What Concepts Do: Preface to the Chinese Translation of A Thousand Plateaus
Université de Montréal, Montréal
This essay suggests an approach to the reading of Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, grasped as a philosophical event that is as directly pragmatic as it is abstract and speculative. A series of key DeleuzoGuattarian concepts (in particular, multiplicity, minority and double becoming) are staged from the angle of philosophy’s relation to its disciplinary outside. These concepts are then transferred to the relation between the authors’ philosophical lineage and the new cultural outside into which the Chinese translation will propel their thought. Emphasis is placed on the writing – and reading – of philosophy as a creative act of collective import and ethical force. Keywords: Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, speculative pragmatism, minority, becoming
‘Philosophy, nothing but philosophy’.1 (Deleuze 2007a: 176/163, trans. mod.)
That was Gilles Deleuze’s simple answer. The question – what kind of book is A Thousand Plateaus? – has likely occurred to many a reader upon opening the book. It is clear at a glance that something is going on. Each chapter heading bears a date as well as a title, and is accompanied by an image. The images, the reader quickly senses, are not directly illustrative. What connection, for example, does a diagram of a partridge hunting device have to do with the theory of the State and its relation to capitalism (plateau 13)? Or a line-drawing of an egg to the nature of the human body (plateau 6)? The suspicion that Deleuze’s answer is not as simple as it seems is reinforced by a brief introductory authors’ note informing the reader that the book is not divided into chapters at all
2 Brian Massumi
but is instead composed of ‘plateaus’. The difference is that plateaus can be read in any order. Each plateau threads a sinuous weave of topics related to many disciplines other than philosophy: art, mathematics, geology, biology, linguistics, anthropology, history, ethology, literature, music, religion, political theory, economics. The breadth and diversity seem unbounded. The reader is led to a cliff-edge of bewilderment. Suddenly connections leap out, often between disparate passages in different plateaus, like conceptual ﬂashes of lightning joining earth and sky, brieﬂy illuminating a vista with a clarity at once too intense and too ﬂeeting to hold. The ﬂash connections-at-a-distance multiply at each reading, launching the weave of topics into a performative rhythm. Written not unlike a work of experimental ﬁction, the book reads with the feel of music: in movements. Resonances build at each ‘playing’, enriching the experience with a self-enhancing sense of variation. Didn’t Deleuze once comment that a book should be read as one listens to a record (Deleuze and Parnet 1987: 13/10)? Another complication: the very ﬁrst line of the ﬁrst plateau announces a duet. Every passage was integrally co-authored, and ‘since each of us was several, there was already quite a crowd’. Deleuze’s co-multiple, Félix Guattari, was not a philosopher by profession. He was a lifelong political activist and a trained psychoanalyst – who never belonged to a political party, and never practised as an analyst. He agitated tirelessly in the extra-parliamentary left that would explode into view with the worker–student revolt of May 1968, energising the social movements that would characterise the following decades. Guattari worked for his entire career at an experimental psychiatric clinic, La Borde, which was allied to the anti-psychiatry movement. Guattari’s life, Deleuze writes, was itself a rhythm of perpetual movement, uncontainable by any set ideology, disciplinary enclosure or established institution. ‘He can leap from one activity to another, he sleeps little, travels much, and does not stop’. His life is like a ‘sea’, ‘always mobile in appearance, with constant ﬂashes of light’ (Deleuze 2007b: 237/218 trans. mod.). Earth, sky, sea. Flash, rhythm, resonance. ‘Nothing but philosophy’, it seems, is made of many things. ‘Forces, events, motions and sources of movement, winds, typhoons, diseases, places and moments’ (Deleuze 1995a: 34/52). Everything but an interiority of thought. ‘Philosophy is not made to reﬂect on anything . . . Nobody needs philosophy to reﬂect’ (Deleuze 2007c: 318/292 trans. mod.). A book of philosophy is ‘in a relation with the outside’. Philosophical thought ‘exists only through the outside and
What Concepts Do
on the outside’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 4/10). ‘It’s not in the head’ (Deleuze 1995b: 134/183 trans. mod.). Philosophy, for Deleuze and Guattari, is a way of engaging with the world. Speaking for both co-authors, Deleuze remarks that in A Thousand Plateaus ‘we have the impression we are doing politics. . . . The question is whether other people can make use of the work it does, even just a little, in their life and projects’ (Deleuze 2007a: 180/166 trans. mod.). Philosophy engages with the world in a way that is as political as it is musical. Its politics is pragmatic, not programmatic. Rather than directing, it donates. It gives a gift of potential for use in other people’s lives and projects. Philosophy is a doing, and it acts for change. This is why philosophy cannot be content to reﬂect, pronouncing upon the world from a disengaged posture of explanatory description or judgmental prescription. To contribute to change is to herald the new. The new, by deﬁnition, cannot be described, having yet to arrive. If its arrival can have been pre-described, it will not have been new. It will have been programmed in the present as a prescription for the future. Philosophy as Deleuze and Guattari practise it is neither descriptive nor prescriptive. It is constructive. ‘Everybody knows that philosophy deals with concepts. . . . But concepts don’t turn up ready-made, and they don’t preexist: you have to invent, create concepts, and this involves just as much creation and invention as you ﬁnd in art’ (Deleuze 1995a: 32/48). Philosophy has but one object: the crafting of concepts. ‘Nothing but philosophy’ is a conceptual art. Deleuze and Guattari’s approach to philosophy has important consequences for how the reader may best approach the experience of A Thousand Plateaus. It bears directly on the status of the nonphilosophical disciplines from which the authors draw much of their material for the book. The authors do not appeal to other disciplines for outside authority. That is not at all what they mean by philosophy being in relation with an outside. Neither is it a question of setting up philosophy as a judge or outside arbiter of other modes of thought and action. There is an evaluation involved in the activity of philosophy, but it is of a different kind. Each discipline is credited as having its own mode of construction, for which it invents its own self-policing criteria of judgement. Philosophy does not presume to instruct other disciplines in their own affairs. It does not conﬁrm or deny the validity of their results relative to their own sphere of activity. Nor does it simply import their results into its own activity, taking them on board with
What philosophy takes. Philosophy frees potential from the captivity of disciplinary self-policing. Its meaning is one with the movement of its taking excess effect. for other projects. The concept’s meaning cannot be abstracted from its ﬂow-over effects. by which it effectively overspills its own deﬁnition. Rather than lay judgement upon other disciplines. outside of their normal conditions of captivity. In addition to the semantic meaning that it can be deﬁned to contain. is philosophical potential. they enter a weave and a rhythm. to becometogether. This artful inclusion of the otherwise disparate in a mutuality of conceptual movement requires great craft and much sobriety. What it extracts. prescription or judgement. Deleuze and Guattari call this freeing of travelling potential for making a difference in the world ‘deterritorialisation’. from nonphilosophy. It extracts something from their outside activity. it gives back. to new effect. It is not just anything goes.4 Brian Massumi
borrowed authority. recasting it to lead in directions it could never have gone in had it stayed where it started. It is the processual aspect of the concept’s moving on. including but not limited to the disciplines from which potential was originally mined. Loosed upon the world again. This is what philosophy is all about for Deleuze and Guattari. Together. Philosophy is about new potential coming together. the proximities philosophy has produced translate into a complex network of potential passages between spheres of activity at work in the world. Not reﬂection. From these ‘transversal’ connections something as yet unseen may arise: a new synthesis. This is the aspect of what philosophy comes to do in the world: its pragmatic aspect. between activities which in the normal course of their affairs tend judgmentally to sequester themselves and jealously hold to their own. a philosophical concept carries a surplus of meaning that is one with the transformative movement of its performative force. Philosophy performs this feat following its own criteria of mutual inclusion. The meaning of a philosophical concept cannot be reduced to its semantic content. philosophy takes something for itself from them. but things as they potentially come-between. There is a transformational aspect to the concept’s letting loose. It does this in the interests of passing the potential forward. with a difference. The potentials it extracts from each enter into proximity with those of others. deﬁned in abstraction from this process.
. description. which it then artfully goes about making its own. Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy helps itself to the potential of other disciplines. More than one discipline at a time. to other lives. or kneel down before their judgement. It applies its art to recrafting the potential. The object of philosophy is not things as they are.
To get the most out of the book. as it came to be institutionalised as a discipline in the West. For what is number. What this ‘means’ for the reader will co-vary. There are any number of less becoming thought practices on offer. So they turn. nostalgic for the lost unity it now regrets splitting up. This is not to say that there are not great thinkers of multiplicity in the history of Western philosophy who resist the romance of the One of totality: Spinoza. Nietzsche. if not the very problem of multiplicity as such? Mathematics will accordingly invent a variety of specialist formal languages for handling multiplicities. If the thought of adventure is not already a pleasure. unless its pragmatic sweep is allowed to wash through the reading experience. does not need the formalisations. Only one thing is sure. Nothing. to mathematics. It means taking the risk that the movement of philosophy will pass into your life and projects next. Institutional philosophy enjoys subsuming multiplicity to the One of totality. to new and unpredictable effect. Given the accumulated weight of Western philosophy’s totalisations. it has developed an arsenal of techniques for turning away from it. multiple subjects. approached from the angle of how they can move together and change together. it often labours to overcome the duality that it itself produced. It is all about relation. but nothing. for example. to inclusive new effect. It is with thinkers such as these that Deleuze and Guattari ally themselves. It needs the wideness of a participatory world to gear into. Philosophy. is truly an adventure. Quite the opposite. and it needs becoming realms of non-philosophical activity to which to pass on its own potential. N. not being mathematics. in order to reﬁnd the One through a one-two-three of dialectical synthesis. many plateaus. Philosophy gears its activity to the potential of existing domains of activity. added assistance is appreciated. a discipline that has no choice but to grapple with multiplicity. It needs existing realms of non-philosophical activity from which to extract the potential it makes its own. Or compartmentalising it in the Two of duality and opposition. many rhythms. But built into each
. the reader is welladvised to go elsewhere. It was probably clear from the ﬁrst lines of this preface that a chief concern for Deleuze and Guattari is multiplicity: many disciplines. is not in fact very adept at processing multiplicity. True thought. said like-minded philosopher A. Bergson. Relation is all about co-variation. readers of A Thousand Plateaus must be willing to open themselves to the book’s performance of conceptual forces. comes of philosophy. co-varying travellings. Then. Whitehead. Philosophy.What Concepts Do
Philosophy is doubly engaged with non-philosophy. dualisations and triangulations.
philosophy challenges itself to invent new solutions proper to its own sphere of activity. unsplit. They will extract from Riemann’s mathematical project the properly philosophical concept of ‘smooth space’ (plateaus 13 and 14). A displacement has occurred. and needing no salvation through triangulation. so as to generate philosophical results. exempliﬁed in history in the ancient societies of the Inner Asian steppes (plateau 12). They do this in order to bring to philosophy a new potential for its thinking which alters the problems it encounters.3 If it happened once in history that the nomad invented itself as a people by inventing a smooth space of movement. without passing through intervening points. Philosophy’s engagement with mathematics does not simply import a mathematical solution from mathematics. The problem has changed. Space for Riemann is the continuity of the multiple. already perhaps in the process of self-invention?
. In doing so. For example.2 The concept of smooth space is that of a space in which there is the potential to go from any point directly to any other. always a potential. Riemann’s geometry invents a formalisation of space as a patchwork of regions all of which connect at the edges of each. The fact that it happened once demonstrates that the potential was there. This raises a series of properly philosophical problems that are beyond the ken of mathematics. constructed to yield speciﬁcally mathematical results.6 Brian Massumi
formalisation is a concept of multiplicity. there is no reason why it cannot happen again. to produce a space of a different order? To think these problems Deleuze and Guattari invent the conceptual persona of the ‘nomad’ as the ﬁgure of the embodiment of this transformation. The continuity of this inﬁnite connectivity of the multiple makes the preoccupation with the One simply unnecessary. Can a body come to move in ordinary space in such a way as to transform it into a smooth space? Can movement invent its own operative space of inﬁnite connection. would be the embodiment of the nomad in our time? What are the present world’s peoples to come. It uses a mathematical solution to reproblematise philosophy. Deleuze and Guattari’s attitude is that there is no reason in the world why that concept of multiplicity cannot or should not be extracted from its speciﬁcally mathematical expression and redeployed in a manner speciﬁc to philosophy. Deleuze and Guattari speculate. unreduced to a unity. Once a potential. freeing itself from the boundaries and limits of already instituted spatial formations? Can movement deterritorialise space itself. What. Deleuze and Guattari will make use of that displacement for philosophy. taking care to deterritorialise it in relation to its previous institutional incarnations.
where it generates ﬂow-on effects that overspill the discipline of philosophy – and of disciplinarity as a model. overspill. Philosophy itself becomes through that engagement: more capable of thinking multiplicity. Their movements secrete a smooth space of becoming that is uncontainable within the boundaries of existing identities and unregulated by the economy of their normal channels of circulation. It is a human multiplicity in continual ﬂux. anything at all. The modern nomad reinvents the ‘steppe’ for the age of global capitalism. that Deleuze and Guattari develop what may be considered the key concept of the book: multiplicity as a continuity of becoming. in a way that changes how philosophy is done. the humanities. such that the individuals composing the multiplicity cannot be counted one by one and placed in recognisable categories. and double becomings cascade. It is through this processual engagement with mathematics. They use the word minority in a special philosophical sense. Something passes between mathematics and philosophy. and others like it. Extraction. it contributed in the ﬁrst years of the twenty-ﬁrst century to the invention of a new transnational space of anti-capitalist resistance. the social sciences. uncontained. transformation. They cannot be attributed a deﬁnite identity. that of activist political practice. Cascade: the concept strikes fertile ground in a different domain. Taken up by elements of the anti-globalisation movement. This relational development of undisciplined potential is the pragmatic movement of philosophical thought. nor assigned a normal function. Because they cannot be pinned down. They are in a ﬂux of collective becoming.What Concepts Do
Their answer: what we term ‘minorities’ (plateau 13). Their movement makes a Riemannian space of the territoried patchwork of recognised national and local identities and the functioning institutions that contain and regulate their activities. such that a construction that was nothing but mathematical becomes philosophical. A philosophical concept always moves through ‘double becomings’. they can move ‘smoothly’ from any point directly to any other in the territorial landscape of recognised categories and instituted functions. more free of the burden of its acquired historical habits. This philosophical concept of a smooth space of collective becoming did in fact pass into other lives and projects. Double becoming between the disciplines of mathematics and philosophy. A reencounter with philosophy’s own discipline is of course a crucial part of the
. A minority is a human multiplicity that is non-denumerable. Other key concepts play out from analogous encounters with different disciplines belonging to the natural sciences.
8 Brian Massumi
mix. What would be the point of limiting the energies philosophy may metabolise by preselecting what it can feed on? Philosophy as a discipline – philosophy as it exists institutionally. a reinventive ‘tracing’ producing anew the thought-regions it traverses. It is only in the last ﬁve years or so that it has been added to the institutional larder. the authors say. restricting its input to the canon of recognised authors over which it claims exclusive ownership rights. coursing in from the outside of non-philosophy. making a smooth conceptual space of the book itself. that the publication of A Thousand Plateaus. It is philosophy that has long ago renounced its symbiotic relation to the outside. practised in this way. and rising under the force of their folding-together to form the apparently stable compositional landmarks called ‘plateaus’. Philosophy. The result is a complex ‘cartography’ of potential becomings of thought. Each reading of the book is a performative ‘mapping’ of these movements: a recreative travelling of ‘abstract lines’ of conceptual potential. was at ﬁrst deafeningly ignored by its own discipline. Their composition couches in the text a charge of relational potential that may well move outside again. There is something institutionally indigestible in its way of
. This is philosophy feeding on its own. It gives already philosophical concepts the chance to rebecome philosophical and take on new life. through philosophy. Deleuze and Guattari are notoriously omnivorous in their sourcings. then. The book as a dynamic whole is a ‘geology’ of these regions whose tectonic plates are constantly shifting and folding. It is philosophy on a starvation diet. These movements compose the text. It energises. There is still discomfort. is a region of ‘intensity’ of a concept’s deterritorialised becoming: a particular coming-together of a multiplicity of strategically displaced conceptual movements-between.and rebecomings-philosophical which interweave to form each ‘plateau’. the great book of the philosophical outside. It is these conceptual becomings. is metabolic. It can only regain its energies and rebecome the metabolically creative enterprise it always was – philosophy and nothing but – by adventuring beyond the interiority of its institutional repair and reengaging with the varied life of the world at large. It is little wonder. As a direct result of this cannibalism. embodied in specialised university departments – is an ascetic shadow of what it can be. then back out again in potentialised overspill. into non-philosophical spill-over effects. institutional philosophy suffers from a conceptual nutrient deﬁciency. Any non-philosophical domain can provide the nourishment. A plateau. and which return in a rhythm all their own across plateaus.
It has the potential to go either way. Since what effectively follows from a philosophical concept comes with how it is remobilised outside philosophy. Which is to say pragmatically: in its consequences. Which has
. It is that their uncontained becoming places them in a permanent state of potential conﬂict with territorial orders and the way of life they support. cinema. and still growing. and evolved as an offshoot of the Western powers’ colonial hegemony. It had enormous impact from the start. international relations. anthropology. Nor is it necessarily right or left in political terms. It is not. If it looks like a concept. It was immediately taken up in a panoply of other domains of activity. James’s favourite example of a concept which isn’t one is. This means that it can only be judged on its own terms. It dissolves into nothingness at the slightest attempt to make something of it. with A Thousand Plateaus itself used as an ofﬁcer training manual (Weizman 2007). political science. once again. Deleuze and Guattari underline that the movements producing it are by nature ‘war machines’ (plateaus 12 and 13). Because then there are two: its lost grandeur. and the slightness of your attempt. experimental music. towards their own creative becomings-between: architecture. it’s not a concept. they explain. A warning is in order: there is nothing inherently good or bad in a philosophical concept. According to William James. The list is long. new media and interactive art. This is not at all to say that A Thousand Plateaus was without effect for its ﬁrst twenty-ﬁve years. a founder of pragmatism. That potential may always be ‘captured’ by a military institution and rechanneled so that it does take war as its object. dance. or in the creative process it fosters. the value of a philosophy is always the product of a collaboration. as it transitioned into the Cold War. but doesn’t make a difference in the world. literature. just not in the institution of philosophy. performance. The movement of thought metabolised by the creative movement of philosophy is not a priori morally good or bad. according to Deleuze and Guattari. The book’s conceptual rhythms have struck many a chord. Nothing can be done with absolute totality. More recently. the One itself (James 1996). or have war as their object. Its value is the difference it effectively makes in the world. The ﬁrst modern reinvention of nomadism. political activism. To return to the concept of smooth space. Eyal Weizman has shown how the concept of smooth space was consciously appropriated by the Israeli Defense Forces to reinvent urban warfare for use in their occupation of Palestine. that these movements seek conﬂict.What Concepts Do
practising philosophy. sounds like a concept and even tastes like a concept. education. was in the arena of maritime warfare. a concept is what it does.
It pre-judges. That is the more creative option by far. ‘Concepts’. That truth occurs to the concept. And it does this precisely to the extent to which it is collectively felt to make a difference. A conceptual evaluation comes in the form of an event. Concepts are not abstract. in the sense of carrying a certain kind of potential. It leaves the concept unlived. This is the meaning of their frequently repeated formula that the creative force of a concept is ‘a people to come’ (plateau 11). It consists in entering the ﬂow. they oppose ethics to morality. It must begin by actively opening itself to the experience of the problem which concerns it. The ethical value of a philosophical concept is its pragmatic truth. The ability to do this requires an experiential assessment of the direction of the movement and the potential it carries forward. They are for the living. A conceptual movement submits itself to judgement only to the extent to which it awakens concern. Morality is prescriptive. Deleuze and Guattari name this self-inventive. and just make do with the multiplicity with which the world presented itself in the ﬁrst place. It is a lived judgement. mod. and acting within it to infect its course. and from percepts. ‘afﬁrmative’. Following Spinoza and Nietzsche. standing grandly in judgement outside and above it. Deleuze lists the markers of a philosophical concept as the Singular (the event). It makes-do. Participatory concern is its necessary condition. An immanent critique acts from within the movement of the problem at hand. It is in this sense that a truly philosophical evaluation is always. and it is life which judges them.10 Brian Massumi
made no difference. One might as well skip the dialectical third step that usually comes next. does nothing. ‘are inseparable from affects. Deleuze and Guattari emphasise that creatively making-do with multiplicity involves a collective project of becoming. Deleuze and Guattari advocate instead what they call ‘immanent critique’. Ethics unfolds. which is to say the new ways of seeing or perceiving they inspire in us’ (Deleuze 2007b: 238/163 trans. he says. in the course of its own unfolding process. the New (becoming) and the Important (lived force of consequence). taking on ‘importance’ in the world. event-based evaluation ‘ethics’. Pre-judging the concept makes no difference to its true potential for event. by which I mean the powerful effects they have on our life. but is at the same time open-ended in
.). Another word for a movement which is oriented. separated from its own event. A people’s coming-to-be in outside relation is the evaluation of the concept. instead of wasting thoughtenergy fruitlessly trying to overcome it. ethically. Critiquing a concept in the abstract. It is not in the head.
because they are tendencies. What they did was to bring a certain transhistorical tendency to expression. Tendencies are transhistorical. Perhaps the most persistent misreading of Deleuze and Guattari’s ideas is to think that they refer to something outside their own movement: to mistake them for empirical descriptions. in equally high-degree variations exemplifying the same tendential movement to the limit of what changing conditions will permit. They are interested in letting philosophy loose on the world. There could always. potentially. but rather a speculative proposition. All it takes is a people to come to invent it. What their concepts are ‘about’ are the tendencies which wash through historical events and sweep historical formations into a movement of becoming. What philosophy thinks in relation to history is the charge of futurity energising the historical present’s passing. The philosophical thinking of history bears on this leftover of creative potential that is in excess over any given expression of it in a given state of things. Philosophically it is not a question of what they were.What Concepts Do
its consequences. in principle. including that of philosophy itself. Concepts are always of tendencies. Which means they are always ultimately ‘about’ their own movement. given the conditions. They pass through historical moments. whether the societies of the Inner Asian steppes were or were not nomadic. as concerns becoming. as well as being self-afﬁrming. but how they were: what they did. This is also not what Deleuze and Guattari mean by philosophy relating to its outside. Deleuze and Guattari are not concerned with applying their philosophy to history. for example. The philosophical issue is not. to the greatest extent possible. They exempliﬁed a tendency to the highest degree. This is
. This is not an empirical description. to ﬁnd further expression. This point is especially important understanding how the concepts mobilised in A Thousand Plateaus relate to history. The historical events and formations Deleuze and Guattari mobilise in such great abundance are not empirical states of things to which philosophical concepts are descriptively applied. judging by whatever empirical criteria a historian may wish to apply. The philosophical conception of history concerns the movement of a tendency through a series of limit-case exempliﬁcations. The series. The function of the dates in the title of each plateau is to mark the arrival in history of a highestdegree expression of a transhistorical tendency. The proposition is that the tendency will carry forward through history. joining them in the continuity of variation that is as much about philosophy as philosophy is about it. or to anything else. is unending. Concepts are pragmatically self-referential. is a tendency. be a next tendential expression.
As a creative endeavour.12 Brian Massumi
what philosophy concerns itself with: the ‘untimeliness’ of the historical moment (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 296/363). philosophy is closely allied with art. A tendency is characterised by a certain mode in which a multiplicity of elements come together in becoming and hold together in a dynamic unity of movement that makes a difference in history. Since the concern is for futurity. What is always at issue philosophically is this pragmatic question. This mode of making a difference is what Deleuze and Guattari call an ‘assemblage’. Deleuze and Guattari often emphasise. At that limit lies an attractive force that is never exhausted in any particular historical present. Speculation is ‘superempirical’ in the sense that it concerns the empirical overspilling of history by tendency. How would it go. Philosophy is the speculative invention of pure experimental thoughtforms. ‘Philosophy’. Repeat: ‘you have to create concepts. taken to the limit of thought (Deleuze 2004: 95–6/132–4). As a polarity. it must not be forgotten. Taken to the limit. almost in the magnetic meaning of the term: an attractive force orienting a tendency. philosophy is speculative. It is crucial to bear this in mind in thinking about the role of history in Deleuze and Guattari’s writing. it is historically empty – and philosophically loaded. It is the pragmatic question of ‘how’ things go (the question of becoming-oriented). What philosophy extrapolates is this excess. and take it as far as it can go in thought. and this involves just as much creation and invention as you ﬁnd in art’ (Deleuze 1995a: 32/48). were it to exemplify itself to the highest conceivable degree? This absolute limit of a highest-degree expression of a tendency is a pole. in thought. a movement is in processual excess over any empirically describable instance of its activity. Philosophy stages thought-experiments extrapolating movements it ﬁnds astir in the world. What is at issue philosophically is never the empirical question of ‘what’ something is (the question of being). It is in these limit-forms that its creativity ﬁnds its own highest expression. A tendency has poles governing how it goes. Then extrapolate that assemblage to the absolute limit of what it can do. The best way to ‘describe’ a tendency is to mobilise it in thought. The philosophical extrapolation of a tendency is an active diagnosis of this orientation. Deleuze and Guattari think philosophically in relation to the outside of art and literature as extensively as they do in relation to history.
. An empirical object has properties deﬁning what it is. ‘is as creative a discipline as any other’ (Deleuze 2007c: 318/292). Make a concept for how a given multiplicity of elements come together and hold together to make a difference in history. which as such is empirically ‘pure’.
Art. Art makes it perceptible (Deleuze and Guattari 1994: 163–99/154–88). treat the translation of their book as Deleuze and Guattari treat every achievement: break it open. constitutively open to changing relations of the outside (Deleuze 1995a: 29–34/44–52). It ‘looks only at the movements’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 282/346). ‘For me’. ‘ethico-aesthetic’ practices of inventive resistance oriented to becoming (Guattari 1995). The kinship they feel between art and philosophy has to do with the fact that the object of art is also the untimely. To make an event of thought is a most rigorous endeavour. It is also an act of resistance: to the way things are. ‘involving as much creation and invention’ as the original. comingtogether again in a relation to the great outside of its own futurity. in Guattari’s terms. for him. Philosophy makes resistance thinkable. to the limit of its inventive abilities. in order to liberate the pure form of their potential. One of the reasons they place an image at the beginning of each plateau is to mark this kinship with art. like philosophy. Don’t take it as descriptive of where it has come from. a conceptual gesture. A philosophy. making a tendential event of it (Deleuze 1995c: 86/119). mod. looks past ‘what’ things are. it must achieve a pragmatic excess of conceptual precision. ‘metaphors do not exist’ (Deleuze 2007d: 202/186 trans. ﬁnding this new creation in their hands. out of concern for how they may become (Deleuze 2007c: 327–9/300–2). For a philosophical concept to do what it can do best. The Chinese translation of A Thousand Plateaus is a rigorous thoughtevent in its own right. in a continuing of its own singular adventures in becoming-between. and to suggest that there is a conceptual activity in art itself that can nourish philosophy in a way that is much closer to its own activity than any other of its outsides. it ‘breaks’ things as they are ‘open’. The ‘artfulness’ of philosophical concepts should not be taken to mean that they are unrigorous. And especially don’t take it as prescriptive for where it has now arrived. Deleuze does not recoil at the word ‘system’. in much the same way that a philosophical thinking is.What Concepts Do
mathematics or science. This is a speculative act. warns Deleuze. It is only with pragmatic precision that things can be made to happen through thought. Nothing would please Deleuze and Guattari more than their philosophy
. It is only ﬁtting that the Chinese reader. must have all the rigour of a complex ‘open’ system. Resist its ‘being’ European. In order to do this. to how they become.). Liberate the pure form of its potential – for Chinese thought. merely metaphorical. They are both.
en Île déserte et autres textes. On philosophy as the invention of problems. Gilles (2003) ‘Qu’est-ce que l’acte de création?’. [Deleuze. New York: Semiotext[e]. Paris: Minuit. Paris: PUF. [Deleuze. 1953–1974. Texts and Interviews 1975–1995. New York: Columbia University Press. Gilles (1990) ‘Les intercesseurs’. Ames Hodges and Mike Taormina.] Deleuze. Paris: Minuit. Gilles (1968) Le bergsonisme. Ames Hodges and Mike Taormina. French edition are given second.] Deleuze. Texts and Interviews 1975–1995. trans.
Deleuze.] Deleuze. Gilles (1995c) ‘Breaking Things Open. Gilles (1990) ‘Les intercesseurs’. [Deleuze.] Deleuze. in Negotiations. Textes et entretiens 1975–1995. New York: Semiotext[e]. Textes et entretiens 1975–1995. trans. Ames Hodges and Mike Taormina. en Pourparlers. Texts and Interviews 1975–1995. as the European thinkers that they were historically. Gilles (2007d) ‘Letter to Uno on Language’. Gilles (2007b) ‘Letter to Uno: How Felix and I Worked Together’. en Deux régimes de fous. Gilles (2003) ‘Huit ans après: Entretien 1980’. New York: Zone Books. Gilles (2007c) ‘What is the Creative Act?’. Textes et entretiens 1953–1974. Michael Taormina.] Deleuze. [Deleuze. trans. Where necessary. David Lapoujade. 3. in Two Regimes of Madness. Some translations have been modiﬁed by the author. Martin Joughlin. p. On the notion of the ‘conceptual personae’. in Two Regimes of Madness. en Deux régimes de fous. Martin Joughlin. David Lapoujade. Paris: Minuit.14 Brian Massumi
taking on a new and untimely importance beyond the limits of ‘what’ they. Paris: Minuit. New York: Semiotext[e]. [Deleuze. Textes et entretiens 1975–1995.
1. p. [Deleuze.] Deleuze. Gilles (2003) ‘Lettre à Uno: comment nous avons travaillé ensemble’. ed. 2. Paris: Minuit. could ever have imagined. New York: Semiotext[e]. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. Martin Joughlin. [Deleuze. ed. in Negotiations. Paris: Minuit. David Lapoujade. in Desert Islands and Other Texts. New York: Semiotext[e]. [Deleuze. in Two Regimes of Madness. trans. Gilles (2002) ‘La méthode de la dramatisation’. Paris: Minuit. trans. en Pourparlers. David Lapoujade. in Negotiations. Gilles (2007a) ‘Eight Years Later: 1980 Interview’. Gilles (2003) ‘Lettre à Uno
. see Chapter 3 in Deleuze and Guattari’s What is Philosophy? (1994: 60–83). trans. [Deleuze. trans. New York: Columbia University Press. Gilles (1995a) ‘On a Thousand Plateaus’. ed. in Two Regimes of Madness. see Deleuze (1991: 15–21/ 3–11). Breaking Words Open’. 163. Gilles (1991) Bergsonism. en Deux régimes de fous. en Pourparlers.] Deleuze. Gilles (1995b) ‘Mediators’. Texts and Interviews 1975–1995. fendre les mots’. trans. Ames Hodges and Mike Taormina. ed. trans. Gilles (2004) ‘The Method of Dramatization’.] Deleuze. Gilles (1990) ‘Fendre les choses. New York: Columbia University Press. Page numbers for the original. page numbers for the English version are given ﬁrst. These are noted in-text. 292.
New York: Columbia University Press.
DOI: 10. [Deleuze. [Guattari.] James.] Deleuze. Gilles et Claire Parnet (1996) Dialogues. London: Verso.3366/E1750224110000772
. Paris: Galilée. trans. Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis. in Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation. Paris: Minuit. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press. Félix (1995) Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm. trans. [Deleuze. [Deleuze. London: Verso. Brian Massumi. Gilles et Félix Guattari (1991) Qu’est-ce que la philosophie?.] Deleuze. Gilles and Félix Guattari (1994) What is Philosophy?. Graham Buchell and Hugh Tomlinson. Textes et entretiens 1975–1995. Gilles and Félix Guattari (1987) A Thousand Plateaus. pp. William (1996) A Pluralistic Universe. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.] Guattari. trans. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.What Concepts Do
sur le langage’. en Deux régimes de fous. Paris: Minuit. Gilles et Félix Guattari (1980) Mille plateaux. Paris: Minuit. trans.] Deleuze. Gilles and Claire Parnet (1987) Dialogues. Félix (1992) Chaosmose. Paris: Flammarion. 185–220. Weizman. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. Eyal (2007) ‘Urban Warfare: Walking Through Walls’.
Homi Bhabha’s characterisation of the ‘location’ of the postcolonial moment as a transitory site. terms such as ‘hybridity’. Wide Sargasso Sea. forcing Antoinette to become-Bertha. writing back. Indeed. what the reader witnesses is a series of becomings or masks. Difference and Repetition Within the postcolonial critic’s lexicon. virtual. where postcolonial authors such as Jean Rhys. Coetzee or Aimé Césaire appropriate and rewrite canonical texts. some of which are not. ‘neither a new horizon. becoming. In the same way. some of which are validated. and it is in the rejection of certain masks. Looking beyond the actual repetitions which recall Brontë’s text. Antoinette’s fate emerges not as a violence against an original identity. Elaborating the processes of becoming that Deleuze’s third synthesis depicts.Becoming-Bertha: Virtual Difference and Repetition in Postcolonial ‘Writing Back’. that the greatest violence lies.
. Rather. M. Keywords: Gilles Deleuze. ‘writing back’ and ‘creolisation’ have come to be associated with a fundamental ambivalence that lies at the heart of the postcolonial project. conﬁrmed radical ambivalence and ‘in-betweenness’ as the archetypal features of postcolonial resistance: the hybridised subject or creolised text works to undermine colonial authority precisely because it is not easily accommodated into the coloniser’s self-assured world-view. a Deleuzian Reading of Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea
University of Glasgow
Critical responses to Wide Sargasso Sea have seized upon Rhys’s novel as an exemplary model of writing back. J. Derek Walcott. nor a leaving behind of the past’ (Bhabha 1994: 1). Jean Rhys. I explore Rhys’s novel as an expression of virtual difference and becomings that exemplify Deleuze’s three syntheses of time.
what is needed to address this concern is an understanding of postcolonialism as a historical relation that gives rise to a newness ‘that is not part of the continuum of past and present’. or any example of postcolonial writing back. a question of the particular relationship between the postcolonial present and the colonial past enacted in writing back. At issue in this essay is not simply the question of whether Rhys’s novel. this question is evident in Bhabha’s own formulation of the postcolonial moment as neither a ‘new horizon’ nor the abandonment of historical memory. but which is. it is the concern to deﬁne postcolonialism as both the liberation of the subject from the traumatic legacies of colonialism and the care that the past be not forgotten that leads Bhabha to ostensibly reject the horizon of the new. what has remained understated in contemporary postcolonial criticism is the extent to which both hybridity and creolisation do witness the birth of ‘a new horizon’. and argues that the hybrid object be recognised as ‘new. Rather than locating the revisionary potential of postcolonial aesthetics within an ambivalent hybridity. I contend that it is the overlooked ability to effect the new that distinguishes postcolonial discourse and. Despite this suggestion. Gareth Grifﬁths and Helen Tifﬁn (2002: 96) have argued. at a more fundamental level. Indeed. Yet. derived from a particular (colonial) history. nevertheless. In turn. The Location of Culture does not oppose the idea of the postcolonial as the production of the new: Bhabha later deﬁnes cultural translation as ‘an encounter with “newness” that is not part of the continuum of past and present’ (Bhabha 1994: 7). is a new work of literature. Elaborating the distinction that Deleuze in Difference and Repetition identiﬁes between the ﬁrst and third syntheses of time. this essay outlines a Deleuzian approach to postcolonial writing back by drawing on the particular example of Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea and identifying the repetitions of virtual difference and becomings that make Rhys’s canonical re-dress a genuinely original literary expression. It is this paradoxical relation in which the engagement with history both generates a future with the potential to become something wholly new and revises our understanding of all that led up to it (a new continuum that leads from past to present and into the future) that Deleuze establishes in his third synthesis of time: articulating a theory of becoming that accounts for the production of the new from a
. but rather. neither one nor the other’ (25). However. it is the production of a text that both does and does not resemble the original work that marks its ambivalent status as a hybrid or creolised text.Becoming-Bertha
writing-back to the imperial canon as Bill Ashcroft. crucially. marks its compatibility with the philosophical writings of Gilles Deleuze.
Accordingly. this was in harmony with his system of philosophy. ‘according to Hegel. to which it could be speciﬁc’ (Hallward 2001: xii). locations or cultures as independent. the postcolonial will tend towards the elimination of speciﬁc histories. reveals the revisionary force of postcolonial writing. with Peter Hallward’s Absolutely Postcolonial remaining the most comprehensive critique of Deleuze’s inﬂuence on the ﬁeld. the postcolonial has moved in precisely the opposite direction. the unique and absolute being of Spinozism cannot provide a basis for determination
. everything exists as a particular element within the singular substance that we might term the universe. While Hallward’s work does represent a signiﬁcant and distinct intervention in the ﬁeld of postcolonial studies. in his view. speciﬁcity and. ‘the cause of his [Spinoza’s] death was consumption. crucially. arguing that while colonial and counter-colonial discourse may indeed be criticised for their over-speciﬁcation of the subject. questions of singularity. locatedness take centre stage in his attack on a Deleuzian postcolonial discourse. there will be nothing left.18 Lorna Burns
re-dress of the past and. as to deny its constituent elements any sustainable speciﬁcity at all’ (Hallward 2001: 22). from which he had long been a sufferer. the Spinozist conception of substance and positive (or immanent) differentiation cannot provide a basis for particularity or the speciﬁc since it lacks the core feature of determination: dialectical negation. To recall Hegel’s indictment of Spinoza in his Lectures on the History of Philosophy. as for Hallward. Implicit in Hallward’s argument is the view that postcolonialism tends to follow a logic of immanence or singlesubstance (Burns 2009: 104–5). The signiﬁcance of Deleuze’s philosophy for postcolonial studies has received little attention to date. As such. nothing outside itself. replacing ‘the interpretation or representation of reality with an immanent participation in its production or creation: in the end. For Hallward. I argue. for Hallward. when applied to writing back. at the limit of “absolute postcoloniality”. As Michael Hardt argues. postcolonial discourse can be regarded as ‘more or less enthusiastically committed to an explicitly deterritorialising discourse in something close to the Deleuzian sense – a discourse so fragmented. so hybrid. contextualising forces and. and is nothing other than a particular conﬁguration of that singlesubstance. For Hegel. as a result. the core logic behind his critique should sound familiar since it echoes precisely the criticism that Hegel levelled against Spinoza’s notion of singularity. towards a singular reality which ‘will operate without criteria external to its operation’. according to which all particularity and individuality pass away in the one substance’ (cited in Hardt 1993: 257).
In other words. this view of difference is echoed in Absolutely Postcolonial in which Hallward highlights what he considers to be effective acts of postcolonial resistance. immediately.Becoming-Bertha
or difference because it involves no other or limitation’ (Hardt 1993: 67). . controversially from Hallward’s point of view. Hardt has shown in detail how Deleuze draws on both Spinoza and. . ] the thing differs with itself ﬁrst. ‘fails to grasp the concreteness and speciﬁcity of real being’ (Hardt 1993: 4). Naipaul’s work ‘is simply speciﬁc rather than singular. given the absence of negation. Within a Hegelian ontology. inﬂected through the experience of a positioned narrator or character and maintained as a network of [. . Importantly. As a result. Naipaul. and it is this opposition between being and nothingness that ‘deﬁnes the foundation of real differences and qualities’ (Hardt 1993: 3). Deleuze elaborates both Bergson and Spinoza to argue that Hegel’s concept of negative or dialectical differentiation cannot provide an adequate foundation for being since it depends on external causes. the thing differs with itself because it differs ﬁrst of all with all it is not’ (cited in Hardt 1993: 7). Put simply. determinate or speciﬁc being emerges through the negation of its opposite. Hallward’s argument faces strong criticism from the philosopher he holds responsible for the singularising nature of postcolonialism: Deleuze. his reading rests upon a
. ‘in Bergson [. As a result. Hallward’s claim that the lack of situated opposition or determination in postcolonial literature results in a discourse that. in particular. for Hallward difference and speciﬁcity are produced negatively through one’s situated opposition to an other. As such. Hallward’s reluctance to fully acknowledge the Hegelian logic behind Absolutely Postcolonial results in an argument against postcoloniality and Deleuze that fails to address Deleuze’s own ready-made answer to the charge of singularity as well as postcolonial criticism’s demand to face the emergence of newness and not just speciﬁc instances of located resistance. S. nothingness. According to Hegel. Bergson to demonstrate that negative determination not only presents a false notion of difference but also. . thus introducing contingency and causality into being: to quote Deleuze. as alternatively judge and judged’ (Hallward 2001: 332). ] relationships’ (332). in which difference emerges when ‘Naipaul puts himself and his characters in a position of judgement. cannot sustain real difference and will inevitably dissolve into an undifferentiated nothingness must be recognised for what it is: a contemporary elaboration of Hegel’s critique of Spinoza’s positive ontology. such as the ﬁction of V. difference is always produced through a negative movement and each thing exists in its particularity and difference through the active negation of something else. In other words.
but. a more signiﬁcant form of postcolonialism emerges based on instances of virtual difference. It is a discourse that exceeds the already established. proportions of the “genuinely new”’ (Harris 1996: 6). ‘pre-set’ value systems that Europe imposed on its colonial others. speciﬁc to those legacies. nevertheless. it adheres to the ‘pre-set system’ in which the black man is cast as the racial other. repetition and becoming-new. towards a revisionary postcolonial literature. Expectancy. but creates something new: an original future not determined at the outset by pre-existing socio-historic subject positions or cultural hierarchies. The postcolonial. both Glissant and Harris envision the postcolonial project as an engagement with the traumatic history of colonialism that. ‘continuities running out of the mystery of the past into the unknown future yield proportions of originality.1 It is this aspect of Deleuze’s philosophy that Caribbean writers such as Édouard Glissant and Wilson Harris draw on in their own postcolonial works. unpredictable future: a ‘prophetic vision of the past’ (Glissant 1999: 64). on the other hand. Notably. However.20 Lorna Burns
critique of differentiation at odds with Deleuze’s commitment to an immanentist philosophy. Stereotypes and the First Synthesis of Time
The distinction that I am arguing for between a historical relation that repeats already established biases and ﬁxed subject-positions and a postcolonial re-dress of history that engenders the absolutely new is
. postcoloniality denotes a synthesis of the past that does not repeat predetermined attitudes. Wole Soyinka’s denunciation of the negritude movement as that which trapped ‘itself in what was primarily a defensive role’ (Soyinka 1976: 129) and ‘stayed within a pre-set system of Eurocentric intellectual analysis both of man and society and tried to re-deﬁne the African and his society in those externalised terms’ (136) highlights the point of contention: counter-colonial discourse is wholly speciﬁed by the colonial context in which it exists. while drawn from a particular socio-historic milieu (one marked by the traces of the colonial era). creates a new. The particular engagement with history that both Harris and Glissant propose in their writings represents a shift from what Walcott designated a literature of ‘recrimination and despair’ (Walcott 1998: 37) which endlessly repeats the biases of colonialism. for Glissant or in Harris’s characteristically opaque prose. by recognising the value of positive differentiation and the shift away from dialectical negation as the foundation of being.
I. In other words. nevertheless. is distinguished by its ability to move beyond the ‘defensive role’ of counter-colonialism.
AB. the effect of this contraction is to create a sense of expectancy: in this case. expressed in particular cases. Importantly. expressed in a particular way. something new in the mind. accounting for the way in which. This is why the canon evokes reading practices: the repetition of themes. It is this sense of expectancy that underlies postcolonial authors’ problematic relationship with the canon and historical legacies. Deleuze argues. In writing back. in general. the recurring experience of A followed by B is contracted in the present into the projected expectancy that AB will recur in the future. For example. 2002: 186). Furthermore. in the present. . a repetition that is echoed as one then reads Austen. as Deleuze’s account of the ﬁrst synthesis emphasises. for example. AB. Crucially in terms of the particular relationship to the canon that is enacted in writing back or what Edward Said designates ‘contrapuntal’ reading (Said 1993: 59). A. but the continuing inﬂuence of these views. but rather a set of reading practices (the enactment of innumerable individual and community assumptions. the reader encounters particular references to the colonies and racial others. but it is a change in the mind of the reader who registers the repetition. Whenever A appears. as a colonial attitude. a change is produced in the mind which contemplates: a difference. As Deleuze presents it in Difference and Repetition. we come to anticipate future events because of their past occurrence. In this ‘contraction’ of speciﬁc instances of ‘A’ and ‘B’ into ‘AB’. the ﬁrst synthesis of time is a theoretical paradigm that accounts for the continuation of the same and the general. I expect the appearance of B’ (Deleuze 2004: 90). One might then read Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and register a repetition in the way in which both authors depict the relationship between the coloniser and the colonised. It is the repetition of these speciﬁc ways of characterising the relationship between centre and periphery that is contracted into what might be termed. ‘changes nothing in the object or state of affairs AB. the repetition in the series AB. about literature..Becoming-Bertha
clariﬁed by Deleuze’s account of the ﬁrst and third syntheses of time. postcolonial authors seek to expose not only speciﬁc prejudices. for Deleuze the ﬁrst synthesis is the creation of expectancy through repetition. In Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. and even about writing)’ (Ashcroft et al. . Following Ashcroft et al. On the other hand. the relationship envisioned here is not between individual authors or works since the ‘canon is not a body of texts per se. it is not a change in the texts themselves or in that which is repeated. for example about genre. attitudes or genres in
. Dickens and so forth. . the ﬁrst synthesis of time produces a movement from the speciﬁc to the general (91).
sexualised and lazy. Antoinette responds by telling Rochester that each of these traits have a logical explanation: allowing one’s dress to get dirty is an expression of afﬂuence. the full force of Rhys’s critique of expectancy is felt. A similar prejudice is articulated by Rochester during the couple’s honeymoon at Granbois when he criticises Christophine’s ‘horrible’ language as she asks him to ‘taste my bull’s blood. yet in each case. Wide Sargasso Sea draws attention to the additional issue of expectancy that is created: the speciﬁc repeating trait drawn from the past is generalised to form some ‘truth’ about the present and. As a result. as Albert Memmi argued. In Rochester’s changing relationship with his wife. that in colonialist discourse what ‘is actually a sociological point becomes labelled as being biological or. However. The difference between the two characters’ perception of Christophine’s actions is that Rochester reads in them a conﬁrmation of colonial stereotypes as inherent or biological truths about black women. Rochester
. Mr Mason’s statement is revealed as a contraction of a number of converging sociological features of Jamaican society at that time into a general ‘truth’ about the newly manumitted population. he infers. Rhys’s novel consistently undermines stereotypes by illustrating their constructed. However. sociological basis. as Deleuze points out. Wide Sargasso Sea as a whole. accordingly. her trailing dress and her languorous appearance. it is a repetition that exposes the processes of contraction and projection that Deleuze’s ﬁrst synthesis envisions by deconstructing colonial stereotypes and demonstrating.22 Lorna Burns
speciﬁc texts are synthesised in the mind to create a general expectancy. determines the way in which future repetitions are perceived. whereas Antoinette understands them as sociological points. a general set of reading practices that will. preferably. . more than this. is a repetition of Brontë’s Jane Eyre. is unclean. It is this expectancy that writers such as Rhys seek to challenge as they produce works which ostensibly repeat canonical texts. the ﬁrst synthesis is that which makes of the canon a set of reading practices that determines in advance one’s response to the text. ] don’t want to work’ (Rhys 2000: 30) is re-read by Rhys within the speciﬁc historical context of Jamaica in the wake of Emancipation and the end of the Apprenticeship scheme. shape future reading experiences. master’ (71). metaphysical’ (Memmi 1974: 71–2). Mr Mason’s complaint that the recently manumitted black Jamaicans ‘won’t work [. All colonial stereotypes. Thus. Here Rochester expresses the coloniser’s point of view: the black woman. . As the process which engenders this expectancy. and in particular Part Three of the novel. Throughout Part Two of the novel. slow movements are about precision. in Part One of Wide Sargasso Sea.
Daniel’s vindictive assertion that ‘Mrs Cosway is worthless and spoilt. While this latter quotation evidences his sexual desire. Thus. to project an image of what. Antoinette’s white dress. as Carine Mardorossian argues. More than this. a lovely English girl with brown curls and blue eyes and a dress slipping off her shoulders’ (30. and in all these white Creoles.3 Antoinette’s later mirroring of this image is. a misunderstood attempt to conform to Rochester’s cultural values. However. after his meeting with Daniel Cosway. once admired by Rochester. It is. Rochester recalls only that which conﬁrms his misgivings about his wife. [. making Antoinette like what she would have to be like to deserve her fate (her eventual incarceration in the attic of Thornﬁeld Hall as the mad. violent Bertha). carelessly left lying on the ﬂoor is misconstrued as a purposeful incitement to Rochester’s desires.2 Rochester does this in the most matter of fact way: literally renaming her Bertha. Echoing Daniel’s parting words. however. Antoinette’s misunderstood intentions are underscored by the parallel image of the Miller’s Daughter that occurs earlier in the text: one evening at Coulibri Antoinette recalls her ‘favourite picture “The Miller’s Daughter”. In this way. evokes association with ‘(black) female sexual wantonness and prostitution’ (Mardorossian 1999: 1076). ‘a lovely English girl’ should look like. to paraphrase Sartre. he exploits prevalent stereotypes about white creoles in order to reread Antoinette’s actions as a sign of her sexual proclivity and inherited madness. although Daniel’s venom is clearly directed against the exslave-owners (he does not single out madness as Antoinette’s or even Annette’s afﬂiction. however. comes to reﬂect his expectations of his wife’s disposition. . the dress that was. ] You are not the ﬁrst to kiss her pretty
. ‘give my love to your wife – my sister. . suggesting an intentional provocation on Antoinette’s part and recalling Rochester’s earlier claim that ‘one afternoon the sight of a dress which she’d left lying on her bedroom ﬂoor made me breathless and savage with desire’ (78).Becoming-Bertha
is clearly involved in a process of. Rochester’s narrative increasingly seeks to read Antoinette’s actions as a sign of her unrestrained sexuality. perhaps. emphasis mine). but rather as the fate of ‘all these white Creoles’ (Mardorossian 1999: 1082)). that Rochester’s wilful misinterpretation of his wife’s character becomes most apparent. the illegitimate son of Antoinette’s father and a black slave. she can’t lift a hand for herself and soon the madness that is in her. to her limited understanding. The dress that ‘had slipped untidily over one shoulder and seemed too large for her’ (105). comes out’ (80) re-enforces the prevalent stereotype that madness afﬂicts the white creole plantocracy. therefore.
just as he names her Bertha. the ﬁnal pages of Rochester’s narrative reﬁgure Daniel’s accusation as an admission of incest: ‘give my sister your wife a kiss from me. that which is misconstrued as a biological or metaphysical fact is. . In his ﬁnal resolution to ‘see who hates best’ (140).24 Lorna Burns
face’ (104). directs its attention to the contraction of the speciﬁc past into a generalised framework for determining the future. She’ll not care who she’s loving). Faced with the discrepancy between Antoinette and the portrait of the ‘lovely English girl’ she tries to mimic. in particular. Rhys’s text is exemplary in this respect: returning her text to the historical moment of Emancipation in the Anglophone Caribbean to expose the formation of colonial stereotypes and prejudices. while at the same time revealing what was excluded by such generalisations. but also in order to expose the force of expectancy. Rhys’s novel challenges preconceived attitudes by returning the general to the speciﬁc. By deconstructing colonial stereotypes. female sexuality: ‘she thirsts for anyone – not for me [. . Rhys consistently confronts colonial stereotypes not purely as a means to suggest that. socially or culturally determined. ] (a mad girl. In enacting a contrapuntal rewriting. Rochester’s ﬁrm resolution to secure his wife and her fortune by returning to his English estate is revealed as the product of his distorted recollection of Daniel’s words and the conﬁrmation of his own pre-determined expectations about creole.
. Rochester reveals the extent to which fears about miscegenation and the licentiousness of white creoles in nineteenth-century colonialist discourse created a projected expectancy about creole behaviour: a preestablished framework that determines Antoinette’s actions from the outset of the novel. She’ll moan and cry and give herself as no sane woman would – or could. Or could’ (135–6). created by the texts of the past in the mind of the reader and projected into the future as a set of regulatory reading practices. and to highlight the social factors that were excluded from accounts of creole madness such as she found in Brontë’s novel. Love her as I did – oh yes I did’ (130). here Rochester resolves to make of his wife the very opposite image of female sexuality and. therefore. Writing back. It is. works by confronting expectancy and what we might term a contrapuntal rereading/rewriting. in truth. here he names her mad by giving her a sexual proclivity that ‘no sane woman would’ have. authors expose the ideological biases that lie behind certain generalised expectations: highlighting the syntheses that occurred in order to produce particular stereotypes or reading practices. in line with Deleuze’s ﬁrst synthesis of time. the issue of canonical expectancy. that underlies the postcolonial tradition of writing back. in agreement with Memmi.
It is only through an analysis of the ways in which Rhys contrapuntally exposes the virtual past she encounters in Brontë’s novel and depicts the singular conditions by which Antoinette becomes Bertha that we can appreciate the full force of Rhys’s re-dress and uncover the processes of virtual repetition and becoming-new that characterise a truly postcolonial aesthetics of writing back. In other words. [. The rainbow compression of a tree is set on ﬁre by the Caribs when the Arawaks seek refuge in its branches. . Relating Wide Sargasso Sea to a template of war he ﬁnds in the history of the Caribs and Arawaks. (Harris 1983: 50)
For Harris. repeating features that speak of a single source of collective creativity:
it is a time of war. Indeed.
II. What Harris ﬁnds in Rhys’s novel is the potential for a future that is not a
. the memory of past conﬂict retains a virtual aspect. Harris and Glissant recognise history as formative. That spark becomes the seed of the garden of the Pleiades.Becoming-Bertha
In turn. ready to be recalled and explored in order to creatively re-dress historical trauma. but see in trauma and oppression a potentiality to re-dress historical antagonisms and create something new. . but engender an unpredictable future speciﬁc to but not limited by the contracted past. a ‘seed’. ] Creation suffers and needs to be re-dressed if the spirit of the stars is to be discovered again. writers such as Rhys. this is exemplary of the distinction between counter-colonial discourse and the postcolonial previously delineated: by writing against the expectancy created by the ﬁrst synthesis of time. which remains latent in the collective unconscious. Becoming-Bertha
Far from remaining ambivalent to the role of past trauma in shaping the postcolonial present. The ﬁre rages and ascends even higher to drive the Arawaks up and up until there is no further escape. Caribbean writers do not envision the continuation of a ﬁxed relationship between centre and periphery. Harris uncovers in the mythology of opposing cultures. they burn and rise into a spark in the sky of ﬁction. postcolonial texts must reject the determination of the Deleuzian ﬁrst synthesis as a contraction of the past that has created the generalised colonial relationship and propose a new continuum. it is this appreciation of a historical relation that effects the ‘genuinely new’ that Harris locates in Rhys’s novel (Harris 1996: 6). This latter process Deleuze calls the third synthesis of time: a differentiation of the past as a virtual presence in the production of an unpredictable future. common.
such that every process of actualisation is. As Daniel Smith explains.4 Like Spinoza. any actualisation of the virtual is essentially a creative process since what
. events or identities. Rather. as that which cannot be represented since by deﬁnition it is that which exceeds the limits of the actual. his reformulation of a Spinozist plane of immanence or single-substance philosophy. the production of the new’ (Smith 2007: 6). because ‘the virtual is constituted through and through by difference [. Deleuze adopts Spinoza’s dual sense of actual created world and virtual creative force as the two ‘unequal odd halves’ of reality (Deleuze 2004: 261). . Spinoza’s single-substance ontology offers a relational structure that is reﬂected in the way in which Deleuze presents the actual and the virtual as caught up in a ceaseless movement from one to the other. ‘it is essential to create a jigsaw in which “pasts” and “presents” and likely or unlikely “futures” are the pieces that multitudes in the self employ in order to bridge chasms in historical memory’ (Harris 1996: 5). Thus. proportions of the “genuinely new”’ (Harris 1996: 6). that ensures its role in maintaining the renewed potential for newness. in particular. ] when it is actualised. by its very nature. it is to another philosopher. it therefore differs from itself. but one which ‘yields proportions of originality’ (Harris 1996: 6) through a re-dress of the past. while the Cartesian split ensured that Thought and Extension persisted as nonrelational. Henri Bergson. It is in this respect that Deleuze emerges as an important ﬁgure in this debate and. Crucially. Where Spinoza recast the Cartesian separation of Thought and Extension as an immanentist philosophy in which the single-substance universe (God or Nature) is conceived under two attributes termed natura naturans and natura naturata. . ‘yields proportions of originality. What Harris refers to as the ‘incalculable’ (5) line of continuity between the past and an unpredictable future emerges in the postcolonial project as a form of restructuring by which genuine novelty or ‘newness’ results. experienced as sensations.26 Lorna Burns
repetition of historical antagonisms and conﬂicts. As Harris argues in his own novel Jonestown. a (virtual) self-creating aspect and the structure of (actual) created things respectively. Where Deleuze exceeds Spinoza is in the profound creativity that he locates within this movement from virtual to actual. at the same time. to recall Harris. It is the virtual’s status as the absolutely-other. distinct spheres. Deleuze argues that reality must be considered both as the actual world and. that Deleuze turns to ﬁnd a theory of the virtual as both a creative force (what Bergson terms élan vital) and a historical relation that. where elements of the virtual become realised within the actual. as a virtual plane which exists in opposition to the actual.
a full sense of the relation between actual and virtual comes into focus and. however. the premise of a pure past independent of physical records or active recollection is of great signiﬁcance to Caribbean writers and theorists faced with a historical inheritance of ‘amnesia’ (Walcott 1998: 39–40). 94). a wholly novel postcolonial ‘chronicle’. The past for both Deleuze and Bergson is a virtual ﬁeld that is available for differentiation within the present as recollection. By constituting that which enables each present to pass and ‘preserve itself in itself’ (58). Their methodology restricts them to the solecolonial chronicle. it is this movement from virtual to actual (what Deleuze terms ‘differentiation’) that Bergson introduces in his notion of élan vital. Patrick Chamoiseau and Raphaël Conﬁant write in their manifesto of créolité. both élan vital and differentiation describe the creative evolution of the immanent totality: ‘evolution takes place from the virtual to actuals. it is ‘not a particular past of a particular present but [. behind the known’ (Bernabé et al. With this concept. ‘our history (or our histories) is not totally accessible to historians. ] is like an ontological element. It is the past in general that makes possible all pasts’ (Deleuze 1991: 56–7). . actualisation is creation’ (Deleuze 1991: 98). Precisely by accessing that which lies ‘behind the known’. the condition of the “passage” of every particular present. Further. Since each actualisation of the virtual designates the emergence of the new. At issue here is not history since the past as virtual has ‘no psychological existence’. as a differentiation of the virtual what emerges from this process is new. a past that is eternal and for all time. Differentiation accounts for the ways in which newness enters the world. are stored and remembered as their passing away. As Jean Bernabé.5 Clearly. independent of human activity and the limitations of physical records’ (Williams 2003: 93. more than this. moreover. understood as ‘a virtuality in the process of being actualised’ (Deleuze 1991: 94). the pure or general past (what Deleuze in Difference and Repetition terms the second synthesis of time) represents what James Williams describes as a virtual ‘archive’ in which ‘all events. .
. offers a philosophical paradigm for change and novelty.Becoming-Bertha
emerges will be different from that which already exists within the actual. including those that have sunk without trace. Our chronicle is behind the dates. Evolution is actualisation. Bergson’s sense of the virtual as a ‘gigantic memory’ (Deleuze 1991: 100) ensures that this creative process is also a temporal evolution. a postcolonial synthesis of the past repeats the processes of actualisation that Deleuze locates in Bergson’s theory of memory as virtual presence. Crucially. 1993: 99).
As a result. Where the ﬁrst synthesis demonstrates the way in which actual things gain consistency in the present and the second synthesis details a pure past into which each present falls. In turn. the ﬁrst synthesis gives consistency to the present by relating it to a distinct series (AB. In other words. the repetition on which the third synthesis is based is not. creative evolution in Bergsonism echoes his elaboration of the three syntheses of time in Difference and Repetition. Further.28 Lorna Burns
Deleuze’s account of the relational movement of the actual and virtual as a temporal. this demand to account for a future with the ability to become-new leads us beyond the ﬁrst and second syntheses of time ‘in the direction of a third’ (Deleuze 2004: 111). exposing the unspoken assumptions and unacknowledged exploitations that are taken for granted within the economy of the nineteenth-century novel. By actualising the virtual (here the virtual ‘side’ of the canonical text). the newness that is created via differentiation is assimilated by habit and generalised as anticipated behaviour towards the future. With the third synthesis of time Deleuze offers a full account of how newness enters the world. AB . In turn. Deleuze’s third synthesis may be used to elaborate Said’s claim that contrapuntal reading uncovers that which was excluded from the colonial text. what I have presented here as differentiation. ) of the pure past and then subjecting it to the processes of contraction and generalisation. The ﬁrst synthesis alone cannot account for the radical sense of the future as an inﬁnite potentiality that is evident in the writings of Harris and Glissant. . according to the Deleuzian model. is new. the actualisation of the virtual. of differentiation as the production of the new (what Deleuze designates the eternal return of difference-in-itself). as a differentiation of the pure or virtual past. what this contrapuntal reading engenders. when Said argues that we should re-examine Jane Eyre to discover the latent prejudices within the text. but because in actualising the virtual aspect of the
. but on the repetition of the virtual past’s becomingactual. In other words. writing back produces an original work of literature not because it repeats the actual text or canon that has generated certain generalised expectations and reading practices. Deleuze names the third synthesis of time: a theoretical paradigm that accounts for the inﬁnite ways in which the actualised present retains the ability to become in unpredictable ways. In this way. he is asking us to differentiate Brontë’s work. as in the ﬁrst. grounded on recurring instances of the contracted past. While the past as virtual implies that any differentiation of the past will result in the production of the new. . the third synthesis accounts for the prevailing sense that the future maintains the potential to become something wholly new.
indeed. I was certain that everything I had imagined to be truth was false. What Rhys’s novel repeats then is not the actual colonial stereotype per se. the movement from virtual to actual that the third synthesis encapsulates does not exhaust the virtual: the virtual is not actualised outright. as with all becomings. with each actualisation of Bertha (Antoinette’s becoming-mad. these alternative paths all suggest lines of becoming that remain virtual.Becoming-Bertha
canon it repeats only the processes of differentiation necessarily as a becoming-new. but remain aware of how very different they might have been and. might yet become. always more than this actual world. Let it go’ (138). more speciﬁcally. its virtual aspect: ‘every object is double without it being the case that the two halves resemble one another. Only the magic and the dream are true – all the rest’s a lie. becoming-Rochester things could have been different. according to the Deleuzian model. Accordingly. engendering the possibility that in every repetition of becoming-Bertha. with each repetition (of stereotype. becoming-violent). Rather. one being a virtual image the other an actual image’ (Deleuze 2004: 261). Rochester’s becoming-cold-hearted. suddenly. Christophine’s offer to care for Antoinette. Moreover. and Rhys’s famously open ending. Rhys highlights how things might have been or might yet become very different. ‘each actual thing maintains its own virtual power. It is this potentiality to become in unforeseen ways that the third synthesis as differentiation evokes. the processes of becoming that constitute it: Antoinette’s becoming-mad. but. but the processes of becoming that engendered those contractions. It is this virtual aspect of becoming that destabilises the expectancy of the ﬁrst synthesis of time and ensures that
. of text) in Rhys’s novel. As a result. in which her account of the ways in which these stereotypes become established reveals the speciﬁc socio-economic factors that were excluded from the generalised form. ‘I shall never understand why. in excess of its actuality. Rochester’s moment of hesitation. a virtual aspect is differentiated with each becoming and each actual state that one becomes maintains. What something is (actually) is also its power to become (virtually)’ and that this virtual difference is ‘the power to become in unforeseen ways. and not limited by its already present forms’ (Colebrook 2002: 96). False. by contrapuntally rewriting Jane Eyre. The same holds true of Rhys’s contrapuntal reading of stereotypes in Wide Sargasso Sea. In the same way. Rhys’s novel does not repeat the actual elements of Brontë’s work. It is this renewed virtuality that accounts for the prevailing sense that things always have the potential to become-new: as Claire Colebrook argues. not only do we see how things became what they actually are. bewilderingly.
Rhys contrapuntally differentiates Jane Eyre. rather than repeating the known texts themselves’ (Colebrook 2002: 120). Deleuze rejects the Hegelian formula of difference whereby any object (salt. what is produced is not a continuation of the same (this would be a result of the ﬁrst synthesis). becoming is ‘the hidden force of difference’ (Colebrook 2002: 120): it designates the actualisation of different virtual intensities as a becoming-new and conceives of difference ‘independently of the forms of representation which reduce it to the Same. This is why. becoming-crystallised. taking her reader behind the closed doors of Thornﬁeld Hall. so that. and the relation of different to different independently of those forms which make them pass through the negative’ (Deleuze 2004: xvii–xviii). Thus. to use Colebrook’s phrase. Colebrook argues. say) is differentiated negatively via its oppositional relation to its other (pepper). to extend the example. ‘according to Deleuze you are not different from other humans because you differ in this or that actual characteristic but because your thoughts and sensations. but the virtual becomings as that which makes things differ. but in Antoinette’s actualisation of different degrees of becoming-mad. or again. ‘that’s only one side – the English side’ (cited in Raiskin 1996: 133).30 Lorna Burns
the historical re-dress enacted in postcolonial writing back repeats only the revisionary potential of differentiation as the production of the new. Rather. social and gender-speciﬁc forces acting upon her. detailing Bertha’s West Indian upbringing. tracing the disillusionment of Rochester. ‘a work of literature is not to copy that work. the way you change. As Rhys herself claimed. Texts like Wide Sargasso Sea. . This is the very deﬁnition of what Deleuze calls a minor literature: repeating not the actual elements of the canon. becoming-licentious. but because of a range of emotional. In doing so. . but to repeat the forces of difference that produced that work [. What we recognise in Rhys’s novel is a different process of becoming at work: Antoinette does not become mad because of some inherited disposition to do so. if we look to Wide Sargasso Sea and ﬁnd that Antoinette is different to Brontë’s Bertha. Bringing to light the other side of the story. salt is different to other sensations as an actualised intensity of becoming-salty. but an original work
. it is not in actual characteristics that the signiﬁcant difference lies. responding to Brontë’s depiction of ‘the poor Creole lunatic’. As Williams explains. repeat ‘the hidden forces of difference that produce texts. for Deleuze difference is an expression of becoming.6 Wide Sargasso Sea in a very clear way draws from the virtual side of Jane Eyre. ]: a repetition of the virtual and hidden power of difference’ (121). express a different relation of intensities’ (Williams 2003: 9).
its inner capacity for re-dressed bodies and imageries’ (Harris 1983: 61). The ﬁre motif that runs throughout the novel. . Harris ﬁnds in Rhys’s ‘re-dress of Charlotte Brontë’s polarisations’. he argues. Deleuze’s third synthesis can be used to expose the full signiﬁcance of Harris’s reading of Wide Sargasso Sea. might be addressed by the realisation of a common creative thread. creates
. This point emerges in his discussion of the Arawaks and Caribs whose adverse relationship. In the same vein.Becoming-Bertha
through the repetition of the processes of differentiation: ‘repetition is never a historical fact. However. ]. What Harris envisions is a return to the memory or mythology of past conﬂicts in order to uncover unconscious (virtual) dimensions which may be synthesised in such a way as to allow the past to ‘speak’ to the present and future in a new way. ] through points that unravel apparently incompatible appearances’ (56). marks a break or ‘caesura’ in the contemporary ordering of time and witnesses the birth of a new order of ‘the before and the after’ (Deleuze 2004: 112). Deleuze envisions this too: the third synthesis. but rather the historical condition under which something new is effectively produced’ (Deleuze 2004: 113). . . . Harris’s evocation of likeness is not to be misunderstood as signifying the same: the same is the foundation of the ‘narrow basis of realism [. Further. It is in the exposure of ‘likeness[es]’ in apparent polarisations that Harris locates the potential for historical re-dress. a similar trajectory in which ‘a cross-cultural web and likeness are revealed [. he tells us. speaks to Harris of Rhys’s attempt to re-dress absolutes and ‘the paradox of resources of variables of the imagination through which the past speaks to the present and to the future [. . to evoke Bhabha. Realism is a reﬂection of the same and. Where Harris and Deleuze ostensibly disagree is in Harris’s claim that Rhys’s re-dress of historical antagonisms in Wide Sargasso Sea works through the identiﬁcation of what he calls a ‘core of likeness’ (Harris 1983: 56). The third synthesis is not a rejection of the past and although it incites a future that is radically different from what has come before. accordingly. a move that ostensibly sets him in opposition to Deleuze’s celebration of difference and becoming. . signifying both destruction (the burning of Coulibri) and resistance (Antoinette’s ﬁre-red dress which symbolises her revolt against her husband and foreshadows her expected burning of his estate house). generates a new continuum that leads from past to present and future. it is a future that is both linked to the past and which. by accounting for an engagement with the past that creates a new vision of the future. which] tends inevitably to polarise cultures or to reinforce eclipses of otherness within legacies of conquest that rule the world’ (55). Indeed.
(Harris 1983: 56)
What Harris refers to as a ‘core of likeness’ is not the identiﬁcation of the same. within the genius of Charlotte Brontë. . of ‘densities’ or ‘appearances’. although Harris identiﬁes a ‘core of likeness’ at the heart of historical re-dress. Harris notes. Brontë’s characters always had the potential to overcome historical antagonisms. the seeds of such re-dress’ (61). Harris’s presentation of the past or collective unconscious as a virtual archive into which each present passes is fundamentally aligned with the Deleuzian/Bergsonian sense of creative evolution and memory. Put another way. what is taken for granted as a difference achieved through opposition is. In other words. collective unconscious that links all peoples and ties all cultures to a common creative ‘spark’. is not equivalent to the same: as Harris argues. immanent reality.32 Lorna Burns
the polarisations Harris seeks to overcome. To the extent that all identities are particular conﬁgurations or expressions of differentiated becomings emerging from the inﬁnite virtual aspect of a single. Thus. in fact. ] monoliths are extremes/extremities that become ﬁssures of emotion in claustrophobic and historical or cultural space. a difference of degrees of becoming. the ability to become
. That Harris employs the term ‘likeness’ rather than Deleuze’s difference-in-itself is a sign of the emphasis that Harris wants to place on the immanent creativity of the virtual as that from which differences are actualised or becomeactual. Harris invokes a Deleuzian concept of difference-in-itself rather than the Hegelian dialectic by arguing for the recognition of ‘ceaseless parallel animations or subtle likeness through contrasting densities or opposite and varied appearances’ (56). Whereas in creative subtlety or re-dress [. Likeness. when imbued with asymmetric spirit or intangible. what Harris ﬁnds revolutionary is the virtual presence of the past as an undifferentiated (virtual) whole. . as that which gives all the ability to become in unforeseen ways. but what he senses in the cross-cultural web: a single. untameable life. extensions [. Paradoxically.
the politics of culture assume that like to like signiﬁes a monolithic cradle or monolithic origin. In particular. . despite their polarisation in Jane Eyre. ‘Bertha and Rochester possess in themselves. all apparent adversaries are ‘like’ one another in that they all actualise the virtual albeit in different ways. it is fundamentally an issue of what Deleuze terms difference: a repetition of the virtual past’s becoming-actual as that which engenders a new ordering of history. . to frame this in Deleuze’s terms. therefore. Those ﬁssures are parallels. ] in and into bodies of experience whose mental point or core of likeness turns into the spark or passion of science and art.
Christophine’s affectionate but childlike names for her. but differencein-itself: the expression of becomings that emerge in particular ways relative to a range of other becomings. we die as this particular self and we move towards a ﬁnal death. one which does not function through negation but as an experience of becoming expressed in relation to other becomings or intensities such as Emancipation. as in Wide Sargasso Sea. Brontë’s commitment to the structuring inﬂuence of tradition and ideology.Becoming-Bertha
in unforeseen ways. akin to death: ‘as we become. by acknowledging the virtual repetitions in Wide Sargasso Sea a more signiﬁcant difference is uncovered. of family lineage (there is no Cosway line in Jane Eyre) – these actual discrepancies alone diminish full the signiﬁcance of Rhys’s novel by setting up an oppositional framework in which Wide Sargasso Sea is measured against the gold standard of the original parent text. and Daniel’s reference to her as Antoinetta (the middle name of Brontë’s Bertha and her mother’s name in Jane Eyre) should not be misunderstood as a form of violence against the original identity that is Antoinette. while Wide Sargasso Sea is set slightly later. but as constitutive of Antoinette’s identity itself. but is formed from one mask to another’ (Deleuze 2004: 19). Features of Rhys’s novel such as the changes in Antoinette’s name from Antoinette Cosway to Mason and ﬁnally Rochester. creole society and colonial attitudes. Such a move would be based on actual difference. Here Deleuze characterises identity as an always-changing series of becomings. expressed not from the point of view of a pre-determined. But there is something revivifying in the expression of becomings. Through the repetition of Jane Eyre in Wide Sargasso Sea the reader encounters not an accumulation of actual differences. original identity against which these becomings are judged as good or bad. Jane Eyre. these developments express Rhys’s repeated presentation of becoming. meant that this potential remained virtual in Jane Eyre. The actual differences between Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea – the discrepancy of names (‘Bertha is not my name’ ). Williams explains. If the ‘seminal force of the ﬁction of the whole’ (61). they make a
. roughly 1834–44). Such an approach is necessary for any Deleuzian reading of Wide Sargasso Sea given his claim that repetition ‘is not underneath the masks.7 On the other hand. not. a process. Annette). Rather. in Rhys’s novel the repetition of becoming rather than the actual aspects of Brontë’s text realises the potential for re-dress in the production of a new work of (minor) literature. of mother’s name (Bertha’s mother’s name is Antoinetta. her husband’s renaming of her as Bertha. of dates (the timeframe of Jane Eyre is 1789–1808.
remains aware of the ‘revivifying’ potential inherent in that process. by presenting us with a series of becomings that will end in Antoinette’s becoming-Bertha and her suicide. a virtual side or. towards becoming-Bertha. The parallel established between Antoinette and her childhood friend Tia. blood on my face. It was as if I saw myself. Like in a looking-glass’ (38) – is recalled (repeated) at the end of the novel to offer a sense of how things might have been very different for Antoinette. this projected new self does not allow Antoinette to become like ‘a lovely English girl’ (30). madness and an illicit sexuality. Antoinette’s declaration of her new Mason patronymic. in Part Three of the novel when she appears in Antoinette’s dream. Yet again.34 Lorna Burns
life that must end in death one that participates in intensities’ (Williams 2003: 9). Antoinette Mason. tears on hers. racial difference and social discontent (all intensities expressed in relation to the experience of Emancipation in Jamaica). is ‘so without a doubt not English’ (30). Spanish Town. a potential differentiation of Antoinette’s character: a sign of one self she might have become if it were not for the factors of economic tension. the picture of ‘The Miller’s Daughter’. née Cosway. The reader witnesses the death of a number of Antoinette’s ‘selves’. because of her relation to another set of intensities and becomings. In doing so she hopes to become more like the image of English virtue she believes her husband desires in a wife. like her mother. The same is true of another double. Antoinette’s other masks or becomings similarly expose such a tension. As a result. In a very clear way. Rhys shows us the inevitable decline towards death as Antoinette Cosway becomes Mason becomes Rochester. Although not consciously pursuing a Deleuzian reading of Rhys’s novel. Antoinette. but in line with Williams’s reading of Difference and Repetition. more precisely. and her creole heritage evokes for Rochester a different set of becomings that express degeneracy. ﬁre-red marker of her life that very much contrasts with the attempts at erasure on the part of those who surround her’ (Simpson 2005: 126). as Antoinette’s double. which led Antoinette’s becomings in a speciﬁc direction. which Antoinette attempts to mirror. 1839’ (44) – records the passing of her previous self (Antoinette Cosway) and stands as a positive assertion of a new identity. Mount Calvary Convent. Tia. who appears as a mirror image of the protagonist on the night of the burning of Coulibri – ‘we stared at each other. embroidered in vivid red – ‘I will write my name in ﬁre red. is. Jamaica. a point Simpson touches upon when she argues that in writing her name Antoinette ‘creates a bold. her
. here Simpson identiﬁes the central drive of the novel as the tension between a process of becoming that renews the life of the protagonist and one which leads to her pre-determined fate.
but in themselves as actual differentiations that cannot be mirrored or repeated: as difference. soul sisters and brothers.Becoming-Bertha
attempt to become-English is overwhelmed by the forces that repeat the processes of Brontë’s novel as becoming-Bertha. Winnicot in order to read Rhys’s novel as ‘the narrative of a subject’s painful inability to constitute itself as an autonomous identity. Like in a looking-glass’ (38) – but also a sign of their irreducible difference. Williams argues. the emotions are double – something is sensed in the same way but there is also a sensation of a profound difference.8 Following Winnicott’s claim that what a baby sees in his/her mother’s face is him or herself. One of the most commented upon aspects of Wide Sargasso Sea. ‘The Miller’s Daughter’ is the image of Antoinette’s future self and the marker of her unsettling creole difference that Rochester will never manage to accommodate. Scharfman argues that Antoinette projects a fragmented identity because as a child she did not experience her mother as a mirror. These alternative possibilities are presented to the reader in the mirror images and doubles that exist within the novel not only as virtual lines of becoming that Antoinette might have followed. . the fact that in every repetition the only likeness is difference or the power to become. Tia is her mirror image – ‘it was as if I saw myself. to belong’ (Scharfman 1981: 99–100). so Antoinette’s doubles evoke the dual sense of similarity and difference. rather than reading Antoinette’s narrative. a Deleuzian approach suggests that Rhys presents a series of inevitable becomings that co-exist alongside a range of virtual ways in which Antoinette could possibly become. as Scharfman does. Deleuze. Critics such as Ronnie Scharfman employ the developmental psychology of Nancy Chodorow and D. just as Wide Sargasso Sea as the repeated double of Jane Eyre illustrates ‘the persistence of difference’. For Antoinette. paints a similar picture:
reﬂections. as for
. W. acts of celebration and commemoration are all cases where the repetition or the experience of repetition is accompanied by intense reactions allied to the persistence of difference. is the novel’s exploration of the mother/daughter relationship. Moreover. However. [. (Williams 2003: 32–3)
Just as Rhys’s novel contrapuntally differentiates Jane Eyre. Antoinette’s doubles offer virtual lines of becoming that coexist with the various ways in which Antoinette ‘actually’ becomes. doubles. ] In each case. . besides that of its association with Jane Eyre. For Rhys. as the account of an original identity that then becomes fragmented throughout the course of the novel.
Instead of unity. Antoinette encounters in her mother a series of becomings (becoming-disillusioned. ‘deep – it might have been cut with a knife’ (17). She was surrounded by a gilt frame but I knew her’ (154). It is this persistent separation. her pain and her madness: ‘I hated this frown and once I touched her forehead trying to smooth it’. initially. long-delayed mirroring fusion’ with the mother that gives Antoinette a ‘paradoxical freedom through death’ (Scharfman 1981: 104). The woman standing with streaming hair. mirror images and doubles echo only the forward movement of becoming and the impossibility of any other form of repetition. the burning house. Antoinette’s mirror image evokes the double emotion that Williams recognises in Difference and Repetition: almost herself. deep as if it had been cut with a knife’ (114). As Rochester later observes of his wife. is the way in which the ending represents a culmination of forces that have coerced Antoinette to mirror those aspects of her mother that she does not identify with. Antoinette does. the frown between her thick eyebrows. however. Annette and Bertha. the repetition of difference rather than the same that Wide Sargasso Sea evokes in its presentation of Antoinette’s reﬂected image. as Scharfman argues. ‘after I knew that she talked aloud to herself I was a little afraid of her’ (17). But the glass was between us – hard.9 What such a reading ignores. and a similar process emerges in Antoinette’s relationship with her mother. But rather than never seeing herself reﬂected in her mother. cold. the secluded madwoman – Rhys’s novel depicts a process of becoming that
. but not quite. The most striking example of this is offered in the repeated image of Annette’s frown. separation persists. the repetition evident in reﬂections. The girl I saw was my self yet not quite myself. It was then that I saw her – the ghost. and misted over with my breath’ (147). signifying for critics such as Scharfman a ‘long-desired. becoming-unstable) that she is expected to mirror. approach her mother’s face as a potential mirror. Here Antoinette becomes both her mothers. The self cannot become its double or mirror image. In line with Winnicott. This apparent realisation of the mother mirror image is enforced once again by the novel’s ending. in Antoinette. ‘I looked at the sad droop of her lips. in which Antoinette’s appearance as the madwoman surrounded by the ﬂames of the burning estate house is a repetition of her mother’s fate: ‘I went into the hall again with the tall candle in my hand.36 Lorna Burns
Deleuze. Long ago when I was a child and very lonely I tired to kiss her. Looking beyond the actual repetition of images which recall the mother ﬁgure – the barefooted woman. it can only become: ‘I remember watching myself brush my hair and how my eyes looked back at me.
Bertha. her attempt to take on the role of the Miller’s Daughter. what the
. who see in repetition only the recurrence of the same or the general and ﬁnd in Antoinette only the recurring image of the madwoman in the attic that is her mother/Bertha. Mirror images and doubles are discrepant throughout Wide Sargasso Sea because. becoming-Bertha. a ‘repetition-withdifference’ (Harrison 1988: 135) as Nancy Harrison observes. Instead. fail to realise the potential for re-dress in the virtual aspect of Brontë’s novel. [. those masks which offer Antoinette the least degree of freedom are the ones that are approved: her becoming-Annette. I would argue. ] Bertha. Her attempt to validate her identity as Antoinette Mason by embroidering it in ﬁre red. as Williams explains with respect to Deleuze. her childhood mirror image in Tia. Thus. If we may be empowered by the authentication of our masks. rather Wide Sargasso Sea is a difﬁcult double. this demands a new approach to psychoanalysis based not on the validation of actual events or the recovery of an original trauma. Rhys is not the ‘dutiful child’ copying the mother text. as a repetition itself. [. and the racial tensions of post-Emancipation Jamaica. Rhys’s novel draws attention to the fact that there is no possible ‘mirroring fusion’ only. In this respect. Rather than reading in Antoinette’s alienation from her mother a sign of her fragmented psyche. but rather ‘analysis “works” because roles and masks are authenticated. It is the fate of Antoinette’s other mother. that warns the reader against celebrating too readily any union with the mother.Becoming-Bertha
is stunted by being coerced (by expectation and habit) into a repetition of the same rather than difference. then the converse also holds true: masks which are rejected creates alienation. copied her parents’ (Brontë 1990: 298). his ﬁxation on her sexuality and heritage. these all stand as masks (becomings) that are never authenticated. . the model of becoming that I have used to discuss Rhys’s novel offers an understanding of identity as a series of masks. It is an account of Antoinette’s becoming-Bertha that continually repeats her difference (her becoming). Characters such as Rochester who fail to recognise the difference in repetition. he becomes the Rochester of Jane Eyre who claims ‘Bertha Mason is mad and she came of a mad family. Her marriage to Rochester. to use the Deleuzian formula. This. In turn. these factors deny Antoinette’s masks the approval she seeks. like a dutiful child. for she is precisely the image of creole madness that Rhys sought to deconstruct. . ] It is a site where a way of creating other masks is given a seal of approval’ (Williams 2003: 49). . is precisely the trauma that Antoinette suffers. . the eternal return of difference.
to Her Mistress’s Voice’ (Huggan 1994: 657). and it is in the rejection of certain masks. There must have been a draught for the ﬂame ﬂickered and I thought it was out. Such a virtual possibility critics like Graham Huggan have identiﬁed in the novel’s resolution: ‘should we take Rhys’s Antoinette for Brontë’s Bertha. Antoinette’s claim that ‘there are always two deaths. that the greatest violence lies. Although this moment is a repetition of Brontë’s novel. Rhys’s novel differentiates Jane Eyre by actualising the series of becomings that lead up to the burning of Thornﬁeld Hall. it is not an actual repetition: it takes us behind the closed doors and ‘dark passage[s]’ of Thornﬁeld Hall that cannot be accessed by Jane Eyre. Answering back. the real one and the one people know about’ (106) not only prepares the reader for another death besides her suicide at Thornﬁeld Hall (the death people know about). In the ﬁnal analysis. some of which are validated. What results is new. repeating its difference. The Deleuzian framework that this article has traced provides the opportunity to reread Rhys’s postcolonial ‘writing back’ as an illustration of difference as well as repetition: challenging the reader’s expectancy and presenting its own becoming-new through a differentiation of the virtual text of Brontë’s novel. and interpret the ending of Wide Sargasso Sea accordingly as the prelude to an inevitable act of self-sacriﬁce? Or should we listen again to the resurrected Creole parrot? “Ché Coco. It is the denial of the signiﬁcance of the virtual past. As a repetition itself. that Rhys most directly seeks to challenge in Wide Sargasso Sea. As a result. but displays a sensitivity towards understanding being as a series of becomings
. Antoinette might not follow the fate of Bertha foretold in her dream and in the life of her mother. forcing Antoinette to become like what she would have to be like to deserve her fate. Ché Coco”. It is in the discrepancy of repetition that Rhys’s novel opens up to the virtual potential of Antoinette’s narrative. the ability to become in unforeseen ways. But I shielded it with my hand and it burned up again to light me along the dark passage’ (155–6). drawn from the virtual aspect of the canon. foregrounding a series of becomings that. Rhys’s open ending which only suggests that Antoinette ﬁnally enacts Bertha’s role again exposes the expectancy of the reader and the desire to ﬁnd in repetition the perfect mirror image: ‘at last I know why I was brought here and what I have to do. in illustrating how the protagonist becomes-Bertha. some of which are not. draws attention to the myriad ways in which things could have been very different. cheekily.38 Lorna Burns
reader witnesses is a series of becomings or masks. Rhys’s ending remains alive with the potential to become a very different story – the ﬂame might go out.
the technical structure of the archiving archive also determines the structure of the archivable content even in
. it is a death that Rhys leaves resolutely double. [. see Burns (2009). Derrida’s claim that ‘the archive [. ] No. actual death. If the ‘ﬂaw in [this] metaphor is that it suggests inert memory packages’ (41). Like her mother whose ‘death’ she witnesses at the burning of Coulibri. without the archive. existing virtually in her own novel. for although Antoinette’s becomingBertha brings her one step closer to her inevitable end. The impossibility of bringing together the two sides of death – the death of Antoinette as she becomes-Bertha and her actual suicide – is underscored by Rhys’s omission of the anticipated death scene. see Burns (2009). ‘the oppressors produce and maintain by force the evils that render the oppressed. for example. only to be realised ‘later’ in Jane Eyre as the continuation of Bertha’s story. 3. more and more like what they would have to be like to deserve their fate’ (Sartre 1974: xxvi). his distinction between a counter-colonial stance that is locked into a ﬁxed dialogue between coloniser and coloniser and an alternative view that holds that ‘any creative expression is irreducibly speciﬁc to (though not speciﬁed by) the situation of its articulation’ (Hallward 2001: 62). in their eyes. and that ‘suicide is an attempt to make the two incommensurable faces coincide or correspond. Antoinette dies as one particular self as she becomes another: ‘like when he wouldn’t call me Antoinette. the two sides do not meet. ] is not only the place for stocking and for conserving an archivable content of the past which would exist in any case.
1. 2. . . As Sartre writes. . See. and every death remains double’ (Deleuze 2004: 322–3). Rhys’s presentation of Antoinette’s two deaths.Becoming-Bertha
and deaths. However. is one which I adapt to delineate the postcolonial project. Her suicide remains outside the bounds of Wide Sargasso Sea. Jay Lampert similarly implies this sense of archiving in his description of the second synthesis as ‘a “storehouse” of temporal moments’ (Lampert 2006: 41). ‘two at least’ (106). then Williams’s evocation of the Foucauldian/Derridean archive better underscores the creative force of the second synthesis. Mardorossian also notes the parallel between Antoinette’s dress slipping off one shoulder and the depiction of the Miller’s Daughter (Mardorossian 1999: 1076). and I saw Antoinette drifting out of the window with her scents. Bertha’s suicide leaping from the rooftop of a blazing Thornﬁeld Hall is discontinuous with Antoinette’s inevitable. Despite Hallward’s employment of Deleuze to demonstrate the self-defeating aims of postcolonialism. as such. Stuart Hampshire’s Spinoza and Spinozism provides a lucid outline of Spinoza’s single-substance philosophy. For further analysis of Hallward’s problematic reading of postcolonialism. then. ﬁnds resonance with Deleuze’s claim that ‘every death is double’. . For further discussion of Spinoza’s philosophy in a postcolonial context. her pretty clothes and her looking-glass’ (147). 5. 4.
Gareth Grifﬁths and Helen Tifﬁn (2002) The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia. London: Continuum. 9. . New York: Zone Books. ] It causes the other and the outside to burst forth’ (Foucault 1972: 130–1). allowing Antoinette to narrate her story (Kloepfer 1989: 147–8). Huggan 1994.40 Lorna Burns
its very coming into existence and in its relationship to the future. Michel (1972) Archaeology of Knowledge. Homi (1994) The Location of Culture. Michael Dash. Mardorossian 1999. particularly as that which drives the production of the new as differentiation: ‘its threshold of existence is established by the break that separates us from what we can no longer say. Foucault. Carol (2005) Colonialism and the Modernist Moment in the Early Novels of Jean Rhys. trans. 9–36. Édouard (1999) Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays. 23:1. Foucault’s archive is similarly creative. [. 115–21). 99–117. Deleuze.
. London: Virago Press. Bernabé. Kloepfer (1989: 142–58). Becoming-Caribbean: Édouard Glissant and the Poetics of Creolisation’. however. Daughters and Madness in Works by Four Women Writers’. Following Scharfman. Sheridan Smith. see Gunner (1994: 136–51).
7. The activation produces as much as it records the event’ (Derrida 1995: 17). Bhabha. London: Routledge. Carol Dell’Amico draws on Deleuze’s account of masochism in Coldness and Cruelty in order to reread Rhys’s early texts as expressions of a subversive female empowerment (Dell’Amico 2005: 57–95). Gunner. Charlotte (1990) Jane Eyre. pp. Textual Practice. . M. pp. 14. Jacques (1995) ‘Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression’. Bill. O’Connor (1986: 171–96). J. Jean. Rudyard (2005) Discourses of Heredity and Caribbean Literature. Dell’Amico. has focused on Antoinette’s ambivalent creoleness as the primary site of resistance to colonial/patriarchical orders (see Alcocer 2005: 160–6. trans. Liz (1994) ‘Mothers. such as parallels between Jane and Antoinette’s dreams (Kloepfer 1989: 154). Simpson 2005: 111–15. trans. and from what falls outside our discursive practice. Paris: Gallimard. London and New York: Routledge. 25:2. Taleb-Khyar. London: Routledge. Routledge: London. trans. Burns.
6. Colebrook’s brief analysis of Wide Sargasso Sea remains one of the few Deleuzian readings of Rhys’s work. Simpson (2005: 8–16. 136–51. Klopfer and Gunner have similarly viewed the mother connection as empowering. Claire (2002) Gilles Deleuze. 136). trans. A. Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics. For further discussion of the mother/daughter relationship in Rhys’s work. Lorna (2009) ‘Becoming-Postcolonial. Hugh Tomlinson. Paul Patton. Diacritics. New York: Tavistock Publications. trans. Murdoch 2003. London: Routledge. Brontë. Gilles (1991) Bergsonism. Derrida. pp. In another Deleuzian reading. Glissant. Eric Prenowitz. Gilles (2004) Difference and Repetition. Patrick Chamoiseau and Raphaël Conﬁant (1993) Éloge de la créolité. Deleuze. The main body of recent criticism on Wide Sargasso Sea. Colebrook. Kloepfer’s study presents an analysis of the speciﬁc repetitions of Jane Eyre in Rhys’s novel. 8. Ashcroft.
Alcocer. or to challenge patriarchy (Gunner 1994: 143).
trans. Anne (2005) Territories of the Psyche: The Fiction of Jean Rhys. London: University of North Carolina Press. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Oxford: Claredon Press. 26:1. Basingstoke: Macmillan. Memmi. pp. pp. Said. Michael (1993) Gilles Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy. Hardt.
DOI: 10. pp. Harris. Peter (2001) Absolutely Postcolonial: Writing Between the Singular and the Speciﬁc. Jean Paul (1974) ‘Introduction’. Scharfman. Harrison. London: Chatto and Windus. Rhys. Callaloo. London: Penguin Books. 1071–90. Raiskin. Albert (1974) The Coloniser and the Colonised. London: UCL Press. Graham (1994) ‘A Tale of Two Parrots: Walcott. New York: New York University Press. Wilson (1996) Jonestown. Jay (2006) Deleuze and Guattari’s Philosophy of History. Ronnie (1981) ‘Mirroring and Mothering in Schwartz-Bart’s Pluie et vent sur Télumée Miracle and Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea’. Daniel (2007) ‘The Conditions of the New’. trans. Contemporary Literature. Carine (1999) ‘Shutting up the Subaltern: Silences. D. Smith. Jean (2000) Wide Sargasso Sea. Judith (1996) Snow on the Caneﬁelds: Women’s Writing and Creole Subjectivity. 1:1. 252–72.Becoming-Bertha
Hallward. Rhys. Walcott. 62. 88–106. Stuart (2005) Spinoza and Spinozism. Yale French Studies. 22:4. Straus and Giroux. Literature and the African World. Derek (1998) What the Twilight Says. Wole (1976) Myth. Wilson (1983) The Womb of Space. London: Faber and Faber. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Sartre. Lampert. Edward (1993) Culture and Imperialism. Deborah (1989) The Unspeakable Mother: Forbidden Discourse in Jean Rhys and H.3366/E1750224110000784
. pp. Adlai (2003) ‘Rhys’s Pieces: Unhomliness as Arbiter of Caribbean Creolisation’. Williams. Murdoch. Deleuze Studies. and the Uses of Colonial Mimicry’. London: Continuum. O’Connor. London: Souvenir Press. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. Howard Greenﬁeld. and Double-Entendre in Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea’. London: Souvenir Press. Soyinka. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 1–21. H. Harris. Albert Memmi. Mardorossian. Hampshire. New York: Farrar. The Coloniser and the Colonised. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 35:4. James (2003) Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition. Callaloo. Simpson. Howard Greenﬁeld.. London: Greenwood Press. Nancy (1988) Jean Rhys and the Novel as Women’s Text. Stereotypes. Huggan. 643–60. Kloepfer. Teresa (1986) Jean Rhys and the West Indian Novels.
how these attempts are counter-Deleuzian. What if some post-Machiavellian corporateer reads the Deleuze and Guattari trinity of Anti-Oedipus. especially their double-opus. rhizome. that those who have some brief familiarity with the texts will misemploy the conceptual strategies found there for the purposes of advancing corporate interests. A Thousand Plateaus and What is Philosophy? What if the lessons gleaned there are distended or abused for nefarious corporate ends? One can only imagine the applications where such a
. Our aim here will be to use McDonald’s Corporation as an example of how the theoretical offerings of Deleuze and Guattari have been indirectly and hastily deployed for corporate ends. immaterial labour. corporate structure. Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus wherein a wealth of critique abounds. London
The popularity of Deleuze and Guattari is an undeniable precedent in current theoretical exchanges. namely. the signiﬁcant trends concerning Deleuze and Guattari ‘scholarship’ may be jeopardised by the (ab)use of certain conceptual themes and methods in their work that are distorted and employed by big business looking to secure their legacies of power by means of a control mechanism that looks to subjugate an entire world by means of (to borrow a term from Mihai Spariosu) ‘globalitarianism’. Žižek.McDeleuze: What’s More Rhizomal than the Big Mac?
Kane X. nomadology One of the most pressing problems facing Deleuze and Guattari scholarship is a criticism that Žižek evokes in Organs without Bodies: Deleuze and Consequences (2004). Keywords: Deleuze. However. and it could be stated without much contention that one’s theoretical positioning must at some point deal with the salient conceptual offerings of Deleuze and Guattari. Faucher
The University of Western Ontario. and to answer at least one of Žižek’s criticisms against Deleuze.
but trees look like rhizomes when one is encompassed by the mad proliferation of its varying foliage. One of the new developments that distinguishes contemporary capitalism from the Fordist economy is precisely the decentralisation and rhizomal expansion of the corporation that makes the evasion of national bodies of law a much simpler affair. This still classiﬁes. And what of creating the business of pure affect? No longer relying on traditional monopoly capital. the corporations are fully in their power to dismantle their operations in one region and set upon a more favourable terrain. However. the disparate elements come to resonate and thereby constitute the emergence of a fascist nexus. Calling to account the major meta-corporations for environmental degradation. however. These constructions are ghastly and do not demonstrate a careful reading of Deleuze and Guattari’s oeuvre. even to the detriment of local ﬂedgling industries or environmental concerns. to the detriment of those working to limit the viral capacity of global capitalism.and reterritorialise a given terrain by selecting areas of employment vacuum. and effectively reinscribe and reterritorialise that region as yet another town that bears the indelible stamp of Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart. that is. What makes the true determination or cut between the two models is precisely the awareness and critique of the ubiquity of strategies
. as a fascicular root-tree of sorts rather than a true rhizome. even misapplications can run the perilous risk of actually succeeding as models and practices. these meta-corporations can pop up anywhere and add to the resonance factor of its rhizomal power nexus as it is surreptitiously wielded inter-regionally. dominate globally. or how to build a global corporate empire without micromanagement and accountability as a merely metaphoric transposition from the body without organs (BwO). for to pinion the expansionist policies of certain corporations only leads to the more disastrous economic repercussions of glissement. but global zones of intensity with rhizomal webworks that operate under a new ‘virtual’ digicratic order. labour abuses abroad and the ﬂow of wealth to alternate regions of the world that function as tax shelters has quickly become the central problem that governments today are now powerless to face. can effectively de.McDeleuze: What’s More Rhizomal than the Big Mac? 43
being reads the chapters on how to create concepts as how to create global corporate empires. The new slogan of late capital is to appear to concede locally. for instance. As Laclau points out.1 Like fungus after a storm. offering the desperate multitude jobs. the strength of this nexus is its ability to shift its centre so that the archaic ‘centre’ is constantly shifting and adapting to new phenomena. qua Deleuze and Guattari’s deﬁnition.
For example. ‘In any concept there are usually bits or components that come from other concepts. McDeleuze
When careful ﬁdelity to the text is not heeded. and the ‘ﬂow of becoming’ is also rendered crudely in the McDonald’s system by designing seating that will be uncomfortable after twenty minutes (as well as the strategic use of ‘panic colours’) so that there is a constant ﬂow of new customers supplanting the old. cultural demand. McDonald’s has perfected this to an art: by catering to local-speciﬁc tastes as a kind of soft cultural concession (in Maine. it is no secret that constitutive and wilful misreadings may result. the McLobster). and so incorporated these as ‘concepts’ to the newly posed problem of a ﬂedgling burger stand. Let us consider Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of the concept and how it seems already installed (per bad reading) in the concept that is McDonald’s. Faucher
employed by these meta-corporations that merely champion diversity within prescribed limits rather than true afﬁrmative differences – to cater to local tastes while maintaining an Aristotelian taxonomic-style structure at its global base. What can be more crudely and physically rhizomal than the Big Mac? The size of the ‘beef’ patty itself will shrink or expand in anticipation of. did not Kroc ﬁnd in the old concept of McDonald’s a problem of nonexpansionism. McDonald’s effectively reinscribes the social margin into its totalising menu. an ante-Deleuzian? Does he not qualify as a ‘concept creator’ in that rigorous Deleuzian sense? If a concept ‘is only created as a function of problems which are thought to be badly understood or badly posed’ (Deleuze and Guattari  (1994): 16). As Deleuze and Guattari write. thereby applying his own conceptual innovations to resolve or repose the problem differently? Kroc began as a salesman for Dixie cups and appended the task of selling milkshake machines that could multiply production.
I. Was Ray Kroc. the lobster industry will be completely non-distinct from the corporation that has absorbed it into its product array. and makes it bear the stamp of the corporation so that there could come a point when. which corresponded
. The ‘intensive affects’ that impersonally de.and reterritorialise the traditional meat and potatoes fare as ‘burger and fries’ are merely a metonymic transition. non-proliferation and limited access. the founder of the modern McDonald’s and an industrious opportunist who bought out the previous roadside burger stand from its originators. or response to.44 Kane X. in Maine. McDonald’s is an intriguing paradigm case for discussing corporate global expansion.
However. takes on new contours. such that ‘each concept will therefore be considered as the point of coincidence. As whole it is absolute. . it only sufﬁces that it appears somewhere. and must be reactivated or recut’ (Deleuze and Guattari  (1994): 18). These ‘conceptemes’ were made to resonate in such a way as to ensure a heterogeneous endoconsistency that made each concept component indiscernible in their neighbourhood or zone. Kroc was able to respond to the problem of how to entice families to frequent these restaurants by targeting his marketing to children. The actual restaurant is not determined by its coordinates on a map. and the conditions it assigns to the problem. to other concepts. but insofar as it is fragmentary it is relative. Each of the concepts had to share their zones. as an intensive ordinate. . Although corporate decentralisation theories have aimed to resolve the dangers of verticalbased power distribution. The McDonald’s concept speaks its Event. but will be fragmentary insofar as there is no one expression of the concept of McDonald’s that could truly be said to function as the true and distinct ‘archetype’ since its success depends on local variations catering to local tastes. anywhere. toys and the like. will be absolute in the appropriations (condensations) it can make wherever it is located. condensation. the site it occupies on the plane. or at least their components. we can see how this can easily be misread: McDonald’s. the haecceity of its expression. and to the problems it is supposed to resolve. the problems posed were the efﬁcacy of cups. differential concepts still function as auxiliary
. to the plane on which it is deﬁned.McDeleuze: What’s More Rhizomal than the Big Mac? 45
to other problems and presupposed other planes . milkshake machinery and fast food restaurants. or accumulation of its own components’ (Deleuze and Guattari  (1994): 20). Inspired as well by the use of cartoon characters. For Kroc. as a concept packed with inseparable components upon a larger plane of expansionist capital. The exoconsistency of the McDonald’s concept was its subsequent alliances with various other concepts: movie promotions. The further danger in misreading may be noted here when the concept is considered in properties both absolute and relative:
It is relative to its own components. (Deleuze and Guattari  (1994): 21)
Even the variations within the concept are inseparable. each concept carries out a new cutting-out. By uniting these concepts. The means by which it absorbs other concept components assures its resonant becomings. he was able to recast the new creation as the concept of McDonald’s that has mostly been handed down today in its current form. but it is absolute through the condensation it carries out.
Rhetorically. The overarching ethical conduit by which McDonald’s wants to be perceived is the association between food production and (moral) value. Nothing can be more personal than what one eats and what one believes. The basis for isolating McDonald’s is not to critique this particular corporation for not showing ﬁdelity to Deleuze and Guattari’s concepts. There are confusing similarities between what Deleuze and Guattari describe as the rhizome and the practices of corporations.
II. In doing so. In releasing these reports to the public. The Rhetoric of McDonald’s
One need not turn to the legion of texts that criticise the practices of McDonald’s Corporation since McDonald’s own publicly released annual report discloses the rhetorical devices it employs to ensure brand loyalty and the maximisation of proﬁt. caring corporation sensitive to the needs of all its employees and customers. This model. and so it is essential for McDonald’s. it will be of some utility to demonstrate the disagreement between multinational corporate practices and the ideas of Deleuze and Guattari as a means to answer Žižek’s accusation that these ideas actually enable contemporary corporate logics. rather. doubtless in response to critics who have lambasted the corporation for lack of disclosure. McDonald’s abides by one of its initial guiding ‘ethics’: namely. in order to be prosperous. but these similarities are merely appearances – a league of representations. and an encompassing outer sphere that unites the structure into a
. is a series of overlapping ‘spheres’ governed by both a central nexus of locations and corporate revenues. There are frequent appeals to the ‘founding principles’ of Ray Kroc. that trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. Nowhere is this false or negative difference more evident than in its business model. verging on the religious near-deiﬁcation of their founder. for this would presuppose an intention on behalf of this corporation to do so. to tread in such a way as to appeal to a reductionist ‘common value’ that encircles a perceived majoritarian set of values. ‘Freedom within the Framework’. releasing an annual report is partially designed to ‘earn’ that public trust and to maintain its global credibility as a dynamic. the corporation produces a regulatory framework ﬂexible enough to allow regional differences while still maintaining a totalising system of common relevant moral values. Faucher
to categorical thinking that functions as an a priori tracing rather than a non-hierarchical cartography. pictorially demonstrated in their 2004 report on Corporate Responsibility.46 Kane X.
a ‘root book’ of values that regulate the corporate organism. individual geographic business units have the freedom to develop programs and performance measures appropriate to local conditions. These three determining aspects have a dubiety about them. Within this framework.McDeleuze: What’s More Rhizomal than the Big Mac? 47
whole. Three ‘rhizomatic’ elastic spheres issue from the central nexus. We view this model as a source of strength. and this is precisely due to their substitutability in responding to the dynamic demands of any regionalist conditions that may later impact upon the whole. ensuring that its claims of ‘decentralisation’ is a confused one. policies. the ‘freedom’ within this framework is the expansive character of the three spheres by which the centre sphere is fed by titration of proﬁts. to give back to the community which presupposes something taken away. we provide a global framework of common goals. (b) operates according to a global framework and (c) is rooted in core values that regulate the peripheral functions of the corporate structure. Presumably. At the corporate level. it would appear that decentralisation has been loosely appended as a buzzword or vacuous homily. pending that they do not violate the categorical unity. In essence.
Decentralisation within limits: That is. ﬂoating as if in a soup. As well. and this is located precisely in those ‘core values’ it is ‘rooted in’. still a centralised organism? According to Jim Skinner (Vice-Chairman) and Charles Bell (President and CEO). and guidelines rooted in our core values. especially since it (a) is stated as ‘fundamental’. namely owners/operators. and holding themselves in the highest possible ethical standards). This model is more of an organism than a Deleuzian BwO since its power rests in a power structure that is governed by the crude metrics of proﬁt and amount of locations. The moral overcoding is fascicular. and so rather consigns difference to paltry
. McDonald’s also discloses more than it perhaps realises by claiming its corporate strength in accordance with its ‘Freedom within a Framework’ model. Is McDonald’s. are three corresponding aspects that determine the encompassing sphere: policies (good business conduct and environmental policy to become the best employer. This effectively trumps any truly afﬁrmative difference from engaging and altering the corporate totality.
Decentralisation is fundamental to our business model – and to our corporate responsibility efforts. stating that it can maintain its corporate governance globally while being ﬂexible enough in the particulars to cater to local and regional differences. there is still a centralising feature of McDonald’s model. despite its seeming ‘rhizomatesque’ features. company employees and suppliers (Skinner and Bell 2004).
48 Kane X. Faucher
variations under a global framework that is itself inﬂexible. Ray Kroc remains the unseen religious ﬁgurehead (as McDonald’s rather prefers to use cartoon icons by which to channel the ‘divine’ corporate inﬂuence), acting as a kind of ‘Holy Ghost’ that spiritualises and concretises the core values the corporation relies upon. Nowhere is this more apparent than in its motto: ‘At McDonald’s, we believe that good governance starts with good values’. Harking to a worn Platonic dictate on the construction of a State, McDonald’s does not deviate far from the common sense notion of governance. Words such as ‘governance’ and ‘value’ are frequently repeated as ultimate signiﬁeds by which we are expected to believe that indeed McDonald’s upholds these terms in all its operations. And even if these values were being upheld, it is unlikely that they were selected democratically or that those who are employed at the lowest employment tier would be invited or encouraged to dispute these values. The looming ﬁgure of hegemony is most present when values are ‘handed down’ to be ‘obeyed’, even if they come in the guise of generally accepted consensus or are articulated in the most broad and vague terms. McDonald’s does not stop at seemingly appropriating (albeit badly) Deleuzian themes, but also makes blatant use of various postcolonial and postindustrialist terms such as ‘stakeholders’. For example, its global ‘sensitivity’ is trotted out here: ‘And whether it’s called “good corporate citizenship” or “social responsibility,” we take seriously our commitment to conducting our business in a way that respects the world around us and the issues that matter most to you’, and
we work toward responsible actions by understanding the perspectives and needs of our customers and other important stakeholders, by collaborating with experts to understand issues and opportunities and by inspiring the people in our system – company employees, owner/operators and suppliers – to share and act on these core values.
What are these issues exactly, and how can their relevance gain purchase on this reductionist, universalised and structurally empty ‘you’? If McDonald’s could not assume a common set of values, and if these values could be demonstrated not to hold for all persons for all times, the credibility of their regulative framework would be in jeopardy. In desiring to provide meals and a dining out experience that exceeds its customers’ expectations, McDonald’s once again blunders in assuming a common set of predictable expectations, what their content would be and therefore how to exceed them.2 As to the globalising structure of McDonald’s, McDonald’s relies on its ‘Plan to Win’ business strategy: ‘We manage our worldwide
McDeleuze: What’s More Rhizomal than the Big Mac? 49
operations with McDonald’s global Plan to Win, which identiﬁes ﬁve P’s that drive our business – Products, People, Place, Price and Promotion’. Apart from what may have been construed in the planning ofﬁces, a clever use of alliteration and a mnemonic device for better corporate encoding, we ﬁnd that these ﬁve P’s are as empty and vacuous as they are attempts at totalisation and reduction. Instead of considering the various aspects of their business as a rich dynamism, a planomenon of intercalated becomings, they have instead relied on a rigid stratiﬁcation, an ecumenon of particular determinations that function in concert according to an overcoding moral set which euphemistically is dubbed their plan to win. We may take especial issue with this notion of winning, most notably as it is draped upon their core values, and pose the question as to what winning means. It is not merely a victory of maximising proﬁts per quarter, but a moral victory as well – that the McDonald’s worldview of what morally ought to be is realised and ensures the perpetuation of its regulative moral codes. McDonald’s succinctly states,
We provide a framework of common values, policies and business strategies and then empower our owner/operators, our suppliers and company staff to contribute in ways that reﬂect their unique expertise and local circumstances. Like other parts of our business, McDonald’s commitment to corporate responsibility follows this ‘freedom within a framework’ approach.
Heavy yet most likely vacuous words like ‘responsibility’ are not innocuous additions to their corporate mandate as they seek to respond to mounting criticism that McDonald’s is yet another cold, faceless, proﬁt-accumulating machine that only provides homogeneity as its major export:
Responsibility at McDonald’s means striving to do what is right, being a good neighbor in the community and integrating social and environmental priorities into our restaurants and our relationships with suppliers and business partners . . . We have a responsibility to maintain our values and high standards as we provide food that is affordable to a wide range of customers.
Our restaurants and drive-thru’s will be clean, relevant and inviting to the customers of today and tomorrow. We have a responsibility to manage our business by integrating environmental considerations into daily operations and by constantly seeking ways to add value to the community.3
To what extent these ‘environmental considerations’ actually enter into McDonald’s schema seems to be tacked on, and McDonald’s
50 Kane X. Faucher
claim to the addition of value to a community sounds hollow without further qualiﬁcation. One may question how a McDonald’s actually adds value to any community rather than reduces value to a ﬂat common set of prefabricated corporate ideals, low-income employment, a menu of false choices, perpetuating animal cruelty, diminishing the proﬁtability of smaller non-chain restaurants, infantilising the consumer public, the degradation of ﬁne cuisine to mere convenience, massive garbage production and contributing to rampant obesity. In what way is McDonald’s representing ‘responsibility’? In recent years, ‘healthy’ choices have been added to the menu in response to a growing concern over the deleterious effects of fast food. What is this ‘healthy’ turn? On pages 6–8 of the report, McDonald’s repeats its mantra of food = value by making its ﬁrst argument one of ad populam (the average consumer’s values, highlighting a speciﬁc case example of an average consumer, quite politically inﬂected by the selection of a visible ethnic minority) and then moves towards an appeal to authority (a semi-alarmist message by Professor Paul Gately, member of McDonald’s Global Advisory Council in Balanced Lifestyles). Dr Gately does not make a ﬁrm connection between skyrocketing overweight and obesity rates and the steps McDonald’s is taking to help alleviate the problem, but rather states that,
In a world where technological advances and our risk-averse culture have removed opportunities for children to be physically active, we need to ﬁnd ways to give kids positive experiences of physical activity, exercise and sports. For children, what’s critical is engagement and fun – and that’s something McDonald’s does very well.
After Gately shifts the blame for child obesity to broad social conditions of technology and safety (making sweeping generalisations, we might add), he asserts that McDonald’s offers the following solutions: (1) providing ‘fun’ (which is a vacuous signiﬁer), ‘engagement’, food choices within an ‘improved nutritional matrix’, convenience and good taste. Gately points to McDonald’s as a ‘powerful vehicle of change’, and sees McDonald’s role as provoking community changes via business and governmental partnerships to support and promote physical activity for children. The connection between the products McDonald’s serves and physical activity among children is disparate and disingenuous at best. On the whole, it seems, McDonald’s is still a fascicular corporate organism abiding by inﬂexible moral schemas. Despite its claims to decentralisation and its appearance of being an immanent entity, these are illusory at best, and are still transcendent apparatuses of capture.
although these seem to be light concessions and nominal utilisations of theory terminology. abetted the increasing Americanisation of global trade and American cultural imperialism. and this is effectively done through collaborative product tie-ins with toy manufacturers and movie companies. its polystyrene packaging. although the corporation reports its commitment to sustainable practice. In sum. In addition. seems to operate on a plane of immanence since it need not refer to. thereby making McDonald’s culpable for its share of deleterious environmental impact. For example. Deterritorialisation and uncoded ﬂows – essential conditions for the
. no mention of past corporate liability is made – given that McDonald’s. among many other corporations. have quashed all attempts at allowing a unionisation of its workers. McDonald’s has switched to the use of organic milk in its milk-based drinks. it is unsurprisingly a publicrelations smokescreen. McDonald’s. The failures and contradictions in McDonald’s Corporation’s attempt to foster a new ‘green’ and ‘fair’ image are legion as they continue to patronise agribusinesses over smaller local farms. As well. Interestingly enough. and uses coffee beans certiﬁed by the Rainforest Alliance. McDonald’s continues to direct its marketing enticements towards children in order to ensure lifelong brand loyalty. or depend on.McDeleuze: What’s More Rhizomal than the Big Mac? 51
One may see how a facile engagement with the works of Deleuze and Guattari may actually perpetuate the stratiﬁed ends of corporate expansionism and proliferation. the reason for embracing these environmental practices has a bearing on market practices that seek to broaden consumer appeal during a time when environmental issues are more predominantly of concern to the consumers. a transcendent state apparatus. if not entirely eliminate. it has also aimed to reduce. had contributed to environmental degradation for decades. It operates its ﬂows through network relations as a series of capital accumulations. Fear Capital
McDonald’s has only conformed to environmental and health standards when external pressure has been applied. like many corporations that utilise the same or a similar model. continued to limit biodiversity through dense central food processing facilities. Nor does McDonald’s new turn towards environmental sustainability and corporate responsibility address the issue of overstressed farmland and standardised destruction of arable land used as feedlots for cows. However. and largely for reasons of public relations. and the unsustainable use of water and energy to produce every one of its menu items.
Bush and so on. shifts was in the management of the US defence programme. The rather Orwellian scenario of increased defence spending when there is no war is part of a concerted fear programme that ensures the rigidifying of social segmentation. welfare-state policies were downsized or phased out entirely to such an extent that even the then-President Bill Clinton was forced by market pressures to abandon his campaign promises of restoring social spending. Ironically. or former employees of these corporations enter into prominent positions of political power. as Hardt and Negri point out. however. a disproportionately small amount of this money funds troops or their equipment. Richard Perle. and unemployment is in the end the primary and immediate force that creates and maintains these new segmentations’ (Hardt and Negri 2000: 339). a view championed and put into action by neo-conservatives like Ronald Reagan. One of the signiﬁcant. Once the ‘emancipation’ of the market could engage in a regulatory axiomatisation supplanting the presence or perceived need for ‘big government’. Despite a spike in defence spending in the last decade. The choice between increased defence spending for capital accumulation
. the majority is spent on contracting corporations that will set up factories to increase domestic economic stability. the segmentarity of the social has become more pronounced rather than less (Hardt and Negri 2000: 366). a lion’s share of defence funding is earmarked for civilian salaries of those who work for Department of Defense contracted corporations such as Lockheed-Martin. In this way. ensuring that the state becomes economically beholden to these contracted corporations for fear of creating massive unemployment. Donald Rumsfeld. Raytheon and so on.52 Kane X. Economic theorists like Leo Strauss were instrumental in advocating an economic model with a minimum of government interference. Faucher
spread of free market economics – have indeed overcome the shadow of state imperialism as it has been generally deﬁned. the defence budget is tantamount to a jobs programme that replaces other forms of more socially based ﬁscal stimulus initiatives. political interests can become confused with corporate interests. poverty. ‘Fear of violence. yet under-examined. Under the guise of defence budgets directly ﬁnancing military personnel. George W. The second irony concerns the apparent purpose of increased defence spending: the worst possible scenario for the sustainability of what Eisenhower ﬁrst coined as the military-industrial complex is for there to be a war since funds would no longer sufﬁciently ﬁnance the jobs programme that corporations operate without spending more money on the war as well. When lobbyists favourable to these corporations.
functions. If taken just on the level of the axioms. coagulation. but in a way that presupposes a juridical integration of war and the organisation of a military function. working curiously at cross-purposes. the State acquires an army. bonds. The organism resides as a stratum on the BwO: ‘a phenomenon of accumulation. If we are to consider corporations like McDonald’s as employing a strategy similar to Deleuze and Guattari’s example of the game Go. If we take the BwO as the ‘scene’ or the ‘plane’ upon which a war machine is organised. Unlike Chess. McNomadology?
Domination and resistance are always at war in what Deleuze and Guattari call the body without organs. Very much like the above US Department of Defense example. As we have mentioned. nomadology appears to share a zone with the methods of McDonald’s. and sedimentation that. the fear is primarily of economic provenance. operates by immediate. In this perpetual in-folding (Zwiefalt). The ﬁrst axiom plainly states that the war machine is exterior to the state apparatus (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 351). in order to extract useful labour from the BwO. shattering’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 353). dominant and hierarchised organisations. encircling. organised transcendence’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 159). imposes upon it forms. The question would emerge as to what sort of ‘fear’ McDonald’s utilises in order to ensure its place in sustaining a severe socio-global segmentation. we must take care not to hastily declare this an ideological aspect. for McDonald’s there is not the instance of occupying maximum space with a minimum of pieces since the McDonald’s model operates by
. the ﬂow of contemporary capital operates with ﬂows that are freed from the state. has no arms and no need of them.McDeleuze: What’s More Rhizomal than the Big Mac? 53
and that of war is captured in the disjunction Deleuze and Guattari identify:
Either the State has at its disposal a violence that is not channeled through war – either it uses police ofﬁcers and jailers in place of warriors. preventing all combat – or. it would be too quick to make an equivocation between corporation and war machine. there would appear to be both. magical capture. (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 352)
In the case of the US defence industry.
IV. ‘seizes’ and ‘binds’. we ﬁnd that perhaps each individual franchise is like that anonymous piece that operates situationally. however. ‘bordering. the body (which need not be a physical body) is perpetually dismantling and remaking itself.
The labour force would not ask permission to form a union.
. anonymous Go pieces. it has since become almost Spinozist: it wishes to persevere in its own aspect. Faucher
ubiquity and proliferation of its franchises. but would rather form clandestine packs and gatherings. it would only seem to be a valorisation of liberal revolution: the formation of unions and demanding of universal rights. the war machine would utilise the aspects of labour prized by the contemporary state: mobility and ﬂexibility. to continue accumulating without any further purpose but accumulation itself. virally consuming from within and deterritorialising the McDonald’s structure. Rather. multiplicity. vagabond. heterogeneity. McDonald’s grants the authority for another individual or group to conduct commercial operations on the condition that the franchisee conforms the root principles as set down by the corporation’s laws. usually linked with the state’s purposes. Most notably. each franchise. Far from becoming a Marxist romanticism that aims to reify the worker as an emancipated subject. we ﬁnd moments where corporations like McDonald’s seem to abide by a rhizomal programme. cartography and decalcomania). however. As well. asignifying rupture. If there was a war machine inside McDonald’s. This transcendent ordering mechanism that regulates each component. comes with at least one crucial difference: the method of proliferation more resembles that of a religious model than it does a nomadic distribution. its operations model offers a minimum of quality at the highest quantity.54 Kane X. using the corporate methods of extreme efﬁciency for viral purposes. free of the metric and striated space of Chess (the state). capital becomes a nomadic accumulator with the sole purpose of growing itself: capital as cancer.5 The method of proliferation that McDonald’s uses as it franchises itself across the globe appears to have this cancerous or nomadic element. But whereas Go thrives upon a smooth space. Blind. the labour force as war machine would take on the role of non-subjectiﬁable. despotic in the way it organises itself between the governing and the governed inside its corporate body.4 Go ‘succeeds’ by deterritorialising from within whereas Chess must confront from the outside. the stratum of the organism that makes McDonald’s its own kind of state – a microstate. If we follow Deleuze and Guattari’s deﬁnition of rhizome with its six principles (connectivity. recoding quantity as quality. Minor variations are permitted if not encouraged as long as these variations do not violate the core principles. is partially what makes McDonald’s more of an organism than a war machine. When once capital had a strategic set of purposes. This. McDonald’s still employs striation at the micro-level.
However. improved controls. it can merely take up operations elsewhere. If a McDonald’s restaurant fails to secure a certain proﬁt level to keep it viable in one area. forcing a synthesis by means of the Aufhebung of the cultural market it inhabits.McDeleuze: What’s More Rhizomal than the Big Mac? 55
the aspect of asignifying rupture most closely resembles the decoding ﬂows and de/re-territorialising strategy of capital. restructuring. Since the success of the corporation is not contingent upon a rooted and ﬁxed spatiogeography. even today’s corporations lack the critical apparatus and structural ﬂexibility to implement a truly rhizomal programme. this is not auto-derived as much as it is externally imposed by both a response to critics and an attempt to sustain consumer trust. With such methods that would be considered reactive. The second strongest rhizomal aspect would be McDonald’s capacity for cartographic expansion. However. Multiplicity is demonstrated through domination and absorption. Even in this age of vector and network capitalism. this. There is also the darker shadow cast by McDonald’s when it subordinates local customs and eating habits while claiming to mobilise local talents and encourage cultural diversity by the artiﬁcial appendage
. but more speciﬁcally. corporations are still beholden to similar processes for their own sustainability as proﬁt machines. market/product reorientation. retrenchment and divestiture. does not qualify as an actual multiplicity since this form of domination and subversion is somewhat Hegelian in nature. One could also say that McDonald’s employs rhizomal connectivity through the ability to construct an aggregate labour force wherever it happens to be. its internal structure does not admit of this aspect. and increase in plant and machinery expenditure (or improvements thereupon). preferring to manage its employees according to a rigid hierarchy. However. too. Although recent trends in corporations like McDonald’s have forced them to recontextualise their practices given the current increase in environmental concerns. forming a unity of multiples that contain the source and target cultures in any given market in addition to its franchise proliferation mechanisms. a decentralised corporate structure allows for local breakdowns and ruptures that do not endanger the whole. improved marketing. A rhizome does not need to appeal to reactive methods in order to expand itself. it has free ingress and egress as a corporation in being able to enter and exit local and national markets throughout the globe. it can be shut down and reopened elsewhere. whereas a corporation still contains within it the relatively unchanged phases of capital recovery towards expansion such as performing management changes. this too succumbs to a process of labour exploitation and subjugation.
a division may take place that recodes the cultural form from which the new menu option derives. As a form of cultural and ecological imperialism. the most serious charge for the purposes of this article is that Deleuze and Guattari somehow provide the tools necessary for corporations to bolster their legacies of global power. a false communion with the Other that serves to assuage guilt. What is fundamentally lost in Žižek’s accusation is contact with the esprit of A Thousand Plateaus. McDonald’s effectively makes cultural consumption – culture based on mercantile utility – ‘safe’ for both the source and target cultures. it provides the illusion of cultural sensitivity. which in Žižek’s criticism would be to strengthen the hand of late capital. it provides a sense of satisfying the ‘exotic’. Amid the raft of charges that Deleuze is merely touting ideology.56 Kane X. Žižek contra Deleuze
One of the enduring criticisms Žižek makes against Deleuze in Organs without Bodies would be in the manner by which Žižek ﬂattens and reduces Deleuze’s insight of the rhizomatic multiplicity as being at odds with itself: between a leftist counter-capitalist ideology and being decidedly apolitical. For the source culture. To be fair. the current operational methods of contemporary corporations like McDonald’s do not and
. this is but one of perhaps several possibilities. a schism that may cause the consumer to become a ﬂaneur in one’s own culture. and an uncritical admiration of Spinoza. Žižek goes on to criticise the Deleuze and Guattari project indirectly. namely. that there is a secret complicity with Hegelianism. but rather are providing readers with a conceptual toolkit. Reducing culture to clothing and cuisine only serves a market purpose that simpliﬁes and sanitises that culture for ‘quaint’ consumption by a presumed elite homogeneous group that can regard said cultures as secondary to their own. but as we demonstrated supra. that Deleuze and Guattari are not advancing a concrete socio-political programme. For the source culture that is sanitised and emulated. Faucher
of adding ‘local’ menu choices to its usual fare. McDonald’s – as well as other global fast food chains – aims to construct a new programme of eating habits as part of the larger programme of marketing it as an ‘experience’.
V. For the target culture that may consume these items. For Žižek to make the leap to the consequences of (mis)using those conceptual tools is an exercise in speculation since it would presuppose that the tools themselves have only one possible use. especially in dubbing Hardt and Negri’s Empire as a naïve revision of socialism (Žižek 2004: 196).
Freedom within limits acts as a kind of enclosure mechanism that assures some degree of distance control of the worker-subject. And so. the rhizomatic nature of these tools would reorganise what we understand as the multinational corporation into a model incommensurate with economic domination and control. there would be no ‘ladders’ to climb since every point of a corporate rhizome would have connective accessibility. This kind of subjectivity differs from the variety that is generally perceived as celebratory of free choice: it is a subjectivity that grants the illusion of self-mastery through choices that still must come to the same result (if A must go to B. political and economic affects. Although more control is vested in the worker-subject through cooperative labour. Moreover. As well. and produce. if the corporate structure abided by a rhizomal model. the worker-subject’s freedom is within a given set of parameters that surreptitiously conform to corporate interests. the creative worker can devise any method
. If corporations like McDonald’s were to make use of those tools according to the effects they would inevitably produce. and would not operate according to a preset of conditions that orients its proﬁt-accumulating activities. aesthetic. there would be free and unobstructed access to all employment roles and privileges according to the principles of connectivity and heterogeneity. We should not confuse dominant capitalist nations with their continued deindustrialisation via the exporting of labour to developing nations as an example of decentralisation since the central proﬁt-accumulating apparatus still resides in the place of the corporation’s provenance. akin to Isaiah Berlin’s notion of negative freedom. Despite the increase in ‘interfacing’ which appears to grant the worker more decision-making capacity to conduct ‘cooperative’ labour as a socially interactive force. differences based on cultural.McDeleuze: What’s More Rhizomal than the Big Mac? 57
cannot adopt Deleuze and Guattari’s concepts with strict ﬁdelity without endangering their earning potentials derived from hierarchical controls. The inscription of the worker-subject into a wider spectrum of the production-consumption network also has as its outcome the production of a particular kind of subjectivity as a goal. One of the added productions beyond commodities for immaterial labour in a post-Fordist economy is that of communication – the social relation of information capital. the categorical mandate of the corporation is still centred on the means by which to gain control over the worker-subject. the subjectivity of the worker must conform to the preconditioned set of expectations to avoid any deviations. a rhizomatic corporation would not have homogenising social effects. but would actively connect with. A ‘rhizomatic’ corporation would be devoid of any hierarchical structure.
Instead. cognitive. and despite the movement towards decentralising corporate networks. 2. First. What remains in current corporate trends. but just another apparatus of capture. Žižek imputes a variety of consequences that would result from a particular application of such concepts. has been in the way Wal-Mart has utilised predatory pricing to ensure a zone of commercial control in any given area that it ‘captures’. is that the appearance of the rhizome is just that: an appearance. Žižek’s understanding of the rhizome appears ﬂawed given that a true application of the rhizome to multinational corporations will prove incommensurate to the existing structure of either. What our McDonald’s example demonstrated – and what presumably a similar study on other multinational corporations would as well – is that a representation of a rhizome is not a rhizome. would allow the component labour within it to develop according to its own cartography rather than have a tracing imposed upon it. One deleterious use of ‘deterritorialisation’ and recoding of ﬂows. From there. if such a thing could ever exist. albeit not with full ﬁdelity to the way Deleuze and Guattari employ these terms. It is also the variety of subjectivity that. Faucher
so long as B is reached). grounded theory – still plays a predominant role in the shaping of subjectivity on behalf of subjects. which assumes Deleuze is valorising capital rather than explaining some of its tendencies without making valuations that have no place in a conceptual project. network.58 Kane X. As well. The value of the knowledge that enters into this relay is judged on how well it advances the goals of corporate efﬁciency. Aside from the ambiguous ‘subject’ this statement alludes to. he reads Deleuze as ‘pro-capitalist’. Žižek makes two critical mistakes in his reading of Deleuze. imposing a system of valuation even upon the dissemination and cooperation of information relayed in a labour network. one is instead subjected to it. what we may be left with are corporate trends that borrow representations construed from these concepts to further their own agendas. even if the methods are clandestine. the ‘new’ subjectivity belonging to immaterial labour proper still abstracts from the individual.
1. as exempliﬁed by McDonald’s. would be a multiplicity. A rhizomal corporation. Second. rather than becoming enslaved to the machine. there appears to be a quiet equivalence between social responsibility and corporate citizenship. Contemporary capitalism by whichever name we give it – vector.
. still reduces that worker to a ‘knowledge capital dispensary’ in a relay network that is governed by an overarching set of corporate ends.
This claim is drawn from Deleuze’s occasional comparisons between cancer and capitalism as well as McMurtry’s seminal article ‘The Cancer Stage of Capitalism’. Gilles and Félix Guattari  (1994) What is Philosophy?. 5. I make an attempt to clarify this distinction a bit further in ‘Transcendent and Immanent Capital’ in Azimute (2004: online). Nested in this statement is a rather non-environmental consideration: the contentious use and encouragement of drive-thru’s. trans. Jim and Charles Bell (2004) ‘Corporate Responsibility Report 2004’. Michael and Antonio Negri (2000) Empire. New York: Columbia University Press. calculability and a very narrow deﬁnition of efﬁciency. Gilles and Félix Guattari  (1987) A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.
Deleuze.html (accessed 27 December 2009). to promote and encourage the use of personal motor vehicles at its restaurant locations in East Asia.McDeleuze: What’s More Rhizomal than the Big Mac? 59
3.mcdonalds. China’s second-largest oil producer. Brian Massumi. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. London: Routledge. This corporate partnership adds substance to the seemingly odd use of the word ‘relevant’ in relation to drive-thru’s. http://www. 4. wherein he also isolates three other McDonald’s characteristics such as uniformity. Žižek. McDonald’s partnered with Sinopec. Recently.
DOI: 10. Skinner.com/corp/values/socialrespons/sr_report. Slavoj (2004) Organs without Bodies: Deleuze and Consequences. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. This quantity = quality distinction is an insight formulated by George Ritzer’s book The McDonaldization of Society (1993).3366/E1750224110000796
. Deleuze. Hardt. trans.
The three papers in this forum were independently presented at the Second Deleuze Studies Conference in Cologne. hoping for a better deal elsewhere. and the fractal. The majority takes this world for granted. But note that each author takes the interplay as primary. self-organisational equipment of sense is also always already immanent. All together they are one but each is unique.Forum Introduction: Sense. Fourth person singulars constitute a manifold of centres in an eccentric world. something that makes all this effort worthwhile. turn out to be provisional as only one way of reaching another goal. Yet there has never been a need to start from scratch. Sense and sensation. Leyla Haferkamp. Only given the interplay can it propose to the philosopher Deleuze possible approaches to its workings. and sensation without correlative sense is totally indistinct. Thus in all three papers sense and sensation are outcomes. already familiar with Deleuze. Humans are condemned or privileged to enter at birth into a fully furnished. fully interpreted world. although for the most part not actualised. But a few afﬁrm their existence by choosing to live again to the fullest the human condition as it has been passed down to them. Many opt out. That they belonged together was quickly recognised. they suggest the following assertions: Sense without concomitant sensation is void. afﬁrming through selfeffacement a truly sensational world in every possible sense that can be made to shine through them with the splendid impersonality of a fourth person singular. But as long as these concepts happen to be available at the moment. The differential material of sensation is always already immanent. work back in order to work forward. August 2009. even if for the most part virtual and unrealised. as well as their logics. All three papers. just as transcendental empiricism is an outcome. Each author focuses on the interplay of sense and sensation as the crux of Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism. different
. Sensation and Deleuze’s Transcendental Empiricism
a life. Nietzsche may have been a loner and a misﬁt who overstated his ideas because no one listened. And what about Deleuze himself? What shines through Deleuze is the active acceptance of the role he as actor must assume together with his immanent director not so much to ensure the integrity of his own works but to challenge the self-serving parochialism of so much institutional philosophy.Forum Introduction
from all the others. consumption-oriented nihilism. but through him shines the heat of a revelation whose political consequences continue to play out against an all-consuming. but through him shines the inspiration of an aesthetics that gave impetus to a rebellious Romanticism. and he hardly rates a readable biography. what in the present world takes form as the materialised sense of a life: not biography but Event.
DOI: 10. Forums like this are meant to put some spark into the philosophy business. Each is a monad. The authors welcome feedback. Baumgarten may not have been an exciting writer or a major philosopher.3366/E1750224110000802
was not only a rigorous logician in the Wolfﬁan tradition of mid-eighteenth-century Germany. the book greatly inﬂuenced Herder and the Romantic movement.
. for instance. Keywords: aesthetics. in fact. feeling. not only an ‘eminent analyst’ as Kant called him in Critique of Pure Reason (Kant 2003: 22n). it was literally stuck somewhere between Leibniz and Kant. chronologically speaking. was translated into German in its entirety only two years ago. the prototype of what he would later establish as the ﬁrst systematic theory of aesthetics. becomingother. but Baumgarten was also a poet who wrote verses in Latin on a daily basis. Enlightenment philosophy. By linking serious reason with its ‘other’. and. Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten (1714–62) is no doubt one of the minor ﬁgures in the syllabus of eighteenth-century German philosophy. Deleuze and the ‘Becoming Girl’ of Philosophy
University of Cologne.’ (Deleuze 1991: 30)
Seen in retrospect. Baumgarten called aesthetics ‘logic’s younger sister’. Aesthetica. is known to have used Baumgarten’s Metaphysica (1739) as the basis of many a lecture in Königsberg.Analogon Rationis: Baumgarten. Deleuze
‘Reason is a kind of feeling. Baumgarten. In an early piece entitled Meditationes philosophicae de nonnullis ad poema pertinentibus [Philosophical Meditations on Some Requirements of the Poem]. Baumgarten. Cologne
Baumgarten’s Enlightenment Aesthetica provides an important philosophical analogon to Deleuze’s alignment of the ‘logic of sense’ and the ‘logic of sensation’. Kant. Like Deleuze he propagates nothing less than the ‘becoming-girl’ of philosophy. however. frivolous feeling. he combined these two interests in a ﬁrst theory of sensibility. This is probably not much of a surprise given that he died at the age of 48 without having completed his most signiﬁcant book Aesthetica and wrote almost exclusively in Latin.
consists in the fact that through his mastery of the subject he became especially conscious of both the intrinsic and the systematic limitations of formal logic. . however. with that of Gilles Deleuze. As the bold attempt to lend sensation its own logical parameters. As such. of subjecting the criticism of the beautiful to principles of reason. (Cassirer 1955: 338–9)
To have ‘invented’ aesthetics as an independent discipline is. As a result of his consciousness of these limitations. that Baumgarten is at his most radical (Kant 2003: 22n). especially when the focus is set on the aspect of ‘aesthetic intervention’. Thus aesthetics evolves from logic. It is in this book. in fact. and so of elevating its rules to a science’. this afﬁnity lies in their mutual interest in depicting the interrelations between sense and sensation. based on lectures held between 1750 and 1758. . has served to establish aesthetics as a philosophical discipline in its own right. Baumgarten was able to make his original contribution to the history of thought. The Neo-Kantian philosopher Ernst Cassirer. One should note. . that at its moment of inception aesthetics was much more inclusive than the philosophical investigation of art and beauty. reverses the Kantian verdict and acknowledges ‘Baumgarten’s decisive historical merit’ as truly vernunftskritisch. thus marking a turning point in the philosophy of the Enlightenment. may at ﬁrst glance seem far-fetched. who dedicates a considerable amount of space to Baumgarten’s two-fold model in his Philosophy of the Enlightenment. ‘[H]is real intellectual accomplishment’. parallels between the two philosophers. whose work is often associated with the rigid rationalism of the Wolfﬁan tradition. categorically dismissed by Kant as ‘the disappointed hope . With
. Baumgarten’s work provides an important historical analogon to Deleuze’s alignment of the ‘logic of sense’ with the ‘logic of sensation’ and to his development of a topology of complementarity. which lay in the philosophical foundation of aesthetics . to which it tends to be narrowed down today. What relates Baumgarten and Deleuze in general is their aim to strengthen the link between life and thought from within a philosophical framework that involves seemingly incompatible systems of logic. There are. the way Baumgarten invents aesthetics as a philosophical category makes him one of the precursors of Deleuzian philosophy. but this evolution discloses the immanent weakness of traditional scholastic logic. Cassirer writes. however. Baumgarten’s major contribution to philosophical discourse. Baumgarten’s Aesthetica.Analogon Rationis 63
The attempt to align the philosophy of Baumgarten. In other words. . whose writings contain no direct reference to Baumgarten’s work.
the fundus animae ﬁgures as the source of all kinds of perception. ‘What is abstraction. Despite resonances in terminology and approach. for example. Not only does he emphasise the interconnections between the gnoseologia superior of the sensemaking ratio and the gnoseologia inferior of sensation. Baumgarten developed nothing less than a general theory of sensibility with its own gnoseological faculty that produces a speciﬁc kind of knowledge. without mentioning Baumgarten’s name. ars pulcre cogitandi. A conceptual afﬁnity. these perceptions form the foundation of the soul’ (Baumgarten 2004: §511). unconscious and unpredictable (Baumgarten 2007a: §80). it contains that which remains forgotten. ars analogi rationis) est scientia cognitionis sensitivae] (Baumgarten 2007a: §1. With the primary aim to integrate aesthetics into the realm of rational thought as the analogon rationis. however. which he regards as grounded in the dark recesses of the fundus animae.64 Leyla Haferkamp
aesthetics. consisting of the attempt to withdraw the pure sensible from representation and to determine it as that which remains once representation is removed (a contradictory ﬂux. can be detected in Difference and Repetition when Deleuze refers. false are produced not by dark perception but by rational abstraction (Baumgarten 2007a: §560). as inferior cognition. gnoseologia inferior. he also underscores their genetic unity. A general deﬁnition of the fundus animae is provided in Metaphysica: ‘The soul has dark perceptions. His aesthetics was a theory claiming epistemological relevance for sensual perception. Baumgarten’s and Deleuze’s theories of the sensible are. the inverse procedure is not much better. Along these lines. if not a loss?’ Baumgarten asks. In Aesthetica. however. needless to say. noting that the notion of fallibility and the very dichotomy of true vs. the fundus does not lack truth. to the founding moment of aesthetics:
It is strange that aesthetics (as the science of the sensible) could be founded on what can be represented in the sensible. or a rhapsody
. as the art of beautiful thinking and as the art of thinking analogous to reason) is the science of sensible cognition’ [Aesthetica (theoria liberalium artium. Despite all its obscurity. Baumgarten draws extensively upon Leibnizian epistemology. which he modiﬁes to serve as the basis of the new ‘science of sensible cognition’. my translation). a domain that is of interest to psychology though it is largely neglected by philosophy itself. the ﬁrst section of Aesthetica delivers a programmatic deﬁnition of the new science that deﬁes the traditional categories of thought: ‘Aesthetics (as a theory of the liberal arts. anything but identical. but. True. even more importantly. As a whole.
the superior cognition of rationality and the so-called inferior cognition of sensuality. my translation)
. In Baumgarten’s context. the domain of confused knowledge as opposed to distinct knowledge. without being in anyway in doubt. My answer to this is: it is a necessary condition for the discovery of truth. Leibniz wrote. whether a poem or a painting is good or bad. Out of the night dawn leads to noon . as the mode of knowledge speciﬁc to art: ‘When I can recognise one thing among others without being able to say what its differences or properties consist in’. because nature does not make leaps from obscurity to distinction. Baumgarten’s aesthetics will have intervened in the philosophical discourse of his time with a force comparable to the intervention that Deleuze has made in twentieth-century philosophy. the confused cognition of sensuality becomes the one and only true link between the two ends of the spectrum.Analogon Rationis 65
of sensations). potential difference and difference in intensity as the reason behind qualitative diversity. but rather the amendment of cognition insofar as a necessary amount of confused cognition is mixed into it. (Deleuze 1994: 56–7)
Despite its anthropocentric tendency that sets it apart from Deleuzian philosophy. the very being of the sensible: difference. Baumgarten aimed at maintaining the balance between the rational and the sensual and set the emphasis on the ‘transitions’ between the two. ‘my knowledge is confused. had addressed the inferior domain. Already Leibniz. that is the level of rational knowledge on the one hand and the obscure level of what Deleuze would later call. We do not recommend confusion. . Empiricism truly becomes transcendental and aesthetics an apodictic discipline. Baumgarten’s modiﬁcation of Leibnizian thought consists in his integration of the seemingly ‘ﬂawed’ inferior faculty into the philosophical discipline of aesthetics as its unique mode of cognition. its inferiority is. unconscious micro-perceptions on the other. rather. (Baumgarten 2007a: §7. this inferior faculty does not simply receive a pejorative label for its less valuable and hence less favourable status. In this way we sometimes know clearly. . Aesthetics originates in medias res to establish the connections between the rational and the irrational:
One could say that confusion is the mother of error. In fact. only when we apprehend directly in the sensible that which can only be sensed. suggestive of a spatial model that renders sensation the crucial ‘underlying’ layer of the superior faculty of sense. because there is a certain je ne sais quoi which pleases or offends us’ (Leibniz 1998a: §24). in his Discourse on Metaphysics (1686). in direct reference to Leibniz.
What is addressed by the term is less an analogical similarity to reason than an ongoing correspondence between Reason and its Other. How can we explain the union of the most frivolous and the most serious?. but their only effect is a simple effect. we should note that he does so by setting the analogon rationis between the two realms. however. Thus. and it is for this reason that Baumgarten attempts to establish the link to the inferior depths of consciousness. Such is the link between imperceptibility. indiscernibility. Hence. this sounds much like an echo avant la lettre of Deleuze and Guattari’s statement: ‘To be present at the dawn of the world. Baumgarten’s notion of virtue is. and is mentioned as such in Leibniz’s Monadology (1714) (Leibniz 1998b: §26. through the resonance of affections within the mind. in a very Deleuzian way. Deleuze. still closely related to the anthropological integrity of the individual (Baumgarten 2007a: §7). the becoming animal of the man of reason. being held by the instinct to the actual. despite all the challenges posed to rational reasoning. no doubt. §28). it also renders rationality complementary to the realm of the irrational. (Deleuze 1991: 60)
From the Deleuzian perspective. in order to underscore the clear yet confused character of sensible cognition. Furthermore. in his reading of Hume’s A Treatise on Human Nature. Not having general rules. This is precisely the problem: how to explain that in the case of humanity. Baumgarten’s use of the syntagm in the context of human sensual cognition not only emphasises the human being’s hitherto neglected instinctive heritage.66 Leyla Haferkamp
Interestingly. the aesthetic intervention brings about. culture and history are constituted in the way that the fancy is re-established. perhaps because the animal is nature without culture: the principles act upon its mind. he paves the way for the ‘becoming aesthetic’ of reason. can only be attained if one explores the domains beyond the conﬁnes of the res cogitans. a faculty that is at once ‘analogous’ to and decidedly different from the ratio itself. the animal also lacks history. Via the analogon rationis. and impersonality – the three virtues’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 280). Baumgarten makes use of the term haecceitas
. if we consider Baumgarten’s project as an attempt to conjoin the most frivolous and the most serious. the term analogon rationis originates from the domain of animal psychology. draws attention to Hume’s interest in
the problems of animal psychology. This integrity. lacking any stable fancy and reﬂective procedures. Already placed by Christian Wolff in the rubric of empirical psychology (Wolff 1968: §506).
nor of a person. they produce n molecular sexes on the line of ﬂight in relation to the dualism machines they cross right through. sexes. the analogon rationis that ‘crosses right through’ also corresponds to the ﬁgure of the girl insofar as Baumgarten refers to aesthetics as ‘logic’s younger sister’ (Baumgarten 2007a: §13). where ‘it is the entire assemblage in its individuated aggregate that is a haecceity’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 262). She is an abstract line. an emission of particles: haecceity.
. by a combination of atoms. haecceities. which he borrows from Duns Scotus. translator’s note). emphasis added)
In Aesthetica. day or even hour of the day)’ (Deleuze and Parnet 2002: 155. constantly engages in series of intermediate operations based upon reﬂexion and abstraction (Baumgarten 2007b: §755). While forms and subjects belong to the plane of organisation. and on the other hand it highlights the genetic relation between the sensual and the rational. ‘modest and microscopic’ (Deleuze 1995: 141). or substance’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 261). river. the concept of haecceity is used in a novel sense that does away with forms and subjects. or kingdom: they slip in everywhere. she is deﬁned by a relation of movement and rest. or as ‘a mode of individuation very different from that of a person. following the dictum ‘Haecceitas est singularitas’. the intermezzo. thing. She never ceases to roam upon a body without organs. by way of which the given object is rendered part of a typology. to pass between. subject. haecceity. are pre-personal intensities that circulate the plane of consistency. an immediacy that sets it apart from the superior faculty which. in the Deleuzian context it is the girl that is the very epitome of haecceity:
The girl is certainly not deﬁned by virginity. Thus girls do not belong to an age group. speed and slowness. between orders. addresses that singular property which lends something its individual difference. ‘in the sense of an individuation which is not that of an object. Interestingly. but rather of an event (wind. order. sex. Baumgarten’s haecceity is not unlike Emily Dickinson’s ‘certain slant of light’. The analogy connotes on the one hand both the frivolity and the vivacity of aesthetics as opposed to the seriousness of formal logic. The only way to get outside the dualisms is to be-between. In the case of Deleuze and Guattari. ages. in order to attain clear and distinct perceptions. Unlike quidditas. acts. Baumgarten employs this term to emphasise the immediacy of aesthetic cognition. the unique yet inexplicable property that constitutes the driving force behind what he calls impetus aestheticus and its ability to incite ‘vehement’ affects (Baumgarten 2007a: §78). or a line of ﬂight.Analogon Rationis 67
(haecceity). (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 276–7.
Place the feeling of beauty where it belongs: between the angel and the animal. and as it were commingle with the soul from afar. Dagmar Mirbach. as the mode of thought concentrating on the in-between of sense and sensation:
The human soul lies before him. Thus Deleuzian philosophy retains its share of the obscure and the confused. vegetal gratiﬁcation of cattle. whose importance for Deleuze is not yet charted with enough precision. according to which the ‘superior’ faculty evolves from the ‘inferior depths’. Jena: Schleglmann. Dagmar Mirbach. its most effectual and vivid – parts. as on a high rock jutting out amid the waves. (Herder 2006: 44)
Baumgarten. just as it always retains something of the chaos of the plane of immanence in its concepts (Deleuze and Guattari 2003: 118). Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag. Johann Gottfried Herder’s praise of Baumgarten. Alexander Gottlieb (2007b [1750–8]) Ästhetik II (latein/deutsch). Now gaze down into the dark abyss of the human soul. After all. [.68 Leyla Haferkamp
As Deleuzian philosophy seeks the reversal of the relationship of the rational and the sensual. Alexander Gottlieb (2007a [1750–8]) Ästhetik I (latein/deutsch). Baumgarten’s work is a ﬁrst moment in the reversal of the relation between sense and sensation.]. . in its sensuous – that is. . which posits the rationalist philosopher as the precursor of the (romantic) tendencies aimed at thwarting the rationalistic doctrines of the Enlightenment.
. in actual fact. the younger sister becomes. Baumgarten’s aesthetic experiment stands at the beginning of a movement that ‘feels’ and acknowledges the birth of philosophy from aesthetics. then show me the spirit of beauty that courses through my veins [. gaze down into the abyss of obscure thoughts. trans.] If you know the workshops of my animal spirits. Baumgarten. like an enormous ocean that even in its calmest moments seems full of waves that are lifted up to heaven: there I place you. trans. a moment that would become a seminal impulse for German romantic thought. Alexander Gottlieb (2004 ) Metaphysik. could easily apply to Deleuzian philosophy. . the older one. Show me how the impressions in my sense organs become images in my soul. how my imagination pours rapture into my veins and that very moment weaves a mist around my faculty of reason. O philosopher of feeling. show me beauty instead of conviction and reason and truth. Georg Friedrich Meier. trans. Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag. between the perfection of the inﬁnite and the sensuous. Baumgarten. where the sensations of the brute shade into the sensations of man. from which there subsequently arise drives and emotions and pleasure and pain. .
41–50. Leibniz. trans. Paul Patton. Boston: Beacon Press. in Philosophical Texts. S. and trans. Graham Burchell and Hugh Tomlinson. Martin Joughin. Gottfried Wilhelm (1998b ) ‘Monadology’. Immanuel (2003 [1781. Mineola. Gilles (1991) Empiricism and Subjectivity. pp. Deleuze. Ernst (1955) The Philosophy of Enlightenment. R. in Philosophical Texts. Gilles and Félix Guattari (2003) What is Philosophy?. pp. Kant. Gilles and Félix Guattari (1987) A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. New York: Oxford University Press. trans. Constantin V. New York: Columbia University Press. Hildesheim: Olms. trans.
DOI: 10. New York: Oxford University Press. 267–81. Herder. trans. 53–93. ed. Johann Gottfried (2006 ) ‘A Monument to Baumgarten’. Gregory Moore. S. Deleuze. Koelln and James P. and trans. trans. trans. Christian (1968 ) Christiani Wolfﬁi Psychologia Empirica. and trans. Brian Massumi. Fritz C. NY: Dover Publications. Wolff. Gilles (1995) Negotiations: 1972–1990. M. pp.3366/E1750224110000814
. Gilles (1994) Difference and Repetition. Woolhouse and Richard Francks. Boundas. R. London: Verso. New York: Columbia University Press. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. ed. Gottfried Wilhelm (1998a ) ‘Discourse on Metaphysics’. Graham Burchell and Hugh Tomlinson. Meiklejohn. Leibniz. Woolhouse and Richard Francks. Deleuze. New York: Columbia University Press. Deleuze. trans. Deleuze. D. New York: Columbia University Press. in Selected Writings in Aesthetics. 1787]) Critique of Pure Reason. trans.Analogon Rationis 69
Cassirer. Deleuze. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. A. Pettegrove. Gilles and Claire Parnet (2002) Dialogues II. ed.
the overcoming of a simple miming of our ancestors in favour of an active participation in the counter-actualisation of hidden potentials in recurrent events. Deleuze
After all. drama. and even crimes.The Time of Drama in Nietzsche and Deleuze: A Life as Performative Interaction
. syntheses of time. gives us a clue regarding what it means to become a living being. caesura. Wien
Nietzsche’s model of eternal return triggers a drama of afﬁrmation. eternal return. A life starts precisely with the performance of an act of repetition. mistakes. a time of ‘doing’ rather than reﬂection. Based on a close study of Zarathustra’s struggle to free himself from a suffocating nihilism. Every singular mode of existence owes his or her life in the ﬁrst place to the fact that one entity has started to repeat another – and this not by will or reﬂection. we have not yet overcome the fact that we are derived from them. my translation)
This passage by Friedrich Nietzsche. the paper focuses on the revelatory caesura that ushers in what Deleuze calls the third synthesis of time. but in reproducing unconsciously the shades of one’s ancestors by simply becoming their bodily double. (Nietzsche 1999a: 270. since we are the products of earlier generations. we are also the products of their aberrations. Even if we condemn those aberrations and consider ourselves released from them. It comes not with some repetition of the future in which ‘the man without qualities’ reveals the vastness and joyful brilliance of the empty form of time on the plane of immanence. It is impossible to loosen oneself from this chain entirely. passions. from his second untimely investigation On the Use and Abuse of History for Life. Keywords: Zarathustra.
unconscious manner before one is even aware of what one is actually doing as one is performing it. [. this IT. a way of acting that is performed IN DEED in a pre-reﬂective. It is an unconscious activity that has started to create me rather than I having created IT. this wounded IT. Zarathustra regards the animalistic existence of his animals ‘as barrel organs and buffoons’. . Nietzsche writes. ‘At best’. In such a ‘bad’ form of dramatising one’s life. one lives as those who taught one how to live. Being just the medium of one’s ancestors. one begins to repeat one’s ancestors differently in one’s own life by cultivating new habits and different instincts. out of which we may be descended in opposition to the one from which we are descended.
we bring the matter to a conﬂict between our inherited customary nature and our knowledge. that life usually does not stay in contact with itself in an exuberant way. but am rather produced by and through its performance. Even when one condemns this mode of repetition later on.] We cultivate a new habit. this IT. so that the repetition of one’s IT gets out of joint and thereby becomes agonistic in itself. It is an attempt to give oneself. In the very beginning of a life. Nietzsche continues. One is rather used to live one’s life as if one were not alive at all. in accordance with Husserl. a new instinct. divided and fractured in two parts by the occurrence of a powerful resistance. Since I never existed before this act. resisting the simple reproduction of a past tense. This fractured self longs for ‘me’ to be recovered by transforming it. in short. taking place even where one should ﬁnally let go of the same old fables in order to regenerate them anew. by transforming IT into a more promising one. (Nietzsche 1999a: 270)
Perhaps. it. a second nature. in these terms. a more promising future. after one has started to exist. one’s life simply mimes one’s heritage over and over again. Culture. so that the ﬁrst nature atrophies. anymore in the future. It is not a question of relapse but rather one of regeneration. .The Time of Drama in Nietzsche and Deleuze
but via the performance of what Deleuze has called. as it were. is a word that indicates nothing less than the gap between two forms of nature: a ﬁrst and a second one. Repeating others in such a mode is precisely how acting the drama of a life begins. a passive synthesis. a past a posteriori. this act. the fact that one derives from it is not annihilated or stopped by simply deciding not to repeat it. a call to perform the
. this particular IT that has created me at the very onset of my life is perforce the transcendental ﬁeld of a pre-individual essence. by cultivating a second nature arising from the performance of deconstructing one’s inherited past.
One is no longer kissed by the kiss of the muses. . Deleuze writes. may be expressed in many ways: to throw time out of joint. and the projection of an ideal self in the image of the act [. In such a case the promise. Caesura – The Time of a Drama
In Deleuze. that temporality in which one is actually on the way to recover from a poisonous cultural beating. the messengers of joy. even
. transferences of joyful sentiments. .
I. announced already by the taking place of a caesura. Amor fati. . (Deleuze 1994: 89)
The temporality of a drama is precisely that becoming in which a singular mode of existence is forced to counter-sign its life by rejecting the simple reproduction of an offered past. It is this lack of joy. . because the passive affections. to make the sun explode. so that the demand to stay within a given promise has lost its promise. a global hit. . the impotence of the given promise to stimulate us anymore. The second time. promised by one’s ancestors. . as well as in Nietzsche. impossible in the future. ready to counter-sign life again. is thus the present of metamorphosis.
there is always a time at which the imagined act is supposed ‘too big for me’. in which the unfolding of time itself reaches a point where it longs for an epochal change: a nadir or zero point (Nullpunkt) in time in which the image of the totality of time is ‘torn into two unequal parts’ (Deleuze 1994: 89). The ﬁrst part signiﬁes the totality of time that passes away and the second one. . . to kill God or the father. an act which is adequate to time as a whole. makes the simple reproduction of the world. culture does not at all start with a social contract but.]. over and over again. must be determined in the image of a unique and tremendous event. that actually enforces our power to refuse it. indeed fails. to throw oneself into the volcano.]. once and for all. which relates to the caesura itself. as it passes away. a becoming-equal to the act and a doubling of the self. with the event of a traumatic caesura. That past simply does not appear promising anymore for the subject called to accept it that is to mime and fulﬁl it as the bodily agent of its survival. [. ‘In effect’. Deleuze says. (Deleuze 1994: 89)
Clearly this is a dramatic situation.72 Arno Böhler
third synthesis of time. in fact no longer come about.
The caesura . This deﬁnes a priori the past or the before [. responsible for the shattering of our IT.] Such a symbol adequate to the totality of a time [that causes an entire world to pass away].
The becoming equal to the entirely new that is announcing itself in the event of a caesura longs for modes of existence able and ready to afﬁrm the global challenge of a worldwide change. . history is theatre: ‘the action of historical actors or agents becomes a spontaneous repetition of an old role. but you are not ripe for your fruit. as was the crowd who had gathered around the augur and heard him speak of life in such a manner.The Time of Drama in Nietzsche and Deleuze
though we are not yet sure what this resistance and caesura will bring to us. Hearing this doctrine. No one could effectively deny the illocutionary force of its words. Thus you must return to your solitude again’ (Nietzsche 1995: 147). ‘The best grew weary of their works’ (Nietzsche 1995: 133). which initially came to him as a daemon or monster rather than as a stimulating promise. even if such fractured modes know that such a task is too big for them. all is the same. Even Zarathustra himself was so infected by the speech that he ‘walked about sad and weary. most abysmal thought: the doctrine of the eternal return of the same. . Although Zarathustra had meanwhile learned that the words of the augur were merely fable-songs. Here is a new and paradoxical promise. your fruit is ripe. ‘O Zarathustra. in which he becomes capable himself of afﬁrming his own. . all has been!’ (Nietzsche 1995: 133). The drama of Zarathustra precisely bridges two striking events. In this sense. Zarathustra ﬁrst has to conquer the inability of his own soul to desire its own return eternally. It is the revolutionary crisis. poisonous moment in which the monster of nihilism has crawled into Zarathustra’s throat. Yet historical agents are often not capable of doing what they have already been called to do: to counter-sign their fate to overcome their ﬁrst nature in order to transform it into a second. more stimulating one. has inhaled in his youth. Zarathustra himself was overwhelmed with an enormous sadness and exhaustion. the self-fulﬁlling prophecy had at the
. Zarathustra himself. the compelled striving for something entirely new’ (Rosenberg in Deleuze 1994: 91). This speech of the soothsayer had something infectious in it. and thereby became like those of whom the soothsayer had spoken (Nietzsche 1995: 134). In the beginning of the drama of his life he himself revolted against the doctrine of his most abysmal thought. once and for all. To become equal to his fate to be the teacher of the eternal return of the same. one able to render him the means to defeat the doctrine of European nihilism that he. The ﬁrst is the bitter. At this time his soul still resembled more the conceptual persona of the truth-seeker whom he had met in his youth and heard once say: ‘All is empty. The second is the moment of his recovery.
Rather it will be about a ‘plastic’ interaction with history. which would have cut the head off his disgust with life and freed him from his melancholy. Giorgio Agamben rightly reminds us that a ‘lively’ interaction with the transferred heritage of a certain history is therefore not just about remembering the past in order to prevent it from being forgotten. Remembrance is neither what happened nor what did not happen but. Remembering the Empty Form of Time – Amor Fati
In reference to Deleuze’s text Difference and Repetition (1994). is posthumously returning a future to a past and thereby gives unfulﬁlled possibility back to a past. a riddle. a dreadful accident – until the creative will says to it ‘But thus I willed it’. but about the performative interaction with that which has been transmitted to us as ‘a fragment. Zarathustra continued: when I taught you ‘the will is a creator’. rather. Until the creative will says to it ‘But thus I will it. thus shall I will it’ (Nietzsche 1995: 141). a riddle. This prevented him still from taking the all-decisive step. then he needs to acquire a new and
. which. in order to deal with it in multiple fragmentary ways. at least Zarathustra wanted to prevent his own friends and followers from being infected by the poisonous saying. their potentialization. Zarathustra has to become ripe to experience this stimulating yet paradoxical message inherent in his most abysmal thought. It will not just be about stating and staging that which was. a dreadful accident’ (Nietzsche 1995: 141). All ‘it was’ is a fragment. during the process of recollection. ‘I led you away from these fables’. their becoming possible once again’ (Agamben 1999: 267). if Zarathustra wants to do justice to his fate IN DEED and present a polyphonic expression of his teachings on the eternal recurrence of the same. the potentiality of an act of remembrance lies in an act of regenerative remembering. Rather. making what happened incomplete and completing what never was. Even if he was not yet capable of completely digesting the bite of the poisonous words which had subdued him at the time. In addition. in which our transmissions are treated primarily as the material of synthetic-performative processes.74 Arno Böhler
time become word and remained stuck in his throat. artistic remembering ‘restores possibility to a past. Such a creative.
II. in performing its historical replay over and over again. as Zarathustra says. A history in the service of life – a topos that Nietzsche early on afﬁrmed (Nietzsche 1999a: 243–334) – will therefore not be satisﬁed with having dealt with the transmission of a historical heritage only in historical-critical perspective.
The Time of Drama in Nietzsche and Deleuze
sensitive lyre which will allow him to transmit the nuances and the abyss of his teachings to those who have an ear for such unheard-of truths. ‘Sing and overﬂow, O Zarathustra’, his animals advised him on his way to recovery, ‘cure your soul with new songs that you may bear your great destiny, which has never yet been any man’s destiny. For your animals know well, O Zarathustra, who you are and must become: behold, you are the teacher of the eternal recurrence. That is your destiny!’ (Nietzsche 1995: 220). Not yet ripe to afﬁrm his doctrine as a third kind of knowledge in Spinoza’s terms, a knowledge that elates per se, Zarathustra ﬁrst has to undergo the temporality of a metamorphosis in which he himself will become adequate to this destiny. The temporality in which he will become who he is, is precisely the drama of his convalescence: the time of his acting in the drama that is his life. A life, as an act of regeneration of those handed-down forms of life, means therefore more than just being generated, more than simply to be alive. It means to perform our lives as a form of Ueberleben, a form of ‘sur-viving’ while we are actually alive. This performative turn within a life is exactly the unstable, revolutionary, a priori moment at work IN a life. Every inherited habit, every schema, every type of action now becomes a ‘dis-position’, a form that can be simultaneously deconstructed and regenerated anew. Deleuze calls this stage the third synthesis of time: the critical time in the drama of a life in which a hero or heroine in revolt has to become capable of matching his or her own destiny. In this dramatic stage of a life, one literally has to prepare to counter-sign and endorse one’s fate, to embrace the caesura in the double afﬁrmation of a singular amor fati, and conﬁrm that afﬁrmation IN DEED once and for all. Zarathustra’s recovery obviously was not just about repairing the functionality of the already existing strings and chambers of his disposition in order to cure his chronic malaise of being infected by the destructive force of Christianity as he experienced it on its deadend road towards what he identiﬁed as European nihilism. The drama of his recovery was not just about repairing old strings and rotten instruments, but about the regeneration of his entire sensual sensorium. We are talking about the entire repertoire of his senses to which he can momentarily refer, and thus the whole way in which his feelings of being touched, inspired and moved by the world are perceived, prereﬂectively understood through passive synthesis and ﬁnally interpreted pre-ontologically. All this is at stake in the process of his recovery. The feelings that are still created by mechanical recourse to the existing
76 Arno Böhler
chambers of his disposition have to be reconsidered anew, they have to be checked for the temper of their constitution, sensitively reviewed, and if necessary synthetically expanded, emotionally transformed, supplemented, completed and therefore constitutively reworked. For this reason a regenerative act is not just a recursive act by means of which one can simply refer, retentionally, to already existing chambers of one’s disposition in order to use them for the umpteenth time. For if this happened, then this would just be a mechanical performance of feeling, nothing more than the production of a cliché of emotion in which we habitually react to sensory impulses with this or that affective pattern. The contemporaneousness of the current situation would then not be taken into consideration; it would not be felt and experienced. Deleuze calls it
struggling on the one hand against Habitus, on the other against Mnemosyne; [. . .] refusing the overly simple cycles, the one followed by a habitual present (customary cycle) as much as the one described by a pure past (memorial or immemorial cycle). (Deleuze 1994: 94)
Not just this or that organ, to which Zarathustra up until now has had recourse, but the way he ‘uses’ his entire sensitive sensorium is therefore at risk during the course of his convalescence. Interrupting the habitual habitus of his soul, so that the execution of emotional acts is examined during their execution and perhaps thereby ennobled and renewed: that is the recipe which not only Gilles Deleuze but also Zarathustra recommends in order to regenerate their emotional existence. Throughout the new instrumentation of his soul, Zarathustra thus was not only concerned with the composition of new songs and the creation of a new lyre, but he was also forced to immunise himself against all those who are used to translate every new song immediately into the same old recurring melody.
III. On Well-known Melodies and New Songs
As Zarathustra says on the way to his own dramatic convalescence, in order to do justice to the lives of others who were medially transferred to him in the act of his birth and therefore became his fate for his own way of life, he ﬁrst and foremost needs new songs. The old songs have become too démodé to reach him any longer. ‘Do not speak on!’ his animals answered him again, ‘rather even, O convalescent, fashion yourself a lyre ﬁrst, a new lyre! For behold, Zarathustra, new lyres are needed for your new songs’ (Nietzsche 1995: 220).
The Time of Drama in Nietzsche and Deleuze
Therefore it comes as no surprise that Zarathustra’s animals also speak of his teaching in a tone of voice that gives it the ring of a well-known melody: There will be a great year of becoming, they say, a monster of a great year, which just like a sand clock always has to be turned upside down again, so that it may run down and run out again, and all the years are alike in what is greatest as in what is smallest (Nietzsche 1995: 220). Fate catches up with every creature, and after a long cosmic minute it will be reawakened to life and the external circumstances will be repeated, so that it has to live the same life again that it has already led many times, and will live again in the future (Nietzsche 1995: 217–18). This is how Zarathustra’s animals spoke to him on that morning, making a pretence of having spoken of him and his most abysmal thoughts. ‘O you buffoons and barrel organs!’ Zarathustra replied and smiled again. ‘How well you know what had to be fulﬁlled in seven days, and how that monster crawled down my throat and suffocated me. But I bit off its head and spewed it out. And you, have you already made a hurdy-gurdy song of this? But now I lie here, still weary of this biting and spewing, still sick from my own redemption. And you watched all this?’ (Nietzsche 1995: 218). While Zarathustra freed himself with a resolute bite from the historic burden of his own ‘it was’ – that beast, about whom he said that it smothered him with a great weariness – his animals merely watched this dramatic display, almost as if they did not have any historic burden that strangled them. Almost as if the notion of the ‘eternal recurrence of the same’ did not burden or bother them at all in their own animalistic existence. Almost as if they, his animals, could tolerate this idea without being ashamed of the eternal return of their own animalistic existence. Nothing in his teachings seemed to be painful for them. On the contrary, they make us believe that some of his teachings correspond to their own animalistic nature, which does not seem to know any resentful misgivings about their own lives. For the majority of human beings, however, Zarathustra’s teachings appear to be hard to digest. This is the sore spot that marks the decisive difference between the animalistic and the human interpretation of his teachings. For while animals have a right to interpret the eternal return of the same as a cosmic event in which their own life is fatefully entangled and fatally embedded, for human destinies it is proper to interpret the same event as the chance of a concrete challenge that all human beings need to face, give their own signature to, and hence have to engage in as long as they are alive. Zarathustra’s phrase ‘the eternal
Only after a person has already chosen to make Zarathustra’s concept of ‘the eternal recurrence of the same’ the maxim (Leitsatz) of his or her own life is such a person enforced to internalise it as the governing principle guiding his or her soul. from the very beginning of his own recovery.
IV. cited and applied in their existing form. and. they must be exceeded. that is to say. Rather it is a performative-synthetic act in which the contemporary dispositions of a soul are not just cited. synthetically expanded and constitutionally reconstituted. but expanded. On Redemption
To repeat what has been transmitted to us as a life – what we ourselves hence did not bring forth and yet are forced to be – to repeat this in such a way that we come to the point of afﬁrming it by willing it: that alone would mean redemption for Zarathustra. since the burdensome character of the past that is thereby repeated would completely disappear and melt away in such a moment of amor fati. The sensitive application of the teaching of ‘the eternal recurrence of the same’ to an individual existence. re-created and creatively regenerated during the performance of such an act.78 Arno Böhler
recurrence of the same’ is for humans never just a fatal truth. In a passage that is given the title ‘On Redemption’. then it is clear that Zarathustra’s notion of amor fati has nothing to do with a passive form of love. as an act of maximisation and intensiﬁcation of one’s liveliness. Zarathustra can say this about the act of redemption: ‘To redeem those who lived in the past and to recreate all “it was” into a “thus I willed it” – that alone should I call redemption’ (Nietzsche 1995: 139). Since
. Rather. but rather a type of guiding principle (Leitsatz). which humans should not simply believe or treat as a given fact. wanted or refused. during the process of the internalisation of his teaching. reworked. supplemented. to behave or to desire – all these abilities cannot be merely used. Once we do understand that Zarathustra. started to cut and reﬁne the genealogically transferred historical burden of his life in such a way that his ‘ﬁrst nature’ became ennobled and puriﬁed and was made into a jewel by his life. but should cope with as something that has to be reciprocated in practice. is a re-creation of pre-existing dispositions in a living creature and clearly not just an act with a purely descriptive character. Thus too the dispositions that Zarathustra confronts during the internalisation of the concept of ‘the eternal recurrence of the same’ – whether they concern his ability to feel. cursed or agreed upon. considered bad or good. to think. if necessary.
This morning Zarathustra sprang up from his bed and screamed with a dreadful voice: ‘Up.
V. Once Zarathustra had seen a young shepherd lying on the ground. Now. . If Zarathustra wanted to recover by virtue of his own thoughts. today the day has come. my most abysmal thought!’ (Nietzsche 1995: 215–16). All of the life that was
. but also to perform them on and by himself. something in him cried out as well: ‘Bite! Bite its head off! Bite!’ (Nietzsche 1995: 159). ‘It is I or you!’ (Nietzsche 1995: 157) he cried out against his own melancholy. . ‘You are stirring. Not just any day had begun this morning. [. wheezing? Up! Up! You shall not wheeze but speak to me. doubled over in pain because a heavy black snake had crawled into his mouth. in order to free himself from the burden of his own legacy. structurally speaking. your dawn. ﬁnal act. this morning. During the dawn of his convalescence Zarathustra dares his own anima to speak of his most abysmal thoughts. The ﬁnal act in the drama of his convalescence should take place this morning and thus become a real event. which Zarathustra has to perform and execute himself existentially in the course of his own genealogical becoming. at the dawn of his convalescence. abysmal thought. you sleepyhead. Thus every living act. out of my depths! I am your morning cock. a resolute Zarathustra began to plumb his soul’s abysses in order to hear what they had to say about his most profound thoughts. The Dawn
Today. Zarathustra was ﬁnally prepared to bring the ill-tempered nature of his soul to a sudden end and to rid himself of the monster of nihilism that had overcome him.The Time of Drama in Nietzsche and Deleuze
his reception of the life that has been transmitted to him. Zarathustra’s fulﬁlment of his own amor fati represents a synthetic act a priori.] I summon you. the day on which he will challenge his own abysses to divulge something of his most abysmal thoughts. but rather that day over which was written ‘the convalescent’. a date which would mark the singular nadir in the life of Zarathustra. a morning would have to come to him on which he should be prepared not just to teach others his own teachings. Now IT was time. now he was ready for the decisive. represents a synthetic act a priori because the execution of a ‘lively’ behaviour necessarily brings with it a moment of instability: the possibility of an event that leads to the restructuring of those very structures that were involved in the act from its inception. an act of biting. stretching. Up! Up! My voice shall yet crow you awake!’ (Nietzsche 1995: 215). And look. On this morning.
pale and stricken. summarising his theory on the drama of repetition-in-itself. according to Deleuze. On the contrary. Amor Fati as an Elating Double Afﬁrmation (Counter-Signature)
‘Nietzsche’s Zarathustra is clearly a drama. For the ﬁrst time Zarathustra’s teachings are reciprocated from the depths of his own soul. I hear you. Have his teachings in the meanwhile really reached the deepest strings of his soul? Have they in the meantime really reached these depths and been desirously received in the deepest chambers of his anima? Shaken by the event that his soul reciprocated his own teachings. in the transition from the second to the third part of the drama. Now the doctrine.
VI. In ‘The Stillest Hour’. No longer does his soul fear its own abysmal thoughts. writes Deleuze. one that does not stimulate merely our intellect as a social demand or duty but a stimulating promise that corresponds to Stendhal’s deﬁnition of beauty as the taking place of an unanticipated promise of luck. It is no longer Zarathustra who speaks to his soul in the dawn of his convalescence. ‘Hail to me! You are coming. His most abysmal thoughts should today testify to his soul. The preparatory prelude of Zarathustra’s story culminates. My abyss speaks. This morning it had ﬁnally come to the point where they had to show their true colours and testify to what touches them in the deepest depth. after seven days. I have turned my ultimate depth inside out into the light. For the ﬁrst time his soul echoes him.80 Arno Böhler
in him should today speak to him. a theatrical work’. took a rose apple into his hand. Zarathustra ﬁrst remained lying. demand or law of the eternal return of a regenerating mode of repetition has ﬁnally become a stimulating one. Rather it is his soul that speaks to him today. the last section of part two. in the mode of a defect or of the past: this act is too big for me’ (Deleuze 1994: 92). ‘une promesse de bonheur’ (Nietzsche 1999b: 347). we are told
. ‘The largest part of the book is taken up with the before. From them he ﬁnally wants to know what they themselves have to say about his teachings. and found its fragrance lovely’ (Nietzsche 1995: 216). smelled it. Seven days he needed in order to digest that which he experienced during the ﬁnal act of his convalescence. Zarathustra raised himself on his resting place. today even its abysses speak to him of his abysmal thoughts. ‘At last. Hail to me! Come here! Give me your hand!’ (Nietzsche 1995: 216).
the thought of the eternal recurrence of the same.The Time of Drama in Nietzsche and Deleuze
that Zarathustra must again return to his solitude. But it is by no means out of bounds. ‘It is I or you!’ (Nietzsche 1995: 157). precisely because ‘his fruit is ripe. ‘The third moment remains absent: this is the moment of the revelation and afﬁrmation of eternal return’ (Deleuze 1994: 92). Deleuze. when Zarathustra becomes capable’. in the second section of the third part. his face distorted. Giorgio (1999) Potentialities. Only a little later. thereby founding simultaneously this theatre of the future and a new philosophy. Walter Kaufmann. is on the far side with respect to Nietzsche’s enterprise. the Sign. gagging. The cut takes place. New York: The Modern Library. longs for a conclusive and decisive act. the time after Zarathustra’s recovery. They no longer reﬂect on the theatre in the Hegelian manner. Of course. It rather expresses his will of doing philosophy from a perspective located wholly within the scope and purview of The Use and Abuse of History for LIFE. Paul Patton. The only way to free himself from his past had appeared to him in the vision and the riddle of a young shepherd ‘writhing. and a heavy black snake hung out of his mouth’ (Nietzsche 1995: 159). Deleuze assumes that Nietzsche did not have enough time to formulate dramatically this third stage in doing philosophy. (Deleuze 1994: 8)
Agamben. but he is not ripe for his fruit’ (Nietzsche 1995: 147). ‘In this sense’. Zarathustra’s metamorphosis begins because he starts IN DEED to challenge his ﬁrst nature. in spasms. the smell of the rose apple and its lovely fragrance. dwarf!’ he says. Gilles (1994) Difference & Repetition. ‘Then comes the moment of the caesura or the metamorphosis. a monster similar to the one that had crawled down the throat of the young shepherd while he was asleep. They invent an incredible equivalent of theatre within philosophy. trans.
. A Book for All and None. Zarathustra bites. New York: Columbia University Press. ‘On the Vision and the Riddle’. Neither do they set up a philosophical theatre. one can agree with Deleuze. Zarathustra would have to detoxify himself from the poisonous grip of the heavy black snake of European nihilism. Stanford: Stanford University Press. But Deleuze goes on to say.
something completely new begins with Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. Friedrich (1995) Thus Spoke Zarathustra. ‘Stop. Now the alchemic contest between ‘the spirit of gravity’ (Nietzsche 1995: 158) and the performance of accessing his most abysmal thought. However. trans. Nietzsche.
243–334. in Sämtliche Werke – Kritische Studienausgabe (15 v. Vol. Vol. 1. Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben. p. Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag.
DOI: 10. pp. 347.). 5. Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag.3366/E1750224110000826
. in Sämtliche Werke – Kritische Studienausgabe (15 v. Nietzsche. Friedrich (1999a) Unzeitgemäße Betrachtungen. Friedrich (1999b) Genealogie der Moral.82 Arno Böhler
Take for example Deleuze’s use of ‘événement’. a ‘becoming-other’ in life or in philosophical perspective. A revelatory event initiates in a double manner the move from Heidegger’s futile search for a transcendental IT that delivers perceptible beings to the conﬁdent positing of Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism. who draws heavily on both Heidegger and Nietzsche. incorporeal sense. Keywords: event. it can be useful trying to translate a major philosopher such as Heidegger. Deleuze When working with philosophers who live philosophy rather than consider it an academic exercise. key words that they use can be traps that prevent rather than facilitate understanding. With respect to French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. suffused with the IF of incorporeal sense. carries the whole weight of
. with all of his etymological baggage. not to mention Japanese and English. This term translates easily into English ‘event’. thanks to Heidegger and a long philosophical tradition. a relatively innocuous. which. German and English or Greek and Hebrew. This is especially a problem when two or more languages are involved: French. becoming-other. being. Oswego
Metamorphosis is a sudden change. or Nietzsche. with his idiosyncratic.1 To grasp the problem. In German however. ‘evenement’ becomes ‘Ereignis’. aphoristic and purposely counterphilosophical vocabulary. transcendental empiricism. even weightless word. the traps multiply because he also lays them deliberately and subversively in order to mislead academic explication and thus to force the kind of confrontation with conceptual dead ends that has the power to lead to ‘enlightenment’.Sense. Being and the Revelatory Event: Deleuze and Metamorphosis
State University of New York. In the process Deleuze dramatically enacts his personal connection between sense (Sinn) and being (Sein).
So then the age-old philosophical question naturally arises. signalling a metamorphosis not just in thinking but also in life as lived. For while all attempts to storm the transcendental realm philosophically seem bound to fail – by deﬁnition. Both translations are clearly traps. which also involves the probing. Let’s begin by asserting that even in English events can be fundamental happenings.3 There is then in this respect a
fundamental connection between religious and dramatic thought. For Deleuze ‘evenement’ is dramatically transformative. and so on. and allow us to proceed in life with a certainty we never had before. change (and escape from the plot) can be accomplished through one means alone. literally. a neardeath ecstasy. as Heidegger would say. including ourselves. there are always ultimate questions about how all our givens were given in the ﬁrst place. He echoes thereby Paul Tillich’s tripartite structure of religious revelation.2 While for a ﬁnitist philosopher that may be a question beyond answer. the dissolution of identity and the reappearance of the individual in a ‘reborn’ state. causing philosophy endless trouble. so to speak – there have been no end of privileged communications from the transcendental into our world of reality. and in light of our ﬁnite powers of thought.
. reason or noumena. Revelations constitute major turning points or. that an event is a process or eventuation or becoming. put us with newly gained conviction in the middle of an ongoing dramatic action. give us a new identity.84 Peter Hertz-Ohmes
Being on its shoulders. In both. as Gilles Deleuze would say. what Deleuze calls an actualisation or Heidegger calls a ‘coming into one’s own’ or coming into a way of existential being (seiend). cata-strophes in the life of an individual or group. unsettling uncertainty of an outsider looking in. ‘What in the last analysis is IT that gives?’ (Heidegger 1972: 16). Harold Rosenberg. And IT has never prevented one from giving Heidegger’s unknowable transcendent powers various names. They radically change who we are. the actor does not obey his own will but rather the rules of the situation in which he ﬁnds himself. it is a question of ‘becoming other’. In both. like God or ideals. using Hamlet as his prime example. We live after all in a world of givens. and consequent committed action in the midst of what Tillich calls an ‘ultimate concern’. in the Tradition of the New – a book highly praised by Deleuze (1994a: 91–6) – calls attention to the tripartite dramatic structure of character change. not the least of which is competing with self-validating religious doctrines. What Deleuze calls ‘evenement’ is decidedly neither ‘event’ nor ‘Ereignis’. The word for such communication is ‘revelation’. (Rosenberg 1971: 152–3)
Or. there certainly has been no lack of trying.
have to come from somewhere too. The result thereafter: the astonishing consistency of Deleuze’s thought. . Deleuze endured eight years of silence. and Kierkegaard faults Schelling for misunderstanding the singular and personal aspect that makes revelation so special. . the sciences – Archimedes’ ‘Eureka!’ is a prime example – and even in mathematics. ‘This eight year hole in Deleuze’s intellectual life does in fact represent [.Sense. which are certainly not without their dramatic moments. where Pythagoras and the revelation of the dreaded irrational numbers comes to mind. But other philosophers take pains to deny that revelation has philosophical relevance. but also in revolutionary politics (Lenin). Thomas Kuhn calls such events ‘paradigm shifts’. radical art (Bacon). when all else fails to glue a system together? Empiricists are particularly unhappy with the transcendental. a veritable philosophical metamorphosis. what he himself calls ‘a hole’ in his life before emerging again with a spate of major books and a new philosophical buzzword: transcendental empiricism (Deleuze 1997: 138). profoundly inﬂuenced by Nietzsche’s own crisis. Nietzsche stands accused of having hallucinations. in religion and literary drama.4 After the publication of his ﬁrst book on Hume (Deleuze 1991/1953). says Michael Hardt (1993: xx). But how are we to understand this ‘other’ Deleuze with his ‘other’ philosophy? What in the world is ‘transcendental’ empiricism? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms. even if that is difﬁcult to see under the breadth and complexity of his works. Plato’s famous solution was to wrap the problem of revelatory communication in myth! So what about Gilles Deleuze? He should know something about revelation because early in his career he too went through a transmutational experience. The movement from ordinary or classical empiricism to virtual-transcendental empiricism was for him an extraordinarily difﬁcult crisis of reconceptualisation. simple perceptions. So what about philosophy? What part can revelation play in the very ﬁeld that regards revelation as nothing more than a crisis of thought and condones transcendental or inaccessible sources only as a last resort. to be sure. as in Nietzsche’s famous revelation of the ‘eternal return’ or Schelling’s systematic treatment of revelation. A few philosophers actually admit to a revelatory aspect in philosophy. yet in the last analysis the empiricists’ starting points. ] a period of dramatic reorientation in his philosophical approach’. no matter how successfully one disparages so-called universal truths as products of habit. a non sequitur or even a joke? If it is
. Freudian psychology. Being and the Revelatory Event
Revelations take place in many areas of human endeavour.
6 As paradoxical as it may seem. The point is basically as follows: Deleuze re-prioritises thought by moving from being to sense. This is Hamlet’s problem as well. can only be grounded if he can make sense of his new position. Make sense of his new position? No. it is precisely Deleuze’s ingenious concept of sense that supplies the
.5 But as Paulos knows. If it is a joke. his new philosophical persona. Deleuze decides to insert SENSE in the catastrophic break or jump between empiricism and transcendentalism as a new kind of link between the actual or empirical and the virtual or ‘transcendental’. prophets and principals. it is in line with René Thom’s catastrophe theory. Not make sense OF the new position. the forms and ideals. Deleuze’s identity as an empiricist must undergo a radical transmutation if he is to re-emerge in the royal realm of transcendentalism and legitimately kill its assumptions. If Deleuze is cast as an empiricist. But how can Deleuze manage that? His new conﬁdence. in this case between empiricism and transcendentalism. from the world of beings. that is to say. and culminated in a book by John Paulos called Mathematics and Humor. that may sound hopeless but it is not serious. We began by saying that the transcendental is a source from which emanate the laws and models. Catastrophe theory was all the rage a few years ago. before chaos theory took centre stage. If like Kant we discount the personages who claim a connection to the transcendental.86 Peter Hertz-Ohmes
a joke. but make sense THE new position. Thom’s catastrophe singularities are not necessarily mathematical singularities at all but can be philosophical breaks or jumps between two ways of thinking. and why Hamlet dithers and cannot kill the king in the ﬁrst part of his play. the originals and paradigms on which we base our accidental and imperfect real world. transcendental empiricism is a kind of joke. In other words. there are still the intuitions of reason or harmony or common sense to consider. Yes. Must we take these intuitions on faith? Or was Kant trapped by a search for integrative sources. but the joke is on the transcendentalists. his difﬁculty is clear: he is an outsider with respect to transcendental philosophy and cannot satisfactorily attack its presuppositions. Somehow his empiricism must take on a virtual aspect it has heretofore avoided. But it communicates in privileged and personal communications with the world through those we call priests and rulers. Its Being is unassailable from this side. that is (in German) from SEIN to SINN. just as certainly as Hume was trapped by a ‘pointilism’ that simply could not coalesce to form the kind of actual worlds we all experience.
how can empiricism account for the being of the sensible? Or
. but not with the help of otherworldly sources. How then can we characterise sense? In a way. to what Nietzsche calls the eternal return of the same or what Klossowski calls the vicious circle. ‘real without being actual. It thus bears some interesting resemblances.Sense. whose various possible senses it implies. then. And this is the subject of the intentionally paradox-ridden Deleuzian Logic of Sense. as Deleuze understands it. including and particularly the corporeal linguistic units. with perhaps a crisis of thought. whether yours or mine or the possible worlds of any social group we can imagine. not transcendental. All this is truly real. including actualised time and space. is to create and/or dismantle concepts. unlike chronological time. sense is not imbedded in or directly attached to the physical or material world. sense is neither inherently virtual nor transcendental. a correlative sense. any more than are the more or less ﬂexible concepts that make up sense. has the means to eliminate classical realms of emanation. the resulting extensive environment must necessarily be charged with a correlative given. Concepts make explicit implicitly held beliefs that are fundamental to a society. The job of philosophy. Thus philosophy. But on the other hand. by showing how concepts are constructed. Incorporeal sense lies like a transparent skin on everything that is in the world. Philosophically speaking. without the need of controlling emanations from a transcendental source. ideal without being abstract’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1994b: 22). Concepts are generated geopolitically and self-referentially out of their own constituent parts. They are. This tissue is entirely this-worldly. at least insofar as it is incorporeal and cannot be touched or felt as such. constructing concepts is what a philosopher does. And no doubt we are all within a world that is both constant and changing all around us. as we are beginning to see. says Deleuze. as Deleuze says. It is truly ‘entre temps’ or ‘meanwhile’ with respect to the succession of time. I repeat. On the one hand. the giving of perceptions. sense can be considered the tissue of concepts that holds any particular culture together. But if eventuation is a giving. because it is incorporeal. incorporeal sense would be completely vacuous if there were no actualised worlds to cover. Nevertheless. and as such. sense is in a special way ‘recurrent’ or superimposed upon itself (Deleuze and Guattari 1994b: 158). Deleuze’s sense is nothing at all. So the question becomes. written or oral. And. Being and the Revelatory Event
conceptual glue Kantians and empiricists have both failed to produce.
that is to say they are immanent. in and among us. . There is no Ereignis without the splendour of the Event. I quote: ‘anxious. subject/object. always the subtle differences (Mallarmé’s IF) in its sense. Taken all together they constitute a plane of immanence. As preactualised differentials. one would make him ﬁrst the author of a Proustian novel. the incorporeal counterpart to the three passive syntheses of time: past experience. present instant and future indetermination. space/time and linguistic conﬁgurations. . . but not as an attribute of an inaccessible superior Being.9 Then. space and perceptions as a constantly counter-actualising force. Difference and Repetition: isn’t that the true EVENT! Yes. If one were to ﬁctionalise the life of Gilles Deleuze as the great destroyer of the transcendent monster’s ‘emanating’ domain. But being incorporeal means also that sense-as-event swirls around and through time. for example. mute . expiatory and pubescent . And where are all these undeﬁned and indeﬁnite energies? All around us. The syntagmatic differenCiation of the differential means setting aside (although not losing) inherent difference through necessary conforming. to the already present habitual conditions of.7 There’s that IF that says we’re on our own! Always the same repetitive throw (Heidegger’s IT).8 It is appropriate to sum up in a special way. And that IF is the tissue of sense. Taken as fortuitous singularities. . . If the throw of the dice is Heidegger’s Ereignis. unlike the concept itself. IF (Mallarmé 1994: 138)’.88 Peter Hertz-Ohmes
to phrase the problem succinctly. event. We might say that Deleuze’s Nietzsche – or Mallarmé – oriented IF lights up Heidegger’s onto-theological IT. the virtual is comprised of collections of yet undeﬁned and indeﬁnite energies that. as a perception. Repetition and difference. have under the right circumstances the potential of corporeal. that . for the end of his life – which unfortunately gets all too little attention – it would be necessary to cast him in a
. but this is a ‘transcendental’ that is as fully accessible in its workings as those of Mallarmé’s post-metaphysical. As conceived by conceptual sense. then its IF is the Deleuzian event. . aionic ‘Throw of the Dice’. laughter . . each singularity is a differential ‘will to power’ – Nietzsche again – a differential ‘will to power’ ready to differenciate itself – differenCiate with a ‘c’ – through actualisation in the so-called real world (Rölli 2009: 36). the Being of the sensible depends on the sense of that Being. why is there something rather than nothing? It is here that conceptual sense reﬂexively re-introduces the virtual. perceptual actualisation. . as well as of phenomenological consciousness in our case as humans. the virtual plane of immanence can be considered transcendental. To put it another way.
Sense, Being and the Revelatory Event
Greek-like tragedy very much like the anachronistic play Empedokles by the eighteenth-century German genius Hölderlin. Here’s how the whole Deleuzian story would play out from this perspective. As our young ﬁctional Deleuze looks at the history of philosophy to the present day and realises that he is losing – no, wasting – time, he almost gives up his dream of becoming a philosopher. But then, having regained in a transmutational crisis the secret weapon called sense that hasn’t been used since the Stoics, our ﬁctional Deleuze morphs into a heroic knight, turns the transcendental dragon into Puff by writing a series of timely tomes, and is increasingly cheered by his disciples as the new philosopher king. But in later years Deleuze comes to understand that without the need for chosen leaders to interpret enigmatic messages from discredited transcendental sources, he must reject the kingship offered him. To quote Hölderlin, ‘the time for kings has come and gone . . . You can’t expect my help if you can’t help yourselves’ (Hölderlin 1968: II, 1438 and 1452–3, my translation).10 These words ought to trigger a social revolution. But they imply more. Our ﬁctional Deleuze must recognise, as did the philosopher Empedocles, that by having dismantled the royal mantle of authority, he cannot any longer stay around and argue with his detractors. No, he must once again become ‘other’. No longer individual or universal within his social milieu, he must entrust himself to the ‘singular splendour of the fourth person’, the truly immanent it-thatgives, and re-emerge for us through a ﬁnal re-generative metamorphosis as the legendary FREE MAN. As his works and his actions show, the free man
grasps the event and does not allow it to be actualised as such without enacting, the actor, its counter-actualisation. Only the free man can comprehend all violence in a single act of violence, and every mortal event in a single Event. (Deleuze 1990: 152)
We know from Hölderlin that Empedocles convinces his clinging friends to leave him. He then climbs the slopes of the chaotic volcano Etna and abruptly jumps into its molten interior. So – in his own way – does Deleuze.11 The revelatory sense of that event should continue to inspire Deleuzians both now and long hereafter.
1. For relevant discussions of translation problems, see the author’s ﬁrst translation of Heidegger’s On the Way to Language in his Stanford dissertation (Hertz 1967), then compare it to the version that was revised to conform to other
90 Peter Hertz-Ohmes
Heidegger translations at the time, published in 1971 and still in print. For Greek and Hebrew see Boman (1960), and for Japanese and English see Nishitani (1982). ‘We are still faced with the enigmatic IT that we named in the expression: it gives time, it gives being (es gibt Zeit, es gibt Sein). . . . When we speak of IT, we arbitrarily posit an indeterminate power that is supposed to bring about all giving of being and of time. . . . IT eventuates (ES ereignet). . . . Being is appropriated in the eventuation (Sein verschwindet im Ereignis). What remains to be said? The appropriating eventuation eventuates appropriately (Das Ereignis ereignet)’ (Heidegger 1972: 16–24, revised P. H.). ‘Revelation is the manifestation of the mystery of being for the cognitive function of human reason’ (Tillich 1951: 129). As Deleuze says again and again regarding metamorphoses in literature (Kafka, Carroll, Proust, Melville, et al.), there is nothing metaphorical about them. They are ‘charts of intensities’. See for example Deleuze and Guattari (1975: 65). See Paulos (1980) on the connection between jokes and René Thom’s catastrophe theory. For a complete discussion of the traps Kant and Hume fall into, see Rölli (2003). The author of this paper is presently translating and editing the book for publication in English. On Aion as ‘an empty and unfolded form of time’, on an event-oriented playing of the game, and on Aion again as ‘an infused and ramiﬁed chance’, all in relation to Carroll and Mallarmé, see Deleuze (1990: 58–65). On the splendour of the event, see Deleuze (1990: 152). ‘Proust’s work is not oriented to the past and the discoveries of memory, but to the future and the progress of an apprenticeship. What is important is that the hero does not know certain things at the start, gradually learns them, and ﬁnally receives an ultimate revelation’ (Deleuze 2000: 26). (Becoming ‘other’, becoming writer.) Nietzsche, who venerated Hölderlin, incorporates the same line in Also Sprach Zarathustra, part III, ‘Von alten und neuen Tafeln’ (Nietzsche 1999: v. 4, 263). Taking one last breath into his collapsed lung, he kicks away the machine, and leaps into the mouth of the open window . . . ‘for dying [. . . ] gives him the right to begin anew. . . ’ (Deleuze 1990: 65).
3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Boman, Thorleif (1960) Hebrew Thought Compared to Greek, trans. Jules Moreau, Philadelphia: Westminster. Deleuze, Gilles (1990) The Logic of Sense, ed. Constantin V. Boundas, trans. Mark Lester with Charles Stivale, New York: Columbia University Press. Deleuze, Gilles (1991/1953) Empiricism and Subjectivity: An Essay on Hume’s Theory of Human Nature, trans. Constantin V. Boundas, New York: Columbia University Press. Deleuze, Gilles (1994a) Difference & Repetition, trans. Paul Patton, New York: Columbia University Press. Deleuze, Gilles (1997) Negotiations 1972–1990, trans. Martin Joughin, New York: Columbia University Press. Deleuze, Gilles (2000) Proust and Signs, trans. Richard Howard, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari (1975) Kafka, Paris: Minuit.
Sense, Being and the Revelatory Event
Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari (1994b) What is Philosophy?, trans. Hugh Tomliinson and Graham Burchell, New York: Columbia University Press. Hardt, Michael (1993) Gilles Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy, London: Routledge. Heidegger, Martin (1971) On the Way to Language, trans. Peter D. Hertz, New York: Harper and Row. Heidegger, Martin (1972) On Time and Being, trans. Joan Stambaugh, New York: Harper and Row. Hertz, Peter Donald (1967) Martin Heidegger: Language and the Foundations of Interpretation, Stanford University. Hölderlin, Friedrich (1968 ), Der Tod des Empedokles, M. B. Benn (ed.), Oxford: University Press. Mallarmé, Stéphane (1994) Collected Poems, trans. Henry Weinﬁeld, Berkeley: University of California Press. Nietzsche, Friedrich (1999) Sämtliche Werke – Kritische Studienausgabe (15 v.), Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag. Nishitani, Keiji (1982) Religion and Nothingness, trans. Jan Van Bragt, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Paulos, John (1980) Mathematics and Humor, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Rosenberg, Harold (1971 ) The Tradition of the New, Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press. Rölli, Marc (2003) Gilles Deleuze: Philosophie des Transcendentalen Empirismus, Vienna: Turia and Kant. Rölli, Marc (2009) ‘Deleuze on Intensity Differentials and the Being of the Sensible’, in I. Buchanan (ed.), Deleuze Studies, 3:1, pp. 26–53. Tillich, Paul (1951) Systematic Theology, vol. 1, ‘Reason and Revelation: Being and God’, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Whitehead and Process’. When placed in the context of either Whitehead’s own thinking or the body of scholarship on his thought. the afﬁnities and contrasts. but also within the scholarship on Whitehead. to name but two. purpose and scope of Deleuze’s work. and these problems are dealt with here in ways that are often directly relevant and illuminating for thinking about Deleuze. indeed. is to examine some of the resonances and disjunctions. as James Williams points out in his paper here. questions pertaining to the meaning. for example. each of the three contributors here presented papers in the session on ‘Deleuze. writing anew. surprising and ‘untimely’ quality. the relation between the virtual and the actual or the problem of immanence. have their counterparts in the Whitehead literature. Some of the most important interpretive issues raised within Deleuze studies in the last few years regarding.1 For this Deleuze Studies special forum. That there are strikingly deep and instructive convergences between Deleuze’s and Whitehead’s thought is now achieving recognition. sometimes remarkably close parallels. Wales. The task now is to move beyond the ‘introductory’ format stage that has hitherto characterised a signiﬁcant part of ‘Deleuze Studies’ and attempt to come to terms with the sheer range and daunting complexity of Deleuze’s
. Whitehead and Process
University of South Dakota
At the First International Deleuze Conference held in August 2008 at the University of Cardiff. science and aesthetics. between their respective systems of thought. including questions on the nature of his thought and its relation to Western traditions of philosophy. problems dealt with in the secondary literature on Deleuze and on Deleuze and Guattari often have parallels. we were invited to re-address the relation between Deleuze and Whitehead by developing and elaborating our conference papers or. and now this forum. not only from those who already work seriously with and on Deleuze.2 Indeed. Scholarship on Deleuze is clearly entering a new phase.Forum Introduction: Deleuze. to those engaged with in the literature on Whitehead. are given a novel. The purpose of the conference session.
but also an image of thinking the new in itself alongside a restored belief in the world as ever in the making.
1. process and life – and each paper seeks to raise pressing questions about the role and status of these concepts in both thinkers. Un empiricisme spéculatif: lecture de Procès et Réalité de Whitehead (Vrin 2006).org/) has actively encouraged readings of Whitehead in the context of Deleuze’s work and continental thought more generally. Perspective: Leibniz.3366/E175022411000084X
. Didier Debaise. The promise of reading Deleuze and Whitehead together is that it will provide not only a new ‘image of thought’ for each thinker. Deleuze (Vrin 2006). See Benoît Timmermans. this focus section will be a contribution to that task. I thank Ian Buchanan and the conference organisers at Cardiff for giving our session ‘plenary’ status. Penser avec Whitehead: Une libre au sauvage création de concept (Seuil 2002). Isabelle Stengers. By bringing Whitehead to bear on Deleuze. 2. creativity and event. Each paper engages some of the key concepts that deﬁne the Deleuze–Whitehead encounter – immanence and transcendence. The Whitehead Research Network (http://whiteheadresearch. Recent Whitehead scholarship in French has often referenced Deleuze.
DOI: 10.Forum Introduction
extraordinary legacy of thought. Whitehead.
It is then shown that Deleuze’s philosophy allows for metaphysical terms such as ‘pure’ without having to concede a separate and self-sufﬁcient pure realm. ‘The world is thus
. provides helpful guidelines and ideas for work on problems regarding immanence in Deleuze’s philosophy. It captures. metaphysics A discarded magnifying glass lies by the side of a country lane. in the new climate that turned the undergrowth to perfect kindling while conjuring up summer winds of unmatched intensity. a mere child’s toy. those that did not or could not ﬂee were choked then calcinated. Keywords: immanence. or prehends. or at least not plausibly. never to return. relations. God. naturalism. setting it alight. It takes a very detached eye indeed to survey this loss and to claim equal value for the new scrub and the ancient settled hills with their natural complexity. transcendence. By following arguments on theism and naturalism in the reception of Whitehead. focusing thereafter on withered. it argues that Deleuze’s philosophy depends on reciprocal relations between that actual and the virtual such that they cannot be considered as separate without also being incomplete. given away free on the cover of a magazine. Ancient homesteads and chancy new builds suffered equally on the ﬁre front. the sun’s rays as they prehend its glass. animal life and human bonds. notably by Basile and Nobo. tinder-dry grass.Immanence and Transcendence as Inseparable Processes: On the Relevance of Arguments from Whitehead to Deleuze Interpretation
University of Dundee
It is argued in this paper that recent work on immanence and transcendence in Whitehead scholarship. A forest of mature trees is devastated in the subsequent ﬁre.
at least in its higher actualities. God is therefore immanent in each occasion by supplying it with its initial subjective aim and instilling in it the desire for perfection as is possible in its immediate situation. the many in one – ﬂux and permanence. God is the conscious and unbiased reception of the physical world as it passes into the immediacy of his ‘feeling’ [. God and the World. with its familiarities and its loved ones’ (Whitehead 1978: 340). with its clinging to transcendence as resistance to the passing of all immanent actualities: ‘the culminating fact of conscious. Derivative should be seen in a strong sense here. good and evil. transiently useful’ (Whitehead 1978: 340). physical side of the universe passes into the mental. greatness and triviality. (Whitehead 1978: 341)
Yet Whitehead’s model for immanence and transcendence is very subtle and neither realm is full without the other. as a sum. This haunting is one of the forces behind the emergence of religion. transient side by the primordial nature of God. his primordial nature:
In our cosmological constructions we are. each one creating a new valuation and a new series of relation between eternal objects. since each is formed by the other in creative processes. which is his guide for realisation. rational life refuses to conceive itself as a transient enjoyment. permanent side by the consequent nature of God. which is his coordination of achievement. Whitehead will call them a side of God. it craves for novelty and yet is haunted by terror at the loss of the past. Harmony. as consequent. The one becomes many by the unity of God’s vision passing into the physical world.Immanence and Transcendence as Inseparable Processes
faced by the paradox that. The many become one by reaching a ﬁnal completion and harmonisation in God’s eternal being.1 Transcendent eternal objects carry forth the valuation of positive prehensions2 and. allows for a dance of transcendence and immanence. such that God’s consequent nature and primordial nature follow from categories for eternal objects and immediate occasions. permanent side of the universe passes into the physical.4 Here we can see the
. he proceeds to describe and explain a set of ‘derivative notions’ of which God is one. (McHenry 1992: 160)
Thus once Whitehead has set his speculative metaphysical categories in Process and Reality. joy and sorrow. And the transient. as one. On the other hand. as logically derived from the categories. freedom and necessity. running from past to future through the accord of transcendent entities with passing and novel ones. therefore. . . ] So the mental. left with the ﬁnal opposites. but each novel creation comes from a creative pull in God’s primordial nature:
For Whitehead. disjunction and conjunction – that is to say.3 God’s consequent nature comes from actual creations.
sending it back to return again as new creativity (Deleuze 1990: 151). the many in the one and the one in the many: ‘The primordial created fact is the unconditioned conceptual valuation of the entire multiplicity of eternal objects. placing him beyond being. whereas the direct consequence of Plotinus’ philosophical efforts was to carry the transcendence of God to its utmost extremity in his separation of the spiritual realm from the sensible world. not layered and hierarchical imbrications. but feeling can take on this role and intensity has been surveyed as a central component of his account by Judith Jones in this exact context:
The reference to the fulﬁllment of God’s own being here is unfortunate. mere passing abstractions.96 James Williams
folding of one and many into one another. where Ideas or sense move through surface or intensity to an actual realm. something that draws Whitehead far away from traditional monotheisms:
One of the major aims of Whitehead’s metaphysical endeavour is to provide a rational interpretation of the immanence of God without denying the necessary element of transcendence enabling him to be considered as the principle of concretion and in that sense primordial. It could seem that surface and intensity are the missing terms in Whitehead’s account. it receives a reaction from the world. But Whitehead’s God has no such ofﬁce. but relations of mutual derivation and dependency where the fold is all and the folded things. This is the primordial nature of God’ (Whitehead 1978: 31). (Jones 1998: 146)
The Leibnizian term appetition is taken up by Whitehead to describe the work of valuation and hence eternal objects (studied of course by
. whereby there is this aim at intensity are not transcendent of creative process but primordial in it. such as the ones we shall see Deleuze move beyond a little later (see also Cloots 2009: 69–70). where a counter-actualisation reworks the form and power of the virtual. Yet this entire valuation is itself created. this reaction is its consequent nature’ (Whitehead 1978: 31). for it suggests a divine agency with a directive ofﬁce somehow transcendent of the creative process in which there is aim at intensity of satisfaction. This creative circle moving from abstract eternal realm through a creative transformation in the actual and back to a now transformed virtual realm is akin to Deleuze’s circle of destiny and his rejection of fatalism (Deleuze 1990: 149). always in concrescence and never in the past. God’s ‘primordial appetitions’. One of these folds leads to an entire multiplicity. (Wilmot 1979: 70)5
The consequent nature of God is the way this creativity and ‘all-inclusive unfettered’ valuation touch the transcendence of a future destiny through concretions of prehensions: ‘By reason of its character as a creature.
in relation to an entirely ﬂuent world. they are relations we should think of in terms of becoming of different kinds and with different. or with a wish to preserve one or the other of them. God as a consequence of speciﬁc actual creations. but something with a deﬁnite novelty’ (Whitehead 1978: 32). processes. The real problem lies. it is a mistake to deﬁne one in terms of perfect self-identity and to assign it the role of setting relative identity and being in the other realm. involving realization of what is not and may be’ (Whitehead 1978: 32). with eminent reality. Flux and becoming must be part of transcendence and immanence. refusing to lapse into notions of pure identity or essence towards which thirst would return us once we have satiated it. in their ‘vicious separation’. or as concern for the denial of the priority of one or the other term in their separation. The surprising use of this technical but also physical adjective could be read in many ways. Deleuze 1993: 76–82) and God in the drive forward of immediate occasions (see Shaviro 2009: 24–6 and Williams 2009b: 286–7).
. explicable only through an external source. There is an important lesson for speculative metaphysics to take from Whitehead’s characterisation of immanence and transcendence. Where Deleuze often talks of the desires and compulsions shaping our destiny as genetic members of damned families or alcoholics (Deleuze 1993: 69–70).6 It lies in his positioning of the main philosophical problem away from worries about the mixing of the two terms: ‘The vicious separation of the ﬂux from the permanence leads to the concept of an entirely static God.Immanence and Transcendence as Inseparable Processes
Deleuze in The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. on the contrary. as a worry about how the two terms are separated. God as the unity of all multiplicities. and insisting instead on the becoming within the organism and its creative novelty. Thus we ﬁnd transcendence and immanence on two parts of a circle connecting them where neither transcendence. with deﬁcient reality’ (Whitehead 1978: 346). nor immanence. Instead. but one whose full work can only be when transcendence and immanence combine to project things forward: ‘ “Appetition” is immediate matter of fact including in itself a principle of unrest. Yet what Whitehead means has little to do with how the terms are divided. something largely identical. can be treated independently of one another: ‘God’s immanence in the world in respect to his primordial nature is an urge towards the future based upon an appetite in the present’ (Whitehead 1978: 32). Whitehead chooses the more universal example of thirst: ‘Thirst is an appetite towards a difference – towards something relevant. The elegance of his position comes out strongly here. for instance. but complementary.
Once again. Both suffer violence because they belong together and can only be separated at the cost of creating a false image of each one: ‘But if the opposites. in Process and Reality. static and ﬂuent. separated transcendence is pure stasis. .8 there have been persistent attempts to situate his philosophy on one or the other side of the immanence and transcendence divide. For Whitehead. and against Whitehead’s own critical reaction to brute materialism as a mistaken return to substance metaphysics. have been so explained as separately to characterise diverse actualities. however. ﬂuent satisfaction of ﬁnite fact. as either a philosophy that still culminates in a God consistent with the hierarchical transcendence of Christian monotheism. though. and the temporal occasions are completed by their everlasting union with their transformed selves. purged into conformation with the eternal order which is the ﬁnal absolute ‘wisdom’. in terms of ‘immortality’ and ‘everlastingness’ (Whitehead 1978: 347). the meaning of these terms is transformed by Whitehead. meaningless because no change whatsoever can take place within it. even if it is very distant from his arguments and from the logical structure of his metaphysics. Again. (Whitehead 1978: 348)
Nonetheless. the separation is vicious because of the results of the separation for both terms. This sense is rendered. a timeless and momentum free block. Yet pure immanence is equally nonsensical. since as pure ﬂux we cannot explain its valued forward momentum and novelty. the interplay between the thing that is static and the things which are ﬂuent involves contradiction at every step of its explanation’ (Whitehead 1978: 346). it becomes free of any realities and without sense. . but not in them or as them: ‘This factor is the temporal world perfected by its reception and reformation [. this determination of the world as everlasting and completed as such is answered by a mirroring completing of God in the world7 :
In this way God is completed by the individual.10 The latter interpretation. The former interpretation is perhaps understandable given Whitehead’s choice of language. Adventures of Ideas
. must bracket off Whitehead’s work on God in the latter chapters of Science and the Modern World (1927).9 or as a form of immanent natural realism with no need for any reference to God. eternal objects and hence to transcendence in its strong sense implying different realms (even if these cannot be separated and share the same ontological status in becoming rather than being under the same metaphysical categories).98 James Williams
Instead. Immortality occurs through participation in a process of perfection through eternal objects and God. ]’ (Whitehead 1978: 347).
that is. This breakdown of relations then allows Hallward to draw the following conclusion:
Deleuze knows perfectly well what ‘uniﬁes’ the ﬁeld of being or creation in Spinoza isn’t the idea of substance per se but the notion of God. no non-theistic rationale for the selective dominance in the present of some certain and speciﬁable element of the past seems apparent – whence the would be Whiteheadian naturalist cannot offer a satisfactory or coherent account of the origin of the novelty in discrete experience. in order to emphasise his search for metaphysics consistent with his contemporary sciences. In either case. Equally though. The key terms seeking to re-establish a transcendent reading of Deleuze via the idea of a lack of relation in his philosophy of creativity are ‘absolute’. (Hallward 2006: 156)
. But the essence of man is not an abstraction inhering in isolated individuals’ (Marx 2006: 117). Following Jorge Nobo’s work (Nobo 1986). on the contrary his philosophy presupposes them at every turn. (Lucas 1989: 164)
This understanding of the crucial role played by a transcendent realm completed by an immanent one in creativity and novelty is of course just as essential to an understanding of Deleuze’s account of the third synthesis of time and the role of Nietzschean eternal return in Difference and Repetition. which is the hallmark of Whitehead’s own metaphysical system. Peter Hallward thus makes the following critical point: ‘Rather than distinct facets of one and the same substance. naturalistic interpretations of Sherburne. the being-together of absolutely divergent modes can again only be thought via the pure afﬁrmation of that unthinkable plane upon which their aberrant creating or deviant differing “consists” ’ (Hallward 2006: 156). the idea of an inﬁnity and perfection of essence. Lowe and Ford11 :
Such an account of the ground of ﬁnal causation ultimately reduces Whitehead’s category of creativity either to an account of mere randomness or to a mere reiteration of the past. this leads to the criticism that there is still too much transcendence in both philosophers as seen in critiques of Deleuze on creativity reminiscent of the early Marx’s worries about Feuerbach and religion: ‘Feuerbach resolves the essence of religion into the essence of man. George Lucas makes the following important points against the conﬂation of immanence and naturalism in the non-theistic.Immanence and Transcendence as Inseparable Processes
(1948) and Process and Reality (1978). ‘pure’ and ‘unthinkable’. Nowhere in his work does Deleuze put in question such inﬁnity or perfection. Commenting on Deleuze’s reading of Spinoza.
It is a point often missed in readings of Deleuze. has been a failure to appreciate Whitehead’s full commitment to the active. one-sided interpretations of creativity. but not an unmoved one. if we turn to Whiteheadian arguments about this insidious return of the transcendent in a philosophy of creation. according to Nobo. and thus be quite unknowable.13 I want to draw on three ideas from Whiteheadian scholarship in tune with Lucas’s points to show how this argument plays out in detail. we ﬁnd the counter that God (or Ideas. are essentially related. Whitehead’s whole effort to achieve maximum coherence takes the form of trying to conceive of all actualities.100 James Williams
Yet. such as Hallward’s. of causal efﬁcacy and of ‘settled fact. ‘inﬁnity’ and ‘perfection’ as applying to the whole metaphysical picture when in fact thinkers such as Deleuze and Whitehead15 are seeking to maximise coherence across different processes where one side may be deﬁned as absolute or pure or unity yet nonetheless be incomplete in
. The ﬁrst is from a recent interpretation by Pierfrancesco Basile where he argues. (Basile 2009: 143)
The second idea comes from a more traditional source in the scholarship through Ford’s critique of Neville’s reading of Whitehead on God14 :
This creator God must be transcendent to all experience and its categories. that Whitehead’s metaphysics of God and world is one of essential relation and mutual dependency:
[Whitehead’s six antitheses] formulate a novel world view in which God and the world. (Ford 1983: 272–3)
The use of maximum coherence ﬁts with my earlier insistence on completeness in Whitehead and Deleuze. because they take ‘absolute’. This involves a signiﬁcant revision of the traditional philosophical theology derived from Aristotle – Whitehead’s God is still a mover. within one set of common categories. including God. mutually dependent upon each other. although distinct. or the virtual or pure difference) is as much created as creating:
The result of these truncated.’ and of the radical subordination (from Hartshorne onwards) of efﬁcient to pure ﬁnal causality in a manner that transforms Whitehead’s critical realism into a species of idealism or Kantian phenomenalism. Such a God is akin to the ‘causal nature’ behind the scenes that Whitehead has rejected in his earlier books on the philosophy of nature. creative ‘power of the past’ (as Whitehead himself describes it). completely at odds with Hallward’s steps with respect to Spinoza and Deleuze.12 (Lucas 1989: 174)
I will show below how this argument also applies in defending Deleuze against the same charge.
complication and explication’ (Deleuze 2003: 244).16 So. The ﬁrst thing to note is the correspondence of themes between the paper and Whitehead’s reﬂection on transcendence and immanence studied here. Complication and explication would be Whitehead’s two processes of creation in relation to God: complication for the consequent creation of God. to move to the third idea taken from Whitehead scholarship. Two movements whose resulting relations Deleuze describes in exactly the same words chosen by Whitehead: ‘The multiple is in the one which complicates it. as a form of eminence. or a privileged realm. where we can see why Rorty was inspired by Leclerc for his own account of the complex relation of transcendence and immanence in Whitehead’s thought:
Such potentiality is not a mere abstract possibility. my emphasis). the points about relations. . Like Whitehead. To conclude then with Deleuze’s own discussion of immanence in relation to transcendence in his short paper ‘Les plages d’immanence’. written in honour of his teacher at the Sorbonne. thereby requiring a maximisation against the background of creative antitheses (Whitehead 1978: 348) or creative paradoxes (Deleuze 1990: 100).Immanence and Transcendence as Inseparable Processes
relation to other processes. since were we to deﬁne this realm as absolutely primordial we would miss the fact that it is so only when it is incomplete and shorn of an essential relation that determines it as constituted rather than constituting. (Leclerc 1983: 63)
The key argument here turns on the use of ‘subsequent’ because it sets potential within a circle rather than at the high point of a ladder. mutual dependency and coherence mean that when we have a term such as potentiality it must never be seen as a pure and untouched reserve of possibility or as a creative fount or. This is Leclerc’s careful statement of this point. . as much as the one is in the multiple that explains it’ (Deleuze 2003: 244. ] the purpose and function of actualization is to contribute to subsequent achievement as the potentiality for that subsequent actualisation. but potentiality in this sense is a determinate selection from pure abstract possibility [. There is then a ‘play’ of
. It is a speciﬁc determinate possibility as potential for the subject in question. explication for the creation in the world through the pull of the primordial nature of God. Maurice de Gandillac. Reciprocal determination in a circular motion means that there is never a pure origin in creation. ‘Potentiality’ includes ‘possibility’ in its connotation. all is subsequent. to use Whitehead’s term from earlier in this paper. Deleuze contrasts transcendence as ‘eminent’ and ‘emanation’ with immanence as a ‘coexistence of two movements. even one that permits vibrations up and down it.
] while all “things” are constituted by their relations. This is an ‘adventure’ of immanence in transcendence. Neither term should be treated independently of the other. its becoming actual. yet also mixing world and God in the two processes. from the many to the one and from the one to the many. . where immanence in reﬂections and geneses form ‘the two bases of an expressionist [and hence a Deleuzian] philosophy’ (Deleuze 2003: 245). It underpins the reading set out here. is often seen as the core of Whitehead’s speculative metaphysics. Keith Robinson has also drawn my attention to William Christian’s work for a similar emphasis on transcendence and immanence in Whitehead’s work (Christian 1959). and not statically’ (Leclerc 1983: 66–7). for instance. 2.102 James Williams
immanence and transcendence where the immanence of the earth (of the world for Whitehead) pushes through celestial hierarchies banishing any thought of a pure or absolute realm. yet what I want to have suggested in this paper is that Deleuze’s work is open to an interpretation where immanence and transcendence are never treated as fully separable. . For a helpful discussion of the necessity of this valuation over and above other relations. And it becomes actual in order to be potentiality for further ousiai. (Deleuze 2003: 245–6)
1. all relations are further deﬁned as value-relations. Whitehead sees the universe as in rhythmic pulsation. and from actuality to potentiality. through a reading of Leclerc’s interpretation of Whitehead: ‘The being of an ousia is its becoming. To recognise the world of hierarchies. the last word should be with Deleuze in his description of a valued individual human life in relation to all others through its creations:
Philosophical concepts are also.
. but rather must be considered as essentially and indivisibly related as processes. More importantly. that is an image of life inseparable from Maurice de Gandillac. I would suggest that Deleuze was always aware of this risk and that in praising Gandillac he is also adopting his measure and careful balancing of transcendence and immanence in their difﬁcult yet life afﬁrming relations. from potentiality to actuality. bringing it down more than any direct engagement could. For him the universe is to be understood as in the process. as Whitehead teaches us. and can be supported. Should it still be said that this leads to an abstraction from life. a great risk lies in treating one as a mere subset or as an eventually dispensable illusion within the other. or one and many. This reciprocal relation or dialogue of immanence and transcendence. I thank him for this and other illuminating remarks. for their inventors and those who release them. Of course. see Rose’s treatment of the issue: ‘[. these short comments are more strongly in tune with Deleuze’s early work and pertain to Gandillac. modes of life and modes of activity. but at the same time to make planes of immanence pass through it.
cannot be entirely sustained. Note how the versions of these arguments about immanence and transcendence are much more sophisticated in Process and Reality than in Science and the Modern World. defending Whitehead’s realist but not reductionist view of matter: ‘If time is taken seriously. Wilmot gives a full theological as opposed to philosophical reconstruction of this relation of immanence and transcendence. For an alternative critique of this reductive naturalistic reading of Whitehead. 6. If God supplies the initial subjective aim of each occasion. 7. For a related account in terms of a leap into transcendence. For an example of the use of Whitehead’s thought as consistent with Christian monotheism. see Robinson (2009: 132–3). however triumphant. Nonetheless it remains very important not to make the rapid step from concern with the religious drive and its value to an attunement with this or that religion and even less with this or that form of religious transcendence. Martin gives a good account of this mutual completion in terms of the primordial and consequent nature of God: ‘God “creates” the World in the sense of providing items in it with the initial valuations or subjective aims.
5. with indicating the elements of permanence or eternality in the world. he claims.
that is. see also Code (2007: 187). see Pittenger (1969: 54).
8. and fundamental principles’ (Martin 1974: 44). See Whitehead’s discussion of materialism in Process and Reality (Whitehead 1978: 78–9) and his deﬁnition of historical materialism in The Concept of Nature (Whitehead 2004: 70). in a telling phrase or two.
11. see Eisendracht: ‘This theology. For a defence of the use of metaphysics when referring to Whitehead and Deleuze. how can Evil persist in the world?’ (Eisendracht 1971: 201). for instance in the way the distinction between primordial and consequent nature expands greatly on the idea of God as ‘principle of concretion’ and ‘principle of limitation’ in Science and the Modern World (Whitehead 1927: 216–21). but with a reasonably full delineation of basic notions. deﬁnitions.” The extraordinary appeal of Whitehead’s approach is that it seeks to accommodate these exceptional elements in the same categorical framework that it seeks to accommodate logic mathematics and empirical science. then one can escape the ﬁrst horn of
. see Martin’s rigorous reconstructions: ‘[W] wishes to elucidate “somewhat exceptional elements in our conscious experience – those elements which may roughly be classed together as religious and moral intuitions. and if He integrates all occasions into the perfection of His vision. for it would deny freedom and deal inadequately with the problem of evil. but the World creates God in the sense of providing the physical data for those valuations’ (Martin 1974: 58). 9. and it is thus recognised that “actual world” and “actuality” are token reﬂexive terms. religion has essentially concerned itself’ (Mays 1977: 130).Immanence and Transcendence as Inseparable Processes
10. however. and not just superﬁcially. we ﬁnd the perhaps surprising essay by Rorty (in his early pre-linguistic turn phase) on Whitehead where he distinguishes Whitehead from Aristotle. with which. Wolfe Mays supports this point in drawing out the concern with religion in Whitehead’s discussion of the eternal: ‘We have already seen that Whitehead is concerned in his account of the concept of God’s functioning in the universe. relations of some positive or negative character’ (Rose 2002: 2). For a much more developed account of the necessary move to a transcendent God based on freedom as a condition for creation and on the importance of explanations for evil. For a particularly interesting account of this logical aspect of Whitehead’s work. see Whitehead (1948: 335). see Wilmot (1979: 165–7).
than between past and present – which. see Hall (2004).
14. Whitehead. if one takes time seriously. M. Deleuze. The latter is actual.
12. Bergson: Rhizomatic Connections. Rorty wrote an MA thesis on Whitehead at the University of Chicago under the supervision of Hartshorne (Ramberg 2007). Pierfrancesco Leibniz (2009) Whitehead and the Metaphysics of Causation. trans. Its second horn [that matter and form are so different that the latter cannot characterise the former] is escaped by replying that the difference between the characterisation of the actual and the actual entity is no greater. see Shaviro (2009: 33–7). .
13. For a study of this in relation to God in the context of Kant’s transcendental philosophy. though no less great.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. For an excellent discussion of Whitehead. is precisely the difference which one would expect’ (Rorty 1983: 95–6). although internally to each entity which prehends it) to a potentially inﬁnite number of subsequent actualities by being “present in them” [. Whitehead. Cloots. see Williams (2008: 68–76). For an illuminating discussion of the relation of Whitehead to Rorty. André (2009) ‘Whitehead and Deleuze: Thinking the Event’. Gilles (1990) The Logic of Sense. see for instance the very different treatment of the concept of multiplicity in Process and Reality (Sherburne 1966: 230) and Difference and Repetition (Williams 2003: 146–9). Reality. 15. For a fuller account of paradox in this context. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. and therefore non-repeatable.104 James Williams
the above dilemma [that forms are indistinguishable from their actualisation] by distinguishing between the deﬁniteness of an entity’s characterisation (its “objective” reality) and the decisiveness of its concrescence (its “formal” reality). Deleuze. . but many of the insights in that discussion are the starting points for this study (Stengers 2002: 520–8. is particularly acute in focusing on the role of time: an argument as important for a reading of Deleuze as anti-Aristotelian and non-reductionist. Christian. The former is repeatable. New York: Columbia University Press. Code. and the Power of Symbols: Thinking with A. Murray (2007) Process. indebted to Leclerc. In no way should this rapprochement of the two thinkers be seen as a conﬂation of their terms. in Keith Robinson (ed. Williams 2009a: 156–9). ]. and therefore potential. Deleuze and Kant in relation to creativity and aesthetics. Stivale. in the sense that it is related (externally to it. Rorty’s ﬁne analysis.
. and Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism in particular. see Rorty’s own comments in ‘The inspirational value of great works of literature’: ‘But it was dear to me that if I did not write on some such respectably analytic problem I would not get a very good job’ (Rorty 1998: 130). See Neville (1983: 267–71). see Derek Malone-France (2007: 158–72). N. William (1959) An Interpretation of Whitehead’s Metaphysics. There is no space here for a full reading of Isabelle Stengers’ work on this question around the concept of God in Whitehead. For an interesting discussion of the kinds of career pressures that led Rorty away from work on Whitehead. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Lester and C. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Basile. There is no space here to go into the relation of Whitehead to Kant and to transcendental philosophy and deductions.
Karl (2006) Early Political Writings. London: Lutterworth Press. Paris: Minuit. Lewis (1983) ‘Neville’s Interpretation of Creativity’. Hallward. Rorty. in L. Neville. Hall. Gilles (2003) ‘Les plages d’immanence’ in Deux régimes de fous. Derek (2007) Deep Empiricism: Kant. Cambridge: MIT Press. Albany: SUNY Press. Leemon (1992) Whitehead and Bradley: A Comparative Analysis. Verso: London. in L. Peter (2006) Out of this World: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Creation. in L. Ivor (1983) ‘Being and Becoming in Whitehead’s Philosophy’. Ford and G. David (2004) ‘Whitehead. trans. Malone-France. Donald (1966) A Key to Whitehead’s Process and Reality. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. ed. Richard (1983) ‘Matter and Event’. George (1989) The Rehabilitation of Whitehead: An Analytical and Historical Assessment of Process Philosophy. in Keith Robinson (ed. Kline (eds).Immanence and Transcendence as Inseparable Processes
Deleuze. New York: Fordham University Press. Polanowski and D. C. Lanham: Lexington Books. Sherburne (eds). (1974) Whitehead’s Categorical Scheme and Other Papers. T. New York: Fordham University Press.edu/entries/rorty/ [accessed 28 December 2009]. (1971) The Unifying Moment: The Psychological Philosophy of William James and Alfred North Whitehead. McHenry. Jones. Kline (eds). Explorations in Whitehead’s Philosophy. New York: Fordham University Press. and the Return of the Exiled Poets’.). Ford. Rose. Ford and G. Nobo. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Wolfe (1977) Whitehead’s Philosophy of Science and Metaphysics: An Introduction to his Thought. in J. Gilles (1993) The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. Conley.stanford. in Achieving our Country. Norman (1969) Alfred North Whitehead. and the Necessity of Philosophical Theism. Ford and G.
. Deleuze. Steven (2009) Without Criteria: Kant. Whitehead. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rorty. Whitehead. Explorations in Whitehead’s Philosophy. Belmont: Wadsworth. Keith (2009) ‘Deleuze. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. Kline (eds). Albany: SUNY Press. Leclerc. Ford and G. Robinson. Robert (1983) ‘Whitehead on the One and the Many’. E. New York: Fordham University Press. London: Athlone. Explorations in Whitehead’s Philosophy. Pittenger. New York: SUNY Press. ed. in L. Philip (2002) On Whitehead. Ramberg. Judith (1998) Intensity: An Essay in Whiteheadian Ontology. Rorty. Whitehead’s Philosophy: Points of Connection. Shaviro. Richard (1998) ‘The Inspirational Value of Great Works of Literature’. Whitehead and Aesthetics. Albany: SUNY Press. Marx. Lucas. Zalta (online) http://plato. Deleuze. Jorge Luis (1986) Whitehead’s Metaphysics of Extension and Solidarity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. M. N. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Sherburne. Whitehead and the Reversal of Platonism’. Kline (eds). Martin. Eisendracht. R. Bjørn (2007) ‘Richard Rorty’ in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’. David Lapoujade. Mays. Explorations in Whitehead’s Philosophy. Bergson: Rhizomatic Connections.
Williams. James (2009b) ‘A. in Graham Jones and Jon Roffe (eds). Alfred (1978) Process and Reality. New York: The Free Press. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Deleuze and History. James (2003) Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition: A Critical Introduction and Guide. in Jeff Bell and Claire Colebrook (eds). Williams. Perpetual Perishing and the Event as Pure Novelty: Péguy. Williams. James (2009a) ‘Ageing. Whitehead. Williams.106 James Williams
Stengers. Alfred (2004) The Concept of Nature. Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press. Whitehead.
DOI: 10. Alfred (1927) Science and the Modern World. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. New York: Prometheus. Whitehead’.3366/E1750224110000851
. Laurence (1979) Whitehead and God: Prolegomena to Theological Reconstruction. Deleuze’s Philosophical Lineage. Whitehead. James (2008) Gilles Deleuze’s Logic of Sense: A Critical Introduction and Guide. Paris: Seuil. N. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Isabelle (2002) Penser avec Whitehead: une libre et sauvage creation de concepts. Whitehead. Alfred (1948) Adventures of Ideas. Wilmot. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Whitehead and Deleuze on Time and History’. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
the valorisation of change and novelty. when he designates the ‘production of novelty’ as an ‘ultimate notion’ or ‘ultimate metaphysical principle’ (Whitehead 1978: 21). guaranteeing that the future is not just a function of the past. and Whitehead the difference between efﬁcient and ﬁnal causes. novelty. Keywords: Whitehead. remains forever new’. There is ‘a difference . For both thinkers. both formal and in kind’ between the genuinely
. In fact. They resolve this problem through the logic of what Deleuze calls ‘double causality’. desire. decision. towards the past rather than the future. biology. Detroit
Deleuze and Whitehead are both centrally concerned with the problem of how to reconcile the emergence of the New with the evident continuity and uniformity of the world through time. innovation and the New at the centre of metaphysical speculation. This means that the New is one of those fundamental concepts that ‘are incapable of analysis in terms of factors more far-reaching than themselves’ (Whitehead 1968: 1). linear cause-and-effect coexists with a vital capacity for desire and decision.Interstitial Life: Subtractive Vitalism in Whitehead and Deleuze
Wayne State University. causality The deepest afﬁnity between Alfred North Whitehead and Gilles Deleuze is that they both place creativity. . with its power of beginning and beginning again. which we so take for granted today. is itself a novelty of relatively recent origin. Deleuze similarly insists that the New is a value in itself: ‘the new. These concepts are so familiar to us today that it is difﬁcult to grasp how radical a rupture they mark in the history of Western thought. . Whitehead breaks with this tradition. towards origins and foundations. Philosophy from Plato to Heidegger is largely oriented towards anamnesis (reminiscence) and aletheia (unforgetting). The role of desire and decision can be seen in recent developments in biology.
fabricated. Whitehead and Deleuze are not entirely without precursors in their afﬁrmation of the New as an ultimate value. And it is because Deleuze and Whitehead alike take the New as the highest value. and they ‘are not waiting for us ready-made. . given that the only ground for it he is able to discern is subjective expectation. is unceasing creation’ (Bergson 2005: 27). is how to reconcile the emergence of the New with the evident continuity and uniformity of the world through time. to endure’ (Deleuze 1986: 9). or to give rise to something new. Of course. ‘Creative advance into novelty’ (Whitehead 1978: 222) is always possible. ‘The whole is neither given nor giveable . for Whitehead and Deleuze alike. in short. ‘philosophers must distrust . The problem. Philosophical concepts are not for all time. even truth depends upon novelty and creativity. . and that which is customary and established (Deleuze 1994: 136). or rather created’ afresh. because it is the Open. This means that experience is always able to surprise us. but must be encountered in the course of experience. novelty is the highest criterion for thought. . ‘changeless order is conceived as the ﬁnal perfection. is invention. or to Becoming as the highest expression of Being. like Nietzsche and Bergson before them. and because its nature is to change constantly. denounce the way that. . and which has been the primary focus of epistemological discussion for the last 250 years. Deleuze and Guattari therefore say that ‘the object of philosophy is to create concepts that are always new’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1994: 5). they are not given in advance. But appearance should never be qualiﬁed as ‘mere’. in traditional European philosophy. always about to happen. or habit. Being always remains open. The ways in which things appear may well be limited. those concepts they did not create themselves’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1994: 5–6).108 Steven Shaviro
new. like heavenly bodies’. Instead. Our categories are never deﬁnitive or all-inclusive. this problem is the opposite of the sceptical paradox introduced by David Hume. issuing into the notion of mere appearance’ (Whitehead 1968: 80). That is to say. And Whitehead and Deleuze alike are inspired by Bergson’s insistence that ‘life . they must always be ‘invented. rather than the reverse. because the contents of appearance cannot be prescribed in advance. Deleuze explicitly invokes Nietzsche’s call for a ‘revaluation of all values’ and for the continual ‘creation of new values’ (Deleuze 1994: 136). They cannot be known in advance. that they are both committed to process rather than result. In a sense.
. Whitehead and Deleuze. but appearances themselves are not. with the result that the historic universe is degraded to a status of partial reality. For both Whitehead and Deleuze. . Hume asks how causality is possible. .
Interstitial Life 109
Hume takes causality out of the physical world. in the world described for us by physical science. and places it instead within the observing subject – an assumption that Kant continues to endorse. when he gives his transcendental solution to Hume’s paradox. or transcendental. but to ‘assur[e] the full autonomy of the effect’ (Deleuze 1990: 94–5). This is the materialist realm of ‘bodies penetrating other bodies . Adapting to his own use a traditional philosophical vocabulary. . . On the other hand. liberating events from the destiny that weighs down upon them (Deleuze 1990: 6). in a way that preserves both necessity and freedom. the identiﬁcation with a distance’ (Deleuze 1990: 161). with respect to this problem. An act is free. from the catastrophe of ‘its inevitable actualization’ (Deleuze 1990: 161). And this autonomy. of passions-bodies and of the infernal mixtures which they organise or submit to’ (Deleuze 1990: 131). efﬁcient and ﬁnal causes. as Deleuze says in a different context. there is real. ‘preserve[s]’ or ‘grounds freedom’. it works. there is the idealised. Whitehead also argues for a doubling of causality. but also seeks to reconcile. . on the surfaces of bodies and things (Deleuze 1990: 6). to a certain extent. not be ridiculous?’ (Deleuze 1990: 156). The dancer thereby preserves ‘the truth of the event’. ‘for the abstract thinker? And how could this thinker. not to constrain things to a predetermined destiny. causality: causes relate to other causes in the depths of matter. But isn’t the problem of validating causality really just one. to the extent that the actor is able ‘to be the mime of what effectively occurs. The real problem is not to validate causality against scepticism. This quasi-causality is ‘incorporeal . He reverts to what he describes as the ancient Stoics’ ‘cleavage of the causal relation’ (Deleuze 1990: 6). for anything genuinely New to emerge? Deleuze takes up this problem in The Logic of Sense. in its potentiality. an exception to the universal grip of what Whitehead calls ‘causal efﬁcacy’ (Whitehead 1978: 116). it is rather to ﬁnd a way out from causality. These two modes of causality can be correlated. without actually violating it. by proposing a logic of ‘double causality’ (Deleuze 1990: 94–9). even though it is also causally determined. he distinguishes between. That is to say. with the two modes of perception recognised by Whitehead: causal efﬁcacy and presentational
. On the one hand. . ideational or “ﬁctive”’ rather than actual and effective. to double the actualization with a counter-actualization. or physical. How can the future avoid being predetermined by the past or by the relentless chain of causes and effects? How is it possible. Deleuze’s counteractualising ‘dancer’ makes a decision that supplements causal efﬁcacy and remains irreducible to it. this splitting of the causal relation. ‘quasicausality’ of effects relating solely to other effects.
adds itself to the past that weighs upon all subsequent events. There are at least two reasons for this. precisely to the extent that the effect prehends (or recognises) the cause as an additional factor in the universe.
. On this level. Whitehead thus extends Leibniz’s Principle of Indiscernibles. Not only can no two occasions ever be identical. Thus the cause passes on its feeling to be reproduced by the new subject as its own. its embodiment in a material universe. The effect is subtly different from the cause whose impulsion it inherits. . An entity feels its precursors. In the ﬁrst place. No matter how precisely event B mimics event A. B’s circumstances must be different from A’s. nothing can ever purely and simply recur. Thus.110 Steven Shaviro
immediacy. and the cumulation of the many is not their reproduction as many’ (Whitehead 1978: 238). or from cause to effect. or non-conscious perception) of those predecessors. Every event. the subjective form of a physical feeling is re-enaction of the subjective form of the feeling felt. cannot be distinguished from that entity’s prehension (its reception. an inﬂuence or a contagion. or ‘objective immortality’ – is a constitutive feature of B’s world. by the very fact that B repeats A. but also ‘no two occasions can have identical actual worlds’ (Whitehead 1978: 210).
All our physical relationships are made up of such simple physical feelings . B will be different from A simply due to the ‘stubborn fact’ that A has already taken place. a transmission (Whitehead 1978: 210). because of the ‘cumulative character of time’. the cause is objectively in the constitution of the effect. or the way that an entity inherits conditions and orientations from ‘the immortal past’ (Whitehead 1978: 210). once it has taken place. a crucial part of the context in which B occurs. and is thereby both affected and caused by them. They can also be aligned with what Whitehead calls the ‘physical’ and ‘mental’ poles of any entity (Whitehead 1978: 239). its ‘irreversibility’ (Whitehead 1978: 237). The pastness of A – or what Whitehead calls its ‘objectiﬁcation’. the causal dependency of a given entity upon its predecessors. (Whitehead 1978: 237)
Efﬁcient causality is a passage. ‘the reenaction is not perfect’ (Whitehead 1978: 237). There’s always a glitch in the course of the ‘vector transmission’ of energy and affect from past to present. its status as an effect. ‘The problems of efﬁcient causation and of knowledge receive a common explanation’ (Whitehead 1978: 190). ‘Time is cumulative as well as reproductive. . . as this process of causality-as-repetition unfolds. This objective inheritance constitutes the physical pole of the affected entity. However. and yet as inseparable from the cause . Efﬁcient causality refers to the naturalistic chain of causes and effects. .
which attach integrally’ to every experience (Whitehead 1978: 234). consciousness is entirely absent. The ‘subjective form’. As a result. constitutes the mental pole of the affected entity. beyond the determination of these components there always remains the ﬁnal reaction of the self-creative unity of the universe’ (Whitehead 1978: 47). which is the complex of mental operations’ (Whitehead 1978: 239). with its physical and mental poles. This means that everything happens according to a double causality. differentially evaluates the data it receives. but supervenes upon it. is entirely neutral. Whitehead insists that every entity is ‘essentially dipolar. If ‘transition [from the past] is the vehicle of the efﬁcient cause’. with its selective and gradated ‘conceptual prehension’ of the qualities (eternal objects) implicit in the data. alongside the efﬁcient (mechanistic) cause. demands to be recognised alongside it. the ﬁnal cause is the ‘decision’ (Whitehead 1978: 43) by means of which an actual entity becomes what it is. because no inheritance. these ‘mental operations’. There is always a contingency left open for immediate decision’
. most of the time. involves a ‘valuation’ on the part of the receiving entity: a valuation that does not just take the transmitted data as given. of adversion and of aversion. They only qualify it. then concrescence. . But in every occasion of experience. Of course. its potential for change or novelty. according to the ‘qualities of joy and distaste. and thereby selects among these data.Interstitial Life 111
In the second place. and no feeling. This ‘ﬁnal reaction’ is the way that ‘the many become one. The point is ‘that “decided” conditions are never such as to banish freedom. ‘However far the sphere of efﬁcient causation be pushed in the determination of components of a concrescence . For Whitehead. and even the physical world cannot be properly understood without reference to its other side. ‘the actual world [is] selectively appropriated’ (Whitehead 1978: 233). every causal connection. Every prehension. the causal reproduction of the past in the present is imperfect. ‘do not necessarily involve consciousness’. indeed. so with Whitehead’s ﬁnal cause: it does not suspend or interrupt the action of the efﬁcient cause. but ‘values [them] up or down’ (Whitehead 1978: 241). accompanies it. as an element in the process of reception. . both physical and mental poles are present. or conceptual feelings. Every entity’s simple physical feelings are supplemented by its conceptual feelings. As with Deleuze’s quasi-cause. and are increased by one’ (Whitehead 1978: 21) in every new existence. or the actual becoming of the entity – its orientation towards the future – ‘moves toward its ﬁnal cause’ (Whitehead 1978: 210). A ﬁnal (or teleological) cause is always at work. This affective response.
roughly. To be sure. Novelty is nearly inexistent.
. This contingency. to the efﬁcient causes at the point of whose conjunction it arose. which
asserts. It is precisely in the case of living entities that the recourse to efﬁcient causes is most inadequate. this opening. so that it can no longer be dismissed as ‘negligible’ – when we get to those emergent processes of self-organisation known as living things. even physical science is obliged to recognise that in certain limit-cases – those involving quantum processes on the one hand. Both quantum processes and emergent processes remain controversial among scientists today. the role of subjective ‘decision’ becomes especially important. and that ‘we require explanation by “ﬁnal cause” instead’ (Whitehead 1978: 104). that if indeed we humans have free will. (Conway and Kochen 2009)
In this sense. By ‘appetition’. Nonetheless. unique to the entity whose ‘subjective aim’ it is. Nonetheless. one that is radically undetermined or self-determined. and can safely be ignored (Whitehead 1978: 115. the space of ‘contingency left open for immediate decision’ is vanishingly small. It cannot be categorised or classiﬁed: for that would mean returning the decision to the already decided. The decision is always a singular one. and obviously I cannot pretend to know what the eventual scientiﬁc consensus will be. then the particle’s response (to be pedantic – the universe’s response near the particle) is not determined by the entire previous history of the universe. and linear. this decision or ﬁnal cause is ‘negligible’ in scope. if the experimenter can freely choose the directions in which to orient his apparatus in a certain measurement. ‘subjective aim’ or ‘decision’ becomes necessary. and processes of higher-order emergence on the other – linear. In any case. Conway and Simon Kochen. And this is how novelty enters the universe. then elementary particles already have their own small share of this valuable commodity. is the point of every entity’s self-determining activity: its creative self-actualisation or ‘self-production’ (Whitehead 1978: 224). Whitehead deﬁnes ‘life’ itself (to the extent that a concept with such fuzzy boundaries can be deﬁned at all) as ‘the origination of conceptual novelty – novelty of appetition’ (Whitehead 1978: 102). and an explanation in terms of purpose. More precisely. mechanistic causality is inadequate. much of the time. even subatomic particles make a ‘decision’ of some sort. In many inorganic physical processes.112 Steven Shaviro
(Whitehead 1978: 284). 245). Indeed. it is worth at least mentioning the ‘Strong Free Will Theorem’ of John H. efﬁcient causality can explain (almost) everything.
“‘Life” means novelty . Whitehead maintains ‘the doctrine that an organism is “alive” when
. of something that has no prior existence in the ‘inherited data’ (i. was merely potential). not (yet) actual. not preservation. and thereby strives for something other than the mere continuation of what it already is. When an entity displays ‘appetite towards a difference’. Life cannot be adequately deﬁned in terms of concepts like Spinoza’s conatus. But if life is appetition. . ‘appetition’ has to do with the fact that ‘all physical experience is accompanied by an appetite for.e. This means that it is insufﬁcient to interpret something like an animal’s thirst. This is precisely the case with living beings.Interstitial Life 113
Whitehead means ‘a principle of unrest . and more successfully. and then the makingdeﬁnite. A single occasion is alive when the subjective aim which determines its process of concrescence has introduced a novelty of deﬁniteness not to be found in the inherited data of its primary phase’ (Whitehead 1978: 104).. or Maturana and Varela’s autopoiesis. its continuance: an example is the appetition of self-preservation’ (Whitehead 1978: 32). as merely a mechanism for maintaining (or returning to) a state of homeostatic equilibrium. Even ‘at a low level’. something that. Rather. Appetition is the ‘conceptual prehension’. life must be understood as a matter of ‘originality of response to stimulus’ (emphasis added). an entity is alive precisely to the extent that it envisions difference. nor even in terms of response to stimulus (for ‘the mere response to stimulus is characteristic of all societies whether inorganic or alive’ (Whitehead 1978: 104). But experience becomes more complex when the appetition pushes beyond itself. such a process ‘shows the germ of a free imagination’ (Whitehead 1978: 32). then it cannot be understood as a matter of continuity or endurance (for things like stones endure much longer. and does not merely work towards the preservation and continuation of whatever already exists. and a process that ‘disturbs the inherited “responsive” adjustment of subjective forms’ (Whitehead 1978: 104). Most broadly. than living things do). . and its consequent behaviour of searching for water. something with a deﬁnite novelty’ (Whitehead 1978: 32). an envisioning (or ‘envisagement’) (Whitehead 1978: 34) of something that is not already given. prior to the appetition. or against. Whitehead gives the simple example of ‘thirst’ – the initial physical experience is supplemented and expanded by a ‘novel conceptual prehension’. ‘Appetition towards a difference’ seeks transformation. an appetite towards a difference . . Rather. . In sum. . . Life is ‘a bid for freedom’. It happens ‘when there is intense experience without the shackle of reiteration from the past’ (Whitehead 1978: 105).
The image of a ‘life force’ that we have today is not anything like Bergson’s élan vital. and as it were in spite of themselves. it is rather the virus. but adaptive reactions to environmental pressures. and Susan Oyama’s Developmental Systems Theory (2000) – share mainstream biology’s overriding concern with the ways that organisms maintain homeostatic equilibrium in relation to their environment. For they continually discover the important role of ‘decision’ in this behaviour. when biologists actually look at the concrete behaviour of living organisms. . it has an ‘intrinsic’ origin: ‘spontaneity (“voluntariness”)
. Innovation and change are not primary processes. Rather. shoots and leaves. Plants do not have brains or central nervous systems. Even ‘bacteria are sensitive. It would seem that organic beings only innovate when they are absolutely compelled to. Stuart Kauffman’s exploration of complexity and self-organising systems (2000). concerning such matters as the placement of roots. Nevertheless. Yamada and Toth 2000). even fruit ﬂies exhibit ‘spontaneous behaviour’ that is non-deterministic. This behavioural variability cannot be attributed to ‘residual deviations due to extrinsic random noise’. . and strive to perpetuate themselves through reproduction. According to the mainstream neo-Darwinian synthesis. bacterial behaviour is highly ﬂexible and involves complicated decision-making’ (Devitt 2007). but organised for the purposes of self-preservation and self-reproduction.114 Steven Shaviro
in some measure its reactions are inexplicable by any tradition of pure physical inheritance’ (Whitehead 1978: 104). Even the alternatives to the neo-Darwinian synthesis that are sometimes proposed today – like Maturana and Varela’s theory of autopoiesis (1991). Of course. And not only in the case of mammals and other ‘higher’ animals. a mindlessly. is sufﬁcient to account for biological variation. In the animal kingdom. when combined with occasional random mutation and the force of natural selection. but ‘decisions are made continually as plants grow’. or to deﬁne life in the way that Whitehead does. Life is essentially conservative: not oriented towards difference and novelty as Whitehead would have it. but an inescapable compulsion. and orientation with regard to sunlight (Trewavas 2005: 414). ‘pure physical inheritance’. Slime moulds can negotiate mazes and choose one path over another (Nakagaki. contemporary biology is not prone to speak of ﬁnal causes. Lynn Margulis’ work on symbiosis (Margulis and Sagan 2002). ‘nonlinear and unstable’. they encounter a somewhat different picture. communicative and decisive organisms . It is not a bid for freedom. James Lovelock’s Gaia theory (2000). unpredictable. relentlessly self-replicating bit of DNA or RNA.
. but it is emotional. mechanistically forced or determined in advance – in accordance with this cognitive processing. Following Whitehead. For ‘conceptual prehension’ basically means ‘appetition’ (Whitehead 1978: 33). constituting the ultimate modiﬁcation of subjective aim. we should say that it is the very act of decision (conceptual prehension. of freedom. valuation in accordance with subjective aim. biologists have come to see cognition. of self-approval or of self-reproach. Indeed. of emphasis’ (Whitehead 1978: 47). ‘the ﬁnal decision . and not just concrete actualities. selection) that makes cognition possible – rather than cognition providing the grounds for decision. . together with ‘self-creation’. the most primitive (fundamental) ones. like respiration’ (Lyon in Devitt 2007). We don’t make decisions because we are free and responsible. including bacteria. is the foundation of our experience of responsibility. Life itself is characterised by indeterminacy. It deals in abstract potentialities. for whom. in the sense that they are not pre-programmed. Shapira and Tauber 2006: 496). Thus. the envisioning of ‘conditioned alternatives’ that are then ‘reduced to coherence’ (Whitehead 1978: 224). we are free and responsible because – and precisely to the extent that – we make decisions. Organisms would then make decisions – which are ‘free’. We must posit that ‘cognition is part of basic biological function. And this applies all the way from bacteria to human beings. It necessarily involves ‘a certain absoluteness of self-enjoyment’.Interstitial Life 115
[is] a biological trait even in ﬂies’ (Maye et al. or ‘information processing’. as Whitehead puts it. deﬁned as ‘the transformation of the potential into the actual’ (Whitehead 1968: 150–1). must be able to sense the environment and perform internal information processing for thriving on latent information embedded in the complexity of their environment’ (Ben Jacob. there is good evidence that. but ‘each cell has a certain intelligence to make decisions on its own’ (Albrecht-Buehler 1998). In sum. non-closure and what Whitehead calls ‘spontaneity of conceptual reaction’ (Whitehead 1978: 105). rather. at work everywhere in the living world: ‘all organisms. before it is cognitive. it would seem that all living organisms make decisions that are not causally programmed or predetermined. 2007). not only does the entire organism spontaneously generate novelty. and desiring. of approbation or of disapprobation. in multi-cellular organisms. But it is getting things backwards to see this whole process as the result of cognition or information processing. This ﬁts quite well with Whitehead’s account of ‘conceptual prehension’ as the ‘valuation’ (Whitehead 1978: 240) of possibilities for change (Whitehead 1978: 33). All this does not
. There is the becoming of the datum. But at the same time. which asserts that ‘there is nothing that ﬂoats into the world from nowhere. and by the deterministic processes arising out of that past. Everything in the actual world is referable to some actual entity’ (Whitehead 1978: 244). which is to be found in
. In this way.
efﬁcient causation expresses the transition from actual entity to actual entity. That is to say. It has therefore been forwarded by natural selection. Such is Whitehead’s version of double causality. In fruit ﬂy brains no less than in human ones. As evolutionary development increases and more complex organisms come into existence. . a result of that randomness. decision has proven to be evolutionarily adaptive. 2007: 6). the brain’s potentiality for randomness accumulates and increases with each emerging species. . it can be accounted for in wholly orthodox Darwinian terms. As Morse Peckham speculated long ago. has itself been developed and elaborated in the course of evolution. strict determinism no longer applies to living things. and ﬁnal causation expresses the internal process whereby the actual entity becomes itself. the ‘appetition of self-preservation’ itself creates a counterappetition for transformation and difference. the ﬂexible ones survive. by transforming themselves instead of merely perpetuating themselves.
randomness has a survival value . or the ability to generate indeterminacy. Whitehead reminds us again and again that we never simply transcend efﬁcient causality. . We are governed by stubborn fact’ (Whitehead 1978: 129). novelty. Every experience ‘is concerned with the givenness of the actual world. We are impelled by the accumulation of the past. Nothing can ever violate the ‘ontological principle’. but ‘more complex interactions require behavioural indeterminism in order to be effective’ (Maye et al. (Peckham 1979: 165)
The power of making an unguided.116 Steven Shaviro
imply any sort of mysticism or vitalism. because ‘freedom’. Life has evolved so as to crave. and to generate. these deterministic processes themselves open up an ever-widening zone of indetermination. In this way. Some simple life processes can be regulated through pre-programmed behaviour. and unforeseeable. or applies to them only to a limited extent. Organisms that remain inﬂexible tend to perish. ‘the nonlinear processes underlying spontaneous behaviour initiation have evolved to generate behavioural indeterminacy’ (Maye et al. 2007: 8). The brain’s potentiality for the production of random responses is evolutionarily selected for survival. considered as the stubborn fact which at once limits and provides opportunity for the actual occasion . however.
. in Spinoza’s phrase. causa sui. How can a subject that is entirely determined by material causes also be said to freely determine itself? Whitehead answers this by positing. And yet this decision or ﬁnal cause is itself entirely immanent. . his position is not that of any traditional vitalism. a society may be more or less ‘living’. and is also. its so being caught is precisely the event of its ‘satisfaction’ and passingaway. (Whitehead 1978: 29)
Freedom. .Interstitial Life 117
the past of the world. The initiative that created something new in the moment of decision subsists afterwards as an ‘obligation’ of ‘stubborn fact’. or the external conformity of the present to the past. unimportant . but are immortal objectively. (Whitehead 1978: 150)
In this way. is the inner principle of freedom.
actual entities ‘perpetually perish’ subjectively. The entity that makes this decision. Or more precisely. effective causality. but rather a ‘subjectsuperject’ that is both a producer and a bearer of novelty. It loses the ﬁnal causation which is its internal principle of unrest. is evanescent or ‘perpetually perishing’. Actuality in perishing acquires objectivity. whatever ‘life’ there is in a society may be important. decision or self-determination subsists alongside. and for other purposes. not an originary subject. For certain purposes. and that is determined by it. conditioning and limiting the next exercise of freedom. It fades away before it can be caught within the chains of deterministic causality. and there is the becoming of the immediate self from the datum . or the Category of the Ultimate (Whitehead 1978: 21). and one that ‘the popular positivistic philosophy’ (Whitehead 1968: 148) will not accept. but at the same time ‘there is always a remainder for the decision of the subject-superject’ (Whitehead 1978: 27–8). is superseded by causal necessity. Although Whitehead ﬁnds the agency of decision to be at work most prominently in living organisms. For
there is no absolute gap between ‘living’ and ‘non-living’ societies. and that expires in the very movement by which it comes into being. while it loses subjective immediacy. It is unavoidably the case that ‘whatever is determinable is determined’ according to efﬁcient causality. Thus. Creativity. This is a tricky argument. or the ‘internal principle of unrest’. according to the prevalence in it of living occasions. (Whitehead 1978: 102)
. . of course. and supplements. linear. and it acquires efﬁcient causation whereby it is a ground of obligation characterizing the creativity. An actual entity is at once the product of the efﬁcient past.
The process of actualisation is the hinge. Guenter (1998) ‘Cell Intelligence’. Life involves a kind of subtraction. or the interstice. ‘the transmission of physical inﬂuence. Gilles (1990) The Logic of Sense. so the future is already latent within the present. or in the decision of each living occasion. that may be conceptually prehended (or not) by each new actual occasion. and Simon Kochen (2009) ‘The Strong Free Will Theorem’. this is the same formula that Deleuze (borrowing from Proust) uses to describe the virtual (Deleuze 1994: 208). without being actual’ (Whitehead 1978: 214). without having yet been actually determined: it takes the form of eternal objects. . Physica A. Deleuze. 495–524. through the empty space within [the animal body]. 56:2. physically prehended by each new actual occasion.html Ben Jacob. of a futurity that already haunts the present – or of what Deleuze calls the virtual. Where Deleuze describes novelty or invention as the actualisation of the virtual. the future is available. a rupturing or emptying-out of the chains of physical causality. . ‘the future is merely real. 359. Eshel. As a result of this de-linking.
Albrecht-Buehler. trans. pp. Notices of the AMS.edu/g-buehler/cellint0. if ‘life’ is a locus of appetition and decision. Conway. Gilles (1986) Cinema 1: The Movement-Image. because it is reproduced as a ‘datum’.
. ‘The past is a nexus of actualities’ (Whitehead 1978: 214). Henri (2005) Creative Evolution. just as the past remains active within the present by means of the ‘vector transmission’ of efﬁcient causality. New York: Columbia University Press. more a vacuum than a force. northwestern. New York: Cosimo Classics. Yoash Shapira and Alfred I. For. Life lurks in the interstices of each living cell. it is still actual. These empty spaces or interstices are the realm of the potential. http://www. Whitehead says therefore that. Whitehead says that ‘reality becomes actual’ (Whitehead 1978: 214) in the present. Thus ‘life is a characteristic of “empty space” . Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. it is more an absence than a presence.118 Steven Shaviro
In addition. Tauber (2006) ‘Seeking the Foundations of Cognition in Bacteria: From Schrödinger’s Negative Entropy to Latent Information’. John H. 226–32. pp. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. On the other hand. Deleuze. still a force in the present. not only between past and future. and in the interstices of the brain’ (Whitehead 1978: 105–6). Mark Lester. but also between the two forms of causality. has not been entirely in conformity with the physical laws holding for inorganic societies’ (Whitehead 1978: 106). trans.basic. Strikingly. Bergson. thanks to the ‘multiplicity of pure potentiality’ (Whitehead 1978: 164) that can be taken up by the living actual occasion. or ‘pure potentials’.
Nature.1371/journal. 47.com/10810. Berlin: Springer. Peckham. http://mnemosynosis. Lovelock. Gilles and Félix Guattari (1994) What is Philosophy?. Humberto and Francisco Varela (1991) Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living. Whitehead.6803 (September 2000). George and Björn Brembs (2007) ‘Order in Spontaneous Behavior’. Alexander. Maye.0000443 Nakagaki. New York: The Free Press. New York: Oxford University Press. Susan (2000 [second revised edition]) The Ontogeny of Information: Developmental Systems and Evolution. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.5.html Kauffman. New York: Columbia University Press. New York: Columbia University Press. Durham: Duke University Press. Trewavas.
DOI: 10. Alfred North (1968) Modes of Thought. Devitt.pone. Maturana. 413–9. Alfred North (1978) Process and Reality. Chih-hao. 10:9. New York: The Free Press. Philosophy of Memory. Anthony (2005) ‘Green Plants as Intelligent Organisms’. Stuart (2000) Investigations. 470. September 28.Interstitial Life 119
Deleuze. May 2007. pp. p. Toshiyuki. Morse (1979) Explanation and Power: The Control of Human Behavior. Sugihara. trans. Susannah Kate (2007) ‘Bacterial Cognition’. James (2000) Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth. New York: Basic Books.livejournal. Paul Patton. Trends in Plant Science. Deleuze. Hsieh. Oyama. doi:10. Lynn and Dorion Sagan (2002) Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origin of Species. Gilles (1994) Difference and Repetition. Margulis. New York: Oxford University Press. e443. trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell.3366/E1750224110000863
. Whitehead. Hiroyasu Yamada and Agota Toth (2000) ‘Maze-solving by an Amoeboid Organism’. In: PLoS ONE 2.
like Whitehead’s. Keywords: Whitehead. Vermillion
In this paper I argue that Deleuze’s ‘thinking with’ Whitehead gives access to a range of novel conceptual resources that offer a route out of phenomenology and back to life. prehension. event. a movement beyond intentionality and back to things ‘in their free and wild state’. event. Whitehead and Process
University of South Dakota. about Deleuze and Guattari’s use of the term most famously associated with Whitehead: the concept of ‘process’. I conclude by looking at Deleuze and Guattari’s use of the term most famously associated with Whitehead: the concept of ‘process’.1
. prehension.Back to Life: Deleuze. I’ll begin by looking at the commitment to metaphysics in Deleuze’s work and suggest that Deleuze’s metaphysics. prehension. the new. The main strand of my argument will be that Deleuze’s ‘thinking with’ Whitehead gives access to a range of novel conceptual resources that offer a route out of phenomenology and back to life. I lay out four conceptual and methodological markers (there are many more) – creativity. somewhat critical. I’ll ﬁnish with some remarks. creativity. phenomenology. a movement beyond intentionality and back to things ‘in their free and wild state’. process. is a metaphysics of the new. empiricism. I lay out four conceptual and methodological markers (there are many more) – creativity. event. empiricism – that characterise Deleuze’s metaphysics and provide a guide for showing how these develop through a sustained becoming with Whitehead. metaphysics. life In what follows I will try to develop some ideas to show how and why Whitehead’s later thought functions as a central source for a good deal of what motivates Deleuze’s entire philosophical project. empiricism – that characterise this metaphysics and provide a guide for showing how Deleuze develops these through a sustained becoming with Whitehead.
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I. Metaphysics and Creativity
To begin then, ﬁrstly, I take it as given – or should be – that from beginning to end Deleuze is doing metaphysics. There still doesn’t seem to me to be much recognition of this. I know some are smuggling it in by using the word ‘ontology’, but there’s really no need to give up this rich term and there may be good reasons for abandoning talk of ontology in Deleuze. In my view, with Deleuze and Whitehead we move towards ‘that remarkable point of modern metaphysics which all preceding discourse had indicated like a ﬂickering compass’ (Descombes 1980: 136). The ‘remarkable point’ of modern metaphysics referred to here is the achievement of an immanent or fully differential metaphysics that returns to ‘life’ and the concrete world: a thoroughgoing effort to renew metaphysics in the wake of Kant and then Heidegger. This is what Deleuze recognised in Whitehead, and this is also no doubt one of the reasons why Whitehead, like Bergson, became marginalised by professional philosophy in the latter half of the twentieth century. Deleuze didn’t have a problem using the term; as he declares, simply, ‘I am a pure metaphysician’ (Deleuze 2007: 42). I agree with Arnauld Villani that Deleuze’s afﬁrmation of metaphysics is crucial to his entire philosophy, just as it is for Whitehead. There is much that one could say about this afﬁrmative transformation of metaphysics. Perhaps one of the more important aspects of Deleuze’s Whiteheadian inﬂected renewal of metaphysics is that it operates on the basis of a new, yet incomplete, system of categories (with a new understanding of ‘system’ and ‘category’). These are categories, as Deleuze says, that are ‘not in the style of Kant, but in the style of Whitehead’ (Deleuze 2007: 41), and which are drawn and ‘transposed’ from various disciplines and elements of experience. It is directly from Whitehead that Deleuze ﬁnds the means to retain and employ a new type of category, a ‘problematic’ or ‘virtual’ sense of category ‘so that “category” takes on a new, very special sense’ (Deleuze 2007: 41). These new categories are no longer tied to structures of rational necessity that represent an essentially complete and unchanging real that inevitably suppresses the different, the contingent and the anomalous. If much of modern philosophy after Kant, and culminating with Heidegger, simply abandons categorical thinking, Whitehead’s singular response is to ‘reform’ or reinvent the category not as a structure of being or of cognition, but as the unique act or event of the self-differentiation of things. Indeed, when Deleuze says in Difference and Repetition that ‘[Whitehead’s] Process and Reality is one of the greatest books of modern
122 Keith Robinson
philosophy’ (Deleuze 1994: 284–5), it is because Whitehead’s categories or ‘empirico-ideal notions’, as Deleuze calls them, are precisely an effort to move beyond Aristotelian categories of being and Kantian categories of possible experience in the development of something completely new. Categories of the Aristotelian-Kantian type, although very different in themselves, belong for Deleuze to the world of representation, where they distribute and partition being according to the laws of ‘sedentary proportionality’. By contrast, Deleuze-Whitehead’s own ‘descriptive’, ‘nomadic’ or ‘phantastical’ notions are said to be ‘really open’ because they preside over a distribution of difference that is not governed by representational rules. Such notions are said to betray an empiricist or pluralist sense of Ideas that collapse the ‘transcendent’ distinction between existence and essence, thought and being. Thus, rather than presupposing the validity of categorical thinking in the Kantian mode as the epistemological conditions for all possible experience, these ‘notions’ are the conditions of real experience. Deleuze invokes Whitehead’s ‘empirico-ideal’ notions, then, as examples of a non-representational, differential and metaphysical structure or ‘open’ system of categories where the Kantian map of critical reason is displaced and reworked. Here categories ‘in the style of Whitehead’ become the immanent differences and intensities of the ‘nomadic’ movement and processual distribution of being itself. It is in this sense that Deleuze can say ‘to my mind, the conclusion of A Thousand Plateaus is a table of categories (but an incomplete, insufﬁcient one). Not in the style of Kant, but in the style of Whitehead’ (Deleuze 2007: 41). This dynamism and becoming of the real in Deleuze and Whitehead is essentially a movement of creativity and so we could say that creativity is the ‘ﬁrst’ and general category of this new metaphysics. It seems to me that Peter Hallward’s basic claim in his book Out of This World (2006) that Deleuze offers a metaphysics of creativity is just about right, although I think he gets a good deal of the details wrong.2 For Deleuze, being, thinking and creativity are one. Deleuze gives us a metaphysics of creativity. If there is one designation that accurately characterises Whitehead’s later philosophy, it is that it is also a metaphysics of creativity in which being, thinking and creativity are one. For Whitehead, the category of the ‘Ultimate’ is ‘creativity’. It is, he says, ‘the Universal of Universals characterising ultimate matter of fact’ (Whitehead 1978: 21). We could claim that Whitehead’s metaphysics is in fact the ﬁrst metaphysics of ‘creativity’ since he actually invented the concept, the English word ‘creativity’.3 At the very least I think we can claim that Deleuze, in appealing to creativity and ‘creativeness’ (which
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Deleuze writes in English), was thinking with Whitehead (as well as Bergson).
Deleuze’s metaphysics of creativity has a number of important constitutive elements or associated special categories. Perhaps the ﬁrst such element or category to mention is the ‘event’. Deleuze, of course, discusses the concept of the event explicitly with detailed attention in several books. ‘I’ve tried in all of my books’, Deleuze says, ‘to discover the nature of events. It’s a philosophical concept, the only one capable of ousting the verb “to be” and attributes’4 (Deleuze 1995: 141). In his Leibniz and the Baroque Deleuze even uncovers a ‘secret school’ devoted to answering the question ‘What is an Event?’ Of course, the successor to this secret school, the diadoche as Deleuze calls him, who inherits the question of the event is none other than Whitehead (Deleuze 1993: 76). Think of all the philosophers that Deleuze could have named here. Heidegger immediately springs to mind. Why is Heidegger not the successor, or Derrida, or even Foucault, who devoted a number of texts to the idea of what he called ‘eventalisation’? But Heidegger is after all the thinker of ‘ereignis’, the veiling–unveiling as the event of Being. It seems to me that Deleuze naming Whitehead as the successor to the question of the event is important, and it’s related precisely to Whitehead’s metaphysics of creativity. I’ll come back to Heidegger later. In any case, it’s true that Whitehead also, like Deleuze, spent a good part of his career writing about the event. I want to suggest that what Whitehead offered Deleuze here was a model or ‘logic’ for thinking the event in relation to creativity and the new that would come to inform Deleuze’s own conception of the event. So, for Deleuze it is Whitehead who is the successor to the question of the event, a question that reaches back, according to Deleuze, at least to the Stoics who ﬁrst elevated the event to the status of a concept. The second ‘great logic of the event’ comes with Leibniz for whom the event is a relation, a relation to time and existence. What, for Deleuze, constitutes Whitehead’s unique contribution to this school, and the third great logic of the event, is to show precisely how the event can be thought in terms of the question of the new. Whitehead’s creative advance over Leibniz’s event, and as we’ll see over phenomenology and Heidegger, is to lay out the conditions for thinking novelty and the new in itself. Such a thinking of the event would reveal the best of all worlds: ‘not the one that reproduces the eternal, but the one on which new creations are
then. The second component of the event. in addition to these three components there is another. degrees or ‘intensities’ of value that determine its texture in relation to other materials that are a part of it. . is ‘intension’. Prehension is an ‘intermediary’. The unique novelty of an event is given by its ‘passage’ into another series of events either as part or whole. a relation of difference with itself. One crucial factor in the structuring of the event or ‘actual occasion’. a saturation of color’ (Deleuze 1993: 77). ’ (Deleuze 1993: 70). the one endowed with a capacity for innovation or creativity .
III. or pure ‘affection’ before any division into form and matter. Prehension is a non-cognitive ‘feeling’ that guides how the occasion shapes itself from the data of the past and the potentialities of the future. as Whitehead came to call it. or what ﬁlls space and time. for Deleuze. a purely immanent potential power. and the three other conditions of the event. What are the conditions for the event of the new? In The Fold Deleuze attributes four conditions or components to Whitehead’s event and I want to suggest that each component ﬁnds an equivalent correlate in Deleuze’s own event.5 Whitehead initially conceived of events as ‘extending over’ each other in an inﬁnite relation of continuity between wholes and parts. ‘for example height. Prehension
The creation of the new is achieved through what Whitehead called ‘prehension’. always has characters. a movement of pure experience or perception that increases or
. but when actualised or ingressed they instantiate fully determinate facts or forms of deﬁniteness. If extension gives us something rather than nothing. a value. Next to creativity. this is another element that converges with Deleuze’s ontology and it is perhaps one of Whitehead’s most important concepts. This leads us on to our next special category and the ﬁnal condition of the event of the new: prehension. then ‘intension’ gives us ‘this’ rather than ‘that’. a tint. Deleuze makes this concept of ‘extension’ the ﬁrst condition or component of Whitehead’s event. A further condition of the event for Deleuze-Whitehead is the ‘ingression’ of eternal objects. timbre of a sound. is a passage or folding ‘between’ states. Extensive series have intrinsic properties. However. Matter.124 Keith Robinson
produced. Eternal objects are thoroughly indeterminate ‘pure possibilities’ and express a general potentiality unconstrained by any states of affairs. Prehension. . is its appropriation and creative use of the past in the formation of the new individual. properties. intensity.
1996b) volumes. famously. further references can be found in various places in A Thousand Plateaus (1987) and in the Cinema (Deleuze 1996a.
. Even when they are non-living. and as the many become one so the many are increased by one. There is no ontological ‘gap’ or separation in the sides. ‘everything prehends its antecedents and its concomitants and by degrees prehends a world’ (Deleuze 1993: 78). Deleuze describes this double process in terms of the ‘microscopic’ and the ‘macroscopic’. Deleuze remarks. for Deleuze the essential difference between Whitehead and Leibniz here is that Leibniz’s monad operates. according to a condition of closure. whereas for Whitehead ‘a condition of opening causes all prehension to be already the prehension of another prehension’ (Deleuze 1993: 81). In What is Philosophy? (1994) Deleuze and Guattari describe the rhythmic movement of prehension in the context of Whitehead’s public/private coupling: ‘The (“public”) matter of fact was the mixture of data actualised by the world in its previous state. as we’ll see. and the event a nexus of prehensions’ (Deleuze 1993: 78). Deleuze turns to Whitehead’s theory of prehensions here to describe the creative ongoing rhythm of ‘lived experience’ as a unity with two sides or aspects. inorganic. In The Fold Deleuze describes this two-sided rhythm of prehension through the process of perception in Leibniz. only a gathering of things into a ‘prehensive uniﬁcation’. in Heidegger’s phenomenological ontology. ‘All prehension’. As Deleuze says. ‘is a prehension of prehension. or rather. especially the important concluding pages of that book. things have a lived experience because they are affections and perceptions’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1994: 154). In addition to the explicit remarks on prehensions in The Fold (1993) and in What is Philosophy? (1994). This condition of prehensive opening onto incompossibilitites. divergences and bifurcations – the opening onto the new in itself – is a key feature of the event in Deleuze and Whitehead that Deleuze doesn’t ﬁnd in Leibniz or phenomenology or. The event of prehension is double-sided and ‘rhythmic’ in that it is the objectiﬁcation of one prehension and the subjectiﬁcation of another. Deleuze refers to prehension in several of his books. while bodies are new actualisations whose “private” states restore matters of fact for new bodies. terms that Deleuze borrows from Whitehead’s Process and Reality where they are used to refer both to the two meanings of ‘organism’ and to the two forms of ‘process’. For Deleuze each distinguished or clear perception emerges through a genetic process from the dark depths of the world that is contained within each monad.Back to Life 125
decreases its potential through interaction and communication with those states.6 However.
This can be seen. ‘in the “vulgar” sense of the term: with intentionality’ (Deleuze 1988: 108) moving phenomenology towards ontology. and if the correspondence between forms gives us the ‘same world that speaks itself in language and sees itself in sight’.126 Keith Robinson
It wouldn’t be at all out of place in Deleuze’s book on Francis Bacon (Deleuze 2003) because prehension. by the way in which for Heidegger the Lichtung is the Open not only for light and the visible. Deleuze declares. Creativity. The Open in Heidegger. forms the core of Deleuze’s own ‘theory’ of perception or logic of sensation. Heidegger ‘refounds’ intentionality in a new dimension that does not allow for a fully differential relation in which difference differs from itself. albeit between ontological forms rather than consciousness and its object. is the extent to which they provide a conceptual route out of phenomenology. Beyond Heidegger
So. Deleuze will challenge the Heideggerian ereignis with a new conception of the event as a pure ‘differentiator’ and he will look to Whitehead for the conceptual resources to construct a path beyond Heidegger’s phenomenological ontology. we have creativity. that falls short of providing the conditions required for the complex and paradoxical expression of the new. events and prehensions provide the outline of that path. to the point where it is the same world that speaks itself in language and sees itself in sight. Deleuze subordinates intentionality to prehension because the latter reaches
. For Deleuze Whitehead’s prehension surpasses intentionality and Whitehead’s event is a passage beyond being. or its synonyms.
does not give us something to see without also providing something to speak. and beyond Heidegger in particular. since the fold will constitute the Self-seeing element of sight only if it constitutes the Self-speaking element of language. as Deleuze says.7 Although Heidegger challenges Husserlian phenomenology at least. Deleuze claims. For Deleuze it appears that even recourse to the differentiated opening of the fourfold in later Heidegger restores an intentional ﬁeld. (Deleuze 1988: 111)
For Deleuze this re-establishes an intentional relation. events. however radicalised. then for Deleuze the Heideggerian ontological difference has not reached the being of difference and creativity. but also for voice and sound.
IV. and Deleuze’s thinking with Whitehead generally. I want to suggest that one way of measuring the signiﬁcance of these ideas in Deleuze. prehensions.
antecedent to any intentional relation. who recognised very early on that empiricism was Deleuze’s way out of phenomenology. But what does this equivalence between empiricism and pluralism mean? It derives from the two characteristics by which Whitehead deﬁned empiricism: the abstract does not explain. it is ‘inspired in its entirety by empiricism’ (Deleuze 1990: 20). This is precisely the demand of a metaphysics of creativity: it is an experiment with the ‘outside’. Rather. outside of an intentional relation. or rather the move from ‘Is’ to ‘And’ that Deleuze calls ‘Life’. As Deleuze says of his own metaphysics. Deleuze’s empiricism presides over the movement from being to event. Empiricism
Where does this Whiteheadian inﬂected path beyond Heidegger and phenomenology lead? If not back to the things themselves exactly (Deleuze says ‘things in themselves in their wild state’) then back to multiplicities and the radicalisation of empiricism. the source of this empirical metaphysics is deeply Whiteheadian. as we have seen. but must itself be explained. How do we ﬁnd the conditions of a life. the ‘secret of empiricism’. that is. Deleuze would say. in fact. intention to prehension. it is possible by following a multiplicity long enough to create a concept that corresponds to it. back to ‘erewhon’ and things in their wild state. Deleuze says:
I have always felt that I am an empiricist. and the aim is not to rediscover the eternal or the universal. Prehension is an event but not of the order of the Heideggerian ereignis since. This is the heart of Deleuze’s metaphysics. a pluralist.Back to Life 127
further back into the genetic order of experience. or ‘metaphysics of the concrete’ to use Merleau-Ponty’s phrase. it provides the conditions for the purely creative and differential unfolding of the new. the concept becomes the thing in itself in its free and wild state. in which he ‘never renounced a kind of empiricism that sets out to present concepts directly’ (Deleuze 1995: 88–9). (Deleuze and Parnet 1987: vii)
. or the conditions of a novel experience in-the-making? Philosophically. What is the source of this empiricism in Deleuze? Rather than classical British empiricism. It was Foucault. is obviously not any simple appeal to lived experience nor is it an aversion to concepts. is that it is the most insane creation of concepts in which. The path out of phenomenology and ontology leads back to life. for Deleuze. But Deleuze’s empiricist metaphysics. but to ﬁnd the conditions under which something new is produced (creativeness).
V. In the preface to the English translation of his Dialogues.
I want to suggest that process is a concept that they never really explicitly theorise or ‘create’. As Deleuze says. prehensions: they are all processes. Radical or ‘transcendental’ empiricism will not only reveal the extent to which phenomenology still participates in these illusions but. it enables a decisive break with the ultimate illusion: the verb ‘to be’ and its attributes. events and prehensions undergo. they use it as a neutral conduit or vehicle for discussions of many of their own most important concepts. These are the concepts that Deleuze constructs with Whitehead in order to lay out and populate a plane of immanence. out of ‘being’. With the illusions dispelled. the concept of ‘process’. and in Deleuze and Guattari. so that ﬁnally ‘is’ yields to ‘and’. one other crucial Whitehead element that converges with Deleuze’s ontology and that is. Creativity. ‘Process’ is always in a relation of dependence. universal. the conditions under which something new is produced can be made visible. events. never thought
.) and ‘images of thought’ that prevent us from thinking the creativity and novelty of experience in itself. ‘becoming’ or ‘desire’. Creativity creates events and is itself an event. prehensions. enabling the construction of a plane of immanence that is a ‘radical empiricism’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1994: 47). But there is one other concept I’d like to add. all little conceptual paths or ‘lines of ﬂight’ out of phenomenology. and yet it is life’ (Deleuze and Parnet 1987: 57).128 Keith Robinson
Why doesn’t Deleuze refer to Hume or Bergson here? One answer is that Deleuze’s Whiteheadian ‘empirical pluralism’ is more attuned to dispelling the illusions (the eternal. Events are prehensions of prehensions. of course. Although it is widely used throughout Deleuze and Deleuze and Guattari’s work. Deleuze offers an empirical metaphysics whose ungrounded ‘ﬁrst principle’ is creativity. and back to life. and it is never given its ‘own’ concept. ‘empiricism has no other secret: thinking with And instead of Is. To shift into a more critical mode for this ﬁnal section I want to ask whether process in Deleuze and Guattari fully reaches the conditions of the new and passes through the ‘empiricist conversion’ that creativity. including ‘difference’. Perhaps this is even enough to believe in the world again. So we have creativity. It is quite an extraordinary thought. etc. as an innovative thinking of the conditions of real experience. ‘Process’ in Deleuze. ‘desire’ and ‘becoming’. Yet. Process
To summarise so far. always appears as subordinate to ‘difference’. events.
VI. experience in the making.
They discuss the process of desire but not process itself. for example. A few readers of Deleuze have invoked the concept of ‘process’ – most notably Manuel De Landa – in their reading of his texts. which I can’t do here. Thus. secret or otherwise. conjunctive and disjunctive). In Deleuze and Guattari. the primary order of process. working themselves out in the secondary order of the real as product. but that work – precisely as a process – is not examined as such. devoted to answering the question ‘what is a process?’ Indeed. For Deleuze and Guattari there appears to be no philosophical school. production as process is the immanent principle of desire accounting for the movements and activity of the unconscious syntheses.Back to Life 129
‘in-itself’. as ‘producer-product’ (past) and as a process without a goal or end in itself (future): the three syntheses of process. but this is only to include the concept as an empty placeholder within their descriptions and commentaries on Deleuze without ever subjecting the concept to a detailed explication or critical analysis. just as the concept of process tends to be a necessary yet invisible support to the primary terms of the Deleuzian conceptual repertoire and process philosophy is overlooked as a positive tradition in Deleuze himself (a kind of ‘anxiety of inﬂuence’ since he prefers the invention and creation of his own schools and ‘traditions’. process is always immanent to desire or difference. In my view process does a lot of work in these distinctions and discussions. or libidinal processes on the other. Desire is the process of passive syntheses (connective. genesis or ‘immanent critique’ of this concept or tradition. economic or labour) processes on the one hand. This claim would need to be elaborated at length and given detailed support. the tradition of ‘univocity’). is almost completely absent in the reception of his work. desiring production is one process of reality. Deleuze. This takes the form of a three-fold concept of univocal process as production (present). whether we invoke social (political. and the idea that it might play a key role in Deleuze’s own intellectual formation. Deleuze and Guattari and some of their most well-known interpreters appropriate and rely upon a concept of process for their own theoretical practices and procedures without engaging in a ‘genealogy’. But let me give just one example: in Anti-Oedipus process is used ubiquitously and deployed as a synonym for the sub-representative order of temporalisation and its expression as the three syntheses of time (developed in Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition). For Deleuze and Guattari. immanent to something other than itself. recognition of process thought. Another way of putting this point is to say that process in Deleuze
. Thus. the school of the event.
130 Keith Robinson
and Guattari risks being reduced to a dependent state or condition of something else and not an act in itself. perhaps one of the real potentials of the DeleuzeWhitehead encounter lies in making process coalesce with and turn around difference. Whitehead and Process’ at the 1st International Deleuze Conference. I’d like to thank James Williams for valuable comments on an earlier draft. then. Only then will process be fully differential and difference fully processual. especially since processes are always ‘of’ schizophrenia. For Hallward creating is active and virtual and the created is
. becoming and so on. This is a longer version of a paper presented at the session on ‘Deleuze. My worry. is that process in Deleuze and Guattari is in danger of failing what Deleuze calls the ‘empiricist conversion’. in danger of functioning as an abstract (and transcendent) substratum that differences or becomings move along or undergo. but it is arguably functioning as a silent predicate of events. Roughly. Wales. 2. Process is of course not predicated of things and persons in Deleuze and Guattari. Did Deleuze and Guattari let their guard down when it came to process? For process to achieve immanence in Deleuze it would require a full ontological ‘destruction’ or. a thorough destratifying and ‘empirical conversion’ of its traditional sediment so that it may be turned towards its creative potential. One main assumption of that tradition is that process can only be admitted into ontology. in Deleuze and Guattari lingo. It is precisely this assumption that Whitehead had rooted out in Process and Reality by developing a concept of the event as actual occasion in which being gives way to the reality of process. differences and becomings. One suspicion here is that Deleuze and Guattari’s use of process is effectively a ‘blind spot’ in their work resting on unquestioned assumptions about process embedded in the tradition of Western philosophy. August 2008. I don’t have space to properly defend this here but I can’t agree with Hallward’s insistence throughout his book Out of this World on a ‘unilateral conﬁguration’ of creativity such that creativity divides into an ‘active creans’ and a ‘passive creaturum’ (27). what Deleuze said about the relation between substance and modes in Spinoza I want to say about the relation between difference and process in Deleuze. Process must be shown ‘processing’. if it functions as a predicate dependent upon particulars like things or persons. difference or becoming. Rather than make difference turn around another substance substitute. identical with its manifestation as difference. University of Cardiff.
1. if admitted at all.
2005. In this respect Heidegger. I suggest that a better image is the ‘between-two’ or ‘fourfold’ where each component is internal to and completed by the other. to these reductionist and divisive strategies and to their sometimes narrow and misleading emphases (e. Whereas Badiou insists that Deleuze choose (and has already chosen) between animal or number. rightly. . the Relative and the Void: Thinking the ‘Event’ in Badiou. remains tied to ontology and never really breaks with the ‘isness’ of things and the verb ‘to be’. as Deleuze says. exchange. The dissymmetrical halves then become the ‘entre-deux’ or fold between two that informs his reading of the event in Whitehead. tension. a metaphysics of the creative ‘and. is explored in more detail in my ‘Towards a Political Ontology of the Fold: Deleuze. or the subordination of ‘is’ to ‘and’. translation. . and the determination to polarise his thought. ’ where the creative event supersedes being. Although a number of commentators have objected. Žižek uses this distinction to divide Deleuze’s texts: ‘The Logic of Sense versus The Anti-Oedipus’ and to separate Deleuze from Guattari.Back to Life 131
actual and passive. for Deleuze. characterises not only Hallward’s book but also the books on Deleuze by Badiou and Žižek. the event ‘ousts’ the verb ‘to be’ is important for my claims here since it suggests an overturning of ontology. one or multiple. displacement and conversion between both of these halves and their sides. In my view there are indeed different modes of creativity in Deleuze but it is as true to say that the virtual is active and the actual passive as to say that the virtual is impassive and the actual active. .. not Heidegger. See his introduction to Conﬁgurations 13(1) Winter. Plato or Aristotle (and a bunch of other dualisms) in accordance with a formally determined ‘axiom of choice’. 4. attempts to ‘twist free’ of ontology. In other words. 279–80). on the other. Deleuze and Whitehead” in Event and
. each half of reality in Deleuze has two sides and one can only begin to account for Deleuze’s thought when justice is done to the constant movement. In terms of the Deleuze and Whitehead event extension. an incorporeal reserve of inﬁnite becoming and virtual movement. Badiou on the ‘One’). each dividing itself in two’ (p. Žižek claims that Deleuze’s work rests on ‘two conceptual oppositions’ that are incompatible: the logic of effect and the logic of production. In fact. and . Whitehead and the Fourfold Event’ in Deleuze and The Fold: A Critical Reader (Robinson 2010a). The idea that. Hallward on the ‘theophanic’. . Heidegger. after Difference and Repetition. In one way or another the effort to attribute simple hierarchical dualisms to Deleuze. For more on the event and the need to think it in terms of ‘two multiplicities’. . I’m suggesting that Deleuze offers a metaphysics that. see my “Between the Individual. intension.g. dissymmetrical and dissimilar “halves”. 3. Treating this structure as a simple hierarchical dualism has been used to give a distorted image of Deleuze’s thought (see note 2 above). one virtue (among numerous others) is that both Hallward and Badiou situate Deleuze under the sign of metaphysics. . Deleuze’s concept of the event receives various formulations in his work but the basic structure is well known: on the one hand a state of affairs that relates to actualised bodies and individuals and. 5. That Deleuze’s model of the event and its folds is informed by Whitehead. prehension and ingression each have a virtual/actual side and the process of conversion between them is carried out by different modes of creativity. In Difference and Repetition he says that ‘everything has two odd. just like Whitehead. I thank Steven Meyer who persuaded me of this. and. Deleuze describes this in his own terms when he refers in both Difference and Repetition and Logic of Sense to ‘two dissymmetrical halves’. struggle.
Vol. London: Verso. Steven (2005) ‘Introduction’. London: Athlone Press. Deleuze. trans. trans. trans. Gilles (1995) Negotiations. Deleuze. Falmouth: Urbanomic. Gilles (1994) Difference and Repetition. Deleuze.
de Beistegui. Meyer. Deleuze. M. Nor for that matter do Heidegger scholars. is quite canny when he suggests that Deleuze himself didn’t recognise how close he was to Heidegger. Deleuze. Gilles (1996a) Cinema. London: Athlone Press. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press. Deleuze. Deleuze and Whitehead (Robinson 2010b). Gilles (1996b) Cinema. trans. Gilles and Claire Parnet (1987) Dialogues. Peter (2006) Out of This World: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Creation. 1. trans. 7. I suggest that Heidegger is Deleuze’s primary philosophical rival and that Alain Badiou. Gilles (1990) The Logic of Sense. trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. Paul Patton. Deleuze. Deleuze. trans. Daniel Smith. Gilles (2007) ‘Responses to a Series of Questions. trans. trans. Deleuze. London: Athlone Press. Deleuze. 13:1. Conﬁgurations. Deleuze. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. trans. Gilles (2003) Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation. Harding. See Chapter 7 note 7 in The Fold: 154. Gilles (1988) Foucault.132 Keith Robinson
Decision: Ontology and Politics in Badiou. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. Descombes. Martin Joughlin. New York: Columbia University Press. Vincent (1980) Modern French Philosophy. an exchange between Arnauld Villani and Gilles Deleuze’. Tom Conley. pp. Brian Massumi. Miguel (2004) Truth and Genesis.
. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. L. 3. The path beyond Heidegger is developed subterraneously in many of Deleuze’s books but surfaces again explicitly in Foucault and The Fold (and to a lesser extent in What is Philosophy?). London: Athlone Press. Collapse. Vol. 2. Sean Hand. 1–33. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. New York: Columbia University Press. giving way to the event. Gilles and Félix Guattari (1987) A Thousand Plateaus. in Robin Mackay (ed. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchill. That Deleuze is borrowing these terms from Whitehead is conﬁrmed by a footnote in The Fold. Gilles (1993) The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. London: Athlone Press. One exception is Miguel de Beistegui in his Truth and Genesis (2004). Deleuze.). Hallward. Mark Lester with Charles Stivale. 6. trans. Difference and Repetition is one of the primary texts where Deleuze’s indebtedness to and rivalry with Heidegger is played out and the conspicuous absence of Heidegger in Logic of Sense suggests that it is Deleuze’s ﬁrst ‘post’ Heideggerian book in which being is no longer the highest term. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. Gilles and Félix Guattari (1994) What is Philosophy?. trans. Vol. Deleuze studies still do not tell us that much about how to situate Heidegger in relation to Deleuze. in his book on Deleuze. albeit in a highly compressed set of claims and arguments. London: Athlone Press. Scott-Fox and J. London: Verso.
Whitehead and the Fourfold Event’. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. New York: The Free Press. Whitehead. Deleuze and Whitehead’. Event and Decision: Ontology and Politics in Badiou.
DOI: 10.Back to Life 133
Robinson. David Ray Grifﬁn and Donald Sherburne (eds). Keith (2010a) ‘Towards a Political Ontology of the Fold: Deleuze. Deleuze and Whitehead. in R. Keith (2010b) ‘Between the Individual. Van Tuinen (eds). in N. the Relative and the Void: Thinking the “Event” in Badiou.3366/E1750224110000875
. McDonnell and S. Deleuze and The Fold: A Critical Reader. Faber (ed. Heidegger.). corrected edition. Alfred  (1978) Process and Reality. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press. Robinson.
it is arguably one of his two most important single-authored books. but there continue to be fresh interpretations of these writers as thinkers. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. This may have something to do with the fact that it has a rather hybrid quality: it is highly philosophical. event and change that goes beyond textuality in Logic of Sense. Logic of Sense has an ambiguous place within Gilles Deleuze’s work as a whole. Logic of Sense is also probably closer to critical theory than any other extended work by Deleuze. so it is still worth exploring the boundaries between their ideas and those of Deleuze and Guattari. being. it could be argued that there are genuine links with the later joint work. However. mainly because it explores language and meaning in such detail and with such richness. semiotics and psychoanalytic theory in as fertile a way as Deleuze does elsewhere with earlier philosophers.
. 219pp. Originally published in 1969. which is very similar to the way in which A Thousand Plateaus is structured. which appeared the year before Logic of Sense came out. but it is often overlooked by Deleuzians. There is a tendency to assume that the later joint work left such writers as Lévi-Strauss and Lacan behind. It engages with structuralism.Book Reviews
James Williams (2008) Gilles Deleuze’s Logic of Sense: A Critical Introduction and Guide. semiotics and psychoanalytic theory. drawing powerfully on Stoicism and having an ambivalent but important relationship with Husserl. Along with Difference and Repetition. but it is also steeped in structuralism. There is also an afﬁnity with the fascination of French philosophers such as Derrida and Marin with performatives and linguistic pragmatics. It is closer to a complex hermeneutics than the concentration on affect and how the arts ‘do’ philosophy within their own material terms that one associates with Deleuze. The latter are the main reason for the relative neglect of Logic of Sense: they are often seen as the ‘oldfashioned’ ideas that Deleuze was soon to be ‘freed’ from by Guattari. in particular the division of Logic of Sense into séries. although there is a compelling mix of meaning. but it is also a very valuable book in its own right.
Williams has already produced a comparable – and excellent – book on Difference and Repetition (Williams 2003). The key to Deleuze’s concepts lies more in the relational tools that bind and do not bind them together than in the concepts themselves. Sense is also closely associated with the event.Reviews
Even if Deleuze and Guattari ‘left behind’ performatives and pragmatics. appears again in Logic of Sense. a concept drawn from Emile Bréhier’s classic work on incorporeals in Stoicism. and he can produce powerful surges of affect in a sympathetic reader. event and process within a wider context of creative connectivity deeply challenges received approaches to the world and brings one closer to reality. there is a peculiar mystery of immanence in language in Austin’s ideas that can still be explored in relation to their work. and two different conceptions of time. which partly explains the use of Alice in Wonderland. which makes it a demanding but extremely valuable book. although Deleuze’s ontology is more about becoming than being as it is normally conceived. what Deleuze has to say about being. even if Deleuze is concerned to go behind propositionality and has a more embodied sense of paradox. but there is another dimension behind this: as Charles Dodgson. In a sense this is only to be expected in a philosophy that is about a shift from identity to an evanescent but semi-solidifying and individuating connectivity. producing new pairings: language and sense. These pairs interconnect and overlap in very complex ways. In general. This ontology. Deleuze has a visionary quality as a writer. reciprocally determined binary pair. but the binary structure is applied to other areas. nonsense and paradox are much closer to this tradition than one might think.1 The event is not the physical
. Perpetual variation in the universe comes from the interaction of an asymmetrical. a work that is primarily concerned with ontology. but it is sometimes good to rein in that response and engage in a sober way with the astonishing power of his philosophical engineering: the architecture of the future can be as much about new building materials as it is about new ways of imagining space. James Williams’ remarkable Gilles Deleuze’s Logic of Sense: A Critical Introduction and Guide deals very sustainedly with the philosophical engineering. with certain additions and minor changes in terminology. The sections of Logic of Sense devoted to meaning. It is well known that Logic of Sense uses Alice in Wonderland as a key text for developing its arguments. human action and the unconscious. Lewis Carroll was a professor of mathematics at Oxford and contributed to the analytic tradition’s work on logic and paradox. the virtual and the actual. There are also rich implications for a different model of social justice.
height. ‘Philosophy as event’. paradox. he more or less follows the overall movement of Deleuze’s text across his central four chapters: ‘Language and event’. the nature of problems. defends that philosophy against possible objections. Williams explains the philosophical engineering in great detail. Bousquet and Fitzgerald – are used as part of that treatment. and he does not quite convey how essential the presence of a subtly modiﬁed psychoanalysis is to the overall vision of Logic of Sense.2 However. singularities. which may reﬂect some of Deleuze’s own vulnerabilities: he lived as a young man in the shadow of his older brother. Williams deals excellently with the treatment of moral actions.
. all fascinating and speciﬁc to Deleuze (his philosophy was very much about the creation of novel exploratory concepts). Nevertheless. who had been killed in the Resistance. They include the following: event. highly detailed and rigorous way. What is fascinating about Logic of Sense is how becoming and meaning are intertwined: a rich fabric of different latent forces is woven around the actual and a bridge is established between the personal wound and the universal. static and dynamic genesis. He also has a good understanding of the general relationship between Deleuze and psychoanalysis. the three images of philosophers. sense as inﬁnitives and its relationship to nonsense and meaning in the proposition. while sense contains the difference between the before and after of the physical happening. and he had a lung removed in the very year the book came out. Williams does not give a line-by-line commentary: indeed he often jumps intelligently around the séries that make up the main body of Logic of Sense in order to construct his arguments. series and disjunctive synthesis. are examined in an extended. ‘higher empiricism’ (there is a good discussion of Deleuze’s response to Husserl). time and counter-actualisation. especially the way in which three literary ﬁgures with vulnerable qualities – Péguy. and is sensitive to the more aesthetic and psychologically complex sides of Logic of Sense. depth and surface. in particular from the analytic tradition. tries to show how a philosophy that can seem very abstract is relevant to realworld situations. although he is less assured with some of the more detailed arguments. the interplay of the series of the signiﬁer and signiﬁed. what is superb about Williams’ book is its exposition of the philosophical engineering of Logic of Sense: numerous concepts. All these concepts are made fully available to the reader as tools for his or her own use. These chapters are framed by an introduction and a short conclusion.136 Reviews
happening itself. ‘Morals and events’ and ‘Thought and the unconscious’. ‘quasi-cause’.
with a thorough and extremely clear treatment of Deleuze’s ideas on signiﬁcation. sense. For a good reassessment of Deleuze’s relationship with psychoanalysis. the position of Deleuze in relation to such binary oppositions as transcendental-immanent or empiricist-metaphysician is negotiated with exceptional subtlety. which would be very different. fruitful parallels are drawn with the analytic tradition. but this makes it all the more useful for exploring a potential disjunction between what could be binary or dialectical human thought and ‘cosmic thought’. One slight quibble might be that Williams does not always succeed in communicating how the asymmetrical binary pairs and the individual concepts ﬁt together and function as a whole. 2.3 Williams also explains the concept of the three images of philosophers very well. see Alain Beaulieu (2005). Williams is also sensitive to Deleuze’s style in French and communicates the complex mixture of rigour. For an excellent discussion of the inﬂuence of Stoicism on Deleuze. Throughout the book. paradox and nonsense. This is partly because he is trying to avoid oversimpliﬁcation but also because Deleuze himself tends to employ the exceptionally plastic quality of his language and imagination rather than pure argument to conjure a more holistic impression of how the universe is for him.3366/E1750224110000887
1. sensibility and energy that is to be found in Logic of Sense.
. and there is an interesting comparison between his approach to it and that of Badiou. London DOI: 10. see Monique David-Ménard (2005). showing how it can be a tool for avoiding the binary oppositions that beset the way in which the history of Western philosophy is structured. Deleuze’s very profound conception of time is dealt with in a number of places.Reviews
The chapter on ‘Language and event’ is particularly good. Here. Guy Callan Independent practitioner and writer. It is also possible that the structuralist elements in Logic of Sense give it a symmetrical quality. There are also occasional but illuminating references to quite a few other works by Deleuze.4 Any minor faults should not detract from the fact that Williams has done something comparable to producing the ﬁrst commentary on one of Kant’s Critiques and that he has done so in an intellectually formidable and deeply passionate way: he has been worthy of the event.
Adrian Parr (2009) Hijacking Sustainability. meaning everything and nothing. Alain (2005) ‘Gilles Deleuze et les Stoïciens’. Cambridge. Yann (2005) Gilles Deleuze: l’épreuve du temps. 45–72. with economic ‘sustainability’ (also known as corporate viability or shareholder proﬁt) dominant.
Barot. she suggests that trauma. as her transcultural examples illustrate. Williams. from eco-towns in the UK. As a poststructuralist who teaches Deleuze and Guattari in a School of Architecture. Williams mentions the mathematician. transcultural studies and ethics. who had a particular interest in the underlying primacy of anti-symmetry within his subject. to eco-villages in Europe and the USA. however. in Alain Beaulieu (coord. see Emmanuel Barot (2009).). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Laporte. In her previous work. The much-vaunted ‘triple-bottom-line’ of sustainability adds economic and social sustainability to that of eco. Paris: PUF. ‘Sustainability’ has become an important trope in many space-related narratives and has produced such a range of truth effects that it may now be regarded as international orthodoxy for government-led spatial planning. Paris: PUF. Paris: Les Belles Lettres. implied above. Parr demonstrates clearly how sustainability is a cultural construct: an empty signiﬁer. 4. Deleuze and Memorial Culture (Parr 2008). Gilles Deleuze. Monique (2005) Deleuze et la psychanalyse: l’altercation. As Hijacking Sustainability clearly demonstrates. Paris: L’Harmattan. Beaulieu. pp. Her argument in Hijacking Sustainability is not dissimilar: sustainability has also achieved transcendent meaning and despotic connective synthesis. ‘Sustainable communities’ are all the rage. the three elements often conﬂict. Sustainability has
3. James (2003) Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition: A Critical Introduction and Guide. héritage philosophique. 209pp. Emmanuel (2009) Lautman. Planning and Landscape. more general account of how mathematics is relevant to Deleuze’s ideas. David-Ménard. MA: MIT Press. in an intelligent. given a transcendent meaning.or environmental sustainability. Adrian Parr is interested in applying Deleuzian ideas in the context of politics. For a worthwhile recent book on Lautman. see Yann Laporte (2005). Albert Lautman. Parr concludes Hijacking Sustainability by seeking a more socially and environmentally just ethical connective synthesis. produces a despotic connective synthesis. I seized the opportunity to review Hijacking Sustainability. For an extended study of Deleuze’s conception of time.
but rather terms which relate implicit presuppositions and speech-acts to social obligations. of social bonding and so on) even if sustainability is itself indeﬁnable and unachievable (as in a reality of car commuting to work and parochial neighbour conﬂicts). They use the term ‘order-word’ (mot d’ordre) to describe a linguistic function compelling obedience: order-words ‘tell people what to think’ (Conley 2005: 193). such as BP oil. Wal-Mart (Asda). purports to be grounded in scientiﬁc ‘fact’ (of lower carbon footprints. like Parr and her examples in Hijacking Sustainability. government and military ‘bads’ hidden inside. from housing to burgers. how the power-laden term ‘sustainability’ works and what it produces in practice. but.Reviews
become a buzzword. we ask. Parr’s provocative interrogation of examples – including the provision of culturally appropriate disaster shelters in Asia (Chapter 7) and the ‘greening’ of the US White House (Chapter 4) – indicates how sustainability is akin to a Trojan horse. evocative of a ‘good thing’. Several of Parr’s examples demonstrate the strong ideological power of sustainability when combined with the signiﬁer ‘development’. Yet such forms of violence are legitimated by the sublime truth of an unknowable transcendental ideal. celebrities to warfare. for instance. The word mot d’ordre also means a slogan or a military password in French: highly relevant to Parr’s case illustrations of the militarisation of life in the name of ‘sustainability’. with associated ‘usual’ disproportionate negative impacts on the poor. Order-words – such as sustainability – are not commands as such. which carries – indeed hijacks – universal acceptability when attached to a wide range of things. and which produce tangible effects (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 79). Deleuze and Guattari (1994) characterise philosophy as the creation of concepts through which knowledge can be generated. If we understand sustainability as an order-word. In Hijacking Sustainability Parr illustrates how sustainability has become ‘a political attitude of the multitude’ (4): a non-dualistic social practice which largely masks economic ‘business-as-usual’. Yet the two signiﬁers often contradict and negate each other: their rhetorical acrobatics creating merely illusion – language without possibility (Gunder and Hillier 2009). The book discloses the voids and illusions of situations and supports activation of agency for the currently disenfranchised. not what it means. The sustainable development of eco-villages (Chapter 3). Sustainability pulls together assemblages of strange bedfellows. the North American Sustainable Use
. while obscuring the corporate interests. outwardly seen as ‘good’.
Prince Charles. I would add.140 Reviews
Specialist Group. in turn. wanted the White House to symbolise ‘a model of efﬁciency and waste reduction’ (73). Dominant modes of valorisation are translated into political and economic programmes newly labelled as ‘sustainable’. UNCHR and even. of incandescent light bulbs with ﬂuorescents. is clearly articulated. Consumption of ‘junkspace’ is increasingly greenwashed (Chapter 1). with various results.
. Carter’s successor. He ordered the replacement: of the White House roof to maximise thermal integrity. US President Jimmy Carter installed solar heating panels on the White House roof in the name of energy efﬁciency. but also helps to create them in the ﬁrst place. She demonstrates the popularisation of sustainability culture such that everyone wants to be associated with its feel-good brand. saving some 845 tonnes of carbon a year. endangered species (though noticeably not endorsing campaigns such as Save the Slug!1 ). Ronald Reagan. and their bracketing of problems such as poverty. from the Oscars to celebrities pictured in proximity to cute. refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol or creating a ‘midnight rule’ to bar consideration of global warming as related to the predicted extinction of polar bears. Parr traces the conditions of possibility of ﬁve case examples. and so on. Parr traces how sustainability has been coded in various situations. of old air-conditioning units. when espousing policies of militarism and neo-liberalism. Resonating more with Félix Guattari’s (who is not mentioned in Hijacking Sustainability) writing (see especially 1995. such as General Motors’ Hummer O2 . Hollywood and its celebrities have enjoyed similar make-overs (Chapter 2). In Part 1. 2000) than with that of Gilles Deleuze. saw sustainability recoded as being an individual. however. Bill Clinton. removed the panels to demonstrate America’s ‘abundance of resources’ (72). racism. The ‘double-sway’ of the market and military-industrial complexes. Neither Bush volunteered to publicise the presidential residence as a ‘Green’ House. Parr demonstrates how sustainability culture is not only a response to perceived ‘problems’. refrigerators. windows and so on. The presidencies of the two George Bushes. the US Military. social justice and so on. For instance. Parr’s examples unveil the violences which make such enunciations and actualisations possible in the name of ‘sustainability’. Dominant values subordinate everything under the imperative of a worldwide market and put social relations under the power of police and military machines. voluntary choice. so that driving one’s Hummer to shop in urban fringe Wal-Marts becomes environmentally and socially sustainable.
in the US and UK. also harbour potentialities to perform as control societies. those branded as merely ‘potential’ environmental activists are arrested in police swoops legitimated by anti-terrorism legislation (Taylor and Vidal 2009). including human technology mapping (HTM). I personally disagree with aspects of the. While I do not criticise them for doing so. Meanwhile. as embodying ‘real’ social and environmental sustainability compared with sub/urban gated communities. military sustainability represents striated space (Chapter 5). perhaps along the lines suggested by Félix Guattari’s ecosophy and Three Ecologies (1995. Parr cannot explore the depths of sustainability which a planner. take violent conﬂict directly into the homes. however. analysis of eco-villages (Chapter 3). 2000): ‘ecology must stop being associated with the image of a small nature-loving minority’ (2000: 52). women and children as suspected terrorists (see Weizman 2006). and so on (Barton 1998. Sullivan 2008). Recently introduced techniques. Traditionally an oppressive structure of domination. Sizemore 2004. as armed military personnel blast holes through walls between adjoining houses and regard men. military ‘sustainability’ tends to bracket issues of environmental and social justice in favour of equating sustainability with US national security in broad terms.Reviews
As a scholar of cultural studies. depleted uranium and phosphorus in their arsenals. of Iraqi and Palestinian citizens. Cummings 1999. somewhat idealist. as lines of ﬂight from urbanisation. to think transversally and to embrace more eco-sustainable ways of living. including acting with integrity (79). as Weizman points out. while ‘badged’ as sustainable. excluding ‘others’ whose views and behaviours do not ﬁt the norm. The idea of greening the military would seem a difﬁcult concept to accept when related to agencies which count land mines and cluster bombs. As Parr indicates. I would argue that eco-villages. of cartravel to services and facilities. I would rather attempt to change the mainstream. whose work on rhizomes and assemblages. Eco-villagers tend to opt out of the mainstream. of cultural and social homogeneity. military institutions’ reading lists often include texts by Deleuze and Guattari. smooth and striated space and war machines has
. Ironically. for instance. architect or sociologist might. Like eco-villages. Research into eco-villages suggests that there are potential problems: of engaging ‘neo-primitivism’. sustainability becomes even more of an empty signiﬁer in military usage. Yet the US Army now has goals of sustainability. of extensive use of land. such as those of urban warfare.
Hijacking Sustainability interrogates practices of sustainability and raises critical questions about subjectivity. to deﬁne what constitutes a recyclable material on the soil of a developed country. both at home. While I am unsure that ‘disaster is indiscriminate’ (110). There is a need to examine the materialities and expressivities of disaster relief and slum clearance alike. to unpack the force relations between elements. we need to recognise that sustainability culture is a Western social construct within a Western plane of reference. entails the privilege to decide whose communities are polluted and whose are spared. generating huge volumes of ‘rubbish’ (another social construct) which must be hidden from view. and especially in the Global South. however. particularly. In Part 2. copy-pasted across different circumstances. We risk further subordinating other economic. who may even beneﬁt from disaster situations. Adrian Parr challenges orthodox thinking (the Deleuzian image of thought) on sustainability and indicates how such doxa must be resisted and replaced with new socio-ecological concepts if things are to change.142 Reviews
inﬂuenced military thinking. compared with authors such as Ananya Roy (2009) who challenges what she
. incinerators and shiploads of toxic waste are thus located or dumped by the powerful on the world’s poor: ‘power. power and desire. if we fail to break down the dominant framework and develop a more communal ethic. social and cultural practices. Parr mentions the importance of informality in Latin American slums. as appropriate. as used in environmental discourse. Hijacking Sustainability tackles the idea of urbanism as a process of signiﬁcation with relation to disaster relief shelters and slum dwelling (Chapters 7 and 8). and in turn to choose which environments can be sacriﬁced like common waste’ (102). In doing so. as some people are always more affected and disadvantaged than others. Parr argues that the ‘key’ is ‘to create a sustainable connection with the environment by attending to the processes of change implied within that connection’ (107). Chapter 6 on waste/trash indicates not only how a culture of consumerism is accompanied by a culture of disposability. but also how the poor are often themselves regarded as trash within the social fabric. She tends to regard informality rather negatively. or lines of ﬂight. In this way. Garbage dumps. I agree that there should not be universal solutions. to trace and map potential trajectories and to stimulate creative opportunities. Parr’s picture of the ‘increasing militarisation of life’ (4) illustrates a relation between Deleuze’s and Guattari’s theory and practice which all the authors would surely ﬁnd abhorrent.
This would involve overturning traditional capitalocentric values. Making progress requires a massive change of political. or ‘making do’. not as a justiﬁcation mechanism for yet more pro-market consumption. environmental. which can be simultaneously legal and non-legal. the rule and the exception. Adrian Parr clearly illustrates how sustainability rhetoric performs as a veil or smokescreen to cover the often-violent business-as-usual of economics and politics. social and cultural mindset: one which reorients the objectives of material and immaterial production (Guattari 2000) and one which is sufﬁciently strong to resist co-optation by vested interests. as I did. The key question is how might we reimagine and rearticulate sustainability. Sustainability is concerned with the not-yet. with ensuring that something remains for the people-to-come. As such. Parr’s machinic urbanism aspires to create conditions of agency without structural constraints. though I fear the extremely brief index is of little value. such as social businesses in diverse economies (see also Gibson-Graham 1996) which have the potential to release the dynamic materiality of life. 2009) for a spatial planning perspective).Reviews
regards as such a traditional. Machinic urbanism would produce connections and relations between elements to stimulate challenges to traditional economic. Students will ﬁnd this a provocative and stimulating book. The case examples are Americas-dominant and it would be good if further editions could incorporate not only some non-Western cases from the Global South. Roy demonstrates how and why informality is both far from unregulated and an internally differentiated mode of spatial production. Parr advocates a form of ‘machinic urbanism’ in which planners and designers would ‘experiment with the material movements of life in all its variation’ (141). different futures (see also Hillier (2007. as happened with ‘sustainability’. Roy transcends the debate by reconceptualising informality as an oblique mode of power. social and environmental justice. but also some of their different views and approaches to sustainability. or fabulate. to create lines of ﬂight and alternative discourses from which to imagine.
. It successfully lifts the veil on crucial issues which lurk beneath sustainability culture. social and cultural doxa. regulated and deregulated. Hijacking Sustainability is a book for cultural geographers and cultural studies students. hegemonic view of binary opposition. but as a means to displace economic and militarist imperatives from their domination of the wicked issues of class. in favour of new forms of social innovation.
http://endangeredugly.). Gibson-Graham.html [accessed 05/05/2009]. Michael (1999) ‘Eco-villages and Sustainable Communities’. Jean Hillier Newcastle University DOI: 10.au/features/20083010-18378. OH: University of Cincinnati Press. pp. London: Verso. Gilles and Félix Guattari (1987)  A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Guattari. Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis. Newcastle University. p. London: Athlone Press. Planning Theory. April 1–3 (copy available from author).html [accessed 05/05/2009]. Cincinnati. Aldershot: Ashgate. Conley. in Adrian Parr (ed. trans. Gunder. 2007). trans. 223. J. 8:1. trans.144 Reviews
I congratulate Adrian Parr on Hijacking Sustainability.blogspot. Steve (2004) Urban Eco-villages as an Alternative Model to Revitalizing Urban Neighborhoods. Roy Ananya (2009) ‘Why India Cannot Plan its Cities: Informality. Local Environment. Hugh (1998) ‘Eco-neighbourhoods: A Review of Projects’. Hillier. Rachel (2008) ‘Inside Ecovillage Life’. pp. Adrian (2008) Deleuze and Memorial Culture. The Deleuze Dictionary.(and Guattarian) inspired escape forward which the planet so badly requires. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Save the Slug is a campaign by International Slugfest against the use of toxic insecticides to kill garden slugs.com.-K. MA: Blackwell. (1996) The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It). Hillier. paper presented at UK Planning Research Conference. 3:2. Farnham: Ashgate. Gilles and Félix Guattari (1994)  What is Philosophy?. pp. Cummings. London: Athlone Press.
. Michael and Jean Hillier (2009) Planning in Ten Words or Less.
Barton. Deleuze. Verena (2005) ‘Order-word’. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Endangered Ugly Things (EUT) (2007) ‘Might as well jump’. trans. 30/10/2008. Utopian Studies.com/2007/04/might-as-well-jump. Graham Burchell and Hugh Tomlinson. Guattari. Brian Massumi. such as the endangered Canadian Dromedary Jumping Slug (EUT. Sullivan. Insurgence and the Idiom of Urbanisation’. Sizemore. 10:2. Science Alert. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Cambridge.3366/E1750224110000899
1. Félix (1995)  Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm. http:// www. 76–87. 193–4. Ian Pindar and Paul Sutton. Parr. Jean (2009) ‘Spatial Planning as Strategic Navigation’.sciencealert. a text which lays bare the problems of the sustainability culture and offers us the beginning of a Deleuzian. 159–77. Deleuze. Félix (2000)  The Three Ecologies. Jean (2007) Stretching Beyond the Horizon: A Multiplanar Theory of Spatial Planning and Governance.
http://www. were ‘a fallout of his general project . 290pp. I believe this (dis)organisational scheme reinforces the various ‘ecologics’ theorised by the contributing authors and makes the collection especially suitable for non-linear or affective
.interactivist.) (2009) Deleuze/Guattari and Ecology. . Matthew and John Vidal (2009) ‘UK Police Raid Dozens of Homes as Climate Change Activists Arrested’. the essays inaugurate the productive syntheses that become from mapping the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari in proximity to contemporary ecological concerns. Ecology. That said. Yet Herzogenrath chooses not to divide any of the essays into thematic groups and his sequencing of the volume appears to be without a governing agenda. scientiﬁc research in ecology often gets skewed into a utopian holism by popular environmental movements and oversimpliﬁed by the pastoral assumptions besetting most ecocriticism. .guardian. scientists in ecology push forward without being able to sustain their own body of theories and methods from dismantling critiques by physicists and biologists who enjoy a tradition of well-established facts and core concepts. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. which contain his more explicit dealings with ecology. The Guardian. Guattari.uk/environment/2009/apr/14/police-raid-climate-protest [accessed 14/04/2009]. 14/04/2009. On the one hand.net/node/5324 [accessed 11/05/2009].
Bernd Herzogenrath (ed. Dana Phillips’s The Truth of Ecology (2003) highlights a self-alienating tendency that has crippled ecology as an academic enterprise.co. indeed.Reviews
Taylor. apprehended in this restricted and isolating manner. and Debord and the Israeli Defense Force’. environments and their interactions has itself evolved into something of a fallout without a general project. Together. is in need of structural couplings with a generalised ecology towards which Herzogenrath’s collection gestures. http://info. [Guattari’s] ecosophy is more comprehensive than the more visible and mainstream versions of ecology’ (60). Hanjo Berressem suggests that Felix Guattari’s later texts. This also suggests a helpful way in which to conceptualise the aim of Bernd Herzogenrath’s collection. on the other hand. Deleuze/Guattari and Ecology incorporates a broad array of perspectives that divide fairly equally between the sciences and the arts. one could categorise the essays along these two predominate lines. Certain disciplinary histories of ecology indicate that this ﬁeld of study devoted to organisms. Weizman. Eyal (2006) ‘The Art of War: Deleuze. In his contribution to Deleuze/Guattari and Ecology. For instance.
is the proposition that individuation processes are responsible for the ‘identity of each individual entity’ and that one must then look to ‘immanent (nontranscendent) abstract structure[s]’ for an account of ‘any regularities in the [individuation] processes themselves’ (27).
. and it plays host to a multitude of open-ended. . While DeLanda claims that (a combination of) scientiﬁc ﬁelds are better equipped to study ecosystems than semiotics or hermeneutics. Manuel DeLanda attempts to rethink realist ontology so that. as he suggests. In the volume’s opening essay entitled ‘Ecology and Realist Ontology’. he insists that philosophy must ﬁll a number of vital vacancies neglected by scientists. inevitably stigmatises traditional ontological commitments rooted in idealism and positivism. among other things. starts by substituting ‘an open-ended becoming based on individual and universal singularities’ for the ‘static and closed’ categories associated with the classiﬁcation system of general essence and particular instance (40). which Deleuze himself promoted in texts such as A Thousand Plateaus (Deleuze and Guattari 1987) and Spinoza: Practical Philosophy (Deleuze 1998). Sufﬁce it to say. the collection enacts Manuel DeLanda and Roland Bogue’s ideas on ecosystems: it is extremely complex and demands that one be knowledgeable in (or at least willing to engage with) a cacophony of disparate ﬁelds. What is ultimately at stake here. DeLanda’s essay affords a substantial. every bit as real as large animals and plants’ and ‘grant reality full autonomy from the human mind’. but such ontology must avoid the naïve essentialism that has previously turned intellectuals against realism (24). following modern evolution theory. hardearned conﬁdence boost to those who have posited or hypothesised an intuitive signiﬁcance to unconventional ecological phenomena in spite of the intellectual haziness that. many of whom are overspecialised positivists concerned only with ‘directly observable entities’ and with predicting or controlling the phenomena in question (23). This Deleuzeinspired ‘reconstruction’ of realism. we can properly understand the immense complexity involved with ecosystems. A more nuanced grasp of this proposition would require ventures into DeLanda’s lengthy interpretations of Deleuze’s use of the terms ‘intensive’ and ‘virtual’. . according to DeLanda. He contends that our understanding of ecological processes must treat ‘entities like hydrogen atoms or electrons . in terms of its impact on ecological thought. autopoietic becomings and transversal encounters between authors whose diverse foci produce many innovative connections between Deleuze and Guattari. science and art.146 Reviews
readings. environmentalism and ecology. In this way.
and affective capacities of a body’. Important to her argument is Guattari’s assertion that machines. the powers of the mind that elude consciousness’ (Deleuze 1998: 18). although environmentalists would likely overlook it. the cinema presents a challenge to thinking. in contrast to structures. Beyond the taxonomy of form and content. Scholars of literary and cultural studies who work on globalisation issues will undoubtedly ﬁnd value in the Guattari-oriented essays
. If. often Deleuzian perspective.Reviews
By situating Deleuze and Guattari’s ideas about the mechanosphere with reference to recent technological advancements. not only is sensory-motor perception extended. adding on a new gradient of feeling in the thinkingﬂesh’ (192). are self-organising processes and should therefore be regarded as a prerequisite for technology rather than its subset or expression (Guattari 1995: 33). whose theory of electracy addresses the implications of digital media from a poststructuralist. constitutes a difﬁcult expedition into the ‘more vague yet more real’ ecological phenomena that become accessible when we think beyond standard categories and subsets. then Parisi’s analysis of digital media architecture drives towards a related insight: bionic technologies evoke emergent nexuses between ‘organic and inorganic milieus of information sensing’ that ‘engender an extended proprioceptive sensation whereby movement or spatiotemporal orientations have become ecological’ (193). ‘Technoecologies of Sensation’. as proposed by DeLanda earlier in the collection. (It is helpful to read DeLanda and Parisi together. Scholars with a broader interest in this line of inquiry should consult the work of Gregory Ulmer. the Guattari of Chaosmosis (1995) (especially the chapters ‘Machinic Heterogeneities’ and ‘Schizoanalytic Metamodelisation’). cognitive. as Deleuze insisted. in a parallel fashion. for example. Working from the premise that ‘changes in technical machines are inseparable from changes in the material. Parisi conceives of new media technologies as ‘technoecologies of sensation’ that usher in domains of sensation marked by an unprecedented contact with virtual forces. Luciana Parisi’s ‘Technoecologies of Sensation’ helps us cope with and unpack the dense writing found in.) Both authors write in the spirit of Deleuze in Spinoza: Practical Philosophy. but technologies such as biochips become linked to what Parisi calls ‘symbiosensation: the felt experience of a nonsensuous relatedness between organic and inorganic matter. Thus. Parisi sets out to examine how the ‘bionic tendencies of new media technologies’ leads to changes in sensation or modes of feeling (182). building on his preference for thought over consciousness in a quest to ‘acquire knowledge of the power of the body in order to discover.
in addition to critiquing capitalist subjectivity. the essay takes on new life as it moves to examine the potential for ‘afﬁrmative creative resistance’ that builds as advances with the internet provide more and more people a venue to publicise cultural work (123). Maskit essentially calls for what Guattari terms a ‘value-system revolution’. Maskit’s discussion of the problem of consumption penetrates right to the core of integrated world capitalism.148 Reviews
by Jonathan Maskit and Verena Adermatt Colony. we fail to generate the transversal tools necessary to facilitate such a rethinking (140). rationalist approach would like to admit. For Maskit. if we are to truly ‘move in the direction of co-management in the production of subjectivity’ (Guattari 1995: 12). then Conley’s piece asserts ‘the importance of singular and collective enunciation as a performance’ integral to processes of resingularisation (124). Maskit is then right to qualify contemporary ecological concerns as opportunities for ‘a rethinking of what it means to be human’. and Maskit admirably complicates the issue beyond the reductive work in environmental philosophy that he criticises. Guattari would not be satisﬁed by the current omnipresence of ‘green’ lists prescribing to readers how they should live and what they should or should not buy in order to be eco-friendly. in the end. There is much more to our desire for commodities than a sterile. Rather than attempting to control consumer desire and waste in a moralising fashion. Guattari’s later writings on the shift from mass-media culture to what he calls a post-media age seem especially relevant here. After Conley spends much of the ﬁrst half paraphrasing and elaborating on passages from The Three Ecologies. acts of creativity (including ‘new forms of militantism’) are
. If we accept Maskit’s proposition to rethink subjectivity in the light of environmental crisis. whereby a (processual) resingularising subjectivity generates new values that make an ecological mode of living achievable by afﬁrmation (as opposed to negation and lack). In other words. globalisation or integrated world capitalism names a nightmare of homogeneity in which mass-media circulate a dominant subjectivity that ‘produce[s] desires and pleasures that are concordant with the products and services that can be provided through the marketplace’ (138). but this realisation will be of little consequence if. Although the recommended practices listed in the conclusion of Maskit’s essay would have beneﬁted from engagements with Deleuze and/or Guattari beyond just The Three Ecologies (2008). Maskit lays the groundwork for others to pick up where he leaves off by using their philosophy for the reshaping of subjectivity. Conley’s essay ‘Artists or “Little Soldiers?” Felix Guattari’s Ecological Paradigms’ has much to say in relation to Maskit’s.
ﬂowers. Furthermore. Herzogenrath’s essay searches for relations between nature and music that extend beyond representation. rather than the routine ecocritical study of how nature is depicted in selected works. Genosko successfully emphasises the ‘esthetic dimension of eco-praxis’ and shows how ‘ecosophic activism “resembles” the work of artists’ (110). Halsey. This move seems very pertinent given Deleuze’s claim in the late 1980s that he and Guattari wanted to write a (last) book on their philosophy of Nature. Abrioux. Heterogeneous exploration of the refrains of subjectivity. which traverse an impressive blend of ethological and aesthetic objects. These ﬁve essays. Thus. Adams). Herzogenrath boldly asks: can weather itself be music. paramount to Deleuze and Guattari. wherein Protevi performs an astonishing amount of historical research to tease out an urgent ‘political lesson’ about government and solidarity (180). art should always be of interest to those concerned with ecological or environmental problems – including creative works that do not explicitly valorise trees. that the ‘non-human pre-personal part of subjectivity is crucial since it is from this that its heterogenesis can develop’ (Guattari 1995). Essays by Roland Bogue and Hanjo Berressem shift the focus away from Guattari’s explicit ecosophy and redirect our attention to ecological leanings of the collaborative works. as does John Protevi in a brilliant and far-reaching essay on Hurricane Katrina. What alternatives can we turn when surrounded by that all too human face of the integrated world capitalism denounced here? Essays by Herzogenrath. Herzogenrath’s originality is the most poignant. the whole world becomes music’ (228). Cage. Conley does a remarkable job of constructing an exciting dialogue between poststructuralist theory and current events. prairie dogs and so on. the conditions of its production.Reviews
central to the nascent subjectivity that Guattari prioritises at the end of The Three Ecologies (126). Fuller and Zepke each speak to the belief. While each of the authors mentioned above contribute innovative readings of ‘off-beat’ genres (‘Intensive Landscaping’ and ‘Art for Animals’ are prime examples). namely both volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia. According to Genosko’s extensive treatment of Guattari’s later texts. Herzogenrath puts us in an excellent position to appreciate the full signiﬁcance of John Luther Adams’s claim: ‘As we listen carefully to noise. via a surprising mix of Deleuze and Thoreau. is what conjugates the arts with a generalised ecology. Bogue’s essay ‘A Thousand Ecologies’
. are perhaps best read in the context of Gary Genosko’s essay on subjectivity and art. and can music itself be meteorological? Through a comparative analysis of three composers (Ives.
If it becomes a stream. trans. John Tinnell University of Florida DOI: 10. Brian Massumi. ‘especially given their opposition to any deﬁnitive separation of the social. trans. induce pandemics. but less so to ecologists who have never read Deleuze and/or Guattari (although the book could function as an inspiring point of departure to guide such readers). Maskit writes. ultimately showcasing the inﬂuence of Deleuze’s ‘radical philosophy’ on Guattari’s ‘radical ecology’ (57). perhaps. Robert Hurley. autopoiesis and structural coupling) Deleuze adapted from systems theory and second-order cybernetics. are signalling an ecological turn that.3366/E1750224110000905
Deleuze. in the pivotal moment of Bogue’s essay (arguably the book’s most important moment). expect Herzogenrath’s collection to be cited many times along the way.g.150 Reviews
seeks to discern what this (eco)philosophy might have looked like. the question of philosophy’s readiness to help us through ecological crisis doubles back on itself: what does philosophy stand to lose in an era of environmental degradation and endangered species? Bogue’s answer is subtle. international interest that now more than ever surrounds questions of environment and ecology. and technological world of humans from the non human world’ (50). With the growing. cultural. Of this recent publication trend. Finally. Gilles (1998) Spinoza: Practical Philosophy. both established Deleuze and/or Guattari scholars. and chilling:
Modes of existence that destroy habitats. ‘there has been a slow trickle that is. and younger ones ﬁrst encountering their work. or foster pathogenic disequilibrium inhibit a creative exploration of the possibilities of bodies and decrease the options for a reconﬁguration of humans and the earth. was all but absent from studies of these two landmark thinkers. both essays prove that Deleuze and Guattari’s thought is quite applicable and enriching to ecological discourse. The fewer the life forms available for becoming-other. San Francisco: City Lights. (54)
It should be noted that the sheer breadth of concepts mobilised in this collection renders it useful to a wide range of Deleuze scholars. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Deleuze.
. ready to become a stream’ (131). Indeed. while Berressem stages an epic interrogation of key concepts (e. the fewer the trajectories available for creative transformation. distinctive. ten years ago. Gilles and Félix Guattari (1987) A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.
Guattari. Phillips. Félix (2008) The Three Ecologies.
. Ian Pindar and Paul Sutton. Culture. Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Literature in America. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. trans. trans. Félix (1995) Chaosmosis. Dana (2003) The Truth of Ecology: Nature. London: Athlone.