Here is a succinct and accessible post on Deleuze’s Pluralism in relation to dualities from Terrence Blake. A dualism that ends in mere opposition, or takes the side of one versus the other falls into a never-ending quest of how to find the “magic formula”: One = Many. Monism = Pluralism.
Dualisms are not escapable and are a necessity for making sense – for the production of meaning and meaningful discourse. An introductory step, which rids oneself of the demand to take a false choice of “one or the other”, is to affirm pluralism (a non-monism and non-reductivism), but after that initial move a vast array of things, worlds, signs, flows, patterns, intensities, etc. open up. We encounter dualities as we traverse these many forms and styles without losing sight of the relations and interactions to the others. A pluralist avoids the reduction to mere opposition and its two-way usage of negation, it opens up a multiplicity of possibilities and potentialities in the Virtual which either do or do not become actual.
When asked what ‘one’ believes or identifies with, where ‘one’ stands on this or that issue, the proclamation of pluralism leaves one’s commitments open to the unexpected or hitherto unconsidered of the ‘many’. The oneness of belief and its internalized demand to hold onto and keep the being or proposition freezes time and promotes and endless repetition of the same. Differences are always made and understood in relation to the single place where one is located as a coordinate cross-section compared to another’s coordinates in a monistic frame. A repetition with difference shatters the one into other avenues of motion enabling both expansion and dissipation. Pluralism suggests a movement where Monism suggests a positioning.
Deleuze does not oppose dualities frontally but tries for a more supple approach. He thinks that they are an intrinsic part of language and that we can only undo a dualism here by producing or reinforcing another dualism there. So we are condemned to fall victim to dualities from an absolute point of view, while being able to dissolve them on a local basis, by strategic or pragmatic interventions. Deleuze, with Guattari (and this “with” is important, as it was one way of overcoming a dualism between philosophy and psychoanalysis, between logos (concept) and psyche (affect, percept, intensity), declared that a dualism was acceptable as a preliminary overcoming of a dogmatic monism on the way to a pluralism. This pluralism he claimed was subtended by a non-preexistant more fluid unity. Hence the equation “monism=pluralism” is called “the magic formula that we are all looking for”, ie a forever unaccomplished process…
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