Posts Tagged ‘self-organization’

Throughout these blog entries I have continued to specify, define, differentiate, complexify, and diagram Gilles Deleuze’s conception of affect. Here is a further attempt, this one taken from Deleuze’s fine book Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, Robert Hurley, trans. (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1988) 48-51.

Deleuze makes some crucial distinctions in the definition of “Affections, Affects” given in these three pages. Spinoza’s modes are the affections of substance or of its attributes. These affections are active (in what way exactly? this is a lingering question).

But affections are also “that which happens to the mode, the modifications of the mode, the effects of other modes on it” (48). Then Deleuze gives a definition of these modifications that involves us in thinking about image-theory in a materialist, affective manner. As modifications of the mode, affections are images or “corporeal traces,” and their ideas involve both the nature of the affected body and that of the affecting external body. Deleuze quotes Spinoza thus: “The affections of the human body whose ideas present external bodies as present in us, we shall call images of things….And when the mind regards bodies in this way, we shall say that it imagines.” These image-affections or ideas affect, in turn, the state of the body, pushing it along gradients of intensity, strengthening or decomposing its capacities to affect and be affected. “…from one state to another, from one image or idea to another, there are transitions, passages that are experienced, durations through which we pass to a greater or a lesser perfection. Furthermore, these states, these affections, images or ideas are not separable from the duration that attaches them to the preceding state and makes them tend toward the next state. These continual durations or variations of perfection are called ‘affects,’ or feelings (affectus)” (48-9).

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