Deleuze/Derrida: Towards an Almost Imperceptible Difference

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Author: Kir Kuiken
Editor: Jeffrey W. Hunter
Date: 2006
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 8,108 words

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[(essay date 2005) In the following essay, Kuiken discusses the problematic relationship between Derrida's and Gilles Deleuze's reading of Martin Heidegger's perspective on Friedrich Neitzsche's eternal return.]

If the simulacrum is ever going to occur, its writing must be in the interval between several styles. And the insinuation of the woman (of) Nietzsche is that, if there is going to be style, there can only be more than one. The debt falls due. At least two spurs [éperons]. The anchor is lowered, risked, lost in the abyss between them.Derrida

The simulacrum is the instance which includes a difference within itself, such as (at least) two divergent series on which it plays, all resemblance abolished so that one can no longer point to the existence of an original and a copy.Deleuze

[I]n the beyond across the line, that is, in the space on this side of and on the other side of the line, you speak the same language.Heidegger

The title of this paper, "Towards an Almost Imperceptible Difference," is taken from an essay by Jacques Derrida entitled "Ellipsis." He writes there, concerning the link between a necessary repetition and certain closure: "Once the circle turns, once the volume rolls itself up, once the book is repeated, its identification with itself gathers an imperceptible difference which permits us, efficaciously, rigorously, that is, discreetly, to exit from closure."1 Only a few lines down from this passage that opens the thought or the possibility of an exit, Derrida invokes the figure of the eternal return--a kind of 'pure repetition' that opens an interval between the identical and the same. This is a question that itself is a repetition, having taken the form of Heidegger's 'conversation' with Hegel.2 There, this distinction (between the Identical and the Same) is what prepares the way for an attempt to think the ontological difference that the Identical 'forgets'. As Heidegger insists in the section titled the onto-theo-logical constitution of metaphysics, the matter (Sache) of thinking (in relation to Hegel) is the 'Same', which attempts to think "the difference as difference."3 That is, it attempts to think difference without its having been reduced to (and forgotten by) an Identity (absolute thought) that determines it. It is in and through a repetition of this distinction in Derrida and Deleuze that this paper will attempt to pose the question of the relation or nonrelation of the two thinkers of the title. This paper might as well have been titled "Towards an Almost Imperceptible Difference/or a Nearly Total Affinity,"4 citing again Derrida, this time in the only text that directly addresses the other,5 and that marks a relation of proximity to the other around the question of an "irreducible difference in opposition to dialectical opposition."6 Who would be able to judge such a difference or relation, a charting of two different, yet proximate, pathways to the 'exit'? For the question of thinking an 'almost imperceptible difference' necessarily entails the question of territoriality, that...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1100073089