Friendship as a Condition for Thought: Blanchot, Deleuze and the Discourse of Philosophy

FriendshipEven the closest friends are radically separated by a distance between them. This distance creates an interval which is like an empty space or a no man’s land; it is the space where friendship takes place.

Friendship is the movement that creates meaning in the empty space between friends. According to Blanchot, friendship is a condition for thought, not because we need friends to think, but because the creation of new meaning requires a dialogue across a distance. As thought, philosophy needs to be in dialogue with a distant other, talking to her from the outside, in order to continue her unpredictable discourse.

Like Blanchot, Deleuze thinks that friends must maintain a sort of differential distance; yet, friends for Deleuze still stay conjoined in intimate communicative contact. They charm each other with their inexplicit and inexplicable ‘signs’. Deleuze refers specifically to Blanchot’s idea that friendship is the condition for thought in the “F for fidelity” section of the l’Abécédaire interviews.

We will also turn to “N for neurobiology” to explain Deleuze’s reasoning for this. Although he never here mentions friendship, Deleuze uses the same principles to explain concept-formation, his own transdisciplinary thinking, and his personal relations with artists and scientists. Thus both Blanchot and Deleuze see philosophy as needing to go outside itself to befriend other disciplines.

Autors: Julie Van der Wielen (MA) & Corry Shores (PhD).

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