Jargon. A word decodes by assembling: a mobile army, a mob or mass of “blocks,” segments extruded from heterogeneous flows: flows with and without codes, flows of energy and of waste, flows of debt and of money, flows of food and of goods, flows of women and children, flows of pulsing affects and flows of intricate concepts. Speaking assembles together, connects and conjoins or pervades and envelops as many radically divergent elements as possible. Language is at once unifying and fluid, both normalizing and improvised, both static and evolutionary — a system of rules neither abstract nor essentially syntactical but rather constituting a radically material and pragmatic collective assemblage.
Deleuze and Guattari argue as much in A Thousand Plateaus, suggesting the reason for the coextensivity of collective assemblages with language systems, and even with “language as a whole,” is this very fact that these assemblages express a complex pragmatic — a group of transformations which produce the very condition of possibility of language:
“… if the collective assemblage is in each instance coexistensive with the linguistic system considered, and to language as a whole, it is because it expresses the set of incorporeal transformations that effectuate the condition of possibility of language and utilize the elements of the linguistic system…The language-function thus defined is neither information nor communicational; it has to do neither with signifying information nor with intersubjective communication. And it is useless to abstract a significance outside information, or a subjectivity outside communication. For the subjectification proceedings and movement of significance relate to regimes of signs, or collective assemblages. The language-function is the transmission of order-words, and order-words relate to assemblages, just as assemblages relate to the incorporeal transformations constituting the variables of the function. Linguistics is nothing without a pragmatics (semiotic or political) to define the effectuation of the condition of possibility of language and the usage of linguistic elements.” (Deleuze and Guattari)
Not language’s “essence” but language’s praxis involves the complex syntactical disjunction of these wildly-varying elements; speaking is not (effectively) tracing-enunciating an ideal form by rote or metempsychotic memory. Pascal notes in Pensées 556: “Languages are ciphers in which letters are not changed into letters, but words into words, so that an unknown language may be deciphered.” It is true that speaking not only defers to but deciphers an ancient and mysterious writing.
Is language ever simply a tool, even when it is a weapon of power? We think it always conditions and disseminates a protocol operative over the entire communications network of an enormous mega-war machine. Nonetheless, language ceaselessly and systematically invests and reactivates collective desires, awakening decoded flows capable of sweeping away all resistances — indeed forming a kind of collective consciousness: the birth of the war-machine coincides with the birth of the voice. A polyvocality whose essence is not a lack but a fullness; language is not necessarily based not on castration, upon the disinvestment and privatization of the other, of the organs, of the outside. The transformations convoked by the collective assemblage must be understood in the precise terms of a desiring-production which invests the organs and others and outsides, not as subjects (once again users of machines, slaves to events) but rather as the complex assemblages they are. The revolution of collective machines of expression is the nucleus of the question of language today.
[image: Black Lace, by Kain (Apophysis)]