Homage to Gilles Deleuze
Copyright 2001 Maitresse Francoise
In November 1995, Gilles Deleuze put an end to his life of suffering.
Freedom wore black that day. And I felt as if my father had just died
for the second time.Deleuze's words echo around the Dungeon that is
full of the flowing waters of life and the bubbling lights of theatre.
The first time I whipped a man, I knew that I was soothing a deep need
in me. Gilles Deleuze begins his Présentation by quoting Dostoevsky:
"It is too idealist, and is therefore cruel." Deleuze strikes
directly at the heart of the problem of that need.
" In masochism, the torturess cannot be sadistic, precisely because
she is in masochism (...). She belongs to masochism (...). Because she
has the "sadism" that a sadist never has"1. I recognised
myself in that "torturess, a pure element of masochism"1 who
uses sadistic techniques. " Escaping her (my) own masochism by
making others masochistic." Gilles
Deleuze, La présentation de Sacher Masoch ed de Minuit Col Arguments
I wrote to Gilles Deleuze to testify to that. Because
he always replied and he was ill, I did not dare write to him again.1.
I recognised myself in that "torturess, a pure element of masochism"
who uses sadistic techniques. " Escaping her (my) own masochism
by making others masochistic." Gilles
Deleuze, La présentation de Sacher Masoch ed de Minuit Col ArgumentsI
wrote to Gilles Deleuze to testify to that. Because he always replied
and he was ill, I did not dare write to him again.
The masochist's relationship with the Mother is becoming clearer for
me. Through Deleuze, I can understand that, for the masochist, the foetal
envelope is paradise lost. And that the bound masochist identifies his
situation with the womb. I infer that scatophilia, golden showers and
face-sitting stem from that same identification. Specialist shops sell
latex wombs, for masochists to shut themselves in themselves and float.
In a state of weightlessness, they are as all-powerful as a child.
Secluded in the shadow of the Mother's womb, in the dirty envelope of
life and death, Masoch was deliberately ignored by a society that refuses
at all cost the "necessary weakness of Man". That society
ascribed the filth of women's entrails to the writer. In "washing"
Sacher Masoch of that filth, Deleuze knows that he is raising the frightful
spectre of Masoch, bringing Lilith and the witches back to life. He
is reasserting the modern woman. Masoch is unbearable because what he
describes really exists. He is in a mystical trance, while in the midst
of everyday life. Masochists instinctively return to the polytheist
religions of nature, such as Dionysus or Shiva-worship.
By summoning Masoch to the highest peaks, saying that "Masoch's
loves find their source in the work of art""Les
sens deviennent théoriciens" (...)"Un organe devient
humain quand il prendpour objet l'oeuvre d'art"
.... page 61 présentation de Sacher Masoch , Gilles
Deleuze lets the wind of freedom blow. The weakness that he allows Masoch
while glorifying him is everyone's right. Gilles Deleuze wants to put
an end to Man's guilt.
The masochistic man is torn apart by guilt. That fatal guilt is specific
to the Western phallic male face. For the philosopher, the idea of God
taking on a human face, and of that face being the object which becomes
a mirror, gleaming inside our Western heads, is absurd. That face is
there to enclose us in an identity where our desires become as corpse-like
as the body on the cross. The face will clearly not allow any state
of eroticism, fury or orgiastic mystery. Deleuze and Dionysus against
the Crucified one!
With Gilles Deleuze, therefore, the face of death has to be deconstructed
for the animal, child, woman or plant potential to spring forth inside
us, for us to melt into the "Chaosmos" 3. And then, we've
put an end to God's judgement.
In the mirror, one of the Dungeon's vital objects, some
masochist transvestites caricature women to the point of ridicule, and
others strive to be beautiful and refined... I was attracted, and keen
to understand their looks in those reflections.
Are they aimed at the Man? "You wanted me to be a
man ? Look what I've done to your man !"
Are they aimed at the Woman? "Look at the state of
you, you pathetic bitch! You really think I could desire you? Think
again, you trussed-up old windbag!"
When they venerate the woman, they have erased sex: "You're
so beautiful: I respect you!"
They call out to each other in silence, listen to the
dominatrix from far off, like a fading voice. Time stands still! We
are in a trance! We are in "The organ-less body"4. The Man
switches into the "woman-future". The masochist is alone.
The dominatrix is embodied in him. She is just the voice of the Mother,
echoing in his flesh. He is the androgen: " He is like the absolute
Outside, which no longer knows the EGO, as the interior and exterior
are part of the immanence in which they have melted."Cf.
MILLE PLATEAUX Gilles Deleuze Félix Guattari Editions de minuit
Text from 3615 MISSM
on-line service Minitel France Forums
"You know, honourable Master, that you control everything.
But my body, alas, does not respond to everything. I hope that you accept
to read and listen. Whatever you do, do not take this as a programme
given by a directive masochist! Its just the wanderings of my mind.
When I imagine that you will deprive me of sex, knowing your very suitable
attributes, my belly stiffens. I enjoy being wrapped like a sexless
mermaid, waiting... bound, obliged, will you tie up my tight breasts
? Seeing them squeezed and offered to the sky makes me come... Take
me to the limits of the unbearable, I need to float so badly... I still
dream of the candlelight that I glimpsed behind the cowl the other day...
I enjoy enduring you in this never-ending wait... Don't make love to
me too quickly, don't give in..."
The text is written by a woman, but its spirit is masculine.
It contains masochistic character traits described by Deleuze. "She
trains her torturer", experiences "suspense" and "pure
waiting". Will the torments inflicted, according to Deleuze, enable
her to atone, so that she can allow herself the forbidden pleasure ?
Coming to at the end of her Way of the Cross, she gives in to the "woman
potential", tormented and glorious, flirting with the limits of
life, death, dying, the orgasm.
She'll say: "I rule out affairs", or "the
master takes SM as a guarantee, for a make-do remake, of the past. The
past, when women were men's moral slaves. Yet when I give in, I become
a fragile, delivered woman. And then, everything which seemed impossible
or humiliating seems the opposite: an action which makes me grow in
stature. During our games, my master holds my dead body in his arms.
Only he can catch the spirit that lives above my body, in such a fragile
balance that everything can overturn. He holds all that because it's
him, a soldier worthy of this trust. He stands security for my life.
Once the session is over, I'd never admit that he could interfere or
influence me, politically speaking, or that he could look at how I mind
my business. I put my phallic skin back on, in every sense !"
Sadism is a patriarchal power relationship in crime, but
also in everyday life. Gilles Deleuze explains how masochism is a relationship
of consent, and how it is free. To the four fundamental characteristics
of masochism attributed by Theodore Reik, he adds a fifth: "The
masochistic contract not only expresses the need for the victim's consent,
but also the gift of persuasion, the pedagogical and legal effort by
which the victim trains his torturer." 1 Deleuze thus charges any
censoring or criticism of masochism with absurdity. "The critic
can still use absurdity as a reason, so to speak."6The masochist
holds his breath and wants to be afraid, in a state of "suspense".
We need to give him that staged fear. Rather than feed off his moral
pain, as a sadist would, we should feed off his state of abandon, and
the trance in which we follow him.
Rather than the title of true dominatrix, I prefer to
be called a disciple of Gilles Deleuze. For when he went to find Masoch's
grimy soul, he recovered mine. It was Gilles Deleuze who helped me understand
and experience those relationships. He erased doubts. He pushed me towards
greater thought. He allowed me to shape a code of ethics and become
more lenient with men. The strong Man that our civilisation promised
cannot exist. Our companion has enough problems just staying on his
pedestal. We have to play with him, with the lenience of a mother with
an injured child. For Man is injured in his flesh, deeply so. In trying
to turn him into a superman, our civilisation imposed the unrealisable.
That is why Woman has a maternal duty to Man. And he is the bigger fool
of the two. Woman is strong because she was asked to be weak and a slave.
I would compare Woman to an artist who suffered for years before succeeding,
accumulating a wealth of perseverance and work. On the day of accession,
the artist and the woman are dazzlingly brilliant as a result of their
protracted stay in the dark. They have acquired lunar forces. The opposite
effect occurs in Man, who, like Woman, was originally just human.
In Deleuze's presentation of Masoch, one passage is now
redundant: "Of Masoch (...) it must be said that no-one has ever
gone so far with so much decency."
That's no longer true, Gilles Deleuze! You went even further
with just as much decency and great humility. And in saying, with such
modesty, that you didn't know anything, you reassure all those who,
like me, know that they know nothing.
Annick Foucault, authoress of Françoise Maîtresse
ed. Collection Digraphe - Mercure de France
1 Gilles Deleuze, La présentation de Sacher Masoch ed de Minuit
2 "Les sens deviennent théoriciens" (...)"Un organe
devient humain quand il prendpour objet l'oeuvre d'art"
.... page 61 présentation de Sacher Masoch
3 Cf. MILLE PLATEAUX Gilles Deleuze Félix Guattari Editions de
4 CF ANTI OEDIPE Gilles Deleuze Félix Guattari Editions de minuit
5 Cf. MILLE PLATEAUX Gilles Deleuze Félix Guattari Editions de
6 Jean Paulhan : La douteuse Justine
Encounter: Gilles Deleuze and the Dungeon
The study of Thought usually means confining oneself to the space of
the university. Yet my own glimpse into Gilles Deleuze's thought occurred
in a singular, crazy place underground: the dungeon. The encounter with
Deleuze's thought in the Dungeon was a meeting between my carnal experience
and Gilles Deleuze's philosophical experiments, which had given rise
to an exchange of correspondence. It was then that I felt a violent
need to write, reflected in both the mirrors of the dungeon and in Deleuze's
thinking. Two journeys in different spheres, but which have echoes in
both sado-masochist and philosophical thought. Gilles Deleuze's encounter
with Masoch was not the kind of thinking that lives enclosed upon itself
inside a university. Deleuze never stopped being a nomad philosopher
on a quest for territories beyond the normal. Those places were where
his philosophical thought dived into the heart of the living being.
You and I are hidden masochists behind a mask, a social face. Everyone
should become a conscious masochist. But masochist potential is blocked
by the false face, the moral mask that closes off and holds up the fulfilment
of those impulses. After Deleuze, we reassert that everything that can
help deconstruct the Western phallic male face conveyed by our religions
and ideologies should be put to work in our minds and flesh.
Around me, I encountered the fierce determination to keep me quiet (to
wipe me out), to deny me. I met a pseudo-Sadist horde in my neighbours,
concierge and colleagues. I was outraged by trendy books written by
puritan journalists. That was why I decided to find my own way and speak
Anyone can become a masochist for fun (moral masochism is already there),
once the mask is thrown into the nettles of Puritanism.
Deleuze's woman-potential depends on its anarchy, the woman-potential
as unending struggle against all the forms of misogynist power. It's
not enough for a woman to be in power, she MUST be driven by that essentially
libertarian woman-potential. And under no circumstances, regardless
of sex, will there be a struggle for power. Quite the opposite, there
will be a quest for counter-power, an unending struggle against all
forms of alienation, of moral and political domination.
Contrary to established ideas, masochism is in no way deviant; the woman-potential
is a way of giving our impulses free rein. When I dominate a masochistic
man, he's in a state of trance, and leaves his patriarchal skin for
a zone of wonderful confusion where he reaches the woman-potential.
"We are afraid and horrified by the truth".
Montherlant, "La Reine Morte"