The Poverty of Pacifism

JVF Conference Papers

In 1972, the French journal L’Arc published a conversation between Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault entitled “Intellectuals and Power,” wherein they discuss the changing relation between theory and practice. [...] As a practice, theory has its own demons to fight, which, as Deleuze shows throughout his work The Logic of Sense, threaten not only from below (the temptations of chaos, madness) but also from above (the attraction to the good, the ideal). Theory must be ever vigilant against itself; language is always tempted to go beyond its own means. It is perhaps fortunate when a theory strikes its own blocks and walls, guarding itself to a localized region. Otherwise it might become insulting and disastrous by encompassing practice. There is always a temptation to explain and to lead, to push into the sphere of practice.

But as Gilles Deleuze once wrote, “good intentions are inevitably punished.”

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