Leadership or Employees (power short version)

Filed under: event, text, narrative, the political, network — sdv @ 09:44:39 pm

Some years ago a place I worked in received, in the morning mail sack a bomb. It was sent from some Yorkshire based fascist group and contained enough explosive to maim or kill. In the moment of panic and virtual violence we called the police, along came the bomb squad and some armed officers, and they set about disarming the bomb they then disappeared leaving us to be interviewed by a second set of information gatherers.

Prior to this I might have thought of the police less ambiguously but after that moment of employment…. [’ur… please come we’ve got a terrorist bomb…’ ‘Ok we are on our way’] I realized later that after that moment and a few subsequent burglaries that Serres is correct in his analysis that they are our employees, people who we employ to carry out specialized tasks so that we do not have to.

So the question to ask about these functions is what do I want to do ? Become an expert in explosives ? Have to spy on my neighbour in case he’s abusing his wife ? In case she is abusing her children and animals ? Evaluate and judge whether this person should be allowed to work with children ? Evaluate which path should be relaid ? Judge whether Socrates should be accused ?

We could go on. But the point is that what might have been everyday actions have become roles and tasks carried out by others so that we don’t have to do them. You can interpret some of these roles as oppressive, the police, judiciary, politics, management and so on, but when the bomb arrives though the post who are you going to call ?

This may have the smell of liberalism, it smells of consequences, of course it does. But it is an alternative way of understanding what the chief of police does. The alternative is to nostalgically believe that these people are leaders who expect you to follow them like the main character in Celine’s Journey to the end of night blindly into the abyss, when you should be saying ’sorry, you work for me, don’t think the abyss is a good idea…’



Filed under: philosophy, event, difference — sdv @ 12:27:56 pm

Damn, just mentioned the dread word Ontology (on a tweet) must be more careful.


a note on state thought

Filed under: culture, philosophy, event, category, difference, text, Deleuze, the political — sdv @ 12:05:53 pm

We might consider the conflict between the state and the nomad as being nearly timeless, an ahistorical given, perhaps more gently as being metahistorical. Deleuze and Guattari certainly do, before changing the meaning of the conflict by moving the concept from philosophy and theology - in which there is a clearly identifiable line of state thought which stretches from before the Ancient Greece, the Roman empire through Descartes and Hobbes to Kant, Hegel, Bentham, Mill and Heidegger and beyond to the present day, and nomadic thought – to science and scientific thought. Deleuze and Guattari propose state science as being hylemorphic, by which they mean that is works with form and content, privileging formed and fixed bodies. This places state science as being one of the two heads of political sovereignty the jurist-scientist rather than the magician-king (ATP 351), though equally in the present I might be tempted to substitute scientist for magician in the latter term. Nomadic Science they suggest works rather differently with movements, flows and singularities: events though which qualitative transformations take place. (ATP 372). The difference between these two forms of science is not necessarily permanent, because state science requires nomadic science. Needing the discoveries of nomadic science and conversely nomadic science requires state science. The flows and changes of nomadic science are reterritorialised onto the fixed coordinates, the juridical procedures, the stratifications and the categorizations of state science. Many things could be said about this understanding of science, for it obviously repeats a theme that is core to Anti-Oedipus (and Difference and Repetition for that matter) in which knowledge and information is considered as a deterritorialising force and it can also be seen to be generally equivalent to labour which is endlessly deterritorialised and then reterritorialised back onto property and capital. We can say then that the deterritorialisations of nomadic science are a subset of state science because they are endlessly reterritorialised back into state science, subordinated to the categories that are so alien to them.

Deleuze and Guattari want to establish a point which they could not make in relation to philosophy, though the logic is clear in the ATP, in part of course because as already said above, they correctly argue that religion and philosophy have been supplanted by state science as the primary ideology of our times. That state thought is dependent on nomadic thought, identity is after, dependent on difference, deterritorialisation is prior to reterritorialisation. What is being proposed is that knowledge and labour, thought and action, science and thought are all subject to the same apparatus of capture, processes of homogenisation that are intended to produce quantifiable and exchangeable units from what begins as difference, as differential relations of desire. In this state thought, state philosophy, state theology is no different than state science. At times Deleuze and Guattari discuss state thought as a relation of the identity between capitalist and worker, ruler and ruled, constructing a common rationality between subjects. ‘The state must realize the distinction between legislator and the subject under formal conditions permitting thought…’ (ATP 376). This is sometimes raised as collapsing the distinction between the state and capital but this is mistaken for as we’ve seen they are making an opposition within the present.

Of course my deliberate (mis)reading of Deleuze and Guattari assumes that a number of questions are considered as having been answered both within their work but also within related texts – sample questions might be for example - at what point in the history of western capitalism did state science supplant state philosophy and state theology as the central ideological apparatus ? The trajectory can be traced back to Galileo and Newton but which completes in the 19th Century during the 2nd industrial revolution. In this later period state philosophy and state science establish a social and political paradigm which is maintained up to the present. How did state philosophy respond to this replacement of philosophy and theology by science? The answer to this is simple, Heidegger … Sociology of Science (and its descendants), recent post-secularism and the delusion that science and monotheism are related.

This is a note and consequently I am not going to explain what is wrong with the unnecessary localism of relating state thought to the indo-european concept of political sovereignty, perhaps you noticed I didn’t mention Confucius and Lao Tsu in the opening paragraph ? Which is also why I didn’t reference Adam Smith an exemplary state thinker who referenced the east in the later books of the wealth of nations. But then state thought is not being considered as something western, but as something that extends beyond the locality of the indo-european. Perhaps this is where I should have taken this logic here but consider this a marker… rough notes anyway.

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