Reading through my review of Hallward I make a somewhat strange claim at the end of my paper. I think it is a position that can be defended, but I recognize its strangeness and even hoped it would be polemically weird. I claim that Bergson’s philosophy deepens materialism and that Deleuze’s philosophy has the potential to do the same for us today.
Again, I stand by this as completely defensible, even though I’m not going to defend that today. We’re talking about a very serious academic paper there and one I don’t know if I’ll ever write. That’s because after writing that review, partly as an attempt to defend Deleuze from the charge of Hallward’s ‘Mystical theologian!’, I had to wonder – why do I want Deleuze to be a materialist? Why do I want to be a materialist? My desire to be materialist is completely and utterly reactionary. Growing up as I did in my formative years as the child of an evangelical minister I formed a critique of the experience as being a denial of the material reality. Not all the interesting or creative, but there is certainly truth that evangelical Christianity tends to privilege the after life over and against the body. So the answer it seemed to me was materialism. Lets focus on the material and everything will be better.
Now I’m not so convinced. Obviously there is material. Obviously! – and anything that obvious is also quite boring in and of itself. I wonder what will come after this desire to be materialist. I wonder if I can find a more active desire in this attempt to move beyond materialism as such. One hopes I don’t simply start talking about angels and demons pushing around atoms, but I am more and more comfortable with being called a spiritualist if such a term is qualified. A kind of spirit as past. I’m thinking mostly of the way materials are constructed through time and the kind of ‘energy’ or ‘power’ or ‘sense’ that passes or manifests through them. Staring at a wall one is of course struck simply by its existence, but when one reflects on all the energy that went into that wall being there, at this time, I can’t help but think this is important.