Thou and Plateau

Gilles Deleuze and Felix


Philosopher Gilles Deleuze's book on Nietzsche, Nietzsche and Philosophy (1961), helped inaugurate the interest in Nietzsche'§ work that would culminate later in the decade in the emergence of Post-Structuralism. Other books by Oeleuze, such as The loge of Meaning (1969), explored the underside of Structuralism, the realm of nonsense that sustained the order-making rules of language. His collaboration with Felix Guattan resulted in two important Post-Structuralist books - The Anti-Oedipus (1912), a critique of Freudian psychoanalysis, and A Thousand Plateaus: (alita/ism and Schizophrenia (1980) - an ambitious model of history and of the world. Oeleuze and Guattarl in that latter work describe a conflict between two modes of sodal organization that coincide with two models of reality. One is arboresque and favors order and hierarchy. The other is rhizomatic and favors an undoing of all such orders and hierarchies. A rhizome is the root of a plant that travels laterally underground and proliferates unpredictably. History, the writers argue. alternates between moments of fixrty and power that they called "territorialization" and moments of "deterritorialization" or undoing, when fixed orders fall apart and are transformed.

he two IIr us wrote .'lillI-Oed,pus together. Since each of Uf. \\ s "n:r-JI, there \\:I!> already quite :1 crowd. Here we: hal' made usc of t:\ eryrhing that c. me within range, what was c1uSeSI as "ell i.l.~ tanhcst 3\\' ~. W' have ssigned clever pseudonyms tu prevent recognition. \\'hy h8\'1: we kept our own names? OUI of habit, purdy nut of habit. To malt our: IVel unrecognizable in rum. To render imperceptible, nul ourselves, but \\'h31 make. us aero feci. and chin!... IS(I bee usc ii's nice ICJ talk like everybody else, to say the sun rises, when '\'crybody knows ir's only II manner 0 speaking, To reach, nOI the point where one no longer says J, bUI the point where it i no longer of any importance whether one says L \Vc arc nn longer ourselves. E:1I:h will knu\\ hi' IIwn. W have been aided, inspired, multiplied.

book has neither object nor subject: il i made of \ ariously nrrned matters, and very different date' and speeds. To arrribut the book to II subject i. 10 overlook this working of matters, and the exterioriry of their relations. It i In fabricate a h meficent God ro expl: in g 'ological movements. In a book, :u-. in ull thing!., there art' linn. or articulation or scgm cnrariry, strata and rerrirorjes; bUI alsu linl!S () night, movemerits of dctcrrirorialization nd destrarificatiun. . mparativc nUL'S () now on th ·t· line' produce phenomena of relative lowness and vi .eosiry, or on ihc con rary, of acceleration nd rupture, AJI this, lines and measurable spe -ds, con titutcs an ossemblage. boo], is an assemblage of rhi kind, ami as such is unarrributahle. It is a multiplicity - bUI we don't know yet what h multiple entails when iI i. no longer attributed th t is, after it has been elevated ttl rbe status of a . uh taruive, One ide of

A Thousand Plateaus


a machinic assemblage faces the strata, which doubtless make it a kind of organism, or signifying totality, or determination attributable to a subject; it also has a side facing a body without organs (BwOl, which is continually dismantling the organism, causing asignifying particles or pure. intensities to pass or circulate and attributing to itself subjects that it leaves with nothing more than a name as the trace of an intensity. What is the body without organs of a book? There are several, depending on the nature of the lines considered, their particular grade or density. and the possibility of their converging on a "plane of consistency" assuring their selection; Here, as elsewhere, the units of measure are what is essential: quantify writing. There is no difference between what a book talks about and how it is made .. Therefore a book also has no object. As an assemblage, a book has only itself, in connection with other assemblages and in relation to other bodies without organs. We will never ask what a book means, as signified or signifier, we will not look for anything to understand in it. We will ask what it Junctions with, in connection with what other things it does or does not transmit intensities, in which other multiplicities its own are inserted and metamorphosed, and with what bodies without organs it makes its own converge. A book exists only through the outside and on the outside. A book itself is a little machine; what is the relation (also measurable) of this literary machine to a war machine, love machine, revolutionary machine, etc. - and an abstract machine that sweeps them along? We have been criticized for overquoting literary authors. But when one writes, the only question is which other machine the literary machine can be plugged into, must be plugged into in order to work. Kleist and a mad war machine, Kafka and a most extraordinary bureaucratic machine . .. (What if one became animal or plant th,ough literature, which certainly does not mean • literarily? Is it not first through the voice that one becomes animal?) Literature is an assemblage. It has nothing to do with ideology. There is no ideology and never has been.

All we talk about are multiplicities, lines, strata and segmentarities, lines of flight and intensities, machinic assemblages and their various types". bodies without organs and their construction .. and selection, the plane of consistency, and in each case the units of measure. Stretometei», deleometen, BwO unirs of density B1110 units of convergenre: Not only do. these constitute a quantification of. writing, but they define writing as always the measure of something else. Writing has nothing to do with signifying. It has to do with surveying, mapping; even realms that are yet to come.

A first type of book is the, root-book. The tree is already the image of the world, or the root the image of the world-tree. This is the classical book, as noble, signifying, and subjective organic interiority (the strata of the book). The book imitates the world, as art imitates nature: by procedures specific to it that accomplish what nature cannot or can no longer do. The law of the book is the law of reflection, the One that becomes two. How could the law of the book reside in nature, when it is what presides over the very division between world and book, nature and art? One that becomes two: whenever we encounter this formula, even stated strategically by Mao or understood in the most "dialectical" way possible, what we have before us is the most classical and well reflected, oldest, and weariest kind of thought. Nature doesn't work that way: in nature, roots are taproots with a more multiple, lateral, and circular system of ramification, rather than a dichotomous one ....

The radicle-system, or fascicular root, is the second figure of the book, to which our modernity pays willing allegiance. This time, the principal root has aborted, or

Post-struit lira ltsni. /)CUIIlSlnlCIIIII1. l'ost-modrmism

its tip has been destroyed; an immediate, indefinite multiplicity of sccondarv roots grafrs onto it and undergoes a flourishing development. This time, natural rcalit v is what aborts the principal root, but the root's unity subsists, as past or vet 10 come, as possible. We must ask if reflexive, intellectual reality docs not compensate for this state of things hy demanding an even more comprehensive secret unity, or a more extensive totality. Take William Burroughs's cut-up method: the folding of one text onto another, which constitutes multiple and even adventitious roots (like a cutting). implies a supplementary dimension to that of the texts under consideration. In this supplementary dimension of folding, unity continues its intellectual labor. That is why the most resolutely fragmented work can also he presented as the Total Work Of Magnum Opus. Most modern methods for making series proliferate or a mulriplicit y !!row arc perfectly valid in one direction, for example, a linear direction, whereas a unitv of totalization asserts itself even more firrnlv in another, circular or cyclic. dimension. Whenever a multiplicity is taken up in a structure, its growth is offset by a reduction in its laws of combination. The abortionists of unirv arc indeed angel makers, doctores angelici, because thcv affirm a properly angelic and superior unity. Joyce's words, accurately described as having "multiple roots," shatter the linear unity of the word, even of language, only to posit a cyclic unity of the sentence, text. or knowledge. Nietzsche's aphorisms shatter the linear unity of knowledge, only to invoke the cyclic unity of the eternal return, present as the nonknown in thought. This is as much as to say that the fascicular system docs not rcallv break with dualism, with the complemeruarirv between a subject and an object, a natural rcalir, and a mental rcalitv: unity is consistently thwarted and obstructed in the object. while a new type of unity triumphs in the subject. The world has lost its pivot; the subject can no longer even dichotomize, but accedes to a higher unity, of ambivalence or ovcrdetcrrnination, in an always supplementary dimension to that of its object. The world has become chaos, but the book remains the image of the world: radiclc-chaosmos rather than root-cosmos. A strange mystification: a book all the more total for being fragmented. At any rate, what a vapid idea, the book as the image of the world. In truth. it is not enough to say, "Lorur Ii\C the multiple," difficult as it is 10 raise that crv. No typographical. lexical, or even syntactical cleverness is enough to make it heard. The multiple must he made, ... A system of this kind could be called a rhizome. A. rhizome as subterranean stem is absolutelv different from roots and radiclcs, Bulbs and tubers arc rhizomes. Plants with roots or radicles may be rhizomorphic in other respects altogether: the question is whether plant life in its specificity is not entirely rhizomatic. h'en some animals are, in their pack form. Rats are rhizomes. Burrows arc too, in all of their functions of shelter. supply, movement, evasion, and breakout. The rhizome itself assumes very diverse forms, from ramified surface extension in all directions to concretion into bulbs and tubers. When rats swarm over each other. The rhizome includes the best and the worst: potato and couchgrass, or the weed. Animal and plant, couch grass is crabgrass, \\e get the distinct feeling that we will convince no one unless we enumerate certain approximate characteristics of the rhizome.

I and 2 Principles of connection and heterogeneity: any point of a rhizome can be connected to anything other, and must be. This is very different from the tree or root, which plots a point, fixes an order. The linguistic tree on the Chomskv model still hegins at a point S and proceeds by dichotomy. On the contrary, not every trait in a rhizome is necessarily linked to a linguistic feature: semiotic chains of every

A Thousand Plateaus


nature are connected to very diverse modes of coding (biological, political, economic, etc.) that bring into play not only different regimes of signs but also states of things of differing status. Collective assemblages of enunciation function directly within machinic assemblages; it is not impossible to make a radical break between regimes of signs and their objects. Even when linguistics claims to confine itself to what is explicit and to make no presuppositions about language, it is still in the sphere of a discourse implying particular modes of assemblage and types of social power. Chomsky's gramrnaticaliry, the categorical S symbol that dominates every sentence, is more fundamentally a marker of power than a syntactic marker: you will construct grammatically correct sentences, you will divide each statement into a noun phrase and a verb phrase (first dichotomy. s , ). Our criticism of these linguistic models is not that they are too abstract but, on the contrary, that they are not abstract enough, that they do not reach the abstract machine that- connects a language to the semantic and pragmatic contents of statements, to collective assemblages of enunciation, to a whole micropolitics of the social field, A rhizome. ceaselessly establishes connections between semiotic. chains, organizations of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sciences, and social struggles. A semiotic chain is like a tuber agglomerating very diverse acts, not only linguistic, but also. perceptive, mimetic, gestural, and cognitive: there is no language in itself, nor are there any linguistic universals, only a throng of dialects, patois. slangs, and specialized languages; There is no ideal speaker-listener" any more than there is a homogeneous linguistic community. Language is,' in Weinreich's words, "an essentially heterogeneous- reality."! Therejs no mother tongue, only a power takeover by a dominant language within a political multiplicity. Language stabilizes around a parish; a bishopric, a capital. It forms a bulb. It evolves by subterranean stems and flows, along river valleys or train tracks; it spreads like a patch ofoil.2 It is always possible, to break a language down into internal structural elements, an undertaking not fundamentally different from a search for roots. There is always something genealogical about a tree. It is nota method for the people. A method of the rhizome type, on the contrary, can, analyze language only by decentering it onto other dimensions' and other registers. A language is never closed upon itself, except as a function of impotence.

3 Principle of multiplicity. it is only when the multiple is effectively treated as a substantive, "multiplicity," that it ceases to have any relation to the One as subject or object, natural or spiritual reality, image and world. Multiplicities are rhizomatic, and expose arborescent pseudomultiplicities for what they are. There is no unity to serve as a pivot in the object or to divide in the subject. There is not even the unity to abort in the object or "return" in the subject. A multiplicity has neither subject nor object, only determinations, magnitudes, and dimensions that cannot increase in number without the multiplicity changing in nature (the laws of combination therefore increase in number as the multiplicity grows). Puppet strings, as a rhizome or multiplicity, are tied not to the supposed will of an artist or puppeteer but to a multiplicity of nerve' fibers, which form another puppet in· other dimensions connected to the first: "Call the strings or rods that move the puppet the weave. It might be objected that its multiplicity resides in the person of the actor; who projects it into the text. Granted; but the actor's nerve fibers in turn form a weave. And they fall through the gray matter, the grid, into the undifferentiated ... The interlay approximates the pure activity of weavers attributed in myth to the Fates or Noms.,,3 An assemblage is precisely this increase in the dimensions of a multiplicity that

/'osl-SII"I!'I II ra lIS 111, D!'(.flmlrJ/tlll1f1, P"~I-w"drI'llISIll

ncecssarily changes in nature :lsi, c-.:rl:1nd~ i.,\ connections. There tin: nil points or po!.iliuns in a rhi)l.omt'., such as tlmsl.' found in asrructuru, tree, or root, Then: :lTI: only lin ·S. When Glenn (iuuld leads up Inc pcr(nnnam'c uf (I piece. he i'i nUl illS' displaying \'irlUHsil~, he it. Iransforminltlhl' musieal points inw lines. hl~ i~ m: Lin!!" thc v hull.' piCl'l' prnlifemu:. The numoer is l1ulon):.'·cr .3 universal concept rneasurin)! elements al.:t:urtlin~ w their emplacement in a !:\,i\'t~n dimen~ion, hut ha. its{'lr become a multiplicit) 1.11:11 \arics alCt,nTdin!!: mthc dimensions cunsitlercdlhc primacy ofthe dnmain over a complex uf numher« anachcd In rhai domain. \.\" du nut have unitv (1fI",,.f) of measu re, f!llly mull i rlicilics or varier ic'~ of mea.surcml'n I, 'rhe nnl inn of unity tumid appears onl~ .... hen then: is ::t p!l\\er .Iukl'l!\ er in the multiplicil~ by the sil-.'niIicr or a cHrt'cspundinp: suhic('lilicalion prucc"dinp:: This is the I.":ISC lur 3' pivotun i I \ furminl! I he ha .. is I'm a set III hiun ivocal rchu i(lu~hips b,t ween obiecri H~ ar~rurnenrs nr points, or for the One rhat divides fuliu w inl! [he law of<\. binary ofdiflercnd:ltion in the subject. nil~ always opcnlles in an em!,' ~ tensinn supplementary tn Ihal of the sY'itl'nlt'!msidcrcd (u\'crcnll.inp:). The puintis Ih31. a rhil'.om~' or multiplidl ~ 1'I1'\"('r "llu"'s i 1 s 'If HI be 11\ ereodcd, never has .3.\·ailahk a supr)ll'menlar~ d imcn .... sinn over and above its number III' linev, I.h:.ll is, over and aome the muhipliciB III numhers all achcdtot hose lines. ,1\ II mull iplid I iesare flal, in till' sense 'ha I they Ii 11 or o(,)cup~ .al.1 of their dimen ... ions: \\C' will rherclore spcaL of a, ,,/'111" I~r ('ollm/l'lIl;J' III' muh ipl idl ies., e\'enl.huugh the dimensions of I his"" increase wil h rhe n umber 01 cunncctinns lhal arc made nn 11. 1\luhiplicilie~ are defined by the uUI.side: by rhc absrraet Iinc, the lim' uf Ilip:hl or dClt·rtilllri .. lizannn according II! which Ihe, chanp:c in 0;11 urc and cnnnecr w i Iii UI her 111U 11 illlici1:il"S. Tnt' plane nf cunsisl ency (I!rid 1 is 1. he (luls:idc of a.1I muhiplicilic ... The line 1)1' Oi[!hl marh: Ihcrl~ a lil~ ·Uf;l Iinirc number of dimensions rharrhe muhiplkil~ effecrivcly fillsiehe impussihility of asurplC'mcnlar~ dimension. unless the muhiplicil~ is lran~furmcd hy tbc line flf nip:hl;lh,' pussihilil~ and n 'ce. .. siry of l1:mcninl! all uf Ihefl1uliiplidlies on tl single plane 01 enn~islcn{" or cxrcrioritt, re~.lrdl·l>. ... of rheir number IIf dimensions. The ideal fur a honk wuuld be 10 I:J~ c\'t'rYlhinp: nut on :1 plane of e)(terimity uf thi!> I.ind. ona single pap:e,. the same sheer: lived evcnt1o, hisl nrical delcmlinat ions, concepts. indi\~icl uals, groups. sucial

ermarions, Kleist in\ cnll::u Q. wrilinp: or thisl)'pe, a bruken chain of anct:b and \ ariablcspceds, wit h ueeeleru 1 iun~ and I rans foonal inns. alwa) sin a rdlil. inn with the outside. 0P1.'11 rinl:P" I H. texis, therefore, arc appu cd ine\'ery way to rhc classical or rnman.lic bou\. eonsti 101.'00 hy Ihe int crillril ~ of ;1. substance or suh ].1.·cl,'rhe war Ill:lehinc-houk :1!,!3ima the Stal!.' :l.ppar:nus-Imuk, FIliI /lwlllp1i(l/"'s III" 1.7 rI",/elmllll.( aTC :.I~i~niryin~and asubjeerive. The, arc designated h~ indefinite art ides, nr rather \ly p"lrlilit-s(smnt' eouchgrass, som« nf a rhiy,nOll', , , ).

4 Jlritll.:irll' of asignifring rupture: a!f<lin~t the o\'C'rsi~ifying hrl'aL~ separaling

structures or CUllin!! across II single struct ure, A rhi~'llmc rna) be broken, shanered at a t.rj \ en spill, hut il will St:!TI upagain on fine uf iL s old lin l'S , nr 011 nC~1 lines, rill! can never ~el rid IIf ann. becausethe) form an animal rhizome that can rebound time and :Ip:'.lin after mnst uf i I has been dl>strflyctLI'\ cr~ I'hi:mmeenntain.lines of SCf..'1Tu.:nmrily aceording 10 which iI i, stratificcl. rerritorializcd, organized, <;i[.,'T1ilicu, arrributcd, ere, as well .31. lines of delerdlmiali7.ation down which ilCOn~(antly flees. There il- a.fuplurc in the rhi7,umc whenever segmcnrarv lines c)irlulic into ~I line of lliJthl, but th ' line nf Ilii!hl is pari of the rhi;mme, These lines alwaysric hack In one another, Thai is why one can nC\OCT posit a dualism or a dkhOlo"'l~ ,e\'cn in (be rudimentary form of rhcgond anti the bad, You may make a rupture, draw .01 line of

I 7'llfllmmd Plateuu:


nigh r, ~ C( I herc is 'il i II :I dancer I hal ~ uu \ ill rcencoun IeI' organ iz' I ions Lh:H resl rnri I) everything; limnatinn' I hat re uore power m :1 signifier, :mribUliull that reconstitute !I ruhicct anything you like, rum Oedipal re 'urgem:c III ras(.;sr concretions. Uruups and indiv iduals contain ruicrofascisms just waitin r 10 crystallize. Yes, couchJ,.'1':ISS is .lIsu rhizome. (iullcl and bad arc only the prudw';Is of an .K ... ivc and rem poral'~ sel ·clion. \\ hi 'h must b' rencv ed.

l Iow could mil' ernents of deierruoriali« rion and prm:cs!>l:. of r 'I erriiori lizarion not be relative, alwaj ~ connected, call rht up in one anotheri' Th orchid dererrirorlaliz ·s by Ihrmin • an image. a rra 'ing of a \Va.<;p; bur (he wasp rererritorializes un that ima!J;c. The wnsp js ne\ ertheless dcrerri I urial,izcd , h 'coming: ;J piece in the orchid's reprod uct i e a ppa ratus. Hu I i I rctcrr] toria I izes the orchid b. transport i ng its poll '0 . ,\ .1Sp and orchid, :1S heterogeneous clements, form a rhizome. I r could he said t h:1I the "rehid imitates rhe \\,:1.'1'. reproducing its image in u signi ying lashiun (mim ':;i , mimicry, lure, eic.). BUI this i. true nl. 1m h· level or the rtrnra Q parallelism hcr ween L W(J SI • ta such that 3 plant organization on on . imitates an anim J organizelion onthe other, At the same lime, something else entirely is ~in~ on: not irnit rion .n all hUI a capture of code, rurplus \ alue uf code, an incree .. e in valence, • vcrir blc he 'mning, a hecorning-» dip of the orchid and :1 ll\:clJming:-orchid of' [he wasp. Each Ill' [hL'SC becornings brings about the dercrrituriulizariun !If nne term anti the reterri- 111rin I ii'''::u inn nft he III her: I he 1\\'11 bccllminl;."S int cr lin'k and formreln ys in circulurien Ill' intell!>ilies pushing rhc deterrirorialixatiun ever limiter. There is neither irnirution lll1r re icmhlance, only an exploding of 1\\ u hetcregcneuus series lin rhc line ur !light I.;lJmpu 'cu h ... eommun rhiznrn ' Ih:)1 can no longer be rrribured ru or subjugated hy :lI1ythin~ signif~ in!!, , .. Trnnsven al comrnunicarinns between liil crent lines "'rJmhl' the genc:dogical trees, ;\Iway' lemk the rnulecular, or even suhmolecul r, particle with II hich we arc allied. \'e evolve and die more from our polymorphous and rhizornaric nus than from hereditary disease • or disc ,'C5 dUJ( have [heir own line uf descent. The rhizome is an amigenealogy.

The same applies to rhe buok and the wnrld: contrary III deeply runted belief, rhe hook 1.'1 11111 un image uf the world, It flJrms 'J rhizome \~jlb the world, rhere is :111 upnrallel evolution nfrhc hunk and the world; the buuk assures the dcrcrrimrializaticn of rhe wnrhl, hUI the world I.'n'cct. :1 rererritorializatiun or the bouk, which in turn dcterriturializes itself in the wCJrIJ (if ir is capable, i it ·:m) . .\Iimesi. is a \'ery had COil .epr, since it relic .. on binary logic to Jell rib' phenomena ur:1I1 entircl~ differenr nature. The crocodile docs nul reproduce a tree trunk, any more than the chameleon r 'prmju 'I.'S the colors of its surruundines. The Pink Panther imitates nothing, it reproduces nothing, it pints the worhl it color, pink m pill ; this i. irs becomingworld, carried (JUI in such J way thar it becomes iruperceprible ilSdf. asignifying makes its rupture, irs OW11 line uf lIi~ht, follows its "nparallel evolurion' rhrnugh to the end, The wjsdcm uf rhe plants: even when they have rOUIS, there is: .lwaJ~ an nu ide where Ihey lilrm rhizome with sernerhing else with the wind, an animal, human h -ings (:Inu there i. 3~'() an asp 'C[ under which animals themsel es form rhizome ..... as do people, etc.) ... Drunkenness as II rriumphuru irruption I)f ihc planr in us," l\hHI)S follnw rhe rhizome by rupture; lengthen, prolong, and relay the line of [light; make it vary, unul ~IIU have produced the most ub 1(;11.'1 and tortuous of Jines ur II dirncnsions and broken dire xions. Coniugatc dercrritorializcd flows, Follow the ph Ill. .- ~ou start by delimiting a first lint: consist ing' Ill' circles of convergence around .. uecessivc singularities; then you ·cc whether in ide I'hal line new circle of conver-

gence establish themselves, with 1ll'11 points loetted outside the limits and in other directions. \\ritl', form a rhiznrnc, increase vour territory bv dctcrruorializat ion. extend the line of l1ight to the point where it becomes all abstract machine covering the entire plane of consisicncv. "(io first to your old plant and w.uch careful" the watercourse made hv the rain. III now the rain must have carriccl the secds far awav Watch the crevices made In the runoff, and from them determine the direction of the 11011. Then find the plant that is growing at the farthest point from lour plant. :\11 the del ii's weed plants that are growmg in hct wccn are lours. Later ... \Oll can extend the size of lour tcrriror v 1)\ following till' watercourse from each point along the \I;tl."" \\usic has always sent out lines of flight, like so many "rransformnt ional multiplicities," even overturning t hc len codes that structure or arhorif. it; that is whv musical Iorrn, right clown to its ruptures and proliferations, is cornp.rrahlc to a weed, a rhizomc.'

In contrast to centered (even polyccnrric) svstcm-. with hierarchical modes of communication and prccstahlishcd paths, the rhizome is an accntcrcd , nonlucrarchical, nonsignifnllg svsrcm without a (Jenera I and without an organizing mcmorv or ccntr.rl automaton, defined solely III a circulation of states. \\'hat is at question in the rhizome is a relation to scxuaht v hut also to the animal, t hc \'q~etal, thc world, politics, the hook, things natural and artificial that is total" dillcrcn: from the arborescent relation: all manner of "bccomings."

A plateau is always in the middle, not at the beginning or the end, .\ rhizome is made of plateaus. Gregor', Bateson uses the word "plarcau" to designate sOlllcl hing \'IT\ special: a continuous, self-vibrating region of intensities whose development avoids a11\ orientation toward a culmination point or external end. Bateson cites Balinese culture as an example: mother child sexual garnes, and even quarrels among men, undergo this bizarre intensive stabilizat iun. "Some sort of continuing plateau of

inrcnsit v is subst irurcd fill' [ ] climax,, or a culmination point. [t is a n:~n:t uhk charactenstlC of the \\("StLTll mind to reblc ex press Ions and act ions to exterior or transcendent ends, instead of cvalu.u irur them on J plane of consIstency on the basis of their intrinsic \aIUl·."" For example, a hook composed of chapter» has culmination and termination points. \\hat takes plJce in a hook composed instead of plateaus rh.u communicate w it h one another aLTOSS mir-rofissurcs. as in a brain; \\e call a "plateau" a11\ rnuh iplici: \ connected to other muh iplicit ies hv superficial underground stems in such a \lal ~IS to torm or extend a rhizome. \\c arc writing

this hook as a rhizome. It is composed of plateaus, \\\: han' gl\l'n it a circular lorrn,

hut only for laughs. Each morning Ill' would wake up, and each of us wuulc] ask

himself what plateau he "as going to tadle, writing file lines here, tell there. \\e

had hallucinaton experiences, \1 c watched lines leave one plateau and proceed 10

another like columns of t inv ants. \\e made circles of convergence. Each plateau can

be read starting anvwhcrc and can be related to anx other plateau. To attain the

multiple, one III list have a method that cffcctivclv constructs it ; no tvpographical ;~


Pos t-st m If /I,." ;'s III , I kI'll nst I'll (I ion, PIIS t-rnad crnisn,

cleverness, no lexical agility, JlO blending or crc.uion of words, no svntacucal boldness, can substitute lor it. In CICt, these arc more often than not rncrclv mimetic procedures used to disseminate or disperse ~l unity that is retained ill a different dimension for an image-book. Technonarcissism. Tvpographical. lexical, or syntactic creations arc necessary onlv when rhcv no longer belong 10 the Iorm of expression of a hidden unitv, becoming themselves dimens_ions of the multiplicity under consideration; we onlv know of rare successes in this.' \\e ourselves II ere unable to do it, \\-e

;" .if

::Ma a



.·1 Thousand Plateaus


just used words that in turn function for us as plateaus. RHIZOMATICS = SCHIZOANALYSIS = STRATOANALYSIS = PRAGMATICS = MICROPOLITICS. These words are concepts, hut concepts are lines, which is to say, number systems attached to a particular dimension of the multiplicities (strata, molecular chains, lines of flight or rupture, circles of convergence, etc.). Nowhere do we claim for our concepts the title of a science. We are no more familiar with scientificity than we are with ideology; all we know are assemblages. And the only assemhlages are machinic assemblages of desire and collective assemblages of enunciation. No signifiance, no suhjectification: writing to the nth power (all individuated enunciation remains trapped within the dominant significations, all signifying desire is associated with dominated subjects). An assemblage, in its multiplicity, necessarily acts on semiotic flows, material flows, and social 110ws simultaneously (independently of any recapitulation that may be made of it in a scientific or theoretical corpus). There is no longer a tripartite division between a field of reality (the world) and a field of representation (the book) and a field of subjectivity (the author). Rather, an assemblage establishes connections between certain multiplicities drawn from each of these orders, so that a book has no sequel nor the world as its object nor one or several authors as its subject. In short, we think that one cannot write sufficiently in the name of an outside. The outside has no image, no signification, no subjectivity. The book as assemblage with the outside, against the book as image of the world. A rhizome-hook, not a dichotomous, pivotal, or fascicular book. Never send down roots, or plant them, however difficult it may be to avoid reverting to the old procedures. "Those things which occur to me, occur to me not from the root up hut rather only from somewhere about their middle. Let someone then attempt to seize them, let someone attempt to seize a blade of grass and hold fast to it when it begins to grow only from the middle."s Why is this so difficult? The question is directly one of perceptual semiotics. It's not easy to see things in the middle, rather than looking down on them from above or up at them from below, or from left to right or right to left: try it, you'll see that everything changes. It's not easy to see the grass in things and in words (similarly, Nietzsche said that an aphorism had to be "ruminated"; never is a plateau separable from the cows that populate it, which are also the douds in the sky).

History is always written from the sedentary point of view and in the name of a unitary State apparatus, at least a possible one, even when the topic is nomads. What is lacking is a Nomadology, the opposite of a history .... Even in the realm of theory, especially in the realm of theory, any precarious and pragmatic framework is hetter than tracing concepts, with their breaks and progress changing nothing. Imperceptible rupture, not signifying break .... The nomads invented a war machine in opposition to the State apparatus. History has never comprehended nomadism, the hook has never comprehended the outside, The State as the model for the book and fur thought has a long history: logos, the philosopher-king, the transcendence of the Idea, the interiority of the concept, the republic of minds, the court of reason, the functionaries of thought, man as legislator and subject. The State's pretension to be a world order, and to root man. The war machine's relation to an outside is not another "model"; it is an assemblage that makes thought itself nomadic, and the hook a working part in every mobile machine, a stem for a rhizome (Kleist and Kalka against Goethe) ....

. \ rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, Intermezzo. The tree is filiation, but the rhizome is alliance, uniquely

Post-strurturalism, Deconstruction, Post-modernism

alliance. The tree imposes the verb "to he," hut the fabric of the rhizome is the conjunction, "and ... and ... and ... " This conjunction carries enough force to shake and uproot the verb "10 he." Where are you going? Where are you coming from? What are vou heading for? These are torallv useless questions. Making a clean slate, starting or beginning again from ground zero, seeking a beginning or a foundation _ all imply a false conception of voyage and movement (a conception that is methodical, pedagogical, initiatory, symbolic ... ). Hut Kleist, J .enz, and Buchner have another way of traveling and moving: proceeding from the middle, through the middle, coming and going rather than starting and finishing." American literature, and already English literature, manifest this rhizornaric direction to an even greater extent; they know how to move between things, establish a logic of the A:--: D, overthrow ontology, do away with foundations. nullify endings and beginnings. They know how to practice pragmatics. The middle is bv no means an average; on the contrary, it is where things pick up speed. Brtmecn things does not designate a localizable relation going from one thing to the other and hack again, hut a perpendicular direction, J transversal movement that sweeps one and the other away, a stream without beginning or end that undermines its hanks and picks up speed in the middle ...


U. Weinreich, W. Labov, and ,\1. Ilcrzo!" "Empirical Foundations lor a Theon of Language." in \\. Lehmann and Y. Malkcicl (cds.), f)lIhl/II1IS [or IIIS/or/w/ l.mguistirs (I %H), p. 125; riled ny Francoise Robert, "Aspects suciaux du changcmeru dans une grarnmaire !,cnl:ratiH:''' Lilli' gagts, no .. 12 (December 1(73), p. 90 I Trans I

2 Bertil I\lalmhcrg, SOl' Trends 11/ I,II/gu/s/us, trans. Edward Carners (Stockholm Lund 1%4), pp. 65 7 (the example of the Castilian dialect)

J Ernst jungcr. .·Ippmrhcs: drogut'S 1'/ trressr (Paris: Table Ronde, 1(74), p J04, sec. 2111.

4 Carlos Castaneda, The 'l earlunes o( Don .711(/1/ (Hcrkelev: Univcrsiiv of California Press, 1971), p. ilK.

S Pierre Boulcz, Conrrrsations IN/It Celcsnn Dc/iege (London: Lulcnhcrg Books, 1(76): "a seed which you plant in compost, and suddenly it begins to prulileratc like a weed" (p. 15) and on musical proliferation. "a music that Iloats, and in which the IHitin!, itself makes it irnpossihl« for thc performer to keep in with a pulsed time" (p. 691translation modificdj)

6 Gregory Bateson, Sleps Iii all /;'11I/lIg)' II( Hmd (:'\CW York: Ballantine Books, 1972), p. 113. It will he noted that the word "plateau" is used in classical studies of bulbs, tuners, and rhizomes; see the entry for "bulb" in 1\1. II. Baillon, Dictionnair» de bot aniqur (Paris: l lacheuc, 11176 -(2). 7 For example, jocllc de La Casinicrc, rlhsolumrnt ncicssatrr, The Fme~I',I'III)' Book (Paris: Minuit, 1(73), a truly nomadic nook. In the same vein, see the research in progress at thc Montlaucon Research Center.

H The Dianrs of" Franz Kajl:«, cd. Max Brod, trans. joscph Krcsh (1\CII York: Schockcn, 1(411), p. 12.

9 Sec jcan-Cristophc Bailly's description of movement in German Romanticism, in his introduction to La Legcndc disperser: la drsrription till II/OII;'emcn/ dans /" romant umc allemand (Paris:

Union (icneralc d'Editions, 1(76), pp. IH IT.

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