Vibrant Matterings or Deleuze-as-Accompaniment

19Oct10

Somehow it didn’t quite register with me how close Jane Bennett’s future project discussed in her interview with Peter Gratton is to what I am trying to do, at least in terms of metaphysics, especially in relation to Reza’s and Land’s work. Bennett says the following:

“I want to get better at discerning the topography of Becoming, better at theorizing the “structural” quality of agentic assemblages. For the question of “structure” — or maybe that is the wrong word, and the phrase you suggest below is better, i.e., “linkages” between and within “open relations” – does seem to fall in the shadow of the alluring image of an ever-free becoming — the seductive appeal of Nietzsche’s world of energetic flows, of Deleuze and Guattari’s vibratory cosmos, of Bergson’s creative evolution, of Michel Serres’s “pandemonium of the gray sea.” Inside a process of unending change, bodies and forces with duration are somehow emitted or excreted. But how? How, Serres asks, “is Venus born from the sea, how is time born from the noisy heavens?” (Genesis 26) What is this strange systematicity proper to a world of Becoming? What, for example, initiates this congealing that will undo itself? Is it possible to identify phases within this formativity, plateaus of differentiation? If so, do the phases/plateaus follow a temporal sequence? Or, does the process of formation inside Becoming require us to theorize a non-chronological kind of time? I think that your student’s question: “How can we account for something like iterable structures in an assemblage theory?” is exactly the right question. I’m working on it!”

That is to say, I’m also interested in how philosophies of process and flow are either inhibited (such as in the Schellingian whirlpool) or structured or stratified in ways which allows for representation/perception as well as spatiality/temporality which do not rely on an anchoring consciousness (as seems to be the case with Bergson and Deleuze). Furthermore, Brassier’s comment on Land’s philosophy at the acceleration event:

“In many ways, you can align the Deleuzian critique of representation with the Bergsonian critique of representation. Much of what Deleuze says is problematic about the categories of representation, about representation as the mediating framework that segments and parcels out the world, the flux of duration, into discretely individuated objects… the claim is that you have a sub-representational layer of experience which it is possible to access through intuition. The Bergsonian critique of metaphysics and the destitution of representation intuits the real differences in being, you can intuit the real nature of matter, time; duration in the Bergsonian register.

There’s a problem here for Landianism, because he can’t do this. He’s supplanted representation, but he wants to supplant this kind of Bergsonian vitalist phenomenology for an unconscious thanatropism. The point is: how do you access the machinic unconscious? It’s not simply given. Land insists time and time again, nothing is ever given, everything is produced. The problem is that Land’s materialist liquidation of representation, because it doesn’t want to reaffirm, allegedly, the primacy of sub-representational experience, which Bergson and phenomenology do in various ways… he has to explain what it is he’s talking about. He’s doing a kind of materialist metaphysics, and there’s an issue about what kind of traction this extraordinarily sophisticated conceptual apparatus can gain upon the process of primary production, the real as intensive difference, matter in itself, whatever you want to call it.”

The essential issue comes down to – given a storm of itensive difference, hyper chaos, etc. how do explain individuation, representation and thought (or de-processization or processural glaciation). There must be some kind of structural nugget which gets caught up in processes (such as Platonic ideals as real patterns etc) or, on a metaphysical level, processes must self-sabotage, interfere, get disrupted or out run or overflow one another leading to objects, existential strata and the like. This is something Schelling struggled with especially since deep time haunted him so (as it haunts Lovecraft)- even in the later stages of his philosophy Schelling cannot forget the time before the world or the pre-godly chaos.

Despite Schelling’s  formal separation of the project of idealism and the project of materialism – I believe he is almost proto-Laruelleian in his treatment of the un-pre-thinkable of the X as absolute in the Ages of the World. This is also the upshot of his engagement with mythology and his critique of philosophies who uncritically adopt mythological concepts thereby mythologizing philosophy (this is in On University Studies).

Bennett’s concern about iterable structures and how this relates to thought and production orbits the core of many of the more recent critiques of Deleuze. Deleuze is too radical and too conservative – difference threatens immanence and the solidity of individuation (Out of  this World, Reconsidering Difference) or his monism threatens difference and and political/ethical articulations etc (Zizek).

Next: Mad Black Deleuzianism?

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2 Responses to “Vibrant Matterings or Deleuze-as-Accompaniment”


  1. 1 Vibrant Matterings 2 – Intuiting Nature « Naught Thought
  2. 2 Post-Deleuze? or New Materialisms, Post-Humanism, and Speculative Realism « Naught Thought

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