READING GUIDE TO Deleuze, G. and Parnet, C. (1987) Dialogues, trans H Tomlinson and B Habberjam, London: The Athlone Press.

[This was apparently written between Anti Oedipus and a Thousand Plateaus, and it is quite helpful at rounding out some of the more obscure bits of both pieces, especially things like the face.  The last chapter expresses at its clearest May ’68 liberation politics.  The second chapter, on Anglo American literature, is appallingly pseudy at times, and full of the most ludicrous generalisations one turns on the ‘fact’, mentioned rather obscurely in the earlier Logic of Sense, that French ontology is based on the verb ‘to be’, while Anglo American ontology is based on the conjunction ‘and’.  Once clarified, what this seems to amount to is that French philosophers like saying what something definitely is, so that A is B, whereas English philosophers can see multiplicities more clearly by saying A and B.  No wonder he had to disguise and obscure this—it’s silly when stated plainly.

Claire Parnet has obviously managed to do some good work here in getting Deleuze to explicate things, at least a bit {there are still really obscure and allusory sections, and I’m going to incorporate one below if I can get my scanner to work}.  Deleuze is evasive and kind of ultra leftist here in refusing to engage in a dialogue, for the usual reasons—things start in the middle, he doesn’t like binaries, he’d rather work alone than waste time in conversations, and so on. He likes the sound of his own voice, but I am glad when the lady grabs the pen and it is all rendered en clair {sorry}. I suspect I have mostly noted her bits. The two parts of the later chapters are not 'signed',and both seemed to have written a bit. I doubt if anyone could have written the majority of the appalling second section of Ch 2 except Deleuze though ( see sample text below)]

Deleuze Preface

Whitehead defined empiricism as the view that the abstract does not explain but must be explained.  Instead of attempting to find universals, we should ‘find the conditions under which something new is produced’ ( vii).  The view that the abstract is realized in the concrete always runs into difficulties because concrete is disunified, complex or monstrous [I just thought about this in terms of the old relationship between theory and practice in education. That almost always depends on theory as some universalist abstraction which always must encounter complexity in practice.  Only some magic generated by the subject can reconcile them].

Empiricism works the other way round starting with states of things and trying to extract concepts [actually ‘non-pre- existent concepts’ ( vii)].  States of things are not unities or totalities but multiplicities.  A multiplicity ‘designates a set of lines or dimensions which are irreducible to one another.  Every “thing” is made up in this way’ (vii) [a universal if ever I heard one]. Multiplicities include various focuses, centres, or points which unify, totalize and subjectivate, but this involves a stopping of growth.  What counts is what is between the elements, the relations which are not separable.  Multiplicities growth from the middle like rhizomes.  Lines do not proceed from point to point but pass between points, ‘ceaselessly bifurcating and diverging’ (viii).

Extracting concepts which correspond to multiplicities involves tracing and analyzing the lines, seeing how they become entangled or connect, focus or avoid focus.  The lines are becomings, not unities and not histories.  Multiplicities are made of becomings, and of individuations without a subject, as with objects.  Concepts exist empirically as well as rationally: they are being-multiple rather than being a subject. Empiricism is a logic of multiplicities.  The aim is to show these multiplicities in different domains, in Freud, for example.  It is hard to think of multiplicities in themselves which do not need the usual ways of dealing with things—instead, normal terms take on different meanings: ‘the indefinite article as particle, the proper name as individuation without subject, the verb in the infinitive as pure becoming’ (ix).  Anglo American literature apparently gets close to these conceptions, and science, maths and physics also aim at multiplicity.  In politics, ‘in the social field rhizomes spread out everywhere under the arborescent apparatuses’ (ix).

The book is a collection of musings or reveries [ramblings as well], between AntiOedipus and Thousand Plateaus, so between Guattari and himself and also between Parnet and himself.  As usual, it’s not the points, the people ‘who functioned simply as temporary, transitory and evanescent points of subjectivation’, but the lines which makes this book a multiplicity too (ix).  Hence the conversation format was abandoned and the idea was to show the growing dimensions of the multiplicity ‘according to becomings which were unattributable to individuals, since they could not be immersed in it without changing qualitatively…  We became less sure of what came from one, what came from the other, or even from someone else’, but we did clarify what it meant to write.  We wanted a rhizome rather a tree with binary logic.  ‘This really was a book without subject, without beginning or end, but not without middle’ (x).  [Compare this with the Gale collaboration that seems to be a series of comments from named individuals.  I must say I find Deleuze evasive or arrogant in taking this view.  I really think he actually can’t be bothered to explain to ordinary mortals what on earth he is rambling about—if we don’t get it, it’s probably not for us anyway].

Translators introduction

The original format was an interview or question and answer dialogue, but the book grew ‘without an overall ordering principle…  It is the book as war machine, the book as rhizome’ ( xi).  Apparently the contributions are offshoots of Deleuze’s seminar at Vincennes.  Participants were invited to correct the dualisms to get to the idea in TP that pluralism equals monism, that dualisms are the enemy.  We can see pluralism at work here.  However ‘this attempt operate against a background of a French intellectual life which is already becoming curiously dated’ (xii).  There are connections with Anglo American thinking.  Deleuze appears as ‘an empiricist and pragmatist of a particular type: not a “passive pragmatist” measuring things against practice but a “constructive” pragmatist whose aim is “the manufacture of materials to harness forces, to think the unthinkable”’ (xii) [apparently a saying that emerged from one of the seminars -- sounds like Dewey on stilts].  They have translated ‘precepts’ as ’order words’ again.

Chapter one A Conversation: What is it?  What is it For?


[First bit by Deleuze – can’t you tell! – second bit by Parnet]

It is hard to explain yourself to others.  When asked a question, it is easy to find you have nothing to say, unless they are your own questions.  Better to focus on problems rather than solutions, and this doesn’t happen in interviews or conversations.  Reflection isn’t adequate either.  [There are strong philosophical reasons for this view in Difference and Repetition ch 2 -- reflection is the major cognitive activity of the reflexive self, a Kantian construction Deleuze wants to get away from.] Objections never help, and it makes Deleuze wants to leave it and go on to something else, just to get out of it.  You don’t get out of it by going over questions, but generating movement , often ‘behind the thinker’s back’ (2) [could be a delayed reaction to the question of course].  Big general questions about the future go round in circles, while we want imperceptible becomings.  Becoming is geographical not historical, involving orientations.  For example ‘there is a woman – becoming which is not the same as women, their past and their future, and it is essential that women enter this by coming to get out of the past and the future, their history’ (2) [the translators note that they use terms like woman-becoming to indicate something more than ordinary processes of becoming a woman].  Revolutionary becomings are not the same as the fate of actual revolutions.  Philosophy – becoming does not emerge from the history of philosophy, but rather through marginals who remain unclassified.

Becoming is not a matter of imitation or conformity to a model; there are no starting and stopping points; there is no simple exchange of terms.  Conversations could outline becomings [doubtless what joint writing does as well].  As people undergo becoming, have a change in themselves.  Becomings involve ‘doubled capture, of non parallel evolution, of nuptials between two reigns.  Nuptials are always against nature.  Nuptials are the opposite of a couple’ (2).  There are no longer binaries either.  The wasp and the orchid are an example [again] (2).  The wasp become part of the orchid’s reproductive apparatus and vice versa.  There is a ‘single bloc of becoming’ (2).  Human beings and animals can meet ‘on the trajectory of a common but asymmetrical deterritorialization’ (3).  A commentator on Mozart [not refd] says that the bird song in his music shows a single becoming or a-parallel evolution.

Becomings are imperceptible and can only be expressed in a style and contained in a life.  It is not the actual words or expressions that matter, and words can always be replaced with other words: ‘You can always replace one word with another.  If you don’t like that one, if it doesn’t suit you, take another, put another in its place.  If each one of us makes this effort, everyone can understand one another and there is scarcely any reason to ask questions or to raise objections’ (3) [aristocratic stance  to teaching].  There are no metaphors, no literal words, no exact words.  We need extraordinary words, as long as they can be put to common use to designate entities.

A lot of journalism produces just empty words, and some books seem to be written for the review.  A good way of reading involves treating the book as you would a record you listen to, a film or TV programme.  There is no need to sanctify books as such.  ‘There is no question of difficulty or understanding: concepts are exactly like sounds, colours or images, they are intensities which suit you or not, which are acceptable or aren’t acceptable.  Pop philosophy.  There’s nothing to understand, nothing to interpret’ (4) [so is he condemning pop philosophy or not?]. 

A style is an assemblage of enunciation.  It’s a kind of stammering in one’s own language.  There has to be a need for this stammering.  It follows from constructing a line of flight [examples include Kafka, Beckett and Godard, and a poet called Luca].  These people happen to be bilingual as well, but we can be bilingual even inside a single language, by reawakening a minor language, introducing heterogeneity.  We can read this way too, as a kind of translation.  Even mistranslations are good, as long as they lead to new usages and not new interpretations.  The issue is to develop ‘a minoritarian – becoming, not pretending, not playing or imitating the child, the madman, the  woman, the animal, the stammerer or the foreigner, but becoming all these, in order to invent new forces or new weapons’ (5).

Life also consists of an awkwardness, a stammering, charm.  Life is not history.  Charm helps us see that people are combinations and chances, and this affirms life with strength and obstinacy, persistence in being.  Charm shows that life is not personal.  The only point of writing is to demonstrate life through combinations, showing the opposite of neurosis which mutilates and debases.

Work requires absolute solitude, no disciples, no schools.  It is ‘moonlighting and is clandestine’ (6).  However this solitude is populated with encounters, becomings or nuptials.  You can encounter anything and anyone, not as individuals and persons, but as effects.  These encounters produce single becomings, blocs, a-parallel evolutions, double captures.  Encounters involve stealing, but not plagiarism or copying, but creating something mutual even if asymmetric [a Bob Dylan lyric is cited pp7--8.  Deleuze admires this and sees it as contriving yet improvising, the opposite of plagiarism but also the opposite of a master, lengthy preparation yet no rules].  Recognizing, however, ‘is the opposite of the encounter’ (8).  Do not use writing to form judgements.  This is what questions and answers do.  ‘Justice and correctness are bad ideas’ (9).  Better to develop ideas, not correct ideas [Godard is cited here, especially 6 times 2: showing encounters based on G’s& M’s solitude, making a line develop between people, showing what the conjunction AND is all about].

Instead of wondering whether ideas are just all correct, it’s better to look for a different idea in another area, and make something pass between the two.  This encounter  could be based on chance or by someone else’s suggestion.  You don’t need to be learned.  The idea is to pick up things [ better than the cut up, page 10, which still depends on probabilities rather than chance].  A [fictional?] chance encounter is then related, and Deleuze insists that although a person is involved, this is an encounter with a field or with ideas.  Fanny inspired him in this way with ideas coming from behind: for example she liked Lawrence’s poems about tortoises [available online via Gutenberg] which meant animal-becomings to him.  An encounter with Foucault is also an encounter with sounds, gestures, ideas, attention, laughter and smiles [then some sentimental shit about his other friends] (11).

‘We are deserts, but populated by tribes, flora and fauna’ (11).  This desert is our only identity.  Deleuze didn’t like his two professors of the history of philosophy [one of whom was Hyppolite].  They had to throw themselves into scholasticism even after the Liberation.  Sartre, however provided a breath of fresh air from the outside.  Deleuze did not like existentialism or phenomenology, however—‘too much methods, imitation, commentary and interpretation—except Sartre’ (12). 

The elements of power in the history of philosophy appeared, its conformism and repression.  It intimidates people by demanding that students read everything and are still unable to compete with specialists.  Even outsiders are vulnerable to this.  Philosophy’ s image of thought ‘effectively stops people from thinking’ (13).  There is a relation with the state.  The state is conceived as beautiful properly spiritual, displaying properties such as ‘universality, methods, question and answer, judgment, or recognition…  Always having correct ideas’ (13).  There is also the notion of a Republic of Spirits, a court of reason, the notion of being the official language of the state.  In this way ‘The exercise of thought thus conforms to the goals of the real State, to the dominant meanings and to the requirements of the established order’ (13).  Thought outside of this image such as nomadism, becomings and the rest is denounced.

Even if the state no longer requires philosophy, there are still academic disciplines which sanction it, including epistemology [does he mean methods?], Marxism with its ‘disturbing’ notion of a judgment of history or people’s tribunal.  Psychoanalysis, especially when allied with linguistics [good stuff on this below]. Marx,Freud and Saussure [sounds like Foucault here]. Linguistics and imposing an image of language and thought through order-words [the style is getting a bit Tony Blair here with these sentences without verbs].  Each has ‘its clowns, its professors and its little chiefs’ (14).

Deleuze always preferred those who seem to have escaped the tradition [the ones he writes about—brief descriptions follow of Hume, Bergson, Spinoza and so on].  All express positive and affirmative tendencies.  Something does happen between them, including Spinoza and Nietzsche [but N despises S, at least in Beyond Good and Evil.  Deleuze claims to have seen the links].

The encounter with Guattari changed a lot of things.  It triggered a lot of becomings.  Guattari was moving on all the time, again a named individual but ‘something which was happening, and not a subject’ (16).  Felix is a desert populated by groups and friends and becomings.  The earlier books described a new way of thinking that did not exercise it, but the work with Guattari made it all possible ‘even if we failed’ (17).  The desert expanded and became more populous, the amount of encounters increased, they stopped thinking of themselves as authors, they stole from each other.  They worked as a micro political multiplicity.  They have used terms but understood them quite differently—‘witness “bodies without organs”’ (17).

In another example, Guattari was interested in black holes, while Deleuze was working on white walls or screens, blocks to lines of flight and how to overcome them.  It’s like transmitting signals from black holes.  They then realised that black holes on a white wall ‘are in fact a face, a broad face with white cheeks and pierced black holes’ (18).  This help them to realise that there is an abstract machine which produces faces, and this becomes political—how does this machine work, produce  a face which ‘”overcodes” the body and head’?  (18). So the face has ‘astronomical, aesthetic, political’ dimensions.  They are not developing a metaphor, but using deterritorialized terms in order to reterritorialize another notion, ‘the “face”, “faceity” as social function .. being identified, labelled, recognised’ (18).  This shows how work proceeds to assemble ideas, not joining or juxtaposing them but establishing a line between them.

This is the pick up method [apparently Fanny’s term].  It’s a stammering, multiplication through growing dimensions.  It’s a relation between ideas which are deterritorialized to form a bloc.

Deleuze doesn’t want to reflect on these efforts, but talk about his new book with Guattari.  All the ideas emerged from both of them, many from ‘Felix’s side (black hole, micro politics, deterritorialization, abstract machine, etc.)’ (19).  They are now fully practising method, to produce something that doesn’t belong to either, but lies between.  This would be a real conversation.  ‘One must multiply the sides, break every circle in favour of the polygons’ (19).


[Now Parnet's turn]...

Some questions can be servile or treacherous, and they tend to favour dualisms—between authors and their work, between the interviewer and the interviewee, even in a colloquium, where choices are often presented in dualist terms.  Questions are often worked out in terms of probable answers, constituting a kind of grid for understanding.  Television present some of the worst examples with its [populist ventriloquism – nearly, page 20].  It is a kind of forced choice, where limited options severely constrain possibilities.

Psychoanalysis often reduces meaning in this way, for example when ‘a patient says, “I want to go off with a hippy group [groupe hippie], the manipulator replies “Why do you say big pee?” [gros pipi]’ (20) [other examples follow, which are real, she insists].  This is selective listening and forced choice.  It is successful when it follows the apparatus of power.  It’s hostile to patient utterances and it renders meaningless those things that do not fit the grid.  Psychoanalysts are the new priests, speaking in the name of the unconscious.

Binaries are an important aspect of power, generating dichotomies to pin down everybody, ‘Even the divergences of deviancy…  You are neither white nor black, Arab then?’ (21).  This is ‘the white wall/black hole system’ (21).  The face is important—everything has to have the proper face for the role.  In this way, ‘Nothing is less personal than the face’ (21), since they all have to be typical, or you will be labelled as an outsider. The ordinary European face is the base model.

Linguistics and informatics proceed with binaries.  However, language is indexed on the features of the face [especially when they are claiming to be able to read non verbals?].  Language like this is meant to be obeyed, it consists of orders and order-words, as much as information [with the school teacher singled out].  The normal model ought to be inverted: messages do not contain redundancy intended to overcome noise, but rather redundancy intended to make more effective the propagation of orders.  Shouts, silence and stuttering can also be present, though, but mostly, informatics plays a repressive role.

In everything that Deleuze writes, there is the theme of 'an image of thought which would impede thinking’ (23) [the one in Ch 3 of Difference and Repetition?].  [Parnet addresses Deleuze directly here, no doubt as she would have done in some conventional dialogue.  There is almost a missing question mark at the end of each sentence]. Geography is more important than history, becoming and gaps between.  The history of philosophy tries to crush thought.  ‘”Images” here doesn’t refer to ideology, but to a whole organisation which effectively trains thought to operate according to the norms of an established order of power, and, moreover, installs in its an apparatus of power, sets it up as an apparatus of power itself’ (23).  [sounds like --bleedin hegemony, certainly strong dominant ideology] Some tribunal or universal state regulates thought.  Difference and Repetition tried to suggest new images for thought, which would lead to correct ideas, based on the good will of the thinker seeking the truth.

‘The image of a “common sense” [implies] harmony of all the faculties of the thinking being’ (24), recognising means something is being set up as a model of the activities of the thinker which apparently is confirmed by an object.  There is also the image of error, turning on mistrusting external influences, and an image of knowledge—‘truth is sanctioning answers or solutions for questions and problems which are supposedly “given”’.  (24).

How can thought shake off these models?  New thoughts might come from ‘a violence suffered by thought’ (24); by pursuing discordance of the faculties; by resisting closure through recognition, and opening thought to encounters from outside; by overcoming stupidity rather than error; it would focus on movements of learning not results, and ask its own questions and set its own problems.  Deleuze finds in the philosophers he likes not recognition, but these unusual acts of thought. He realised that these people were independent not just predecessors of himself.  Spinoza developed geometrical method, and Nietzsche aphorisms ‘which are the opposite of an author’s maxims’ (25), and Foucault also saw it necessary to escape the function of an author.  This function would subordinate thought to a conventional image again.

The work with Felix opposes rhizomes to trees, and again trees are about images of thoughts or apparatuses.  Trees are binaries, with origins and centres, a structure, a grid, or hierarchy.  ‘Power is always arborescent’, and tree structures are very common in academic disciplines (25).  Yet thought is not binary or dichotomous, but multicentred, a multiplicity.  It is traversed by lines of becoming, non parallel evolutions, connections between heterogeneous beings.  This is the rhizome.

Academic schools are arborescent, with their own tribunals and hierarchies.  They are suffocating, an attempt to repress their predecessors.  Schools now feature marketing, aimed at producing newspaper articles or broadcasts, discussions about new books.  It is complex though, because there is an implicit doubt about the author function here as well [because it draws attention to the views of critics, textual shifters, reading formations and all the rest?].  We still find author functions, including the notion of the auteur in cinema [would she have used this line as a criticism of Deleuze, I wonder?] At the same time, there has been a ‘journalization of the writer’ (27), and vulgarization following from marketing.  So are there new creative or production functions without authors?  Others are claiming authority as enunciators as well.

Instead of subjects, we should think of ‘collective assemblages of enunciation’, creative populations (28), so that scientists, musicians and painters can find links in their encounters.  This is what conversation should be, rather than formal debate among specialists.  There is a constant struggle not to be domesticated by the media, to refuse to speak for victims, to instead produce ‘a living line, a broken line’ (28), to refuse to take part in schools or marketing, or to broadcast their moods ‘(the shame of today)’ (28).

Middles matter rather than beginnings or ends.  Questions asking people to take stock were boring, since authors constantly transform themselves, but not as embryology or evolution—there is no past or history in becoming, no regression or progression, but rather involution.  This is the opposite of evolution but also of regression to childhood.  It is a matter of simplicity and ‘restrained step’, just as elegance means the opposite of being overdressed, or good cooking which is neither overdoing it nor underdoing it [the goldilocks school! The middle as the golden mean?].  Animals often progress by simplifying [French reference].  Experimentation is involution, so is an attempt to achieve simplicity in writing.  Involution is in the middle, between—Beckett’s characters are an example.  Sometimes people mask themselves to conceal extra elements in their nature, concealing ends and beginnings.Deleuze wants Guattari to be his mask and vice versa [so both can cop out of responsibility?]

Rhizomes, at least as weeds, overflow, grow between.  This is the theme in Anglo American literature—the path and the grass.  This is why there is no strongly established specialised English philosophy, since novels reveal the vision best [with quotes from Miller and Woolf, page 30].  Middles are not averages and moderations. It is a matter of speed, both relative and absolute [the latter is the speed of movement between two elements, which traces the line of flight].  Movement arises from differences in intensity.  Nomads have no history only geography [lots of pseudy bits from Kafka and Kleist]. 

Deleuze and Guattari suggest that nomads invented the war machine, which means the state is founded on something else, and can only try to appropriate war machines against nomads.  It then became a matter of confronting  a code with a multiplicity.  Nomadic thought shakes state apparatuses. 

Speed is an important and also complex notion.  It is found in becomings.  Speed explains charm or style.  Speed of becoming is relative, for example in old – becoming ‘which defines successful old ages…  Which is opposed to the ordinary impatience of old people’ (32).  It is the same for writing, which ought to produce speed of this kind.  Music is a good example because it knows only lines and not points  [with some weird pseudy stuff to follow about different kinds of dance rhythms, page 33. Try this...'When Blacks dance, they are not seized by a rhythm demon, they hear and perform all the notes, all the times,all the tones...'].

Conversations are not easy if you don’t want to take stock and recollect.  Deleuze and Guattari attack dualisms and binary machines, but they seem to impose other dualisms—acts of thought without image vs. images, rhizomes against trees, war machines against states, geography against history [good point Claire].  If linguistics uses binaries it’s because they are already there, in language.  Linguistics enshrines them and we should be fighting against them, for example encouraging the development of minority languages, variants ‘as Labov says’ (34).  We do not escape dualism by thinking of added terms in a multiplicity, since adding the elements to a set depends on the choice which is itself binary [another good point Claire—when they decided which plateaus to include in their collective ramblings, was that a binary choice I wonder?  In or out?].  The key thing about a multiplicity is not the number of elements, but the relations between them—conjunctions.  However, even in binaries, the conjunction appears as a third term. Dualisms can be undone from the inside, by examining be suppressed relations between terms. 

The rest of this book could be like that—each chapter could have two parts, which no longer need to be signed, since it is the relation between anonymous parts, including all the others in our lives, which forms the conversation.

Chapter two On the Superiority of Anglo – American Literature


Literature is about escape, flight or deterritorialization, and the French have not understood that this is not just running away, avoiding commitments, but something active.  It’s not just in the imaginary.  Systems can be put to flight.  [The quote from Jackson about fleeing as searching for a weapon appears here, page 36].  Following a long broken flight can lead to discovery.  Anglo American authors show this well.  American literature in particular is based on a flight towards the west, a sense of the frontier.  The French are too worried about future and past [absolutely ridiculous generalisations.  The sort of talk you find in Parisian salons?].  Structuralism demonstrates this systematic thinking and closure.

There is no actual need to travel in order to flee—a flight can happen on the spot.  [The Toynbee quote about nomads wanting to stay put appears here, page 37].  Maps display intensities, geography is more mental and corporeal than physical.  Lawrence’s criticism of Melville says that the voyage was taken too literally, and he did not leave behind his values and make a clean break.  There is always the danger of rediscovering the old order, reproducing the old ways, and risking self destruction as in Fitzgerald’s alcoholism or Woolf’s suicide.  It is necessary to constantly rescue and correct the line, and fight off reterritorialization, and ‘this is why it jumps from one writer to another’ (36).  The French search for a new point of origin, but the Anglo Americans pick up the line and join a segment to it, prolonging the middle. They prefer grass to trees [interesting that grass emerges as a counter point to trees, not rhizomes]—‘the brain is a “particular nervous system” of grass’ (39) [and there is a reference to Steven Rose’s book, The Conscious Brain!].

For Thomas Hardy, characters are ‘collections of intensive sensations’ (39-40) Hardy saw individuals as unique chances—‘individuations without a subject’, and their actions follow along the lines of chance.  A flight is delirium.  Délire means ‘exactly to go off the rails’(40) [so this is actually his own quote].

A flight is demonic, jumping across intervals and featuring the betrayal of ‘the fixed powers which try to hold us back’.  There is a deterritorialization of man, a turning away from God and vice versa.  There are lots of examples in the Old Testament [on page 41].  Apparently the English understand the OT ‘as the foundation of the novel’ (41).  Traitors are not tricksters [elaborated quite a lot, page 41].  French literature features lots of tricksters.  Shakespeare’s Richard III, shows treason, however, a becoming [apparently, when he chooses Anne, this displays ‘a woman-becoming’ (42)].

Ahab shows treachery by choosing the whale rather than the laws of the fishery.  In the process, he also shows ‘a whale – becoming’ (42).  [Further examples from Kleist appear page 42, and he apparently is an author who was able to escape from ‘the German order’].  The key here is the appearance of ‘the Anomalous’, which is always at the frontier or border of a multiplicity, already suggesting becoming.

Writing traces lines of flight ‘which one is indeed forced to follow, because in reality writing involves us [!] there, draws us in there’ (43).  These becomings are found in writing itself.  Writing inevitably produces contact with minorities who do not write on their own account: minorities are formed by writing [actualised?].  Writing often features a woman–becoming for this reason, and it is not the same as writing like a woman—even sexists like Lawrence or Miller can display woman-becoming.  There are also ‘Negro – becomings…  Indian – becomings’, and ‘animal – becomings’ (43).  This does not involve imitation—Ahab does not imitate the whale, and nor Lawrence the tortoise.  ‘It is rather an encounter between two reigns, a short circuit, the picking up of a code where each is deterritorialized...[a] conjunction’ (44).  These encounters are not even always intended.  Writers also have ‘non – writer – becoming’, where events they are describing stop them dead and lead to  silence or suicide.  (44). To be a traitor is to create, lose one’s identity, become unknown.

However, the final aim of writing is to become imperceptible.  To pierce through or plane down the wall, effect a true break, ‘to be unknown at last’ (45).  This is difficult to achieve, although Fitzgerald’s notion of the crack up gets close to describing it.  The social system, ‘which might be called the white wall/black hole system’ pins us down with dominant significations, our own subjectivity, ‘the black hole of our ego’(45).  The wall displays all the objective determinations, the grids, the identifications.  The face is a social production, a necessary one .  Becoming imperceptible means breaking with this system, refusing to paint ourselves ‘in the colours of the world’ (46).  If you have nothing to hide, no dirty little secrets, no one can grasp you.

Language attempts to interpret us and itself.  The signifier is the little secret [for Freud and Lacan].  Life is reducible to the phantasm.  Battaille made the phantasm the essence of literature, and its harm has been considerable on literature and even the cinema.  The signifier invites interpretation.  New versions of priests are always being invented to force us back into the white wall/black hole.

It is necessary to turn into pure flux, ‘without phantasm and without interpretation, without taking stock’ [handy!  Defensive reaction to Parnet’s comments?].  On a line of flight there is only experimentation [style getting very delirious and Blair-like here].  There are no phantasms, only programmes of life which are forever being modified and betrayed, voyages of exploration, never endless interpretations and finished experiments, found in the ‘laborious, precise, controlled trash of French writers’ (48).  Kleist and Kafka develop programs for life, not manifestos, but reference points for experiments.  Castaneda’s work is similar [!], in that the interpretations are always being dismantled and there is no Freudian signifier (48), only lots of animal-becomings.

The line of flight does not flee from life, into the imaginary or into art, but creates life, produces the real.  A lot of French literature reduces life to the personal, and finds some worthwhile end in itself or in the process of writing, producing manifestos, theories of writing.  It is ‘often the most shameless unity of neurosis’ (49).  Personal criticism of authors like Lawrence or Carroll is unworthy, based on resentment, reducing the work to something pitiful.  A lot of judgmentalism in the name of French nationalism can appear.

‘In reality writing does not have its end in itself, precisely because life is not something personal’ (50).  Writing aims at non-personal power, abandoning any conventional territories or ends.  The best writers are ‘a flux which combines with other fluxes—all the minority–becomings of the world’ (50).  This must involve deterritorialization, as in animal-becoming.  Lines of flight create these becomings and have no territory.  They offer conjunctions, where life escapes from resentments [and lots of other lyrical bullshit about writing as a love letter, writing as a means to a ‘more than personal life’ (51)]


Assemblages not words or ideas, concepts or signifiers are the ‘minimum real unit’ (51).  Assemblages produce utterances, which are always collective and which refer to ‘populations multiplicities, territories, becomings, affects, events’ (51).  Proper names do not designate subjects but the relations between terms.  Authors might be subjects in the sense that they enunciate, but writers are not.  Writers invent assemblages ‘starting from assemblages which have invented him, he makes one multiplicity pass into another’[!] (52).  Assemblages are not necessarily homogenous, but cofunctioning, sympathetic or symbiotic.  It is ultimately an interaction of bodies, and their accompanying populations.  We’re not talking necessarily about physical or biological bodies.

The author as enunciator can identify with characters, with the idea they represent, or act as an observer and critic.  None of these create worlds though.  It’s necessary to speak and write with the world or with people, assembling encounters between inner and outer worlds, being in the middle. 

Distance and identification are traps.  It is easy to get contaminated by neurotics who want to reduce to their states, or scholars who try to convince us of their scientific observations.  Instead, we need to struggle to exert sympathy and to write, on behalf of life, to assemble.  This involves extraction of life forces from madness or from addiction.

[Then she admits there are some repetitions in this account, but recommends that they lead to even more rapid reading.  It is not just ritornellos that track back, but all music, all writing]

On Empiricism

Empiricism is ‘philosophising as a novelist’ (54).  According to the official (French) history of philosophy, empiricism suggests that what is intelligible comes from what is sensible, a typical way of stifling life and positing some abstract starting point, which will inevitably lead to dualisms [cf the dreadful classifications of A-level Sociology]. Empiricism celebrates the ‘concrete richness of the sensible’ (54), and first principles are not very useful except in getting things moving.

The real question is whether 'relations are external to their terms’ (55).  This is really a protest against principles.  Empiricists experiment and never interpret.  The notion of exterior relations implies a world made up of fragments, attractions and divisions, or conjunctions and separations.  This is not reducible to just the one statement.  [Then an incomprehensible bit about Hume, or rather the Hume-assemblage, page 56].  The likeness to novels bit comes in because active agents take the place of concepts.

This geographic conception of relations is about why things actually are, which in history of philosophy is always based on the verb to be and the quest for principles.  English and Americans focus on conjunctions and relations, and tend to disregard formal logic as the only process in thought.  There are strong tendencies for judgements to become a matter of grammar, as in syllogisms, and conjunctions to be dominated by the verb to be, and they must be strongly resisted: ‘substitute the AND for IS.  A and B’ (57).  The empiricists think like this.  Their concept of the multiple is no longer an adjective, subordinate to the One ‘It has become noun, a multiplicity which constantly inhabits each thing’ (57).  A multiplicity is not just a set or totality, not a dualism but the relation AND.

England and America have imposed this conception, since their language is imperialistic.  The claim to hegemony is actually based on the practice of permitting all sorts of minority languages to find a place in it.  The language is able to shift because it has a subtle syntax.  It can provide the experience of being a foreigner in your own language, as with black American.  While Germans construct proper composite words, the English link words with an and, and develop a rhizome.  The trick is to do this with French to make it move.

Empiricism is ‘syntax and experimentation, syntactics and pragmatics, a matter of speed’ (59).

On Spinoza

He has connected the soul and the body and thus explore the conjunction.  He sees each individual as an infinity of parts, including ‘individuals of a lower order’ (59).  Different individuals are assembled on a variable ‘plane of consistence’ (60).  Encounters are always contingent.  Spinoza wants to ask what can a body do ‘of what affects is it capable?’ (60) [affects here meaning the capacity to move things].  Affects are becomings which can make us stronger or weaker, bringing ‘joy’ or ‘sadness’ respectively.  Sadness is connected to the actions of ‘the established powers’ (61). Bodies are capable of very wide affects.  Animals can be defined by their affects, and even lice have considerable power to affect our lives.  Even the simplest one can affect their world, as when spiders build webs.  This shows the ‘resilient obscure stubborn’ characteristics of life. Bodies are as surprising and flexible as humans souls.

The established powers tried to make us sad, persuade us that life is a burden, make us anxious and fearful.  They are vampires, transmitting neurosis and resentment.  Free people need to organize more encounters multiply affects, maximize affirmation, make their bodies more than organisms, and thought more than consciousness.  This is what Spinoza’s monism is about, an argument for a single assemblage of soul and body, relationships, powers affects.  Spinoza himself is always becoming, in flight, wanting to pass on his life to someone else, not just to seek salvation for it.

On the Stoics

They inhabit the dark and agitated world with mixtures of bodies interacting with each other, penetrating each other.  There is no way to separate good compounds from bad ones, but there is 'a sort of incorporeal vapour’ (63), purer events on the surface of things, an extra being that surrounds normal beings, expressed in the infinitive [the example is the same one as in LofS —‘greening’ being a way to describe actual green objects].  The stoics drew a line between physical depth and metaphysical surface, between things and events, states of things and compounds qualities and substance.

[Then my notes on the section of actual text scanned in below, just so you can compare]

Infinitive verbs are ‘limitless becomings'(64) with no subject, attributed to states of things.  The messages you find in telegrams indicates what can be communicated without reference to the conventional subject [echoes of Tony Blair sentences without verbs].  What they do is increase the speed of communication.  'True novels' operate with such indeterminacy and lack of differentiation. 

Physical depths and metaphysical surfaces are connected.  It is tempting to think of this in terms of causes and effects, but really depths act as quasicauses, which trace a surface [and offer more possibilities than the actual cause?].  Effects have a certain independence from the bodies that have initiated them.  They emerge.  They are sometimes hard to pin down, as when trying to pin down the exact location of a battle [further discussed in L of S].  There is an additional becoming, beyond the actual event.  Love and death both show these additional dimensions, beyond the physical bodies that originate them.

Stoic morality argues that we must always be worthy of these dimensions, never surrender just to the event, respond not just to a physical wound, but adopt a fatalistic stance towards the processes that produced it.  This is amor fati, not a matter of resignation, but rather an act of counter- effectuation [counteractualization in L of S], an understanding and love of life.

We live in danger of being dominated by our physical bodies, including those who develop phantasms, and experience anxiety and pain.  The Stoical way is to try to be ‘worthy of what happens’ (66), to will death rather than submitting to it, to develop the power of love rather than simply wanting to be loved, to discover the pure event, eventum tantum.  Both small and significant and great events have this additional atmosphere.  It is difficult to think of the event, and 'Scarcely anyone other than the Stoics and the English have thought in this way' (66), and the example here is HP Lovecraft and the story of Carter being drawn towards the thing he finds on the far side of the moon.

[Now in pure Deleuzian]

p64 Dialogues

Verbs in the infinitive are limitless becomings. The verb to be has the characteristic — like an original taint — of referring to an I, at least to a possible one, which overcodes it and puts it in the first person of the indicative. But infinitive-becomings have no subject: they refer only to an ‘it’ of the event (it is raining) and are themselves attributed to states of things which are compounds or collectives, assemblages, even at the peak of their singularity. HE — TO WALK — TOWARDS, THE NOMADS — TO ARRIVE, THE — YOUNG - SOLDIER — TO FLEE, THE SCHIZOPHRENIC STUDENT — OF — LANGUAGES — TO STOP — EARS, WASP — TO ENCOUNTER — ORCHID. The telegram is a speed of event, not an economy of means. True propositions are classified advertisements. They are also the elementary units of novels or of events. True novels operate with indefinites which are not indeterminate, infinitives which are not undifferentiated, proper names which are not persons: ‘the young soldier’ who leaps up and flees and sees himself leap up and flee, in Stephen Grane’s book, ‘the young student of languages’ in Wolfson . . .

There is a strict complementarity between the two; between physical things in the depths and metaphysical events on the surface. How could an event not be effected in bodies, since it depends on a state and on a compound of bodies as its causes, since it is produced by bodies, the breaths and qualities which are interpenetrating here and now? But how, moreover, could the event be exhausted by its effectuation, since, as effect, it differs in nature from its cause, since it acts itself as a quasi- cause which skims over bodies, which traverses and traces a surface, object of a counter—effectuation or of an eternal truth? The event is always produced by bodies which collide, lacerate each other or interpenetrate, the flesh and the sword. But this effect itself is not of the order of bodies, an impassive, incorporeal, impenetrable battle, which towers over its own accomplishment and dominates its effectuation. The question


‘Where is the battle?’ has constantly been asked. Where is the event, in what does an event consist: each asks this question spontaneously, ‘Where is the storming of the Bastille? Any event is a fog of a million droplets. If the infinitives ‘to die’, ‘to love’, ‘to move’, ‘to smile’, etc., are events, it is because there is a part of them which their accomplishment is not enough to realize, a becoming in itself which constantly both awaits us and precedes us, like a third person of the infinitive, a fourth person singular. Yes, dying is engendered in our bodies, comes about in our bodies, but it comes from the Outside, singularly incorporeal, falling upon us like the battle which skims over the combatants, like the bird which hovers above the battle. Love is in the depth of bodies, but also on that incorporeal surface which engenders it. So that, agents or patients, when we act or undergo, we must always be worthy of what happens to us. Stoic morality is undoubtedly this: not being inferior to the event, becoming the child of one’s own events. The wound is something that I receive in my body, in a particular place, at a particular moment, but there is also an eternal truth of the wound as impassive, incorporeal event. ‘My wound existed before me, I was born to embody it 19Amor fati, to want the event, has never been to resign oneself, still less to play the clown or the mountebank, but to extract from our actions and passions that surface refulgence, to counter-effectuate the event, to accompany that effect without body, that part which goes beyond the accomplishment, the immaculate part. A love of life which can say yes to death. This is the genuinely Stoic transition. Or Lewis Carroll’s transition: he is fascinated by the little girl whose body is worked on by so many things in the depths, but over whom skim so many events without substance. We live between two dangers: the eternal groaning of our body, which is always running up against a sharply pointed body which lacerates it, an oversized body which penetrates and stifles it, an indigestible body which poisons it, a piece of furniture which bumps against it, a germ which gives it a pimple: but also the

P 66

histrionics of those who mimic a pure event and transform it into a phantasm, who proclaim anxiety, finitude and castration. One must succeed in ‘establishing among men and works their being as it was before bitterness’. Between the cries of physical pain and the songs of metaphysical suffering, how is one to trace out one’s narrow, Stoical way, which consists in being worthy of what happens, extracting something gay and loving in what happens, a light, an encounter, an event, a speed, a becoming? ‘For my taste for death, which was bankruptcy of the will, I will substitute a death—wish which will be the apotheosis of the will.’ For my pathetic wish to be loved I will substitute a power to love: not an absurd will to love anyone or anything, not identifying myself with the universe, but extracting the pure event which unites me with those whom I love, who await me no more than I await them, since the event alone awaits us, Eventum tantum.  Making an event — however small - is the most delicate thing in the world: the opposite of making a drama or making a story. Loving those who are like this: when they enter a room they are not persons, characters or subjects, but an atmospheric variation, a change of hue, an imperceptible molecule, a discrete population, a fog or a cloud of droplets. Everything has really changed. Great events, too, are made in this way: battle, revolution, life and death . . . True Entities are events, not concepts. It is not easy to think in terms of the event. All the harder since thought itself then becomes an event. Scarcely anyone other than the Stoics and the English have thought in this way. ENTITY = EVENT, it is terror, but also great joy. Becoming an entity, an infinitive, as Lovecraft spoke of it, the horrific and luminous story of Carter: animal—becoming, molecular-becoming, imperceptible- becoming.

Note 19...Joe Bosquet, Traduit du Silence,Paris: Gallimard, and Les Capitales, Paris: Cercle du livre. And BLanchot’s wonderful discussion of the event , notably in L’Espace Litteraire, Paris: Gallimard 1955

[You see what I have to put up with]

Modern science may not be axiomatic any more.  As well as attempting to develop a systematic structure to recode nature, it is still also delirious, pursuing lines of flight, despite the efforts of officials to contain it.  We see this in the 'race to find undiscoverable particles' (67).  Sciences becoming event-centred, taking leaps.  Arborescent schemes are disappearing in favour of rhizomatic movement.  There is Thom's catastrophe theory, and the notion of reproduction-events as movement [?, Page 67]. There is no attempt to build a structure, although 'the apparatus of power will increasingly demand a restoration of order' (68).

There is a difference between irony and humour [again discussed in LofS].  Irony necessarily involves some first principle, whereas humour is the art of consequences, pure events, surface effects.  [And lots of other stuff and subdivisions, 68 -69]

An assemblage is ‘a multiplicity which is made up of many heterogeneous terms and which establishes liaisons, relations between them' (69).  The only unifying element is cofunctioning or symbiosis, alliances, contagions.  Animals can be defined by the assemblages which they enter, for example: 'MAN - HORSE - STIRRUP' (69), which constructed a new weapon, the mounted knight.  This change is both man and animal.  It's not technology that makes a difference but the ‘social machine’ which produces it and assembles it, its ‘phylum’ [see DeLanda].  Machines can also affect social relationships, as when feudalism changed culture.  The conjunction of different elements should be understood as desire (70).

An assemblage has states of things or bodies, and utterances which permit new formulations.  'Utterances are not part of ideology, there is no ideology: utterances, no less than states of things, are components and cog wheels in the assemblage.  There is no base or superstructure in an assemblage' (71) [either by definition or the result of some massive generalisations not based on any analysis.No becomings between one and the other? This would be too much interest in social reproduction?. What they are left with is endless production. They can't see how a politics can emerge either surely? In societies of control, what is control for exactly? In what sense are they still marxists as D&G claim in Negotiations?]  Utterances never just describe, whatever they may claim to be doing—they are really 'assembling signs and bodies as heterogeneous components of the same machine' (71).  It follows that enunciation, part of an assemblage, has no subject , and refers not to objects but 'machinic states’ (71) [the argument seems to be that utterances forge the unity of different components in an assemblage].  In Kafka's world, juridical utterances coexist absurdly with 'intense machinic formalization’ (71), producing 'One and the same K-function, with its collective agents and bodily passions, Desire'[beats me].

Assemblages move within and without territories, showing re and deterritorialization.  Feudalism,for example had its crusades, knights wander but required serfs to stay put.  The territory therefore is an element in the code of feudalism, but it is also subject to deterritorialization and recoding, and both are combined in an assemblage, so this is not a dualism.  There are historical elements which introduce heterogeneity, but there is also endless becoming, as blocs [as above].[Weird examples as ever – ‘As Lewis Carroll says, it is when the smile is without a cat that man can effectively become cat when he smiles. It is not man who sings or paints, it is man who becomes animal but exactly at the same time as the animal becomes music or colour’ (73)]

Painting, writing and composition differ only in terms of 'the abstract line they trace' (74), and philosophy focuses on that line.  Philosophy only arises where there is deterritorialization in such activities.

Writing either reterritorializes by adopting the dominant code, occupying the conventional territories or it is becoming, which involves becoming something other than a writer.  Everything that becomes is an object of writing, painting or music.  Becoming is ‘a pure line which ceases to represent’ (74).  [Then a lot of pseudy rubbish when Deleuze wakes up and takes the pen again].  [Then there seems to be some disappointment that the readership doesn't always see it that way—'it is true that one writes only for illiterates', but then 'Only the animal in man is addressed' (75)]

[Thank God that chapter’s over]

Chapter three Dead Psychoanalysis: Analyse


Psychoanalysis breaks up productions of desire and prevents the formation of utterances.  And it always diminishes the productive and positive role of the unconscious, and sees it as only producing failures or compromises.  Psychoanalysis identifies an excess of desire, but sees it as polymorphous perversion, lack.  As one example, fellatio is seen as a perverse pleasure relating to the penis as cow’s udder/mother’s breast, not as a pleasure in its own right.  Everything must be interpreted.  The true expressions of desire are the oedipal or the death drive, and the only real objects are the partial drivers or partial objects.  Assemblages have to be broken up or reduced to these terms.

Instead, the unconscious has to be produced, not just seen as a residue of childhood memories.  Blocs of childhood are always present and turn into child–becoming.  There is no subject nor fixed object of desire.  There is no subject of enunciation either.  ‘Desire is the system of a–signifying signs with which fluxes of the unconscious are produced in a social field’ (78). It is always revolutionary, seeking more connections, but psychoanalysis domesticates and limits it.

The same goes for utterances.  Assemblages deal with indefinite articles and proper names without human subjects [and they can be ‘groups, animals, entities, singularities, collectives, everything that is written with a capital letter, A-HANS-BECOMING-HORSE’] (79).  The assemblage is a material production of desire and an ‘expressive cause of utterance’, a semiotic articulation, not related to a subject, not overcoded by a ‘tyranny of supposedly significant combinations’ (79).  However, psychoanalysts always seek the personal and the definite, usually the mother and father, single issues and never multiples (cf the wolf man in TP).

Little Hans has produced his own assemblage of buildings, buses, horses, but Freud ignores this, and the way in which Hans seeks animal–becoming ‘because every other way out has been blocked up’ (80). Freud sees only that the horse is the father [actually, as I recall, this is Hans’s father’s reading, and Freud wants to add to it the interpretation that sees the box carriages that the horses pull as symbols for the womb and Hans’s anxiety that his mother might be pregnant,which linked in with his dream about visiting his new cousins.  The fallen horses whose feet drum was originally thought to be a recollection of the primal scene, but Hans’s father said that this could not have been witnessed].  The whole story has been subject to extraction and then ‘analogies of oversymbolic relationships’ (80).  Desire has been coded or over coded.

Patients are not allowed to talk.  It’s possible to show this by listening to what patients have said and then noting what psychoanalysts hear [so this must be Parnet writing.  It is quite clear as well].  Take the cases of Hans for Freud, and little Richard for Klein [details page 81, arguing for the importance of the analysts’ mapping, and the determination of Klein to impose her will, to break Richard]

     These days, Freudians do not interpret like this, but discover signifiers, structural functions rather than parental images, 'the name of the Father has replaced my daddy' (81), but the dominant interpretations remain [the example of the hippy group].  [so this attacks Lacan] The patient is as able to interpret as the analyst!  The terms have been swapped over, the symbolic, the law of the signifier, castration, but nothing else has changed in the role of psychoanalyst as priest [Lacan himself is exonerated to some extent].  They are now paid as a reward for listening, rather than as an indication of the committee of the patient.  The style is portentous,  'insolent and obscurantist’ (82) [fuck me! Pots and kettles!].

      Another change is that psychoanalysis has spread into therapy, even marketing, or it has become fused with linguistics.  But the same trends are still detectable.

      (1) Psychoanalysis now looks at married life rather than the family, and claims to be able to guide children, although the phantasm is the only element of childhood memory that is relevant.  Patients are now referred by friends.  Neurosis now seems to be contagious, a public sign of belonging!  Curing them would be bad for business [I'm putting it a bit crudely].  May '68 has not killed off psychoanalysis, and psychoanalysis now follows the idea of a ‘political micro-contagion’, not a private family model.

      (2) Psychoanalysis has never been good at dealing with ‘real’ madness, but rather with cases where intellectual faculties remain intact.  This has diluted the notion of madness, implying that we are all mad—'a whole "psychopathology of everyday life"' (84). Psychoanalysis emerges from the failure of psychiatry to deal with madness, and this appeal to the otherwise normal widened the audience vary considerably.  It was always structured around a contract—‘a flux for words for a flux of money’ (84). However, even Freud saw that it would become interminable in principle, based on a mass audience, involving a transition from contract to ‘statute…  A systematic network’ (85).  The growth of the French Freudian school (Ecole Freudienne de Paris] clearly presupposes this statute and the emergence of a bureaucracy, in effect akin to offering ‘certificates of citizenship’ (85).  It became imperialist and regulatory, replacing individual contracts—is some ways a good thing because these were ‘hypocritical from the start’ (86).  This is not to say that psychoanalysis is available to the masses as such—for its clients are still people like social workers who get increments as a result of being psychoanalysed.  Nevertheless, this shows imperialist tendencies, a desire to be an official language.

      (3) There have been changes in theory, for example from signified to signifier, which produces the symptoms, with a corresponding shift from interpretation to signifiance [sic].  This makes psychoanalysis now entirely internally self referring, so the analysis itself must become true, whether or not there is an actual cure.  There is no experiment any more, only a signifying structure to unravel.  What this does is to create deviance, but located in the established order.  The point is to change the imaginary order of the signified to the symbolic order of psychoanalysis.  Clearly there is a power relation.  It is as Foucault says, every formation of power needs its own knowledge, either unofficially, or officially as a symbolic order.

There is no State which does not need an image of thought which will serve as its axiomatic system or abstract machine and to which it gives in return the strength to function: hence the inadequacy of the concept of ideology, which in no way takes into account this relationship.  This was the unhappy role of classical philosophy…  Supplying…  The apparatuses of power, Church and State, with the knowledge that suited them.  Could we say today that the human sciences have assumed this same role?  (88) [this is the modern concept of ideology, surely?  They must have in mind the old base/superstructure German Ideology model?  It is more or less exactly what Bourdieu says]

Psychoanalysis attempts to do this, to replace philosophy, although the apparatuses of power seem more interested in physics, biology and informatics.  But psychoanalysis does attempt to weld itself with linguistics to produce some ‘Invariant’ (88).  There are still too many rivals, and psychoanalysis is being abandoned by all the forces of minority and becoming.  Psychoanalysis no simply attempts to overcode assemblages to domesticate desire by reducing it to signifying chains, and render utterances as mere ‘subjective examples’ (88).

[This next bit can only  be Deleuze] They have been accused of making blunders in AntiOedipus, but have been misunderstood by being read as though it was about the Law and lack. Only priests are interested in constituent laws.  If desire is seen as a bridge between a subject and object, the subject must necessarily be split and the object lost, but they had tried to show how a desire was more than something with ‘personological or objectal coordinates’ (89).  It was instead a process, constructing a plane of consistency, a field of immanence ‘a” body without organs” as Artaud put it’ (89), crisscrossed with particles and fluxes that were not tied to objects or subjects, not internal to a subject or connected to an object, but strictly immanent.  Desire ‘cannot be attained except at the point where someone is deprived of the power of saying “I”’ (89) and cannot be seen as grasping for an object.  Critics have said that therefore it is indeterminate and shows even more lack, but this is only so if you believe that abandoning subjects and objects means that you lack something [the bourgeois ego] —indefinite articles, third persons and infinitive verbs are not signs of lack.  The voids and deserts of the body without organs are part of desire, not just lacks [the example is the void of the ‘anorexic body without organs’ (90), but is part of desire—anorexics are not ill, but want different things?].  Desert and voids host particles that cross them.

We often see the desert and the void as an image related to death, meaning that the plane of consistency cannot be built.  But an established plane of consistence ‘which is identical to desire’ (90) is full of particles and fluxes even if they are slower or scarce: ‘as Lawrence says, chastity is a flux’ (90).  We can feel the plane of consistence even if we cannot map it, and we can construct it by finding places, assemblages, particles, and fluxes [not by reflection surely?].  Desire is positive, it is Nietzsche’s will to power, it has been called grace.  Those who see it as lack are suffering from resentment, and cannot understand people ‘who really do lack something’ (91).  Psychoanalysis has said it’s not worried about real privations, but real privations mean it’s not always possible to construct a plane of consistence.  When they do, they can pursue desires and ‘set off victoriously towards that which they lack outside’ (91) [learn to stop worrying about money and enjoy the sunshine?]

There is also a plane of organization which develops forms and subjects, although this quality can only be inferred from what is organised—just as the principles of composition emerge from a piece of performed music.  This is therefore ‘the plane of transcendence, a kind of design, in the mind of man or in the mind of a god’ (91)[sounds very much like the dreaded elan vital of Bergson], although it is seen as a part of nature or the unconscious.  The Law is such a plane, organising and developing ‘forms, genres, themes, motifs…  Harmony of forms, education of subjects’ (92).

The plane of consistence on the other hand features relations of movement, speed, combinations of relatively unformed elements.  Here we find, not subjects but haecceities [Deleuze offers his own explanations in the third person, in a note, 151-2:

Haecceitas is a term frequently used in the school of Duns Scotus, in order to designate the individuation of beings.  Deleuze uses it in a more special sense: in the sense of an individuation which is not that of an object, nor of a person, but rather of an event (wind, river, day or even hour of the day).  Deleuze’s thesis is that all individuation is in fact of this type.  This is the thesis developed in Mille Plateaux with Felix Guattari.

These are intensities which combine into ‘a perfect individuality which should not be confused with that of the thing or of a formed subject’ (92).  It can last as long as or longer than these developed forms.  However it exists in Aion not Chronos [see L of S -- roughly, virtual time not objective time].  Haecceities are ‘degrees of power which combine, to which correspond the power to affect and be affected, active or passive affects, intensities’ (92).  [Woolf refers to a stroll which is a haecceity—not the dog on the road example though].  Haecceities are expressed in indefinite articles, proper names that mark events and infinitive verbs.  ‘Things, an animal, the person are now only definable by movements and rests , speed and slowness (longitude) and by affects, intensities (latitude)’ (93) [anticipating TP.  A note explains that these are really medieval concepts, used in a different sense].  They show ‘cinematic relations between unformed elements’ (93).  There are no more forms or subjects, but collective assemblages.  ‘Nothing develops’, but elements of haecceities arrive late or early.  Everything grows from the middle.  Speed is not privileged rather than slowness.

This plane is opposed to the plane of organization.  It’s truly immanent, possessing no dimensions other than what occurs on it.  It’s not a design but a geometrical plane.  It includes ‘Forces, plagues, avoids, immobilisations, suspensions, hastes’ (94).  [Delirium breaking out again] [musical examples of varying time signatures, and emergent music, different each time or randomised page 94].  Spinoza was already on to this idea, so was Nietzsche, and wrote so as to create not a well ordered formation ‘but successions of catatonic states and periods of extreme haste ...’ (95) [which apparently explains Nietzsche’s idea of the eternal return ‘a fixed plane selecting the always variable speed and slowness of Zarathustra’ and why he wrote in aphorisms ‘an assemblage which cannot be read twice, which cannot “replay” without changing the speeds and slowness between its elements’ (95)].  All this is contained within the process of desire.

Desire refers to speed and slowness in between particles, affects, intensities and haecceities [another telegram on page 95].  It is apparently simple.  Sleeping is desire, so is walking, so is spring, so is old age [so indeterminacy appears again.  This time desire is everything, which makes it a rather pointless concept?].  Critics have said this is another pleasure principle, or the idea of revolutionary festival.  Critics point out that there are those who are prevented from participating, who suffer. Is desire some natural force?  [Some sort of humanist anthropology?].  However, desire must be assembled or machinic, it is related to determinate assemblages.  Groups and individuals must construct the plane of immanence in order to prevent themselves from being domesticated and restrained: ‘The only spontaneity in desire is doubtless of that kind: to not want to be oppressed, exploited, enslaved, subjugated’ (96).  But there must be something positive.  It’s not restricted to the privileged [in principle—but in practice?] It is revolutionary it is ‘constructivist, not at all spontaneist’ (96).  Assemblages imply collectives, they are molecular [in Massumi’s sense, they are therefore populist, not state organised not molar?]

There are no internal drives, especially no death drive, and no structural or genetic invariants.  The Freudian drives are elements of assemblages, not drives based on memories, but elements which can create a desire.  This is already seen in children, in their relations with the outside—little Hans and the street, the bus, the parents are all elements of a machine.  There are however politics of assemblages here—‘in this sense everything is political’ (97).  There are only becomings and blocs of various things.  Desire is not symbolic, not figurative, not signified or a signifier,  but an assemblage on a plane of immanence.  This plane does not preexist its assemblages.  

Assemblages are continuums of intensities, fluxes and particles [and Schumann is discussed as an assemblage, pages 98-99.  The ritornello here is seen as a childhood bloc].  We understand his music as a movement of desire, articulated through an assemblage.  Guattari says desire is a ritornello, but this is an example only, a reassuring territoriality expressed through sound, an example of a whole movement of re and deterritorialization.

Pleasure is different, but it interrupts desire as a discharge rather than constituting a field of immanence.  It can help to localise affect, say in persons, in the face of overwhelming processes of desire.  It is a reterritorialization.  It is not the only goal of desire, which belongs to the notion of desire as lack.  Other goals are possible, for example courtly love in feudalism [with an aside about how history is really about specifying different sorts of haecceities, page 100].  Here, desire constructs that peculiar combination of religious and hedonistic elements, 'the warrior flux and the erotic flux' (101).  This is a process of joy, not lack.  It shows artifice, not nature.  Desire can also be ascetic.  Desire explains the masochist assemblage, which can be seen as 'a particularly convoluted [procedure] to constitute a body without organs and develop a continuous process of desire which pleasure, on the contrary, would come and interrupt' (101).

Sexuality does not operate as an infrastructure in assembling desire, nor energize the process.  It is only one flux among others.  No assemblage can be reduced to just one flux.  ‘Pure’ sexuality is not revealed by examining the perversions either.  This is an unfortunate connotation of Guattari’s phrase ‘desiring machines’, and it 'ought to be given up for these reasons' (101).  Sexuality needs to be understood as producing haecceities in combination with other fluxes.  It should not be reduced to phantasms.  It is not just flow between two people, two sexes in a binary relationship, but forms 'a bloc of becoming' (102).  Sex changes, for example as people age.  The lines and coordinates that make us up can continually recombine, and those which lead to dead ends can be replaced by those which are more active.

Psychoanalysis has chosen a particular route through sexuality which leads to a dead end, by ignoring new utterances, and by enclosing lines of escape.  [Just above that, page 102, psychoanalysis is described as ‘masturbation, a generalised, organised and coded narcissism', based on the idea that 'the masturbator the only one who makes phantasms'].


Desire is misunderstood if it is related to ‘lack or law; a natural and spontaneous reality; pleasure or, above all, the festival’ (103).  It is always assembled on a plane of immanence or composition which must be constructed at the same time.  It’s not historically determined, but it is ‘the real agent’ in an assemblage, so that one feels desire only by being included in an assemblage and lack as being excluded from one [quite a bit of backpedalling going on here?] (103). 

The term machinic does not mean mechanical or organic, it means a system where the terms are closely connected, unlike the machine, where elements just need to be proximate [seems to contradict the stuff about heterogenity in haecceities?].  There is a centre of gravity which moves along an abstract line or produces actual lines.  There is no machine operator—‘the machine operator is present in the machine, “in the centre of gravity” or rather of speed, which goes through him’ (104) [except for cinematic auteurs?].  Human beings act only because they are parts of a machine, as a dancer is [a back to front argument, addressing the issue of whether machines are universal, capable of doing everything that humans do].  Machines are not structures, since they order heterogeneities.   A social machine ‘always comes first in relation to the men and animals it takes into its “stock”’ (104) [this is about the closest we get to understanding the social dimension, but it’s still not very useful—what makes a machine social machine?].Individual tools only operate within machine assemblages that relate them to humans and other objects [as in the horse and stirrup example] [so no technological determinism]. This implies that ‘the machine is social in its primary sense’ (105).

It is the same with organisms which presuppose a body without organs, ‘a whole, separate, machine functioning distinct from organic functions and from mechanical relationships.  The intense egg’ (105).  ‘Abstract machines or bodies without organs—this is desire…  continuums of intensity, blocks of becoming, emissions of particles, combinations of fluxes’ (105).  Particular variables define regimes of signs, where signs again presuppose a regime.  There is no primary signifier: ‘A sign refers to nothing in particular, except to regimes into which the variables of desire enter’ (105).

As examples of possible regimes, one might be particularly dominated by a centre, and here, signs refer back to signs in each circle, and the whole of them refer back to the centre of signifiance.  In such a system, everything is indeed traced back to the central signifier, which recharges the whole regime.  The map of the system will show the centre, radiating out to the circles [they actually seem to have in mind a centrist political system, with the despot in the middle, controlling a periphery through bureaucratic or priestly systems— as in all the garbage about over coding in AO?].  There are other regimes, though, with packets or blocs of signs, offering finished segments.  The key relationship here is not with the centre but with some ‘decisive external event’ (106).  This can be expressed as an emotion or an action, and can involve ‘a point of subjectivation’, eventually producing a ‘subject of utterance’ (107).  This involves linear segmentation [followed by some incomprehensible shit about faces turning away and appearing in profile, treason developing in the place of trickery, some sort of reverse Althusserian stuff about how subjects appear only by turning their backs on God, prophets rather than priests {sounds a bit like Bourdieu here}—some kind of account of social change?].  This is apparently ‘a regime of passion’ (107).

These regimes can be referred to any period or condition, social formations, psychological types, works of art [so another basic binary seems to underpin all the possibilities?].  Thinking of social formations leads to somebody’s definition [Jaulin’s – unrefd]  based on the Hebrew and the Pharoah, the latter being the despot, and the former following lines of flight, which are then segmented into various authoritarian processes or stages, with charismatic prophets or outsiders like Jonah [who initially turned his back on God! I get it!].

We can also see the distinction in two types of delirium—paranoid and interpretive emanating from a centre with a central signifier, or a passionate external kind, but developed in little segmented stages, relating to action not idea, emotion not imagination.  Early psychiatry confused these two.  The more creative kind begins with a point of subjectification [personalized, focused on a particular person, not always one’s self], then develops a line of flight.  This can lead into pathological forms because it is pursued with passion [maybe that’s what they mean, page 109]. 

These generalizations should be replaced by specific analyses, for example of masochists, drug addicts, anorexics or whatever.  [And what should we make of this: ‘Homage to Fanny: the case of anorexia’].  Anorexia has a flux about food combined with other fluxes like the ones about clothes.  The anorexic body without organs has its voids and fullnesses, both with intensities.  ‘It is not a matter of a refusal of the body, it is a matter of a refusal of the organism, of a refusal of what the organism makes the body undergo’ (110) [so that’s that cleared up!].  It’s not just a matter of a simple lack. It is a political system: ‘to escape from the norms of consumption in order not to be an object of consumption one’s self.  It is a feminine process [avoiding dependency on organic functions]’.  Anorexics betray hunger and betray the family, and see food as treacherous.  Anorexia is politics -- because there’s always politics ‘as soon as there is a continuum of intensities’ (111) [politics is everything].  There is no simple lack.

Why does anorexia often end in self destruction?  Apparently, dangers arise in the middle of experiments, and ‘this is a question that must be taken up by a method other than psychoanalysis’ (111) [verging on the callous in my view].

There are an infinite number of examples. They all show the regime of signs with the same components—an abstract machine and an actual assemblage, such as a machine of subjectivation, and assemblages which realize it.  Assemblages can exhibit branches and proximities, enabling development at different levels and locations—a personal body, a social body, local and global enterprises.  Delirium is not just personal, but world historical [with a long unreferenced quote beginning with ‘I am a beast, a Negro...’ Deleuze has used this before and I could look it up if I could be bothered].  The same abstract machine  appears in different concrete assemblages, and these in turn are made up of different elements.  [Then some spectacular délirium which ends with ‘we know where relatives and associates, and never our neighbours who might be from another planet, who always are from another planet.  Only neighbours matter.  History is an introduction to delirium, but reciprocally delirium is the only introduction to history’ (113).  What a dick!]

‘We should simultaneously study all the regimes of pure signs, from the point of view of the abstract machines they put into play and also all the concrete assemblages, from the point of view of the mixtures they carry out’ (113) [already admitted that these are infinite].  [Some analysis of paintings ensue, based on different ways of depicting faces, 114].  Capitalism is a huge assemblage with varied types of regimes of signs and abstract machines.  Psychoanalysis cannot analyze regimes of signs because it is a composite [possibly using both structuralism and personifications, which leads it to cheerfully reproduce centrist regimes of signs, while investigating personal passionate regimes as well].

Psychoanalysis should show how the different regimes of signs are found in assemblages, and then show how one can be translated into another.  This would be an account of how assemblages mutate.  Regimes of signs are not the same as systems of language.  The latter, at least in the structuralist guise can operate as an abstract machine without any actual knowledge about language.  But this is not abstract enough and proper analysis also involves analysing ‘collective assemblages of enunciation’, as pragmatics, as committed to desire.  This provides a ‘heterogeneous flux’ present in language.  ‘Pragmatics is called to take upon itself the whole of linguistics’ (115), with Kafka and Barthes cited in support [I don’t recognize this part of Barthes’s work].  Guattari has taken up some work of Labov ‘above all’, and argues that:

(1) pragmatics are essential, as the micro politics of language;

(2) there is no competence separate from performance, no invariants or universals of language;

(3) abstract machines operate on language from the outside, providing it with ‘the particular collective assemblage of enunciation (there is no “subject” of enunciation), at the same time as they provide content with a particular machine assemblage of desire (there is no signifier of desire)’ (116);

(4) there are several languages in any one language, and this allows one to stutter in one’s own language, in other words to deterritorialize assemblages.  Languages have lines of flight, displayed in rich vocabulary and flexible syntax: ‘it is the pragmatic line’ (116).

There are no functions of language, only regimes of signs and assemblages of desire and enunciation.  Expression is not confined to language [there are other signs in the regime?].  To consider language on its own is the wrong sort of abstraction, and this goes for considering writing on its own.  Labov has discovered in language the ‘immanent variation, irreducible either to the structure or the development…  States of combinations of fluxes in content and expression’ (117) [the translator says the crucial book is Sociolinguistic Patterns, 1972].  Words can be used in different regimes of signs, but this is not a matter of metaphor ‘there are no metaphors, only combinations’ (117).  [Examples from poets follow, and there is a reference to this strange schizophrenic Wolfson, mentioned in AO, I think, who invents his own mixture of languages].

 So pragmatics refers to a context of machine components.  Regimes of signs can refer to central power and stable order, or display lines of flight and discover ‘new connotations or directions’ (118).  The abstract machine either overcodes or mutates.  Everything depends on the plane of organization and the plane of consistence.  On the one hand, the American language is imperialistic, but on the other it is constantly contaminated by other languages.  To understand these interactions we need to look at pragmatic or diagrammatic processes, mapping lines of flight, showing out some of them fall back into black holes, support a war machine, or develop a work of art, how some are blocked and over coded, and others mutate and liberate.  Everything depends on combinations of fluxes. [Much more empiricist than the general politics then]

Note by GD [as if we haven’t had enough from him!]

This interest in regimes of signs shows what he was trying to do when he analyzed some particular writers, but this became clear only with Guattari’s collaboration.  He doesn’t want to cause authors sadness and recommends that we think of them until they are no longer objects or simply people we can identify with: ‘Avoid the double shame of the scholar and the familiar’ (119).  Recapture joy and energy.  He thinks the book on Kafka would have pleased the author ‘and it is for that reason that the book pleased nobody’ (119) [touchy again!].

Criticism should be the ‘outline of the plane of consistence’ of the work, showing the particles, fluxes and becomings, while ‘the clinic’ [some strange French term?] would pick out the lines and show how some are blocked, some cross over and so on.  No psychoanalysis, interpretation, or linguistics.  Only:

(1) an analysis of proper names as referring to haecceities not subjects, so that ‘Charlotte Bronte designates a state of the winds more than a person’ (120).  Specific named assemblages may be traced to broader ones, as in sadism and masochism.  Why do some assemblages gain proper names and not others?  Proper names also designate medical syndromes, indicating the emergence of a new haecceity from a previously mixed collection of symptoms.  This is how personal interventions become collective [maybe];

(2) the regimes of signs are self sufficient, not determined by linguistics or psychoanalysis but themselves determining assemblages of enunciation and desire.  The content of work is not just about the subjects or themes, ‘but much more the states of desire internal and external to the work, and which are composed along with it’ (121).  There is no real difference between content and expression.  Every assemblage is collective.  Kafka combines the two regimes of signs outlined above, so does Proust.  Where there was expression in earlier regimes, this can become the content in later ones, which is how transformations occur;

(3) regimes of signs move along lines or gradients, ‘variable with each author’ [dangers of subjectivity again?], to trace out the plane of consistence, ‘an immanent real plane which was not preexistent’ (122), and which can be diagrammed.  Content expresses in a flood of signs [maybe] and a flood of influences, including ‘dietary regime’ (122).  There are only particles interacting, not forms arising from a structure, a genesis, or a human subject.  ‘There are now only haecceities left’ (123).  Literature may connect with minority languages to develop a new assemblage of enunciation [with examples I don’t know.  I think one of them might be Kafka who uses his minority Czech German as a constructive element].  On this plane, ‘the proper name reaches its highest individuality by losing all personality—imperceptible- becoming’ (123).[ The quote finishes with ‘Josephine the chick’ Why?]

Chapter four Many Politics

Individuals and groups are made up of lines.  Some are segmentary—family to job to retirement.  Some are more supple or molecular which make detours, form a flux with a threshold.  Becomings and ‘micro becomings’ (124) [what they?] happen on this line.  They do not follow the same sequence as family histories.  Professions have [objective and subjective careers] in this way.  There is also a more wayward line, not foreseeable—‘the line of gravity or velocity, the line of flight and of the greatest gradient’ (125).  This is the source of the bit much loved by 'creative writers' -- 'as if something carried us away, across our segments but also across our thresholds, towards a destination which is unknown , not foreseeable, not pre-existent'. Perhaps not everyone has this line.  Nevertheless it is primary or immanent, entangled with the others.  These lines are studied by ‘What we call by different names—schizoanalysis, micro politics, pragmatics, diagrammatism, rhizomatics, cartography’ (125).  Apparently a short story by Fitzgerald shows this, and refers to the divisions between segments as a cut.  He also identifies lines of crack [see L of S] which do not coincide with the segmentary lines.  The crack occurs when everything’s going well, sometimes on the career line and results in people not being able to carry on with what is familiar.  It leads to anxiety but also serenity, hence things can go well on the other lines.  This dissatisfaction can arise in old age or as a result of paranoia, but it can also be ‘a political or affective appraisal which is perfectly correct’ (126).  Cracks can happen on the collective level.  Fitzgerald then talks of a third option, rupture, when some absolute threshold is been reached, an alternate becoming, a becoming imperceptible, a blending in [but not conformity], a feeling of being invulnerable, not worrying about beginnings or ends, but just in movement in the middle.

Autistic children can reveal similar developments, supple lines, ritornellos and wanderings [based on some study by Deligny], leading to a cartography rather than psychoanalysis.  This can relate to all children and to all adults in their every day life.  In more detail: [groan] [actually, looking back on it now -- Aug 2016 -- this whole section below draws quite a lot on the reconciliation of dualism and monism in Bergsonism]

(1) Segments depend on binary machines, social classes, sexes, ages, races.  These can cut across each other or confront each other.  They operate diachronically, in the form of choices [only in a strange logical sense—if you are not a man, nor a woman, then you must be a transvestite]. In this way,  binaries are introduced sequentially.  Segments are also subject to varying types of power which code and set the territory.  Foucault has analysed things best here when he rejected the idea of a single state apparatus and thus of the single state or law.  The State remains as the agency that overcodes, by putting to use an abstract machine [which is not the state itself], to organise dominant utterances, languages, knowledges, actions.  [Compare this with Althusser’s notion of ideology in general].  The segments are homogenised and made convertible, and developed in particular fields as necessary—Greek geometry organised social space in the city.  Which abstract machines are important today?  Which forms of knowledge are of most service to the state—informatics?  In any event, it is important to distinguish devices of power from abstract machines and from the actual apparatus of the state which ‘realizes’ the machine (130).  All the segments occupy a certain plane of organization, which has the supplementary dimension of over coding—through education or other forms of ‘harmonisation of the form’ (130).  These can also produce new segmentations and binaries.

(2) Non segmentary lines are different, featuring thresholds, blocks of becoming, fluxes.  Abstract machines here mutate rather than over coding.  The plane is not one of organisation but of consistence or immanence, which decompose forms into particles, and subjects into affects.  They  individuate in the form of haecceities (130) [I thought these were supposed to be universal?  Not if segments are over coded, it seems?].  Binary machines cannot engage because of fluxes of deterritorialization, which are asymmetrical and molecular [as an example, ‘molecular masses which no longer have the outline of a class, molecular races like little lines which no longer respond to the great molar oppositions’ (131)].  Nor are normal syntheses of two available—the third term disturbs binarity, and traces another line, in the middle of segments [the example here is when the polarity between East and West in world politics is destabilised by an north/south dimension—and then lots of delirium, but other examples include feminist movements, ecology, Russian dissidents] the great ruptures also feature little cracks.  And ‘everyone has his south’ (132).  ‘May 1968 was an explosion of such a molecular line, an irruption…  a frontier…  drawing along the segments like torn off blocs which have lost their bearings’ (132).

Although there are two kinds of lines [I thought there were three!], this is not some residual dualism [a reply to Parnet in chapter one, perhaps?].  You do not escape from dualism by adding other terms [as she says], but finding something between the terms, a border which turns a dualism into a multiplicity [as she says again].  Assemblages are multiplicities which necessarily include lines of segmentarity, with binaries, but also lines of flight.  Power operates only on parts of assemblages, but this is not a dualism but another dimension [I see herds of weasels coming this way].  Abstract machines which overcode and those which mutate do not form a dualism, but interact, struggle to overcode in one way and undermine the other, ‘at the heart of the assemblage’ (132) [Stap me! The return of Struggling Man].  The different planes do not occupy a dualism—one decomposes the other/on one arises the fixed organisations that form the other—they dissolve and fuse ‘in a multiplicity of dimensions’ (133).

One implication helps to answer the question why people desire their own repression: ‘we reply that the powers which crush desire, or which subjugate it, themselves already form part of assemblages of desire: it is sufficient for desire to follow this particular line for it to find itself caught’ (133).  There is no [anthropological] desire for revolution nor for power, nor to oppress people—all these outcomes are lines of an assemblage.  The lines are not preexistent, but formed, mixed up, ‘immanent to each other’, just as assemblages are mixed.  It’s difficult to know which one will lead to flight and which one to block [certainly no humanist desire for freedom and rhizomes, then].  We can see this in musical assemblages, which are mixed with forms, codes, territories, and also emergent transforming features.  We can detect the power of the church and the creativity of the musicians.

Everything turns on movements of deterritorialization and reterritorialization, terms invented by Guattari.  Examples can be found in the evolution of men, removing front paws from the earth and then reterritorializing them as things to grab branches, deterritorializing branches and then using them as sticks, featuring different speeds and continuums of intensity.

[ is a cold and got so far been involved in the great man for this bloody there and speech thing thinks I’m keen on Asians as pilots wished only to sweeten you by Asians read territorial eyes Asian visual eyes Asian stupid bastards for – how’s that for a machinic delirium, produced by leaving my speech recognition switched on while I was talking to my wife. It looks better like this:

IS a cold and got so far. Been involved in the great man for this. Bloody there and speech thing/thinks. I’m keen on ASIANS- AS- PILOTS. Wished. Only to sweeten you by Asians.READ- TERRITORIAL-EYES- ASIAN- VISUAL-EYES-ASIAN  . Stupid bastards! For.]


We must study these movements of deterritorialization, flux and continuums of intensity in concrete examples [well done Claire!] Some examples can be found in the 11th century with movements of peasants and money taking the form of invasion, the crusades, urbanism, the deterritorialization of the church and disposition of its lands.  Or there are ‘the great geographical adventures’ (135).  Such lines of flight can be seen as ‘primary in a society…  These constitute the social field, trace out its gradation and its boundaries’ (135).  This is recognisable in Marxist analyses of class contradictions, but everything flees, affecting masses of all kinds.  The lines of flight are creative, forcing developments in a plane of consistence [and the old saying about fleeing to pick up a weapon—maybe this is still Deleuze?  Maybe the two are fused into some ghastly multiplicity?].

Lines of flight are primary, not in a chronological sense and not ‘in the sense of an eternal generality’ (136) [the anthropology of Fleeing Man really took off there – shame].  There are untimely, like haecceities.  Reterritorializations can also accumulate, for example informing a ‘”class”...  Which benefits particularly from it, capable of homogenising it and overcoding all its segments’ (136) [the closest we get to the idea of social reproduction?  This still seems to be some conflict between stabilisation and the movements of masses, as ‘entangled’ lines]. Apparently, this can explain why ‘we’ seem to work with both three lines and two—much depends on whether one really captures all the movements of the others, produces real flight, or only relative deterritorializations 'always compensated by the reterritorializations of which impose on them so many loops, detours, of equilibrium and stabilisation'(136), and then the final stage with a conventional segmentary line and overcoding.  We have 'the nomadic line, another migrant and the third sedentary ... [and inevitably another patch has to be added]…  (the migrant is not at all the same as the nomadic)' (136).

Or perhaps there are only two lines because the molecular line can oscillate between the two extremes [of flight and segment, de and re].  ‘Or else there is only one line’ where the primary line of flight which is relativized in the second line and stopped or cut in the third' (137) [if it makes no difference to you whether there are one or two or three lines, why are you boring us with it?].  But perhaps this line is formed from the explosion of the other two.  Moby Dick shows the complexities —the boats in segmentarity, Ahab becoming, the whale and its flight.  [What a preposterous series of arguments!].

The regimes of signs might be relevant—the despotic regime banning lines of flight.  These two cases were only briefly outlined, but there are lots of others—'each time it is the essential element of politics.  Politics is active experimentation, since we do not know in advance which way a line is going to turn'(137) [and who exactly is doing this experimentation?].  We are constantly being worked on by the state: liberal ones simply direct the abstract machine, totalitarian ones absorb it There are so many dangers.  Each line has one.  Our own segments tend towards a rigidity which is reassuring but anxiety producing.  Can we ever dispense with segmentary lines?  [At one level they seem to be part of 'our organism and our very reason' (138)].

Supple lines also have dangers, like those above, but miniaturised—'little oedipal communities have replaced the family oedipus' (138).  Crossing thresholds can also produce problems as in Guattari’s 'micro fascisms which exist in a social field without necessarily being centralised’(138). Even if you leave behind segmentarity, you can still end up in a black hole, feeling dangerously self assured about your role and mission—‘the Stalins of little groups, local law givers, micro fascisms of gangs’ (139) [Real] schizophrenia abides in a black hole.

[In a note, GD adds that marginals scare him, that some speeches of madness or of addiction are no more valid than psychoanalysis, although they can be equally self assured and certain.  It is OK if they retain modesty, ‘but it is a disaster when they slip into a black hole from which they no longer utter anything but the micro–fascist speech of their dependency and their giddiness: “We are the avant-garde”, “We are the marginals”’ (139).  This seems to me exactly what happened to Deleuze, who became arrogant enough to think that his delirious ramblings were major contributions to philosophy and/or revolution and who refused to discuss them with anybody else].

Sometimes the segmentary line and the more supple line can sustain each other, and management of the molar is linked to management of the molecular.  Virilio’s picture of the modern state sees it as maintaining peace and equilibrium, while maintaining marginals in their own black holes as some kind of [bad totality].

Nor should we follow lines of flight or rupture without tracing them out first.  They also present dangers, apart from being drawn into black holes.  They can turn into ‘lines of abolition’ or complete destruction (140).  Lines of flight are all too real, and many writers end in suicide or madness.  Sometimes death can be peaceful and happy, but the plane of immanence does not guarantee it.  The metaphor of war often appears, for example in Kleist or Fitzgerald.  [Then there is another reference to this criticism and the clinic project, something to do with showing how life and work become the same thing, life ceases to be personal, and the work ceases to be literary, page 141].

The war machine originates in a different way from the State.  It was originally developed by nomadic people against sedentary people, it features a focus on problems not theorems.  The State itself persists through the exercise of binary machines and overcodings, but the war machine is run through with various kinds of becomings [including ‘the becomings–imperceptible of the warrior’ (141)].  Various French authors have argued for the separation of warriors from the state, and have argued that wars sometimes arise in order to resist centralization [am I mistaken, or is there an assumption throughout that the state is the modern nation state?].  The war machine follows lines of flight [the example is Genghis Khan!] and deterritorialization, and this is compatible with its strategy.  States actually have a problem of integrating the war machine, institutionalising it, and there is always a residual tension between the two.  There is a particular danger that the line traced by war machines will end in abolition and destruction as above.  This does not reflect some death instinct, but shows how the assemblage of desire can create even the destructive war machine.  The problem is to energise war machines without them leading into abolition.

There is no duality between individual and collective (because there is no subject of enunciation and every assemblage is already collective); none between natural and artificial (because both these elements are integrated into a machine); none between the spontaneous and the organised (since both of forms of organization); none between the segmentary and the centralised (since the segments are part of the despotic apparatus).  All these differences are entangled.  The point of any kind of analysis, schizo, pragmatic or micro political involves not interpreting but tracing the lines, and identifying the dangers.  For example: (1) what are the rigid segments of binaries and overcodings, where are the others, what dangers follow if we blow them up too quickly?; (2) where are the supple lines, fluxes, thresholds, re and deterritorializations, and where are the black holes which we need to avoid?;(3) where are the lines of flight, and are they free from destruction and self destruction?  In particular, are we sure we are not desiring our own repression?  We need to take particular care when developing bodies without organs, since some are ‘like hardened empty envelopes, because their organic components have been blown up too quickly and too violently...[some]...are cancerous and fascist’ (144).

There are no prescriptions, no globalising concepts.  ‘Even concepts are haecceities, events' (144).  Even concepts like desire or machine or assemblage ‘only have value in their variables’.  There are no lessons from history to be learned about the inevitable failure of revolutions.  [Then a very strange piece: ‘It seems to us that there would never have been the tiniest Gulag if the victims had kept up the same discourse as those who weep over them today’ (144-5).  I think it then goes on to say that the victims were braver and more sincere, not bitter, not ambitious—but it is an odd passage].

It’s never been a matter of ‘utopian spontaneity vs. State organization’ ( 145).  We do not oppose to the State spontaneous dynamics, or to states of nature, or to becoming a lucid theorist of revolution who gets pleasure out of its impossibility.  The question is organisational, not ideological—can we think of an organization which does not mirror state apparatus, measure assemblages against the proximity to the state apparatus, develop a suitably modern war machine which will avoid fascist dangers and its own powers of destruction?  Luckily ‘In a certain way it is very simple, this happens on its own and every day’ (145).  There is no need to organize a revolutionary apparatus on the scale of the state.  Even ‘the most centralised state is not at all the master of its plans, it is also an experimenter’ (145-6) [shades of hegemony and the role of the intellectuals encountering it].

Modern states are unable to predict the future reliably.  There are no master plans.  Every experiment produces critical experimenters looking for lines of flight, trying to build new planes of consistence, countering the emergent dangers of their war machines [and who are these people?  French philosophers struggling against the bureaucracy of the university?]

As national states develop, they will require even larger abstract machines to overcode ‘monetary, industrial and technological fluxes’ (146), and they will need to develop even more widespread forms of control and surveillance, at the molecular level [the examples given include how industrial workers help to exploit third world workers, and men over exploit women].  But even this abstract machine is dysfunctional and fallible.  States no longer have the means to preserve their machines in the face of the market, and can no longer rely on the old repressive state apparatuses, or even schools and families.  [Then a bit that looks like a list of crisis tendencies—marking out the new territories, controlling new economic forms, overcoming the crisis of schools, trade unions, the army, and women, managing qualitative demands—quality of life rather than standard of living, page 147].

But people are increasingly demanding the right to desire.  This gives minority questions a revolutionary form which must question the basis of the State.  We should try to think ‘that a new type of revolution is in the course of becoming possible’ (147) [so after all the oscillations, we’re going to plump for optimism this time, as a sort of decisionistic move].  Perhaps all the new machines will combine into a plane of consistence which will undermine the plane of organization.  States are not in control of the plane, and revolutionaries are not condemned to deformations of their plane.  Everything is still uncertain.  The point is to avoid pessimistic questions about revolutions, because this only encourages people not to become revolutionaries, and this is common enough already. [Is this the young and optimistic Parnet, to be compared with the pessimistic old Deleuze of the Society of Control?]


AND NOW - -the small extra bit contained in Dialogues II (2002)  trans H Tomlinson and B Habberjam, London:Continuum

[The translators say this is such a terse style that it must be a set of notes Deleuze produced while preparing for a lecture or seminar --personally, I liked it and wish he would always write like this. This seems a really nice if brief statement of his ontology.It amazes me that people have read this volume,focused on the blurb about D and G and how they collaborated, and missed this! ]

The Actual and the Virtual, Trans Elliot Ross Albert

'Philosophy is the theory of multiplicities, each of which is composed of actual and virtual elements.  Purely actual objects do not exist.' (148).  Each actual is surrounded by a 'cloud of virtual images, a 'series of extensive coexisting circuits'.  Each circuit connects virtual images.  Virtual here means that they are connected instantaneously, that they are emitted and absorbed created and destroyed in an instant: it is this that makes them uncertain and indeterminate in principle.  Virtual wars constantly renew themselves by emitting others which can then react on the actual.  In this sense, the cloud of the virtual reveals 'the virtual of a yet higher order…  A virtual cosmos' surrounding each virtual.

Thinking of Bergson, each perception has cloud of virtual images around it, serving as 'memories of different sorts' which are virtual images in the sense that they are also instantaneously connected and inextricable.  This is how they have an effect on actual objects.  The virtual images form up as a continuum, 'a spatium'(149) extending through 'the maximum of time imaginable'.  The actual object becomes more or less dense according to how extensive the circles of virtual images are.  The actual object is indistinguishable from the virtual, 'becomes itself virtual' and this is the totality, 'total impetus' of the object. Actual objects dissolve into their virtual components, and the varying layers of the virtual constitutes 'the plane of immanence'.

Actualization as a process affects the image as much as the object, because it fragments the continuum of images, [breaks the links at the virtual level]  or cuts up the spatium.  Actualization can proceed through regular or irregular 'temporal decompositions'.  This affects the 'total impetus' of the virtual object.  It follows that 'the virtual is never independent of the singularities which cut it up and divide it out on the plane of immanence'.  This links with Leibniz on the notion of force as a virtual being actualized.

The cutting or fragmentation produces 'a multiplicity of planes', which 'mark' actualizations.  The plane of immanence includes both the virtual and its actualizations, instantaneously linked.  So what is actual can be seen as a product, an object 'which has nothing but the virtual as its subject'.  'The actual falls from the plane like a fruit' (150)  [which must be among the most beautiful lines of philosophy ever written: my speech recognition software also added its own comment  'and never read'].  When the virtual becomes actualized, we get singularity,  but there is a further process whereby the actual itself becomes individualized.

So the actual is surrounded by virtualities at different distances, just as 'a perception evokes memories'.  However, the circles of the virtual can also contract, bringing it closer to the actual, so that 'both become less and less distinct' until the actual and the virtual are more or less doubles.  Bergson shows this with memory, where a virtual images coexist with actual perceptions, and we also see this as in Orson Welles's film The Lady from Shanghai, (see Cinema 2) where the mirror controls the character.  The virtual and the actual oscillate.  This 'perpetual exchange between the virtual and the actual is what defines a crystal', and crystals appear on the plane of imminence.  This is no longer a singularization but an individuation as process, not actualization but crystallization.  Virtuality no longer has to actualize itself because it is already correlated with the actual, and the two terms are 'indistinguishable'.

We can understand this by referring to elementary optics and the difference between the actual and virtual image.  However, we also have to discuss 'the most fundamental split in time', the passing of the present and the preservation of the past [as in Bergson again].  The present is seen as a variable, measured in continuous time heading in one direction until it reaches a point at which it becomes the past.  The actual is defined as something in this present.  The virtual by comparison looks ephemeral, existing in a smaller time than that which the present occupies.  However, in fact it 'is also the longest time' [because it extends forever in all dimensions?], although on a different scale of measurement.  We see this in the structuring of the past [in Bergson's terms - eternal, organized as layers in a cone and so on].  Virtuals communicate among themselves, without having to go through actuals.  Although we can separate out these two dimensions of time by looking at actual images in the present compared to virtual images in the past, in crystallization 'they become indiscernible, each relating to the role of the other'(151).

The actual and the virtual are related in a circuit, but this varies.  Sometimes actuals refer to virtuals as other things in the circuit which contains the actual.  Sometimes the actual refers to a specific virtual in the small circuits producing doubles.  In the smallest circuits of all, we find the crystal.  The plane of immanence contains all these relationships between actuals and virtuals.  We should not confuse these relationships as the ones established between two actuals, or individuals, which are 'ordinarily determined' (152).  The relations between actuals and virtuals can take the form of 'a highly specific and remarkable singularization which needs to be determined case by case'.

The notes by the translators are interesting.  They note the connection with the argument in difference and repetition about actuals and virtuals, for example; they point to the specific chapters in Matter and Memory which had been drawn upon here and which introduce the notion of a circuit in reflective perception.  They note the connection between this discussion of the crystal time and the one in Cinema 2 , which is where Deleuze had already applied Bergson on memory

 back to Deleuze page