Even if the friend is nowadays no longer thinkable according to his traditional concept as a socio-political category, we still have, as I shall argue in the following paper, a friend in thought. I will mainly refer to What Is Philosophy? and the correspondence between Deleuze and Dionys Mascolo from 1988. I will thus draw upon the same texts as Gregg Lambert did in his essay “Deleuze and the Political Ontology of the Friend,” which I will use to contrast my own interpretation.
I will argue that for Deleuze and Guattari the conceptual character is always a friend; it is the internal condition of all philosophical thought, and it is the friend of the concept. The conceptual character is the friend in the literal sense, as it shares the sensations with the concept; it has the perceptions and affections of the concepts that turn it into the singular friend of these concepts. This is why Deleuze’s questions, as he articulates them for Mascolo, do not turn towards historical or socio-political conditions and their connection with the concept of the friend. His question, aiming towards the transcendental experience of the friend in thought, goes to the heart “of what we call an experience as philosophy”, namely, “How can a friend, without losing his or her singularity, be inscribed as a condition of thought?” What Deleuze finds in Mascolo is the attempt to think the friend of the concept itself as friend, to take seriously again the Philos of philosophy and trace back the other that thinks in me, not, for example, as Plato does to Socrates but to the friend.