On Deleuze's Ontology
Thu, Oct 8, 2009
The idea of a dynamical processes, or just processes in general, is itself a refutation of essentialism. Mahāyāna Buddhism refutes essentialism by similar means, namely through the concept of emptiness, or interdependence, which is itself subject to emptiness ("emptiness" is also empty, interdependent). The idea of process in Deleuze's thought, specifically the process of something becoming something that it is not and does not resemble, demonstrates emptiness. In meditation (generally in the Tibetan school) the meditator is told to observe the flow of mind, the process of thought, without accepting or rejecting what is observed. The meditator might be asked to focus on the "gaps," between thoughts, which are like nothing. He can only identify them retrospectively in noticing a thought occurring that does not resemble the previous thought. These gaps are a nothing which nothing can fill. The realization of the nature of these gaps is about as far as one can go in observing perception in meditation, which is considered a “subtle grasping.” In this meditation, emptiness is understood as process. We can see the idea of process in the word choice "
of mind." The process itself, whether you want to call it dynamical process or flow of mind, is what gives the "object" its ontological status, or illusion of independent existence. Most importantly, the idea of process eliminates the need to refute an autonomous reality, because this process of experience/mind is the reality. And it cannot even be objectified as such. The “things” transformed in the process take on the appearance of "things" only through the process.