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Insects and Incest: From Bergson and Jung to Deleuze

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Deleuze’s 1961 essay on Masoch is a key text for anybody who wants to understand Deleuze’s idiosyncratic relationship to psychoanalysis and the theory of the unconscious. It contains Deleuze’s first serious discussion of the concept of the unconscious and unambiguously comes out in favour of Jung’s conception over Freud’s. Deleuze’s early studies had been mostly devoted to Hume and Bergson and explicit discussion of the unconscious was rare in these works. In his first article on Bergson, Deleuze had affirmed Bergson’s theory (in Matière et mémoire) that “le passé, c’est donc l’en-soi, l’inconscient ou justement, comme dit Bergson, le virtuel” (Deleuze 1956: 39). This identification of memory with the unconscious was already profoundly non-Freudian, in that the unconscious was not primarily characterised as the repository of particular repressed (sexual) representations, but instead denoted the retained past as a whole, in its relation to the living present. But during the 1950s Deleuze was also paying a lot of attention to what was perhaps Bergson’s most notorious theory, the theory of instinct in L’Évolution créatrice, which has a more complicated relationship with the concept of the unconscious. In 1955 Deleuze published a volume entitled Instincts et Institutions, an edited collection of 66 extracts on the eponymous themes and their relationship. He provides an illuminating preface to the volume (reprinted in L’Île Déserte) which suggests that the text is not simply to be read as a ‘Reader’ or anthology, but as promoting a particular line of thought. It cannot be denied that there is some degree of ventriloquism in Deleuze’s editorial approach to Instincts et Institutions, as his selection is very specific and idiosyncratic, and their sequencing also seems to embody an argument, which promotes a particular set of conclusions. Deleuze’s indirect defence of Bergson’s notorious theory of instinct suggests that his theory of the unconscious is not only rooted in Bergson’s theory of memory, but in a theory of instinct which is today all but forgotten. Strange as it may seem, this theory lies in the background of Deleuze’s early text on masochism.
What cannot but strike the contemporary reader of Instincts et Institutions is that, despite being published four years after the appearance of Tinbergen’s landmark book The Study of Instinct, Deleuze’s volume contains no references to the ethology of Tinbergen or Lorenz. In fact, there is not even an extract from Deleuze’s favourite ethologist, Jakob von Uexküll. Instead, the collection is haunted by the ‘somnambulist’ theory of instinct, which has a long tradition behind it (as the extracts in the volume show), and which seems to climax in Bergson’s reworking of it in L’Évolution créatrice. The first extract on the theme of instinct is from Cuvier, for whom instinctively driven animals are “espèces des somnambules” which pursue “une sorte de rêve ou de vision” (Deleuze 1955: 18). Other citations from Schopenhauer, Jean-Henri Fabre and Bergson take up and pursue further this model of instinct. The problem of instinct is presented through a series of texts on entomology, which illustrate the battle between Darwinians and disciples of Jean-Henri Fabre, who Deleuze describes as “l’Anti-Darwin” (ibid, 82). Deleuze’s selection seems intended to show that the somnambulist model not only pre-dated the Darwinian conception of instinct, but also survived it. Bergson felt himself entitled to revive the somnambulist model proposed earlier by Cuvier, Schopenhauer and Fabre, claiming against Darwin that instinct must involve more than a set of motor mechanisms and must be taken as a kind of knowledge, implying a peculiar kind of mentality. Just as the somnambulist is perfectly conscious of what they are doing, but is unconscious of why they are doing it, instinctual activity involves a kind of consciousness which is intellectually unaware of its purpose. On three separate occasions in the volume, Bergson’s somnambulistic instinct theory is given a prime position in the debate.
In this essay, we shall restrict ourselves to retracing Deleuze’s itinerary from this early interest in Bergson’s instinct theory to the affirmation of Jung’s theory of instinct in his first essay on Sacher-Masoch. It turns out that the Jungian text to which Deleuze refers on the topic of instinct is already an explicit elaboration of Bergson’s theory of instinct. Indeed, Jung’s first use of the concept of the archetype emerges out of an interpretation of this Bergsonian theory. Thus there is a natural route from Bergsonism towards Jungianism, which helps to make Deleuze’s affirmation of Jungianism in the 1961 article more intelligible. In a key passage, Deleuze affirms the Jungian view that archetypes are “perceptions internes des Images originelles” that accompany the activation of instinct. Deleuze’s statement is a paraphrase of a passage in Jung’s lecture ‘Instinct and the Unconscious’, delivered in London in 1919. My central argument in what follows is this: Deleuze’s eventual affirmation of Jung’s theory of instinct in his theory of masochism must be read, at least in part, as a response to internal problems in Bergson’s somnambulistic notion of instinct.
How does Deleuze move from the Bergsonian theory of instinct to his Jungian theory of the role of instincts in masochism? Why is the significance of Deleuze’s ‘becoming-insect’ in his early ‘somnambulistic’ period, prior to his turn to the relations of male and female in the theory of masochism? If the question is a strange one, that is because the theories involved are already very strange. It seems pointless to attempt to accommodate Deleuze’s early thought to the vicissitudes of contemporary theory.
In 1955, Deleuze can be found following up Bergson’s suggestion that instinct is most clearly visible in the insect world. By 1961, he has affirmed Jung’s development of Bergson’s theory of instinct, in the context of a theory of masochism. Masochism is presented as a sexual ritual for bringing about a regression to the archetypal image of the mother, for whom pain is suffered. For Deleuze in this essay, if there is a ‘death instinct’ in masochism it is because instinct itself involves a regressive reactualisation of a particular archetypal image. “En vérité, tout est symbole dans l’inconscient: la sexualité, la mort, non moins que la reste. La mort doit être comprise comme une mort symbolique, et le retour à la matière, comme une retour à la mère symbolique … Le masochisme est perception de l’image maternelle ou de la mère dévorante; il fait des detours et le chemin necessaries pour la percevoir là où elle est”. Masochism brings about a regression which repeats in reverse the prohibition of the father: the law of the father no longer prohibits incest, but now promises the castration which the condition of true incestuous sex with the mother. It engineers a reversal in value of the fantasy of incest, so that incest is now experienced (following Jung) as a symbol of rebirth. The idea that sexuality is intrinsically regressive was essential to Deleuze during the period up to and including Différence et répétition. It is not just masochism that is regressive, but sexual intercourse itself is regressive, if we take Deleuze’s references to Ferenczi’s Thalassa seriously.
So I ask the reader to leave behind the world of contemporary theory for the duration of reading this essay! But let me nevertheless lay out two stakes. First of all, following this itinerary is of intrinsic interest, as many of Deleuze’s concepts remain obscure even today, and clearly the only way to effectively put these concepts to use in political and libidinal milieux is to understand them, and their functions, in the first place. One path towards understanding is to unearth the contexts in which the concepts were developed. But there is something else at stake here. As we will see, the somnambulist approach to instinct emphasises that instinct is accompanied by a special kind of consciousness which is ‘unconscious’ only in the restricted sense that it is unconscious to representational thought. Instinct and masochism are held to involve peculiar types of consciousness. Deleuze stresses that they involve lived experiences. Thus Deleuze is opposed to the view of many contemporary theorists (from the Frankfurt School to Hardt and Negri) that all subjective experience is always already penetrated by either representation or the biopolitical imprint of late capitalism (or, at worst, by both of these). Much of Deleuze’s most creative thought is focussed on articulating a positive account of the autonomous processes of the unconscious. Instincts and intuitions, experiences of love, intoxication, esoteric experiences, breakdowns, dreams and nightmares, all involve ‘dramatisations’ which are relatively independent of our everyday representational activity, and involve what Deleuze and Jung both call ‘individuation’. The deeper claim here is that to act as if processes of individuation do not exist (as the aforementioned thinkers often do) is self-defeating, and robs the agent of the strength to throw the dice in other domains. To recapture for theory and practice the positivity common to processes of individuation might therefore require making some strange alliances with more ‘esoteric’ traditions of thought (which were not always associated with the right, especially in France). Deleuze certainly does not appear to have been afraid to make this move.

Bergson’s theory of ‘instinctual sympathy’ – whose privileged example is that of the wasp which paralyses the caterpillar in order to provide its larvae with a living larder – is probably the most bizarre element in Bergson’s philosophy. Reviewing the contributions of Fabre and Bergson in his Analysis of Mind, Bertrand Russell remarked on how “love of the marvellous may mislead even so careful an observer as Fabre and so eminent a philosopher as Bergson” (Russell 1921: 56). From 1920 onwards, a vehement reaction flared up against the theoretical excesses of contemporary instinct theory, and behaviourism made an aggressive attempt to reduce all instincts to reflexes. The instinct-theorists were swiftly forgotten, and if Bergson’s theory survived it was only due to the accident of having been proposed by a great philosopher, whose work was preserved for other reasons (the same was true for Schopenhauer’s similar theory). It is usually held that the concept of instinct only became acceptable again as a result of the emergence of Lorenz’s and Tinbergen’s ethology in the 1950’s. Both ethologists stressed the compatibility of their theories with Darwinism. Deleuze’s Instincts et Institutions project was therefore a rather unusual one and probably appeared anachronistic even when it was published. As far as I know, it has not been referred to in any detail by commentators on Deleuze, and it has long been out of print.
Deleuze begins his chapter on instinct in Instinct et Institutions with a quote from Cuvier: “On ne peut se faire d’idée claire de l’instinct qu’en admettant que ces animaux ont dans leur sensorium des images ou sensations innées et constante, qui les déterminent à agir comme les sensations ordinaires et accidentelles déterminent communément. C’est une sorte de rêve ou de vision qui les poursuit toujours; et dans tout ce qui a rapport à leur instinct on peut les regarder comme des espèces de somnambules” (Cuvier 1817: I, 53-4; Deleuze 1955: 18). The ensuing extract from Fabre does not take up this theoretical analysis, but does seem to be intended to illustrate it. Fabre gives a description of one of the most disturbing behaviours found in the whole order of hymenoptera, the paralysing attacks of the Ammophila Hirsuta wasp. Although Deleuze cites a number of texts from Fabre in Instincts et Institutions, it is likely that he selected the description of the Ammophila because Bergson also refers to it in his pages on instinct in L’Évolution Créatrice (Bergson 1907: 187-189). Solitary nest building wasps had been the focus of debate about instinct at the end of the nineteenth century. The solitary character of the wasps clearly precludes the learning of nest-building or hunting behaviours. The Ammophila wasp hunts caterpillars, sometimes weighing fifteen times as much as itself, as food for its larvae. The larvae do not accept corpses, however, so the wasp paralyses its prey and presents it to them immobile and alive. Fabre describes how the wasp, in a series of swift and precise operations, puts the main locomotor centres of the caterpillar out of action. What is astonishing about the paralysing wasps, he says, is that they specifically target the motor ganglia, as if they knew that stinging other ganglia might cause death and therefore putrefaction. The Ammophila stings no less than nine of the locomotor centres of the caterpillar, just sufficient to immobilise it. It then squeezes the head of the caterpillar with its mandibles, again with enough force to cause paralysis but not death. After the attack is over, the Ammophila grabs the caterpillar by the throat, dragging it back to its shaft in the earth. Astride the paralysed segments of the caterpillar, the newly hatched grub now has continual access to a larder of food which is preserved from putrefaction because it is still alive. During the whole operation, says Fabre, the wasp proceeds with surgical precision, as if it knew intimately the facts of her victim’s complex nervous system (Deleuze 1955: 19; Fabre 1920: 38-40). It was this kind of complex, integrated behaviour that persuaded Fabre to affirm the fixity of species, against Darwinism.
Fabre’s wasp and caterpillar provide the set-piece of Bergson’s account of instinct in . In turn, Deleuze and Guattari’s fascination with the ‘a-parallel evolution’ of the wasp and the orchid is pre-dated by Deleuze’s earlier fascination with the funereal dance of the wasp and caterpillar in Fabre and Bergson. What is happening here, says Bergson (moving far beyond Fabre’s observations), is an example of a divinatory sympathy that flows throughout nature. In its time and after, this suggestion caused confusion to everyone (Jankélévitch 1959: 152). What sympathy!
Bergson begins by approaching instinct through a contrast with intelligence as the capacity to use tools. Whereas “l’intelligence achevée est la faculté de fabriquer et d’employer des instruments inorganisés”, “l’instinct achevé est une faculté d’utiliser et même de construire des instruments organisés” (Bergson 1907: 152). However, he wants to argue that intelligent consciousness does not exhaust the genus of consciousness, and that there are philosophical reasons for assuming the existence of a consciousness “en droit” – what Deleuze will later call a “pure consciousness” – which is quite independent of the function of intelligence (ibid, 195). Instinct discerns a situation “du dedans, tout autrement que par un processus de conaissance, par une intuition (vécue plutôt que représentée)” (ibid, 190). Instincts are “du senti plutôt que du pensé” (186). It thus must not be thought as ‘absolutely’ unconscious (for then it would not be intuitive), but rather as unconscious relative to intelligence.
In Freud, either a representation is unconscious or it is not: unconscious, repressed representations are only inferred from their derivative, conscious representations. But for the somnambulist tradition, it was the dissociation of consciousness which was the primary clinical fact. If the dissociated state was subsequently denied or forgotten by the ego, that did not mean that it had not been fully conscious while it was happening. Dissociated, somnambulistic consciousness is trancelike, single-minded consciousness, of a different nature to ordinary, representational consciousness, which involves cognitive synthesis. Now, Schopenhauer and Bergson both in turn argue that it is not just psychopathology that furnishes cases of somnambulistic consciousness. One can – indeed, must, says Bergson – attribute somnambulistic consciousness to instinct.
However, Bergson’s argument for the attribution of consciousness to instinct proceeds, perhaps already fatally, via an analogy with memory. “Comment ne pas voir que la vie procède ici comme la conscience en général, comme la mémoire?” (Bergson 1907: 181). Consider human memory: “Nous traînons derrière nous, sans nous en apercevoir, la totalité de notre passé; mais notre mémoire ne verse dans le présent que les deux ou trois souvenirs qui complèteront par quelque côté notre situation actuelle” (ibid). With instinctive knowledge, it is the same: “Il est impossible de considerer certains instincts spéciaux de l’animal et de la plante, évidemment nés dans des circonstances extraordinaires, sans les rapprocher de ces souvenirs, en apparence oubliés, qui jaillissent tout à coup sous la pression d’un besoin urgent” (ibid; italic added). There is thus an “inner history” of nature, a perspective of ‘nature from within’, which parallels the instinctual patterns of behaviour. The hymenopteran seems to have some sort of “mémoire organique” (21), whereby it can reactivate, in the form of an image, another related phyletic line! Under a “pression d’un besoin urgent”, instinct can regress to a common arthropodic form, shared with its potential victim, and intuit the anatomical location of the latter’s motor ganglia. If the Ammophila knows how to isolate the appropriate ganglia in its victim, that is because it can somehow ‘identify’ with its victim. Admittedly, it “n’en saisit sans doute que peu de chose, juste ce qui l’intéresse; [mais du moins le saisit-il du dedans, tout autrement que par un processus de conaissance, par une intuition (vécue plutôt que représentée) qui ressemble sans doute à ce qui s’appelle chez nous sympathie divinatrice” (ibid, 190-91).
With Bergson’s theory of instinct, we enter into an alternative (or, more precisely, parallel) universe, utterly unlike our own, which recognises no known physical or moral laws, where the wasp and the caterpillar stage a weird and cruel spectacle, in which one enters into ‘sympathy’ with the other and then proceeds to torture them. Bergson talks of instinct as a “thème musical” (ibid, 186), but it is obviously difficult to envisage the actuality of this musical theatre, because it takes place within the current of pure duration, without any spatial backdrop. On Bergson’s theory, this alternative order of the Insect does not inhabit a different world altogether from the Human order – it inhabits the same world seen from within. But whatever the gothic beauty of Bergson’s nightmarish and florid vision of universal sympathy, the arguments in its favour would appear to be easily dispelled. Bergson is arguing that this frenzied regression (in the face of a “pression d’un besoin urgent”) involves a divinatory intuition of a recollected, common past. And the less intelligent such an effort, the better. Shall we then just say that Lorenz’s and Tinbergen’s idea requires fewer assumptions: instinct is an evolved mechanism for selecting certain patterns in the environment, which will serve as a trigger for the release of a mechanical pattern of behaviour?

But perhaps there is another way of explaining Bergson’s theory. What if we take Bergson’s starting point to be, as in the Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience, the fact of duration. Let us start with an epistemological point: duration cannot be articulated by the intelligence, and yet is conscious. There thus exists another cognitive faculty, intuition, alongside intelligence. Intuition, Bergson claims, is the kind of cognition we use in non-intellectual acts of consciousness, such as sympathy, or aesthetic appreciation and creation. For instance, a fundamental feature of artistic creativity is its effort to ‘get inside’ the object that it depicts (Bergson 1907: 192). There is an ‘animism’ which can be found in most art forms. The artist attempts to grasp “l’intention de la vie, le mouvement simple qui court à travers les lignes, qui les lie les unes aux autres et leur donne une signification, lui échappe” – in other words, to animate the descriptions, paints and forms that render the shape of the thing depicted. He or she develops this power by “se replaçant à l’intérieur de l’objet par une espèce de sympathie” (ibid). Perhaps, then, it is possible to read Bergson as inferring from intuition to instinct in animals. In this case, he would arguing for something different. He would be claiming, at most, that if there were a consciousness in animals, then it would not look like intelligent consciousness, but intuitional consciousness. If one adds in support the argument, in the ‘Introduction tà la Métaphysique’ of 1903, to the effect that beginning from the reality of duration “permet de dépasser l’idéalisme aussi bien que le réalisme, d’affirmer l’existence d’objets inférieurs et supérieurs à nous, quoique cependant, en un certain sens, intérieurs à nous, de les faire coexister ensemble sans difficulté” (Bergson 1903: 233), then Bergson’s line of thought does not seem quite so improbable.
In fact Bergson defines intuition specifically as “l’instinct devenu désintéressé, conscient de lui-même, capable de réfléchir sur son objet et de l’élargir indéfiniment” (Bergson 1907: 192). We do not even know what pure instinctual consciousness is like. Aesthetic consciousness is not really ‘instinctual’, precisely because it can apply the intuitional mode of apprehension to any object. The animistic power of sympathy can take anything as its object. Bergson must thus be arguing from the universality in the case of human intuition, back to an intuitional specificity that would be proper to instinct in non-intellectual living beings. If one is prepared to make that inference, then one may further infer that in aesthetic or emotional intuition “nous expérimentons en nous-mêmes, sous une forme bien plus vague, et trop pénétrée aussi d’intelligence, quelque chose de ce qui doit se passer dans la conscience d’un insecte agissant par instinct” (ibid, 190).
It may be that Bergson’s text licenses both of these interpretations of the theory of instinct. Contemporary lovers of the marvellous would perhaps be best advised to rely on the second interpretation. This is important choice, as if Deleuze’s biological application of the notion of virtuality rests quietly on an affirmation of Bergson’s theory of instinct, then proponents of Deleuze’s ‘biology of the virtual’ need to make clear on which side they stand. But let us now leave aside this issue and turn to a complication. We haven’t yet asked whether humans have instincts or not.

Bergson says that we human beings have intuition rather than instincts as such. In Instincts and Institutions Deleuze is explicit in denying that human beings have instincts. “L’homme n’a pas d’instincts, il fait des institutions. L’homme est un animal en train de dépouiller l’espèce” (Deleuze 1955b: 27). If dépouiller can mean ‘shed’, as in a snake shedding its skin, then this does not necessarily mean that we have no instincts at all, but only that there is a tendency towards the abolition of instinct in human culture. This latter position, that human culture is marked by a tension between instinct and intelligence, is common to both Bergson and Jung, but it is Jung who develops it most extensively. It is not surprising that Deleuze’s reflections on instinct led to Jung (another lover of the marvellous). Jung too believes that human beings do not have instincts in the same way that animals do. In fact, “it is just man’s turning away from instinct – his opposing himself to instinct – that creates consciousness”. Civilised consciousness emerges with the differentiation of the ego that is the result of an increased reliance on intelligent consciousness. For Jung, the consequence of the differentiation of the ego is the tendential ‘de-differentiation’ of instinct.
Deleuze may have found something in Jung’s theory which can also help to clarify the dominant ambiguity we found in the Bergsonian theory. Our conscious experience is caught between two polarities – instinct and intelligence – whose relative dominance is always in flux. Jung’s focus on individuation precisely articulates the development of the relationship between instinct and ego over the course of life. Sometimes instinct is entirely stripped of consciousness and becomes a mere ‘shadow’ that haunts intelligent consciousness (or the ego). But at other times, it re-emerges as the end of intelligent activity. Orgasm and frenzy are perhaps the supreme examples of single-minded instinctual consciousness in human beings. But (using Bergsonian terms) we could say that the goal of individuation for Jung is to engineer further harmonies between instinct and intelligence, through exploring all the possibilities of intuition.
First let us observe how Jung’s theory of archetypes emerges from Bergson’s theory of instinct. Jung’s 1919 lecture on ‘Instinct and the Unconscious’ is significant for any account of the development of Jung’s thought, because the very term archetype is introduced for the first time in this lecture. As an example of instinct, Jung begins with the Yucca moth’s “incredibly refined instinct of propagation” (Jung 1919: 132). In a complex operation happening only once in its life, the moth lays its eggs inside a plant whose flowers open for one night only. How can such an instinct be explained? Jung makes a confused criticism of Darwin’s explanation of instinct and then says that “other ways of explanation, deriving from Bergson’s philosophy, have recently been put forward, laying stress on the factor of intuition” (ibid). Leaving aside again the merits of the criticism of Darwinism, can we hope that Jung will make any further sense of Bergson’s theory? Intuition, Jung explains, “is an unconscious process in that its result is the irruption into consciousness of an unconscious content, a sudden idea, or ‘hunch’”. Jung also says that it “resembles a process of perception”, but that “the perception is unconscious”. Intuition, more specifically, is the “unconscious, purposive apprehension of a highly complicated situation”. However, this purposiveness is not intentional, but somnambulistic. In Psychological Types, Jung claims that “the certainty of intuition rests … on a definite state of psychic ‘alertness’ of whose origin the subject is unconscious” (Jung 1921: 453).
Having established a Bergsonian framework for his theory of instinct, Jung now introduces the possibility that the images which accompany the actualisation of instinct could be “a priori, inborn forms of ‘intuition’” (Jung 1919: 133). Is this just a haphazard soldering together of Bergsonian and Kantian expressions, without real thought, or is Jung getting at something? What possible connection could there be between Bergsonian intuition (sympathy) and Kantian forms of intuition (space and time)? These “a priori, inborn forms of ‘intuition’, says Jung, are “the archetypes of perception and apprehension, which are the necessary a priori determinants of all psychic processes” (ibid, 133). The archetypes are thus spatiotemporal forms which constrain perception and apprehension, and allow instinct to actualise itself.
Just as we have been compelled to postulate the concept of an instinct determining or regulating our conscious actions, so, in order to account for the uniformity and regularity of our perceptions, we must have recourse to the correlated concept of a factor determining the mode of apprehension. It is this factor which I call the archetype or primordial image. The primordial image might suitably be described as the instinct’s perception of itself, or as the self-portrait of the instinct, in exactly the same way as consciousness is an inward perception of the objective life-process” (ibid, 136).

The image that releases the instinctual behaviour in the animal is thus not directly reducible to an imageless, mechanical pattern, as in the ethology of Lorenz and Tinbergen. On Jung’s model, the instinctual consciousness of animals would manifest itself through an encounter with an image which motivated an action, the purpose of which and means towards which would be outside the grasp of the animal’s awareness. The biological origins of this image could be accounted for in the mechanical way described by Lorenz. What is added is an a priori framework which guarantees that when the specific image is seen in the external world, it is approached as if it has already been waiting, thus rupturing the flow of intelligent consciousness (which has already been demonstrated in animals). There would be an animal archetypal experience which would thus be experienced as a kind of paramnesia, a case of déjà vu.
More acutely, in order for the instinct to consummate itself through somnambulistic consciousness of the image, representational consciousness would have to be suppressed. Now this suppression would obviously be more problematic in human beings, whose consciousness is dominated by intelligence and its habits. It is here that the Kantian dimension in Jung comes into its own. In his essay ‘The Role of the Unconscious’ from 1918, Jung speaks of “a priori conditions for fantasy-production” (Jung 1918: 10), gesturing (although in a confused way) to a connection with Kant’s theory of productive imagination. Deleuze’s insight is to see how this suggestion can be connected up with Jung’s indication elsewhere that archetypes in humans take the form of problems which transcend the capabilities of intelligent consciousness. In ‘The Stages of Life’ Jung writes that while “the psychic life of civilised man” has become dominated by intelligence at the expense of instinct, intelligence itself has its own limits, which in turn allows instinctual consciousness to return. The problem with intelligence is that it sometimes encounters intractable problems. “It is the growth of consciousness which we must thank for the existence of problems … As long as we are still submerged in nature we are unconscious, and we live in the security of instinct which knows no problems” (Jung 1931: 388). Jung’s advance, for Deleuze, must lie in this identification of a “problematic” zone of human intelligence, through which the instinctual form of consciousness can return. A gap is opened up for the return of an “instinct devenu désintéressé, conscient de lui-même, capable de réfléchir sur son objet et de l’élargir indéfiniment” (Bergson 1907: 192). Somnambulistic consciousness, therefore, is not necessarily produced by traumatic events, but also asserts itself by exploiting the problematic holes in intelligence, responding creatively through the productive imagination.
Individuation occurs when the imagination, faced with problematic Ideas, attempts to invoke the power of intuition. For Jung, dreaming, love, ‘active imagination’, and esoteric experiences are the media and tools of the individuating person (the individuant, we could call them). For Deleuze it is art, love, masochism, intoxication, esoteric experience and revolutionary consciousness.
In the field of sexuality, masochism appears to be the privileged form of individuation for the early Deleuze. The ‘humour’ of Deleuze’s reading of Jung is that he forces Jung’s exploration of the symbolism of rebirth back into the sphere of sexuality. Jung himself never talks about masochism. Deleuze facilitates his ‘perversion’ of Jungianism by excavating a mythical history (owing as much to Bachofen as to Jung) of the repression of the Anima by patriarchal society; this historical schema is as messianic as it is mythical, as the masochist also foreshadows a ‘new Adam’, “the man of the commune”. Masochism thus embodies in sexual form a deep, cosmo-historical tendency towards the reconciliation of instinct and intelligence. The masochist has not bowed down and accepted Lack, but instead ransacks his body and the world to find the incarnation of what he is in danger of losing.
But after 1961 we find in Deleuze a gradual rejection of the idea of the primacy of the archetype of the mother. In Proust et les signes, Deleuze writes that “une différence originelle préside à nos amours. Peut-être est-ce l’image de la Mère – ou celle du Père pour une femme, pour Mlle de Vinteuil. Plus profondément, c’est une image lointaine au-delà de notre experience, un Thème qui nous dépasse, une sorte d’archétype. Image, idée ou essence assez riche pour se diversifier dans les êtres que nous aimons, et meme dans un seul être aimée; mais telle aussi qu’elle se répète dans nos amours successives, et dans chacun de nos amours pris isolément” (Deleuze 1964: 81-2). Thus far nothing much differs from the 1961 essay on Masoch. The point about the woman’s love for the Father is not developed; the series of loves leads back to the Mother. However, Deleuze now argues that “l’image de la mère n’est peut-être pas le thème le plus profond, ni la raison de la série amoureuse: il est vrai que nos amours répètent nos sentiments pour la mère, mais ceux-ci repétènt déjà d’autres amours, que nous n’avons pas nous-memes vécues” (ibid, 87). “Le héros de la Recherche, en aimant sa mère, répète déjà l’amour de Swann pour Odette” (Deleuze 1968: 139). Swann is a figure who comes to Marcel’s house, and himself is in the throes of love with Odette, who is unfaithful. Despite the fact that Swann deprives the hero of his mother, the hero identifies with Swann’s own anguish about another woman; Swann’s way of anguishing mediates his own barely formed sense of anguish. Thus although we might be tempted to “trouver l’origine de la série amoureuse dans l’amour du héros pour sa mère … là encore, nous rencontrons Swann qui, venant diner à Combray, prive l’enfant de la presence maternelle. Et le chagrin du héros, son angoisse à l’égard de sa mère, c’est déjà l’angoisse et le chagrin que Swann lui-même éprouvait pour Odette” (Deleuze 1964: 86). It ceases to be merely the mother that is loved, but Odette as well, through the eyes of Swann.
This development occurs not through a rejection of Jungianism, but through a more profound immersion in it. In 1961 Deleuze’s main Jungian text is Transformations and Symbols of the Libido, which is a fascinating but incoherent book. It is never clear in that text whether Jung thinks that ‘in the beginning’, both the child and archaic man really harbour ‘incestuous’ desires for his mother, or whether these are projected back (in the first place, from the sexual crisis of adolescence and in the second place, after the inauguration of patriarchal society). In the 1961 Masoch essay, Deleuze appears to opt for the former option: masochism is a regression to an ‘original’ pre-genital, incestuous sexuality. But in his later work, Deleuze moves towards the second option, which was in fact also Jung’s mature view, first clearly spelled out in one of his last letters to Freud:
The large amount of free-floating anxiety in primitive man, which led to the creation of taboo ceremonies in the widest sense (totem, etc.) produced among other things the incest taboo as well … Incest is forbidden not because it is desired but because the free-floating anxiety regressively reactivates infantile material and turns it into a ceremony of atonement (as though incest had been, or might have been desired) (Freud/Jung 1975: # 315J).

Deleuze and Guattari appeal to this argument several times in L’Anti-Oedipe. “La Loi nous dit: Tu n’épouseras pas ta mère et tu ne tueras pas ton père. Et nous, sujets dociles, nous nous disons: c’est donc ça que je voulais! [… On fait comme si l’on pouvait conclure directement du refoulement à la nature du refoulé, et aussi bien de l’interdiction à la nature de ce qui est interdit..” (Deleuze & Guattari 1972: 136). In that case, masochism ceases to be the privileged form of sexuality. The other paths of individuation mentioned now all open up, and ‘desire’ now becomes identical to individuation as such. Jung, who was also the first to recommend using the term ‘desire’ rather than ‘sexuality’, thus continues to shape some of the most fundamental ideas in Deleuze’s philosophical work. Deleuze could have easily written the following passage:
The unconscious is not just a receptacle but is the matrix of the very things that the conscious mind would like to be rid of. We can go a step further and say that the unconscious actually creates new contents … it seems to me far more important to find out what really constitutes the positive activity of the unconscious. The positive function of the unconscious is, in the main, merely disturbed by repressions, and this disturbance of its natural activity is perhaps the most important source of the so-called psychogenic illnesses (CW 8: 364).


Bergson, Henri (1903) ‘Introduction a la métaphysique’, dans La Pensée et le
mouvant (Paris: Alcan, 1934).
—————— (1907) L’Évolution créatrice (Paris: Alcan).

Cuvier, Georges (1817) Le règne animal (Paris: Déterville).

Darwin, Charles (1859) The Origin of Species (London: Penguin, 1982).

Deleuze, Gilles (1955) Instincts et institutions (Paris: Hachette).
—————– (1955b) ‘Instincts and Institutions’ (Introduction), dans L’Île déserte et
autres textes (Paris: Minuit, 2002).
——————- (1956) ‘Bergson, 1859-1941′, dans L’Île déserte.
——————- (1956b) ‘La conception de la différence chez Bergson’, dans L’Île
——————- (1961) ‘De Sacher-Masoch au masochisme’, Arguments, 5e année,
no. 21, 1er trimestre.
——————– (1966) Le bergsonisme (Paris: Quadrige, 1998).
——————— (1964) Proust et les signes (Paris: PUF; 2nd edition 1970).
——————— (1967) ‘La méthode de dramatisation’, dans L’Île déserte.
——————– (1968) Différence et Répétition (Paris: PUF).
——————— (1990) Pourparlers (Paris: Minuit).

Deleuze, Gilles & Guattari, Félix (1972) L’Anti-Oedipe (Paris: Minuit, 1972).

Fabre, Jean-Henri (1920) Souvenirs entomologiques (Paris: Delagrave), volume II.

Ferenczi, Sandor (1924) Thalassa: A Theory of Genitality, trans. H. Bunker (London:
Maresfield, 1989).

Fletcher, Ronald (1968) Instinct in Man (London: Unwin).

Freud, Sigmund (1913) Totem and Taboo. Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, ed. J. Strachey (London: Hogarth Press, 1958), vol. 13.

Freud, Sigmund & Jung, Carl Gustav (1974) The Freud/Jung Letters, trans R.
Mannheim & R.F.C. Hull (London: Hogarth Press).

Gunter, Pete A.Y. ‘Bergson and Jung’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 43 (1982),
reprinted in Paul Bishop, ed., Jung in Contexts (London: Routledge, 1999).

John Haule (1984), ‘From Somnambulism to the Archetypes: the French Roots of
Jung’s Split with Freud’, in P. Bishop, ed., Jung in Contexts.

Jankélévitch, Vladimir (1959) Henri Bergson (Paris: PUF).

Jung, Carl Gustav (1911-12) Transformations and Symbols of the Libido in The Collected Works of C.G. Jung [hereafter cited as CW, edited by Sir Herbert Read, et al., translated by R.F.C. Hull (New York and Princeton, Bollingen Series 20, 1953-1983).
———————— (1917) ‘The Psychology of the Unconscious’ (CW 7).
———————— (1918) ‘The Role of the Unconscious’ (CW 10).
———————— (1919) ‘Instinct and the Unconscious’ (CW 8).
———————— (1921) Psychological Types (CW 6).
———————— (1927) ‘Analytical Psychology and ‘Weltanschauung’ (CW 8).
———————— (1931) ‘The Stages of Life’ (CW 8).
————————- (1935) ‘The Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious’ (CW 7).
————————- (1949) Foreword to E. Harding, Frauen-Mysterien (CW 18).
————————- (1954) ‘The Nature of the Psyche’ (CW 8).
————————- (1961) Memories, Dreams, Reflections, trans. R. & C. Winston (London: Collins, 1963).

Christian Kerslake (2004) ‘Rebirth through Incest: Deleuze’s Early Jungianism’, in
Angelaki 9:1.

Russell, Bertrand (1921) The Analysis of Mind (London: George Allen & Unwin).
Tinbergen, Nikolaas (1951), The Study of Instinct (Oxford: Clarendon, 1951).

It was the second of a series entitled Textes et Documents Philosophiques, published by Hachette under the general editorship of Georges Canguilhem. The latter had himself edited the first volume, Besoins et Tendances, to which Deleuze makes occasional reference in his volume. See my essay on this latter volume, ‘The Philosophy of Desire in Canguilhem and Deleuze’, in T. Geyskens ed., Deleuze and Psychoanalysis (forthcoming, Leuven University Press). I do not know whether Deleuze himself chose the theme of his volume, but the concept of instinct was already of interest to him in his Bergson and Hume studies, while the concept of institution had also played an important role in the latter.

However, Deleuze’s assertion in the introduction to the volume that animals inhabit “specific worlds” or “milieus” probably contains an implicit reference to von Uexküll.
In 1859, Darwin suggested that instinct should be understood as an evolved mechanism like any other, evolving through “slow and gradual accumulation of numerous, slight, yet profitable, variations” (Darwin 1859: 256). But despite the success of Darwinism in other areas, strangely his explanation of instinct met with only qualified acceptance. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the notion of instinct became a touchstone for debates about the range of the theory of evolution in the late nineteenth century. Bergson’s complaint against Darwin in L’Évolution créatrice (1907) was concentrated around the question of instinct. His main problem was this: if instincts involve very complex, integrated physiological sequences of events, then how can they evolve gradually? In the wake of the perceived failure of Darwinism to fully account for the question of instinct, a whole school of ‘instinct-theorists’ had appeared in the English-speaking world from the late 1890s to 1920s – for instance Conwy Lloyd Morgan, W.H.R. Rivers, and William McDougall, and although only some of them were explicitly sympathetic to Bergson, all also argued that instinct should be conceived on the model of knowledge. See Fletcher 1968 for a sympathetic survey of this group of thinkers.

The relationship between Bergson and Jung has been noted before, but still remains relatively unstudied. See Pete Gunter’s informative article ‘Bergson and Jung’ (1982), which is a more general overview of the connections.

The theory of instinct appears to have profoundly preoccupied Deleuze during what he describes as an “trou de huit ans” in his life, from 1953-1961, when he published very little. In an informative interview, he says about this period, “Je sais pourtant ce que je faisais, où et comment je vivais pendant ces années, mais je le sais abstraitement, un peu comme si quelqu’un me racontait des souvenirs auxquels je crois, mais que je n’ai pas vraiment. C’est comme un trou dans ma vie, un trou de huit ans. [… Des catalepsies ou des espèces de somnambulisme sur plusieurs années, la plupart des vies en comportent. C’est peut-être dans ces trous que se fait le mouvement.” (Deleuze 1990: 189).

The mention of somnambulism is intriguing, as (on the evidence of Instincts et Institutions) it suggests that Deleuze was not just researching the concept of somnambulism during this period, but also living it as a problem. The eight-year gap begins after the publication in 1953 of Deleuze’s study on Hume; Instincts et Institutions is therefore the product of the first two years of the eight-year hole. At the end of the eight years, in 1961, Deleuze published two very different articles, ‘Lucrèce et le naturalisme’ and ‘De Sacher Masoch au masochisme’. These the two texts appear to be so opposed that one would think they had different authors. The first text argues for a philosophical naturalism that overcomes the religious appeal to myth and fate, and the second is a Jungian depth-psychological voyage into mythical history! However, it should be noted that the Lucretius essay contains references to the Jungian concepts of anima and animus.

Following this line of thought may also help make sense of why Deleuze stuck with his translation of Todestrieb as ‘instinct de mort’, long after this translation had been criticised by Lacan and his disciples. Deleuze’s final affirmation in Présentation de Sacher Masoch of Freud’s notion of the Todestrieb – comes at the end of a long period of resistance to Freudianism, and his retention of the idea of a death instinct bears the trace of Deleuze’s itinerary through Jungianism. Anyone who has carefully read the account of the death instinct in Présentation de Sacher Masoch will have realised that Deleuze’s notion of the death instinct in fact has very little to do with Freud’s actual theory.

Jung argued that “Incest signifies a personal complication only in the rarest cases. Usually incest has a highly religious aspect, for which reason the incest theme plays a decisive part in almost all cosmogonies and in numerous myths. But Freud clung to the literal interpretation of it and could not grasp the spiritual significance of incest as a symbol” (Jung 1961: 191). Freud had difficulty dealing with the fact that “incest is traditionally the prerogative of royalty and divinities” (ibid, 151). In these cases, incest reveals another dimension: as a symbol of rebirth. For further reflection on the meaning of incest in Freud, Jung and Deleuze, see my ‘Rebirth through Incest: Deleuze’s Early Jungianism’ (Kerslake 2004).

Thalassa: A Theory of Genitality (1924) is probably the most florid case of recapitulationism in the history of psychoanalysis. Ferenczi suggests that, far from stopping with birth or even with childhood, recapitulation culminates in the act of sexual intercourse itself: “One might quite properly speak of a condensed recapitulation of sexual development as taking place in each individual sex act” (Ferenczi 1924: 15). In a discussion of ontogeny in his 1967 lecture on ‘La méthode de dramatisation’, Deleuze writes that “Ferenczi a montré, dans la vie sexuelle, comment le dynamisme physique d’éléments cellulaires se trouvait repris dans le dynamisme biologique d’organes et même dans le dynamisme psychique des personnes” (Deleuze 1967: 137). In Différence et répétition, he repeats the same idea, minus the explicit reference to Ferenczi: “On a souvent remarqué que le comportement sexuel global de l’homme et de la femme tend à reproduire le mouvement de leurs organs, et que celui-ci, à son tour, tend à reproduire le dynamisme des elements cellulaires: trois dramatisations d’ordres divers se font écho, psychique, organique et chimique” (Deleuze 1968: 283-4). The deletion of the name of Ferenczi and the substitution of the phrase “on a souvent remarqué” indicates Deleuze’s ambivalence about this thesis (it is not clear what “souvent” refers to: surely Ferenczi’s thesis is pretty unique). Our conclusion might shed some implicit light on this ambivalence.

Perhaps in the Hegelian sense of Erfahrung rather than Erlebnis – experience as something lived through, a process or, sometimes, an ordeal.

The one passage from Instincts and Institutions on the topic of ‘Instinct and Reflex’ is from Kurt Goldstein’s The Organism, and it is a critique rather than an endorsement of the notion that reflexes can be isolated as independent entities, without regard for the wholeness of the organism (Deleuze 1955: 31). Again, Deleuze’s editorial policy shows itself to be profoundly out of line with mainstream developments in the theory of instinct.

“On pourrait supposer que, même chez l’animal le plus rudimentaire, la conscience couvre, en droit, un champ énorme, mais qu’elle est comprimée, en fait, dans une espèce d’étau: chaque progress des centres nerveux, en donnant à l’organisme le choix entre un plus grand nombre d’actions, lancerait un appel aux virtualités capable d’entourer le réel, desserrerait ainsi l’étau, et laisserait plus librement passer la conscience. Dans cette second hypothèse … il serait encore plus vrai de dire que l’action est l’instrument de la conscience … Tout se passe comme si un large courant de conscience avait pénétré dans la matière, chargé comme toute conscience, d’une multiplicité énorme de virtualités qui s’entrepénétraient” (Bergson 1907: 195-197). Deleuze also appeals to this notion of consciousness in ‘La conception de la différence chez Bergson’ (Deleuze 1956b: 57), and it even lurks under the surface in Différence et répétition (cf. Deleuze 1968: 284). But it must be admitted that Deleuze is prey to the same ambiguity as Bergson: he does not explain the identity between pure consciousness, on the one hand, and the unconscious, on the other.

The somnambulist tradition from Schopenhauer to Jung had developed in tandem with the Kantian tradition of thought about consciousness. Following the emphasis on apperception and synthesis in the tradition of Kantian psychology represented by Wundt, Janet had differentiated apperceptive or synthetic consciousness from other non-representational states of consciousness found in cases of dissociation. Whereas Wundt had argued that the very idea of unconscious mental states was incoherent, because apperception and synthesis characterised all consciousness, Janet and Jung countered that non-representational, trance-like states of dissociated consciousness were nevertheless perfectly conceivable. Deleuze’s relationships to Bergson, Janet and Jung are explored in detail in my Deleuze and the Unconscious (London: Continuum, 2006).

We must suppose “entre le Sphex et sa victime une sympathie (au sens étymologique du mot) qui le renseignât du dedans, pour ainsi dire, sur la vulnérabilité de la Chenille. Ce sentiment de vulnérabilité pourrait ne rien devoir à la perception extérieure, et résulter de la seule mise en presence du Sphex et de la Chenille, considérés non plus comme deux organismes, mais comme deux activités. Il exprimerait sous une forme concrete le rapport de l’un à l’autre” (Bergson 1907: 188-89). These passages are cited in Instincts and Institutions.
But it is possible that Deleuze would have disagreed. Certain key passages in Le bergsonisme seem to rely heavily on Bergson’s theory of instinct as a ‘sympathie divinatrice’ – albeit circumspectly. During Deleuze’s discussion of Bergson’s evolutionism, while he is expounding the abstract notion that evolution involves the actualisation of “levels” that coexist in virtuality, many of the footnotes refer back to Bergson’s texts on instinct (Deleuze 1966: 103-108). Although instinct is only mentioned once in the main text of these pages (ibid, 107), it is doubtful that these pages make a lot of sense without some reference to Bergson’s instinct theory. Which is not to say that they are not somewhat obscure with the references to hand as well. Citing the passage where Bergson says that “la vie procède ici comme la conscience en général, comme la mémoire”, cut off from its latent memories, “sauf cependant sur un ou deux points qui intéressent l’espèce qui vient de naître”, Deleuze adds in a footnote that “ces points correspondent aux points brillants qui se détachaient à chaque niveau du cone. Chaque ligne de différenciation ou d’actualisation constitue donc un ‘plan de la nature’, qui reprend à sa manière une section ou un niveau virtuels” (ibid, 104). How this analogy with memory (with its “dominant recollections”) is supposed to work, given that the ‘memory’ of evolution is located in the gene, is mysterious.
Both of these positions (that there are no human instincts and that there is a progressive diminution of instinct) suggest the strong interpretation of Bergson’s theory, in that the term ‘instinct’ must be taken to be primarily applicable to all non-human animals. The claim is that intuition is like instinct, rather than instinct being like intuition. When Deleuze concludes that “‘instinct’ should be “translated” as the urgencies of the animal, and the institution, of demands of man” (ibid), it would seem that this distinction between urgency relates back to the “besoin urgent” (Bergson 1907: 181) of the species that manifests itself in instinctual sympathy. Beneath the opposition between “urgency” and “exigency”, the ur against the ex, there is the conflict between primordial animal sympathies and the external demands of intelligence and society.
One of the major problems with Jung’s work is the frustrating lack of terminological precision. We have already seen that for the somnambulistic tradition (including Schopenhauer and Bergson, two of Jung’s greatest influences) instinct involves a sort of consciousness. If Jung was being consistent with this tradition, he would here talk about egoic, reflexive consciousness rather than consciousness in an unqualified sense. But Bergson and Deleuze also remain prey to this ambiguity.

The lecture was delivered at a symposium in London with the same title, jointly organised by the British Psychological Society, the Aristotelian Society and the Mind association. Some of the major proponents of the theory of instinct, such as W.H.R Rivers, William McDougall, and James Drever were present at the symposium, and Jung’s paper is in part a response to an earlier paper by Rivers. This gathering in 1919 coincides with the peak of the instinct-theory of the first decades of the twentieth century, since a year later J.B. Watson published his famous behaviourist attack on the very notion of instinct, causing instinct theory to retreat into the shadows, until its revival at the hands of the ethologists. Unlike the other speakers, Jung was relatively new to the theory of instinct, and he tenaciously held to the theory he adopted at the conference throughout the behaviourist years, and indeed until the end of his career.
In his third Leibniz lecture of 1980 (available on the internet at Webdeleuze), Deleuze claims that Jung is the inheritor of the Leibnizian tradition of the ‘differential unconscious’, which gives primacy to the concept of unconscious perception. “Il y a une psychologie signée Leibniz. Ça a été une des premières théories de l’inconscient. J’en ai presque assez dit pour que vous compreniez en quoi c’est une conception de l’inconscient qui n’a absolument rien à voir avec celle de Freud… Or, dans la descendance de Freud se trouvera des phénomènes très bizarres de retour à une conception leibnizienne”. Deleuze says he will talk about this later, but unfortunately he only devotes a short passage to following up the return to the differential unconscious after Freud: “Quand je faisais allusion à la postérité de Freud, dans Jung par exemple, il y a tout un côté leibnizien, et ce qu’il réintroduit pour la plus grande colère de Freud, et c’est par là que Freud estime que Jung trahit absolument la psychanalyse, c’est un inconscient de type différentiel. Et ça il le doit à la tradition du romantisme allemand qui est très lié aussi à l’inconscient de Leibniz” [The transcription of the lecture has ‘Young’ instead of ‘Jung’. This cannot be discussed further here, but it is further proof of Jung’s profound and ongoing influence on Deleuze.

Jung’s relation to the somnambulist tradition in psychiatry is discussed in John Haule, ‘From Somnambulism to the Archetypes’ (Haule 1984). But Haule does not mention the somnambulist theory of instinct.

The Bergsonian and Kantian background to the theory of archetypes has been strangely overlooked by Jungians, who have tended to focus on the relation of the theory of archetypes to the opposition between Darwinism and Lamarckism. Jung was aware from the beginning that the easiest way to account for the existence of an impersonal unconscious was to refer it to actually inherited phylogenetic residues. After all, Lamarckism was not at all foreign to psychoanalysis – during the 1910s and 1920s, it was becoming increasingly central to it. In Totem and Taboo Freud had argued for “the inheritance of psychical dispositions”: the historical event of the killing of the primal father had altered the make-up of the minds of the descendents, even if such dispositions “need to be given some sort of impetus in the life of the individual before they can be roused into actual operation” (Freud 1913: 158). In Transformations and Symbols Jung affirms the recapitulationist theory that “ontogenesis corresponds in psychology to phylogenesis” (Jung 1911-12: 25), which usually goes hand in hand with Lamarckism. When in his 1917 essay ‘On the Psychology of the Unconscious’, Jung says that “It seems to me that the origin [of the archetypes can only be explained by assuming them to be deposits of the constantly repeated experiences of humanity” (Jung 1917: 69), what could be more Lamarckian? However, in the same text he had already warned off such an interpretation: “I do not by any means assert the inheritance of ideas, but only of the possibility of such ideas, which is something different” (65). In 1918 he was even more explicit: “It should on no account be imagined that there are such things as inherited ideas. Of that there can be no question” (Jung 1918: 10: 10). Thus from the beginning it looks as if Jung was attempting to draw a distinction between ‘archetypes as such’, as genetic dispositions, and ‘archetypal images’ which express these dispositions in imaginary form at the ontogenetic level. In his late essay ‘On the Essence of the Psychical’, he continued to take this anti-Lamarckian line: “Archetypes are typical forms of behaviour which, once they become conscious, naturally present themselves as ideas and images, like everything else that becomes a content of consciousness” (Jung 1954: 227). He holds that they are “organisers” of ideas and images, not themselves ideas and images (ibid, 231). In this essay Jung goes on to correlate these innate structures with the ethological conception of “inborn ‘patterns of behaviour’”. Jung tended to rely on this ethological formulation in later years, but he will still refer implicitly to the Bergsonian model of the wasp and the caterpillar. “This term [archetype is not meant to denote an inherited idea, but rather an inherited mode of psychic functioning, corresponding to the inborn way in which the chick emerges from the egg, the bird builds its nest, a certain kind of wasp stings the motor ganglion of the caterpillar, and eels find their way to the Bermudas. In other words, it is a ‘pattern of behaviour’” (Jung 1949: 518). However, if in 1918 Jung was already retracting an earlier Lamarckian suggestion of the previous year that archetypes are “deposits of the constantly repeated experiences of humanity”, then his turn to Bergson and Kant in 1919 indicates that he also was reluctant to go straight down a Darwinian path.

Deleuze takes up Jung’s model in his theory of problematic Ideas in Différence et Répétition: “Un des points les plus importants de la théorie de Jung n’était-il pas déjà là: la force de ‘questionnement’ dans l’inconscient, la question de l’inconscient comme inconscient des ‘problèmes’ et des ‘tâches’? Jung en tirait la conséquence: la découverte d’un procès de différenciation, plus profond que les oppositions résultantes (cf. Le moi et l’inconscient)” (Deleuze 1968: 141). Tucked away in a footnote, this is an important reference, taking us beyond Deleuze’s more explicit intellectual references, in his theory of problematic Ideas, to Kantian and Leibnizian conceptions of non-representational thought.