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Arnaud Villani “Crise de la raison et image de la pensée chez Gilles Deleuze”

October 12, 2014 Leave a comment

Villani, Arnaud 2003. Crise de la raison et image de la pensée chez Gilles Deleuze. Noesis, 5 : 203-216.

Les postulats de l’image de la pensée sont:
1) – la bonne volonté de penser ;
2) – le sens commun ;
3) – la récognition ;
4) – les quatre fondements de la représentation : le même, le semblable, l’analogue, l’opposé ;
5) – la vérité contre l’erreur ;
6) – la proposition comme désignation et non comme sens ;
7) – les problèmes décalqués sur les solutions ;
8) – la subordination de l’apprendre à un savoir préexistant. (206 – voir Différence et répétition, ch. III)

Contre la bonne volonté de penser et son caractère naturel, Deleuze suscite l’involontaire. Contre le sens commun qui sous-tend l’ « orthodoxie » et, en définitive, contre l’identité du moi dans le Je pense qui fonde la concordia facultatum, il suscite le paradoxe et la discordance des facultés. Contre la récognition (et tout ce qui se joue dans la formule kantienne de la synthèse de reproduction : « si le cinabre était tantôt léger tantôt lourd … ») qui devient, pour l’Image de la pensée un modèle, comme la doxa était devenue sa forme, Deleuze ironise : « Qui peut croire que le devenir de la philosophie joue lorsque nous reconnaissons ? ». Ici encore le prétendu droit de ce modèle ne vient que de l’extrapolation de certains faits. Il faut donc de l’irreconnaissable, seul capable de destituer le tribunal de la Raison réputé d’avance indemne des illusions et des prestiges, et cesser de nous régler sous le sens commun. (207)

[…] « qu’est-ce qu’une pensée qui ne fait de mal à personne, ni à celui qui pense, ni aux autres ? ». Le premier moment de la pensée, c’est la violence effractive. Il n’y a de vraie pensée qu’involontaire, contrainte, hésitante, bredouillante. (207)

La représentation, forme emblématique de la raison, et contre laquelle Schopenhauer lèvera les droits de la volonté, assimile toute différence sous quatre formes, l’identité dans le concept, l’opposition dans la détermination du concept, l’analogie dans le jugement, la ressemblance dans l’objet. Tout cela bloque la pensée dans son propre : le repérage d’une différence en elle-même, non référée à l’identique ; l’élévation des facultés au plus haut de ce qu’elles peuvent. Ici Deleuze reprend (sans la citer) l’analyse qu’il tire des synthèses passives humiennes dans Empirisme et subjectivité, et qu’il développe en quatre temps, impossibles à développer ici : le sentiendum comme à sentir insensible, le memorandum comme à rappeler immémorial, l’imaginandum comme à imaginer inimaginable, le cogitandum comme à penser impensable. Ainsi chaque faculté « sort de ses gonds » et diverge dans une discorde que Deleuze compare à une traînée explosive de poudre. (208)

Le premier élément qui soit différence non rapportée à l’identique, créant la qualité dans le sensible (aisthéton) et l’exercice transcendant de la sensibilité (aisthétéon) est l’intensité. Or cette intensité n’est pas seulement sensible, mais sensible-intelligible, sursensible immanente et transcendantale et non suprasensible transcendante. Elle est du même mouvement l’Idée comme problématique et différentielle, et la singularité comme élément anomal de la multiplicité. (208-209)

[…] la vérité ne peut plus être le problème fondamental de la philosophie, puisque, comme on le verra plus loin en détail, la désignation et la signification, qui renvoient à un concept, laissent place au Sens qui renvoie à l’Idée. Parce qu’il est entre les choses et les mots, le sens comme extra-être prolifère jusqu’au non-sens et retrouve le problème de la bêtise, soigneusement écarté par le concept et la signification. (209-210)

Il faut encore renverser : le vrai et le faux sont aussi seconds et inessentiels que les solutions. Ce qui est décisif, ce sont les situations problématiques comme formes formantes, objectités idéelles, actes constituants. C’est du problème à l’invention de nouveauté que la conséquence est bonne, et non de la solution au problème simpliste et mort qu’on lui fait correspondre. (210)

[…] la finalité de ce rationalisme supérieur n’est pas un penser pur, un contempler, un représenter, mais un faire. […] Dans un rationalisme supérieur l’idéation est l’autre face de l’agencement, l’immanent la preuve du transcendantal. (211)

À l’époque de Différence et répétition, les concepts sont encore du côté de l’image de la pensée. Dès les Dialogues, on trouve des expression telles que : « les concepts sont des monstres ». Le concept « bouge encore », il est devenu l’Idée même comme plan de perplication et de fabrication virtuelles. Il est de contour irrégulier, de limite poreuse. C’est un tout fragmentaire, parce que chaque concept est un carrefour de problèmes et opère de nouveaux découpages. (213)

Par un étrange renversement de l’abstrait et du concret classiques, le concept est devenu le pli des singularités intensives, leur multiplicité de coexistence virtuelle, « réelle sans être actuelle, idéale sans être abstraite » et la rencontre fulgurante de deux plis faisant courir dans ces plis à vitesse infinie la résonance de cette rencontre. (214)

[…] percept, affect et concept ne concernent pas les sujets ou les objets, mais ce qui se passe entre eux, autour d’eux, dans leur essaim ou tourbillon, d’où émergent les anomalies comme rugosités visibles et captables. (215)

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Manuel DeLanda “Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy”

DeLanda, Manuel 2011. Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy. London; New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

2. The Actualization of the Virtual in Space
Much as a thermodynamic intensive process is characterized by the productive role which differences play in the driving of fluxes, so in the enlarged sense a process is intensive if it relates difference to difference. Moreover, as the example of assembly processes based on adaptive components showed, the flexible links which these components afford one another allow not only the meshing of differences, but also endow the process with the capacity of divergent evolution, that is, the capacity to further differentiate differences. (67)

[…] in the case of singularities the existence of the virtual is manifested in those situations where intensive differences are not cancelled. (68)

As Prigogine and Nicolis put it, „without the maintenance of an appropriate distance from from equilibrium, nonlinearity cannot by itself give rise to multiple solutions. At equilibrium detailed balance introduces a further condition that restricts and even uniquely fixes” the solution. In other words, to exhibit their full complexity nonlinear systems need to be driven away from equilibrium, or what amounts to the same thing, appropriately large differences in intensity need to be maintained by external constraints and not allowed to get cancelled or be made to small. In this sense, as these authors say, „nonequilibrium reveals the potentialities hidden in the nonlinearities, potentialities that remain dormant at or near equilibrium.” (69)

A nonlinear system with multiple attractors […] continues to display its virtuality even once the system has settled into one of its alternative stable states, because the other alternatives are there all the time, coexisting with the one that happens to be actualized. (69-70)

In other words, unlike the linear and equilibrium approach to science which concentrates on the final product, or at best on the process of actualization but always in the direction of the final product, philosophy should move in the opposite direction: from qualities and extensities, to the intensive processes which produce them, and from there to the virtual. (70-71)

Deleuze, in fact, refers to the virtual continuum as a plane of consistency, using the term „consistency” in a unique sense, and in particular, in a sense having nothing to do with logical consistency, that is, with the absence of contradiction. Rather, consistency is defined sa the synthesis of heterogeneities as such. (72)

[…] none of these concepts can presuppose individuation. They need to be transformed to become fully pre-individual notions so that they can form the logical and physical basis for the genesis of individuals. (73-74)

Much as virtual differential relations must be distinguished from individuating functions, virtual singularities should be distinguished from individuated states. (74)

Deleuze: „What is an ideal event? It is a singularity – or rather a set of singularities or of singular points characterizing a mathematical curve, a physical state of affairs, a psychological and moral person. Singularities are turning points and pints of inflection; bottlenecks, knots, foyers, and centers; points of fusion, condensation and boiling; points of tears and joy, sickness and health, hope and anxiety, „sensitive points” […] [Yet, a singularity] is essentially pre-individual, non-personal, and a-conceptual. It is quite indifferent to the individual and the collective, the personal and the impersonal, the particular and the general – and to their oppositions. Singularity is neutral.” (75 – Logic of Sense, p. 52)

[…] infinite ordinal series. Unlike and infinite series of cardinal numbers (one, two, three …) an ordinal series (first, second, third …) does not presuppose the existence of fully individuated numerical quantitities. To be defined an ordinal series demands only certain asymmetrical relations between abstract elements, relations like that of being in between two other elements. In other words, it is only the order in a sequence that matters, and not the nature (numerical or otherwise) of the elements so ordered. (76)

Two metric entities, two lengths, for example, can be divided in a simple way into basic numerical units. This allows them to be exaclty compared since we can establish unambisguously the numerical identity of the two lengths. Ordinal series, on the other hand, behave more like topological spaces, where we can rigorously establish that a point is nearby another, but not by exactly how much (given that their separation may be stretched or compressed). (76)

As a relation, an ordinal distance cannot be divided, and its lack of dividibility into identical units implies that two ordinal distances can never be exactly compared although we can rigorously establish that one is greater or less than another. The difference between two distances, in other words, cannot be cancelled through numerical identity, so the results of these comparisons are always anexact yet rigorous. In short, ordinal distances are a nonmetric or non-quantitative concept. Deleuze adopts these ideas from Russell but breaks with him at a crucial point: he does not conceive of the priority which the ordinal has over the cardinal as being purely logical or conceptual, but as being ontological. In other words, Deleuze establishes a genetic relationship between serial order and its defining nonmetric distances, on one hand, and numerical quantities, on the other. An ordinal series which is dense (that is, where between any two elements there is always another one) would form a one-dimensional continuum out of which cardinal numbers would emerge through a symmetry-breaking discontinuity. (76-77)

Multiplicities should not be conceived as possessing the capacity to actively interact with one another through these series. […] Deleuze views multiplicities as incorporeal effects of corporeal causes, that is, as historical results of actual causes possessing no causal powers of their own. (77-78)

[…] the ideal events forming a virtual series must not be conceived as having numerical probabilities of occurrence associated with them; they must be arranged in series using only ordinal distances, and be distinguished from one another exclusively by the difference between the singular and the ordinary, the rare and the common, without further specification. In other words, the coupled changes in distributions which constitute an information transfer should not be conceived as changes in conditional probabilities, but simply changes in the distribution of the singular and the ordinary within a series. (79)

Unlike the a priori grasp of essences in human thought postulated by those who believe in such entitities, there would be an empiricism of the virtual. The concepts of virtual multiplicity, quasi-causal operator and the plane of consistency would be, in this sense, concrete empirico-ideal notions, not abstract categories. (80)

In the vicinity of the bifurcation the capacity to transmit information is maximized. (81)

3. The Actualization of the Virtual in Time
The term „reversibility of time” has nothing to do with the idea of time flowing backwards, that is, with a flow of time going from the future towards the past. Rather it refers to the fact that if we took a certain process, seen as a series of events, and reversed their sequential order, the relevant properties of the process would not change. (98)

The Deleuzian ontology I have described in these pages is […] one characterizing a universe of becoming without being. Or more exactly, a universe where individual beings do exist but only as the outcome of becomings, that is, of irreversible processes of individuation. (99)

The term „extensive” may be applied to a flow of time already divided into instants of a given extension or duration, instants which may be counted using any device capable of performing regular sequences of oscillations. (99)

Thinking about the temporality involved in individuation processes as embodying the parallel operation of many different sequential processes throws new light on the question of the emergence of novelty. If embryological processes followed a strictly sequential order, that is, if a unique linear sequence of events defined the production of an organism, then any novel structures would be constrained to be added at the end of the sequence (in a process called „terminal addition”). On the contrary, if embryonic development occurs in parallel, if bundles of relatively independent processes occur simultaneously, then new designs may arise from disengaging bundles, or more precisely, from altering the duration of one process relative to another, or the relative timing of the start or end of a process. This evolutionary design strategy is known as heterochrony, of which the most extensively studied case is the process called „neoteny”. (111-112)

Neoteny illustrates that novelty need not be the effect of terminal addition of new features, but on the contrary, that it can be the result of a loss of certain old features. (112)

To Deleuze this aspect of individuation processes (an aspect which must be added to population thinking to complete the Darwinian revolution) is highly significant because it eliminates the idea that evolutionary processes possess an inherent drive towards an increase in complexity, an idea which reintroduces teleology into Darwinism. (112)

[…] whereas embryogenesis is a procss through which a yet unformed individual becomes what it is, acquiring a well-defined inside (the intrinsic properties defining its being), symbiosis represents a process through which a fully formed being may cease to be what it is to become something else, in association with something heterogeneous on the outside. (116)

[…] the successive determination of sub-spaces to which Deleuze refers is simply the progressive unfolding of multiplicities through a series of symmetry-breaking events. The form of temporality involved in this unfolding, however, should be conceived in a very different way from that in which actual bifurcation events occur. The latter involve a temporal sequence of events and stable states, the sequence of phase transitions which yields the series of stable flow patterns conduction-convection-turbulence, for example. Moreover, as each bifurcation occurs, only one of the several alternatives available to the system is actualized. […] In a virtual unfolding, on the other hand, the symmetry-breaking events not only fully coexist with one another (as opposed to follow each other), but in addition, each broken symmetry produces all the alternatives simultaneously, regardless of whether they are physically stable or not. (119-120)

The temporality of the virtual should not be compared to that of the processes governed by the laws of relativity, but to the temporality of the laws themselves. (120)

[…] a pure becoming would imply a temporality which always sidesteps the present, since to exist in the present is to be, no longer to become. This temporality must be conceived as an ordinal continuum unfolding into past and future, a time where nothing ever occurs but where everything is endlessly becoming in both unlimited directions at once, always „already happened” (in the past direction) and always „about to happen” (in the future direction). And unlike actual time which is asymmetric relative to the direction of relative pasts and futures, a pure becoming would imply a temporality which is perfectly symmetric in this respect, the direction of the arrow of time emerging as a broken symmetry only as the virtual is actualized. (121-122)

In epistemological terms to extract an ideal event from an actually occurring one is, basically, to define what is problematic about it, to grasp what about the event objectively stands in need of explanation. This involves discerning in the actual event what is relevant and irrelevant for its explanation, what is important and what is not. That is, it onvolves correctly grasping the objective distribution of the singular and the ordinary defining a well-posed problem. To give consistency to these well-posed problems, in turn, means to endow them with a certain autonomy from their particular solutions, to show that problems do not disappear behind actualized individuals. (129-130)

4. Virtuality and the Laws of Physics
Part of what made possible the replacement of causes by laws was a view of causality as an inherently linear relation, such that, given a particular cause, the same effect was bound to be reproduced. (149)

In a typical nonlinear state space, subdivided by multiple attractors and their basins of attraction, the structure of the space of possibilities depends not on some extrinsically defined relation (specifying what is an inessential change) but on the distribution of singularities itself. (160)

In a linear causal chain, effects do not react back on their causes, that is, in these chains causal influence is not reciprocal. […] small causes always produce small effects. In other words, without feedback the intensity of the effect will tend to be proportional to that of the cause, while in the presence of reciprocal interaction causal influence may be reduced or increased. (168)

Gilles Deleuze “Dispositif?” & “Question on the Subject”

September 3, 2013 Leave a comment

Deleuze, Gilles 2007. What Is a Dispositif? – Deleuze, G. Two Regimes of Madness: Texts and Interviews 1975-1995. Los Angeles; New York: Semiotext(e), 343-352.

The Self is not knowledge or power. It is a process of individuation that effects groups or people and eludes both established lines of force and constituted knowledge. It is a kind of surplus value. Not every apparatus necessarily has it. (346)

Apparatuses are therefore composed of lines of visibility, utterance, lines of force, lines of subjectivation, lines of cracking, breaking and ruptures that all intertwine and mix together and where some augment the others or elicit others through variations and even mutations of the assemblage. (347)

What counts is the newness of the regime of enunciation itself in that it can include contradictory utterances. […] the newness of the regime counts more than the originality of the utterance. Each apparatus is thus defined by its content of newness and creativity, which at the same time indicates its ability to change or even break for the sake of a future apparatus, unless, on the contrary, there is an increase of force to the hardest, most rigid and solid lines. (349)

In every apparatus, we have to distinguish between what we are (what we already no longer are) and what we are becoming: the part of history, the part of currentness. History is the archive, the design of what we are and cease being while the current is the sketch of what we will become. Thus history or the archive is also what separates us from ourselves, while the current is the Other with which we already coincide. (350)

Not prediction, but being attentive to the unknown knocking at the door. (351)

„[…] our reason is the difference between discourses, our history the difference between times, our self the difference between masks.” (352, Foucault „The Archaeology of Knowledge”).

 

Deleuze, Gilles 2007. Response to a Question on the Subject. Deleuze, G. Two Regimes of Madness: Texts and Interviews 1975-1995. Los Angeles; New York: Semiotext(e), 353-355.

A philosophical concept fulfills one or more Functions in fields of thought that are themselves defined by internal variables. There are also external variables (states of things, moments of history) in a complex relationship with the internal variables and the functions. This means that a concept is not created and does not disappear at whim, but to the extent that new functions in new fields dismiss it relatively. That is also why it is never very interesting to criticize a concept: it is better to construct new functions and discover new fields that make the concept useless or inadequate. (353)

Events raise very complex questions of composition and decomposition, speed and slowness, longitude and latitude, power and affect. Counter to any psychological or linguistic personalism, they lead to promoting a third person and even a „fourth” person singular, the non-person or It, in which we recognize ourselves and our community better than in the empty I-You exchanges. We believe that the notion of the subject has lost much of its interest in favor of pre-individual singularities and non-personal individuations. (355)

Alain Badiou “Deleuze: The Clamour of Being”

November 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Badiou, Alain 2000. Deleuze: The Clamour of Being. Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press.

The Outside and the Fold

It is certain that,  “as  long as we continue  to  contrast history directly with structure, we can believe  that the  subject conserves  a  sense  as  a  constitutive,  receptive  and  unifying  activity”  (ibid.;  translation  modified).  Foucault’s  great  merit  (but  Deleuze,  in  using the free indirect style, makes  it his  own)  is to have constructed  thinlcing configurations  that have  nothing to  do with  the  couple  formed  by structural objectivity  and constitutive  subjectivity. (82)

Thinking a situation always  involves going toward  that,  in  it,  which  is  the  least  covered  by  the  shelter  that  the  general regime  of things  offers  it,  just  as in order  to think the  situation  of France today one must  start from  the  “dis-sheltering”  by  the  state  of those  who  are  without  papers. This is what, in my own language, I  name  (without needing for this  either the virtual or the Whole)  an event site. I determine this ontologically (with all the required mathematical  formulations)  as  that which  is  “on  the  edge  of the  void” -that is to say,  that which is  almost withdrawn  from  the  situation’s  regulation  by  an  immanent norm, or its state.5 In a situation  (in a set), it is like a point of exile where it is possible that something, finally,  might happen. And  I must say  that I was very  pleased when, in  detailing in depth  at the start of 1994 the  “political” similarities between his  thesis  of dis-sheltering  and my  thesis  of the  event site,  Deleuze  compared  the expression “on the edge  of the void” to  the  intersection between the  territory (the  space of actualization)  and  the  process  of deterritorialization  (the  overflowing  of the  territory by the event that is the real-virtual  of all  actualization), which is to say that it is the point at which what occurs  can no longer be  assigned  to  either the  territory (the site)  or the  nonterritory,  to  either  the inside  or the  outside.  And  it is  true  that the void has neither an interior nor an exterior. (85)

The  outside cannot be confused with anything so commonplace as  a  sort of external world. The automaton (thinking in  its  ascesis)  is  a  simulacrum that  is  without  any  relation  to  other  simulacra.  It  is,  itself, the  pure  assumption  of the  outside. (86)

But what is the underlying principle of all animation?  What populates  the  impersonal  outside;  what  is  it  that  composes  forms  therein?  Let us  call this  “element”  of the  outside  “force.” The  name  is  appropriate  for,  inasmuch  as  it is  translated  only by  a  constrained  animation  or  by  a  setting  into motion  of the automaton-thought,  the outside is only manifest as the imposition of a force.  One of Deleuze’s most constant themes is, moreover,  that we only think when forced to think. Let  this  be  a warning to those who would see in Deleuze an  apologia for spontaneity: whatever is spontaneous is inferior to thought, which only begins when it is constrained to become animated by the forces of the outside. (86)

[…] the element that comes from the outside is force. (86)

The  diagram  of forces -pure inscription  of the  outside – does not entail any interiority;  it does  not as yet communicate with the  One  as  such.  It nevertheless causes the disjointed objects  (or the regimes  of objects, such as the visible  and the  articulable)  to  enter into  a formal composition, which rests  characterized by exteriority,  but  as now activated by its  “forceful”  seizure.  We  pass  from a  simple disjunctive  logic  of exteriority to  a  topology of the outside as  the  locus  of the  inscription  of forces  that,  in  their  reciprocal  action  and  without  communicating  between themselves in any way,  produce singular exteriorities as a local figure of the outside. (87)

What  does  matter is how the intuition  goes beyond  the  setting up  of the  topology of forces toward the act of its identity with the  One. This movement of the intuition involves  topological concepts ­ concepts  that profoundly think the  outside  as a  space  of forces. […] It  is  at  this  moment  that  thought,  in  first  following  this  enveloping  (from the  outside  to  the  inside)  and then  developing it (from  the  inside  to the outside), is an ontological coparticipant in the  power  of the One. It is the fold of Being. (87)

For my part, I am Mallarmean:  being qua being is only the multiple­composition  of the void, except that it follows  from  the  event alone  that there can be truths of this void or empty ground. (89)

For what the fold presents  as  a limit on the sheet as pure outside is, in its being, a movement of the sheet itself. The  most profound moment of  the  intuition is, therefore, when the limit is thought as  fold, and when,  as  a  result,  exteriority becomes reversed into interiority.  The limit is no longer what affects the  outside,  it is a fold of the outside. It is auto-affection of the outside (or of force: it amounts to the same). […] That there  is  a  fold  of the outside (that the outside folds itself) ontologically signifies that it creates an inside. (89)

We can therefore  state that the intuition in which  Being coincides with thinking is the creation, as the fold of the outside, of a figure of the inside. And it is then possible  to  name this folding  a  “self” -this  is  Foucault’s  concept -and even,  if one insists,  a  subject.  Except  that we  must immediately  add:  first,  that  this  subject results from  a  topological  operation that can  be  situated  in  the  outside,  and  that it  is  thus in no way constitutive,  or autonomous,  or spontaneous; second, that this subject,  as the  “inside-space,” is  not  separate  from  the  outside  (whose  fold it is),  or yet  again, that it is “completely co-present with the outside-space on the line of the fold” (ibid., p.  11 8;  see the selection of texts [Appendix:  “The  Thought  of  the  Outside”]);  and, third, that it only exists  as  thought,  and  thus  as the process of the double ascesis (in which  one  must  endure  the  disjunction  and  hold on to  the  imperceptible  thread  of the One), which alone renders it capable of becoming the limit as fold. On these  conditions, we can say that  the subject (the inside) is the identity of thinking and being. Or again,  that  “To  think is  to  fold, to  double the  outside with a coextensive inside”  (ibid.). (90)

The fold makes every thought an immanent trait of the already-there, from which it follows that everything new is an enfolded selection of the past. (91)

As  for  myself,  however,  I  cannot  bring  myself to think  that  the new is  a  fold  of the  past,  or that  thinking  can  be reduced  to  philosophy or a  single configuration  of its  act.  This is why I  conceptualize  absolute  beginnings  (which requires  a  theory  of the  void)  and  singularities  of thought  that  are  incomparable  in their  constitutive  gestures  (which requires  a  theory -Cantorian,  to  be precise -of the plurality of the types  of infinity). Deleuze always maintained that, in doing this, I  fall  back into  transcendence  and  into  the  equivocity of analogy.  But,  all  in  all,  if the  only way to  think a  political  revolution,  an  amorous encounter, an  invention  of the sciences,  or a creation of art as  distinct infinities – having  as  their  condition incommensurable separative events -is by sacrificing immanence (which I do not actually believe is the case, but that is not what matters here) and the univocity of Being, then  I  would  sacrifice  them. (91-92)

A Singularity

Whereas  philosophy’s  task  is  to  determine  in  the  concept  that which is opposed to  opinions,  it is  nevertheless  true  that  opinion  returns,  such that there exist philosophical opinions. These can be recognized by the fact that they form sorts  of referential  and  labeled blocs,  capable of being harnessed by almost any ideological operation whatsoever, and that all the fuss  around their respective positions (which is where the  small fry come to  the  fore) only serves, in  fact,  to  shape,  under the heading of ” debate,”  a sort of shoddy consensus. (95)

[…] for  those like myself who rule out that Being can be thought as All, to say that all is grace means precisely that we are never ever accorded any grace.  But  this  is  not  correct.  It  does  occur, by interruption  or  by  supplement, and however rare  or transitory it may be, we are forced to be lastingly faithful  to it. (97)

But perhaps the imperative is completely different:  that it is not Platonism that has to be overturned, but the anti-Platonism taken as evident throughout the  entire  century.  Plato has to  be  restored, and  first  of all by the  deconstruction of “Platonism” – that common figure, montage of opinion,  or configuration that circulates from Heidegger to Deleuze, from Nietzsche to Bergson, but also from Marxists  to positivists,  and which is still used by  the  counterrevolutionary New Philosophers (Plato as the first of the totalitarian “master thinkers”), as well as by neo-Kantian moralists.  “Platonism”  is  the  great  fallacious  construction  of modernity  and  postmodernity alike.  It serves  as  a  type  of general negative  prop:  it only exists  to  legitimate the  “new” under the heading of an anti-Platonism. (101-102)

Levi Bryant “The Ethics of the Event”

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Bryant, Levi R. 2011. The Ethics of the Event: Deleuze and Ethics without Arché. – Jun, N.; Smith, D. W. (eds). Deleuze and Ethics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press: 21-43

„Our“ action is a network composed of human and nonhuman actors, rather than two ontologically heterogeneous domains composed of human action on one side, and objects functioning as mere means and possessing only behaviors on the other. For this reason, I include nonhuman entities among the list of actors in collectives and situations. Ethical theory has suffered tremendously as a result of treating ethics exclusively as the domain of human divorced from all relations to the nonhuman. (28)

It is here that the work of ethics begins. And here the question of the work of ethics concerns not the application of a pre-existing rule to an existing situation, but rather how a collective is to be assembled or composed in light of the appearance of these strange new actors, these strangers, or how a new collective is to be formed. In this regard, rather than thinking ethics on the model of judgment, it would be more accurate to think the ethical as a sort of construction or building. (29)

[…] where traditional ethics places emphasis on the autonomy and ontological priority of the agent or subject making choices, emphasizing the duties, responsibility, and obligations of this agent, Deleuze treats both subjects and objects as the result of a development or genetic process of actualization, not as something given at the outset of a process. (31)

Where morality is concerned with judgment or assigning praise and blame, responsibility and obligation, ethics is concerned with affective relations among bodies in a composite or collective, and those assemblages that fit together in such a way so as to enhance the power of acting among the elements of the collective and those that are unable to fit together. (33)

[…] the event is simultaneously general and particular, personal and collective. (34)

Yet it is crucial here to recall that the event is not to be confused with spatio-temporal actualization in states of affairs or bodies. When Deleuze speaks of a universality and eternity specific to the event, he is referring to its curious capacity to exceed and overflow all limits of the situation in which it takes place. (35)

[…] the event itself becomes an actor within the collective, living beyond its spatio-temporal actualization in a a state of affairs and taking on a life of its own. Not only is the event something that takes place, but it is as if being registers and records the event, such that the event becomes an actor in subsequent states of the collective. (35)

To be worthy if the event, to affirm the event, to be equal to the event, is to engage in the work of tracing the true problems. This consists in tracing the differential relations, intensities, and singularities that haunt a collective in a moment of perplexity proper to a situation and assisting in the birth of new solutions. The evaluation of true and false problems will be the ethical work that, in Deleuze, replaces the logic of judgment in our decision-making process. […] Rather than judging acts, the question will be one of exploring the generative field in which acts are produced. (40-41)

Michael Hardt “The Withering of Civil Society”

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Hardt, Michael 1995. The Withering of Civil Society. – Social Text No. 45: 27-44

In order to situate Foucault’s work on the terrain of Hegel’s civil society,  however,  we  need  to  take  a  step back  and  elaborate  some  of  the nuances  of  Foucault’s  theoretical perspective.  Hegel’s  understanding  of the  historical rise  of  civil  society and  the generalization of  its  educative social role does  correspond in several respects to the process  that Michel Foucault  calls the governmentalization of  the  State. (32)

The  exertion of power is organized through deployments,  which  are at once  ideological, institutional, and corporeal. This  is  not to say that there is no  State, but rather that it cannot effectively be isolated and contested  at a level separate from society. In Foucault’s framework, the modern State is not properly understood  as  the  transcendent  source  of  power  relations in society. On  the contrary, the State as such is better understood  as a result, the consolidation  or  molarization of  forces  of  “statization” (etatisation) immanent  to social power relations. (33)

The  State, Hegel  claims, is not the result but the cause; Foucault adds, not a transcendent but an immanent cause, statization, immanent  to  the  various  channels,  institutions, or  enclosures  of social production. (33)

Deleuze  suggests that it is more adequate, then, to understand the collapse of the walls defined by the enclosures not as  some  sort  of  social  evacuation but  rather as  the generalization of  the logics that previously functioned  within these limited domains  across the entire  society,  spreading like  a  virus.  The  logic of  capitalist production perfected  in  the factory now  invests  all forms  of  social production.  The same might  be  said also  for the school, the family, the hospital,  and the other disciplinary institutions. (35)

The  panopticon,  and disciplinary diagrammatics in general, functioned primarily in  terms  of  positions,  fixed points,  and identities. Foucault saw the production of identities (even “oppositional” or “deviant” identities, such as the factory worker and the homosexual)  as fundamental to the functions of rule in disciplinary societies. The  diagram of  control,  however,  is  not  oriented  toward position  and  identity, but rather toward mobility  and  anonymity. It  functions  on  the  basis  of  “the whatever,”5 the flexible and mobile performance of  contingent identities, and thus its assemblages or institutions are elaborated primarily through repetition and the production of simulacra. (36)

Control functions  on  the plane of  the simulacra of  society. The  anonymity and whateverness of the  societies  of control is precisely what gives them their smooth  surfaces. (37)

Marx calls the subsumption of labor real, then, when the labor processes themselves are born within capital and therefore when  labor  is incorporated not  as  an  external,  but  an  internal force, proper to capital itself. (38)

In this light, the real subsumption  appears as the completion  of capital’s project  and  the  fulfillment  of  its longstanding dream-to  present itself  as  separate from labor, and pose  a  capitalist society that does  not look to labor as its dynamic foundation. (39)

What  is subsumed, what  is accepted  into  the process,  is  no longer a potentially conflictive force but a product of the system itself; the real subsumption does not extend vertically throughout the various strata of society but rather constructs  a separate plane, a simulacrum of society that excludes  or marginalizes social  forces foreign to  the system. Social capital thus appears to reproduce itself autonomously, as if it were emancipated from the working class, and labor becomes  invisible in the system. The  contemporary decline  of labor unions  in both  juridical and political terms, as the right to organize and the right to strike become  increasingly irrelevant in  the constitution,  is only  one  symptom of  this  more  general
passage. (39)

Not  the State,  but  civil  society has  withered  away! In  other  words,  even  if  one were  to  consider  civil  society  politically  desirable-and  I hope  to  have shown that this position is at least contestable-the  social conditions necessary for civil society no longer exist. (40)

Civil society, as we  have seen, is  central to  a form of rule, or government, as Foucault says, that focuses, on the one  hand, on the identity of the citizen and the processes  of civilization and, on the other hand, on the organization  of  abstract labor. […] What has come  to  an end,  or more  accurately declined in importance in postcivil  society, then, are precisely these  functions  of  mediation or education and the institutions that gave them form. (40)

Instead  of  disciplining  the  citizen  as  a  fixed social identity, the new social regime seeks to control the citizen as a whatever identity, or rather as an infinitely flexible placeholder for identity. It tends  to  establish  an  autonomous  plane  of  rule,  a  simulacrum  of  the social-separate from  the  terrain  of  conflictive  social  forces. Mobility, speed, and flexibility are the qualities that characterize this separate plane of  rule.  The  infinitely programmable machine,  the  ideal  of  cybernetics, gives us at least an approximation of the diagram of the new paradigm of rule. (40-41)

Iain Mackenzie & Robert Porter “Dramatizing the Political”

January 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Mackenzie, Iain; Porter, Robert 2011. Dramatizing the Political: Deleuze and Guattari. Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Introduction
The dramatization of struggle would seem to be intrinsic to any struggle itself. (2)

[…] to dramatize the political, in the manner of Deleuze and Guattari, is to make a work of art. The dramatization of the political, therefore, forges a methodological link between politics and aesthetics. As we will argue, dramatization expresses the intrinsically aesthetic nature of moments of politicization – those moments when the machinations of politics are deemed insufficient to meet the demand of the political – and it does so by way of constructing an aesthetic response to those moments. The proper methodological response to a significant political event, for example, is to treat it as an art-work that demands a response appropriate to its form – that is, another work of art. (3)

[…] dramatizing the political is not simply a critical method vis-à-vis other forms of political thought but a way of doing political philosophy that explicitly links it to the need to challenge the institutions and formations of everyday politics by way of an art of critical intervention – through writing, but also cinema and other image-forms, as well as the dramatic irruptions of political movements. (4)

[…] political philosophers need to start thinking like artists or, better still, along with artists, in bringing to life concepts that provoke, resonate and allow us to meaningfully access the domain of the political. (8)

[…] philosophical-political thought, or the very formulation of political concepts, implies an aesthetic moment, a drama that necessarily and inevitably plays through conceptualization as such. (9)

Deleuze and Guattari and Political Theory
[…] the method of dramatization in Deleuze and Guattari aims to determine the nature of political concepts and how we to access, know and feel the resonance of political concepts. (20)

First, and most obviously, there is a need to develop a critical sense that the medium, form or genre in which political concepts are formulated and expressed is immanently constitutive of their meaning and significance. Second, though less obviously perhaps, the drama implied by the formulation of political ideas should fundamentally impact upon our sense as political theorists of what is involved in the process of conceptualization itself. […] Put all too simply: what we may think of as the aesthetic dimensions of political thought […] are not contingent or inessential, but necessary and constitutive. (23)

Dramatization as Critical Method
[…] a critical method is one in which we come to know the world through changing it; whether or not this change will be ‘for the better’ is a question of a different order. […] [the method of dramatization] is the acquisition of knowledge about the political world through the activity of changing it. (37)

[…] if all concepts express relations (to the extent that they group elements together under the concept and they always exist in relation to other concepts) and there is no rational necessity for the relations they express, then the determination of concepts must itself be a practical activity (rather than a merely theoretical activity aimed at unearthing the essential characteristics of the related elements). (39)

[…] Deleuze treats ideas as real problems: as outside and yet productive (rather than inside and regulative) of thought. (41)

[…] the method of dramatization is firmly established as that approach to ideas whose indeterminate experience exceeds the subject, which sets them into motion through a process of intense characterization […] (42)

[…] this is the reality of concepts we use: they are always locked into a field of dynamic interactions; otherwise concepts would have no meaning or resonance for us at all and they would simply fall dead on the ground. (43)

A concept, though, is not simply that which ‘surveys’ the conceptual field (grouping certain forms of the state together, for instance); it also ‘inaugurates’ a plane of immanence (the idea that there is a world of states that can be thought about, for example). (49)

[…] the persona is the character that brings to life the relationship between thought and the non-thought that it implies. […] In dramatizing the critic, the philosopher is able to establish a territory upon which the method becomes a critical method: a means of not merely interpreting a pregiven reality but changing that reality in the name of alternative forms of knowledge. (50)

Dramatization: The Ontological Claims
[…] philosophical texts should not be read with a view to interpreting what they mean, but performed with the aim of bringing to life the forces that animate the text. (55)

[…] we will typically think of intensity in very human terms, notably as the emotional domain that traverses human interaction and identity. (55)

For Deleuze, all the relations that we experience are the result of processes of intensification. In other words, it is not simply that things exist in a series of intense relationships; it is intensification that brings things into existing relationships. (56)

What is intensification? In the context of our discussion of method, intensification is the process constitutive of the extensive diversity implied by conceptualizations. While concepts group together elements that appear the same from the perspective of some criterion of identity, the point of creating the concept is to express the intensity of the elements that it groups together by bringing them into relations with each other. (56-57)

[…] when we think of individuals (people, performances and so on, as well as crystals) we must always remember that process has primacy over product. (58)

1)    First, Deleuze argues that all relations of quantity and quality are conditioned by intensity […];
2)    Second, he argues that intensive relations are relations of ‘pure difference’ – self-differing variations within things, so to speak, rather than the differences between things whose essence we already know. […]
3)    Third, he argues that intensive difference is always subject to a principle of indetermination. […]
4)    relations of pure difference are indeterminate (they have a role in determining individuals but cannot in themselves be determined) and, as such, they are an ideal but nonetheless real component of actual – determinable – things. (60-61)

Conceptualization always expresses an idea but it does so by taking a perspective on that idea: we always bring a persona to bear within the methods we use, and if we do not recognize this then we will tend toward idealism – the collapse of concept and idea. (63)

To know the idea behind the concept, therefore, is to change the relations within and between concepts so as to express the system of pure differential relations constitutive of the non-representational idea that conditions our determination of the concept. To put it as a slogan: make an event of thought! (65)

To dramatize concepts in order to access the ideas they express, therefore, is to ‘make a difference’ by making an event of thought. (65)

Every concept already has more than one component to it. […] Equally, each of these concepts has multiple components. That said, concepts do not have infinite component parts because every concept must leave out other concepts in order to define itself. So a concept is ‘a finite multitude’, to use Deleuze and Guattari’s phrasing from What is Philosophy? (66)

The dramatization of concepts […] is the process by which one ‘recovers’ the events that conditioned their emergence. (67)

Language and the Method of Dramatization
Humour plays a role in learning, for Deleuze, precisely because it creates an important felt sense that what often passes for supposedly informed or rational instruction […] has limited sense, that it remains problematic in some way. There is therefore wisdom to be found when one embarks on ‘this adventure of humour’ (Deleuze 1990, 136). (78)

It is a pragmatics that insists, inevitably, on the importance of performance in language, or the use of language in speech action, while simultaneously retaining the idea that language is characterized by a kind of intrinsic or immanent movement that issues from the medium itself. (82-83)

Events and the Method of Dramatization
Badiou (2009, 384): “The event is always what has just happened, what will happen but never what is happening.”

This ‘bloc of sensations’ is ‘a compound of percepts and affects’ distinct from the perceptions of the perceiver and the affections of those affected. It is a ‘bloc’ of sensations, therefore, because it is not simply some thing that some one then senses; it is a structured domain of intensity in which thing and person […] are implicated. Put like this, we see no reason why the dramatic event cannot be described as a work of art. (129)

[…] the ‘bloc of sensations’ that Deleuze and Guattari’s words here evoke is what the art-worj is said to preserve in itself. The art-work stands up on its own to the extent that it remains ‘independent’ or autonomous from its creator, from its potential audience, from its material situation, and even from the medium or form in and through which it is expressed. Something happens in the art-work, something new is created, a cut in being, the structuring of a domain of intensity. (133)