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The Coming Community and the Question of a Life
(RMIT University, Melbourne Australia)
2005 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The concept of the coming community, which we discover in Giorgio Agamben’s work, together with the concept of a future people, treated by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in What is Philosophy?, would appear to be formulations of community that indefinitely forestall the arrival or satisfaction of community, making of it an impossible project. Yet to assume the perpetual deferral of the coming community does not allow for the activity of ontological and ethical striving, which participates not in a fixed idea of community, but in a structure that is ever in flux. With this paper I would like to argue that the striving for a coming community, and the formation of a future people, is an ethico-aesthetic activity suffused with an affirmative joy that we can associate with Deleuze’s treatment of the concept of a life. What’s more, the structure of the coming community allows us to address contemporary problems, which continue with us from a past as part of our legacy, which demand our attention in the present, and which promise to pass into the future ill-considered unless we take up their challenge. To address such problems demands that we install ourselves on a plane of immanence, and think by way of creative, conceptual processes in the ever mobile and elastic present. As Deleuze suggests in his book on Michel Foucault, “To think means to be embedded in the present-time stratum that serves as a limit: what I can see and what I can say today?”, furthermore, “Thought thinks its own history (the past), but in order to free itself from what it thinks (the present) and be able finally to ‘think otherwise’ (the future)” (Deleuze, Foucault,119). In a similar vein, Agamben insists that the concept of a life constitutes a pressing problem for a coming philosophy, one that can be returned to a practical calling. A practical philosophy is exactly that which Deleuze considers when he turns to the work of Spinoza. Here we discover that the theme of a life, in addition to a way or mode of life, operates alternatively through a diminution and an increase in our power to act in a world in relation to a common plane of immanence; the greater our capacity to act, the stronger our force of existence, the more open we are to being affected. As Deleuze suggests, “it is a long affair of experimentation, requiring a lasting prudence”. The formulation of the coming community requires the understanding that we are never separate from our relations with a world, and that we do not know in advance what we are capable of, nor what good or bad compositions of the socio-political we might enter into.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, refuge, asylum, beatitude, life, Jean-Luc Nancy
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion Architecture
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-63494OAI: diva2:491091
The Politics of Being: ASCP Conference, University of New South Wales Sydney, Australia 15 – 17 June, 2005

QC 20120920

Available from: 2012-02-06 Created: 2012-01-23 Last updated: 2012-09-20Bibliographically approved

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