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.
Hard right. Eternity and history do not enter into the pure multiple without an absolute translation or relative transfiguration, an intensive traversal of the code against the code. The decryption of time and an encryption of the future, or connective activation of infinite resonance. Remembering or becoming every property, trait, characteristic; everyone; everything. Traversal of the open virtual whole. Glare beyond which it is unendurable to go.
Binding. A crowd networks without distance or depth, in-divides a multiplicity. A crowd even perhaps opposes a multiplicity; faces the turbulence and variability of the meteorological or the demonological, yet just as much opposes the one, the infinity and in-differenciation of the bacteriological or cosmological. Between the one and the many, a calculated subtraction of the middle. –The multitude of the crowd? But a crowd is not a multiple for itself, does not participate in an infinite multiplicity in itself. A crowd is a restricted or relativized multiplicity; barred or fractional multiplication or differentiation-without-division. The obscure or unspecified etiology of the crowd, the pack, reflects that of the abstract band, pure zones of proximal potentialities. Crowding is after all perhaps the characteristic operation of the territory itself, the process of making a territory and binding it, opposed to poesis or peopling; negation though tracing and reproduction. –Yet a crowd is nevertheless a micro-poetry in its way: the crowd dramatizes itself without representation, enveloping and amplifying affective diagrams to infinite speeds of conjunction and disjunction, concentrating differences of intensity, distributing gradients, conditioning dynamisms. The secret future or encrypted essence of the crowd is generalized itinerancy, generating spaces, populations. The crowd manifests itself in disappearing; a battle or a disaster. The crowd enters into a becoming-imperceptible; the present is detached from within its own eventuality. A crowd, what but a vicious binding of alienation to xenophobia, of association to vengeance? A binding which unbinds in binding, even extrudes a hallucinatory ego from an intensive depth, an idiotic signal from an infinite blindness; binding the psyche to a god, consciousness, truth; the socius to capital, signification, schizophrenia. No, a crowd is not a multiplicity. It has not yet become space-creative; it has refused the boundaries binding it to the severing of bonds, it has avoided experimental mutation. It is the refuge of the arboreal in the mycelium.
Floating above. Everything about the minor artist turns towards or into the one, revolves around an absent center; every word is a politics, every act an ethics. The affective content of minor literature reflects this unity without identity of a minority; identified only via domination, immunological suppression, paralysis. A broken-down machine; and a breaking-down atmosphere. Everything minor is always-already in migratory or itinerant motion, or in wild flight… –Breaking-down as a side-effect of breaking-through.
A signal develops conditions suitable for conviviality of noisy lines, conjunction of colored planes, convergence of pure volumes. Development emerges encoded from the remotest and most alien depths of the sea. Chaos filtered: decrypted or machined.
Evolution or the pure differentiation of a life? From a crystalline substrate, from the earth to the navigation of the world. Analysis of stratigraphic zones and synthesis of degrees of proximity. Integration of the night, the indifferent — the universe.
Organization overflows time. Death, or beginning without limit? Production or product? –But the simulacrum is mute. Enfolding infinity, life eclipses itself. The full body is annihilation. Every horizon collapses. Light dissolves. Time crumbles. Movement decelerates into imperceptibility. One becomes old. A word always turns to ashes; all books burn. Any duration elapses. Seas freeze. Channels fade into silence. Creation halts in the middle.
Between blindness and visionary dilation, the long winter of a dying cosmos. Spirit unfolds, converges with eternity; comes and goes. Everything is forgotten.
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.
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.