Rhizome of Boehme and Deleuze: Esoteric Precursors of the God of Complexity


Though it has been claimed that Deleuze sought to delink his thought from all religion (Bryden), a close examination of his major writings, as well as his collaborative work with Guattari, shows that he was closely attuned to the subterranean mystical currents that pervade Western religiosity, often running counter to the dogmas of surface theology and not infrequently becoming entangled with sorcery and things un-faithful. Deleuze was steeped in the esoteric and the occult, as a brief perusal of the “1730: Becoming-Intense, Becoming-Animal” plateau in A Thousand Plateaus (henceforth “ATP”) makes obvious (Kerslake Occult Unconscious, Somnabulist; Reggio), and consistently references their French artistic/literary and German Idealist derivations and offshoots (e.g. Novalis, Schelling, Artaud, Klossowski). Nevertheless, he seemingly taunts his readers by burying important (but uncited) nods to the likes of Hermeticist Giordano Bruno and Tarot revivalist Court de Gébelin deep inside Difference and Repetition (henceforth “DR”) and the Logic of Sense (henceforth “LS”). One has to know one’s way around the literature of mathesis universalis, hermeticism, and the 19th-century European occult revival (see, for example, Ebeling, Harvey, Jacob, Monroe, Owen, Szonyi, C. Webster) to begin to understand just how and why Deleuze makes use of what is clearly neither Science nor Philosophy–to get beyond them, as it were, in his ontological project of explaining the workings of the chaotic cosmos. There IS religion in Deleuze, even God, but It comes as one of H.P. Lovecraft’s Outsider abominations, via witchcraft, trickery, and all things unholy.

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