Observing the Observer: a theoretical discourse into empathy through the lens of mirror neurology We explore how mirror
neuroscience might cast a new light on Gilles Deleuze’s concept of rhizome and Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s lived body, providing possible answers in the understanding of the way in which an observer can experience empathy. Our research focuses on the onlooker’s response triggered in the process of observing actions and expressions of emotions.
Write, form a rhizome, increase your territory by deterritorialization, extend the line of flight to the
point where it becomes an abstract machine covering the entire plane of consistency. (9)
Write to the nth power, the n - 1 power, write with slogans: Make rhizomes, not roots, never plant! Don't sow, grow offshoots! Don't be one or multiple, be multiplicities! Run lines, never plot a point! Speed turns the point into a line!24 Be quick, even when standing still! Line of chance, line of hips, line of flight. Don't bring out the General in you! Don't have just ideas, just have an idea (Godard). Have short-term ideas. Make maps, not photos or drawings. Be the Pink Panther and your loves will be like the wasp and the orchid, the cat and the baboon.(23) For Martin Puchner, Deleuze is interested in theatre because it is a live performing art involving the precarious form of presence that characterizes live human bodies on stage. ‘ (Puchner2002:526 in pg10) ‘It seems odd that although Deleuze and Guattari culled the notion of assemblage in part from visual art practice in order to develop their theorization of the rhizome, they “never mentioned the living artists who invented and developed assemblage.”’(Stiles1998 in pg14) ‘Is it that, for Deleuze, the whole world is a stage with “all of us performing to the rhizomatics of theatricality on the thousand plateaus? ‘(pg15)
A philosophical concept developed by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, rhizome is what Deleuze calls an ‘image of thought’, being attracted more towards constructive experiments in schizophrenic or 'nomad' thought. Deleuze and Guattari use the term "rhizome" and "rhizomatic" to describe theory and research that allows for multiple, non-hierarchical entry and exit points in data representation and interpretation. Definitions:
towards a rhizomatic zone of multiplicity and fluctuant identity. social. evasion. which seeks to package things (concepts. Line of Flight doesn’t refer only to the act of fleeing or eluding but also flowing. (5) Rhizomeroot assemblages are heterogeneous compositions of any complex system. Deterritorialization is dissipation.
Territorialization equals maintenance. Absolute Deterritorialization is connected to the construction of a plane of immanence which in Deleuze’s philosophy means a pure plane. or the weed. Negative Absolute Deterritorialization appears with the subjectivation(coined by Michel Foucault) process= the construction of the individual subject. to take the control and order away from a territory that is already established. biologically and socially.
To be rhizomorphous is to produce stems and filaments that seem to be roots.
individual. and breakout. and disappearing into the distance: the vanishing point. first through roots. ‘(pg 40-Laura Cull) Dramatic Reterritorialization often follows relative deterritorialization
. movement. bulbs and tubers. constantly changing set of interconnected entities with fuzzy individual boundaries. etc. or better yet connect with them by penetrating the trunk. but the ways in which they perform.) into discrete categorised units with singular coded meanings or identities. in other words judging it… Organs render the body as slave rather than master. supply. articulating it. Artaud’s image of the body without organs therefore contests not only the ways that bodies are structured. resulting in a dynamic. always accompanied by a reterritorialization. breaking of habits Relative Deterritorialization appears when using psychoactives such as peyote. but put them to strange new uses. geological. models). Reterritorialization is formation of habits. where meanings and operations flow freely between said things. The body without organs/BwO (a term borrowed from Antonin Artaud): ‘The human form is the carrier of a divine virus and that to liberate man it will be necessary to rebuild him without the organs which are the instruments of God’s oppression in a human form: measuring it. experientially triggering a loosening of the world view of the user. structuring it. leaking. second through the animal’s function as shelter. objects.A rhizome can be at a vegetal and animal level. a move away from an arborescent context. subsequently leading to an Antiredeterritorialization (remapping of beliefs. the transcendental point with multiple open ways. The rhizome includes the best and the worst: potato and couchgrass.
who projects it into the text. The planar movement of the rhizome resists chronology and organization. it paints the
. At the same time. of the baboon and the cat. the book assures the deterritorialization of the world.
A rhizome ceaselessly establishes connections between semiotic chains." A rhizome. but the wasp reterritorializes on that image. "multiplicity" that it ceases to have any relation to the One. reproducing its image in a signifying fashion (mimesis. any more than the chameleon reproduces the colors of its surroundings. organizations of power. it is obvious that they are not models or copies of each other (a becoming-baboon in the cat does not mean that the cat "plays" baboon). we form a rhizome with our viruses. instead favoring a nomadic system of growth and propagation. there is an aparallel evolution of the book and the world. the book is not an image of the world. the rhizome resists the organizational structure of the root-tree system which charts causality along chronological lines and looks for the originary source of "things" and looks towards the pinnacle or conclusion of those "things. and circumstances relative to the arts. which in turn deterritorializes itself in the world.(8) EG3: There is an aparallel evolution. surplus value of code. but it will start up again on one of its old lines. The wasp is nevertheless deterritorialized.(8) EG4: The same applies to the book and the world: contrary to a deeply rooted belief. It could be said that the orchid imitates the wasp. etc. and must be. as a rhizome or multiplicity.As a model for culture. which form another puppet in other dimensions connected to the first: "Call the strings or rods that move the puppet the weave. a becoming-wasp of the orchid and a becoming-orchid of the wasp. Principle of asignifying rupture: a rhizome may be broken. It forms a rhizome with the world.
Multiplicities are rhizomatic. and social struggles." The rhizome presents history and culture as a map or wide array of attractions and influences with no specific origin or genesis. or on new lines. organizations of power. are tied not to the supposed will of an artist or puppeteer but to a multiplicity of nerve fibers. mimicry.(6) EG1: Puppet strings. but the world effects a reterritorialization of the book. on the other hand. Wasp and orchid.).(5)
3. and expose arborescent pseudomultiplicities for what they are. Principle of multiplicity: only when the multiple is effectively treated as a substantive.
EG2: Two different species interact together to form a multiplicity. becoming a piece in the orchid's reproductive apparatus. and social struggles. But it reterritorializes the orchid by transporting its pollen. The Pink Panther imitates nothing. something else entirely is going on: not imitation at all but a capture of code. a veritable becoming." (6)
4. or rather our viruses cause us to form a rhizome with other animals. At a submolecular level. a tracing of a wasp. it reproduces nothing. and circumstances relative to the arts. is characterized by "ceaselessly established connections between semiotic chains. as heterogeneous elements. sciences.
1 and 2: Principles of connection and heterogeneity: any point of a rhizome can be connected to anything other. It might be objected that its multiplicity resides in the person of the actor. sciences. an increase in valence. (9) EG5: The crocodile does not reproduce a tree trunk. lure. The orchid deterritorializes by forming an image. form a rhizome.
follows its "aparallel evolution" through to the end. susceptible to constant modification. adapted to any kind of mounting.world its color. whereas the tracing always involves an alleged "competence. in a rhizome. always a leader. arriving at a different state of unconscious. Freud explicitly takes Little Hans's cartography into account. or social formation. as a machinic network of finite automata (a rhizome). on the other hand. makes its rupture.connects any point to any other point -brings into play very different regimes of signs and even nonsign states.(9)
5 and 6: Principle of cartography and decalcomania: a rhizome is not amenable to any structural or generative model. a rhizome. like so many "transformational multiplicities". an animal. Melanie Klein developed photos from them. American rhizome The rhizome: . treats the unconscious as an acentered system. -is reducible neither to the One nor the multiple. which always comes back "to the same. Creating Little Richard's geopolitical maps. there is always a general. until they had rooted feelings in him. -has neither beginning nor end. or rather directions in motion. (16) EG8: Amsterdam. a rhizome-city with its stem-canals. this is its becoming-world. What distinguishes the map from the tracing is that it is entirely oriented toward an experimentation in contact with the real. pink on pink. Psychoanalysis cannot change its method in this regard: it bases its own dictatorial power upon a dictatorial conception of the unconscious. blocking him.. changes in nature
. which can be laid out on a plane of consistency -is made only of lines: lines of segmentarity and stratification as its dimensions. a city entirely without roots. reversible. musical form is comparable to a weed. reversed. its own line of flight. it is detachable. General Freud. is intermezzo -constitutes linear multiplicities with n dimensions having neither subject nor object. and the line of flight or deterritorialization as the maximum dimension after which the multiplicity undergoes metamorphosis. Schizoanalysis. where utility connects with the greatest folly in relation to a commercial war machine. an example of child psychoanalysis: keeping on BREAKING HIS RHIZOME and BLOTCHING HIS MAP. the plants have always an outside where they form a rhizome with something else-with the wind.(10) Rhizome always has multiple entryways.(11) PSYCHOANALYSIS-SCHIZOANALYSIS(no pretraced destiny) Little Hans. group. made tracings of them. reworked by an individual. it constructs the unconscious. It can be torn. but always a middle (milieu) from which it grows and which it overspills. as opposed to the tracing. The map does not reproduce an unconscious closed in upon itself. human beings (9) EG7: Music has always sent out lines of flight.". carried out in such a way that it becomes imperceptible itself. asignifying." The map has to do with performance. A map has multiple entryways. it is a "map and not a tracing"
The orchid does not reproduce the tracing of the wasp. The map is open and connectable in all of its dimensions. setting it straight for him.It is itself a part of the rhizome. In both psychoanalysis and its object. it forms a map with the wasp. but always and only in order to project it back onto the family photo. (13) The East more rhizomatic than the West through the lens of the attitude towards forests and agriculture. -is composed not of units but of dimensions.. (9) EG6: Having roots. phobia.
not on the brain. selfvibrating region of intensities whose development avoids any orientation toward a culmination point or external end. art splits perceptual processing. molecular chains. -pertains to a map that must be produced. number systems attached to a particular dimension of the multiplicities (strata. quarrels between men ‘ any multiplicity connected to other multiplicities by superficial underground stems in such a way as to form or extend a rhizome.” What he means by this figure of speech is that in an art encounter we are forced to experience the “being of the sensible. -is an antigenealogy: we evolve and die more from our polymorphous and rhizomatic flus than from hereditary diseases. or diseases that have their own line of descent. in other words. opposed to long-term memory -operates by variation.’(20) e. nonhierarchical. modifiable. the spectator suffers a process
of being deterritorialized and reterritorialised through his sensitivity. and has multiple entryways and exits and its own lines of flight . expansion.
Deleuze talks about the effect of sensation as the transcendent exercise of the faculty of sensibility. etc. the subject being torn apart (the notion of cruelty Deleuze picks up from Artaud). which is to say.” Art however cannot be re-cognized.from Balinese Culture: mother-child sex games. lines of flight or rupture.-is not the object of reproduction: neither external reproduction as image-tree nor internal reproduction as tree-structure. ‘You have to be forced to think.” In this regard. capture. (20)
‘For Deleuze.g. but can only be sensed. connectable.is an acentered. sentiendum(feeling). starting with an art encounter in which intensity is transmitted in signs or sensation. (9) -is a short-term memory or antimemory. we see with a stale eye pre-loaded with clichés. offshoots.’(Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) In other words.). When we perceive via the re-cognition of the properties of substances. circles of convergence. constructed. we order the world in what Deleuze calls “representation. But this presupposes freedom? Can we talk about freedom of feeling? Or are we Robotique creatures? Robotique empathy? Is there passive and active empathy? Does perception management bring to empathy management? Can you be conscious of the shock empathy. reversible. conquest.(19) coined by Gregory Bateson which is : ‘a continuous.’(20) RHIZOMATICS =SCHIZOANALYSIS = STRATOANALYSIS = PRAGMATICS = MICROPOLITICS These words are concepts. Deleuze calls the privilege of sensibility as origin of knowledge. forbidding the move to conceptual ordering. nonsignifying system without a General and without an organizing memory or central automaton -the conjuction of the rhizome is and -is made of plateaus. empathizing. the truth of empiricism. catharsis through hubris. maybe the purest form of empathy?
. the muscle of empathy. a map that is always detachable. but concepts are lines. the task of art is to produce “signs” that will push us out of our habits of perception into the conditions of creation. Deleuze cites Francis Bacon: “we're after an artwork that produces an effect on the nervous system.
and Guattari F. (13)
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Cull L. Different is the case for sensory-motor mapping mechanism. The second factor that may intervene in chain selection is the type of object that the experimenter grasped. dangerous. evoking in him/her not only the observed emotion but also related emotional states and nuances of similar experiences. the observation of a motor act directed towards food is more likely to trigger grasping-for-eating neurons than neurons that code grasping for other purposes. primitive form (“core disgust. Neurons responding selectively to specific action sounds were named “audio-visual” mirror neurons (Kohler et al.(3) If mirror neurons mediate action understanding. The first is the context in which the action is executed. The emotion of the other penetrates the emotional life of the observer.
The observed action enters into the observer’s motor representation and recalls his/her similar experiences when doing that action. disgust is an ideal emotion for testing the direct mapping hypothesis. It is a first-person recognition. A Thousand Plateaus.(9) Disgust is a very basic emotion whose expression has an important survival values for the conspecifics. The third factor could be the repetition of an action. This food-eating association is. Mirror neurons signal the action even in the absence of visual stimuli. It is an empathic recognition that makes the observer share the experience of the action agent. Deleuze and Performance Deleuze G. It is very plausible that the mirror mechanism played a fundamental role in the evolution of altruism. In this case.g. Capitalisme and Schizophrenie.” Rozin et al.(2)
The mirror mechanism appears to be a mechanism particularly well suited for imitation.. The first is that individuals are endowed with a mechanism that makes them voluntarily share the “fortunes” of others. Because of its strong communicative value. Thus. the recognition occurs because the observed emotion triggers the feeling of the same emotion in the observing person. 2000) disgust indicates that something (e. Typically..Mirror neuron: a neurological approach to empathy
Giacomo Rizzolatti and Laila Craighero
DELEUZIAN MIRROR NEUROSCIENCE: could be a “chained” organization of motor
acts plus the mirror mechanism which enables the observer to understand the intention behind an action (the “why” of an action) by observing the first motor act of an action.(9) There are various factors that may determine this selection. It would be more complex to specify how the selection of a particular chain occurs. food) that the individual tastes or smells is bad and. most likely. we enter in an “empathic” relation with them. not mandatory but could be modified by other factors. By observing others. of course. they should become active when the meaning of the observed action is understood. 2002). food is grasped in order to be eaten.. In its most basic. even in the absence of visual information. AntiOedipus
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
The Movement-Image The Time-Image