All 4 entries tagged Singularity

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July 13, 2005

Research Notes: Multiplicity, co–involution, Being abstract but not generalized

Follow-up to Research Notes: Singularity/continuum, a multiplicitous event from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

More clarification of Deleuze's post-Kantian theory of multiplicitous singularities.

"They say: look at chaos, death and by implication life, right in the eyes, get to know each individual chaos, each death and each life on its own terms."

There's no need for a generalized chaos or passage into chaos (death) in this theory. Every passage into chaos is singular, belonging to an individual or perspective, but the specific chaosmos into which it moves (and from which it is generated) is shared by individuals, deteritorializing together with relative degrees of seperation and involution. The singularity, the perspective, is therefore multiple.

In The Fold Deleuze is concerned with a second dimension (level) to these sensii communis. A superfold that traverses across the individual passages into a shared chaos, formed by the non-linear inter-relations between individuals passing into and out of a shared chaosmos. Or to be more precise, there is an iterative series of levels, from pre-individual singularities, connected up transversally by individuals, and the individuals connected up in other ways such as a socius and capitalist axiomatics.

It could be said that an abstracted Being is shared by each level, and between the levels. This being the plane of consistency or immanence. Is this just their virtuality, their shared principle or movement?


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July 11, 2005

Research Notes: Singularity/continuum, a multiplicitous event

Follow-up to Overman, creativity and beyond transcendental recognition from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

The second chapter of Germinal Life contains some brief commentary on Badiou`s critique of the concept of event in Deleuze and Guattari. I've not succeeded in reading Badiou yet, but can understand the need for a clarification, as the concept of 'singularity', Deleuze and Guattari's event, can be misleading.

Keith writes that for Badiou:

the event does not come into being from the world, whether ideally or materially, but from not being attached to it. The event is an 'interruption' that is always separate from the world. Instead of a world defined by 'creative continuity` there is the 'founding break'.

I had, at one point, a confused concept of singularity that privileged the 'interruption' or 'coupure' (Foucault's cut/break). It worked like this:

  1. The break has an irreversibility. In fact it is the irreversible – about as real as real time can be.
  2. A break can be repaired, but only with the addition of something to the closed system of that which is repaired.
  3. The loss of the originary state is therefore irreversible.
  4. But the break also originates the new individuation, which may be the synthesis of the broken and the repaired.
  5. It then acts as the singular fact of the event of that individuation.

In this model, the break is the singularity around which an individual is oriented. It is the missing, the irrecoverable, the inaccessible that prevents the individual from becoming other. We can then say that the individual is a response to the break, its activity copes with the break, with its history, its singular specificity. That coping is its function, its telos. And its tendency to either simulation or creation, simulacra or originary form, defines its authenticity. The break is the singular first and final cause.

But as Keith states, this:

fails to understand the work being done with Deleuze's conception of the event, namely that, it seeks to provide an account of how rupture and discontinuity are explicable and possible.

This is the very meaning of "schizoanalysis": looking into the specific conditions for each schizm or discontinuity, and considering how those conditions form a continuum with that which is broken, carrying it across the break.

In this way, Deleuze and Guattari run counter to phenomenology and its bracketing-out. In schizoanalysis, as for Nietzsche, everything is implicated in the event. Nothing can be bracketed out, only moved in and out of focus (or folded and un-folded). They say: look at chaos, death and by implication life, right in the eyes, get to know each individual chaos, each death and each life on its own terms…

…to look into the break is in fact to look towards a horizon in which detail disappears into confusion, into chaos. It is to look into a Body without Organs, through which one may deterritorialize by relative degrees, moving around to gain further clarity and to provoke a response, to feel its unique texture and possibilities.

This is not to deny irreversibility or real time. Or indeed that individual A may never become individual B because in doing so individual B is destroyed (which amounts to saying that there is no possible world in which A = B, the difference being absolute). Rather, we can say that there are different kinds of irreversibility. Each exchange with the Body without Organs, the horizon, is itself a different recipe of irreversibility. There are as many such recipes as there are events. In some cases they tend towards entropy. In other cases they provoke outbursts of creativity. Even the individual that seeks never to enter into the exchange, that seeks isolation in the safety of its refrain and turns chaos away with large blocks of redundancy, in fact engages in a brutal interchange with the Body without Organs and provokes a response. In all cases, whether convoluted or relatively direct, the interchange between individual and Body without Organs operates an eventual non-linear effect throughout, resulting in complex but irreversible involutions specific to each unique assemblage. Singular and multiplicitous continua of disappearance.

Importantly, we shouldn't deny the possibility of the kind of 'foundational break' described above as a confused concept of singularity. Rather, consider that such behaviour may occur in certain types of system, such as those in which large blocks of redundancy create highly isolated individuals. This is not however typical, merely one specific type of event. It is interesting to speculate about why philosophy, and so many other aspects of modern Capitalism should raise such a rare case to the level of a universal. We seem obsessed with apocalyptic events, with foundational breaks.

In what sense is the notion that philosophical concepts perform an absolute deterritorialization (D&G What is Philosophy?) also an expression of this fascination with destruction?

And in what sense does the statement "we never deterritorialize alone" (D&G ATP) – provide a model for passing into the BwO with concepts and artworks (monuments) as catalysts and helpers?


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May 16, 2005

Spirit and the virtuality of concepts and their personae

I am making some progress at last, and feeling a small sense of recovery. Deleuze does make sense from where I am.

I will start with a simple fact: my friend has gone, and that has left me feeling that something immeasurable is missing. It is an overwhelming sensation. Disorientation. There is no way in which that can be repaired. She is irreplaceable. That is why she was so valuable, as a totality. Vividly and quite obviously a unique person.

But out of that singularity, traits can be extracted, picked up and carried onwards. That is what a vivid and unique person offers. There is something about them that makes a difference, and carries on making a difference. It is very much part of them, but at the same time is powerful enough to continue, to travel, to live on. These traits are the virtuality within the ever disappearing present, persisting beyond its immediate and constant passing and differentiation. Memory, an active memory. Or what before Nietzsche we called a soul or a spirit. They are traits that give a sense of the possible, a future, a continuity, a return.

As Deleuze would say, a trait can be taken up by a concept. It is as such the tool or weapon that is carried to guarantee survival, to re-orientate after the event, to regenerate, to carry the person onwards as a conceptual personae. Irreducible to a simple procedure or rule, a concept nonetheless carries (expresses) an arrangement (content) that sees the repetition of a local equilibrious state from a far from equilibrium event. A return.

So at least I have an idea, a concept out of which a future can grow. Some possibility of survival.

August 18, 2004

Van Gogh and painterly diagrams

Van Gogh's technique was also to apply a diagram to the figure in order to divert it from purposiveness into an unlocking of sensation. You can see in this work just how, as Deleuze says, for the painter the hand becomes a second eye and the canvas becomes a second mind.

The painter sees the figure. Seeing in this case is just the repetition of singular affects on the complex assemblage of planes of the mind. The eyes and their movement overlay a rhythmic action on this repetition of affects. Secondarily, the painter diverts this rhythm (of movement and light) to the hands, which have corresponding ways of moving, characteristic means of applying paint (and other painterly movements). This is what Deleuze calls the diagram. Van Gogh developed new diagrams of his own, of his own hands, which you can see clearly in this painting. With the application of sensation through the diagram and through the material of the painting, the canvas is built up into zones, lines, contours, planes, thicknesses, colours etc. At this point the painting faces a great danger, as described by Cezanne, the danger of becoming chaotic, of the sensations on the canvas failing to form a balanced and self-sustaining resonance: chaos. Adding new sensations to the canvas inevitably pushes it towards chaos. The greatness of the painter, as you can see in Van Gogh, is the ability to push the canvas towards this catastrophe, only to rescue it and restore the balance and resonances.

In this way, as Kant would have agreed, the adventure of painting is an adventure of the kind experienced in thought itself, an engagement with catastrophe and a subsequent return.