On the ‘Spiritual Automaton’, Space and Time in Modern Cinema According to Gilles Deleuze

Réda BensmaÏa

in Deleuze and Space

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780748618743
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671762 | DOI:
On the ‘Spiritual Automaton’, Space and Time in Modern Cinema According to Gilles Deleuze

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This chapter addresses the concept of the ‘spiritual automaton’ that appears late in Deleuze's work, particularly around the new images of space and time in contemporary cinema. It underscores the particular manner in which this concept is invented in order to account for its ‘object’. Thus, it belongs to the class of other ‘conceptual persona’, such as the infamous ‘BwO’ (drawn from Artaud), which are given what Deleuze defines as a ‘rigorous and inexact’ usage that underlies Deleuze's theory of concept creation as the highest task of a philosophy of expression. In tracing the origins of this concept, the chapter returns to the early encounter with the philosophy of Spinoza and the principle of parallelism. However, it is not a matter of applying a concept derived from the classical philosophy of Spinoza to another theoretical field (such as modern cinema), but rather one of using cinema to transform an ‘exact concept’ into ‘an operator of analysis’ that would allow it to ‘give rise’ in us to a new way of thinking cinema.

Keywords: spiritual automaton; space; time; contemporary cinema; Spinoza; parallelism

Chapter.  6918 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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