Deleuze, Deleuze and Guattari, Laruelle, transmutation, zero

Dooley on Deleuze: the Dieulieuzian-Dooleuzian Disjunction

Thinking in waves

Let me just say that it has been such an honor and such a treat to welcome Brian Dooley and his voice to Fractal Ontology (cf. Brian’s recent work “Schizophrenia of Zero” and “Transvaluation“). I can only inadequately convey my excitement and joy to share a mutual interactive space with a free-spirit like Brian, who, in (not being) himself, constitutes a veritable thought-force, a violence that forces one to think. Nevertheless a positive violence that takes thought to its immanent limit; the violence of the witch’s broom and the dice throw. Obviously not an empirical violence…

How to engage such a violence while coming out unscathed? Wrong question: how to come out scathed, how to love the fate of the wound for which we are born–the nothingness and abyss through which Bryan transports (us). Hence the ethics of transmutation: not to be unworthy of what happens (to us), since the ‘us’ does not repeat in the purity of the event, except as surface effect…But also the ecology of the virtual, or, in another vein, the respons-ibility towards the infinity of dialogue: how to throw down the gauntlet for the exhaustion of the infinite conversation while affirming the negation of agon, the anagonic war at the genital heart of acephalic thought? The encounter where violence is simply the thresholds crossed by reactive forces being tapped into, activated, countereffectuated…

Perhaps it is this striking capacity to bugger, this intense “unworking” of Brian’s thefts of thought, that rendered necessary a reworking of Brian’s proper name. Let us say it clearly: a Dooleuzian image of thought, an un”doo”ing of thought through the “loosing” of the proper name; thus also an un’dieu’ing of the proper name, countereffectuation as the Anti-dieu, n-1 as the subtraction of the Dieu, to have done with le jugement de Dieu (it has been loosed = subtracted). But also subtracting the Dieul (mourning) inherent in the Dieu, to have done with the judgment and mourning of God–to register the death of God as subtraction of the One, as that which does not return…But also the dualyzation (or we shall say Doolization) of Dieu and lieu, the subtraction of God (Chronos) from place, deterritorialization of God and place, nowhere and nowhen of the people to come, eschatology as the negation of Dieu and lieu, Schizophrenic God disjoined from the disjunctive synthesis…Schizophrenization of Dooley and Deleuze, of the Dieu and the lieu in each = none of us.

This of course has all been in jest, play–active joy. But it is meant in all seriousness, gesturing toward the work that Brian has been carrying out in his ongoing labor to finish his first book ‘on Deleuze’ entitled The Infinite. I want to emphasize that the phrase ‘on Deleuze’ has to be taken in a complex sense, where commentary and interpretation are “ephiphenomenal”, insofar as the propositions that compose it do not exhaust what the work carries out. I will not claim to speak for the book myself at this time in more particular concerns, but I do want to point out that what is at stake in my playful rendition–crossing the names of Deleuze and Dooley–is to stress that what is at play here is a buggering of Deleuze, where neither Deleuze nor Dooley return as the “same”, where the loss of the proper and the domain of difference are established in the same stroke–reversibility of coming and going, but where they go as Deleuze and Dooley and come (back) as nothing, i.e. the transvaluation that takes nothing, 0, extinction as its motor and material.

I have already begun to begin (here and now) addressing Brian’s two posts on the “Schizophrenia of Zero” and “Transvalutation“, albeit in a slightly unorthodox way. Nevertheless, what sort of method or approach could we spontaneously conjure forth in order to deal with the austerity of the thinking of 0, which simultaneously coincides with its affirmation–a sobriety that follows from the rigorous thinking of Dionysian affirmation? Not opposition, definitely not, but the joy of affirmation that remains when opposition no longer opposes. It was in scrambling the names of Dooley and Deleuze that we felt we were authentically repeating his gesture–the maximum intensity and difference of 0.

Looking forward to the interview that I will be conducting with Brian later on this week, I wanted to pose in advance a few questions concerning his posts recently and his writing and thinking in the past months. To sketch out what we shall be discussing, I will quickly state that we shall be interrogating and staging several theoretical exchanges between Deleuze and Laruelle (cf. What Is Philosophy? and Laruelle’s “Reply to Deleuze”) and beyond. As for my own position–or better yet, as for the performative role I shall be staging in our interview, i.e. that of the devil’s advocate, a conceptual persona that perhaps indicates the force of pushing thought to its immanent limits–I will be taking up a certain posture that will perhaps be a naive mixture Deleuze and Laruelle at worst (an insufficient Lareuze-Daruelle hybrid), at best a “strong” defense or advocation of non-philosophy, radical immanence, etc. It should go without saying that neither of us necessarily presupposes a sufficient ‘image’ of what a thought of Deleuze or Laruelle would “look” like…buggery all the way down.

So I shall anticipate and pose a few questions, hastily sketched out here for convenience sake:

1. The schizophrenia of zero: how can we think the schizophrenia and infinity of zero in such a way that allows for a rapprochement or differentiation between what Laruelle refers to as the idempotency of the One added to itself without modifying itself? In other words, can we consider the infinity of zero on a quantum scale (this can be articulated differently)…?

2. Transvaluation and zero: can we engage towards a distinction of your articulation of double affirmation and becoming in eternal return from a Hegelian formulation, specifically the one that states that “time is abstract negativity”… To anticipate just a little: what does the “unworking” of negativity imply for the reality of the virtual; in other words, what happens to a thinking of utopia and uchronia on this basis–we could perhaps also consider how Laruelle will consider Time-without-temporality, or, something that is also central to your thinking, lived-without-life. In a different register perhaps but definitely resonating with what you subtly allude to elsewhere, this seems to indicate the argument that nihilism negating itself leads to a new understanding of vitalism.

3. You have indicated a term that is provocative and deserves unpacking, that of “unilateral mystical union”, obviously resonating with a certain ironic closeness to Laruellian terminology. Before articulating a question, I would like to join this consideration by keeping in mind you arguments about intensity and extinction with a passage from Anti-Oedipus:

How can we sum up this entire vital progression? Let us trace it along a first path (the shortest route): the points of disjunction on the body without organs form circles that converge on the desiring-machines; then the subject–produced as a residuum alongside the machine, as an appendix, or as a spare part adjacent to the machine–passes through all the degrees of the circle, and passes from one circle to another. This subject itself is not at the center, which is occupied by the machine, but on the periphery, with no fixed identity, forever decen-tered, defined by the states through which it passes. Thus the circles traced by Beckett’s Unnameable: “a succession of irregular loops, now sharp and short as in the waltz, now of a parabolic sweep,” with Murphy, Watt, Merrier, etc., as states, without the family having anything whatsoever to do with all of this. Or, to follow a path that is more complex, but leads in the end to the same thing: by means of the paranoiac machine and the miraculating machine, the proportions of attraction and repulsion on the body without organs produce, starting from zero, a series of states in the celibate machine; and the subject is born of each state in the series, is continually reborn of the following state that determines him at a given moment, consuming-consummating all these states that cause him to be born and reborn (the lived state coming first, in relation to the subject that lives it).

This is what Klossowski has admirably demonstrated in his commentary on Nietzsche: the presence of the Stimmung as a material emotion, constitutive of the most lofty thought and the most acute perception. “The centrifugal forces do not flee the center forever, but approach it once again, only to retreat from it yet again: such is the nature of the violent oscillations that overwhelm an individual so long as he seeks only his own center and is incapable of seeing the circle of which he himself is a part; for if these oscillations overwhelm him, it is because each one of them corresponds to an individual other than the one he believes himself to be, from the point of view of the unlocatable center. As a result an identity is essentially fortuitous, and a series of individualities must be undergone by each of these oscillations, so that as a consequence the fortuitousness of this or that particular individuality will render all of them necessary”. (20-21).

This was a long block quote, but the point of convergence is on the question of the importance of zero in this passage. It continues:

The forces of attraction and repulsion, of soaring ascents and plunging falls, produce a series of intensive states based on the intensity = 0 that designates the body without organs (“but what is most unusual is that here again a new afflux is necessary, merely to signify this absence”)….At the center is the desiring-machine, the celibate machine of Eternal Return (21).

So, to shift the question in another way, can we extend the logic you have laid out concerning the schizophrenia of zero and understand it in a way that aligns it with the understanding of free disjunction in Anti-Oedipus? In other words, can you speak in view of articulating extinction in terms of anti-production, or in another vein, can you speak to Eternal Return in terms of the syntheses of time (specifically the third synthesis, bringing us back to our second question) and in terms of the syntheses of the unconscious?

4. Let’s elaborate the distinctions of absolute immanence and radical immanence–to provide some context, I will provide (arbitrarily, I might add) one of the instances of Laruelle’s own distinctions of radical immanence (although this is neither fully definitive for Laruelle or our discussion). Of course, this is to supplement the statements that can be found in Laruelle’s “Reply to Deleuze”; for the most part, it can be suggested that if we tackle the problem of absolute/radical immanence, then the two questions posed by Deleuze in What Is Philosophy? can be put in a position to be illuminated afterwards. The following is from a lecture Laruelle gave entitled “A New Presentation of Non-Philosophy”:

In any case, non-philosophy did not invent ‘the real’, or the One, or man (every philosopher can take credit for the latter), or even the idea of a ‘radical immanence’ (there is Michel Henry and perhaps others as well–Maine de Biran? Marx?). On the other hand, non-philosophy exists because it invented the true characteristics of the latter, because it took the requirements of radicality seriously and distinguished between the radical and the absolute. It has had to carry out a complete overhaul of the entire philosophical apparatus even when it seemed closest to it. These characteristics are:

1. The full sense of immanence as real ‘before’ it assumes a transcendental function.

2. The necessity of treating immanence through immanence, rather than through a transcendent overview. It is at once a structure and an immanent knowing of this structure, or what I call ‘the vision-in-One’.

3. Philosophy’s being already given in-One, its unilation rather than external relation to the real.

4. The structure of real immanence as unilaterality, unilateral (duality), as other than…or alterity through immanence, rather than as a metaphysical point.

5. The coupling of real determination and determination-in-the-last-instance or transcendental determination (cloning), and the thesis that Marx’s concept provides a symptom of the latter.

6. The unilateral duality of man and of the subject as function, with the world as free variable.

7. The discovery of radical immanence or unilaterality as human Messianism or immanent future, its vocation for utopia and fiction.

8. The two aspects of the future language spoken by non-philosophical subjects: axiomatic or mathematical, and philosophical or oracular.

Non-philosophy is a human mathematics–a formulation I would oppose to Leibniz’s conception of philosophy as a ‘divine mathematics’. Radicality should be understood in terms of these principles or modes of operation, which prevent one from mistaking it for the radicality invoked by Descartes or Husserl. Everything can be summed up in terms of the distinction between the radical and the absolute (“A New Presentation of Non-Philosophy”, trans. Ray Brassier, in The Non-Philosophy Project, ed. Gabriel Alkon and Boris Gunjevic, p. 137).

Last but not least, we should also consider Laruelle’s recent essay for Pli: Warwick Journal of Philosophy 22 (2011), “From the First to the Second Non-Philosophy”, trans. Anthony Paul Smith and Nicola Rubczak:

First difference with Deleuze: the undulatory-particulate real is made of unilateral machines rather than molecular, oriented rather than disoriented. The wave-particle or unilateral machines are complexes of non-separability and inexchangeable spearability or what cannot permutate, the undulatory flux is as well but in a single sense, not reciprocally, the objective morphe of the particle. In reality, Deleuze’s wave-flux machines presuppose from the start the multiple ‘in itself’ of partial objects or breaks and introduce different types of their reversibility, including the Body without Organs [BWO]. This retains a priority of the multiple or of the empirical at the heart of the continuity of the One-All that it molecularises, and this accepts an inversion between the particulate and the undulatory… (178)

Second difference: “there is not a BWO or an ERS [Eternal Return of the Same] but a Last Instance” (181)…

Third difference (the most appropriate for us perhaps): “the plane of generic or transfinite immanence is also the plane of scientific reference”. As Laruelle will say, “Deleuze correctly simplified the Whole in the state of the One-All, but does not pass by the quantum which ends by demolishing, without fail, philosophical sufficiency… That which he calls ‘non-philosophy’ is an auto-simplified philosophy, but that hardly allows more than what we find in Michel Henry, who skips by science, it is only an absolute-generic and not a radical-generic” (183).

I could go on, but I simply wanted to give a general ‘overview’ or ‘survey’ of some of the possible themes upon which the radical and the absolute could be taken up. I think a future post on this topic alone would provide a good opportunity to work this out further.

To leave off, I promised Brian I would look through a book that can serve as a helpful reference to our ongoing discussions of Deleuze and Laruelle: the book I refer to is that by Erik del Bufalo, Deleuze et Laruelle. I will translate the paragraph that made me think of his posts with a smile:

“Double articulation” is nothing but an “abstract machine” that deterritorializes and reterritorializes (abstracts and stratifies) all sorts of flows that are found complicated in a single plane of immanence, general “bodies without organs”, of which there are no preliminary “categories”: neither matters nor forms, neither substances nor functions, neither contents nor expressions, but a single, albeit chaotic “material” (earth without territory [terre sans territoire]), in which language already takes part. Thus the earth, the foundation of the cosmos, is nothing but deterritorialization par excellence and the body of all reterritorialization. But, deterritorialization and reterritorialization only take part in a synthesis–asymmetrical but reciprocal–called “consistency”. Double-articulation is the abstract machine that produces consistency according to chaotic material of the earth, as body without organs or body of absolute intensity, as the liminal sum of positives and negative magnitudes (equal to 0), the “milieu of all milieus”. The imbrication of contents and forms constitutes only one of the sides (one of the lobster’s pincers) of which the other would be the movement of the territory, earth become cosmic, which is simply the articulation or production of the cosmoses, consistencies or “chaosmoses”. (177).

Nevertheless, del Bufalo will go further, and after expounding upon consistency and becoming in a machinic sense, he will provide what can be considered a non-philosophical dualysis of the Deleuzo-Guattarian material that is being taken as a ‘symptom’. It is this non-philosophical ‘gloss’ that will provide its own material for the conversation Brian and I will conduct. I will translate the bracketed portion to give the sense of how Deleuze and Guattari’s work is being used as material for reworking:

["Double articulation" has the form of philosophy, a dialectic that cannot halt itself in opposed terms, but which must continue to the dialectic of terms in and by themselves, by breaking the terms onto new terms, and by producing an infinite displacement of synthesis. A necessary displacement, because synthesis must become, in becoming, time and being which are confused with the dialectic itself (thought of the real, being thought different to the real). The doubling in syntactic articulation pro-creates an eternal unfulfilled, by conditioning the possibility of creating philosophy, always.] (177).

I will end in the middle, where we began–the middle of abyssal zero. To end with a provocative suggestion, perhaps the schizophrenia of zero in the eternal return, double affirmation, can in this sense also be understood simply as joy. To take this a step further, let me provide a small translation of a portion of one of Zourabichvili’s definitions in his vocabulary book, specifically the definition on life as non-organic:

Let us then ask why it is definitively preferable to think rather than not to think. The Deleuzian response is that thinking is more intense. One will prudently evaluate the objection that comes to mind here: certainly, it is in experience that we grasp the intensive superiority of affects–read: of the encounter of the heterogeneous or of the outside through which affectivity itself is shocked and redistributed–over ordinary affections, but would this not, in the appearance of an ultimate statement, still be an external criterion of judgment, the disguised reintroduction of a transcendent value–intensity–thus signaling the failure of the program of immanent evaluation? In the last resort, intensity is an immanent criterion because the auto-affirmation of our faculties coincides with the affirmation of the new, of the aftermath [de l'issue], of the affect, and thus determines intensity–whatever the terrors accompanying it might be–as joy. (La vocabulaire de Deleuze, p.87).

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