Τhe friend as internal condition of thought

The friend is not an external circumstance but an internal presupposition of all thought as such. This friend, the “other self,” is a philosophical and political condition of thought: He is not the second piano but the second pair of hands on the same piano – not Boulez but Boogie!

“From the chaos that lends thought its infinite movement, the other as subject of philosophical thought always emerges as friend. According to this, it is the other as the one who thinks in me and creates concepts. This interpretation posits the division of thought as a division of thinking within itself and not as a division of thought outside itself” (Schönher).

This other-as-friend is the philosophical condition of thought. “This is not two friends who engage in thought; rather, it is thought itself that requires the thinker to be a friend so that thought is divided up within itself and can be exercised. It is thought itself which requires this division of thought between friends” (Deleuze & Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 69 ). The division of thought within itself means that I am not thinking together with my friend but I am thinking as his friend. Thought requires me to be my friend’s friend, positing the friend as the other thought of my thinking.

The friend as a political condition of thought represents the internal presupposition of thinking as a social faculty. “For the Greeks, this primary division of thought is accomplished amongst friends facing each other as rivals, but not without thought being reunified through dialectics and the rivals being reconciled through friendship as the art of mediation” (Schönher). Deleuze asks: “How can a friend, without losing his or her singularity, be inscribed as a condition of thought?” He answers that being friends “brings two thinkers together as singular subjects in thought.” Their dialectic will always remain “traversed by a fissure” because it is not based on a shared quality. Being friends means striving to think immanently: “Not speaking with your friend … but on the contrary going through ordeals with that person … that are necessary for any thinking”.

I have been reading  Mathias Schönher’s splendid “The Friend as Conceptual Persona in Deleuze and Guattari” (Rhizomes 20, 2010) on Gregg Lambert’s “Deleuze and the Political Ontology of the Friend” on Deleuze and Guattari on “conceptual personae” in Plato, and I have been thinking of my “other self,” Pantelis Polychronidis, as internal condition of my own thinking-as-attunement.

April 9, 2017

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