Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Something Smells Delicious

“Ah, there you are, man of masquerades!
Come! Many men have visited us and stayed
Here on our verdant shores. Beach your ship
And listen to the songs from our lips
That you most want to hear. No man sails
Past this point without hearing the tales
He most wants to hear. We know how
Armies fought at Troy and how men plow
The fruitful earth. Our songs will delight
All and leave the listener with greater sight
Than he had before. So pause and pay
Attention to our words. Hear what we say!” [1]

Deleuze’s Nietzsche as a ferocious and wild-eyed Odysseus, roped barechested to the mast of his ship – his men’s ears battened with beeswax – sailing smoothly and cleanly away from the island of the Sirens (where they’ve ‘got it all figured out’). Free. Free and screaming over the winds and surf ‘I HEAR YOUR FUCKING SONG OF NEGATIVITY AND AFFIRMATION AND IT IS FUCKING BEAUTIFUL. I LOVE YOU. GOODBYE.’

Or is that Hegel, or Land’s Bataille, or Morla (cf., or Morta? Free. . . and yet “waggl[ing] ‘my’ eyebrows. . . [trying] to tell them [men, gods, ect.] that way to free me.”[2] Again and again, ‘is the negation of the negation an affirmation?’

‘There will be a sea-battle tomorrow.’ ‘Will there be a sea-battle tomorrow?’ ‘There will be a negation tomorrow.’ ‘Will there be a negation tomorrow?’ Incompossible worlds reconciled in their taking place in space, as mutability, as arrangements and information (that which gets ‘flattened’ in a black hole on the Bekenstein Bound), rather than in time. Woody Allen’s “‘I’ only function[s] in art, not in life.”

Dru in his thorough and incisive summary of Deleuze's Nietzsche and Philosophy - much better than Michael Hardt's - asks whether this implies a Foucauldian “establish[ing] the entire system of values and meanings within a highest authority: the meaning of things is their meaning for Me (that is, some dominant Me orchestrates all possible systems of meaning).” (

Only on the precondition that this ‘me’ is already multiple, and transvaluates values as much from the perspective of Deleuze’s Nietzsche as from Hegel, as much from humans as from rainforests or the Pacific trash vortex, or the inevitable future comparative ecologies and xenobiologies elsewhere. As much `me` as `Adam` - “used in Hebrew indifferently for man and woman, as it is written, ‘Male and female created He them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam,’ leaving no room to doubt that though the woman was distinctively called Eve, yet the name Adam, meaning man, was common to both.”[3] [Of course "the influence of the carnival spirit was irresistible: it made a man renounce his official state as monk, cleric, scholar, and perceive the world in its laughing aspect.”[4]]

This is obviously reading more overtly the ‘bad influence’ of Guattari back into the Deleuze of Nietzsche and Philosophy, but productively so, ‘I’ think. Deleuze’s Nietzsche is more beautiful, and ethical, when 'he' is always-already aspectivally everything else, neighbour and stranger, life and unlife, and the same can be said of Deleuze and Guattari themself.

The Sirens promise enlightenment but their shores are entirely comprised of jagged rocks, carving up any ship that gets near, vertically stretching and horizontally compressing as you, as you would if you were to fall into a black hole, tearing you apart:

But of course you’re going to get ripped apart if you’re a man in a ship, but if you made of yourself a Pangaeaic becoming of the same order as their island then maybe you wouldn’t, savvy?

“It has been quite a while since there has been anything comical in supposing a relation between the wound of castration and the crack constitutive of thought, or between sexuality and thought as such. There is nothing comical (or sad) in the obsessional paths by which a thinker passes. It is not a question of causality but rather of geography and topology. This does not mean that thought thinks about sexuality, nor that the thinker thinks about marriage. It is thought which is the metamorphosis of sex and the thinker who is the metamorphosis of the couple. . . From castration to thought – although thought reinvests castration as the cerebral crack and the abstract line.”[5]

That’s a nice subjectivity to be, too, continents slowly drifting lazily apart slamming into one another, forming new terrains, habitats – mind, society, environment as it is in Guattari and Bateson. Castration anxiety is boring, so is procreation, procreate with yourself in castration, castrate yourself with procreation: drink a glass of water for a hundred thousand years, moonlight as an undersea geyser on Titan, do a few pushups, find a nice corner of the galaxy to die in and some novel arrangements to die as part of. I'm going to let that one play for a while:

“So what is this BwO – But you’re already on it, scurrying like a vermin, groping like a blind person, or running like a lunatic: desert traveler and nomad of the steppes. On it we sleep, live our waking lives, fight – fight and are fought – seek our place, experience untold happiness and fabulous defeats; on it we penetrate and are penetrated; on it we love.”[6]

Herbert List, "Instructive View of the Thoracic Cavity", 1944

Edward paraphrased Elias Koteas as Vaughn as written by Cronenberg misquoting Vaughn as written by Ballard: 'Affirmation. . . a benevolent psychopathology that beckons us all towards the future.'

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sirens are dangerous precisely because they promise that the secret logic behind everything is coextensive with your desire – and it’s not – but it’s really hard sometimes to not want someone to be there to hug you and tell you you’re not fucked up, or stupid, or uncreative, or ugly – and to not miss those who did that for you, with you, before. Even when you want everyone to be happy, even when you seriously, honestly, truly want everyone to be happy, even when you can see the inherent good in and want to foster everyone else’s being happy and fulfilled and novel and creative and loving, when you want that for ‘them’ – even then – sometimes you wish you could be happy too. The trouble with schizoanalysis is that while you know there to be productive human and inhuman subjectivities that you can be, a lot of the time you're listening to the depressive, every day, telling you how much it fucking sucks to be alone and how you’ll never be able to do anything about it because you’re fucking pathetic. 

[1] Homer, The Odyssey Tr. R. L. Eickhoff (New York: Forge, 2001), 218.
[2] Ibid, 219
[3] Saint Augustine, The City of God Tr. Marcus Dods (New York: Digireads, 2009), 378.
[4] Mikhael Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World Tr. Helene Iswolsky (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1984), 13.
[5] Gilles Deleuze, Logic of Sense Tr. Contantin V. Boundas (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), 220.
[6] Deleuze & Guattari, Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia Tr. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), 150.`

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