continuity, modernity, noise, ontology, Politics, question, reality, signal, silence, state, subtraction



A situation tends to bring about the specific conditions of its overcoming. Thus advances in transportation and telecommunication technologies are slowly bringing about not only the collapse of the classical temporal and spatial interval as such, the annihilation of the discrete; but also a simultaneous collapse of classical distribution or dissemination as such, a self-destruction of the sign through optimal transmissivity, and hence finally the death of the voice along with the signal, the annihilation of the continuous. –Twin paradoxes which define and isolate our historical moment: to build channels without yet having anything meaningful to transmit, and to transmit without having any channels or destinations, or any hope of being received. A question disrupts the essence of the situation, its reality; but a greater noise can always drown it out. It may not even be heard the first time. But after long enough, there is another question, or another questioner, and then another to question him, and so on. Repetition and revolution. –Modernity is hatred of the modern. The state itself becomes noise, and hence is drowned in noise. Finally, there is only glare, pure positivity, a non-spectacle: a signal without a sign. What is it to be in excess of the state?

courage, death, Deleuze, dialogue, filiality, identity, levinas, metaphysics, ontology, peace, Politics, state, technology, violence, war machine

Difference, Primacy and Peace: Deleuze and Levinas


It is perhaps time to see in hypocrisy not only a base contingent defect of man, but the underlying rending of a world attached to both the philosophers and the prophets.

Levinas, Totality and Infinity 24

I have no wish to soften the saying that to write lyric poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric; it expresses in negative form the impulse which inspires committed literature. The question asked by a character in Sartre’s play Morts Sans Sepulture, “Is there any meaning in life when men exist who beat people until the bones break in their body?’ is also the question whether art now has a right to exist; whether intellectual regression is not inherent in the concept of committed literature because of the regression of society.

Adorno, “Commitment”

Doubtless, the present situation is highly discouraging.

Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus 422

Our age has borne witness to the most rapid expansion of military and state power in human history. Weapons have grown highly sophisticated in a complex lockstep with global economic and political transformations. The meaning of this enormous growth in power, and the implications for our increasing technological sophistication, is anything but clear and unambiguous. The political mythology surrounding war and peace has also grown in sophistication. Nonetheless, the tool inevitably varies with the specific relationship — that is, the conditions under which it becomes possible, and the situations which it makes possible. This internal capacity for variation and variance is closer to the essence of war than the complex matrix of state and global power relations.

Any tool can become a war machine — at least potentially, and if its object becomes war. Yet war is still not the essence of the war machine, but rather the set of conditions under which the machine becomes appropriated by state power — or even the global order in which states now become only parts. In Deleuze and Guatarri’s account, a war machine is always external to the powers of the state, even though the state may have means for capturing and transforming its power into violence for its own ends. Nonetheless, war machines bring novel connections to bear upon centers of command, static assemblages of power, what Deleuze and Guattari describe as “the great conjunction of the apparatuses of capture or domination.” (ATP 423) The war machine refers to a reality essentially independent from the structures which constitute the state. In it we find the lineaments of a new and general relationship between human beings, between an individual and themselves, which is not subordinate to the state or its means — even when that individual is used as a means by the state.

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apparatus of capture, culture, custom, decay, democracy, genealogy, image of thought, individual, instrumentality, Nietzsche, nomad, overman, Politics, power, religion, society, sovereignty, state, unground, universal, universal politics, utopia, war, war machine, warrior, Zarathustra

Nietzsche and the Capture and Domestication of Peoples



“You shall obey—someone and for a long time: else you will perish and lose the last respect for yourself”—this appears to me to be the moral imperative of nature which, to be sure, is neither “categorical” as the old Kant would have it (hence the “else”) nor addressed to the individual (what do individuals matter to her?), but to peoples, races, ages, classes—but above all to the whole human animal, to man (Beyond Good and Evil, §188).

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apparatus of capture, genealogy, Nietzsche, nihilism, nomads, overman, Politics, state, warrior, will to power, Zarathustra

Zarathustra and Genealogy: Where the State Ceases…

surrealistic-images01.jpgIn Book 1 of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, there is a speech on the state (“Of the New Idol”) that is surrounded by a speech on war and the warrior prior to it and also a speech “On the Flies of the Marketplace” following it. All three speeches in a way need to be read together (not only in order but also juxtaposed in other ways) to be fully understood. Having said that, I want to bracket these other two sections off (keeping them in mind) while focusing solely on Zarathustra’s short discourse on the state. The speech begins:

There are still peoples and herds somewhere, but not with us, my brothers: here there are states.

The state? What is that? Well then! Now open your ears, for now I shall speak to you of the death of peoples.

The state is the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly, it lies, too; and this lie creeps from its mouth: ‘I, the state, am the people.’

It is a lie! It was creators who created peoples and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life.

It is destroyers who set snares for many and call it the state: they hang a sword and a hundred desires over them.

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becoming, chaos, culture, Deleuze, desire, multiplicity, nomad, reason, Science / Mathematics / Technology, Serres, space, state, unity

Nomads: Space, Solitude, Science


Royal science is inseparable from a “hylomorphic” model implying both a form that organizes matter, and a matter prepared for the form; it has often been shown that this schema derives less from technology or life than from a society divided into governors and governed, and later, intellectuals and manual laborers. …all matter is assigned to content, while all form passes into expression. (Gilles Deleuze, A Thousand Plateaus)

The difference between state science and nomad science is practice; the difference is as great and as narrow as that between geometry and poetry. The practice intrinsic to each mode of scientific exploration is implicit in their method, in their metaphysical categories, and especially in their respective divisions of labor. Nomad thought works continually against the grain of traditional categories and conventional methods; it upsets orders of scale, imparts unusual rhythms, creates social turbulence and sometimes, if it is fortunate, gives birth to new modes of expression.

The state cannot spontaneously create scientific assemblages any more than it can create poetry; the state struggles only with its habitat, its Other, its medium, never (or only in extreme cases) with itself. And in the end, nomadic science draws the state bloodhounds to its hide-out by its exotic odors. The nomads are not only killed formally and indifferently; they are annihilated precisely for their indifference to the state formalism. Nomadic signals hijack the royal message, forge the signature of the state; such floating signals are seeds, impressions of novel forms, sparks which sometimes inspire revolutions. Conventional science is quite effective at reincorporating these signals, as it is skillful at organizing prepared matter; but minor science contraverts every state by inventing new forms of matter, and just as easily a poet dreams up novel expressions.
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capitalism, geometry, God, ideology, power, revolution, simulation, state, subversion, technology, unconscious, war

Reconstructing Reality


Just as total war renders ethics derisory, consumer society annihiliates the horizons of authentic experience. God, the State, Father: abysses for the erasure of thought, until the only idea of which we are capable is a permitted one. The unconscious is a battlezone of images, brands, consumption algorithms. Ideology is repetition, a recording surface for lies which grows deeper and more complex with each iteration; the con, however, is always the same: alone we are nothing, we must unite with power to stand, to be able. The subtlety here lies in the more-or-less explicit coup d’etat of individual desire; corporate life makes the public individual a double-agent between himself and his secret desires.

Simulated faces, simulated worlds: the invisible lines connecting our fates together slowly grind us into grains, instants, monads, image-fragments, partial objects. The geometric exponentiation of desire is also the micro-isolation of the infinitesimal partial object, the human subject. We are only able to simulate love for what the object is or what it does; thus love becomes currency. From the perspective of desire, the future is the possibility of authentic life, of a total human being both spiritual and material; from the perspective of power, the future promises only tighter integration, further submersion into semiotic networks — until the human being is indistinguishable from a commodity.
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chaos, dialectic, dialogue, difference, family, God, multiplicity, nomad, Politics, state, time, war machine

What Can We Create?

If there were an exact center to the current political impasse, the short circuit of process, it would be this fact: that free discourse first demands a difference. It could be said that truth is always in conflict with destiny. An illegality, more universal than the universe, breaking the symmetry spontaneously and opening the way onto a new reality. In other words, beyond non-identity, there is yet a non-equality which goes deeper than a face-to-face opposition. The face is a complex torsion of the discursive space; whereas asymmetry may be the origin of space itself. Talking is terraforming, interring destiny, burying original forms deep underground; a willing hypnosis overcomes swarms of a priori contradictions. The earth does not countermand me; this refutes your objection. Consider, for example, when two entities differ so much they cannot be meaningfully compared, there is no isomorphism, no discursive space which can account for a relation between, which could isolate a structural symmetry. And in truth all situations are partial and fragments in this way, fractured, refracted, as their basic essence. Against appearances, the properly political situation is not only when a mutually valid criteria is inconceivable — but when it is even actually dangerous. Was dialectics ever dialogical? In other words, can a theory of contradiction be anything but itself a theoretical contradiction — could it perhaps trace beyond, beneath conflict? For certainly beneath human faces, human relations, many things flow…

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