All 2 entries tagged Resistance To The Present

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November 06, 2004

The ethics of rivalry, friendship and the creation of concepts in Ancient Greece

We do not lack communication. On the contrary, we have too much of it. We lack creation. We lack resistance to the present. (What Is Philosophy? p.108)

Ecstasy of communication = that which promises absolute deterritorialization, but in fact delivers only immediate reterritorialization on the concept of communication (pure exchage) itself. Deleuze and Guattari's criticism of Habermas and idea of founding an ethics on communicative action.

Instead they argue that the creation of concepts only occurrs when communication breaks down within a pre-constituted milieu. The impoprtance of the Greek sense of philosophical rivalry is precisely that. Friends who can misunderstand, or who have to forge a new concept to achieve an understanding, who necessarily have to philosophize because of their relative difference. The new concept makes an irreversible difference, an absolute deterritorialization, but the friends-rivals must move towards it in their own way. This act of mutual but differentiated moving-towards, this relative deterritorialization, also acts to define the rivals to each other more clearly. They understand the work that each must do to achieve the agreement on the new concept. It is in the work of that relative deterritorialization on the creation that Deleuze and Guattari find an ethic of friendship-rivalry.

And we should remember that this ethic emerged to serve diplomacy, international relations, a rhizomatic maritime people engaged with complex engagement with the East: the Greek people.

Deleuze and Guattari on the (relative) superiority of English Imperialism

Follow-up to Migration and geophilosophy from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

We do not lack communication. On the contrary, we have too much of it. We lack creation. We lack resistance to the present. (What Is Philosophy? p.108)

In consumer capitalism, Deleuze and Guattari claim, the milieu of the Greeks, the relative deterritorialization of concepts, is impossible. Philosophy is impossible. The firgures of communication, of an ecstacy of communication as Baudrillard described, repeat a single concept, consumer acquisition. No two incommensurable concepts are brought together in a state of relative deterritorialization. There is no resistance. Everything is immediately deterritorialized absolutely (the acquisition claims to make all the difference), and just as quickly reterritorialized (the acquisition makes no difference, follows the same familar order).

There is a diifferent English capitalism, they claim. In the chapter on Geophilosophy, they describe the real drive behind the English imperialism, as something by which neither the Germans nor the French were motivated. Not just a desire to be Greek (as in Heidegger) but more importantly:

…the English are precisely those nomads who treat the plane of immanance as a movable and moving ground, a field of radical experience, an archipelegian world where they are happy to pitch their tents from island to island and over the sea. The English nomadize over the old Greek earth, broken up, fractalized, and extended to the universe…a concept is acquired by pitching one's tent, by inhabiting it, by contracting a habit. (p.105)

English philosophy then is a curious form of travel writing, of travelling along with the great heroes of the Empire (what a misnomer): T.E. Lawrence and Alexander the Great.

And the point at which English Imperialism becomes violent, imposing, extending a State, is at that point at which its subjugated people's pack up their own tents and seek to move on, move away from the romantic ideal: Lawrence being appalled by the Arab desire for Rolls-Royce rather than camel, for their own Capital as much as the oasis:

Europeanization does not constitute a becoming but merely the history of capitalism, which prevents the becoming of subjected peoples. (p. 108)

It just isn't cricket anymore.