On the sharing of meaning
For some, the web is the definingmetaphor or image of our times. Forothers it may be that first picture of ourearth taken from a spaceship – an imagethat is everywhere recognisable andrecognised in the First World and yetwhich would have been without meaning50 years ago. (Interestingly, it’s also onethat seems to distance us alarmingly, asobservers, from our own planet. Itreminds me of the Cartesian I/Eye/Mindlooking down loftily on the detached andrather meaningless It/Body. It remindsme of the female form held by the malegaze. A sort of softgaiaporn.)At Triarchy, the defining image is veryoften the rhizome. (Here, on the left, isAntony Gormley’s
.) Why?Let’s start with Deleuze and Guattari: “A rhizome has no beginning or end; itis always in the middle, between things, interbeing,
. The tree isfiliation, but the rhizome is alliance, uniquely alliance.”
There. We’re moving away from the tree, from the vertical order, fromhierarchy. (Our very first book
was an assault on the hegemony of hierarchyand an insistent demand that we look more widely and consider more‘heterarchical’ alternatives.) And we’re moving towards complexity andinterconnectedness. “Unlike a structure, which is defined by a set of pointsand positions, the rhizome is made only of lines.”
So it has enormousflexibility. It also has more of the quality of a pattern about it than the qualityof a structure. It’s a bit fractal in its possibilities.Patterns seem like good models for the sort of flexible, interrelated,adaptable, responsive organisation or institution that the world needs now toreplace the organisations and institutions that have failed it politically,environmentally, economically and socially.“
A pattern comes about when things which have some degrees of freedomare related to each other such that for a while their behaviour is co-ordinated:drops of moisture in a cloud, living organisms in an eco-system, couples in adance, children in a family, citizens in a nation, and so on. Life is lived amongst many such patterns which relate one life to others and to their surroundings.
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari,
, 2007, Triarchy Press
Deleuze and Guattari, op. cit.
Economies of life: patterns of health and wealth,
2010, Triarchy Press