certainty, disorder, history, intensity, number, rigor, rupture, system, value



This creature Life, beyond all evaluations, remains an uninterpretable difference — a kind of difference which is primary with respect to a differential identity, a difference which directly induces individuation, and thereby also seduces us to imitation, to the law of identity, and the shackles of representation. Difference for itself becomes the enemy and not a single word is possible on the value of life; how can we interpret this chaosmogenetic reality, arrive at by subtraction this very truth which endlessly ruptures with the signifying systems we use to interpret the world to another? It seems to verge on a kind of heresy, a prediction of apocalypse with respect to philosophy as such: can a mathematization, an axiomatization of the real take place?

The enormous suffering which has gone into everything beautiful is a misery which not only fails to become sensible in the light of Being, but which forcibly undermines the notion that all descends from pure forms (existence from Idea; God as pure and liberating Force of truth) rather than through the violent admixture and interpenetration of wildly heterogeneous forces and bodies (existence from cruelty; God as the tortuously circular Process of differentiation.) A metaphysics from the absolute will to tragedy is an anti-moral, materialist, atheist metaphysic: the singular vision of the real in which our decisions could be dangerous (need I mention also the only one in which knowledge necessarily involves suffering and self-deception?)

Thinking is precisely this adventure which connects its desires not to an identical reality or a primary nullity, but precisely to the an-identical, the differentiality of existence. Not a kind of compromise between two poles of the idea but a war with the arbitrary division of the idea into isolated components, the body of Life into organs without bodies. “We have to learn to think differently — in order at last, perhaps very late on, to attain even more: to feel differently.” Nietzsche (Daybreak, II.103)

consciousness, disaster, event, fantasy, intensity, power, recognition, wager



A series of imminent and necessary breakdowns are inherent to the production of desire: first, because desires connect up to an outside, with something which is always unrecognized, which is totally foreign; next, because desire is brought to turn upon itself, it is seduced into betrayal (by resentment, fear, hate, etc.); finally, because desires are always collective, but the individual makes these collective desire their own, digests and reintegrates them. In each case, there is a kind of fundamental deadlock to any investigation of the unconscious which reflects the essential paradox of psychoanalysis.

We risk not only our feelings and thoughts but even ourselves as beings entirely: the risk of losing not just our habits, our beliefs and our identities, but the very significance, the subjectivity, of our reality. Everything becomes a trajectory, a cosmic machine, a universal process of production. A becoming-nothing which is the essence of consciousness: and in the end will we know which it is — a disease or an experiment? –But what do we matter? For alienation is becoming a stranger; not trading places with a double, nor a diagnosis, but rather this mis-recognition of an alien consciousness always already present within enjoyment, within our desire itself.


The Disaster, the Event, Difference — this is what is always recognized but never known; or rather, you don’t know, you will never know whether this alterity is truly radical or not. We must make a certain wager in order to discover the real, to know our desire, to learn anything at all about ourselves. It is not a question of imitation, but of pure intensities, of movements and singularities and flows. There is always a risk involved in a becoming, a risk which is always recognized and never known to us — a displacement of essence internal to becoming, an infinite capacity which transfigures reality.

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abstract machine, assemblage, becoming, code, cosmos, diagram, God, intensity, language, molecular, segmentarity, semiotics, sign, subject, truth



“Regimes of signs are not based on language, and language alone does not constitute an abstract machine, whether structural or generative. The opposite is the case. It is language that is based on regimes of signs, and regimes of signs on abstract machines, diagrammatic functions and machinic assemblages that go beyond any system of semiology, linguistics or not. There is no universal propositional logic, nor is there grammaticality in itself, any more than there is signifiance for itself. “Behind” statements and semioticizations there are only machines, assemblages and movements of deterritorialization that cut across the stratification of the various systems and elude both the coordinates of language and of existence…

A Thousand Plateaus 148

The world is segmented, stratified, breaking or already broken-up: what happened, what is happening? What crosses over, releasing free, untamed intensities as it travels along the intermediary zones? What is it which is just now passing through — beyond, behind, between — these lines? How do these lines — and always bundles of lines, fibres — work? A question of codes, partitions, signal-sign networks: are these lines of forced motion (interpretation) or rather lines of free variation (experimentation)? “The mixed semiotic of signifiance and subjectification has an exceptional need to be protected from any intrusion from the outside.” (ATP 179) A single expressive substance precludes the development of nomadic machines — truth, God, the Earth, are not “allowed” to have an outside! Do we think we understand this “allowed”? What happened? But already in order to translate we must achieve an expressive unification, yet this by no means guarantees that the language we thus arrive at conveys a message: “You will never know what just happened, or you will always know what is going to happen…” (ATP 193)

All becoming are molecular — not objects or forms easily recognized from science, habit or experiences — and in this sense “unknowable,” at least from the outside. Are human beings the same way? Is there no relation of resemblance between the woman and becoming-woman, the child and becoming-child? “All we are saying is that these in-dissociable aspects of becoming-woman must first be understood as a function of something else: not imitating or assuming the female form, but emitting particles that enter the relation of movement and rest, or the zone of proximity, of a micro-femininity, in other words, that produce in us a molecular woman…” (ATP 275) The question is not about representing a woman, producing an accurate imitation of a particular molecular multiplicity — but of making something that has to do with that multiplicity enter into composition with the speeds of the image. In becoming we discover our own proximity to the molecular: “That is the essential point for us: you become-animal only if, by whatever means or elements, you emit corpuscles that enter the relation of movement and rest of the animal particles, or what amounts to the same thing, that enter the zone of proximity of the animal molecule.” (275)

Can we “make” the world a becoming? Only if we reduce ourselves to “one or several” abstract lines can we find our own proximities, our own zones of indiscernibility; that is, our own passageway to a becoming-everywhere, a becoming-everybody: “The Cosmos as an abstract machine, and each world as an assemblage effectuating it.” (ATP 280) Eliminate everything exceeding this moment; but don’t forget to include within the moment everything which it includes in its turn. We ourselves slip into the moment, which slips transparently into the impersonal, the indiscernible. “One is then like grass: one has made the world, everybody/everything, into a becoming, because one has made a necessarily communicating world, because one has suppressed in oneself everything that prevents us from slipping between things and growing in the midst of things… Saturate, eliminate, put everything in.” (ATP 280)

abstract machine, assemblage, chomsky, content, diagram, expression, hegemony, indiscernible, information science, intensity, Labov, linguistics, pragmatics, production, rhizome, semiotics, signifier, variation

Notes to Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus: November 20, 1923 — Postulates of Linguistics

In truth, the nature of the abstract machine is the most general problem: there is no reason to tie the abstract machine to the universal or the constant, or to efface the singularity of abstract machines insofar as they are built around variables and variations.

Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (92-93)

Deleuze and Guattari’s analysis of the Chomsky-Labov debate exemplifies a well-developed but perhaps under-emphasized aspect of their thinking — namely, their theory of semiotics — and in particular the curious relationship they argue holds between language and the abstract machine. The debate between Labov and Chomsky concerns linguistic variation — an issue which, as we shall see, helps illuminate an important aspect of Deleuze and Guattari’s theory of the abstract machine. Chomsky’s position is more or less what you would expect it to be: linguists isolate from an essentially heterogeneous linguistic reality a standard and homogenous system, thus grounding abstraction not in aggregations but in positions, roots, and linearity. In fact, he claims, it’s only in this way that one can get at real principles, and that science can operate in no other way… — and so on. D+G summarize:

“Chomsky pretends to believe that by asserting his interest in the variable features of language, Labov is situating himself in a de facto pragmatics external to linguistics. Labov, however has other ambitions…” (A Thousand Plateaus 93)

What does Labov do (according to Deleuze and Guattari)? He refuses the very alternative which Chomsky presumes exists between linguistic constants and pragmatic variability. Labov asks us to think about lines of pure or inherent variation. It’s not difficult to see why Deleuze and Guattari like Labov so much; it’s also not difficult to see see why they must move definitively beyond this particular debate, and challenge its very pretext. But let’s slow down, what do these lines mean in the first place — these lines of “inherent variation”? Deleuze and Guattari clarify that, on the one hand, we ought not to think of these simply as “free variants” already in relation to a given style or pronunciation (that is, whose features would still lie completely outside the system, thus leaving its homogeneity intact.) On the other hand, these lines of variations are not a “de facto” mix of both systems — in other words, we shouldn’t think that each system is homogeneous in its own right (“as if the speaker moved from one to the other,” write D+G.)
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becoming, celerity, confinement, control, history, humanity, intensity, multiplicity, nature, Politics, power, production, spirit, swarm

Outline for a Philosophy of History

If we listen closely to the breath of the spirit as well as to the word of being, an entirely new kind of history may become possible.

Disclosing a lethal truth (into) power, organization trembles before the disorganized generativity of decentralized multiplicity.

Are we transmitting history backwards through time? Are languages transforming themselves through us?

Is it by nature that we are socially-oriented creatures? Or does “humanity” on the contrary mark with precision a moment of originary disarticulation of (biological) organization — is a “human” a swarm?

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counteraction, difference, ego, experiment, infinity, information, intensity, light, machine, media, metaphysics, monad, noise, origin, society, structure, transcendence

Counter-action: Reflections on Sensory Anthropology

Towards a Metaphysics of Noise
Let us return to the ‘alternate’ origin in noise, the conditions for any structure. From background noise to blank nothingness to signification: three distinct moments.

Back again to the process of the development of the other structure: from noise into information.

Mediation: the propagation of light which opens up space by filling it, makes absence present, sensible. The other structure: from spirit to letter; from ruptures, an alien coherence; from the whirling vortex, a noisy dawn.

Noise drives away the parasites — it clears space by infesting it. Noise opens space, provides a substratum for objects. As a condition of logic, a pre-logical polyvalence. The parasite is cosmic, a secret name of God — a profane transcription…

Three aspects-moments in the propagation of noise: homogenization, purification, radial distribution. A convergence of an infintite self-identity into a pure singularity: the monad, logical isolate, fragment and totality.

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assemblage, channel, communication, diagram, forgetting, form, intensity, language, media, memory, multiplicity, parasite, Plato, signal, Thought, wisdom, writing

The Horizon of Language

If men learn this [writing], it will implant forgetfulness in their souls; they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks.

What you have discovered is a recipe not for memory, but for reminder.

And it is no true wisdom that you offer your disciples, but only its semblance, for by telling them of many things without teaching them you will make them seem to know much, while for the most part they know nothing, and as men filled, not with wisdom, but with the conceit of wisdom, they will be a burden to their fellows.

Plato, Phaedrus 275a-b

If we speak language, then it is at least equally true that our languages speak us — even up to that extreme sense wherein language becomes actual, corporeal — and so the horizons of language and of writing cannot be the same as the limits of thought. Yet there is a single abstract machine underlying both thought and language.

Language is neither a channel, a signal, nor a noise. For if language is a channel, then language channels us — it becomes a closed loop, thought = language = being. The result: only intensive realities, only qualities — we’ve isolated the durational aspect of being, a consequence of self-transformation or self-affection.

On the other hand, if language is born from pure noise, it situates itself within us, finds somewhere between and inside us to become a station… Noise clears, but does not disclose, or does so only darkly, ambiguously.

Language transmits us — what does this mean? Nothing more than that language is not a medium, not communication — but a relational attitude to the world, a turning towards an immanent and essential reality.

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