The Question of Re-turning: Toward or Away from the Virtual?


  • Sanja Dejanovic Trent University



Deleuze, virtuality, Whitehead, Artaud, Nietzsche


It is by now generally understood that the nature of events are central to Deleuze’s philosophical endeavour. This has not meant, however, that the process mapped out by this concept has been adequately grasped. Indeed, the lines mapping out events are obscured, theoretical, even otherworldly, whenever the complexities of the creating of the virtual and the actual as the created, are reductively conceived as giving way to two separated domains; two separated domains whereby the repeater would be forever condemned to be the result of an otherworldly will that “works through it,” one that would signal that they would never be capable of becoming worthy of the events that make a life.[i] The perspectival reality of the virtual with respect to the actual, which despite its fragmentary nature is in its entirety encompassed in each singular event, requires of us that we grasp what it is that Antonin Artaud’s points to when saying, I “am my son, my father, my mother, and myself.” It is not as though events perceived in the form of a virtual complex render beings inconsequential; instead, events are capable of ousting the verb “to be” in a double sense, because they enfold what is most affirmative in the activity of beings, the being of becoming whereby a life is born, always yet again, and as a function of which, as Alfred North Whitehead notes, what an actual being is, is how that entity becomes. It is adequate to its becoming. The actual as present-being expresses the verb “to be” in an ephemeral sense, or it is expressed by it in a restrictive way, while when affirmed as indistinct from the virtual, being, the verb “to be,” implies nothing else than the return of becoming. It is an untimely instant in which what is affirmed is the continuation of becoming; an instant that makes each event be the infinite becoming-finite of an actual being. So as to explore the nature of events in Deleuze’s philosophy, it is this displacement, the ousting of the verb “to be,” that I focus in on in this paper.