Deleuze, interpreter of the eternal return
by A. D'Alonzo
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Gilles Deleuze was gifted with feverish and exalted dialectic ability; in his lessons he covered different subjects with extreme ease. Nevertheless his transgression was limited to the intellectual level, since his private life was that of a normal teacher, married with children. The effort to think the Unthought-of often took delirious and convulsive tones in the Deleuzian writing, such as in the Logic of Sense , a 1969 book. But, apart from the political commitment, Deleuze's existence was marked by a meek ‘bourgeois' tranquility, away from the psycho-physical torments and from the sense of erratic uprooting that tortured Nietzsche. Deleuze called himself a nomad thinker, but at the end of the day he traveled very little. His journeys were merely mental. Inspired by the Nietzschean book ‘ On truth and lies in a nonmoral sense' , Deleuze in his ‘ Logic of sense' proposes to transform philosophy in a mobile army of metaphors. Like the character of Alice in the famous novel by Carrol, Deleuze tries to reverse the ordinary laws of language and logics, bringing the production of ‘sense' to an effect caused by the ‘nonsense' and demonstrating that the thought is most of all a great inner maze. For Deleuze the main task was to try and think in a different way, twisting – transvaluing – the rules of the game. Deleuze, the true oracle of social revolt, felt intellectually attracted by extremeness. He never questioned his positions whatever the subject, either it was masochistic eroticism, hallucinogen drugs or chaos caused by warfare. Compared to other French thinkers, Deleuze seems to use Nietzsche's thought in an anti-dialectic projection, rather than with reference to the relation – recurrent at that time – with the Marxian and Freudian thought. For Deleuze dialectic is in Nietzschean terms reactive, since it gives the negative the power to produce positive. Therefore he bonds with the fabling world of the Platonic-Christian morale, which recognizes the transcendental value of suffering as propaedeutic to eternal beatitude: the kingdom of humbles and neglected. Hegelian dialectic is not only the announced celebration of a teleological triumph, where the Absolute recognizes itself in its huge totality at the end of the story. It is also the determination of the power of the negative that impresses its nihilistic essence in the celebration of the active forces becoming reactive. Compared to the Hegelian dialectic, Deleuze carries out an interesting reversal. For Marxists the real innovating element of dialectic was Hegel's recognition of the negation as moment of freedom and subtraction, although ephemeral, from the total-identity co-action. For Deleuze dialectic denies multiplicity and chance, not only because it claims to compress the becoming within logical schemes, but because negativity, far from being bearer of freedom, reduces the power of positivity to pure appearance. There isn't a real affirmation of negativity, because it is only an ephemeral by-product of the becoming-reactive of the nihilistic-negative forces. The whole of Deleuze's philosophy is focused on the problem of the affirming liberation from reactive forces. From here the feverish research for radicalisms and for continuous, although merely theoretical, counter-cultural transgressions. The overcoming of metaphysics, viz. the utopian society, can't be fulfilled with the forces metabolized by the capitalistic system; likewise proletariat is now transformed into small bourgeoisie. Like Marcuse theorized, the task is now entirely assigned to new forces, to the outsiders, emarginated from the system and its power games and therefore incorrupt. Nevertheless Deleuze doesn't propose positive horizons: active nihilism escapes any eschatological promise. The crucial moment of negation of negation belonging to the Hegelian Aufhebung is suppressed. The process can't be closed at any point, at any moment; like for Adorno, dialectic is open. To use Nietzsche's genealogy, which for Deleuze coincides with the methodology of active nihilism, of praxis compared to nihilism intended as mere psychological aspect, means to go to the extreme, without a route or a goal. It is the nomadism of a thought going towards (we can see the Heideggerian influence) new interpretations, towards unexhausted relationships of power. For Deleuze genealogy is only the infinite interpretative re-run of differential typologies, of configuration of new relations between active and passive forces. The interpretation remains infinite. To control its value in some rigid methodology would mean to fall back into metaphysics. In its ‘ Nietzsche and philosophy', Deleuze focuses Nietzsche's philosophy on the ideas of value and sense in their prospective evaluation. The French thinker widens the Nietzschean genealogic practice and brings back to it both the idea of an origin, which must not be thought of as a fundament or casual relation, and the differential element of values. For Deleuze, like for Nietzsche, value in itself doesn't exist. The value and its character depend only on the differential effect of the origin, which is on its turn an effect, like in the page on eternal return in the Gay Science: ‘If that thought took you in its power <…> it would lead you to a metamorphosis, it would lay heavy on your actions like the greatest weigh.'.
The determination of the origin is not the foundation of a prime cause; it is only the enunciation of a possibility which, though, as such determines metamorphosis and consequences. Perspectivism is this perennial fight among centers of forces, which despite maintaining the status of probability, still produce effects. Nietzschean genealogy, for Deleuze, only reconstructs history and the casual development of a series of effects. The nobleness or vulgarity of the value depends exclusively on the differential element of the non-origin, which is intended here as a mere point of view. The sense of something is given by the succession of forces that fight to get hold of it. Indeed, genealogy has the task to reconstruct the history of the variation of the senses of something, viz. of its conflict of forces. To weigh the evolution of the meaning of a value is always a genealogical reconstruction of the forces that crossed and owned it. The plurality of the senses of something is determined by the number of forces that can get hold of it and rule it. The value is in no way something ‘in itself'; the essence of the value of something depends exclusively on the forces that dominate it at the moment, in correlation with those that put up resistance. Active forces impose their positive value to the things they get hold of; negative ones impose their reactive force. The active or reactive character of a value is therefore given only by the character of the force that rules at that time. The force that shows the most affinity with the thing it's getting hold of determines its essence. Deleuze states that philosophy, from Nietzsche on, turns into semiotics and its main task becomes pluralistic interpretation. The relation of forces has always been the differential manifestation of the fight of opposed wills to power. According to Deleuze, for Nietzsche there isn't a will – the Schopenauerian example of the executioner in ecstatic symbiosis with the victim – but there are many wills to power. The sense of something is determined by the force that gets hold of it last. On the contrary, its value refers to the hierarchic reconstruction of the forces that act or suffer in it. If the sense of something can be determined by identifying the domineering force, the value must be expressed by following the hierarchical history, genealogically analyzing inside the thing itself, which are the forces that rule and which of them obey. The plurality of forces is used by Deleuze in an anti-dialectic projection. The Superman and the same Transvaluation respectively oppose the humanistic evolution and the negation of the negation. They are movements of radical overcoming and reversal, which have nothing to do with the progressive overcoming-by-preserving of the Hegelian Aufhebung . For Deleuze the moment of negation is not intrinsic to the essence of positive any more, but it originates from its own affirmation. The negative is the differential element of the relation among forces. For Deleuze energy doesn't presuppose the immanent negation to evolution, but every center of forces, affirming itself, places its difference in relation to the power of the other forces. In the fight among opposite wills to power, the result is the differential element of the two forces, viz. the extrinsic negation to the system. According to Deleuze, for this reason Nietzsche's philosophy is laughter and dance, is saying ‘yes' to the game of life, as opposed to the heaviness of dialectic, that presupposes negativity, the immanent ‘no' to itself. If Dionysus expresses the essence of tragic and the Apollonian influence is its oneiric projection, the final drama is the objectification of the first in the second, ‘in an Apollonian world of images'. Deleuze refers the fundamental opposition of Nietzsche's youth's works not to the contrast between Dionysus and Socrates, characteristic of the ‘ Birth of Tragedy', but to what appears in the so-called ‘letters of madness', to the conflict of ‘Dionysus against the crucifix'. The Dionysian is the expression of life that justifies suffering, whilst the evangelical message is antithetical, because here is enclosed the essence of ressentiment, the accusation of suffering against life. For Dionysus life is radically fair, it doesn't need any afterworld justification. Now, if Christianity overcomes suffering by solving it in a true world – and therefore it ‘dialectizes' life – Dionysian, being an unconditional proposing affirmation, is the opposition to dialectics itself. According to Deleuze, Dionysus is for Nietzsche the archetype of pluralistic and integral affirmation:
‘A logic of multiple affirmation, therefore a logic of pure affirmation and a corresponding ethics of joy, this is the anti-dialectic and anti-religious dream that runs through the whole of Nietzsche's philosophy' (G. Deleuze, Nietzsche and philosophy ).
For Deleuze Dionysus is the emblem of liberation from negative with game and dance. Dionysus affirms the innocence of life, plurality and multiplicity, claiming the multicultural instance and the postmodern condition. Deleuze reverses the Heideggerian interpretation whereas Nietzsche's metaphysical attempt is to give the becoming the form of the being. Starting from the Nietzschean idea of destiny as fusion of chance and need and from the metaphor of the Heraclitean child playing dice, Deleuze states that the throw of dice announces the becoming and the being of the becoming. The action of throwing dice states the chance; the resulting combination is need. For Deleuze need doesn't originate from a rigid deterministic plan, but from chance, the action of throwing dice. For Deleuze the being originates from the becoming and the one from multiplicity. By using a simple image – the game of dice – Deleuze claims the original difference instead of the Aristotelian ‘causa sui' of metaphysics. The French thinker can introduce, in this nihilistic anti-deterministic perspective, the fundamental theory of Nietzschean philosophy, the idea of the eternal return:
‘If the dice thrown affirm chance once, when they fall back they necessarily affirm the number or destiny that the throw brings <…> The eternal return is the second part, the result of the throw of dice, the affirmation of need <…> Destiny in the eternal return is also the ‘welcoming of chance'. ( Cf. Id. )
The throw of dice prepared by the hand of the player becomes the affirmation of multiplicity, of chance in one go. Once the dice have been thrown and the number appears on the table, the being, the need and the one are restored in the hypostasis of the number. But indeed, since the number is a result of the throw made by the nervous movement of the player's hand, the being, the need and the one are affirmed by the becoming, by chance and multiplicity. For Deleuze thinking means to throw the dice. The throw is compared to sea and waves, to the impulse of irrationality of the becoming. The resulting number is compared to a stellar constellation. Through this simple allegory Deleuze re-affirms the value of the gap and the ‘original' otherness. After all, the French philosopher identifies tragic thought with the throw of dice, opposing it to the spirit of revenge of resentment that produces passive nihilism. For Deleuze the Nietzschean thought is essentially, in all its evolution, an attempt to fight against resentment, bad conscience and nihilism. But nihilism is not so much the history of oblivion of the being, as the thought as question on any transcendent or veiled truth. For Deleuze the thought that forgets the earth, even partially, is already nihilistic. In the second chapter of ‘ Nietzsche and Philosophy' , Deleuze keeps thinking about the obsessive fetish of counter-culture: the body. This becomes the battlefield where active and reactive forces meet and fight. For Deleuze the quality of the forces is given by their difference in quantity. Superior forces are active, inferior ones are reactive. The quality of forces – viz. their difference in quantity – depends essentially on their casual inter-reaction:
‘The meetings of forces of this or that quantity are therefore the concrete parts of chance and as such they are alien to any law: Dionysus' limbs' (Cf. Id)
This re-affirmation of the instance of original difference leads Deleuze to elaborate his thought as a reversal of Heidegger's. For Deleuze it is not the being that returns, but ‘ the returning itself, the return in itself' . The being itself becomes only ‘the whirling of the circle that returns' . Deleuze can interpret the eternal return as an affirmation of multiplicity and difference:
‘We can intend the eternal return itself, if not as an expression of a principle that is the reason of difference and its reproduction, of difference and its repeating' (Cf. Id.)
Nevertheless, at first sight, Deleuze's arguments don't sound very convincing. To state, as Deleuze does, that what returns in the circle is not the same, but the return itself, doesn't it mean – despite everything – to re-affirm the identity essence of the circle, of what returns, viz. of the same? Furthermore, when Deleuze affirms the perennial return of the return, he doesn't demonstrate either the diversity of cycles that return, or the presence of the difference inside identical cycles. Deleuze manages to give strength to his argument only by distinguishing the hierarchy of forces that return: in the eternal return only the active forces return. The becoming-reactive is destined not to be reproduced in the circle of return. If reactive forces are a manifestation of the will for nothing, they are destined to cause the return, in the eternal circle, of their negativity that annihilates and suppresses them. In the eternal return the negative side of reactive forces returns and destroys itself, transforming reactive forces into active ones. Deleuze clearly speaks about self-destruction of reactive forces as an active destruction. The eternal return takes the value of self-purification, Dionysian catharsis:
‘Active negation, active destruction is the status of the strong spirits that destroy the reactive side in themselves, subjecting it and themselves to the trial of the eternal return, at the cost of wanting their own decline '. ( Cf. Id. )
The man of ressentiment is therefore destined not to go back to the eternal circle and passive nihilism with him. The eternal return fulfills – with its becoming active – the so much coveted transvaluation of all values. The reactive element brought back to itself annihilates and clears the way to affirming power. If forces have a difference in quantity – viz. they have a quality – the will to power is the differential and genetic element at the origin of such gap. Quantity and quality depend on the will to power. The latter determines the difference of quantity of forces in their relationship and therefore the intrinsic quality to all of them. The will to power is the principle of forces; it produces the differential element of the same. On the contrary, the eternal return is its synthesis; it reproduces the difference of forces and their reproduction. With this last connection between the two fundamental theories of the Nietzschean thought, the Deleuzian reading of the ‘Nietzsche-system' appears convincing and consistent. After defining the will to power as genetic and as a differential element of the forces, the French thinker deals with their distinction, returning to the lesson of On the Genealogy of Morality . In this book Nietzsche deals with the analysis of the reactive forces. They are built on a fiction: Nietzsche defines resentment as a paralogism of the force divided from its possibilities. Bad conscience – subject of the second dissertation – is defined by Deleuze as antinomy of the interiorized force. The ascetic ideal, the last subject treated by Nietzsche in the Genealogy , is a mystification of the ideal. For Deleuze the book is essentially a re-writing of the Critique of the Pure Reason . According to Deleuze Kant's critique fades into compromises; there is never an enquiry on the quality and quantity of the forces at stake, on their being reactive or active. Far from enquiring on the true subject, man, as a being able to criticize, it makes the individual even more subdued to the forces that express the values of the ‘flock'.
‘We have never seen a more conciliating critique, or a more respectful one. <…> He conceived critique as a force that must hit all claims of the morale, but not morale itself. ( Cf. Id. )
Under this aspect, for Deleuze Nietzsche is a radical: he goes to the ‘essence' itself of the value and unmasks its prospective nature, refusing any utilitarian mixture. The will to power is the only suitable instrument – since it is a genetic and genealogical principle = to realize a ‘true' critique of values, viz. their transvaluation. The French thinker opposes the ‘genealogist' Nietzsche to the Kantian ‘legislator'. The will to power as genealogical principle – not man or reason – must achieve the goal of true critique; the overcoming, the ‘bridge' to the superman. Kant never questions the value of truth; he is too deferential and fearful towards the official power. On the contrary, Nietzsche, with his philosophy of the hammer attacks and destroys any consolidated value. In the third dissertation of the Genealogy , Nietzsche questions the idea of truth itself. Now, according to Deleuze, if the truth itself is denied it is because we keep considering it as a value in itself, as a metaphysical hypostasis. To look for a new idea of truth means to determine it not as an essence but as a prospective game. This requires, though, a new form of will: the will to power, the infinite fight among centers of force. According to Deleuze Nietzsche's energetistic idea of reality annuls the categories of traditional metaphysics, truth and falsehood. What is left to the will of truth, ‘weakened' by the unmasking of prospective forces that act in the world, is sense and value. The only categories that we can use to prospectively interpret reality are determined by the fight of opposite wills to power; noble and vulgar, superior and inferior. In this sense the philosopher has the task to genealogically rebuild the temporary result of the prospective game. To think means to place oneself in the a priori of sense and value, recognizing the world as an inexhaustible metaphor, but most of all it means to liberate the thought from reactive forces. In order to achieve this liberation it is necessary, according to Deleuze, to explore the unthought-of, to overcome any methodological dimension:
‘It is up to us to go to extreme places, in the extreme hours where high deeper truth live and rise. The places of thought are the tropical areas, familiar to the tropical man. Not temperate areas, not the moral, methodic and moderate man.' ( Cf. Id. ).
Reactive forces are not separable from the will to power that is their differential and qualitative ‘principle', the result of the difference of quality of forces. But on the contrary of active forces, reactive ones send back a reversed image of the will to power; it is the Platonic ‘fable' of the true and apparent worlds. The effectiveness of reactive forces is in this power of falsification, sense of guilt and negation of active forces. Through this reversal reactive forces represent themselves as superior. The active forces weakened and falsified by the effect of reactive forces interiorize themselves, they turn against themselves. For Deleuze and for Nietzsche in Genealogy , conscience is only the by-product of these active forces that can't manifest, that are forced to turn against themselves, to introject themselves and become reactive. Christianity makes the decisive step; it changes the direction of ressentiment creating bad conscience. The interiorizing of active forces produces suffering. Pain must be interiorized; the active forces have turned into suffering. Christianity achieves the process of introjection of suffering changing the direction of resentment. To the man who wonders ‘why' there is so much suffering in the world, the ascetic priest offers an answer: the cause is in oneself, in guilt, in a fragment of one's past. The sufferer must understand his pain as a condition of punishment. Therefore resentment is not projected against the ‘guilty ones' any more, against the powers that be but against his own self; this is the birth of bad conscience. Bad conscience is concretized in the man able to promise. Through a series of mnemonic techniques culture achieves man's training, trying to subdue reactive forces and forcing them to be acted. According to Deleuze, though, this attempt is destined to failure. Reactive forces, pretending to be acted, give an appearance of vitality and activity to other reactive forces. This is how associations of (re-)active forces are created. We might object – at this point of the analysis – that this excess of reactive forces in the process of civilization might not be a completely negative phenomenon. We might also agree with Freud that civilization exists as a result of collective processes of sublimation and removal, as a ‘necessary' evil. Deleuze senses the risk to reach the apologetics of existing and secures himself by linking the reactive forces to the will of nothing, to nihilism. Nihilism becomes the principle of reactive forces, the triumph of the ascetic ideal. The ascetic priest offers an explanation to pain, finding it in the condition of punishment and guilt of the sinner. The human will – progress, civilization – is saved by inanition and paralyzing fatalism through the mirage of an afterworld justification. But this will belongs indeed to the reactive forces and furthermore, it soon reveals itself as a will of nothing, a metaphysical illusion forgetful of God's death and of his apparent light extinguished for thousands of years. Nihilism reveals itself as the true motor of reactive forces. The human essence is determined by the becoming-reactive of the forces. Deleuze, then, in the determination of the correlation of nihilism with reactive forces, starts to expose his idea of Superman. For the French thinker the superman is not a superior man. The latter is only the idealization of the reactive man, the product of the generic cultural activity of the ‘flock'. Reactive forces have now overwhelmed the active ones. The possibility itself of any overcoming of nihilism – starting from reactive forces – is denied. Only an affirmation of active forces from a truly active will, in contrast with the will of nothing of reactive forces, could achieve the overcoming. The superior man, on the contrary, limits himself to a generic abstract activity; he never manages to ‘affirm'. He only reverses values, inverting the hierarchy of the two platonic worlds; but this way the old metaphysical structure is preserved. For Deleuze Zarathustra's lesson is another: the possibility to practice a real transvaluation of all values, to realize the conversion of negation in affirmation. There can't be real transvaluation – a radical and not only apparent transformation – if reaction doesn't become action, if negation doesn't become affirmation. Therefore transvaluation becomes an accomplished and ‘active' nihilism. Transvaluation of all values accomplishes ‘passive' nihilism, which, on the other hand, remains a will to power since it is will of nothing. But for Deleuze nihilism is also something else; it is the ratio conoscendi of the will to power. According to the French thinker, in the present stage of our social evolution we can know the will to power only as will of nothing, only in the form of its negative quality. The other positive quality has been unknown for a long time; affirmation expresses the ratio essendi of the will to power. Transvaluation is achieved in the Deleuzian ascertainment that nihilism, after having expressed itself negatively as ratio conoscendi, must coactively achieve itself affirmatively in the ratio essendi of the will to power. There is a time, for Deleuze, when the reactive forces, being fulfilled, reach the goal and break their link with the will of nothing. At this exact time the coveted transvaluation in the positive quality – ratio essendi – of the affirmation can be achieved. At this point the Superman comes into play; he uses a new weapon to achieve transvaluation (and therefore conversion): active destruction. For Deleuze at the breaking moment between nihilism and reactive forces the will of nothing can convert itself and move on the propositional side, becoming an affirming force that destroys reactive. Active destruction, then, matches the Nietzschean transvaluation of all values:
‘Zarathustra means: I love the man who uses nihilism as ratio conoscendi of the will to power and that finds in the will to power a ratio essendi where man is overcome and nihilism defeated ' (Cf. Id.)
The moment when the reactive aspect breaks the alliance with the will of nothing is translated into the coveted instant when the negative converts itself turning into affirming force. Deleuze re-proposes the central figures of Zarathustra on the light of the new idea of transvaluation. The donkey is not the Dionysian animal that always says ‘I-A' (viz. ‘yes') but, on the contrary, is a Christian animal. The donkey can say ‘yes' but it can't say ‘no'. The fact that the donkey can't say ‘no' is interpreted by Deleuze as evident manifestation that active destruction, to be really active and therefore radical, must be preceded by the moment of total negation. On the contrary the camel – with its back destined to accept the passenger, viz. nihilism – is the ‘yes' that can't say ‘no'. The camel represents the false affirmation that transports and takes on all the existing values so far without reversing them. On the contrary, the lion is the incarnation of ‘no', of the affirmation of subjectivity that refuses values that have become fables, of the ‘true' world. All these figures are used by Deleuze to introduce the affirmation of the superman as an anti-dialectic paradigm. Dialectics only operates a false transmutation of negative into positive, preserving the former term masked into the latter. Dialectics is not the real affirmation of something totally new, because at the end the dialectic overcoming occurs in the conservation of the pre-existing. Now for Nietzsche, according to Deleuze and not to Heidegger, there isn't an idea of the being as presence, being-present, essence. There is a being only in affirmation; affirmation itself is the being. According to Deleuze the being is the affirmation of the will to power and the nothing is its negation. Both the being and the nothing are qualities of the will to power. But Deleuze also theorizes the peculiarity of duplicity in the affirming affirmation; the first affirmation affirms the becoming, the second affirms the being. This is the symmetrical reversal of the dialectic scheme of thesis and antithesis, indistinction and negation. The two affirmations – on the becoming and the being – make up the affirming power in its totality. Deleuze can at this point insert the theory of the eternal return as a fundament of its philosophy of difference and Unthought-of. Becoming, multiplicity and chance are introduced in the first affirmation, but because they are later subsumed by the being, by the one, by the need of the second affirmation and are reflected in the latter and they are destined to return. Deleuze identifies the first affirmation of becoming with the figure of Dionysus. Ariadne symbolizes the second affirmation: the being. The Superman becomes the son of Dionysus and Ariadne. The Superman wants the eternal return of all things, but only those that express an active becoming. We have already seen that in the eternal return there is no return of the negative because this, in the long term, would end up destroying itself as negation of negation. The being of the difference that returns is joy; this is Zarathustra's lesson. The Nietzschean transvaluation of all values is the point where in the eternal return the negative – by returning – starts destroying itself, turning into affirming power. Nevertheless, since the becoming of the first Dionysian affirmation returns, Deleuze can conclude that the object of pure affirmation is multiplicity, chance, difference. The negative destroys itself converting itself into positive affirmation; this is the meaning of transvaluation of all values. But this positive where the negative is transvalued is for Deleuze difference itself: the totally Other. In ‘Difference and Repetition' Deleuze reaffirms the primacy of difference on identity; in the eternal return what really returns is the being, but the being of the becoming.
‘The eternal return doesn't bring back the ‘same'; it is true that the return is the only Self of what becomes. To return is therefore the only identity, but identity as second power, identity of difference' (G. Deleuze, Difference and repetition ).
According to Deleuze only extreme forms return; they are the only ones able to express the power of difference as ability to overcome boundaries and limits. What exceeds is destined to return. If only what is completely heterogeneous returns, this is because of the selective effect of return, which establishes the primacy of difference on identity. Negativity, viz. the world of Platonic-Christian morale, the simile, viz. the man of the ‘flock', and the analog, viz. the pseudo-superior man, don't return because they are destined to be expelled forever – because they are not extreme forms – from the wheel of return. Indeed, according to Deleuze, in the passage of Zarathustra titled ‘ The Convalescent , Zarathustra's nightmare is that what is actually going to return is the ‘same' and the ‘simile'. Also in ‘ The Vision and the Enigma' the main danger for Zarathustra is the prevalence of the interpretation of the return given by the dwarf, whose return of the Whole averts the possibility of change. But for Deleuze, once again, what returns is only the excess; not the ‘same', the ‘simile' but only the ‘difference'. The selection in the return allows to return only what is affirmed; for its own value it can't be something completely new and different. Once established that the proposing and selective character of the return can be accomplished exclusively inside the difference, it is possible - only at this point – to reaffirm the identity value. Once that we have understood that what returns is difference and excess, it is possible to see the links and similarity of what returned. Only then it is really possible to affirm that everything is the same and everything returns, because we understand that what returns is identical in its radical diversity, in its most total extraneousness. In this way, through the reading of the Nietzschean return, Deleuze manages to reaffirm –– on the trail of French post-structuralism – the priority of Difference on Identity. At the beginning there is a Difference: for Deleuze only by starting from this identities are articulated.