Thought is a freedom in relation to what one does, the motion by which one detaches oneself from it, establishes it as an object, and reflects on it as a problem. (Foucault 1984d: 388)
The task of philosophy when it creates concepts, entities, is always to extract an event from things and beings, to set up the new event from things and beings, always to give them a new event: space, time, matter, thought, the possible as events. (Deleuze and Guattari 1994: 33)
This work began with the idea that ontology shapes agency. I argued that the generative or causal force of negativity that is central to the movement of the dialectic and commonly underpins other philosophies of transformation including critical theory and deconstruction, is problematically associated with difference and desire. This association results in a representation of difference in essentially negative terms, and an imperial or possessive inclination of self to other. Grounded in the causal negativity of difference, critique is then associated with a politics of negation, which ambiguously positions bearers of difference as the active agents of change, but simultaneously as the problematic negativity that desire seeks to eliminate or transform. This foundational attitude towards difference, and the conceptualisation of difference in negative terms, is worrying when viewed from the perspective of postcolonial political philosophy. Furthermore, when responsibility for transformative action rests with the negating class, the active critical potential and the accountability of the dominant class is elided, with the result that the apathy of the privileged is excused, or else that efforts actually made by the dominant settler class to assist the process of postcolonial transformation are inadequately recognised and poorly supported.