channel, Deleuze, desire, difference, habit, language, machine, memory, ontology




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. 

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acceleration, anti-gravity, Bachelard, belief, brother, celerity, change, dream, dreams, feeling, flight, future, laughter, love, memory, reality, texture, Thought, transformation, truth, Uncategorized, world

Learning to Fly

Psychologists — and more especially philosophers — pay little attention to the play of miniature frequently introduced into fairy tales. In the eyes of the psychologist, the writer is merely amusing himself when he creates houses that can be set on a pea. But this is a basic absurdity that places the tale on a level with the merest fantasy. And fantasy precludes the writer from entering, really, into the domain of the fantastic. Indeed he himself, when he develops his facile inventions, often quite ponderously, would appear not to believe in a psychological reality that corresponds to these miniature features. He lacks that little particle of dream which could be handed on from writer to reader. To make others believe, we must believe ourselves.
Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, “Miniature”

The tiniest things are the greatest secrets: focus in on the details, a world, an individual, truth emerges. Love is clarified silence. In the mysterious simplicity of vision, truth escapes and enters being in the very same movement — which is not split in simply two directions, but rather fractured from end to beginning into a billion microscopic fragments of light. Become a prism. What we see is not what is apparent, but rather caused by it. So stop looking — and see. Sensory reality is overwhelmingly powerful, so overwhelmingly convincing it easily tempts us into becoming its willing hostage. But it is no more real than your dreams. What makes us afraid to really trust in sense itself, the reality of our dreams and the dreaming of reality, is the invisible presence of the “enemy.” What we are generally unaware of is that this “enemy” is in fact, our most intimate friend — even a twin brother. Because there are no distinctions when anything is properly distinguished. Infinity is nothing at all, an image of thought: a paradoxical dream that everything is and can be one, and that one is and can be everything. Because we are finally no longer pinned down by the old evaluations, we are free to become anything. We have at long last conquered that ancient negation of laughter which is only now really beginning to lose its sting. We are slowly, so slowly remembering it was we who gave words their weight in the first place. We have remembered that feeling is enough to transform the world — not because it changes what the world is — but because it changes what the world can be. We have remembered that a law of celerity is needed to supplement the law of gravity. We have rediscovered the absurd truth, that the tiniest “push” is all that is required to fly. The transformation of reality is also the transformation of dreams. All that is required — is to do it. Make it shift. Go ahead, give it a try. There are no causes, no effects, only lines of acceleration producing textures — light and sound. So create, invent, experiment! And don’t forget: the future is history. Remember before.

abstract machine, code, Cognition, diagram, difference, energy, entropy, identity, knowledge, learning, memory, problem, structure, Thought, unconscious, wittgenstein

On Learning


One way of approaching the difference between knowledge and learning (so profound in our opinion that, despite their entanglement, there can be postulated neither a material nor conceptual ground which could ever serve to unify them) is by considering that even while wholly disparate, they are not in the least opposed for that reason. To learn and to know are two divergent operations, contrapositive dynamisms, which are nevertheless always both active simultaneously, as the “cutting edges” or ungrounding machines of cognition. A thought is grounded not in abstract oppositions, but in concrete forces traversing real problematic fields.

Knowledge is classically represented as a heterogeneous assemblage — our minds are far too imperfect to clearly perceive the pure, homogeneous Truth — which is self-totalizing and self-regulated by an internal learning process, charged with traversing its own experiences (as they are represented and reactivated as memories of varying intensities.) In this sense, abstract oppositions emerge only as variables of these mixed compositions of energetic and entropic flows. This is the illusion of hyper-diagrammatism (implying a kind of super-diagram of “all” thought.) We must try and see that thought isn’t about models and copies, not about identity and ideology — but rather about lines along which interminglings are operative, as though “between” concrete and abstract flows of energy — food for words, money for sex, death for love, virtue for pain, and on and on…

What is produced in this process of establishing communication between incommensurable problematic fields — or learning — should certainly not be characterized as a pure memory, but rather a decentralized and a-subjective cognitive process. “Thought” is not the difference between learning and knowledge, but rather an abstract machine which underlies them while nevertheless separating them, almost as though by an absolute divergence. Learning fights dullness and emptiness with lightning and fire, mortally threatening the stasis and death of “serious knowledge,” which would otherwise totally consume the brave and fiery heart of discovery. So let’s stop asking what “knowledge” and “learning” mean in themselves (and trying to ‘deduce’ the ‘difference’ — and thereby, most likely, only serving to overcode it by an all-too-serious line of death); let’s rather ask: how do these operations work?
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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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alterity, being, difference, expression, harmonics, history, language, memory, post-modern, radiation, science, time, transcendence, writing

The Thought of Language


The human being is in the most literal sense a political animal, not merely a gregarious animal, but an animal which can individuate itself only in the midst of society.

(Karl Marx, from the introduction to Grundrisse)

Between being and language there is an interval, a purified difference articulated through individuation, a difference in time or development: language is in such a way that it always is yet to be as a being. Language becomes through the production of alteration or mutation: we can and cannot formulate the sense or direction of writing — it is always in a process of developing into an exotic, immaterial, and “purified” being — or even into a different kind than “being.”

Through a coincidence of non-identicals, language plunges into becoming in order to reverse its temporal structure: pure language is tachyonic, a signal reversed in time, whose being unfolds in waves, inverting the radiation of light and noise, subverting distribution of space, producing an unusual, internal co-resonance which unfetters time (alterity) itself.

Language is radiation, interference; thus linguistics is a kind of harmonics: a science of language without phonetics, a science of noise and parasitic diagrams, which would already in some sense be reducible to a violently “purified” mathematics (the “post-modern” is but footnotes to Aristotle, a fervently anti-idealistic “clarification” of ontology.)

The analysis of linguistic structures unconsciously proceeds in (genea)logical fashion: yet should we not also seek language in its positive or generative aspect (which correlates with a larger sense of language as expressivity, productive recording,) that is also to produce new languages of pure forms, and also to invent mathematical and scientific languages; and between and underneath both to produce instructions for pure machines?

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becoming, bergson, break, depth, diachrony, divergence, event, experience, flow, fracture, intensity, invention, irreversibility, memory, phenomenology, rhythm, science, sensation, time, victor hugo

On the Origin of Duration

Caspar David Friedrich, Man and Woman Contemplating the Moon (1824)

On The Origin of Duration

(Notes towards a “Genealogy” of Time)

Time is invention, or it is nothing.

Henri Bergson

Time is a stutter, a clue, a signal from beyond which comes from within. The concept “temporality” breaks itself, already expresses divergence, it forever escapes our control.

The flow of time outruns itself, it is always diachronous, bringing thought straight back to its origin, to the quality without quantity, to an intensity issuing neither in number nor form, but rather in pure expressivity itself, in the depth and fullness of experience. Memory is the form of this recurrence, through the continuous variation of matter along certain axes of symmetry, the flowing solution of a complex problem of folding events, unfolding new durations.

Becoming is a transmission received in convoluted mazes, actualization is labyrinthine: not only a million decisions, but a million ideas — and so a million qualities, varieties and dimensions of time, tucked away and tiny, alive in the cracks between the problems and the idea, between memory and the future, waiting to be explored.

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Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, differenciation, Eros, French Translation, habit, memory, ontology, Psyche, syntheses of the unconscious, Thanatos, unconscious, Untranslated Theory, virtual

Translation from Gilles Deleuze’s Ontology: Véronique Bergen on the Syntheses of the Unconscious in Difference and Repetition


The following is an excerpt on the syntheses of the unconscious in Difference and Repetition from Véronique Bergen’s L’Ontologie de Gilles Deleuze, Paris: L’Harmattan, 2001. 325-327. Original translation by Taylor Adkins on 11/05/07.

The three syntheses of the unconscious in the times developed in Difference and Repetition, the three “beyonds of the pleasure principle”[1] organizing bio-psychic life

“correspond to figures of repetition, which appear in the work of a great novelist: the binding, the ever renewed fine cord; the every displaced stain on the wall; the ever erased eraser. The repetition-binding, the repetition-stain, the repetition-eraser: the three beyonds of the pleasure principle. The first synthesis expresses the foundation of time upon the basis of a living present, a foundation which endows pleasure with its value as a general empirical principle to which is subject the content of the psychic life in the Id. The second synthesis expresses the manner in which time is grounded in a pure past, a ground which conditions the application of the pleasure principle to the contents of the Ego. The third synthesis, however, refers to the absence of ground into which we are precipitated by the ground itself: Thanatos appears in third place as this groundlessness, beyond the ground of Eros and the foundation of Habit” (Difference and Repetition, tr. Paul Patton, p. 114).

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