Tuesday, February 13, 2007


This is fun:

Once communication between heterogeneous series is established, all sorts of consequences follow within the system. Something 'passes' between the borders, events explode, phenomena flash, like thunder and lightning. Spatio-temporal dynamisms fill the system, expressing simultaneously the resonance of the coupled series and the amplitude of the forced movement which exceeds them. The system is populated by subjects, both larval subjects and passive selves: passive selves because they are indistinguishable from the contemplation of couplings and resonances, larval subjects because they are supports or patients of the dynamisms. In effect, a pure spatio-temporal dynamism, with its necessary participation in the forced movement, can be experienced only at the borders of the livable, under conditions beyond which it would entail the death of any well-constituted subject endowed with independence and activity. Embryology already displays the truth that there are systematic vital movements, tortions and drifts, that only the embryo can sustain: an adult would be torn apart by them. There are movements for which one can only be a patient, but the patient in turn can only be a larva. Evolution does not take place in the open air, and only the involuted evolves. A nightmare is perhaps a psychic dynamism that could be sustained neither awake nor even in dreams, but only in profound sleep, in a dreamless sleep. In this sense, it is not even clear that thought, in so far as it constitutes the dynamism peculiar to philosophical systems, may be related to a substantial, completed and well-constituted subject, such as the Cartesian Cogito: thought is, rather, one of those terrible movements which can be sustained only under the conditions of a larval subject. These systems admit only such subjects as these, since they alone can undertake the forced movement by becoming the patient of the dynamisms which express it. Even the philosopher is a larval subject of his own system. Thus we see that these systems are defined not only by heterogeneous series which border them, nor by the coupling, the resonance and the forced movement which constitute their dimensions, but also by the subjects which populate them and the dynamisms which fill them, and finally by the qualities and extensities which develop on the basis of such dynamisms.

(Difference and Repetition, pp. 118-119).

Is thinking only possible on condition of an endless becoming? I'm not sure what to make of that. I'm not even sure that it makes sense to think of becoming without end. Have I become anything, or have I become many things, many people? I have for example become a blogger. Am I still in the process of becoming a blogger, or am I becoming something else now by blogging, an inveterate blogger perhaps, or a blogger in such and such a style. Isn't is so, though, that I have blogged?

More and more I think about senescence. Naturally, I am growing old–even the language we use to talk about aging betrays a prejudice towards becoming. Is senescence really a becoming, or is that kind of thinking euphemistic? Why is it so much easier to see natality as part of the human condition than senescence?

Perpetual becoming and endless becoming should be thought of as two different things. Perpetual becoming has its ends; it's just that they are multiple, and becoming can be repeated. Endless becoming is only questionably a becoming.

(Update. I have an obvious prejudice against fantasy. Is this purely a moralistic position, or do I have some reason to believe that the fantastic can be transcended, and that this transcendence is, like fantasy, part of the human condition? Would I really want to live in a world without fantasy?)

At the end of the day my image of thought will differ from Deleuze's. He says that "in fact men think rarely, and more often under the impulse of a shock than in the excitement of a taste for thinking" (p. 132). I think people are constantly immersed in thought. Thought is steeped in the regularities of daily life. If much of this thought doesn't appear to be philosophical, I'm not sure that isn't a problem for philosophy rather than a problem with the way people think.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 12:07 PM.


Anonymous John said...

Hi its John again.
This essay gives a unique perspective on the process of aging.


This related essay gives a unique perspective of how our conviction of fearful mortality poisons the integrity of the body-mind.


February 13, 2007 8:39 PM  
Blogger razorsmile said...

I think the nature of becoming is not understandable as a becoming toward a thing, or a linearity towards a goal, which seems implied. For both Deleuze and Nietzsche the eternal return is the locus of their argument about becoming an dfor deleuze it is the 'pur and empty form of time', by which he means that which orders any time into a 'unequal distribution', ie: into a future and a past, neither of which is equivalent in any sense (a caesura which distributes a before and an after and which is their condition). The future is precisely not simply what will become past but an always open horizon, or else it has an end, and as such loses its sense as a future. Endless becoming is an always existing future.

(This notion of the eternal return is radically opposed to, for example, the 2nd law of thermodynamics - cf: DR CH2, note 25, in which Clausius - the classical locus for the formulation of the 2nd law, in 1862 I think it was -is explicitly opposed. The opposition is not a scientific one, however, though Nietzsche, in notes 1062 through 1065 in The Will to Power, may appear to give the impression that it is.)

February 16, 2007 4:25 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

I'm sure I would disagree with Deleuze on the nature of becoming--at the very least I believe this must be open to question. From my perspective there's a nostalgic quality to the notion of endless becoming. My only qualm is the devaluation of the fantastic (or longing) that my position implies.

February 17, 2007 10:41 AM  

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