You can simulate transparency, but behind your back an overheated network will condition your component lines. It is remarkable indeed the degree of encryption, not to mention extreme speeds and slowness, which a signal may be made to endure. Gentle decelerations, frenzied accelerations, stationary null journeys: real movements which the machine or a part undergoes — or else sudden breaks, unforeseen shutdowns, severed lines. The differential logic of the signal system mutates continuously according to the functioning of a semiological machine which does not resemble what it creates, crystallizes, shatters or sets into flight. Expression, insofar as it frames or signs itself, is always-already conditioned and operated by a grammatical field of semiological dynamisms redoubling encounters-affects into visions and auditions, possible worlds. The receiver is symmetrically encrypted, a recursive and resonating labyrinth: translating wild variations of rhythms, interpolating approximately-decrypted sub-signals, differentiating referential opacity where it is not constitutive. A signal is always-already composed of instructions, an actively-encrypted network of orders: a volumetric control field radiating from multiple command cores, enmeshed with the transmissive and receptive apparatus. The virtual line is incorporated into the machine; actual resonating devices become attuned to the most subtle or rarefied waves. Desire, dreams, delirium are signals as real production: a construction of new senses or problems, new distributions of the interesting and uninteresting, the surprising and unsurprising, the tolerable and the intolerable. Reattributing the cosmos, dreams create problems… What nourishes the bad dream, that the void should dominate? What distributes scarcities, interpolates lack, interposes this alien and monstrous ontology of interrogation-judgment-punishment? Who wishes this interrogation of delirium, this interpretation of desire and dreams according to need, wish-fulfillment? It is astonishing that reactionary madness should have had such wild success; that low truths, base dreams, sick desires should be able to appear high, noble, affirming; that entire discourses of these broken and enslaved truths should attain cultural hegemony. How is it that it could occur, what happened? How can it be that this slow suicide, this disinterested love for whatever is fucking you, can masquerade as life? Capital Tyrannus, or Oedipus Rex: the self-immolation of desire, the diminution of dreams, the toxification of the sky. The signal communicates with a virtual substrate organizing deeply-nested or encrypted signs, conditions expressive lines which are also lived forces or affects: sadnesses or joys. The dream is open to becoming a nightmare as a condition of its possibility; desire goes all the way. The delirious and wandering line of decoding, of the adventure of decryption, does not only face certain disaster or death; but also sings seductively, in minor keys; it is melancholy, and itself a risk. But while it is easy to botch their construction, only cartographies of the virtual, planes of consistency at the limit of consciousness or the common, can emancipate new images of the collective, mobilize and restructure conditions of possibility…
The emancipation of a line of difference; Movement thinking itself; Becoming-imperceptible; Demonic signatures; Degrowth of vision; Experiment cautiously; All maps are provisional; All nodes are networks
The emancipation of a line of difference
Only in extinction, annihilation before the rising ground, can a process of differentiation emancipate itself from its repetitive articulation in both directions at once, break free from the entanglements and alienation of preconditions: situation, signifiance, subjection.
How does a difference exceed the situational, overload the signalized, reprogram the subjectivized? The birthplace of monsters: the unconscious, the law, language; so many lines of abolition. The inoperative darkness which links and separates at once, bidirectional but nullary and auto-affective, consuming by being-consumed.
Time, light, the sea; a pure multiplicity, a line or volume of infinitesimal differentiation. We catch a glimpse of the distributed genesis of relation: the emergence of emergence itself. Termination and involution. Virtual and actual, timelike and lightlike; guest and host, abolition, redemption; all at once.
The burrow, the forest or cyberspace; developmental toxicity rages through these perforated terrains, conjoining and transmuting smooth and striated spaces through an ad hoc inter-dimensional chaos. One may perhaps glimpse in holey space the furtive trace of an empty form of time.
Lines of permutation are perhaps always-already lines of perverse monstrosity. Memory or becoming involves a critical punctuation of a pure being, rendering the axis or ontological continuity to the beyond: from empty and blank to lacerated, open(ed); from positive, redoubling to irreflective, anechoic.
I began writing this before disaster struck very close to home; and so I finish it without finishing it. A disaster never really ends; it strikes and strikes continuously — and so even silence is insufficient. But yet there is also no expression of concern, no response which could address comprehensively the immense and widespread suffering of bodies and minds and spirits. I would want to emphasize my plea below upon the responsibility of thinkers and artists and writers to create new ways of thinking the disaster; if only to mitigate the possibility of their recurrence. (Is it not the case that the disaster increasingly has the characteristics of the accident; that the Earth and global techno-science are increasingly co-extensive Powers?) And yet despite these necessary new ways of thinking and feeling, I fear it will remain the case that nothing can be said about a disaster, if only because nothing can ultimately be thought about the disaster. But it cannot be simply passed over in silence; if nothing can be said, then perhaps everything may be said.
Inherent to the notion of risk is the multiple, or multiplicity. The distance between the many and the multiple is nearly infinite; every problem of the one and the many resolves to the perspective of the one, while multiplicity always singularizes, takes a line of pure variation or difference to its highest power. A multiplicity is already a life, the sea, time: a cosmos or style in terms of powers and forces; a melody or refrain in its fractured infinity.
The multiple is clear in its “being” only transitorily — as the survey of a fleet or swarm or network; the thought which grasps it climbs mountains, ascends vertiginously towards that infinite height which would finally reveal the substrate of the plane, the “truth” of its shadowy depths, the mysterious origins of its nomadic populations.
Light. Events are not inherently luminescent, but perhaps in a certain light (to careful observers) they may become perceptible. Part of the difficulty of this logic is that the event cannot be contained within a stable image or duration; they perhaps consist in this inconsistent stuttering of sign-particles, which are in turn capable of directly becoming cosmic, of becoming all the infinite senses of being. What vision could encompass such a multiplicity? Such a vision must be winged, born of flight; yet the event has been almost exclusively seen at ground level… The event presents itself as a simple materiality — this matter being that of stable bidirectional relations, of structured time and historical urgency; but does the event as such not reveal a certain intimacy with series of powers passing into one another, contingently actualizing singular, one-way relationships — in other words: with a kind of parasitical symbiosis? After all is there not an uncanny emergence from absolute zero demanded by dialogical relations, an acceleration of virtual movements to infinite speeds — explosive actualizations “from nothing” commensurate with pestilence, neurosis, hyperinflation, ontological collapse? Why do breakdowns and contagions precede the event, even perhaps the concept of the event? An infernal engine, an unholy workshop is required to induce the requisite uncanny and highly-contingent situations in which they can emerge. A line of flight tearing at the seam of the cosmos: the event rides a wave of radical decoding and weaponization; it presents a body or a subject not only with the problem of transmission but more ominously of cryptanaylsis and disarmament. Events present thought with an unnatural abyss, even a terrifying vortex; the greatest risk of thinking the event is omitting the background noise against which it becomes audible; in this sense the event is wildly contingent, merely an artifact of the white noise, the abysmal depths, the darkness from which it distinguishes itself.
Differend. Only what stirs, what stutters, what shakes is essential; only a minor literature, and only when it directly mobilizes intensification and becoming, is capable of releasing from the bondage of the signifier and the subject (and hence the body, the spirit, the cosmos, existence, time.) Minor literature deploys infinite movements as emancipatory operations; in this sense a literature is not “minor” in a structural or numerical sense, but rather only exists because of a people who are yet to arrive, that is: infinite speeds are the engine of minor thinking and writing, and the acceleration towards them is gravitational; is a minor artist or writer not always already drawn forward into a dangerous course by an unbroken dawn? A knife’s edge of pure mutation permits incision through reality itself; minor writing becomes transcendental through a process of empirical experimentation with speeds and movements. Difference in itself, the recursion of infinite movement repeating-in-itself; repetition in itself, the divergence of infinite speed differing-in-itself: the minor transforms, permits the differend or the different-in-itself to become audible and visible, by shattering the linear order of time in the name of a time to come.
What is modern? It can perhaps be discerned in the radical questioning of the status of piety, a questioning which slowly infects every discipline and discourse — a questioning, in other words, coextensive with a generalized instrumentalization, experienced at the psychic level as a new asceticism. Modernity in this sense includes souls no longer living; it embodies achromatically the spirits of wildly disparate eras. In this way we may perhaps be permitted to speak of the modern both as a regime of forms and as a series of powers — a question of celestial purity and terrestial madness. Thus every people participates in an eternal modernity, or perhaps it is that the modern is always arriving or yet to arrive.
The stable conception of identity is the central problem and “utopian” promise of modernity. Very early on, relatively speaking, the problem was decisively proved to be undecidable. It perhaps took longer to realize that the promise could not be kept; that the modern enacts the irreversible rending of the identical from individuation, that it will not (and perhaps cannot) be halted. The modern is then not irreversible in the sense that a regression is not possible, but rather irreversible in the sense that once intiated we cannot determine when the involution, the deferral, the sickness will stop.
The modern is a health and a sickness of cosmic proportions; a dream of infinitely-deferred waking, which is perhaps to say a nightmare. The modern assembles war machines, and the uncanny and passionate hunger of modernity is the thirst of virtual incorporealities for actualization. This hunger perhaps accounts for a certain globalizing impulse; for the modern at its best populates or resingularizes, it directly engages processes of subjectivity; yet at its worst this same tendency perhaps accounts for the propensity of the modern to provoke the shocking encouragement of complicity with horror and the cynical dissolution of the subject in a transcendent universality.
The symptoms of modernity are radical involution, future shock, motion sickness and infinite deferral. The modern is then perhaps a variety of dreamsicknesses; the dangerous problem of a daybreak eternally deferred. Yet is this very eternity not suspiciously excessive, the deferral not strangely disjointed? Are we, fractured group-subject of modernity, not untimely, not continuously on the verge of actualizing and thereby exceeding it?
Living. The intolerable ignominy of possibilities of life under capital should not be permitted to cause us to forget the reality of infinite becoming. Evolution and genesis, or the development of contiguous spacetimes and automorphisms, are powers of the infinite; and a life is always already this infinity. It is never simply a question of an organism but rather a problem of pure variation: infinite movements compose and condition living; infinite speeds permeate a life. Inorganic life lives exclusively at these speeds, in a hyperaesthetic eternity that traverses history. It moves across a slice of a time, through a supple segment of a world; yet a life is not merely the traversal of a spacetime or a form (territories and landscapes, organisms and faces) but it is also the direct reality of flows and forces: rhythms and speeds, signifying regimens and variable frameworks of production. It is not individual or collective but infinite, neither alter nor ego but singularis. We do not know the limits of what it can do or will become — in fine: what living, thinking, feeling could be. Though the risks of an errant involution are grave and even incalculable; yet any life, any feeling, any thought whatsoever is destined to find itself at some longitude or latitude on the plane of immanence — that is to say, always already in flight, swept up by a line of continuous variation, facing infinite risks with limitless potential.
Mapmakers. Desire becomes perceptible to a schizoanalytic cartography only because such a mapping undertakes anew in each case the cautious assembly of a map of the unconscious with everything included: experimentally activating and quantifying virtual lines of flight, calculating the gravitational acceleration of semiotic black holes — and determining the structural characteristics of white walls.
Geosophy. Geology and geometry both initate absolute surveys; and in their own ways they are each aerial formal analytics, turned inward and outward in a reciprocal relation; at infinite speeds might they not fuse? The earth may be both speculated stratigraphically, or evaluated strategically in terms of virtual movements; and so a geometer offers unknowingly a dangerous secret to a geologist, and vice versa. In both there is the unnoticed presence of an unexplored sense of or practice within the discipline, which when fully articulated would make it possible to organize both evaluative and speculative faculties otherwise. In any case, of course, an enormous divergence has already occurred from their common origin and destiny — the earth and theory each as a life in communication with the other: not the philosophy of genesis but philosophy as genesis. The vertiginous collapse and interfusion of the hard and soft precede the gentle birth of a geosophy, joyous science of the (maladies afflicting the) body of the Earth — perhaps at the end of an arc traced by the flight of a golden ball…
Sorcery. What is the limit of what a noise can do? A certain noise means extinction for almost all regimes — not only of signs; it is an explosion of intensity or desire which renders the channel inert, background. Semiotosis. Sonority refusing to yield a signal: noise induces a traversal of infinite depths which bursts the strata into pieces, rupturing the semiotic-discursive chains. Noise is also a pure becoming, the becoming-sonorous of an incorporeal field of virtuality. The elements of one or several assemblages are caused to pass into one another, initiating “unnatural” pairings. Noise is the friction, resistance of the assemblage against itself; it always already struggles with a tendency or power which means to control the channel and recode the outburst. The becoming-musical of noise is another development of this problem and involves inducing vorticial structures — establishing rhythms to respond to chaos, refrains to respond to the finitude of the strata. This is perhaps why music introduces us forcefully and as it were intimately to sorcery, direct contact with the Outside, and the annihilation of the judgment of God; refrains and rhythms awaken nomads and their warmachines.
Sorcery is an applied ontology of the depths, the extrusion of a probehead into the sub-depths of being — what passes beneath ontology, what escapes the functionalization-reduction of existentiality; it is thus an empirical investigation into what drives the apparently ‘natural’ deployments of political, legal, scientific, and mathematical hegemonies. Sorcery discovers beneath signs-particles a vorticial and monstrous “recursive” depth; it finds the cosmos inverted: the symbol is determined as that which the depths resist in favor of free expressivities, even as they are witnessed to spontaneously generate free sign-particles, ions of deterritorialization traversing the full body at infinite speeds and creating whirlwinds of reterritorializations in their wake. War machines and becomings are always already threatening to overtake the territory, to overcode the channel; there is always a more powerful molar regime threatening to interrupt our tiny molecular flow. The question of the line of flight and its attendant risks must be understood in both the military and theoretical sense simultaneously; becoming one or several lines means taking on nearly every risk imaginable. The problem involved in desire is machinic, a problem with the non-relation between the signal and the channel: alien everywhere, a nomad is a becoming-deterritorialized, an escaping and an escapedness-from-being into the depths or heights, and is precisely the differential element of two systems which cannot contain their elements. The parasite stands at the borderline between thought and being, permitting a cross-signaling across the infinite gap — activating the components of passage which permit a becoming or involution.
Sorcery discovers the noise and frenzy at the heart of the body — the parasitic-bacterial character which dominates terrestrial biota — and diagnoses the illnesses afflicting the full body, determines the resistant qualities of power to illnesses of various kinds. The sorcerer is the first empiricist in this sense — and the sorcerers’ secret (or dream?) has been to “watch only the movements,” to soberly identify components of passage; he is involved with measuring speeds, establishing coordinates on the plane of immanence. Nevertheless and perhaps uncannily it is also precisely this pure or ‘total’ empiricism which generates a transcendental coherence capable of acting as a relay for radically external powers. The full body resists parasitization by the desiring machines; its original state is blank, like the dancer’s pose and her grace; a potentiality which refuses to yield to possibility, merging desire upon desire into a sublime awakening into blindness. Sorcery is metabiological, metacivilizational — a matter of complicity with the anonymous. The full body is smooth, the surface protected from the violent probeheads of the desiring machines; and yet there are schisms — indeterminate zones where enough force can induce a breaking point, permit an encounter with the outside, which must still pass through a certain barrier. An attempted involution or passage cannot be determined in advance, the trajectory is essentially unpredictable; whether it will be a breakdown or a breakthrough cannot be known. First principle of caution.
A sign-particle erupts from a refrain, from the nomad, from any ‘static’ wave of deterritorialization; even animals, molecules, the stars emit these tiny singularities that correspond without imitation to the constellations of becomings that traverse music, poetry, literature, painting. This molecular dimension of becoming is precisely the noisy determination of universal history, its contingency or continuous torsion into the asignifying; and it is through becoming-molecular that the operations by which sorcery ruptures the barriers of time become conceivable. The movement of the flows of desire correspond to existential coordinates, conditions of becoming of incorporeal virtualities — abstract machines. The vorticial or warmachine-like organizations of the semiotic, computational, financial, ecological, philosophical and sociodemocratic planes of development indicate the intervention of another order entirely — an abstract war machine driving the assemblage into a singularity.
The internet is a terrifying semiotic war machine, even a plane of development for warmachines. It is increasingly clear the parasitic-hegemonic dimensions of globally-connected communication/computation networks, integrated deeply into social life, may very well pass unrecognized until it is far too late. The critical question involves the rate of development of signifying regimes — the extraordinary pace of interaction between elements of the contemporary infosphere permit the collective enunciation not only of particular phrases or images but complex assemblages involving components of expression, partial forms, passage. Becomings sonorous, visual and hypertextual are relentlessly synthesized to construct ever more powerful singularities and vortexes, to ostensibly utilize in an apparatus of capture — but on behalf of whom?
Second principle of caution. Becomings do not come cheap, and involve pacts with radically external or extra-cosmic Powers. Here be demons. Memories/becomings-x involve metamorphosis, mutation, molecular revolution: relationships of movement and rest, accelerations and decelerations are taken to their immanent limits. The dangers are numerous and grave, especially those special dangers for artists and writers (the suicidal trajectories that are inevitable for every line of flight.) Of particular concern in the context of precaution is the issue of deviation, which sometimes means decay and degeneration; a becoming does not always yield a higher, “rarer” type. You cannot know, a heuristic principle of caution: noisy becomings are inherently beyond the grasp of ontological determination. They convoke the involution of unrelated assemblages, spontaneously interchange components and molecular flows, initiate a generalized decoupling of the perceptual, semiotic and affective-desiring orders. We cannot know in advance the sense or consequence of the becomings traversing the smooth spaces of our experiments. A becoming indicates an ulterior dimension to being itself: molecular, spiritual and natural forces emerge from beyond the psyche, beyond the cosmos — memory demands an encounter with a radical outside. The only rule is to be cautious in experimentation: to exercise a calculating prudence in response to the movement of the signifier across the chill black depths of infinite space.
Metamorphosis. There is a kind of explanatory knot or gap in every narrative model of world history; a thread of teleology which tightens around the throats of every minor voice, every parasite and schism. One of the gravest dangers of the line of the flight is the line itself. The notion of a trauma which fractures history itself is built into the problematic vision of a historical totality. It seems to me that it is a rehabilitation of the concept of the event as substance of history and radical irruption at once which is required, rather than the restoration of the concept of ‘story’ as total historical narratological unity leading to some eschatological utopia — whether Judgment Day or finally-actualized communism, this is the force of ideology at its purest (Nick Land’s recent article in Urban Futures conveys some of the unsettling depths of this problem).
Metamorphosis participates in a series of evental diagrams which collectively assemble situations, gradually ‘applying’ these diagrams in order to accelerate or decelerate certain movements, intensities, affects, passions. The point is not about imitative action but becoming-molecular. The psychoanalytic investigation of the unconscious is effectively deadlocked around this central difficulty — only beginning to be displaced by the gradual transformation of linguistics into a praxis or pragmatics, a diagrammatology. The movement of the signifier is bound within vorticial frameworks that traverse the unconscious like a network; a kind of wormhole dynamics where lines of flight are intimately related to lines of death.
The intermixing of abstract forces and concrete forms, expressions and contents, enables a practice like schizoanalysis to be possible — by subtracting a dimension, the political dimension of a milieu becomes visible, “auto-diagrammed” as a collective assemblage of enunciation. The ‘automatic’ character of the schizoanalytic process should not be dismissed; it is indeed a kind of auto-experimentation, the cautious and deliberate extrusion of abstract machines from within their concretized expressions, gently removing the shackles from desire. Inspiring metamorphosis involves meta-modeling — diagramming tendencies, processes and functions heuristically in order to maximize them. The whole problem is within metempsychosis, in a way — the possibility of ‘de-individualizing’ and ‘re-individualizing’ into another existence, which points towards a pre-individual intensive continuum.
The political dimensions of phenomena like metempsychosis point to the joy and freedom implicit in myths of metamorphosis. Is there a secret or hidden aspect to the animals, to the earth, to moments and becomings? This secret or this withdrawal is related to the possibility of an alternative orientation, which is perhaps to say to philosophy’s radical project of the creation of a ‘free’ subjectivity, one not subservient to the aims of State or the Church — who with critical joy and deliberate freedom aggressively seeks the demystification of world-historical narratives, whose daybreak is the twilight of all false idols, all master codes.