's generally a kind of resentful, negative meme — it's usually used to make fun of someone else or to object to them or to belittle them — is really just a representation or an emblem of bourgeois anti-intellectualism really, and a kind of resentful nay-saying...

A univocal ontology prohibits us from false distinctions, and it forces us to rely on these qualitative differences, which I think Spinoza and Deleuze want to say are the real differences. And they are real in part because they are immanent. When I encounter someone and I feel joy, I feel my power is increasing, right? (Puissance, not pouvoir.) Remember the galaxy brain meme. This is why I introduced that. You feel like a galaxy brain when you're talking with someone that you really get along well with. You can just feel immanently, intuitively, that this person is somehow increasing your power. It's increasing your capacities and that is associated with the emotion known as joy. That's all happening immanently, automatically. It's happening from within what is already going on. You're not calculating, you're not strategizing, you're not creating a model. It's an automatic kind of pre-conscious process. And I think Deleuze wants to say that that is what's real. Those differences are real. We're all one substance, but those differences are real.

Univocity: Lecture 3 on Based Deleuze

How to Deal With Punishment According to Nietzsche and Spinoza

I was just reviewing my copy of Nietzsche's The Genealogy of Morals, before I send it off to someone through Version 2 of my book recommendation experiment. The person said they wanted something I consider “fundamental reading.” As often happens reviewing Nietzsche, I came across a passage surprisingly applicable to my own life at the moment. I'm leaving it here without comment, on the wager that I am probably not the only person in 2019 who will need to be reminded of this insight...

...one afternoon, teased by who knows what recollection, [Spinoza] mused on the question of what really remained to him of the famous morsus conscientiae [moral conscience] — he who had banished good and evil to the realm of human imagination and had wrathfully defended the honor of his "free" God…

"The opposite of gaudium [joy]," he finally said to himself — "a sadness accompanied by the recollection of a past event that flouted all of our expectations." Eth.IlI, propos. XVIII; schol. I. II. Mischief-makers overtaken by punishments have for thousands of years felt in respect of their "transgressions" just as Spinoza did: "here something has unexpectedly gone wrong," not: " I ought not to have done that." They submitted to punishment as one submits to an illness or to a misfortune or to death, with that stout-hearted fatalism without rebellion through which the Russians, for example, still have an advantage over us Westerners in dealing with life.

Even raises an interesting hypothesis about why Westerners at the moment are so paranoid about those Russians.

On French Philosophy with Taylor Adkins

Taylor Adkins is a translator of French philosophy. He has translated influential books by Félix Guattari, such as Machinic Unconscious (Semiotext(e) 2010), and lesser known works by Jean-François Lyotard and François Laruelle. He’s a philosophy/theory blogger at Speculative Heresy and Fractal Ontology, and co-hosts the podcast Theory Talk with Joe Weissman. You can support them and enjoy extra theory talk at .

Just a few of the books mentioned:

Glas by Derrida

Fashionable Nonsense by Sokal and Bricmont

The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque by Gilles Deleuze

Deleuze and the History of Mathematics by Simon Duffy

A Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze and Guattari

The Cut of the Real by Kolozova

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