Filed under: philosophy, event, narrative, fiction — sdv @ 08:42:06 pm

“It is fascinating” n said “how you went from a slim quite weak but broadly Keynesain state in the 1960\70s, to an extrordinarily strong and almost dictatorial neo-liberal state, the ideologies of which were built on…”

“That’s surely because they lost… or at least believed they did”


A letter to P and E

Filed under: philosophy, difference, text, Deleuze, the political — sdv @ 11:43:02 am

I wondered how to answer my own occasional question, about what might replace, succeed what appears to be the pre-industrial and industrial era understanding ‘freedom starts from negation’ from refusal and negation. Which when we touched on this earlier you suggested that an afirmative response was required in a post-industrial period, a period which is slowly but surely changing into a post-information society before our eyes. (How to conceptualize what a post-information society may finally look like is a different question however).

In Gilles Deleuze text Difference and Repetition the references to the Agrarian Question (p36 ) delineates the central issues of a nomadic politics, which appear to be the differences between transcendent and immanent categories and criteria. Where difference is subjected to a logical distribution then the principle can be seen to determine life, in the same way that land is distributed according to external law. Hence sedentary space, a space which is divided and distributed, “fixed and proportional determinations which may be assimilated to ‘properties or limited territories within representation.” A logic can be identified here which extends to the gods, each with its own domain, a category, with attributes and defined limits, they are in effect as sedentary as the politics requires. (And of course such things are always political). The other distribution is nomadic, one which is “no longer a division of that which is distributed but rather a division among those who distribute themselves in an open space – a space which is unlimited, or at least without precise limits”. A nomadic space is not one which has intrinsic properties that determine relations, as with feudal or other despotic\pre-capitalist relations, but rather as a space with extrinsic properties. It is produced from the movements and flows that give the space its specific qualities. (Rather quaintly and bizarrely this difference is conceived as a comparison between the different board games of Chess and Go, but for those of us who are non-game players this difference may appear less relevant than they imagine given that the hierarchies of Go appear to be quite as rigid as the game of chess, just different.) Nomadic space is smooth not because it is undifferentiated but because the differences are not segmentary, the differences create positions and lines through movement. In this sense then a group may cross a space and whilst doing so may occupy the space from within, the space might then be measured and quantified by the various State structures which themselves are different from the virtual nomadic space(s). For as other group(s) move on the original spaces have been transformed with new desires, relations and movements, each group that moves across the space does so creating different mappings. With a nomadic distribution there is not a single law that determines the mapping of space, rather law is produced during the traversal of the space. It’s in A Thousand Plateaus that Deleuze with Guattari begin to write a fuller thesis on nomadology, where they relate this to the concept of the war machine. Both concepts, but especially the war machine, are related to Deleuze’s rejection of the logos. There are no proper beings here, with identities distributed according to essences and external definitions that then enter into relations. We are not referencing masters and slaves understandable through the dialectic. Rather what is understood is that the master becomes a master through force, and consequently the master and slave relation is effected, a distribution occurs through and in the act. Everything begins with forces, power and the war machine(s)….

Usually when describing this people rather tediously emphasize the relations with the State, with a phrase such as “States do not have an existence or power outside their…” but in the here and now we need to be more careful and considered about this matter and rather than thinking about the State instead we should consider this in terms of the control societies we actually exist within, in terms of the continuous control and the instant communications of the network society. Being a European I am instantly attracted to considering these issues in relation to ‘prisons, schools, hospitals, institutions are breaking down’. However we must accept that in Deleuze could not know the extent to which the control society would be engaged in privatising these institutions and reconstruct them into ‘for profit’ institutions, so that what were once issues of State would become as marketized as a network corporation, an engineering firm, a software company, an international logistics corporation or a university. These corporations are as central\essential to the management of the control society as the normal organs of State as prisons, eduction and medicine.

The master-slave relation and thus negation and refusal do not go away, instead what we see is a new distribution of forces that is effected through the act of refusal. So that just as everything begins with forces and the war machine; states and the institutions of the control society do not have any existence outside of their implementation of power, a warring power, which at the everyday and micro-political level is always that of the master-servant, master and slave. For we should understand how the distribution of territory and it’s use in our society produces and reproduces hierarchies and identity. Refusal and negation becomes the only sane response to institutions which are destroying the commons, at the micro-political level this becoming is affirmation.

But we must not forget that the the nomadic distribution tells us that the war machine is not something simply created or managed by the control society, and that the issues of sovereignty and law, the power to distribute territory, has to be forcibly and theoretically separated from the exteriority of war, domination and control, which may be considered as relating to the state, the the control-society but as should be clear this need not be the case.

Filed under: Background, philosophy, difference, text — sdv @ 10:42:22 am

`….From Boscovich to superstrings, the searchers for a unified theory of everything have focused upon finding the all-encompassing laws of nature to the exclusion of all else. At root, this prejudice has grown from an implicit subservience to the Platonic 1emphasis upon timeless universals as more important in the nature of things than the world of particulars that we observe and experience. …’ John D Barrow - P30 Theories of Everything Vintage London 1991

The Platonic version of the world as utilised within the State Sciences argues that it is perfectly possible to nor only represent and reproduce the world but that the representations actually exist. Thus in the mathematical arena - mathematical entities are taken to actually exist and in the science of Linguistics the language system is deemed to be `real’. It is assumed that the successful application of the science will show that it is part of the world yet transcends it.


Noise and Capitalism

Filed under: culture, difference, text — sdv @ 05:45:47 pm

A link to this arrived in my inbox today, texts by Anthony Iles, Mattin, Csaba Toth, Edwin Prévost, Ray Brassier, Bruce Russell, Nina Power, Ben Watson, Matthew Hyland, Matthieu Saladin,Howard Slater…

not sure whether to wait for the paper copy or simply print and read..

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