Gilles Deleuze Logic of Sense: Pure Becoming

21 Jul

In Deleuze’s book the Logic of Sense, there are 3 series in the book that discuss paradoxes. The first one discusses the paradox about pure becoming.

First Series of Paradoxes of Pure Becoming

The first one is the First Series of Paradoxes of Pure Becoming. I love how Deleuze uses in this book (and other writings too) the story of Alice in Wonderland. Especially the scene where she gets huge, and incredibly small to fit through the doors. After reading a few blogs about Deleuze, and reading his actual work, and finally writing about it, I feel a little cautious because of the fact that I do not feel able to understand his philosophy to the fullest degree. I feel like the First Series of the Logic of Sense is easy for me to understand, but the other 2 series I want to talk about, I worry about. If anything I say, and if I misconstrue Deleuze’s philosophy, go easy on me, and correct me, because I really want to grow to learn and understand his philosophy.  I feel I can understand this first series because of having seen and read Alice in Wonderland many times. Deleuze also explains well his meaning. Again, if I misconstrue, and misunderstand Deleuze’s meanings in any way, please say so (comment below, @reply on twitter, or email at

Deleuze uses Alice to proceed into Plato’s distinction between things that are measured and limited in what they become, and things that are of pure becoming. Pure becoming is what he wished to expound upon and explain. Before going into the issue of pure becoming, he does very well in defining the nature of paradox:

“…paradox is the affirmation of both senses or directions at the same time” (Deleuze).

The affirmation of both senses/directions at the same time, he explains, is not meaning that both occur simultaneously. When Alice grew she got larger than she was, and at the same time was smaller than she became (Deleuze). He explains that things that are of pure becoming go in both directions at the same time, and avoids the present. If something is of pure becoming, the present is avoided, because if something of pure becoming becomes something in its entirety, it stops becoming. The only things that end up becoming something are not things of pure becoming. The things not of pure becoming are finite in their nature. Things of pure becoming are infinite in their nature because they are always becoming something at all times in one direction or the other. Pure becoming avoids the present. Deleuze further explains the different between the limited becoming things, and the pure becoming when he introduces the model, copy, and the simulacrum. Simulacrum is the being of copies of copies. The copy is created after the model, and the simulacrum are created from the copy. The things of limited becoming are referred to as the copy because they stop becoming at a certain point and remain with a stagnant existence. The simulacrum is referred to as the pure becoming because of the fact that the pure becoming evades the present, and makes different versions of the copy at non-simultaneous existences. The pure becoming and the simulacrum have infinite identities.

Thinking about this pure becoming is a difficult thing (especially for me) to understand, but Deleuze does well to explain it when he says that “one becomes larger than one was, and smaller than one becomes.” This shows the non simultaneous eluding of the present. This is very paradoxical in its nature but, the paradox of the pure becoming is very true. Many things in the world are of pure becoming in one way, and not so in the other. My opinion about things of pure becoming is complex in a way.

Before explaining what I think is of pure becoming, and what is not, I want to make the distinction within the creatum between physical tangible things, and things of spirit. The physical tangible things I mean to explain as the earth, things humans have created from the earth, suspended particles, human/animal bodies, extra-planetary physical things etc. Things we can see, touch, feel, taste, hear, smell etc. While on earth, everything we perceive is of physical and tangible nature. These physical and tangible things in the world are all of pure becoming. Our bodies, buildings, appliances, plants, animals, and human bodies are all becoming in both directions at all times. They all elude the present because each thing is of pure becoming infinitely.

For example, a man eats food grown in the ground, allowing him to be healthy enough for sexual activity and maintain sperm, and engages as such. A baby conceived in a womans womb starts as a sperm from the man entering the egg. The fetus grows within 9 months. The fetus grows larger than it was before, and was smaller than it is at the spontaneous moment. The baby born into the world ages and grows larger, and ends up being smaller than before in all instances. At age 75, the body decays, and becomes lesser than it was before, and was larger and more complex than it is at a specific instance. When the soul leaves the body, no life is left, and the body is left to decompose into the ground. The body being more decomposed, is more decomposed than before, and was more complex and not decomposed at a specific instance before. The soul having left this body, allows the body to decompose altogether into humus in the soil. As the decomposed body becomes a part of the ground as collective hummus, is at a later date used in a garden, where a sundry of vegetables and fruit are grown such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, watermelon, rhubarb, etc. The person growing the garden harvests the crop, and eats the food allowing him to have more maintenance of sperm from nutrition, and engages in sexual activity with another woman, the sperm entering the egg, conceiving another fetus, to be born, grow old, die, and decompose in the soil for the cycle to occur again. All of the things except for the people’s souls are of physical tangible nature, and therefore, of pure becoming. The physically tangible particles of the creatum are always becoming both ways without simultaneity. This long repetitive (although grossly disgusting) cycle shows why physical and tangible particles of the creatum are of pure becoming.

Likewise, soil and rocks in the ground and seas gather together as sediments, and sedimentarily form together as one rock to be deposited as strata in the ground. Humans finding this sedimentary rock, cut it from the ground, and use it to form bricks (not all that sure how bricks are formed however). These bricks are used to create buildings for us to live, work, and be educated in. The building going through long periods of time, either is abandoned, imploded, naturally decays from weathering and erosion, or something else happens taking the building down, making it subject to the soil it falls upon. The ruins of the building (maybe relocated) lay upon the soil, as further weathering and erosion decay it to silt and therefore hummus. The sediment and soil used to make the building is now back where it started, and there to become something else by means of pure becoming because sediment and soil is of physical and tangible creatum.

Hopefully these two examples explain why physical and tangible things are of pure becoming, and are always becoming something and eluding the present. If you may think what these physical and tangible things will be of when Satan rises to the earth in the Revelation, the earth and its tangible beings will all still be here, and the processes they go through will most likely keep them of pure becoming. If Satan’s rise to the earth will end the pure becoming of the physical and tangible beings, that is not able to be seen at this point, and the truth of this possible action cannot falsify the state of pure becoming of these physical and tangible beings.

I believe that the things of spirit are not of pure becoming because of the fact that their state of becoming ends at a point. The soul of a person has a finite time of becoming because the soul is born when it is born inside a tangible body on earth, and soon later that physical tangible body dies, and that soul either goes to Heaven or Hell. When that soul goes to Heaven or Hell, the time of becoming ends. This falsifies the possibility of pure becoming in spiritual beings. Note that the physical tangible body is totally separate from the spiritual soul. The body is only a place for the soul to exist during the short duration of life on the tangible earth. When the soul goes to Heaven or Hell, the soul stays there fore eternity, and nothing else changes possibly putting that soul into becoming.

God, is also not a being of pure becoming because He has always existed , and always will exist. This calls for a new category of becoming: non-becoming. God is incredibly holy, and perfect, and His existence in the universe is never having the necessity to become anything.

This distinction between pure becoming, and finite becoming shows by my understanding the separation there is between the physical body, and the spiritual soul. This does so because of the fact that physical and tangible bodies are of pure becoming, and that spiritual bodies are of finite bodies. Not only are they both separated, but the soul is the only thing that really exists that is a part of the soul. This advocated Spinoza’s substance monism.

Again, if anything I talked about was misinterpreted from Deleuze’s text please say so.


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