acceleration, becoming, control, Deleuze, machine, Nietzsche, subjectivity, virtual

Technoscience and Expressionism

Alfred Muller -- Plaza Juarez, Mexico City 2006

Alfred Muller — Plaza Juarez, Mexico City 2006

Technology and Control

The technocrat is the natural friend of the dictator—computers and dictatorship; but the revolutionary lives in the gap which separates technical progress from social totality, and inscribed there his dream of permanent revolution. This dream, therefore, is itself action, reality, and an effective menace to all established order; it renders possible what it dreams about (Gilles Deleuze, Logic of Sense)

Gilles Deleuze’s indication of a certain affinity between technocrats and dictators seems prescient. By Postscript on Control Societies the new realities resonating between society and its machines, in the middle of technological acceleration and social upheaval, have become so intense that every interior is in crisis, and the entirety of society has to be organized to resist the eruption of these dreams into reality.

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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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assemblage, Bachelard, becoming, bergson, Deleuze, difference, duration, image, intuition, memory, metaphysics, metapsychology, ontology, problematics, time, virtual, Whitehead

Bergsonism, or Philosophy of Sub- and Superhuman Durations


Deleuze, Gilles. Bergsonism. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. New York: Zone, 1991.

Bergson on several occassions compares the approach of philosophy to the procedure of infinitesimal calculus: When we have benefited in experience from a little light which shows us a line of articulation, all that remains is to extend it beyond experience—just as mathematicians reconstitute, with the infinitely small elements that they perceive of the real curve, ‘the curve itself stretching out into the darkness behind them.’ In any case, Bergson is not one of those philosophers who ascribes a properly human wisdom and equilibrium to philosophy. To open us up to the inhuman and the superhuman (durations which are inferior or superior to our own), to go beyond the human condition: This is the meaning of philosophy, in so far as our condition condemns us to live among badly analyzed composites, and to be badly analyzed composites ourselves (Gilles Deleuze, Bergsonism pg 27-28).


Deleuze’s project in Bergsonism is to render a systematic understanding of Bergson’s concepts in their interrelations. Of course, this book is an experiment in philosophical buggery, and so there is a clear Deleuzian ring to it. There is much in here that is strictly related to Deleuze’s project, but in itself it still retains a lot of theoretical value and stands as a concise and intriguing reading of Bergson. The first chapter on intuition as method lays out clearly Bergson’s project in three moves: (1) state and create problems; (2) discover the genuine differences in kind; (3) apprehend time in its reality as duration. To construct this method in its rigor, we must set out some rules as we go along.

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artificial intelligence, complexity, creativity, evolution, immanence, interface, machine, network, nomads, self-organization, virtual

Remarks on Computational Creativity


Artificial intelligence stands in need of a fresh thought: a new thinking of complexity, of the virtual, and of machines. Instead of a virtual founded upon forms which remain forever the same, we need an idea of the virtual founded upon difference itself. We need a creative virtuality.

The task of building a robot demands a lucid and algorithmic way of grasping the frame problem. An adaptive principle of distinguishing problem spaces, some genetic evolution culminating in the capacity to mark a difference. So how do the sense organs evolve? Which is another way of asking: how does experience form?

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capital, creativity, image, machine, virtual, war, will

Image and Capital


We desire illusions — because we desire revelation. When we have faith, our energy inverts itself from within: the world is suddenly magically transformed, us along with it. Illusions! More like liaisons. Economy is the same way: a magic power grasps hold, a flow of energy spontaneously rearranging the underlying order of the universe. Capital is a specter and a spectacle: universal miracle machine, superego-substitute and hyper-sexual idol all-in-one. From images branded onto faces, tasks onto hands, and illusions onto gazes– somehow money is produced. Capital is the illusion; for money-as-signifier is dead, dead since capitalism declared its global aim, to include all within its dream. Capital is a pure power retreated into its own image — which has just as quickly plunged the earth right into the depths of the Virtual.

The image only is sovereign — the sovereign is imaginary. Ideal for a complex bureaucracy — where we are ruled by no one. The spectacle is again the most ancient epic, the many against the one, the story of power’s evolution: until finally machines have taken responsibility over our imagination! Once, timid and easily frightened away or turned back, now the Image has truly come into its own virtual domain. Spaces for interpretation of any kind are now entirely produced as images. There is no love but for a machine; all else is war, a war against the order of things… Hope is an image, fear a symbol; both are faces, branded onto images more deeply than their contents or design. Yet we know we can affect images — because images affect us! Micropolitics is not just local subversion, but molecular involution: unfolding, reconvergence, diffusion.

Ideology is not a dream, nor can we abandon concepts for functions: for it is our very existence in question and on trial as a false image of life… Conscience demands that we must move beyond ontology towards a new dimension, on the other sides of images — in sohrt, towards a material ethics of conviviality. Which is not to say of justice per se, but more explicitly of cohumanity, control and creativity. Never has it been clearer than in our time the essential disunity of human existence: that is, that necessity is not opposed to free will. We are not total by ourselves; our potential is only unlocked in the energy and power of a group. And as soon as a group has definite aims, a goal and an identity, it is already a war-machine. It seems we cannot escape answering some call or another; the lesson is not only that we ought to distinguish between imaginary ideals and real dreams, but even that the real image we follow has only virtual substance, one we are choosing and desiring to experience.

Aion, Chronos, Deleuze, dialectics, Logic of Sense, surface, virtual

Logic of Sense: Series 2 on the Paradox of Surface Effects: Dialectics as the Art of Conjugation

In series 2 on the paradox of surface effects, Deleuze happens to mention dialectics as “the art of conjugation” (8). Before diving into the implications of this statement, we should note that for Deleuze, the pure event can be conceived of as an infinitive independent of any temporal, modal, vocal or personal grammatical determinations—and so in essence, this type of pure event can be conceived of properly as a pre-individual singularity that escapes the logical ordering of worlds (214). This insistence on the link between the infinitive and the event can be traced throughout the book and culminates in series 30 on the phantasm; however, we can understand how and for what purpose Deleuze chooses to designate a role for dialectics (note, not the dialectic) in his philosophy. All that is required is a more concrete definition of dialectics as Deleuze gives it and an unpacking of what the art of conjugation entails for an understanding of the way in which events come to be expressed in propositions and the way that these events are themselves related in propositions (8).

I did not happen to bring up series 30 on accident, for what Deleuze makes explicit is that psychoanalysis and dialectics, fundamentally at least, share a strong affinity (notice Deleuze chiding Freud for taking a ‘Hegelian’ position on the contradictory nature of primitive words) (213). This is because psychoanalysis takes phantasms as the (im)material for its science of events. Similarly, Deleuze links the incorporeal effects or “dialectical attributes” to the events that populate the surface (5). In fact, Deleuze will even say “The Stoics discovered surface effects. Simulacra cease to be subterranean rebels and make the most of their effects (that is, what might be called ‘phantasms,’ independently of the Stoic terminology)” (8). It is here that Deleuze first equates the event with being beyond the passive/active opposition, being both and neither at once (8).

If dialectics is “the science of incorporeal events as they are expressed in propositions, and of the connections between events as they are expressed in relation between propositions,” then one might well question whether or not Deleuze fully bypasses this sort of static conception of events (8). In fact, I want to hypothesize that Deleuze brings up dialectics at the start as a one-sided approach to the phenomenon of language formation along a frontier. What will become important to Deleuze is not simply how the infinitive-event is conjugated in a world, but instead how infinitive-events can be said to be a-cosmic and singular. This singularity can be tricky if we choose to see events circulating in a univocal Event that is transcendent to the world and its logic. If we choose to see the ideality of the pure event as transcendent, we fall into the easy trap that Badiou is guilty of—namely, that of condemning the concept of the virtual as that which introduces transcendence into an otherwise untainted, univocal system of immanence.

But this does not answer the obvious question—what does the virtual mean and how does it correlate with Deleuze’s concept of dialectics? If we can roughly divide the terms actual/virtual with the two movements of time Chronos/Aion, then we may be able to make some progress (or make things more confusing). As I understand it, Chronos is the time of the pure, full present, the past and the future being subsumed and contracted or folded into one layer. But Aion works exactly opposite: instead, future and past are infinitely subdivided and the present is what is empty—in this sense, the present is not, or it can be considered a void point. If we can imagine that the world partakes of both times at once, we belie the fundamental point—events that are temporalized have actual consequences on the world of Chronos. Instead of being just past or just about to come—as Deleuze understands the time of Aion and the pure event—actualized events come to share in the consequences of world formation and logical development. But this leaves the obvious question of the virtuality of the event: what about an event that isn’t actualized? We can say that the event did not take place because of a lack of force or because of a sufficient intensity for a zone was not activated. In other words, events have potentials that must be tapped into and unleashed for a proportionate actualization. In some sense, the event requires certain conditions and the relative critical energy in order for the chaos of the virtual to be actualized in the production of reality. It is, then, the duty of dialectics to be able to formulate specific conditions that augment the conjugation of pure events from the virtuality of Aion to the actuality of Chronos.