Posts Tagged ‘deleuze’
Some years ago, I published an essay in the journal Radical Philosophy. It was called, ‘Refiguring the multitude: from exodus to the production of norms’. It was about swarms, though I didn’t know it at the time. Crucially, it was one of the first published responses to Multitude, Michael Hardt and Toni Negri’s sequel to their best-selling, Empire. If you are into Deleuze and social movements, this one is for you.
Multitude certainly resonates with the high-tech world of 2013. Empire and Multitude are books you should have on your shelf, whatever part of the political spectrum you inhabit. They are books about globalization. Hardt and Negri are essentially right. Of course, they are wrong in important respects too. It was a response to the failure of the anti-globalization movement that got started in the 1990s. I was looking for a theoretical trajectory that would enable me to continue on the line of flight that I’d experienced at the height of this movement, this time reflecting on how swarms and social movements could contribute to creating something, in the first case, a new set of norms.
How to begin reading Deleuze is the title of a post published last year by John Protevi that was pretty echoed in the philosophical blogosphere, and that he wrote in response to a query that took place in Facebook. The query clearly posed a crucial issue that is still worth to retake for the sake of any possible consensus among those who already have achieved a broader panorama about Deleuze’s work. So, how to begin reading Deleuze? The question mainly refers about which book would serve as the best entry to get into Deleuze’s philosophy, presupposing that the beginner is also willing to read more of his books so to achieve this broader panorama as well, in a non-repellent way, and to meet Deleuze conceptually without getting truncated or blocked in the process.
Gilbert Simondon was a philosopher whose ambitions lay in an in-depth renewal of ontology as a process of individuation – that is, how individuals come into being, persist, and transform. In this accessible yet rigorous introduction to Simondon’s work, Muriel Combes helps to bridge the gap between Simondon’s account of technics and his philosophy of individuation.
Some thinkers have found inspiration in Simondon’s philosophy of individuation, notably Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Combes breaks new ground, exploring an ethics and politics adequate to Simondon’s hypothesis of preindividual being, considering through the lens of transindividual philosophy what form a nonservile relation to technology might take today. Her book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand Simondon’s work.
The world is, for Deleuze, an intertwined series of layer of networks within networks. Which is not to say that Deleuze says all of this in anything like a systematic fashion. But all of this is present, if in the margins, of Deleuze’s texts. All of which produces the basis upon which it becomes possible to put Deleuze’s work into discourse with the contemporary manifestations of the science of networks. For in fact, Deleuze was not here to see the internet, nor the more developed forms of globalized capital, nor networked approaches to the mind and artificial intelligence. And while his networkology of events is in fact central to his metaphysics, it fascinates me that few beyond DeLanda have truly pursued this approach to Deleuze before.
Thinking about the future of educational research requires a conceptual resource that is itself both imaginative and multiple and at the same time articulates a world with those self-same characteristics. This is provided by the work of Deleuze and Guattari. Discussion of the future of research is located in a context of lifelong learning in the contemporary moment of ubiquitous electronic communication. I argue that the research process, contrary to the model of science, can be better understood as rhizomatic rather than arborescent and powered by desire rather than objectivity. Lifelong learning is a rhizome and requires a rhizomatic approach and sensibility on the part of the researcher. The hyper-connectivity of the Internet reinforces this development influencing the way research is carried out and the way its knowledge outcomes are distributed and used – a research without hierarchy and authority.
The leitmotif of this paper is the act of bridging gaps between the conceptual, methodological and experiential. Foremost it is an attempt to fuse aspects of the abstract philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari with anthropological understandings of Global Assemblages through incorporation of theory into everyday life.
Here, we describe our journey exploring Deleuze and Guattari’s conceptual Rhizome. It was an experiment, undertaken in order to bring new ideas to bear on our current and future ethnographic research relating to bioethics, clinical trials and the complexities of international science collaborations in Sri Lanka. In working to bridge a perceived gap between Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy and our familiar anthropological canon, we made real the abstract rhizomatic thinking they describe, through interaction with a physical rhizome, or plant root.
Is the Internet a rhizome? All the straws in the wind say ‘yes’ it is.
“Whereas mechanical machines are inserted into hierarchically organised social systems, obeying and enhancing this type of structure, the Internet is ruled by no one and is open to expansion or addition at anyone’s whim as long as its communication protocols are followed. This contrast was anticipated theoretically by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari especially in A Thousand Plateaus, in which they distinguished between arboreal and rhizomic cultural forms. The former is stable, centred, hierarchical; the latter is nomadic, multiple, decentred – a fitting depiction of the difference between a hydroelectric plant and the Internet.”
- The rhizome connects any point to any other point (connections do not have to be between same and same, or like and like).
- The rhizome cannot be reduced to either the One or the multiple because it is composed of dimensions (directions in motion) not units. Consequently no point in the rhizome can be altered without altering the whole.
- The rhizome operates by variation, expansion, conquest, capture and offshoots (not reproduction).
- The rhizome pertains to an infinitely modifiable map with multiple entrances and exits that must be produced.
- The rhizome is acentred, nonsignifying, and acephalous.
- The rhizome isn’t amenable to any structural or generative model.
The concept of emergence – which I define as the (diachronic) construction of functional structures in complex systems that achieve a (synchronic) focus of systematic behaviour as they constrain the behaviour of individual components – plays a crucial role in debates in philosophical reflection on science as a whole (the question of reductionism) as well as in the fields of biology (the status of the organism), social science (the practical subject), and cognitive science (the cognitive subject). In this essay I examine how the philosophy of Deleuze and that of Deleuze and Guattari can help us see some of the most important implications of the debate on the status of the organism, as well as prepare the ground for a discussion of the practical and cognitive subject.
All of what follows depends on accepting the strong case put forth in DeLanda that Deleuze’s project in Difference and Repetition and The Logic of Sense – continued in the collaborative works of DG – establishes the ontology of a world able to yield the results forthcoming in complexity theory. In terms I will explain further below, complexity theory models material systems using the techniques of nonlinear dynamics, which, by means of showing the topological features of manifolds (the distribution of ‘singularities’) affecting a series of trajectories in a phase space, reveals the patterns (shown by ‘attractors’ in the models), thresholds (‘bifurcators’ in the models), and the necessary intensity of triggers (events that move systems to a threshold activating a pattern) of these systems. By showing the spontaneous appearance of indicators of patterns and thresholds in the models of the behaviour of complex systems, complexity theory enables us to think material systems in terms of their powers of immanent self-organization.
Negri: The problem of politics seems to have always been present in your intellectual life. Your involvement in various movements (prisoners, homosexuals, Italian autonomists, Palestinians), on the one hand, and the constant problematizing of institutions, on the other, follow on from one another and interact with one another in your work, from the book on Hume through to the one on Foucault. What are the roots of this sustained concern with the question of politics, and how has it remained so persistent within your developing work? Why is the relation between movement and institution always problematic?
Deleuze: What I’ve been interested in are collective creations rather than representations. There’s a whole order of movement in “institutions” that’s independent of both laws and contracts. What I found in Hume was a very creative conception of institutions and law. I was initially more interested in law than politics. Even with Masoch and Sade what I liked was the thoroughly twisted conception of contracts in Masoch, and of institutions in Sade, as these come out in relation to sexuality. And in the present day, I see Francois Ewald’s work to reestablish a philosophy of law as quite fundamental. What interests me isn’t the law or laws1 (the former being an empty notion, the latter uncritical notions), nor even law or rights, but jurisprudence. It’s jurisprudence, ultimately, that creates law, and we mustn’t go on leaving this to judges. I, for my own part, made a sort of move into politics around May 68, as I came into contact with specific problems, through Guattari, through Foucault, through Elie Sambar. Anti-Oedipus was from beginning to end a book of political philosophy.
When in the early to mid-1990s, critical theorists and cultural critics invited a turn to affect, they often did so in response to what they argued were limitations of post-structuralism and deconstruction. The turn to affect points instead to a dynamism immanent to bodily matter and matter generally – matter’s capacity for self-organization in being informational – which, I want to argue, may be the most provocative and enduring contribution of the affective turn. Yet, many of the critics and theorists who turned to affect often focused on the circuit from affect to emotion, ending up with subjectively felt states of emotion – a return to the subject as the subject of emotion.
I want to turn attention instead to those critics and theorists who, indebted to Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Baruch Spinoza and Henri Bergson, conceptualize affect as pre-individual bodily forces augmenting or diminishing a body’s capacity to act and who critically engage those technologies that are making it possible to grasp and to manipulate the imperceptible dynamism of affect. I want to argue that focusing on affect – without following the circuit from affect to subjectively felt emotional states – makes clear how the turn to affect is a harbinger of and a discursive accompaniment to the forging of a new body, what I am calling the bio-mediated body.