January 09, 2006

philosophy, science, art

Philosophy is the wording of Becoming of the 'world'. As Becoming always creates new forms, philosophy has to fabricate new concepts in order to speak about these forms. This is the history of philosophy. Deleuze's philosophy follows the evolutions of late capitalism where Subject (Body without Organs) and Object (Organ without Body) collapse as permanences in time into spatial partialities, where the emergent Self of autopoiesis has lost its organization and breaks down into a multiplicity of micro-entities seeking for a new unity.

Science, in order to transmit its knowledge into technology, has to freeze Becoming and to develop an ideology of pure Being (static permanences, 'Ideals', 'Identities'. This ideology is always provisional (that's why it is an ideology) and science must change its paradigma, its translation of Chaos into a Kosmic Order, every generation. As science is institutionalized (much more than philosophy is) science changes by long intervals, whereas philosophy follows Becoming every second.

Art presents the concepts of philosophy and the technological precepts of science as materialized 'things' framed into some kind of 'canvas' that can be visited by spectators. As put by Heidegger, art plays with the boundaries of 'langauage', inventing new languages, codes, sentences and words, even phonetic units. As art is the work of a craftsman, it is aestheticized and becomes a 'thing of beuaty': as such it generates affects and percepts.

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  1. Robert O'Toole

    The question to what degree do D&G share Heidegger's concept of the "craftsman" needs addressing. I'm not a Heidegger expert, but suspect that Eric has identified correctly that both Heidegger and D&G describe a "double articulation".

    In Heidegger is this a relationship between a consistently formed matter (for example the "natural" grain of the wood) and a directing, selecting hand that adapts the form to a design? I expect that H. makes an ontological differentiation based on that hierarchy, with some trick to position the designing hand as the telos, the power that animates and makes necessary the formation of matter.

    I think that for D&G, the double articulation is not ontological, making no claim to a fundamental difference between each of the coinciding planes. It is a folding of a single being-becoming (yikes, I used that word). One implication of this is that, in the case of the craftsman, the wood directs the hand (it has its own implicit design) as much as the hand directs the wood. That of course is over simplistic. The symbiosis is much more complex, involving all kinds of formations (or rather assemblages) and dependencies that widen out progressively to infinity. The craftsman may seem to have the upper directing hand, but is more correctly viewed within the wider context as just one plane of consistency within a relatively equilibrious plane of immanence (that is to say, the self-positing symbiosis).

    Does that differentiation make sense and show how D&G leave Heidegger behind?

    11 Jan 2006, 14:58

  2. A very interesting comment. Firstly, I must admit that I am still engaged in grasping the work of D&G. For the moment I am more on the position of Slavoj Zizek in 'Organs without Bodies: On Deleuze and Consequences'. I am a Flemish doctor of Psychology, always have been fascinated by philosophy and at the same time by arts. I have done research whole my life (in the field of work psychology, starting from Marx' philosophic concept of Work in 'Capital' – see for instance link and also produced some poetry (which is praised by some and doomed by others). Retired now as the consequence of a disease, I am writing (in Dutch unfortunately) a critique on 'evolutioanry psychology' trying to resolve its contradiction between genetic determinism and its incapacity, its impossibility to articulate and conceptualize its claim that genes are flexible and thus that 'freedom' is not annihilated.
    The fundamental problem is thus to conceive the Ego, the Subject (these are not the same). The Ego has disappeared in all recent philosophies: D & G, Heidegger, Lacanian psychoanalysis, evolutionary biology, postmodernism, postmarxism, critical psychology. The Ego indeed is not capable of wording the human subjectivity. But where is the Subject? I am convinced that science, particularly neurosciences (Dennett, Gazzaniga and so on, see Steve Rose in Lifelines e.g.) not only eliminates freedom, but the whole concept of Subjectivity as it reduces the scientist to a device, a machine. I make a distinction between the 'feminine' knowledge of 'togetherness' (being with the things, Heidegger's Vorhandenes) based on contact senses (odour, touch as in the relation between a mother and her child): the Subject loses itself (its Ego?) in the object, but the Subject has not disappeared! What is lost does exist. At the other hand, I conceive of the 'against'-position, the 'masculine' position in which the Subject (the Ego?) stands against the Object at a distance (thus the senses of distance especially the eye and vision). The Subject then annihilates the Object, gives it a new form. As you said the craftsman with his 'directing selecting hand – the telos – that adapts the form to a design'. This is the classical hegelian-marxian view. This the ideology of industrial society. In 'postindustrial' society, 'late capitalism' the worker is replaced by the computer program that does not seem to inscribe the 'original' with its design, but 'extracts' the design from the original material, so that 'effect precedes the cause'. So enters Deleuze & Guattaro: the wood's properties already possesses the form of the table that is being made. 'The wood directs the hand'. So I equates this vision to the vision of evulutionary psychology: the design is in the genes! But there is still a GAP between 'original' and 'copy', between becoming and being. so indeed, D & G leave Marx and 'Heidegger' behind, but I do not think it is the end of the story.

    I do have to stop here, as my comment exceeds the limit length of a message. I continue in a second comment!

    11 Jan 2006, 18:16

  3. Part II of my comment on Robert O'Tolle's Comment.

    Provisionally, the Subject disappears as in the 'equilibrious plane of immanence of self-positing symbiosis'. But what is the Self that posits itself? This Self is transcendental (not transcendent): it is put there by an Observer (see Maturana's 'Ontology of Observing'). And you cannot annihilate the Observer without annihilating the Universe itself. The GAP we all feel, IS the Subject that arises from the GAP as ontologically present, as Zizek would claim. The Subject IS in the relation between body and the world (of Objects). The Body presents itself, affirms itself (Darstellung, to use Heideggers word) IN the world, not only AGAINST the world. As we have send back the worker to its position of a 'computer program', we leave the position 'against' and come back to the position 'TOGETHER': the Ego no longer directs our being and actions. So we think the Subject has been negated, but it is only the EGO that has been negated. Is this the hegelian End of History? The solution to Kant's problem of knowing Das Thing?
    The elimination of the Ego causes great fear and anxiety to 'humanist' mankind and provokes the conservative stance: the Ego is int he Genes, as conceived of in evolutionary psychology and philosophy (Dennett). D&G open an entrance, by assuming that the past, the 'original' is not closed, by describing the world of assemblages and multiplicities as a world of becoming. The Subject is its antithesis: it wants to grasp the elements in their Being, in its Platonic properties. How do we conceive the Aufhebung of this dialectic? This is my main problem. For the moment, I find it in writing poetry, not in the language of Science!

    Thank you for your comment: it inspired me a lot! Beacuse all this stuff is new to me!

    11 Jan 2006, 18:18

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