What is Interesting Will Set You Free: Deleuze, Truth, and a Moment of Self-reflection

It was in approximately January this year that I had one of those weird, transparent moments of self-understanding. In this moment there was a crystalisation of something implicit in my being or self-constitution, up to that point. What I realised in this moment was that for the longest time my primary categories for prioritising and valuing what I had been reading, thinking, and truly feeling etc. were not ones such as, “True” and “False,” “Good” and “Evil,” and other transcendent norms; but were rather whether I found something “interesting” or “boring.”

I even tried to explain this to some people and it never seemed to register with them what I was getting at. Yet – and I always thought this would be obvious – that “interesting” or “boring” were not empty signifiers, they were symbolic of a whole family of words, meanings, and emotive forces. They signal an excess or an absence of compulsion and solicitation, an energy or an excitation, your being grasped or your being shaken.

It had gotten to a point where I could finally identify that, for me, categories such as “Truth” and the like, could mean little or nothing as metaphysical universals to which ideas and so on could conform (i.e. “This is the correct way to view the world.”). It seemed singularly vacuous to speak and think this way. How does one construct or define “truth”? To what does it refer? What possible meaning could it have in relation to all that we know if its meaning is self-reflexive and -enclosed? And more than this, how is this interesting? Does it not mark the most boring failure and coldest abstraction of thought to think this way? Is it not infinitely more interesting to think an idea that is not or that you do not know to be “true,” that is not yet true?

That said, I did not really say or think any of this specifically at the time. I mostly stated that the books I read were those I found “interesting,” or the ideas I followed were those I did not find “boring.” Yet, with a certain amount of reflection and retconning, I would happily insist that the seeds of what I’m writing here were present then.

Truth, as I can follow it, has no meaning outside of the time, place, and thought in which it is posited and created – it is not and has not been omnipresent. Truth can only function in a time and place when it is interesting to talk about truth, when it is interesting for truth to be activated in some way: i.e. fidelity to an idea, honest behaviour, liberation, and so on. If, in a certain time, the affective power of truth is not felt, then the concept is boring and cannot be utilised, and so is in need of rehabilitation or rejection.

In this sense, I think I discovered that the words “interesting” and “boring” began to function as philosophical or existential affects. Which made it all the more interesting when, today, I read these words from Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, that more or less summarised all that I had been thinking,

Philosophy does not consist in knowing and is not inspired by truth. Rather, it is categories like Interesting, Remarkable, or Important that determine success or failure. Now, this cannot be known before being constructed. We will not say of many books of philosophy that they are false, for that is to say nothing, but rather that they lack importance or interest, precisely because they do not create any concept or contribute an image of thought or beget a persona worth the effort.
What is Philosophy?, 82-83

At which point, having got this far, can we say anything but, it is only what is interesting that could possibly set you free? In which case, its “truth” would be a fully contingent bonus.

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