Catherine Malabou has created a meticulous and profound new concept of the brain. Malabou analyses the functions which neuroscience has discovered, conducting a contemporary synthesis of neuroplasticity, crystallizing a new concept which acts as a curious new abstract machine with many parts. She names this concept plasticity after the plastic multiplicity of the brain; and one component of this concept expresses the brain’s power to learn and to heal, and even to reconfigure itself. Another component is transdifferentiation, or the power of life to remake and refold itself: the capability of certain (pluripotent, totipotent) cellular organisms to unfold into some or many other kinds of cells.
The line of the river is a line of terraqueous flight; a flow flush with the substrate, conditioning and mutating its own channel, both wandering over the territory and slowly reconfiguring it, in a gradual mutation or decryption…
A river system is composed of intensive aqueous lines diffracted from a fusional substrate — a vorticial assembly of multiple planes of consistency in chaotic metastability.
A sky englobes and illuminates a terraqueous sphere in the same way a biosphere recollects the scattered spirit of an earth. The sky breathes, soul of the world. Exposing nature and history to free and limitless dynamism, to an open field of differences distributed in depth. The outer limit of vision or terrestrial abstraction. The sky opens onto a virtual whole, exposing a cosmic membrane to continuous creation. How to begin with aerial roots? What would be required to constitute a joyful science of radical permutation: an oneirogenetics, or a chronopolitics? What is the becoming-imageless of the model or the law or thinking? How is it possible to arrive without returning — as though finally — at the lightest: dreams, the future, atmosphere? How might one become otherwise, through this ellipsis, in the non-image of the outside? How might these depths, aglow with inexhaustible heat, be at long last enveloped?
Soaring above the waves, the surf line finds or creates a means of encrypted communication with the conjoint or conjugal striation of the surface and the disjunct or disastrous perplexity of the depths. A nomad geometer, the navigator of singular and extraordinary waves, the surfer of the pure multiple of the sea, journeys in place to remain in place. The surfer occupies a finely balanced territory, between infinitesimal inclination and infinite extension; an absolute survey becomes possible.
An occupation replete with indeterminations, bristling with events and pure qualities; which can perhaps be defined in terms of the flowing athletic de-situation of centrality, non-motion rather than the catastrophe of activation or spatiality, of extraordinary or disruptive points or segments or the epidemiology of too rigidly fixed positions or too fluidly supple segments. The telepathic geometer or temporal metallurgist, the surfer of future waves, oscillates internally then between two very different kinds of axioms or principles; apparently in real and irresolvable contradiction.
Between restrained or disjunctive materiality (the wave function, if you like) and generalized or conjunctive aesthetics, the depths of the sea or its xeno-crystalline temporality, characterized by chaotic and lawless interventions across streams, between ontologically foreign regimes of development and organization; expressing itself perhaps as future light, infinite glare of machinic resonance from the hard-right edge of time…
A hyperlink is determined dimensionally by planar waves and volumetric surf. It is politics itself, solidary with the delirium at the heart of our highest reason (all too anthropoid, neurotic, regional, drifting…) Conjunction and disjunction; but there is always a ductile and cybernetic surf line. What is the relation between the surf line and the smooth space, or between the line of creative extension and intensive striation? How does surfing make machines rhizome, become a line of flight capable of possibly, if it survives many risks, surveying from hyperborean heights of intensity the haunted depths that separate and link us? –At infinite speed, “all at once”; rather than falling back onto furious mechanical redundantly-parallel recursive analysis? Nevertheless, one must be careful with all these intensities, one must be ready. Hyperlinear conjunction accelerates too rapidly to control, maximizing trauma and bliss at once. But after all the link is a connection, an arrow cast into a void. Whereas conjunction and disjunction are primarily traits of relations produced in tactical route analysis; in which case there is a geographical problem of establishment of points that determine pathways for striating vessels, or smooth transmission, etc. –Rather than the geological or ethological problem of the relay itself or pure logistics, which converts striated positions into smooth spaces, invents or discovers means of oscillating between, a higher-order calculus of acceleration, speeds and slownesses (convalescence.)
The other lines — the subaqueous assemblage of supple lines of the sea; the rigidly delineated striations of oscillatory forces — are no better or worse than the surf line, which wouldn’t exist without them, even though it does not relate to movement in the same way they do. Rather than extend traits the link activates relays or actualizes virtuality, proliferates pure becomings and stationary journeys. The political infrastructure of the hyperlink dominates resonance; this machinery is the accelerating index of redundancy. The surf line is operated by a plane of virtual judgment; hungry for resonance and singularization. They are the teeth of the vampire.
Conjunction occurs precisely because bodies are not yet connected. Because judgment has decreed gravity, ideas are voidic compositions… And the surf of course always overflows itself into death; risking along the way any danger imaginable: and of course the surf line itself emanates a strange melancholy melody. The unsegmentary secretes authorities and pieties and fascisms of its own unique type. The surf is no better than the sea or the waves.
The surf line itself is not the secret, though it may seem to be inventing and discovering a strategy or machine by which the sea and waves may communicate. But even though it is between the supple political segments of biology and the rigid macropolitical lines configuring abstract machines, it is still only a memory-machine; victories are rare. Between inter-involution of a multiplicity of imbricated and mutating rhythms, overflowing organized ontologies, the surf line faces infinite risks, worse perhaps than madness and death; but nevertheless can sometimes navigate an escape into survey, resonating with a wild becoming and expressing the movement of the actualization of the virtual (a world into a city…)
Let me just say that it has been such an honor and such a treat to welcome Brian Dooley and his voice to Fractal Ontology (cf. Brian’s recent work “Schizophrenia of Zero” and “Transvaluation“). I can only inadequately convey my excitement and joy to share a mutual interactive space with a free-spirit like Brian, who, in (not being) himself, constitutes a veritable thought-force, a violence that forces one to think. Nevertheless a positive violence that takes thought to its immanent limit; the violence of the witch’s broom and the dice throw. Obviously not an empirical violence…
How to engage such a violence while coming out unscathed? Wrong question: how to come out scathed, how to love the fate of the wound for which we are born–the nothingness and abyss through which Bryan transports (us). Hence the ethics of transmutation: not to be unworthy of what happens (to us), since the ‘us’ does not repeat in the purity of the event, except as surface effect…But also the ecology of the virtual, or, in another vein, the respons-ibility towards the infinity of dialogue: how to throw down the gauntlet for the exhaustion of the infinite conversation while affirming the negation of agon, the anagonic war at the genital heart of acephalic thought? The encounter where violence is simply the thresholds crossed by reactive forces being tapped into, activated, countereffectuated…
A properly ontological investigation is a ceaseless circulation around the notions of emptiness and presence, a rigorous attempt to discern the peculiar concepts of existence and nothingness, always and once again a faithful commitment to seeking out ones and zeroes. Patching up holes; but precisely in such a way that the reality grasped by ontology (like theology) is always-already as a shadow of reality, like the phantasm of another life. Cantor thought transfinite series a pure and untouchable trace of Difference. A proof of transcendence, disguised as a proof of immanence. But how else could a universal theory of events be constructed?
The critique of ontology encounters yet another surprise when it allows its gaze to move beyond the event itself. The patient observer discovers within the folds of interleaving processes an uncanny kind of hidden writing, whose nature is exceptionally difficult to grasp, for the nature of this half-erased or subtle writing ceaselessly shifts its ground as quickly as the question is posed, and can just as easily turn out to have been nothing at all. –A coincidence, upon which ontology has always made a strange decision: that being and nothing are One, existence is non-existence. God may or may not exist, but this subtle writing can be exhumed from the essences of things. It has affirmed this strange paradox precisely in order to allow a meta-philosophical plane of thought to be constructed.
Being is the first focus of the elliptical orbit traced by ontological thinking. The basic ontological statement is made by Lucretius: all things have within them the seeds of their becoming. Even the void, absolute nothingness, can be seen as a positive emptiness capable of infinite becomings. Being can thus be seen as a kind of positive nothingness, the radically empty pure essence of reality. Hence to be is to become everything — to communicate with infinite becomings, with forces radically exceeding our “individual” structural limitations: the earth, the cosmos; animals, plants, molecules, stars, etc. Thus nothingness is the second focus of the elliptical orbit traced out by ontology, for the reason that to become capable of becoming is the event itself — the paradox which ontology affirms as its rigorous essence: to diagram being.
Deleuze and Guattari—Plateau 1
7 April 2008
In their first plateau, Deleuze and Guattari focus on the concept of the rhizome. In establishing a difference between the arborescent image of thought and the rhizomatic, Deleuze and Guattari claim that the rhizome is an anti-genealogy (11) while at the same time arguing that it is the tree which imposes its genealogy: “A rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo. The tree is filiation, but the rhizome is alliance, uniquely alliance” (25). Filiation proceeds through binary logic around a centralized point (the despot, the philosopher-king, the father), while the alliance extends lines which are not stratified or gridded on root pivot/focal-points. In particular, the fascination with trees and filiation stems from a symptom of our specifically European disease of transcendence (18). What is difficult to remember is that the tree and the rhizome are not necessarily opposed to one another; the first acts like a transcendent tracing and model while the second draws a map through an immanent process that overturns the model (20). But the smooth space of the rhizome is always under constant threat of hierarchization and stratification while the tree can proliferate into a-centered systems given changes in local conditions, thresholds of intensity, coefficients of transversality, etc. Hence both the tree and the rhizome face the strata and the body without organs (4). Yet it is precisely their relation to these two sides which simultaneously indicates the mode of their processes of crossing between the actual and the virtual. Although the two authors do not speak of these two registers, this “dualism” seems completely necessary in order to confront all the principles which they stipulate for understanding the rhizome—in effect, its connectivity, heterogeneity, multiplicity, cartography and decalcomania.