Deleuze’s Boredom: Repetition without Difference

by Christian Parreno

Expecting repetition from the law of nature is the ‘Stoic’ error. The wise must be converted into the virtuous; the drea, of finding a law which would make repetition possible passes over to the moral sphere. There is always a task to recommence, a fidelity to be revived within a daily life indistinguishable from the reaffirmation of Duty. Büchner makes Danton say:

It is so wearisome. First you put on your shirt, then your trousers; you drag yourself into bed at night and in the morning drag yourself out again; and always you put one foot in front of the other. There is little hope that it will ever change. Millions have always done it like that and millims more will do so after us. Moreover, since we’re mae up of two halves which both do the same thing, everything’s done twice. It’s all very boring and very, very sad.

However, what good is moral law if it does not sanctify reiteration, above all if it does not make reiteration possible and give us a legislative power from which we are excluded by the law of nature? Moralists sometimes present the categories of Good and Evil in the following manner: every time we try to repeat according to nature or as natural beings (repetition of a pleasure, of a past, of a passion) we throw ourselves into a demonic and already dammed exercise which can end only in despair and boredom. The Good, by contrast, holds out the possibility of repetition, of succesful repetition and of the spirituality of repetition, because it depends not upon a law of nature but on a law of duty, of which, as moral beings, we cannot be subjetcs without also being legislators.

Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition. Translated by Paul Patton. London: Continuum,2001, pp. 3-4. From Georg Büchner, Danton’s Death. Translated by Howard Brenton, London: Methuen, 1982, p. 25