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D&G 2: Desiring Machines

The insight of apparatus theory is that metaphysics is an affordance of  language technics (machinics).  Literacy realized a particular potential inherent in alphabetic writing of an Indo-European natural language.  Specifically, chora or the mediating operator of literacy, began with Aristotle's discovery of the logical possibilities of oppositional procedures, the logical square moving through contradiction, contrariety, and complementarity --in short, dialectics, a practice continually developed from Plato's dialogues to Hegel, continuing in contemporary semiotics (Greimas).  Substance is the product of dialectics sorting matter into form (Chora is relational). The achievement of D& G is not just that they recognized the historical relativity of dialectics and analyzed its inadequacy to and complicity with the problematic of modernity, but that they systematically and experimentally introduced a comprehensive alternative to dialectics (literate metaphysics).  Their vocabulary correlates with and replaces Aristotle's terms, signaling at once that they are doing metaphysics but in a post-literate mode (electracy).  

            D&G refer regularly to Proust as a touchstone for clarifying their innovations.  Proust's novel addresses life through Eros, thus continuing the tradition of invention from Courtly Love, taken as paradigmatic by Agamben, Lacan, and many others.  The relevance for us is that electracy as apparatus brings into metaphysics precisely this libidinal register of the Real--the life and death energy of embodied reproduction, the capacity for jouissance, adding to orality (religion) and literacy (science) a third axis concerned with well-being, and governed not by right-wrong (belief) or true-false (reason) but attraction-repulsion, pleasure-pain (thriving).  Courtly Love is credited as an invention not just of literature, but of behavior and attitude, even a lifestyle institutionalizing human passions.  This historical example clarifies what is at stake in D&G's experiment, and the ultimate goal of EmerAgency consulting:  a rhetoric for the design and testing of lifestyle as such (Nietzsche's project, articulated in three versions:  will to power, eternal return, transvaluation of all values).  Guattari used the events of Tiananmen Square, when Chinese students faced off against the tanks of the Communist state, as a prototype for "lifestyle" or the manner of appropriating Being, as the issue of processual ontology. 

            What are the logical operators D&G provide for electracy? Chaosmosis begins not from the beginning (not from chaos itself) but continues the evolutionary game, starting in territorialized or fixed, standardized conventional conditions of some habitus or ethos.  For us that ethos is Corporate Capitalism, with the task of coming philosophy being a "cartography" (D&G) [choragraphy in our project] to map the routes of potentiality for deterritorialization, lines of flight capable of transforming the situation.  There is no blank slate or starting over, but rather the world is completely coded by invisible forces that must be rendered manifest by our practice.  These forces appear in territorialized terms ("territory" considered in our context as a version of "region" or "chora") as Gestalts, that is, good or ready-made forms that citizens recognize immediately relative to common and good sense.  The choral function of chaosmosis, producing order or organization of the world, manifests the ontological categories of space and time as faciality and refrain.  Capitalism, or any state striated regime, attempts to eliminate open potentiality and reduce all choice to a binary black and white system, a fundamental figure-ground Gestalt (melodrama) that D&G describe as White Wall and Black Hole.  In Capitalism the mass media circulate the Gestalt fixed in the icons or brands of celebrities (the prototypes of Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, top three "dead celebrities" in terms of annual earnings).  The prosopopoeia (personification of lifestyle extending beyond iconic faces to bodies and landscapes) of lifestyle, repressive or territorializing in the West, functioned alternatively as a line of flight in China. 

            These terms are not just descriptive, but rhetorical in providing means of composing as well as of reading or interpreting. D&G remind us that Proust himself, and Marcel as narrator, apprentice themselves to Swann's love story, in order ultimately to learn how to create art (art-life rhizome).  We follow their lead in order to learn choragraphy.  The Recherche, as a narrative, communicates a diegesis, an imaginary world, a microcosm rendering manifest our macrocosm.  A novel is a useful relay for chora to suggest the holistic nature of electrate categories.  Choragraphy inverts the analytical logics of literacy, sorted out into pure categories, differentiating into genus and species, instead to grasp and hold transversally all the strata coexisting in reality in an assemblage.  Here is the crux of D&G's innovations, entirely in the spirit of electracy, which is to open the collective dimension of socio-historical reality to ontology.  D&G do not replace literate metaphysics, but supplement it, to do for collective existence what literacy did for the individual thing and self.  The general name for this register of thought is the Unconscious, understood not as some private inner aspect of personal mind, but as the intersubjective interdependent coexistence with others (the Other, alterity).  D&G do for Unconscious what Descartes did for the cogito (consciousness). 

            Under the banner of Schizoanalysis, D&G push psychoanalysis beyond its confines of the family romance and the Oedipal model into an integral assemblage of all the institutions of society.  The individual human experience of self is taken up in its participation in various group subjectivations, opening up social fractal dimensions between the individual and society. Appiphany is designed to support this group formation, the encounters of alterity, towards a collective conscientization or collective singularity, enabling egents to experience collective agency.  Anti-Oedipus is an exposition of this aspect of chaosmosis, explaining how molecular and molar (micro and macro -cosm) interrelate as desiring machines.  This insight also is fundamental to Konsult, showing that social and cultural historical institutions are bodies without organs (BWO), functioning as collective dimensions of human organs.  Thus, in the case of EmerAgency consulting on the Cabot-Koppers Superfund site, the historical assemblage in question realizes the human capacity for taste (the enjoyment of pungent flavor) by means of the institutions of trade that delivered pepper to Europe, and ultimately motivated the discovery of America. 

            The importance of D&G is that they address the molecular level underlying these molar events and historical names, to describe and invent an electrate equivalent of literate representation, for understanding, undergoing, and engaging ourselves in the creation of subjectivation in reality.  To declare this project as "metaphysics" is a reminder that what needs to be invented is felt equivalent of discursive reason.  We know from neuroscience that feeling grounds and accompanies human thought.  Literacy wrote the thought; electracy maps the feeling.  The EmerAgency in order to perform choragraphy as the logic of electrate consulting needs to invent/learn a rhetoric of desiring machines, referring to the functioning in this circulation of corporeal organs through corporate BWOs, the mapping that organizes a global libidinal economy as simulacral erogenous zones.  Here is the problematic of capacity:  the human capability of sensory experience, the routes produced through the Real motivated by each sensory organ and all of them together, that configures global ecology.