becoming, Deleuze, language, Nietzsche, ontology, Politics

Theory 1: Epigrams and Involutions

Theory 1: Epigrams and Involutions

“When I’m dreaming back like that I begins to see we’re only all telescopes.” Joyce, Finnegan’s Wake

“We have to learn to think differently — in order at last, perhaps very late on, to attain even more: to feel differently.” Nietzsche, Daybreak, II.103

“The greater part of the world’s troubles are due to questions of grammar.” Montaigne

Preface. These collected epigrams, my thoughts of the morning — and occasionally late evening — this collection of azure and gleaming obsidian birds, I give to you today. If only you could have seen these terrible thoughts, these wicked birds in life, in joyful flight! I give this gift also to mark a break from this work, this first theory, this Theory 1 — for some of it is now alien to me. We are still becoming. Another theory, to refocus and amplify the first; incipit the second!

With infinite love,

Joseph Weissman, July 22, 2012 C.E.

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animal, desire, ecology, individuation, mythology, psychology, Simondon

Simondon in English: “Two Lessons on Animal and Man”

It is my great delight to help announce the publication of one of the first book-length English translations available of the writings of French philosopher of technology Gilbert Simondon (1924-1989), published by Univocal. The volume is available under the title Two Lessons on Animal and Man and was translated by Drew Burk. The work is composed of a series of lectures intended for undergraduates interested in the humanities, especially philosophy, sociology and psychology.

As the translator puts it, “[f]or many, Gilbert Simondon is an unheard of landscape of philosophical inquiry. For other thinkers such as Gilles Deleuze and Bernard Stiegler his work on individuation is essential for the task of moving outside anthropocentric conceptions of identity formation and humanity’s relationship to the technical universe.” (Two Lessons on Animal and Man, Translator’s Note) I might merely add that in this text Simondon offers insights that are of vital urgency and interest, especially to those called by this aptly-designated “task.”

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becoming, language, machine


Treated drawing, Steve Calvert. (

“The greater part of the world’s troubles are due to questions of grammar.” (Montaigne)

Protocol. Perhaps one dimension of the aesthetic appeal of the mechanical is in the ‘purity’ of the interleaving of dynamisms — the quality of being a kind of ‘moving’ and even ‘living’ diagram that excites certain sensitivities. Each machine is already a manifold network of various configuration-spaces (involving significant mechanical, environmental, logical factors, etc.) — its singular and intricate behavior produced ‘simply’ by becoming activated and operated. I ask: how was it possible to lay out a common plane where signs and objects, code and data and things and people could all participate ‘democratically”?

Everything unfolds as though some master plan were pre-existent, as though the very organization of society, language and thought itself implicitly support a certain orientation, a certain set of virtual borderlines and existential territories establishing a kind of plane of consistency. The capitalist mode of production engenders the conditions for a radical destruction of the consistency of classical plans in place of a generalized decoding of flows; that is to say, flows of words, devices, actions, passions, people, all swept up into a decoded ‘polyvocity’, a collective elocution of a machinic assemblage complete with black holes and lines of flight, bursting with fractal islands of knowledge and complexity. The network illuminates.

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certainty, disorder, history, intensity, number, rigor, rupture, system, value



This creature Life, beyond all evaluations, remains an uninterpretable difference — a kind of difference which is primary with respect to a differential identity, a difference which directly induces individuation, and thereby also seduces us to imitation, to the law of identity, and the shackles of representation. Difference for itself becomes the enemy and not a single word is possible on the value of life; how can we interpret this chaosmogenetic reality, arrive at by subtraction this very truth which endlessly ruptures with the signifying systems we use to interpret the world to another? It seems to verge on a kind of heresy, a prediction of apocalypse with respect to philosophy as such: can a mathematization, an axiomatization of the real take place?

The enormous suffering which has gone into everything beautiful is a misery which not only fails to become sensible in the light of Being, but which forcibly undermines the notion that all descends from pure forms (existence from Idea; God as pure and liberating Force of truth) rather than through the violent admixture and interpenetration of wildly heterogeneous forces and bodies (existence from cruelty; God as the tortuously circular Process of differentiation.) A metaphysics from the absolute will to tragedy is an anti-moral, materialist, atheist metaphysic: the singular vision of the real in which our decisions could be dangerous (need I mention also the only one in which knowledge necessarily involves suffering and self-deception?)

Thinking is precisely this adventure which connects its desires not to an identical reality or a primary nullity, but precisely to the an-identical, the differentiality of existence. Not a kind of compromise between two poles of the idea but a war with the arbitrary division of the idea into isolated components, the body of Life into organs without bodies. “We have to learn to think differently — in order at last, perhaps very late on, to attain even more: to feel differently.” Nietzsche (Daybreak, II.103)

becoming, language, metaphysics, ontology





Transiency hurls itself everywhere into a deep state of being. And therefore all forms of this our world are not only to be used in a time-specific sense, but should be included into those phenomena of superior significance in which we partake, and of which we are a part.





Ideas arrest and extrude contents from a flux and thus illuminate forms from chaos. An inversion or involution, not the simple highlighting of a pattern or introducing a context — but rather through a constant, asymmetrical, positive communication with the flux, and so in a sense a commingling with the essence of form itself. Yet a bifurcation defers any discernment of the origin of ideas, they are not a memory


They do not come from you. (A code has an inventor, to be sure; but like a strand of DNA, these codes are always secondary, indirect, relative — a map with moving parts, not the tracing of a blueprint.) Codes ensure the maintenance of a form only to an approximate degree; in this sense they mimic the behavior of soap bubbles which appear spherical — the question is whether an ideal form exists, or whether we are interpreting patterns from the turbulent interaction of forces. 


Does matter dramatize ideas into reality, or do ideas awaken things into being? A code documents a becoming, hence it is not a relationship as such, though it may be connected or disjoined from other codes. What is coded does not necessarily resemble the code which is applied: in fact these cases constitute rather singular exceptions, which have formed the morphological substructure of the concept itself. 

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On the Misery of the Unbeliever

The Bhagavad Gita, like any text or doctrine rigorously indebted to the religious genre of literature, presents the (post)modern or skeptical reader with all the things that Krishna attributes to “cynical people:” perhaps nothing but misery or frustration (83.3). In the same sense, it is an awesome text due to its absoluteness. The word “metaphysics” in philosophy has recently come to designate a form of thought which perpetuates the belief in the necessary or absolute existence of any entity. Like every promotion of faith, the Bhagavad Gita formulates a clear-cut metaphysics that attempts to evaluate existence, nature, the universe, human life, etc. and asserts a pre-established sense to reality. The most obvious way to begin to ground a pre-given sense of reality is to assert an other-world concealed behind our everyday world. To respect its complexity, let’s assemble some of the axioms to Krishna’s metaphysical claims:

  1. The Atma (True Self), Brahman (God or Godhead) and Purusha (life force) necessarily exist (43.12).
  2. All beings are contingent upon God, who is absolute, and so if a being exists, it exists necessarily through God (53.18-19).
  3. Similarly, God splits into nature and spirit (Divinity), one being non-real, the other real, and God is not dependent upon nature (the non-real), but nature is dependent on God (70.12).
  4. Although God looks over nature, the latter operates by itself and is contingent upon karma (action), whereas God is divorced from all worldly action or karma itself.
  5. Therefore, God, Atma, and the Life Force are not natural, they are divine, or we could say that nature is God’s lower (non-real) nature, and divinity is its higher nature (16.26-27).
  6. All desire is worldly and linked to pleasure and pain. Therefore, the world does not guarantee any pleasure that is not overwhelmed by pain, or since the world does not offer a permanent feeling of pleasure (i.e. bliss) because of the prospect of death, then the belief in a realm beyond death and life becomes the most important goal (73.29). Continue reading