Deleuze, G. (1995) Negotiations. Trans Martin Joughin. New York: Columbia University Press

Part one from Anti Oedipus to a Thousand Plateaus

Letter to a harsh critic (1973)

[This is the source of many of the justificatory quotes used by fans of Deleuze, but the context is a rather hurt. huffy and finally defiant response to a critic, ending with a kind of snap of the fingers and invitation to think your worst. It just seems so tactical and contradictory, and not at all like what he says elsewhere – about philosophy or about external reality]

The remark Foucault made about the century being Deleuzian was not about trading compliments [among celebrities]: ‘It doesn’t seem to cross your mind that I might really admire Foucault or that his little remark’s a joke meant to make people who like us laugh and make everyone else livid’ (4).

The critic is suffering from ressentiment when accusing Deleuze of aspiring to be an academic celebrity, with Anti Oedipus.  The critic is accused in turn of being a typical carping left winger, always accusing people.  Personal criticism, for example about his [evidently long] fingernails, are just irrelevant, but there is this strangely defensive rationalisation too: ‘…  one might say, and it’s true, that I dream of being, not invisible, but imperceptible, and the closest I can get to the dream is having fingernails I can keep in my pockets’ (5).

He says he’s never felt particularly at home with classic [academic] history of philosophy, which he sees as repressive.  This leads to the famous quote ‘I suppose the main way I coped with it at the time was to see the history of philosophy as a sort of buggery or (it comes to the same thing) immaculate conception.  I saw myself as taking a philosopher from behind and giving him a child; it would be his own offspring, yet monstrous’ (6).  He cites his book on Bergson as an example of how he included ‘all sorts of shifting, slipping, dislocations and hidden emissions’.

Nietzsche inspired him to write an apparently personal way, but he found this difficult at first.  He only found it possible to speak for himself in his own name because ‘individuals find a real name for themselves, rather, only through the harshest exercise in depersonalization, by opening themselves up to the multiplicities everywhere within them, to the intensities running through them’ (6).  This is a loving kind of depersonalization though, not repressive.  ‘One becomes a set of liberated singularities, words, names, fingernails, things, animals, little events: quite the reverse of a celebrity’ (7). [Compare this rigorously anti-humanist sentence with what he says about auteurs below].This is how he came to write Difference and Repetition and the Logic of Sense.  He realises that ‘they’re still full of academic elements, they’re heavy going, but they are an attempt to jolt, set in motion, something inside me, to treat writing as a flow, not a code’ (7).  [Nietzsche has a lot to answer for]. He also met Guattari and they loved one another, partly by depersonalizing and singularizing  each other.  Another famous quote follows on the authorship of the book:  ‘since each of us, like anyone else, is already various people, it gets rather crowded’ (7).  Anti Oedipus is still scholarly and academic, ‘not the Pop Philosophy or Pop Analysis we dreamed of’, but it is surprising that so many experts find the book difficult and ask questions ‘what exactly is a body without organs?’.  Others, who are not steeped in psychoanalysis, have less of a problem ‘and happily pass over what they don’t understand’ (7) [All very well, but doesn’t this lead to a superficial reading, based on the old flawed subjective syntheses, or just a daft one – what if I read his letter as a text on manicure?...’’Personal care and Deleuze – keeping fingernails in your pocket’. What about the solemn stuff about the lonely heroic philosopher thinking how to produce a concept of the virtual?]

‘There are, you see, two ways of reading a book: you either see it as a box with something inside and start looking for what it signifies, and then if you’re even more perverse or depraved you set off after signifiers...And you annotate and interpret and question and write a book about the book [like the daft critic did] ... Or there’s another way: you see the book as a little non signifying machine, and the only question is “Does it work, and how does it work?” How does it work for you?  If it doesn’t work, if nothing comes through, you try another book’ (8).  [St Pierre makes a good deal of this quote which licenses her to read Deleuze according to her own interests, without really tangling with his ontology.  I am sure Bourdieu would see this as the same tactic used by Barthes to break out of tradition and appeal to the educated petit bourgeoisie over the head of university academics, for career purposes. Maybe this is what Zizek meant by saying Deleuze’s conventional academic career had come to a dead end so he got into avant-garde politics?]. Apparently, he knows people who saw immediately what Anti Oedipus is all about, [and so does St Pierre – her students no less] because they related it to what was going on outside [what, like, to teaching practice?].  Writing is only ‘one flow among others’ (8). [Why bother writing anything at all then? Why do academic philosophy? Why not write fragments or aphorism like his hero Nietzsche?].  The hostility of psychoanalysts is hardly surprising because people are just getting fed up with the monotony of oedipal analysis.  ‘We get wonderful letters about this from a psychoanalytical lumpenproletariat that are much better than critics’ reviews’ (8).

To read like this, with intensity, with connections with outside, as a ‘series of experiments for each reader in the midst of events that have nothing to do with books, as tearing the book into pieces, getting it to interact with other things…  is reading with love’ (9) [it is also reading as a leisured elite philosopher untroubled by necessity. Deleuze is just dealing with scholarly criticisms of his book rather than offering a liberated philosophy of desire?]. There is no intention to turn AO into a series.  They are going to change, because Anti Oedipus is ‘still full of compromises, too full of things that are still scholarly and rather like concepts’.  They are now going to stop compromising.  ‘We couldn’t care less what people do with Anti Oedipus, because we’ve already moved on’ (9). [= the books are selling, I am famous, I now have a career as a public intellectual, why should I care what you think?]

It is important to follow Foucault who ‘disrupted the machinery of recuperation and freed intellectuals from the intellectual’s classic political predicament’ [presumably, having to compromise with various movements, schools or parties].  There may be that there is a need now for secrecy, which is why ‘I’ve gone into hiding and I’m still doing my own thing, with as few people as possible’ (10) [no licence for activism here then].  The relative success of Anti Oedipus has not led to the need to compromise.

The critic knows nothing about the real Deleuze, because he believes in secrecy and falsity, ‘inner journeys that I can only measure by my emotions and express very obliquely and circuitously in what I write’ (11).  Any connections with the other groups, such as left wing or sexual liberation groups ‘can always be produced by other means...  By thinking in strange, fluid, and unusual terms’ (11).  [In response to a criticism that he was only on the edge of a group of people experimenting in the 1960s]. It’s a question of ‘becoming inhuman, of a universal animal becoming—not seeing yourself as a dumb animal, but of unravelling your body’s human organisation, exploring this or that zone of bodily intensity, with everyone discovering their own particular zones, and the groups, populations, species that inhabit them’ (11).  ‘Why shouldn’t I invent some way, however fantastic and contrived, of talking about something, without someone having to ask whether I’m qualified to talk like that?  Drugs can produce délire, so why can’t I get into a délire about drugs?’ (12). ‘My favourite sentence in Anti Oedipus is: “No, we’ve never seen a schizophrenic”’ (12)  [truculence as a form of defence?].

[The translator notes helpfully that délire means ‘to go off the rails and wander in imagination and thought: meanings, images and so on float in a dream logic...But for D and G solid “reason” and free floating délire are simply converse articulations of a single transformational “logic of sense” more anchored in a central fixed signifier—Lacan’s name of the father...than in any supposedly fixed system of reference’ (186-7). As I suspected, much of Deleuzian writing is thinking out loud. Why did his editor let him get away with it? Only a celebrity would be allowed to get away with it? His lectures and interviews are much better because someone else is setting the agenda?]

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari on Anti Oedipus (1972)

Guattari had the idea of the unconscious as a machine, but he was still using Lacanian terms.  Lacan himself had wanted to move beyond notions like structure, the symbolic and the signifier.  They read a lot and wrote a lot.  ‘Felix sees writing as a schizoid flow drawing in all sorts of things.  I’m interested in the way a page of writing flies off in all directions and at the same time closes right  up on itself like an egg’ (14).  We took turns at rewriting things.

Guattari had come from the Communist Party, then the Left Opposition, and was a general activist.  He was working in a clinic and attending Lacan’s seminars.  He had always been interested in schizophrenics.  May ’68 was a shock, and Anti Oedipus is a result of it.  He was interested in connections but was still stuck in dialectics.  He wanted some connection between bodies without organs and multiplicities, ‘a discourse that was at once political and psychiatric’ (15).

Freud derived most of his work from psychosis, and when he met Schreber [a schizophrenic] , this led to problems and evasions.  Freud doesn’t seem to like schizophrenics.  Other psychoanalysts had sketchy ideas and processes, but not fully formed notions of machines.  Psychoanalysis has uncovered desire.  Freud made the mistake of personalising apparatuses and  ‘desires’, and machines become more and more like stage machinery: the superego, the death instinct, becomes a deus ex machina’ (16).  Freud discovers desire and then forces it back into a domestic oedipal complex.

‘It is the practice and theory of psychoanalysis itself’ (17) that needs to be challenged.  It has an idealist turn, with no contradiction, ‘the whole system of projections, of reductions, in analytic theory and practice’ (17). It oedipalises, but this is a mechanism for repressing desiring machines ‘and in no sense of formation of the unconscious itself’ (17).  The resolution of Oedipus is a joke, it never ends and is passed on from father to son.   By contrast a ‘materialist psychiatry is one that brings production into desire on the one hand and desire into production on the other’ (18).  Psychoanalysis can never understand ‘the schizophrenic basis of délire…  It neuroticises everything’ (18).

[FG] We see the rise of comprehensive fascism. So ‘either a revolutionary machine that can harness desire and the phenomena of desire will take shape, or desire will go on being manipulated by the forces of oppression’ (18).  The social field is invested with preconscious elements and unconscious ones, driven by interests and desire respectively.  The danger is that revolutionary interests will leave intact fascistic unconscious investment of desire.  Ideally, schizanalysis would take place in militant groups to see the contradictory play of investments.  It is not that interests always contrast with desire, merely that they are ‘always found and articulated at points predetermined by desire’ (19).  So desire itself has to take on a revolutionary orientation.  The concept of ideology is useless to grasp this  ‘there are no such things as ideologies’ (19).  It is a puritanical view of interests that limit revolutionary apparatuses, and these represent a small section of the oppressed class.  Even in revolutionary organizations desire is repressed as you go up the hierarchy.  The answer is to establish ‘positive lines of flight, because these lines open up desire…  It’s not a matter of escaping “personally” from one’s self, but of allowing something to escape, like bursting a pipe or a boil…  Beneath the social codes’ (19—these are Guattari’s words).  Whenever desire resists oppression, the challenge potentially threatens  the system as a whole.  May ’68 was never about attacking consumerism: there is never enough consumption or contrivance, and revolution will only become acceptable at ‘the point where desire and machine become indistinguishable, where desire and contrivance are the same thing, turning against the so-called natural principles of, for example, capitalist society’ (20).  Such potential is immanent ‘even in the tiniest desire and terribly difficult to reach, because it brings into play all our unconscious investments’ (20).

So the book tries to unite criticism of Freud and criticism of capitalism.  Desire forms an unconscious series of investments which are as important as preconscious interests.  Délire is also important: ‘people have asked us if we’ve ever seen a schizophrenic; we might ask psychoanalysts whether they’ve ever listened to délire’ (20).  Délire is much more widespread than just a matter of family drama.  Délire produces unconscious social investments—‘this is true even for children’ (20).  Psychoanalysis never gets through to desiring machines ‘because it’s stuck in oedipal figures or structures’, and it never gets through to social investments of the libido because it’s ‘stuck in its domestic involvements’ (20).  It’s much more interesting to ask how délire invests the social field.  The failure of psychoanalysis to grasp schizophrenia is linked to ‘its deep roots in capitalist society’ (21).

[Your book is ‘rooted in a very specific “intellectual culture”’ (21), says the interviewer, one C. Backès-Clément,  but why is it hostile to linguistics?]

Foucault and Lyotard have also rejected the stress on the signifier.  The problem is that such stress gives importance to ‘an obsolete writing machine’, that gives all power to the signifier [as in the old structural semiotics overturned in Barthes’ critique?].  This is ‘despotic overcoding’ (21).  The signifier is an ‘enormous archaism’ (21). Instead, as with Hjelmslev, they wanted to see language as a ‘system of continuous flows of content and expression, intersected by machinic arrangements’ (21).  There is also a conception of collective agents of utterance, but not well worked out. ‘We’re strict functionalists, what we are interested in is how something works, functions [as a machine]’ (21), rather than in searching for meaning.  Functionalism is no good at explaining large social groups, but it is useful ‘in the world of micro multiplicities, micro machines, desiring machines, molecular formations’ (22).

[GD] ‘We feel the same way about our book.  What matters is whether it works, and how it works, and who it works for.  It’s a machine too.  It’s not a matter of reading it over and over again, you have to do something else with it’ (22).  They are writing for people who are fed up with Freudianism.  They need allies, and think there are lots of people who’ve had enough…  ‘It’s not a question of fashion but of a deeper “spirit of the age” informing converging projects’ (22).  [One of these mysterious currents that academics are subject to, without realizing it, in my view, as in Bourdieu].  Allies are found in ethology, in psychiatry, and Foucault.  They have read lots, but ‘rather randomly’ (22).  They want to resist coding and encourage ‘flows, revolutionary active lines of flight, lines of absolute decoding rather than any intellectual culture.  Even in books there are oedipal structures’ (22).  Anglo-American writers are good for showing intensities and flows.  ‘Lawrence, Miller, Kerouac, Burroughs, Artaud, and Beckett know more about schizophrenia than psychiatrists and psychoanalysts’ (23).

[Are schizophrenics really revolutionaries?]

A schizophrenic has been ‘decoded, deterritorialized’ (23).  Their book is always open to misinterpretation, some of it intentional, and ‘there is always a political motive behind any misinterpretation’ (23) [ referring to the hostile reception by psychiatrists?] .  What they’re really doing is asking simple questions such as can you take drugs without them taking you over, just like Burroughs did.  It is the same with schizophrenia.  It is both a process and a production, where clinicians hospitalise people.  We’re not saying that revolutionaries are schizophrenics, but rather that there is ‘a schizoid process of decoding and deterritorializing, which only revolutionary activity can stop turning into the production of schizophrenia’ (24).  We’re interested in the political and social effects of paranoia and schizophrenia, not their psychiatric applications.  Délire also has a revolutionary and a fascist paranoid pole.

But misinterpretation is chronic [not just a personal reading then, based on pragmatic goals? Disqualified by seeing it as always political?], and there’s no point arguing, ‘it is better to get on with something else, to work with people going in the same direction.  As for being responsible or irresponsible, we don’t recognise these notions, they are for policemen and courtroom psychiatrists’ (24).

On a Thousand Plateaus (1980)

‘It’s a book of concepts’ (25), with each plateau having its own tone.  Doing philosophy involves creating concepts, but not in the usual way, determining essences.  Instead, a concept expresses an event, ‘the circumstances in which things happen’ (25).  This permits the use of novelistic methods.  The ritornello describe situations where people hummed tunes, faces have to be made but in what situations?  Each plateau maps out a ‘range of circumstances’, each has an imaginary date, and an image.  It is about ‘modes of individuation beyond those of things, persons, or subjects: the individualization, say, of a time or day, of a region, a climate, a river’ (26).

[The knowledge effects of the book are in danger of being turned into opinions or ‘a star effect’.  It gambles with the status of philosophy as something more than opinion or entertainment]

It is not just teachers of philosophy who are philosophers—anyone who creates concepts is a philosopher, such as Guattari.  There are cultural spaces, including literary ones that are reactionary and artificial.  The media play an important part.  The French critical tradition was strong, but it needs new philosophers.  Anti creativity is common and is worse than censorship.  Networks  need to be set up to counter it.  Does  A Thousand Plateaus help to form these networks?  Someone should analyse journalists and their political implications—Bourdieu?

Linguistics is not a fundamental theme, although there is an interesting turn towards pragmatics, with language being seen as an activity rather than a set of abstract units.  Again this is good because it makes possible convergences and collaborations, say between novelists and linguists.  Barthes is an example of how to develop towards pragmatics, and so is Labov (28) for his work on the pragmatics of language in ghettos.  The important thing is the part played by precepts, and secondly the notion of indirect discourse, and the dismissal of metaphor as of little importance.  Linguistic constant and variables do not explain language use.  Music and its relation to the voice plays a greater part than linguistics.

[The translator helpfully provides notes—precepts is his word for ‘ordering words’, such as maxims or directives: they have a normative and prescriptive character.  Indirect discourse arises when ‘one utterance paraphrases the content of another “primary” utterance’. Language is primarily like this for Deleuze and Guattari.  In the Logic of Sense, the metaphor is redundant, since it implies some true primary meaning, whereas ‘all meaning and identification derive rather from the unstable interplay of figures, from configurations of sense’.  In Thousand Plateaus, all discourse is indirect, and all utterances and their subjectivities primary speakers, but they ‘derive any identity they may fleetingly possess from the unstable interplay of words and other things and the shifting configurations that are “collective arrangements of utterance”’ (189).]

Some concepts do seem to have a scientific resonance—black holes, Riemannian spaces— as used in normal science.  They are not exact in nature nor quantitative, and philosophers can only use these metaphorically.  However there are underlying notions that scientists rely on, but which philosophers and artists also know about.  One example is the notion of a region of bifurcation in Prigogine and Stenger.  This belongs to thermodynamics originally, but it is also a philosophical scientific and artistic concept.  Sometimes philosophers influence science, usually in an unexpected way [Bergson is an example].

‘”Becomings” are much more important than history’ (30).  For example war machines are seen as conjunctions of human beings and technology, and they can enter into history but only when related with state apparatuses.  State apparatuses themselves are linked to notions of territory and deterritorialization.  State apparatuses involve simultaneous comparison of territories and articulation, and this can be found in animal territories as well.  The section on ritornellos is the converse of the section on state apparatuses, one example of a link between the plateaus.  The same goes with the ‘system of signs that we call “passionate.” It corresponds to a series of trials.  Now you find this system in certain historical processes (typified by crossing a desert), but you find it in other contexts too, in the délires studied by psychiatry, in literary works’ (31).

TP is a kind of philosophical system: some say it’s impossible to construct one because knowledge is fragmented.  However, that leaves us with the option of only doing restricted and specific work and ignoring any broader approach.  Currently science works with the notion of an open system rejecting linear forms of causality.  Blanchot constructs a literary space.  A rhizome is an open system.  The system is a set of concepts, and philosophy deals with concepts.  It is an open system which can relate to circumstances not essences, but concepts still have to be created.  They are not based on ‘whatever generalities happen to be in fashion’, but are singularities, ‘acting on the flow of every day thought: it is perfectly possible to think without concepts, but as soon as there are concepts, there is genuine philosophy’ (32).  ‘A concept’s full of a critical, political force of freedom’ (32) [only in thought or in the university?].  The system can be a group of concepts, and it then becomes possible to establish what is good or bad in them.  ‘Nothing’s good in itself, it all depends on careful systematic use’ (32).  There are no guarantees of a good outcome, however—a smooth space cannot ‘overcome striations and coercion…  A body without organs [cannot] overcome organisations’ (32).  You do need new words to express concepts, or use every day words in a singular way.  We do need to oppose the new tendency towards a system developing in politics, culture and journalism ‘that’s an insult to all thinking’ (32).

A map or diagram is a series of interacting lines—some represent something other or abstract, some are segmented, some weave through space or go in a certain direction, some trace an outline.  These lines are ‘the basic components of things and events’ (33).  These lines configure space and volume.

War machines are linear arrangements following lines of flight to achieve a smooth space which can be occupied and extended.  ‘Nomadism is precisely this combination of war machine and smooth space’ (33).  Sometimes war machines actually aim at war, when they have been taken over by a state apparatus, but generally they are ‘revolutionary or artistic rather than military' (33).  There is a certain unpredictability here: 'we can't assume that lines of flight are necessarily creative, that smooth spaces are always better than segmented or striated ones’ (33).  Weapons can construct a smooth space.  ‘Schizoanalysis’  is the analysis of lines, spaces, becomings' (34).

The date for each plateau is no more significant than its illustration or proper names.  But the telegraphic style is meant to be forceful, convey a sense of immanence.  Proper names refer to 'forces, events, and notions and sources of movement... rather than people.  Infinitives express becomings or events that transcend mood and tense.. . each date…  refers to a different space- time…  Together, these elements produced arrangements of utterance: "Werewolves  swarming 1730"…  And so on.' (34).  [Fucking pseud!]

Part two Cinemas

Three questions on Six Times Two (1976)

[You can see clips, many with an English commentary, here  Some of the scenes Deleuze refers to are in other clips, like the sequences of which appears in 6 fois 2 émissions télévision cinema (1976) here, but only in French The whole thing is available for rent from MUBI. See also the brief essay on Godard here] I have a rather old file on avant-garde film, including a bit on Godard here]

Godard is a solitary figure but his solitude is turned to creative ends.  It helps him to speak to people as an outsider.  It is as if he is 'stammering in language itself' (38). His career can be seen as 'a line of active flight, a constantly shifting line zigzagging beneath the surface' (38).  He came to make TV programmes following some vague [public?] demand for creativity, and it had an impact in making people talk, questioning, challenging various images.  Of course if annoyed many people too.

It's a practical matter of having ideas and challenging convention by asking questions and provoking difficult answers, or doing simple things that disrupt arguments.  There are two main ideas in these programmes, which is why each one has two parts.  The first idea refers to work, and Godard here is questioning the fundamentally Marxist idea that there is something abstract called labour and that this involves injustice whenever it is bought or sold.  Godard shows variations in buying and selling, though—for example, people don't want to be paid for their hobbies.  This raises questions about who does get paid, for example when people are photographed or filmed.  Guattari once suggested that people being analysed should be paid, because they are engaged in work as well.  Godard is saying people who watch TV maybe should be paid, or perhaps workers should pay people who design things they make.  Labour is complex, and Godard raises questions about it, and the official Communist version of it.

The second idea is to do with information and the need to examine concrete variants.  School teaching is often instruction, delivering precepts and supplying the means, like syntax,  to produce accepted meanings: 'we should take him quite literally when Godard says children are political prisoners' (41).  Much television also involves instruction, in learning to recognise different genres, like separating news from entertainment, perhaps as much as it conveys information.  But there are slippages, silences, stammering as well—such as images of people with open mouths [the open mouth of the victims in Potemkin compared with the open mouth of a trade union leader in one clip].  Sounds come to represent images.  Godard asks how people can speak without giving orders, how they can be entitled to speak, and what part sounds play ‘in the struggle against power’ (41).

Godard is not offering to demonstrate how true information or proper payment for labour should be achieved -- he is questioning these whole  notions.  His intention is to 'produce a mosaic of different work rather than measuring it all against some abstract productive force' (41).

It is not just that images refer to work and sounds to information.  Instead he is arguing that:

(1) images are also things and they can suggest motion;

(2) images have an inside, they are experienced from inside and therefore they become subjects.  The gap between actions on these images and reactions leaves room for other images --  'that is to perceive' (42).  This actually involved subtracting from images, and the additional images they evoke, that which is unrelated to us: 'there is always less in our perception' (42).  We are filled with images, and it is difficult to separate those which are outside us;

(3) there are also aural images, and some of them also have an additional side—‘ideas, meaning, language, expressive aspects, and so on' (42) and this is how they capture or ‘contract’ other images 'a voice takes over a set of images (the voice of Hitler, say)' (42).  Sounds embody precepts as well, part of the process of normalising images;

(4) so a chain of images is interwoven with a network of precepts.  Godard wants to restore a fullness to images, and he wants to make language stammer.  One way he does this is to use the static shot, so that everything can be noticed.  For example the blackboard on the screen [actually a teleprinter screen] becomes 'a new televisual resource' (43).

Bergson has described the situation in a similar way, noticing, for example, that photography has become part of the whole system [of perception, images and precepts].  Godard seems to be finding bits of Bergson as he revives television.

Godard's interest in twos and threes does not show an interest in dialectic but rather the importance of the conjunctions ‘AND’.  Additionally 'all thought’s modelled rather on the verb to be, IS'[the translator helpfully notes that the terms ‘et’ and ’est’ sound the same in French].  Relations between things are also limited by this reliance on the verb ‘to be’, in French.  Instead, in English, relational judgements can become more autonomous.  So the repetition of the word ‘and’ [shown as a word appearing on the teleprinter screen] is ‘a creative stammering, a foreign use of language, as opposed to a conformist and dominant use based on the verb "to be"' (44).

‘AND is of course diversity, a multiplicity, the destruction of identities.  It's not the same factory gate when I go in, and when I come out, and then when I go past unemployed' (44).  Diversity is nothing to do with aesthetic wholes or dialectic schemes, since both refer to some primary unity.  ‘Multiplicity is precisely in the “and”’ (41) as Godard shows.  He shows this actively, that 'AND is neither one thing nor the other, it's always in between, between two things; it’s the borderline, there's always a border, a line of flight or flow only we  don't see it, because it's the least perceptible of things.  And yet it's along this line of flight that things come to pass, becomings evolve, revolutions take shape' (45).  Power itself lies on the border, as we see with cold war ‘stability’.  Godard is trying to see borders, 'images and sounds...  A whole micro politics of borders, countering the macro politics of large groups' (45).  He's on the border pursuing creative opportunities to carry television forward, creatively passing a line between sound and image.

On  The Movement – Image (1983)

The aim is to develop a classification of types of images and signs that correspond to them—the main genres tell us nothing about different images, nor do different sorts of shots because there are factors such as lighting, sound and time as well.  Images are combined through montage.  There are perception images, action images, and affection images and many others, and each one has ‘internal signs’ that characterise them (46).  But these are not linguistic signs.  Peirce has worked out a system of signs which are relatively independent of the linguistic model.  The focus on moving matter [the translator says that this covers the material for analysis as well as the medium or substance of cinema ‘and physical “matter” in movement’ (190)] provided the need for a new understanding.  ‘In this sense, I’ve tried to produce a book on…  a logic of cinema’ (47).

Many modern philosophers have not examined cinema, even when analysing images, or discussing perception.  Bergson (in Matter and Memory) has a new conception of images and time: ‘He…  posits an absolute identity of motion – matter – image, and on the other hand discovers a Time that’s the coexistence of all levels of duration (matter being only the lowest level)’ (47).  This conception marries ‘pure spiritualism and radical materialism’ (48).  However, Bergson did not develop these ideas, but attempted to develop philosophical concepts about the theory of relativity instead.

The various types of images have to be created or recreated: ‘signs’, if you like, always imply a signature.  So an analysis of images and signs has to include monographs on major auteurs’ (49) [the only exception to the relentless anti humanism of the rest of it?  Compare this with what he says about himself as a writer].  [There also seemed to be different schools]—expressionism sees light and dark as in a struggle, while ‘the prewar French school’ depicts alternation of solar and lunar light , as ‘anti expressionism...  An auteur like Rivette [who is postwar] has ‘reworked this theme of two kinds of lights’.  There are historical and geographical elements in these developments, but ‘all images combine the same elements, the same signs’, differently.  But not just any combination’s possible at just any moment’ [real weasels here] (49).

[There are also value judgements, say the questioners, Pascal Bonitzer and Jean Narboni, but mostly they bang on about whether it's history or not, and whether prewar cinema already broke with conventional realism].

‘I don’t, first of all, claim to have discovered anyone, and all the auteurs I cite are well known people I really admire’ (50).  The world of the auteurs was considered, taking their work as a whole.  There was no time in the first volume to consider carefully the novelties produced by, say, Welles.

It is not just that modern cinema breaks with narrative—‘that’s only an effect whose cause lies elsewhere’ (51).  The real issue is the depiction of sensory – motor situations, where actions are linked to perceptions.  But sometimes characters find themselves in extraordinary situations where they cannot react and so ‘the sensory – motor link’s broken’, and what remains is ‘a purely optical and aural situation.  There’s a new type of image’ (51).  Neo realism has ended our faith in being able to act or react predictably, and to reveal something ‘intolerable, unbearable, even in the most everyday things’ (51).  In optical and aural situations perceptions and affections are altered and no longer connected with the sensory- motor system or the usual notion of space.  Opsigns and sonsigns appear.  The whole system of movement and images is questioned.  External factors are involved, such as ‘half demolished or derelict spaces, all the forms of wandering that take the place of action, and the rise, everywhere, of what is intolerable’ (51) [obviously, Germania Anna Zero is the example here] [the translator notes the link between the term ballade to refer to wandering and the musical or poetic ballad  pattern].

Optical and oral images, like all images, need a relation with something, but the relation with action is no longer available.  This leaves only ‘a virtual image, a mental or mirror image (52).  These two sorts of images chase each other so that ‘real and imaginary become indistinguishable…  The actual image and its virtual image crystallise’ (52), and this can appear in crystalline signs [he cites Renoir, Ophuls and Fellini].  In the crystal you can see layers of time, a direct time image.  ‘Time no longer derives from the combination of movement images...  Movement now follows from time’ (52).  Montage has a different role – ‘montrage’ [the translator says this is a term from Lapoujade, developed from the verbal montrer--  to show.  The relation of images ‘express a primary sense, rather than sense being a secondary construct produced by the manipulation of independently meaningful images.  This “inflection” of the image transforms visibilité into lisibilité: relations become “legible” rather than “visible”’ (191)].  Thus a pedagogy of the image becomes possible [as in Godard].  ‘Image becomes thought, is able to catch the mechanisms of thought, while the camera takes on various functions strictly comparable to propositional functions’, which produces ‘”chronosigns”, “lectosigns” and “noosigns”’  (52).

Legibility does not involve applying structural linguistics.  This can only lead to the argument that cinema is an analogical language, modulation rather than a mould for thought  [closer to the idea of a pattern or model in French says the translator] [cinema only offers variants on ordinary language for those attempting to apply linguistics?].  However, modern cinema offers more parameters of images and ‘the generation of divergent series’, not convergent ones as in classic cinema, hence the move from visibility to legibility.  There is also a shift away from [optical] verticality in favour of various kinds of planes.  Legibility implies the diagram rather than language.  The great auteurs ‘have to work with what they’ve got, but they call forth new equipment, new instruments.  These instruments produce nothing in the hands of second rate auteurs, providing only a substitute for ideas.  It’s the ideas of great auteurs, rather, that call them forth’ (53).  Cinema will survive and never be replaced by TV or video, since ‘great auteurs can adopt any new resource’ (54).  [classic elitism and circularity] 

[what about the look, the gaze?]

It’s not absolutely necessary, and is covered by the notion of the self sufficient visibility of the image.  ‘The eye isn’t the camera, it’s the screen…  The camera, with all its propositional functions…  It’s a sort of third eye, the mind’s eye’ (54).  Viewers are brought into films through the way in which the action is framed, not through the gaze.  There is a variety of actions and symbolic acts, such as gifts, revealed by the camera.  Hitchcock is particularly good at illustrating these mental relations and images, which saturate his conventional action images and movement images.  [The indispensable translator says that the idea of the look in French psychoanalysis has informed lots of film theory, based on the notion of the mirror phase in Lacan, and the role of the viewer in integrating filmic signifiers, which is mirrored in the interaction of the characters.  This came over into Anglophone film theory, then re-emerged, as a rediscovery,  with feminist notions of the male gaze (192)].

We need to distinguish between particular sets of things and the concept of the whole.  A set contains diverse elements but is still closed, ‘because there’s always some thread, however tenuous, linking the set to another larger set, to infinity’.  But the idea of the whole is different, relating to time, ranging over sets of things and stopping them becoming completely closed. It is not a set of things but the ceaseless passage from one set to another, the transformation of one set of things into another’ (55).  It is a difficult notion, but ‘it’s precisely cinema that makes it easier for us to [think about] this’.  Cinematic framing ‘defines a provisional artificially limited set of things’; cutting ‘defines the distribution of movement or movements among the elements of the set’, and then this movement shows change or variation in the whole ‘which is the realm of montage’ (55).  The notion of off screen space suggests that any set is part of another larger one, but also that ‘all sets are embedded in a whole that’s different in nature, a fourth or fifth dimension, constantly changing across all the sets ...over which it ranges’ (56).  This indicates ‘the spiritual order we find in Dreyer or Bresson’.  Sometimes one aspect dominates over the other, but ‘cinema’s always played upon these coexisting levels, each great auteur has his own way of conceiving and using them.  In a great film, as in any work of art, there’s always something open.  And it always turns out to be time, the whole, as these appear in every different film in very different ways’ (56).

On The Time – Image (1985).

Cinema appeared just when philosophy was thinking about motion, and the two projects developed independently before any encounter.  Cinema critics were the first philosophers of cinema as they thought out the specifics.  Film criticism should not be descriptive, but nor should it apply concepts from outside film.  Instead, it should form concepts that are not given immediately but which relate specifically to cinema, and then to a specific genre or specific film.  These concepts are not technical, because ‘technique only makes sense in relation to ends which it presupposes but doesn’t explain’ (58), and these ends are crucial for concept formation.  The key thing is self movement in images, depictions of space and time.  A tracking shot, for example can stop tracing out space and plunge into time, for example showing an encompassing in Kurosawa [the translator says encompassing comes from Jaspers and means ‘the “limiting horizon” of all things, which is not itself anything, the whole as in the above, 192], or a world-line.  And ‘you have to have monographs on auteurs, but then these have to be grafted on to differentiations, specific determinations, and reorganisations of concepts that force you to reconsider cinema as a whole’ (58) [still very weasily over the subject].

There must be specific philosophical concepts, rather than those borrowed from psychoanalysis and linguistics.  Even the idea of the imaginary may be irrelevant—‘cinema produces reality’ (58).  Instead of psychoanalysing auteurs, we should compare them with philosophers—for example Kierkegaard and Dreyer on spiritual choice and the depiction of the spiritual dimension.  Some linguistic concepts might be applied, as with ‘syntagm’, but then cinematic image is reduced to an utterance, and the ‘essential characteristic, its motion, is left out of consideration’.  Similarly, cinematic narrative is like the imaginary—‘a very indirect product of motion and time, rather than the other way around’.  The movements and times of the images are what is narrated (59).

Neorealism showed the collapse of sensory motor schemes, where characters don’t know how to react.  A new cinematic image also appears—pure time, a little bit of time in its pure form, rather than motion’ (59).  This was foreshadowed in Welles by the use of depth of field to show different layers of time, and in Ozu’s still lifes, which ‘bring out the unchanging pattern of time in a world that’s already lost its sensory motor connections’ (59).

The principle behind these changes include ‘the biology of the brain’ which is coming up with new discoveries about the kinds of circuits which are traced, or even invented by movement image and time image.  Resnais is an example—‘the circuits into which Renais’s characters are drawn, the waves the ride, are cerebral circuits, brain waves.  The whole of cinema can be assessed in terms of the cerebral circuits it establishes’ (60).  It’s not just intellectual activity, but emotive passionate activity too.  However, ‘most cinematic production, with its arbitrary violence and feeble eroticism, reflects mental deficiency rather than any invention of new cerebral circuits.  What happened with pop videos is pathetic: they could become a really interesting new field of cinematic activity, but were immediately taken over by organised mindlessness.  Aesthetics can’t be divorced from these complementary questions of cretinization and cerebralization  Creating new circuits in art means creating them in the brain too’ (60).

Any creative activity has a political aspect, but this activity is not compatible with the conventional circuits of communication.  The brain ‘can allow the most basic conditioned reflexes to prevail, as well as leaving room for more creative tracings…  It’s up to art to trace through it to new paths open to us today…  The overall importance of significance of cinema seems to me to depend on this sort of problem’ (61).

Doubts About the Imaginary (1986)

[While the Logic of Sense explored paradox and language, the movement image suggests transversal and open totality instead of a paradoxical set?  Why should the universe be seen as cinema in its purest form?  The aesthetic and philosophical categories and entities used to analyse cinema are Ideas in the platonic sense?  While conventional semiology is inadequate, you revived Peirce’s project?  Why do you avoid the term imaginary?  Does the term have any place in philosophy, or a heuristic role at least?  {what cracking questions!}]

There is a specific cinematic open totality, revealed by links between images.  Eisenstein develop this idea where the whole changes as images are linked, as a dialectic: for him it’s the relation between shots and montage.  But you can understand the totality in a non dialectical way as well, and postwar cinema questioned Eisenstein’s model as it became concerned with time image.  His notion of a whole presupposes ‘commensurable relations or rational cuts between images in the image itself, and between the image and whole’ (63) [the translator picks up a special sense of the term cut as not only cutting the film, but the general sense of a break or transition, and says there is also a mathematical way of defining rational and irrational numbers in terms of a special cut (193).] Postwar cinema breaks with this idea and sets up irrational cuts and incommensurable relations between images, false continuities (which may be misunderstood).

This develops because the time image becomes important, so the model of an open totality based on movement doesn’t work—there is no totalization.  Linguistic paradoxes appear, with the development of a break between the aural and the visual.  Time now ‘manifests itself directly, inducing false moves’ (64).

Resonances have developed between cinema and philosophy, such as the common focus on motion and time.  There are also mutual exchanges at the moment between aesthetics, scientific functions, and philosophical concepts—for example in Resnais there are ‘probabilistic and topological spaces, which correspond to spaces in physics and mathematics, but which cinema constructs in its own way’ [and the example is Je t’aime Je t’aime] (64).  Cinema relates to philosophy as images relate to concepts, but images and concepts are related among themselves as well.  Cinema has always been interested in an image of thought and its mechanisms.

Principles realise the images' functions or concepts as Ideas.  Signs realise Ideas, and cinematic signs are images.  There are signs specific to cinema which turn up elsewhere so that the world becomes cinematic.  Peirce is useful for showing the relations between images and signs, while classic semiotics does away with both and replaces the image with an utterance.  This omits movement, but cinema develops time images.  These should be understood as singularities, with internal points connected together.

Is the concept of the imaginary useful?  Bergson defines reality ‘as connection according to laws, the ongoing linkage of actualities’, and unreality as ‘what appears suddenly and discontinuously to consciousness, or virtuality in the process of becoming actualised’ (65).  This distinction is not always discernible, and falsity arises as a result.  This in turn makes truth itself undecidable.  The imaginary mixes up these two pairs of terms—‘it’s the indiscernibilty of real and unreal’, and different distinctions are possible between them.  With crystallization for example the actual image and a virtual image exchange, and become each other, and there is a similar exchange between clear and opaque, and also ‘seed and environment’.  The imaginary ‘is this set of exchanges’ (66), seen in the crystal images of the modern cinema.  What we see in the crystal can be falsity, which arises from the power of time as becoming, and which questions any formal model of truth—hence ‘the cinema of undecidability [in Welles or Resnais]…  The imaginary doesn’t lead us on to a signifier, but to a presentation of pure time’ (66).  It’s this crystallization that is important and which defines the imaginary—‘to imagine is to construct crystal images’.  It is the crystal that has the heuristic role and which shows us time as autonomous, as inducing false moves (66).

So there is the organic system of the movement image, where cuts and linkages show us the whole is the model of truth.  The crystalline system, the time image, is based on irrational cuts and shows us  ‘the power of falsity as becoming’ (67).  These two systems are found in cinema and elsewhere, in the arts, stylistic forms, in Nietzsche’s philosophy.  There might even be other systems, for example in digital electronic images.

The aim of the books on cinema was ‘to disseminate time crystals’ rather than reflect on the imaginary, display the system of signs, classifying them, and ‘making, I hope, further systems possible’ (67).

Letter to Serge Daney: Optimism, Pessimism, and Travel (1986)

[Quite hard to summarise this letter because I don’t know Daney’s work.  Apparently he has written a series of pieces attempting to classify cinema based on the notion of three tendencies ‘the beautification of Nature, the spiritualization of Nature, and competition with Nature’ (68).]

In early cinema, montage beautified nature or offered ‘an encyclopedia of the world’ (68), but also featured something behind the surface, an underlying harmony which was gradually revealed [as in classic realism].  Apparently, Daney says that fascism was responsible for the decline of this form, partly because Hitler himself developed a form of state propaganda that looked like cinema—‘tableaux vivants…  Realised cinema’s dream [but] in circumstances where horror penetrated everything’ (69).  The organic whole was totalitarianism, and the director’s power to create one looked like authoritarianism, so that directing was no longer innocent.

Postwar cinema had to offer new images and new principles and politics.  This was more focused on the surface of images, with only slight depths or no depths, and images were linked in quite different ways, including ‘false continuities’ (70) [the term deriving apparently from Blanchot, says the translator.  Generally, I think it just means non-natural continuities].  Actors no longer offered realistic depictions, but rather postures (with a reference to the Straubs ).  Postwar cinema also offered a definite ‘pedagogy of perception, taking the place of an encyclopedia of the world’ (70).  This means we need to look at images ‘with our mind’s eye’ (70) [the translator suggests that we are moving beyond the normal sense of continuity to evoke ‘a slightly more general “linkage”…  Since discontinuous shots  in a montage sequence may “accord” with one another to produce a coherent emotion or idea.  Thus false continuity is not bad continuity, but ‘a link between shots that appears to be continuous but is not: a cannon points down in one shot and men look up in the next, but men and cannon are in fact in quite different locations’ (194)].  This can also take the form of a spiritualised cinema [This term is also used in a number of strange ways.  Again the core of it is anti realism, and it seems to require some sort of meditative appreciation of images in their own right?].

Early pedagogic attempts involved optimism, as in Eisenstein, but this was replaced by pessimism after the war.  However, Daney holds on to the optimistic possibility of ‘a precarious, singular thought…  [which confronts]…  the worthlessness of most cinematic activity’ (71).  This reflects a new relation, between the images themselves.  New ‘audio visual combinations…  [converge with]…  major pedagogical lines’ (71).  There was an early hope that television would continue this tradition, but instead, it chose to develop ‘an essentially social function…  and substituted altogether different forces for the potential of beauty and thought’ (71).  Here, postwar surveillance and control is implicated.  It opposes the radical potential of cinema, and offers the spectator only a privileged position to look on to the creation of the images.  This is seen in the pleasures of attending a television show as a studio audience—‘it’s about being in contact with the technology, touching the machinery’ (72).

Television offers its own uncritical versions of cinema’s pedagogical techniques—the prying zoom, conventional continuity, a fascination with technology, and ‘edification becomes the highest aesthetic value’ (72).  Pedagogy of perception become professional training of the eye and the control of technology.  Hence the new grounds for pessimism.

Television has a significant aesthetic function potentially, and cinema has always faced limits to its exploratory powers.  It is not just a matter of comparing images, but rather to do with functions.  Television has not developed a separate aesthetic function, but opted for a social one, involving control and power ‘the dominance of the medium shot’ (72), avoiding any exploration of perception, in favour of ‘the professional eye’ (73).  Any innovations are unusual.  By contrast, cinema has always preserved its ‘aesthetic and noetic function’ (73).

How is this aesthetic function embodied?  [Critics seem crucial—the social function just requires a social consensus among the audience].  This could be a supplement in Derrida’s sense [where it is not worth anything, surely?].  Isolating it requires ‘a bit of skill and thought’, and key critics (73) [and Langlois and Bazin are singled out].  [Some examples from actual films follow, showing that cinematic time endures and preserves, coexists with other times, adding a supplement to nature].

Why does not television do this?  It has the same resources as cinema.  However it aims at the social function of preserving consensus—‘it’s social engineering in its purest form’ (74), and technical perfection avoids perceptual exploration.  The instant replay, for example is the opposite of cinematic time.  The viewer is invited to look through the professional eye, and admire television’s perfection, but this is ‘the very image of…  complete aesthetic and noetic emptiness’ (74).  [And one example of a perfect but empty television program is Dallas].  In this sense, television threatens the death of cinema.

Perhaps television can be redeemed by reversing its powers of control, developing a new resisting form of control [guerilla television?] This has been attempted in cinema, say with Coppola and the development of ‘mannerism…  The tense convulsive form of cinema that leans, as it tries to turn round, on the very system that seeks to control or replace it’ (75) [the translator says this echoes a convulsive form of confrontation between baroque and classical art].

In this last phase, art competes with nature, and the world becomes a film, where nothing happens to humans but only to images [sounds like Baudrillard].  The screen turns into a computer screen.  And perhaps cinema ought to establish definite relations with video and use electronic and digital images to develop a new form of resistance at least to prevent television having a monopoly, developing video art..  There are many possibilities, however, from Coppola [which one? ] to Syberberg and his use of theatre and puppetry.  Pop video might have been able to do this and ‘trace out the new cerebral circuits of the cinema of the future, if it hadn’t immediately been taken over by marketing jingles, sterile patterns of mental deficiency, intricately controlled epileptic fits’ (76), just as classic cinema was taken over by propaganda.

Space footage might have helped, although it was soon subordinated and normalised.  It should have used Snow’s techniques instead [La Region Centrale] where ’cinema is pushed to the limit of a pure Spatium’ (77).  Cinematic experiment might lead somewhere, even new comedy.  What we have here is ‘a battlefield where art and thought launch together with cinema into a new domain, while the forces of control try to steal this domain…  for social engineering’ (77).

As parallel cases [developed by commenting on a subsequent phase of Daney’s career as a roving journalist], it is impossible to escape by travel, especially if you take your past with you.  Travel has got little to do with nomadism, since most nomads are fighting to stay where they are [This is actually a paraphrase of someone else's idea].  Travel itself is not pleasurable.  The only point is to go and see for yourself, to check something,to find something out.  Daney found out that the whole world is turning to film, at different stages, which permits him to describe various countries and cities in terms of media techniques.  This preserves some of the openness and potential and optimism again.

There is some hope that people will contrast television and film, and that proper travel will raise potentials.  Finally, non American cinema can help to resist, even Soviet cinema, with its insistence on slow and careful observation as opposed to speed.

Part three Michel Foucault

[I am not going to provide detailed notes of these interviews.  The most important bits about the processes of subjectification being just another dimension to add to knowledge and power are touched on briefly in the next sections].

Part four Philosophy

Mediators (1985)

[A series of observations, rather like Barthes, organized under little sub headings, which I have not reproduced. Typical 'Great Man' chat]

Philosophy should restore its interest in movement rather than in matters like the origins of things.  Movements are changing for example in sport and habits.  And some of us being the source of the movement as in running, the new sports ‘surfing, windsurfing, hang gliding’ (121) involve entering into an existing motion, getting into something rather than being the origin of the effort.  [One of those strange arguments, common in Barthes, that because the world is changing or popular culture is changing, so philosophy ought to change as well!].  Philosophers ought to move away from the idea of intellectuals as the custodian of eternal values, and reflecting on things, and make itself move.

Philosophers should create not reflect.  Bergson had this creative approach to think about motion as perception, affection and action.  This applies automatically to cinema.  ‘Motion was brought into concepts at precisely the same time it was brought into images’ (122).  Bergson is thought itself moving, ‘intellectually mobile concepts’.  Cinema creates its own self moving images.  The books were not a reflection on cinema, but the examination of the field when motion is taking place.  Cinema is a laboratory to examine the emergence of notions of time rather than motion.

The early self moving images in cinema took the form of a narrative, but this was not necessary.  Narration emerged with the sensory motor schema, where ‘someone on the screen perceives, feels, reacts’ (123).  This schema was ‘American property’.  But after the Second World War, it no longer seemed to possible to react, leading to the emergence of optical and aural elements of cinema in neo realism, the new wave, American cinema breaking with Hollywood.  Images still move, but as an index of something else, as time images.  This is not just things that happen in time, ‘but new forms of coexistence, ordering, transformation…’ (123).

The arts, science, and philosophy are different but there is no order of priority.  Science creates functions, arts create ‘sensory aggregates’ and philosophy creates concepts.  There are ‘echoes and resonances’ between them (123).  How is this possible?

As an example, Riemannian space emerges in maths, well defined as a set of functions with ‘little neighbouring portions that can be joined up in an infinite number of ways’ (124), and in cinema ‘a new kind of space based on neighbourhoods’ also appears, with infinite possible connections, none of them predetermined [the example is Bresson].  The cinema is not doing what Riemann did, but it is an echo. 

In physics, there is the ‘”baker’s transformation” discussed by Prigogine and Stengers.  ‘You take a square, pull it out into a rectangle, cut the rectangle in half, stick one bit back on top of the other, and go on repeatedly altering the square…  As though you were kneading it.  After a certain number of transformations any two points, however close they may have been in the original square, are bound to end up in two different halves’ (124).  In Resnais (Je t’aime je t’aime) the hero goes back to one moment in his life and then the moment is set in different contexts.  We are shown layers that shift around so that what is close in one layer becomes distant in another.  ‘It’s a very striking concept of time’ and it echoes the baker’s transformation (124).  Again it is not saying that Resnais and Prigogine are doing the same thing but that there are remarkable similarities [ordinary similarities, I assume?  Some notion of the essence is lurking in here?].  There are links with philosophy since there are also concepts of these spaces.

So we can see philosophy, art and science as ‘sorts of separate melodic lines in constant interplay with one another’ (125) [evading the issue with a metaphor?].  Creating concepts is no less difficult than creating scientific functions, there is no relation of monitoring, reflecting or following: concepts have to be created.  Interplay ‘all turns on giving or taking’ (125).

Mediators are crucial.  They can be people, but things as well ‘even plants or animals, as in Castaneda’ (125).  They can be real or imaginary, animate or inanimate, and they have to be formed into a series.  ‘I need my mediators to express myself, and they’d never express themselves without me: you’re always working in a group, even when you seem to be on your own…  Guattari and I are one each other’s mediators’ (125) [this is pretty much like the role of friends in developing planes of immanence in Logic of Sense?].

The role of mediators in a community [sic] can be seen in the work of Perrault, who wants to get away from an intellectual discourse, a master’s or colonist’s discourse so he helps shape a minority discourse with many speakers [indirect discourse see Cinema 2].  As people tell tales so they constitute themselves.  A people is not always present, or may be thrown out of their territory, as the Palestinians have been.  To a colonist’s discourse, they oppose their minority discourse, with mediators [not their own spokesman?].  These examples show that the truth has to be created not just discovered, and the same goes for science: ‘Even in physics, there is no truth that doesn’t presuppose a system of symbols’ (126).  Truth emerges when material is worked on—‘strictly speaking, a series of falsifications.  When I work with Guattari each of us falsifies the other, which is to say that each of us understands in his own way notions put forward by the other [no Popper then].  The reflective series with two terms take shape.  And there can be series with several terms, or complicated branching series’ (126).

Many people expected a new socialist discourse from the then new French government, for example over the issue of independence for New Caledonia.  The new government accepted there should be independence right away, but this was opposed by the Right—‘their method is to oppose movement.  It’s the same as the opposition to Bergson in philosophy, it’s all the same thing’ (127) [some universal conservatism?].  The Left asked questions about the early colonisation of New Caledonia, but the Right tried to hide this problem.  There may be ‘a real inability to get the facts’ (127), since the whole of the civil service in France have always been on the Right [shades of Miliband!].  The socialists should have established channels of their own, using intellectuals as mediators, but there are only vague contacts.  So land ownership in New Caledonia might have been discussed in specialist journals, but not in the general public.  Much private education is controlled by the Catholics.  Lots of local activities have lost their funding—but information about this is not available through official sources.  However, the Left means mediators, ‘what, thanks to the Communist Party, has been debased under the ridiculous name of “fellow travellers”’ (128) [sounds like Stuart Hall’s dream.  In fact the whole thing seems to be taking on some gramscian notion of partisan intellectuals, although Deleuze doesn’t seem to have heard of organic intellectuals].

Turning to literature, there are signs of commercialisation, in the form of bestsellers and popular television programmes about literature [one example is Apostrophes on French TV –it looks like our Friday Book Review on Newsnight].  Literary creation is threatened.  ‘Future Becketts or Kafkas’  may not find a publisher or a readership (128).  The USSR lost its literature and no one noticed.  There may be more books, but writers will be moulded.  There may emerge a standard novel, mere imitations of the greats.  Apostrophes is technically well done, and yet it offers ‘literature as light entertainment…  A game show’ (128).  Games seem to have invaded on TV programmes [what would he make of modern pedagogy and its domination by a ‘fun’?].  No wonder Rossellini gave up making films since he saw them as childish and cruel, dominated by voyeurs and confessions [a nice long quote on page 129].  The same goes with interviews: ‘Cruelty and infantilism test the strength even of those who indulge them, and they force themselves even on those who tried to evade them’ (129).

There is just too much talk, the opposite of the usual view that people can’t express themselves.  Radio and television have spread the idea of pointless talk.  ‘Repressive forces don’t stop people expressing themselves but rather force them to express themselves.  What a relief to have nothing to say,  the right to say nothing’ (129) [sounds like a combination of Foucault and Baudrillard].  The point is to make meaningful statements, and this often involves a novelty.  Arguments are a strain with little point: they are not always wrong, just ‘stupid or irrelevant…  They’ve already been said a thousand times’ (130).

Journalists have taken over literature.  One standard novel involves a reporter’s travels, in search of women or his father.  Now all writers have to make their work journalistic, offering ‘accounts of activities, experiences, purposes, and ends…  nothing but a record’ (130) this is why everyone has a book in them.  Literature is no longer ‘a special sort of exploration and effort, a specific creative purpose that can be pursued only within literature itself’, just a record of anything (130).

Audio visual media are not as creative as books, but will stifle creative possibilities, because they are ‘domesticating forces’ (131), with even less chance of fighting off markets and conformity.

What is style?  In literature it is a syntax, but there is style in science and in sport, although ‘I’m no expert on this’(131).  Although sport is sometimes judged in terms of quantitative records, there are also qualitative transformations [one example is the change in higher jumping style from the scissors to the Fosbury flop].  Each style should be seen as ‘a linked sequence of postures—the equivalent, that is, of a syntax, based on an earlier style but breaking with it’ (131).  Technical advances are not independent but are incorporated in new styles.  Sporting innovators are ‘qualitative mediators’.  Examples include the return of serve in tennis to the opponent’s feet, or Borg’s new style ‘that opened up tennis to a sort of proletariat’ (132) McEnroe’s style involves ‘Egyptian postures (in his serve) and Dostoevskian reflexes’ (132).  Imitators come along who become bestsellers: ‘Borg produced a race of obscure proletarians, and McEnroe gets beaten by a quantitative champion’ (132).  [Very strange off the top of his head stuff].

Medicine can treat the evolution of diseases in terms of regrouping symptoms—for example isolating Parkinson’s disease.  This is a kind of syntax of medicine.  Again technological advances help but are not determining.  Illnesses of stress have emerged, for example, probably since the war.  Then there were autoimmune diseases.  Perhaps there is a new notion of diseases ‘with images rather than symptoms, and carriers rather than sufferers’ (133).  There is a resemblance to a global policy or strategy, pointing out the risks of our own defences breaking down.  Homosexuals are in danger of becoming seen as a biological aggressor.  ‘It’s one more reason to insist on a socialist government that rejects this twin image of disease and society’ (133).

Creation is ‘tracing a path between impossibilities’ (133), including the impossibility of speaking different languages.  Creators create their own impossibilities and therefore possibilities—‘without a set of impossibilities, you won’t have the line of flight, the exit that is creation, the power of falsity that is truth’ (133).  Writing has to be liquid or gaseous, because normal opinion is ‘solid, geometric’(133) [and heroes here are Bergson, Woolf, Henry James, Renoir, and much  experimental cinema].  Style needs silence and work to ‘make a whirlpool’.  It’s not just a matter of putting words together: ‘you have to open up words, break things open, to free earth’s vectors’ (134).  [breaking things open is a phrase he uses to describe Foucault’s work and his own].

Truth produces existence—‘it’s not something in your head’.  Writers produce real bodies, rather than just telling us about things they’ve seen.  ‘No more interviews, then’ (134).  New writers face being born into a desert, ‘And yet, and yet it’s impossible for the new race of writers, already preparing their work and this styles, not to be born (134) [familiar oscillation between deep pessimism and some final hope].

On Philosophy (1988) (v useful summary of the ontology)

Books in the early phase of history of philosophy lead to ‘the great Spinoza – Nietzsche equation’ (135).  The trick is been to try to get at the problems that philosophers are addressing when they create concepts, what philosophers have taken for granted.  Philosophy creates concepts, and has always had rivals, these days in communications and advertising.  Concepts are created through necessity as a response to real problems, and are therefore not mere opinion or exchange of views.  Concepts are also paradoxes.  The work with Guattari puts forward many concepts, without particularly collaborating like different people: ‘We were more like two streams coming together to make “a” third stream’ (136).  [More systematic evasion?] Felix was crucial in developing the second stage [his own personal philosophy].

The later stuff on painting and cinema extends philosophy to include percepts and affects as components of the concept.  Percepts [aren’t perceptions but] are ‘packets of sensations and relations that live on independently of whoever experiences them.  Affects aren’t feelings, they’re becomings that spill over beyond whoever lives through them’ (137).  Apparently, Anglo American literature involves percepts, while Kleist and Kafka do affects, but the three are inseparable.  Music is the most difficult case leading to his interest in the ritornello as involving all three, hence ‘We tried to make [it] one of our main concepts, relating it to territory and Earth, the little and the great ritornello’ (137).  The book on the fold exhibits this understanding more clearly.

Academics actual lives are not very interesting.  ‘Intellectuals are wonderfully cultivated, they have views on everything.  I’m not an intellectual, because I can’t supply views like that’ (137) [!] There is too much communication these days forcing people to say things and they are actually haven’t got much to say.  Travelling is simply saying something and then coming back to say again.  ‘You shouldn’t move around too much, or you’ll stifle becomings’ (138).  It was Toynbee who said that nomads don’t want to move on but to stay put to avoid disappearing [unreferenced].

There is a hole in his life, between books, a kind of catalepsy.  Perhaps this is where movement takes place, because it’s important to get through the wall.  Perhaps it’s better to stay put ‘in places devoid of memory’.  There can also be excessive memories (138).

Philosophers should continue to give courses, and he has been passionately involved.  Courses last a longer period and become a research laboratory,  ’where you give courses on what you are investigating’ (139).  It takes a lot of preparatory work.  It becomes more difficult to do research in French universities.  The course is close to music.  In Vincennes and Saint Denis, the conditions were exceptional [first acknowledgement of the role of institutional circumstances freeing him from necessity].  We offered the same courses for students in different years and for everyone who wanted to turn up, rather than claiming to build up knowledge.  Artists turned up as well.  ‘Nobody took in everything, but everyone took what they needed or wanted, what they could use, even if it was far removed from their own discipline.  There was a period marked by abrupt interventions, often schizophrenic, from those present, then there was the taping phase…  And little notes I got, sometimes anonymously...  I never told that audience what they meant to me, what they gave me’ (139).  We didn’t have discussions; philosophy doesn’t need them.  It’s important to explore, play around and relate things instead together, in a kind of feedback loop.

He realised that philosophy needs concept creation, but also ‘a non philosophical understanding, rooted in percepts and affects’ (139) [the source of Semetsky and Bogue on pedagogy?].  This is why philosophers can speak to non philosophers, as Spinoza and Nietzsche do.  It is important to preserve life in philosophy.

Great philosophers are great stylists too, and their style involves the movement of concepts, the way sentences give life to this movement.  Philosophy can be like a novel, asking questions, but ‘the characters are concepts... and the scenes are space-times’ (141).  Heterogeneity in language is crucial, something which breaks the bonds, although this should not be too ‘indifferent, gratuitous’ and indefinite.  Instead there should be a tension between main and subordinate clauses,a zigzagging, sparks leaping between words.  Writing with someone else can help.  With Guattari we merged to become ‘a non personal individuality’.  These exist in nature as well and ‘we call them “haecceities”’ (141). Language passes between the elements.  Guattari and I ’don’t feel we’re persons exactly.  Our individuality is rather that of events’ (141).  The nature of events is the problem, as a philosophical concept ‘the only one capable of ousting the verb “to be” and attributes’ [i.e. positivism?] (141).  Working with someone else is allowing a current to flow and ‘even when you think you’re writing on your own, you’re always doing it with someone else you can’t always name’ (141).  In  Logic of Sense the structure was a series, but in Thousand Plateaus  it’s more complex: plateaus are ‘zones of continuous variation, or like watchtowers surveying or scanning their own particular areas, and signalling to each other…  [Our] style…  Is…  polytonality’ (142).

[Why isn’t literature are treated as systematically as cinema in your work? ask Bellour and Ewald]

It would be wrong to think the authors and artists are somehow neurotic or ill.  Masoch did not suffer from masochism, but instead he conceptualised it, made the contract central, linked masochistic practices to the role of ethnic minorities and women, so that ‘masochism becomes an act of resistance, inseparable from a minority sense of humour’ (142).  Proust explores not memory but signs and symptoms.  Kafka diagnoses diabolical powers.  Psychoanalysing authors is reductive.  These writers attempt to liberate life from their personal circumstances, resisting, drawing on ‘the power of non organic life’, finding a way through the cracks (143).  All art does this.

The break with psychoanalysis arose with the collaboration with Guattari.  It was based on the idea that the unconscious is not a theatre but a factory or machine, and it is not concerned exclusively with families.  We saw the unconscious as productive, synthetic, and that psychoanalysis had nothing to say about becoming desires or utterances.  This is shown best in our article on the wolf man in TP.  Psychoanalysis leads desire into repression, against life. 

AO was significant in the context of 68 because it broke with FreudoMarxism by aiming for a single productive mechanism that was both a social and desiring.  ‘Délire was at work in reality’, it was not imaginary or symbolic (144).  68 was about this discovery.  It was not symbolic or imaginary, it was ‘pure reality breaking through’ (145).

The new philosophers do not read Marx, but condemn Stalinism.

[You bang on a lot about immanence, but when you discuss specifics you generate whole clusters of local concepts]

All important authors trace out the plane of immanence: ‘abstractions explain nothing, they themselves have to be explained: there are no such things as universals, there’s nothing transcendent, Unity, subject (or object)…  There are only processes... at work in concrete “multiplicities”’ (145-6).  These multiplicities fill the field of immanence, and occupy an area of the plane.  Processes likes ‘objectifications, rationalisations, centralizations’ are not particularly special, but simply processes affecting the multiplicity’s growth.

Transcendental analysis prevents movement, involves interpretation rather than experiment.  Interpretation assume something is missing, but multiplicities have no unity, nor do events require a subject [the example is the phrase “it’s raining”).  What is missing is better understood by constructing a plane of immanence.  Processes are becomings and include animal becomings and ‘non subjective individuations’ (146).  Like trees, rhizomes are not blocked in the transformations.  ‘There are no universals, only singularities.  Concepts aren’t universals but sets of singularities that each extend into the neighbourhood of one of the other singularities’ (146).

One example is the ritornello [see ATP plat 11 on the refrain] .  You find them in territories, marking it out, and some lead back to the territory, and others away from it.  The ritornello ‘thus expresses the tension between a territory and something deeper, the Earth.  But then the Earth is the Deterritorialized’ (146).  Whenever singularities lead from one to another ‘you have the concepts directly related to an event…  A song rises, approaches, or fades away.  That’s what it’s like on the plane of immanence: multiplicities fill it, singularities connect with one another, processes or becomings unfold, intensities rise and fall’ (146-7). 

Philosophy is a logic of multiplicities.  Creating concepts involves constructing an area on the plane, adding new ones, exploring this area, filling in what’s missing.  Concepts of composites of lines and curves.  New concepts simply show that the plane of immanence has to be constructed locally.  This is what ATP was designed to show.  But you can systematize, repeating concepts, linking up areas, ‘the world as a patchwork’ (147).  In this sense, philosophy is constructionist not reflective, expressionist rather than communicative.

‘I think I’ve found the concept of the Other, by defining it as neither an object nor a subject (an other subject) but the expression of a possible world’ (147).  Possible worlds gain reality when people express themselves to each other [and objects express themselves too?  It is that Husserlian argument again about how others are necessary to construct our world—in LofS and WiP].

Thought has always had an image, a system of coordinates, a notion of what it means to think, things which are always taken for granted.  These are all options or erections on the plane of immanence.  There is also a ‘dramaturgy of thought’, referring to how you relate to other philosophers (148).  This image is prephilosophical, and it may change through history.  It guides the creation of concepts [and so should past philosophy]. Studying images of thought is ‘”noology”’ (149), and this is developed through D&R and  LofS, and also in the book on Proust, and in TP with the rhizomes of the image of thought.

Brains are involved [again!].  The brain is organised like a rhizome, as a probabilistic system.  Though ‘traces [of] uncharted channels…  [and]…  New connections are called into play by philosophy’ (149).  Brains are material counterparts in this image.  Cinema screens can work as brains, linking things through irrational cuts.  Pop videos once pursued particular connections and breaks, which once seemed ‘connected with thought’ (149).  This is not to invent a new external determinism, but to show the becoming of an image ‘that carries the problems themselves along with it’ (149).

Foucault is a great philosopher and stylist.  He showed a connection between knowledge and power, and then processes of subjectification ‘as a third dimension of his “apparatuses”’ (150).  This enabled him to understand particular kinds of subjectification such as Greek or Christian ones, and the processes at work in multiplicities, rather than universals.  His work on utterances [In Archaeology...] sees ‘language as a heterogeneous and unstable aggregate’ (150).  His literary work is also important, especially The Life of Infamous Men.  He differed from Deleuze in minor ways—apparatuses instead of arrangements, novel historical sequences rather than geographical elements, and Foucault detested universal history particularly.  He was ‘bad for stupidity’ (150).

Foucault on subjectification does not refer to private lives, but to the constitution of subjects, often originally on the margins of established forms of knowledge and institutions.  Subjectification refers to a kind of dislocation, or ‘a sort of fold’ [see the book on Foucault] (151).  Subjectification begins with the Greeks and the attempt to master one’s self, but later there are different forms.  Those on the margins often show the processes best.  The piece ends with investigating the current processes.

[You do indeed hint at universal history in the sequence in AO about codes, and in TP about war machines relating to sedentary states.  What politics follow?  Why so quiet since 68?]

Politics and the generation of consensus has nothing to do with philosophy, and juridical problems seem to affect democratic and totalitarian regimes.  The market dominates the state, ‘beyond the state its money the rules, money that communicates’ and we need a modern theory of money.  However, ‘below the state are becomings that can’t be controlled, minorities constantly coming to life and standing up to it’ (152).  Becomings are not the same as history.  [With an odd bit about how if revolutions go wrong that’s not the fault of revolutionary becoming].  Becomings crop up in all sorts of areas, and are not just confined to strategies as in Foucault.  ‘May ’68 was a becoming’ (153) and that’s why it seems difficult to understand historically.

The current mode in politics is centralization and consensus, but this ignores becomings, surprises, ‘actuality, the untimely’ (153).  Palestinians are untimely and question the notion of territory, processes of liberation break out, and often challenge the whole basis of constitutional right and law.  Jurisprudence constantly works to catch up, ‘working out from singularities’ (153).  It is important to look at how positions are represented to avoid being dumbed down by television or getting into banal discussions.  Television is already under the control of advertisers, and even philosophers might be becoming [me –sorry] sponsored.  Intellectuals do have a problem in reaching a public, and it will probably remain clandestine and nomadic, a message in a bottle [what?  No web?].

Leibniz is a particularly fecund philosopher.  It is hard to see the unity among his notions, except that they seem to reflect on the notion of the fold, folding to infinity, folds of the earth, of organisms, of everything.  Folding involves perception [and relating outsides to insides].  The baroque folds infinitely ‘and so opens the way to a non philosophical understanding through percepts and affects’ (154).  The fold is a concept of massive potential.

On Leibniz

Folds can be found everywhere,  but the fold is not a universal.  Folding proceeds by differentiation and there is no general rule predicting how things will fold.  The concept of the fold is always something singular and it proceeds by branching out to taking new forms.  Folded forms like mountains show how they represent ‘time in its pure state, pliability …  The continual movement of something that seems fixed’ (157).

For Leibniz, every subject or monad is closed, windowless, yet containing the whole world in its depths.  Each monad illuminates a portion of the world. This can be seen concretely in baroque architecture, and in minimalist art [the artist Tony Smith is the example. So is the world reduced to a computer screen in a closed room]. The baroque was linked with a political system and played a part in town planning [! 158].  Architecture has always been political.  In bolshevism, constructivism links to the baroque.  ‘A people [a public for art, an audience?] is always a new wave, a new fold in the social fabric; any creative work is a new way of folding adapted to new materials’ (158).

[Why do you describe your living organisms in such curious ways?  As origami, as the soul produced by proteins and their activity?]

The concept of inflection in mathematics implies matter being made of smaller and smaller folds, particles and forces.  Embryology shows that organisms emerge from folding processes in morphogenesis [Thom is the reference here].  The idea of texture becomes important in all sorts of fields.  There is such a thing as molecular perception.  Leibniz’s conceptions have developed, but he was the first one to really think out the importance of the fold, and the baroque was the first period to take folding to infinity.  These conceptions are still scientifically relevant in science and in art, even though new experiments have followed from Leibniz [examples of modern artists 151].

[You spell out the notion of events by referring to 'extension, intensity, individuals, and prehension’ (159).  How does this relate to the ordinary or media notion of events?]

The usual ideas of events have a beginning and an end, whereas in fact they are something going on.  They're not always spectacular.  For example the instant of some accident belongs to 'the vast empty time in which you see it coming' (160).  The media are onlookers not visionaries.  Art can grasp this though, for example the films of Ozu and Antonioni.  The periods in which nothing happens belong to the events and add depth to them.  Predicates should be understood as events becoming actualised [?], and this has implications for the subject as in the baroque emblem.  [The reference to the baroque emblem, says the translator, refers to the intertwining of images and words, which implies that statements about what is happening are always implicated in events].

The work on the fold does join up with the other themes in the earlier works.  Things can be seen as sets of lines rather than as points.  Middles matter as much as beginnings and ends—'Things and thought advance or grow out from the middle, and that's where you have to get to work, and that's where everything unfolds' (161).

Voltaire's rebuke of Leibniz in Candide shows the difference between the enlightenment and the baroque 'theological reason breaks down, giving way to human reason pure and simple' (161).  Leibniz’s view that this is the best of all possible worlds is a new conception, involving ‘the production and introduction of new elements’ (161), and Voltaire takes this up himself.  It's not just optimism, because progress depends on the collapse of the baroque conception of damnation.

The books on Foucault and Châtelet offer readings of these people as philosophers rather than historians [or anti philosophers?].  Philosophers do need friends and are friends: 'friendship…  goes to the heart of thought' (162).  Philosophy can also be seen as a kind of music 'an unvoiced song, with the same feel for movement that music has' (163).  Philosophy can be folded into music.  In this sense, philosophical friendship is a kind of harmony, even if it has dissonance.

Letter to Reda Bensmïa, on Spinoza (1989)

Philosophers are also stylists, both vocabulary and syntax.  In philosophy, syntax ‘strains towards the movement of concepts’ (164).  Concepts also bring percepts and affects—‘philosophy’s  own nonphilosophical understanding’, which helps  philosophy address non philosophers.  We can define the elements as: ‘concepts, or new ways of thinking; percepts, or new ways of seeing and hearing; and affects, or new ways of feeling’ (165).  You need all three.

Spinoza seems to deploy a scholastic Latin, apparently a stream of ‘definitions, propositions, proofs and corollaries’ (165).  Yet there are also signs which are discontinuous, independent, ‘violently erupting…  as all the passions rumble below in a war of joys pitted against sadness’.  You get a parallel Ethics, echoing concepts in affects.  Spinoza also changes style and speaks ‘in pure percepts’, in Book Five.  Proofs proceed in leaps, elliptically, implicitly, as flashes.  [Sounds very like elite language in Bourdieu, aimed at inspiration rather than clarification.  No doubt it is very involving for other members of the elite, even if they are not actually philosophers].

So three languages resonate.  This is philosophy in its full tripartite development, and it also addresses non philosophers, so that ‘absolutely anyone [!] can read Spinoza, and be very moved, or see things quite differently afterward, even if they can hardly understand Spinoza’s concepts’, whereas historians of philosophy see only the concepts (166).

Part five Politics

Control and Becoming (conversation with Negri, 1990).

[You were involved in ‘various movements (prisoners, homosexuals, Italian autonomists, Palestinians)’ (170), and you want to constantly problematise institutions.  This runs through actual work from Hume through to Foucault.  What are the roots?  Why are institutions so problematic for movement?]

Collective creations rather than representations are important.  There is movement in institutions, but it is ‘independent of both laws and contracts’ (169).  Both Hume and Masoch rethink the notion of contract.  It’s not the law but jurisprudence that is of interest, and this should not be left just to judges.  We need user groups rather than ethical committees, for example in regulating modern biology.  May ’68 represented contact with specific problems, ‘through Guattari, through Foucault, through Elie Sambarg [?].  Anti Oedipus was from beginning to end a book of political philosophy’ (170).

[May '68 was 'the dawn of counteractualization... politics as possibility, event, singularity' (170).  Later, you see nomadic thought as 'instantaneous counteractualization, while spatially only "minority becoming is universal"'(170)]

It's important to distinguish becoming and history.  Things happen, events, take place in what Nietzsche called 'a "nonhistorical cloud"' (170).  Actual becoming is beyond history.  History just represents preconditions that make it possible to experiment.  Without history, experiment would be indeterminate.  You can understand events by taking 'one's place in it as in a becoming, to grow both young and old in it at once, going through all its components or singularities' (170-71) [some sort of weird empathy being suggested here?] This sort of becoming that leaves behind history is what ‘Nietzsche calls the Untimely'.  May '68 was ‘a becoming in its pure state'(171).  Revolutions may turn out badly historically, but this is different from revolutionary becoming: 'Men's only hope lies in a revolutionary becoming: the only way of casting off their shame or responding to what is intolerable’ (171).

[TP can be seen as a catalogue of unsolved problems, most particularly in the field of political philosophy.  It’s pairs of contrasting terms—process and project, singularity and subject, composition and organization, lines of flight and apparatuses/strategies, micro and macro, and so on—all this not only remains forever open it is constantly being reopened, through an amazing will to theorise, and with the violence reminiscent of heretical proclamations…  I seem sometimes to hear a tragic note, at points where it’s not clear where the “war machine” is going’ (171)]

Guattari ‘and I have remained Marxists’.  Capitalism must be analysed for any political philosophy.  What we like in Marx is ‘his analysis of capitalism as an immanent system that’s constantly overcoming its own limitations, and then coming up against them once more in a broader form’ (171).  TP has three directions:

(1)    A society is defined by lines of flight rather than contradictions and these must be followed and analyzed.  In Europe, for example there is much effort to develop uniform administration and roles, but there are also  potential ‘up surges of young people, of women’, that arise because restrictions have been removed.  There are also movements coming from the East, and these are major lines of flight.

(2)    Minorities rather than classes are the focus

(3)    War machines develop that are nothing to do with war, but rather with ‘a particular way of occupying, taking up, space – time, for inventing new space – times:(…  The PLO has had to invent a space-time in the Arab world), but artistic movements too, are war machines in this sense’ (172) [I seem to recall that DeLanda says to avoid confusion, later work refers to abstract machines instead of war machines].

There is a tragic note.  Primo Levi’s work on shame is striking.  Everyone has been tainted by Nazism, even the survivors of the camps who had to compromise with it to survive.  The men who became Nazis are shamed, but so are those who could not seem to stop it—Levi’s “grey area” [these few sentences, page 172, are the basis of Smith’s defence of Deleuze as an open thinker, against Badiou].  Shame can also arise in trivial situations, watching entertaining TV or listening to people gossiping.  Shame is a powerful incentive towards philosophy, and makes it political.  There is only one universal in capitalism—the market.  But the market also divides.  Human rights are admirable but are still part of the capitalist system.  Every democratic state is compromised and has generated misery.  It is shameful that we can’t maintain becomings, even within ourselves.  There is no revolutionary group able to guarantee that they will not fall back into history. [So I think Deleuze does just translate Levi into his own terms after all -- becoming, lines of flight etc]

[How can minorities become powerful, and resistance turn into insurrection?  Your work on the revolutionary cinema is inspiring, but how does a mass of singularities and atoms form a constitutive power?]

It is not just a matter of size—what defines a majority is a model to which people have to conform.  A minority has no model—‘it’s a becoming, a process’ (173).  We all belong to such minorities and we could opt to follow them down unknown paths [why don't we?].  Minorities attempt to become majorities, sometimes, and this involves creating a model, although that creativity remains, even if only on a different plane.  Great artists invoke a people [‘A people is always a creative minority’ (173)] [the examples include the Straubs].  Artists need this sort of people, but they cannot create one.  Art can resist.  Peoples cannot worry about arts, but must create themselves in a way which can link with art.  It’s a question of ‘a “fabulation” in which a people and art both share’ (174) [the fabulation is apparently one of Bergson’s constructs].

[There may be a new kind of power involving the control of communication.  This could be perfect domination, but on the other hand ‘any man, any minority, any singularity, is more than ever before potentially able to speak out’ (174)  {shades of Habermas}.  In Marx’s utopia in Grundrisse {?}, there is ‘the transversal organisation of free individuals built on a technology that makes it possible.  Is communism still a viable option?  Maybe in a communications society it’s less utopian than it used to be? ’ (174).]

We’re moving towards control societies, that work through a ‘continuous control and instant communication’, rather than a disciplinary one which works on the basis of confinement [I’ve never really seen the force of this distinction—surely confining institutions construct a new subject who then exercises continuous control over themselves?].  Institutions are breaking down in favour of new forms—Home Care instead of hospitals; ‘frightful continual training…  Continual monitoring of worker-school kids or bureaucrat–students’ (175); part time work at home.  It’s not just a matter of developing new machines, but analysing collective arrangements.  The ‘ceaseless control in open sites…[may make]...the harshest confinement ...[seem]... part of a wonderful happy past...  [while]…  The quest for “universals of communication” ought to make us shudder’ (175).  Delinquency and resistance are appearing, such as piracy and computer viruses.  This may lead to communism, but it’s nothing to do with minorities speaking out: communications have been corrupted by money.  Creation is not communication.  ‘The key thing may be to create vacuoles of noncommunication [Baudrillard's black holes?], circuit breakers, so we can elude control’ (175).

[Subjectification is one of your later interests: ‘The subject’s the boundary of a continuous movement between an inside and outside.  What are the political consequences?’ (176).Can a new form of citizenship emerge, or a new pragmatism?  Can a new community be created without a base? ].

As individuals and groups constitute themselves as subjects, they need to elude ‘established forms of knowledge and the dominant forms of power’ (176).  They might eventually produced new forms of power all knowledge, but they need to possess ‘a real rebellious spontaneity’.  This is not going back to the human subject, but producing new events ‘that can’t be explained by the situations that give rise to them, or into which they lead’ (176).  We must seize the moment when they appear.  Or there is the brain [again!].  The brain is a membrane between inside and out side, and its new pathways need to be discovered.  ‘I think subjectification, events, and brains are more or less the same thing’ (176).  We must believe in the world [that is in real material objects and events?], and then you can precipitate events that elude control, or engender new space-times, no matter how small or insignificant. ‘We need both creativity and a people’ (176).

Postscript on Control Societies

Foucault  saw 18th and 19th century societies as societies of control, operating by organizing sites of confinement, and making sure individuals are either in one or the other—family, school, factory and so on.  Prison is the major model [with a quotation that Deleuze seems fond of from some fictional character who confuses the factory workers with convicts, page 177].  For Foucault it’s a matter of organizing through time and space.  Disciplinary regimes replaced sovereign societies, and people like Napoleon were quite important.  However discipline itself breaks down in the face of new forces, and we are now leaving disciplinary societies behind.  The old sites of confinement are breaking down, sometimes under the pressure of so-called reforms, of hospitals or education, but this is just another transition until the new forces are ready.

Control is the new name, originally suggested by Burroughs [the American novelist?], and also found in Virilio.  Foucault saw it coming.  It’s not just the result of developing technology, nor is it easy to say whether it improves on disciplinary societies—reforms of, say, hospitals initially presented new freedoms, but developed mechanisms of control as well.  It is not enough to hope for the best, and we must find ‘new weapons’ (178).

The sites of confinement in Foucault displayed analogical processes, but the new forces of control are inseparable variations forming an entire system.  The language is digital.  Analogical moulds have been replaced by modulations, which change themselves continually.  In the factory, for example,  a balance is struck between productive systems and low wages. This advantaged both capitalist production and trade unions, but now business has taken over, and ‘the business is a soul, a gas’ (179).  Businesses have modulated wages, bonus systems, competitions and challenges.  The ‘stupidest TV game shows’ reflect this system.  Businesses introduce constant rivalry that sets one individual against another.

‘Even the state education system has been looking at the principle of “getting paid for results”: in fact, just as businesses are replacing factories, school is being replaced by continuing education and exams by continuous assessment.  It’s the surest way of turning education into a business’ (179).

In disciplinary societies people progressed from one institution to another, but in control societies nothing is ever finished, and people experience a single modulation.  Kafka’s Trial described apparent acquittal and endless postponement as two different ways of controlling people, and our own legal system is proceeding from one to the other.  In disciplinary societies, individuals, designated by signatures, correspond to numbers designating a position in a mass:  systems both amass and individuate.  Foucault saw the origin of this double concern in the way the priest presides over his flock.  In control societies, a code replaces the signature or number, and this acts as the password instead of a precept.  Different codes permit different forms of access to information or resources.  Individuals become ‘”dividuals”, and masses become samples, date or, markets or “banks”’ (180). 

An example of the change can be seen in the way money used to be moulded on the value of gold, whereas now control depends on various modulations depending on codes regulating exchange rates.  And ‘Disciplinary man produced energy in discrete amounts, while control man undulates, moving among a continuous range of different orbits.  Surfing has taken over from all the old sports’ (180).

Societies can be seen as corresponding to machines, which do not determine but express social forms.  The old sovereign societies worked with simple machines, disciplinary societies with thermodynamic machines, controlled societies with information technology and computers.  The threat comes not from entropy and sabotage, but from noise, piracy, and viral contamination.  While 19th century capitalism was directed towards production, requiring factories to confine people, capitalism is no longer directed towards production, which now takes place in the third world, but towards ‘metaproduction’ (181), involving adding value to finished products, adding services and activities.  This is why factories give way to businesses, and why family, school, army and factories display a new kind of convergence, ‘transformable coded configurations of a single business where the only people left are administrators’ (181).  Even art has been affected. New forms of corruption appear [how prescient, reading this in the middle of the financial collapse of 2012].  ‘We are told businesses have souls, which is surely the most terrifying news in the world’ (181).  Marketing is the instrument of social control.  Control is short-term but also continuous and unbounded.  People are confined, but by debt.  Meanwhile capitalism still creates massive poverty, and this will have to be dealt with.

Control mechanisms can now locate any body at any particular moment, and can, if necessary refuse permission to move around or participate, ‘using their (dividual) electronic card’ (182).  The computer ensures a universal modulation.

The basic principles ought to be established and described clearly.  Maybe older means of control will come back, although it looks as if we are at the start of something new—alternatives to custody instead of prison, including electronic tagging; ‘In the school system: forms of continuous assessment, the impact of continuing education on schools, and the move away from any research in universities, “business” being brought into education at every level’ (182); individualised medicine, which looks liberating but actually ‘is a substitution for individual or numbered bodies of coded “dividual” matter to be controlled’; new forms of business involving manipulating money rather than producing things.  All these examples indicate ‘the widespread progressive introduction of a new system of domination’ (182).

Perhaps the unions will still be able to struggle and adapt, and there might be new forms of resistance emerging, for example in the demand among the young ‘to be “motivated”, they are always asking for special courses and continuing education; it’s their job to discover whose ends these serve...  A snake’s coils are even more intricate than a mole’s burrow’ ( 182) [The translator explains that this might be a reference to the European exchange rate mechanism, commonly called “the snake”.  An old mole, he tells us ‘is also a nasty old woman, an old crone or hag’ (203).  I thought myself of Marx’s old mole, which refers to the way that labour continually burrows away through capitalism, as I recall].


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