This is the simultaneity of a becoming whose characteristic is to elude the present.

Posted: July 29, 2009 in Becoming, Benjamin, Bergson, Ecology of Sensation, Freedom, Method, Time


The body is a noncoinciding resonant unity. We have only to demarcate its events. The events of the body, becomings immanent to its intensive processes. It continues in the form of the eternal object, those resonances that move with that tendency or this.

Life moves in clades. Shixmatrics.

‘In other words, the event is not an “object” or a “thing”, which can be represented, but rather a force that creates. Examples of this force can be related to “thought” and “sense”, which are not ways of representing but rather active events that create. As Claire Colebrook notes, “sense is not a faithful double of what is (not a representation) but a cut, fissure, fibrillation or ungrounded difference – not a difference from, nor a difference of, but an event of difference”.’
–The Becoming of the “Event”: A Deleuzian Approach to Understanding the Production of Social and Political “Events” Tom Lundborg

Sense is the event of difference, the becoming of sense.

With these words we announce a program of becoming. In modulating, tweaking capacities to affect and be affected we affirm an ethics of joy and passion, where with Whitehead and Shaviro we as well affirm that the subject–continuous with material flows of biomass, information, energy, and minerals (Delanda)–emerges from the world, as an effect of these intensive flows.


The semester is once more at a close–Summer 2009. For those who know me it has been one of the most difficult times of my life. But that duration too has come to an end, and certain stable states have returned.

I have tried to continue the line of inquiry really begun in some senses years ago, but seemingly renewed, and mutated over the past two years.

What has it involved? Thinking through the capacities emergent of interpenetrating multiplicities. The rejection of Wiener’s (and by extension classical dynamics’) entropic model of communication, or better a simple redefinition: noise is the ground for self-organization, stability, chaos (it might be said to be chaos), but also a measure of the dynamism of certain spaces, their microsegmentarity, their tendencies to fissure, and fluctuate.

Katie brought up in class how one acknowledges the differences in the kind of blame the victim, pull yourself up by the bootstrap kind of ethics and the ethics of schizoanalysis. First, I thought it worth going into an elaborate example. She recently bought a Mac. What went into this decision? Simply what were the probabilities that led to this event. What were their statistical variance? Their durations? Their capacities, and what capacities emerged from their interactions? What were their dimensions of change, their critical thresholds?

The ethics is not in the analysis it is in the experimentation. We are all riding vectors, cliches. She said what about the single mom living in low-income housing? Are we going to say she didn’t ride her vector hard enough and ended up where she is? Where is she exactly? Who is she?

Dan’s recent post is excellent in this regard.

(My comment: “Thank you. What is so wonderful about Dan’s words is the sense of a continuous struggle for (what I would term, I don’t know if this would be his preferred term) justice. In this post there is this tracing of ghosts materializing as the nameless “service staff” who enable dominant subjects and identities. That women in specific sites throughout the world are also at the forefront of such struggle appears repeatedly, each time with renewed force. I find this method of connectivity so compelling. Articulation of resonant sites. A socialism not of the heart (blah Bragg), a socialism of materializations and articulations.

but finally perhaps we don’t need the word socialism anymore for this politics. then again if it bothers Fox network, its a habit worth holding on to.”)

I responded to Katie by saying that simply there is an organization of forces at work in every assemblage. I suppose that by taking assemblages–and not multiplicities–as the unit of analyses what we are brought to think is in fact the nature of continuous multiplicious emergence as a question of method.

But it is late and I must to sleep…


Continuing. Today in class although people were missing we had a spirited discussion about Delanda’s “system.” Is there a system in A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History? Well yes if you define system as a method of inquiry, and no if you mean system as a deductive, apriori machine. So system here would be a mode of counteractualization–in history this is to release that part of the event which exceeds its actualization. Its plane of immanence, its belonging in becoming.

I was tired from staying up late grading and blogging from the night before. As I will be tomorrow no doubt.

My daughter, finally, is here. I am blessed by her love.

Continuing. The conversation turned once again on the politics of subjectivity. I felt there was almost a complaint in the air: What, finally, does nonlinearity imply about how subjectivity is to be lived?

We are all riding the vectors of our cliche-set. Elements of each of us are moving at different rates and speeds, producing intensive differences, fluctuations, that are both probabilistic and within a range (but also absolutely) stochastic. The mesh of these fluctuations of bodily intensity would be the experience of subjectivity that could launch critical becomings.

I think of Scott’s objections as leading to this last point. Much of what he said seemed problematic to me, and at first I hesitated to respond directly. But Scott is sincere in his objections to Delanda. And yet again Scott is involved in a historiographical conversation and Delanda a philsoophical one–but there is a lot of potential in the cross fertilization.

But the question in which there is the widest divergence is simply in the assertion that history is done and accomplished. What is so refreshing about Delanda’s method (given its stylistic baggage in logocentrism–objectivity, presence) is the experiment of thought that destratifies, deterritorializes, monstrifies, and virtualizes the past.

The criticism that no one raised, and one which I had heard before from New Historicists, Rorty-ites, Conservative Derrideans, and critical race theorists, is that assembalge theory is a naive or romantic presentism. “Writing the history of the present,” as Foucault has it.

But is simultaneity present? Rather if we situate the event of becoming in the experience, perception, and volatility of simultaneous co-functioning (heterochrony), we must understand that this becoming, this simultaneity eludes the present.

This is why the debate on essentialism and antiessentialism is misguided. If the essence of things is defined as sets of events that constitute a stable state of simultaneous co-functioning, essence = probabilistic becoming. Then again where do these terms matter? Entirely in the academy. The entire debate is academic.

The street philosophy of Delanda takes us beyond essentialism, through it, to something exquisitely ontological. This beyond might seem like transcendence but it is a pragmatism instead. An ethical practice of counter-actualization aimed at tweaking capacities to affect and be affected.


On the Event of Difference. Difference has a secret life. One could say that it is the secret itself, but for the danger of a simple kind of deconstruction. The events of difference are both self-differentiating processes immanent to a given field of potentiality, and critical thresholds beyond which one actual bifurcates into at least two with their functionally and intensively (qualitatively) different fields of potentiality.

On the Event of Difference. They must speak in aphorisms to be both understood and untimely. Untimeliness is not a kind of obsolence in presence (it can be that), but rather this fissure of difference as event. The untimely, when it happens (and it is not meaningfully a question of if it happens) is this passive-active connectivity of relation. Statistically variable, probabilistic, stochastic, a realm both of potential and action (because constituted by repetitive processes such as autonomic or kinaesthetic processes), where the actual has reenchanted itself and its diagram (not the real and its representation-in-mimesis, but strata of becoming which have related but different timescales. Flat ontology between words and the actual does not mean that words have more reality than processes, but that language is a different process of a material assemblage that includes biomass flows, energetic and informational flows, bodily intensity, and their morphogenetic history. It is that history that returns us to the untimely, as I mentioned above. Yet language is involved intimately with the production of resonance, though it cannot cause such resonance (it loses its reality-generating capacity, endowed to it by a certain solipsism culminating in deconstruction). But enough parantheticals, return to events of difference.

Is laughter an event of difference? No doubt it is much more than that; does sexual difference, more specifically becoming-woman (yes in the way D/G write of it, yes in the way Grozs writes of it, yes for Cixous and Irigaray) constitutes an event of difference that is inaugurated by the laugh (Medusa). Note that the definition of the event therefore would nonetheless be constituted by a point in time with a definite duration, and a definite space: the start and end of a laugh, this or that gender. But what if laughter actualizes (passes a critical threshold of activity) from a plane of potential? What if what makes a difference in laughter–each time and not in reference to this or that politics–is this burst of joy (hateful, selfish, envy-ridden racism as much as ironic, paradoxical socialism) that is the body’s return to potentiality–each time?

To live this each time as a continuous practice of asymptotic simultaneity–“one continuous mistake”–intuitional reason modulating and intensifying (qualitatively changing) the affordances to affect and be affected. This is an ethics of joy, not of jouissance. Joy (ethics) is better understood not as an emotion but a field of passion, active and passive at once. A vector in a self-organizing basin of attraction. The stupid (or trivial, relatively unimportant, yet nonetheless authorized by the associational play inherent in language) reading of the last sentence would be that self-organizing means that this is a fatalism of change. That is change is inevitable and will result from processes of functional connectivity regardless of human action, so therefore why organize? This would be a semantic slide that would blind us to the difference in context and force of various fields. So that human activity (organizing in the political sense) would be considered one form of repetitive (durational), relatively institutionalized, or relatively deterritorialized (potentialized) forms of process that enter into the ontology of becoming, the event of difference, the Untimely.

Continuing. We live in the time of Obama. These days, these years will be known for the name of this singular but deeply troubled man. A post-racial man, some say, but Skip Gates exposed that lie (not only by what he did, but the response his arrest provoked). We will know these years for the weakening of a certain form of capitalism (neoliberalism), a certain form of sociality (white, straight, privileged, male) to have passed through a phase transition. What has happened to counter-terrorism under Obama? A lot and not much. There has been a change in attitude and avowed ethics, but what definitively has changed is the volatilization of Afghanistan and Pakistan (both these places have developed a level of social and economic disaffection over years to the point of violent, sporadic and dispersed breakdown–and Iraq flashes through our corporate media like a guilty trace on a mystic writing pad).

Drones killed this and that Taliban or Al Qaeda leader in Pakistan, this Islamic militant in Indonesia. But somehow robotic assassination as a legitimate strategy of occupation (civilizing) is never questioned. Why? If Barak has shifted the terms of debate for foriegn intervention, his administration has also closed down or dampened the possibility of radically rethinking the occupying mission central to US foreign policy.

Let us be quite clear: Obama’s administration will also be remembered as the occupiers of Afghani-Pakistan. They would do well to be remembered as the new pragmatists of decolonizing America.

Life continues to move in clades.


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