In this short presentation, I attempt to distinguish impulse (la pulsion) from instinct, desire and intention by considering Deleuze’s concept of the impulse-image in Cinema 1. In this book, G. Deleuze situates the impulse-image between the affectionimage and action-image, and assigns a very particular and ambiguous status to it. The impulse-image has nothing to do with the any-space-whatever (espace quelconque) as the affection- image does; rather it plays the role of the ‘Origin of the World’ of images. However, this kind of origin cannot indicate anything well-defined. Thus the images themselves are just like fragments, which are very similar to the objet-a in the Lacanian sense.
These considerations indicate the position of the impulse itself: it is a quasisubjective act but not a willing act. It is grounded in nature, but one cannot control it with consciousness. It is related to objects of fetish but does not have a defined aim as desire does. We can learn many things about the essence of impulse from this discussion. But to examine it more broadly and connect it with the texts of Merleau-Ponty and other philosophers, it is necessary to consider whether it would be possible to interweave the status of the Other and Language into the level of impulse itself.