“Very, very frightening me.”

lightning1

“What do we mean by rendering objective the concept of time? Let us consider an example. A person A (‘I’) has the experience ‘it is lightning’. At the same time the person A also experiences such a behaviour of the person B as brings the behaviour of B into relation with his own experience ‘it is lightning’. Thus it comes about that A associates with B the experience ‘it is lightning’. For the person A the idea arises that the other person also participate in the experience ‘it is lightning’. ‘It is lightning’ is now no longer interpreted as an exclusively personal experience, but as an experience of other persons (or eventually only as a ‘potential experience’). In this way arises the interpretation that ‘it is lightning’, which originally entered into the consciousness as an ‘experience’, is now also interpreted as an (objective) ‘event’. It is just the sum total of all events that we mean when w speak of the ‘real external world’.”2

“Perhaps [transgression] is like a flash of lightning in the night which, from the beginning of time, gives a dense and black intensity to the night it denies, which lights up the night from the inside, from top to bottom, yet owes to the dark the stark clarity of its manifestation, its harrowing and poised singularity.”3

“The difference ‘between’ two things is only empirical, and the corresponding determinations are only extrinsic. However, instead of something distinguished from something else, imagine something which distinguishes itself—and yet that from which it distinguishes itself does not distinguish itself from it. Lightning, for example, distinguishes itself from the black sky but must also trail it behind, as though it were distinguishing itself from that which does not distinguish itself from it. It is as if the ground rose to the surface, without ceasing to be ground. There is cruelty, even monstrosity, on both sides of this struggle against an elusive adversary, in which the distinguished opposes something which cannot distinguish itself from it but continues to espouse that which divorces it. Difference is this state in which determination takes the form of unilateral distinction. We must therefore say that difference is made, or makes itself, as in the expression ‘make the difference’.”4

“A philosopher: a man who constantly experiences, sees, hears, suspects, hopes, dreams extraordinary things; who is struck by his own thoughts as if from without, as if from above and below, as by his kind of events and thunder-claps; who is himself perhaps a storm and pregnant with new lightnings; a fateful man around whom snarling, quarreling, discord and uncanniness is always going on. A philosopher: alas, a creature which often runs away from itself, is often afraid of itself, – but which is too inquisitive not to keep ‘coming to itself’ again…”5


1. F.E.Newing and Richard Bowood, The Ladybird Book of The Weather (Loughborough: Wills & Hepworth Ltd., 1962), 40-41. Illustration by Robert Ayton.
2. Albert Einstein, Relativity: The Special and the general theory (London, The Folio Society, 2009), 171.
3. Michel Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory, Practice, trans. Donald F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon (New York: Cornell University Press, 1980), 29-52.
4. Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition (London: Continuum, 2009), 36.
5. Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, trans. R.J.Hollingdale (London: Penguin, 1990), 217.

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