Zadie Smith writes about Philip Roth, Writing, Literature, and Imperfection

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Some words by Zadie Smith at the New Yorker remembering Philp Roth and human complexity. You can read the whole thing here:

“For Roth, literature was not a tool of any description. It was the venerated thing in itself. He loved fiction and (unlike so many half or three-quarter writers) was never ashamed of it. He loved it in its irresponsibility, in its comedy, in its vulgarity, and its divine independence. He never confused it with other things made of words, like statements of social justice or personal rectitude, journalism or political speeches, all of which are vital and necessary for lives we live outside of fiction, but none of which are fiction, which is a medium that must always allow itself, as those other forms often can’t, the possibility of expressing intimate and inconvenient truths.

[…]

Roth was an unusually patriotic writer, but his love for his country never outweighed or obscured his curiosity about it. He always wanted to know America, in its beauty and its utter brutality, and to see it in the round: the noble ideals, the bloody reality. A thing did not have to be perfect to engage him, and that went double for people, which, in Roth’s world, always really meant characters. The admixture of the admirable and the perverse that exists in people, the ideal and the absurd, the beautiful and the ugly, is what he knew and understood and always forgave, even if the people he so recorded did not always forgive him for noticing. It would probably drive him nuts to be told there was something ancient and rabbinical in this attraction to paradox and imperfection, but I’m going to say it anyway.”

 

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(Gaza) March of Return & The Status Quo Ante

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It would be a mistake not to see the multiple ways in which all the actors involved in the March of Return are acting rationally, on both sides of the border. Looked at from two sides, this is a harsh, clarifying political moment particularly about the Palestinian Right of Return, and the rotten status quo in Palestine and Israel.

The people of Gaza protesting are acting rationally. They are isolated, barely subsisting at dead-end, under total siege imposed upon the territory by Israel and by Egypt after Hamas took control of the territory. Leading up to the March, top Israeli military brass were among those arguing that the situation there was going to ignite, absent moves to rehabilitate the economically crippled territory. About the demonstrations, before Hamas took over their organization and operation, the initial organizers of the March and the vast majority of non-violent participants at the tent encampments saw in the Right of Return and the March of Return their only best, just and rational option, which is to get out of Gaza, which is a prison, and go “home.” Meanwhile and to this date, the Palestinian masses in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem have not risen up to demonstrate or to support in solidarity their compatriots in Gaza, who have nothing to lose.

What I understand from reading the press these last couple of months is that, as an isolated, non-sovereign governing authority and militant movement, Hamas ran out of options. The Israeli army has come up with more or less effective means of countering Hamas missile attacks and the threat of underground attack tunnels. For Hamas, the only last strategic “weapon” is the misery of the people whose lives they are misgoverning. Prior to the Marches when they began towards the end of March, the initial organizers of the March and then Hamas leaders all claimed that they would keep people away from the border, that the purpose of the march was peaceful, not to ignite a conflagration. They knew that attacking the fence was going to present a significant danger to human life and limb. That obviously was never really in the cards, and Hamas is responsible for allowing unarmed demonstrators to approach and then rush the fence in attempts to overwhelm it, and for actively organizing that activity.

For their part, the vast majority of Jews in the sovereign State of Israel, i.e. within the 1967 borders, will reject out of hand the transformation of their country into a Palestinian majority state; they recognize in the Right of Return a political threat to their national existence and personal security. This too is rational, from their perspective. In 2005, Israel withdrew all military personnel and settlers from the entire territory of the Gaza Strip. The current militarized border sits on the 1949 Armistice Line, an internationally recognized border separating Israel from Gaza, then occupied by Egypt until 1967. Those who support current attempts by the protestors to breach what is effectively an internationally recognized border are doing their part to undermine a two state resolution to the conflict for which the 1949 Armistice Lines (the so-called Green Line) is a fundamental building block.

Before the March, the government of Israel and its military leaders made clear that they were not going to allow anyone to breach the border, which has been the clear intent of those demonstrators who left the main tent encampments. With confidence, it was presumed that the ensuing mayhem following a mass breach of the border would endanger the lives of Israeli citizens in the south, eclipsing the current violence at its peak moments of carnage. Whether or not and to what extent non-lethal means of crowd control such as tear gas, water cannon, and rubber bullets are effective in open rural areas before a mass of determined demonstrators is beyond the ken of this writer and of all of his friends and social media contacts.

What is not rational, and actually wicked, is the brutalizing behavior of the respective leadership authorities of two national communities enmeshed in ongoing, asymmetrical conflict under which the Palestinian people continue to endure the brunt of the suffering, both in Gaza and the West Bank and for large parts of the Palestinian diaspora. Assuming that submission is not an option for either community, assuming that one will resist the other and the other the one, then this is what does not make sense. The March of Return and the harsh Israeli response to it are “logical” and inevitable outcomes only as long as the political leadership of the State of Israel refuses to open up a genuine political horizon for the Palestinian people by ending the 1967 occupation and facilitating the creation of a territorially viable state. The same is true as long as Palestinian leaders, primarily Hamas in Gaza, continue to promote and act out the illusion that one day the descendants of refugees will return like a wall and en masse to ancestral homes in what is today Israel.

That is the cruel rock and ugly hard place. As the sovereign hegemon, Israel, increasingly callous to Palestinian misery, is ultimately responsible for the larger political and security envelope, and for the collapse of a political and diplomatic horizon. But what then about the people of Gaza? Where will they be in two weeks, or whenever the demonstrations will have subsided into a new iteration of the miserable status quo, after the burials and amputations, and slow recovery from life altering injuries? What will Hamas have brought them except more misery? Hamas is the mirror to this rightwing Israeli government. They need and use each other. Highly cynical, it’s actually in Israel’s interest for Hamas to continue to rule Gaza because, ordinarily, Hamas maintains the necessary modicum of quiet, only deepening the rotten status quo after this spasm of violence.

 

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Spring White & Deep Purple

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Israel & Russia Post-Holocaust (Matter & Memory)

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I doubt there will be much notice of this event in the western press, but you can read about it here at Ynet Benjamin Netanyahu was Vladimir Putin invited guest at the Kremlin at the ceremony marking Russia’s World War II victory over Germany. Say what you want about these two monsters, but they are leaders of the two countries that bore the main brunt of the Nazi aggression. “‘We in Israel do not forget for a moment the great sacrifice of the Russian people and the Red Army in the victory over the Nazi monster,’ Netanyahu remarked at the beginning of their meeting, ahead of a parade commemorating the occasion.” The Israeli national anthem, Ha’Tikvah was played in Red Square as the prime minister commemorated the half million Jewish soldiers in the Red Army and liberators of Auschwitz. I don’t think this story, this Russia-Israel angle can be understood without comprehending how it is both profoundly cynical and profoundly moving, simultaneously. The cynicism lies in invoking the memory of the Holocaust to push narrow political agendas and oppressive structures of rule. What’s moving is the inflection of memory and matter, the matter of millions of lost lives during the war, the memory of utter devastation and yes, the recouping of that very dangerous thing, namely power.

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Embryos & Animals in the Mishnah (Rachel Neis)

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(R. R. Neis, Embryotics for Beginners, 2015, mixed media on paper, 12″x18″)

Jewish Studies can use a lot more theory, but theories, especially new ones, are only as good as they work. They need to be tested on stuff. Do theories call attention to material and draw it out in ways that would have been impossible without them? Theories should also picture well. Reading posthumanism, animal studies, and new materialism, Rachel Neis is writing about embryology and animals in the Mishna. You can read all of “When Species Meet in the Mishnah” here at Ancient Jew Review. I’m posting below an early paragraph and the last paragraph to give you a “taste.”

This attention to the nonhuman is not, of course, unique to these contemporary examples. Increasingly, we are finding scholars of late antiquity turning to questions of animality, materiality, and variation. My current work partakes in this turn while drawing on that of artists such as Taylor and Sfar, as well as of feminist science scholars and new materialists, to consider how questions of species intersected with theories of reproduction in antiquity. Late ancient people lived in a world in which the contours of the human were subject to instability and variation. Aristotle, the rabbis, Pliny, and Zoroastrian writers, knew that in a world populated by a plenitude of kinds, with variable and multiple technologies of generation, reproductive outcomes could be unpredictable. Humans, among other kinds, might deliver species nonconforming creatures.

[…]

To the extent that concerns about the human, species, animality, and reproduction criss-cross antiquity and the present, a species-informed approach to late antiquity not only allows us to hazard ways of thinking/being the non/human, it also can short-circuit rhetorical invocations of a “Judeo-Christian tradition” by falsifying cherished myths. The slippery gestatory and gustatory entanglements posited by the rabbis make for a world in which humans and nonhumans are saddled together, in life and in death, in stomachs and in uteri. These are other ways of knowing/being with the limits, ends, end, and propagation of human and nonhuman life.

 

 

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Foroys Blog (Old School Jewish Socialism)

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An anti-Zionist friend recommended a post at this blogsite and I am recommending it, the Foroys Blog, to anyone and everyone, but especially to my comrades in modern Jewish Studies. The Foroys combines the memory of old school Jewish socialism and Jewish thought and culture, Yiddish in English translation. You can check out the blog here. Of particular note is this uncompromising anti-Zionist polemic by leader of the Jewish Labor Bund Henryk Erlich. He wrote this in 1938 as an open letter against the great historian Simon Dubnow, who by that time had gone soft on Zionism in the wake of Hitler’s rise. You can read here the first part which includes links to parts 2 and 3. The original Yiddish sits side by side with its translation into English. Of particular interest in the letter by Erlich are appeals to Jewish peoplehood (klal Yisroel) and internecine political conflict. The Bund was, of course, decimated during the war along with the rest of Polish Jewry. Erlich was executed by Stalin in 1942.

 

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Movement and Time Images (Deleuze) (Cinema 1 Cinema 2)

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I am trying to get a handle on the two primary types of image, the “movement image” and the “time image” in Deleuze two books on cinema. Each with their own specific variations, these two primary topoi are the respective subjects of Cinema 1 and Cinema 2. What follows is my digest of what I think are the most important features of both, and then some brief comments about Deleuze, these two books, and “religion.”

The overarching conceptual apparatus to the two books on film is metaphysical in design –the circuits created between virtual and actual, dovetailing with other sets of non-oppositional, polar distinctions (the imagined and the real [his term], the mental and the physical, the objective and the subjective). Following Bergson, the philosophical starting point is that the image that appears to consciousness or as consciousness, on the one hand, and the life of flowing matter, on the other hand, are to be understood as univocal, both composed, ultimately of light at their highest pitch or acceleration (Cinema 1, pp. 56, 59-61)

Life or the virtual is univocal. Actualized, there are two basic types of image: the Movement Image (explored in Cinema 1) and the Time-Image (explored in Cinema 2).

The Movement Image (Cinema 1)

By Image, Deleuze follows Bergson to mean something both very simple and very broad — “the set of what appears,” how this set appears in constant flux between intersecting parts in relation to a whole. An image for Deleuze is just about anything. It is not to be confused with only that which is “inside” my consciousness since I myself am an image (i.e. movement). As movements of matter, images act on other images and react to them. Deleuze identifies the infinite set of images with that familiar Deleuzian doxa “the plane of immanence” (p.58). What Deleuze intends here is primarily the Movement-Image Itself (Pure Movement-Image) from which are cut three distinct variations, to be discussed below. The movements of the material universe are themselves simultaneously movement-images. Deleuze will be concerned ultimately with a primary apprehension of the pure Movement-Image, which is the plane of immanence.

Chapters 1-3 of Cinema 1 are devoted to [1] “The Whole,” understood in relation to the Bergsonian durée, world and time as a living and constantly changing plenum out of which parts are abstractly cut (chapter 1). [2] The “Frame,” “Shot,” “Framing,” and “Cutting,” in particular the relation between what occupies a place inside the frame and that which is “out of field” (chapter 2). The shot is a determination of movement inside a closed system or frame (p.18). It divides, subdivides, reunites into a single duration by tracing movements in a whole that is itself constantly dividing and reconnecting. Movement itself is decomposed and recomposed (p.20). The Shot is the Movement-Image, relating movement to a whole that is change and constantly changes (pp.22, 27-8). [3] “Montage” understood as a determination of a whole by means of continuity, cuts, and false continuity. Deleuze identifies four types of montage in the history of cinema: organic montage (in early American film), dialectical montage (Soviet film), quantitative montage (pre-war French film), and intensive montage (German Expressionism). The discussion of specific films and film styles here, as  throughout these two volumes, is especially invaluable. Readers for religion, take note. The discussion of expressionist montage is brought clearly to bear by Deleuze on what Kandinsky called “the spiritual in art.”

The Movement-Image has 2 aspect or orientations, one directed towards the parts and relations contained within the closed set or frame, the other directed towards the open whole that keeps the set from closing in on itself (p.55). We will learn in Cinema 2 that the Direct Movement-Image and its apprehension is the first dimension in an ever-growing image-complex (Cinema 2, p.22).

Types of movement-image:

To begin with, there is the Instantaneous-Image, which Deleuze pretty much ignores. Following Bergson’s rejection of a model of time based on the chronotype, a sequencing of discrete moments, it is dismissed by Deleuze as an “immobile section of movement,” in contrast to the Movement-Image (which is a “mobile section of duration”) (p.11).

Deleuze identifies 3 main types of Movement-Image with a 4th transitional type. The Perception-Image relates to the linguistic form of the noun, the Affection-Images relates to the powers and qualities inherent in the adjective, and the Action-Image relates to the verb. The Impulse-Image is a transitional one between the Affection-Image and the Action-Image. A 5th type of image explored by way of epilogue is the Mental-Image.

[1] The Perception-Image: There are 2 aspects to the Perception-Image, the subjective view of a thing seen from within a set and the objective view of the thing seen from outside the set. On the one hand, the subjective perception-image is centered, privileged around the fixed point of view of the subject in relation to which images vary (p.71). (Deleuzian philosophy is dedicated to surpassing the fixed point of view of the subject.) In contrast, with the objective perception-image the center is put into movement. Examples of the latter include acentric images of watery, gaseous, and molecular movements, luminous waves in which a fixed point will vanish from view (cf. pp.71, 76, 80); and then the screen goes blank (p.86).

[2] The Affection-Image. Deleuze relates the affection-image to the concept of “firstness” in the semiotics of C.S. Peirce. The affect expressed, primarily by the close-up of a face (which is the affection-image par excellence) is marked by intensive potentialization. It is composed of two parts: an impassible unity and expressive movement (reflecting surface and intensive micro-movements). As potential, the affection image registers the quality of a possible sensation before being actualized (p.98). The affection image alienates its primary object, from spatial and temporal coordinates, abstracting the face from person to which it belongs in “the state of things” (p.97). The affection-image is not sensation or feeling as actual. At first impersonal, non-individuated, indivisible (without parts), it is only then actualized either in a state of things or as expressed by a face (98). Films by Bergman are key to this analysis of the inhuman and phantom-like quality of the affection-image, in which characters lose social roles, the ability to communicate, or anything else relating to individuation (pp.99-100).

Note here and throughout the importance of place or setting in Deleuze’s theory of the image. The image is always situated either in place or out of place. The affection-image relates to any-space-whatever, the non-determined disconnected, featureless no-spaces suggested by the post-war landscapes and cityscape, but also in color, shadows and whites (pp.111-121). It is not immediately clear why Deleuze is already talking about postwar film (Antonioni, Fassbinder, Godard) in Cinema 1, which is devoted to the movement-image in prewar cinema and why he did not content himself with the affection-image of faces in Eisenstein, expressionist film, or Chaplin from the 1920s (Cinema 1, p.119-21). The answer may very well lie in the fact that already in the discussion of the affection-image in Cinema 1, Deleuze is anticipating features of an image (e.g. the pure optical and sound situation) that will reappear as a time-image in Cinema 2. As affect, Deleuze is talking about pure potential, pure powers and qualities independent of the state of things or milieu (setting) (p.120).

[3] The Action-Image. We have now we have entered into the oppositional form, the duel of forces, or what Peirce called “secondness.” Characters act and react in relation to each other and in relation to their situation. In the action-image, qualities and powers (i.e. affect) no longer appear in the any-space-whatsoever of the affection-image or in what we will see below to be the originary world of the impulse-image. The situation is now actualized in a determinate, geographical, historical, social, spatial and temporal world (p.141). In what Deleuze calls the “large form” of the action-image (SAS’ or situation-action-situation), the image moves from situation to action to new situations. This large form of the action-image depends upon gaps between actual situations and the action to come, situations permeating more and more the characters who then burst into action like in the Western or in films by Kazan and the Actors Studio (p.155). In the “small form” of the action-image (ASA’), the image moves from action to situation to new action. Particularly pronounced in comedy (Chaplin), the small form of action discloses larger situations, which emerge and vary in the gap between one action and the next (p.160).

[4] The Impulse-Image is a transitional image between the affection-image and the action-image. The impulse-image is the embryonic form of the first action-image. It combines what Deleuze calls the realism of the action-image and the idealism of the affection-image (p.123). Again, place is central to Deleuzian film theory. The place or setting of the impulse-image is an “originary world” which appears in the depths or in the ruins of a determined milieu. In this way, the impulse-image depends upon the sense of an actual historical and geographical world. But this originary world of the impulse-image is not itself fully realized or actually determined. The originary world remains, in this sense, formless or pure background. Examples include the outline of deserts and forests, disconnected worlds gathered into rubbish dumps made up of fragments (pp.123-4), studio jungles, rock gardens, a desert of columns, or a drawing room or church in film by Buñuel. These are key visual guides to what Deleuze means by an “originary world” (p.125).

Set in an originary world, the impulse-image assumes bizarre and complex, unusual configurations, including, again with an eye on Buñuel, spiritual perversions. The impulse-image is defined by its object, which is always a partial object, e.g. a fetish, some raw morsel, a woman’s underwear, etc. The “destiny” of the impulse-image is the taking possession through guile and violence everything that it can in a given milieu, to pass between one milieu and another, to explore and exhaust a milieu. There is the vampire or seducer who moves from victim to victim, but also the holy good and holy men, breeding on scraps and stuck to fragments which they carry away, impulses of the soul stronger than hunger and sex that give perversion a spiritual cast (pp.127-30). Again anticipating the Time-Image in Cinema 2, Deleuze says of Buñuel that he steps beyond the “naturalism” of the impulse-image to knock on the doors of time and to free it from the repetition of dead content. He steps beyond “naturalism” without ever renouncing it (p.132).

[5] The Mental-Image reflects what Peirce calls thirdness, in which two are linked together through the medium of a third relation such as symbol and law. The Marx Brothers are exemplary. Harpo represents firstness, “a representative of celestial affects…, infernal impulses, voraciousness, sexuality, destruction,” hiding in his raincoat all kinds of objects, “bits and pieces which can used for any kind of action,” but which he can only use in an affective or “fetishistic” way. Harpo is always in closest proximity to Chico, who “takes on action, the initiative, the duel with the milieu, the strategy of effort and resistance.” Groucho enters in as “thirdness,” “the man of interpretations, of symbolic acts, and abstract relations,” the master of nonsensical reasoning, arguments, and syllogisms (p.199). Just as important to Deleuze is Hitchcock who works in relations, mathematical or abstract necessity that emerge despite the “improbabilities of the plot and the action” (p.202).

At the end of Cinema 1, Deleuze concludes with a call for more thought and for new images in cinema. The denouement of Cinema 1 is the collapse of the action-image into Cliché, which only the new type of the time-image can shatter. The time-image will cut perception from action and determinate situation, will cut affect from character, forming a “new substance” that looks “beyond movement” (Cinema 1, pp.208, 215). The cliché is in alliance with the conventional image in which the viewer selects out by way of subtraction only those aspects of a thing that is of direct conventional or ideological interest to us. That conventionality is the fundamental subjectivity of the action-image, from which the time-image will free thought and perception (Cinema 2, p.20).

The Time-Image (Cinema 2)

Beyond the movement-image, the Time-Image no longer links perceptions and action (p.40). Central to its constitution is the simultaneous coexistence of distinct durations, distinct temporal modes (past, present, future) (p.ix). In the time-image, Deleuze sees the restoration to the object of that quality that was lost in the cliché of the movement-image.

There seem to be two types of Time-Image: the Op-son Image (the pure optical and sound Image) and the Crystal-Image. In the op-son we perceive pure change, which is the form of change that does not itself change (p.17). In the crystal-image, we see time itself, by which is meant the non-organic life that grips the world (p.81)

The Op-Son Image (the pure optical and sound image) is a contemplative mode in which what matters are two things: the image of a pure optical or aural sensation divorced from action or situation, and the transformation of the viewer into a pure “seer.” Deleuze will also refer to the direct time-image, by which I think he means the same thing. Again, the importance of place is central to Deleuzian thinking, except that now, in the op-son image, object and milieu/setting are autonomous, allowing action to float in the situation (p.4). The object can be banal or extraordinary. It does not matter which. Here the image of an actual object passes into the virtual. In the virtual state, the subjective perception of the object is destroyed and replaced. The op-sign image brings out the reality of the object, which is now recreated (pp.7, 9). What the direct time image reveals is change itself, the form of change that doesn’t change, like  in the enduring image of a vase in a long cut, ten second cut in a film by Ozu in which the everyday object is transformed into something permanent (p.17). The pure op-son image brings out the object’s essential singularity (p.45).

The material on the Recollection-Image is not clearly worked out, nor is the material on the Dream-Image. What I got from the recollection-image was the representation of a present that the past “was” (p.54). Neither image seems to carry much weight in the discussion of the Time-Image.

The Crystal-Image is the crystallization of the op-son image, the heart of the op-son image that is a sliver of the crystal-image (p.169). The clearest exposition of the crystal-image and its dual aspect as actual and virtual is by way of the mirror. The image of a person or object in a mirror is virtual in relation to the physical or actual person or object. Physically out of field and not visible, the virtual person or object is now visible in the mirror, and thus is rendered actual. At the very same time, the image of the person or object as actual in the mirror pushes the person or object out of field, which render the person or object virtual. Now virtual in the mirror, the actual person or object is referred to elsewhere and rendered invisible (p.70). In this way, the actual image and the virtual image coalesce and coexist in the crystal-image, and it is through this circuit between the two that a new Real comes out that is beyond the virtual and actual (pp.83-4).

What is seen in the crystal-image is time, in particular, the splitting of time into two. In the crystal-image in films by Renoir, the past falls into the virtual and stays there, frozen and fixed, overconforming to past roles that the character had tried on, while the future escapes the crystal into freedom (p.87). But how does a person or object enter into a crystal-image in the first place? To answer this, the lion’s share of attention goes to Fellini. Deleuze sees the crystal-image forming around a seed or an entrance. These entrances can be geographical, psychic, historical, or archaeological. (Ancient Rome and the world of clowns as crystal-images are very much in mind here). We enter into these crystal images by way of fantasy, déjà vu, recollection, nightmare, dreaming. In the spectacle of the crystal-image, there is no distinction between watching and being watched. Deleuze compares it to a Luna Park in which we pass from one shop window to the next, one entrance to another, through all the cubicles (pp.88-90).

These are undoubtedly Deleuze’s most interesting reflections on time, bending only so slightly towards a religious/spiritual conception. What he himself sees in the crystal-image is a bursting out of life, a bursting out of time in its two-fold division between past and future. Unlike the crystal-image in Renoir, for Deleuze, nothing leaves the crystal, which keeps growing out of the past towards an open future. Here Deleuze writes soteriologically. Salvation from the monsters that form in the present comes from the pasts that are preserved in the crystal-image (not from the future, which is an emblem of death). In pure recollection, we remain contemporary with the child we were, just like, says Deleuze, the believer feels contemporary with Christ. Citing Fellini more than once, the adult who is the old man who is the adolescent who is the child are all of them contemporary with each other in the crustal-image. (It could just as well have been Kubrick in 2001.) Echoing themes from Difference & Repetition, Deleuze makes the claim that the past is preserved in the beginning again, holding inside the surge of a new reality (Cinema 2, pp.91-2).

Whereas an organic-image presumes the independent existence of an object external to the image, the crystal-image replaces the objects for which it stands. In works by Robbe-Grillet, for instance, descriptions give way to descriptions which give way to descriptions, in which the previous description is continuously contracted, displaced, or modified (p.126). In the crustal-image, the actual object is cut off from its motor linkages, which entails that the virtual starts to become valid for itself (p.127). The movement-image has been left behind. For the seer, the character and the shot are now rendered immobile. Intent only on seeing, the seer no longer acts and reacts in a world, which is now no longer seen in terms of tensions and resolutions according to ends and means (pp.128-9). No longer interested in action, no longer interested in judgement that discerns the truth, the seer gives way to “the power of the false,” posing the potential simultaneity of incompossible presents or the coexistence of not-necessarily true pasts. The power of the false is equated with the power of life in which lies the principle for the production of images. (pp.129-30; cf. p.135)

The whole in the time-image is unlike the whole in the movement-image. In the movement-image, out of field, there was a changing whole open somewhere. In the time-image, images are not arranged by way of the association or attraction between images, but in the gap or interstice between radically dissociative images. Given one image, another image has to be chosen which is what creates the interstice between them. This is a logic of differentiation. The fissure between images grows larger and larger, breaking chains of association. The whole is no longer the One-Being (p.179-80).

That’s basically my digest of the material in Cinema 1 and Cinema 2. The usefulness of these models for a study of religion is something I am trying to show in my current research. It has nothing to do with dogmatic content as much as form. Once one assumes that religion or spiritual life or whatever you want to call it is bound up in the imagination, then this philosophy of cinema are very much to the point as to delineating structures of religious consciousness. Religion is not entirely unlike film, assuming that the purpose of religion is not to settle thought and resolve perplexity, to assuage and to pacify. Deleuze’s own atheism is here utterly beside the point. A contemplative thinker, Deleuze makes sense of religion in its capacity to open up and intensify disturbances in thought, to open thinking to an “outside” beyond psychology and sociology, to tensions between the thought and the unthought, the visible and invisible (Cinema 2, 177, 168).

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