Difference in itself. One of the fundaments of Deleuze’s philosophy, but a notion I have always found hard to get my head around, even though intuitively it feels so true. Levi Bryant has a very elucidative post up on the subject, quoting Deleuze’s explanation, which is beautiful, but always leaves me fidgety:
…instead of something distinguished from something else, imagine something which distinguishes itself– and yet that from which it distinguishes itself does not distinguish itself from it. Lightning, for example, distinguishes itself from the black sky but must also trail it behind, as though it were distinguishing itself from that which does not distinguish itself from it. It as if the ground rose to the surface, without ceasing to be ground…
Bryant adds some other examples which are quite nice. Here is one:
…imagine a purely auditory universe consisting of only a single note, held at the same frequency, for all eternity, without beginning or end […] This universe has no chairs, no rocks, no instruments, no particles, no zebras, no cities, etc. It consists of this single note and this single note alone without variation or change. In such a universe, this note would not differ from anything else because there would be nothing but this note. Moreover, in this universe, this note would not differ to anyone because there would be no one there to hear it. Nonetheless, I contend in such a universe, this note is a difference. It is the difference of precisely this frequency and no other. It is of no importance that it is not distinguished from anything, nor that is not observed by anyone. It is nonetheless this difference in the full positivity of its being.