23 June 2019: Akasaka – University of Tokyo, Komaba Campus, 21KOMCEE WEST – Akasaka – Ramen Street, Tokyo Station

Out the back gate, past the ventilation chimneys, crossing, the beware of ghost sign, up over the hill, down residential oneway, police manning the inroads to embassyland, under the pedestrian bridge, left at the south-easterly corner of Yoyogi, in through exit 2, minutes before Chiyoda line sped away, under the city, to Akasaka, debriefing with J., dinner at the first place I’d eaten two doors down from Hotel Felice: clams, grilled fish—Norwegian or Nihonese was available—the local, chuhi and birru. Now I know the way, this morning, the last day of the conference—it is almost sad, to have resolved the problem of finding one’s way, soon to be leaving one’s way behind. Like a secret one carries.

For Kenneth Surin, I decide on Session 28—four other sessions are running at the same time, 9.20-10.50. Morning snacks are served on floor 3: coffee, marmalade bun.

Felicity Coleman, Rebecca Hill and Catherine Dale—the last convening, the former presenting at this session, with Kenneth—talk about being here. Felicity Coleman has in the past hired a car, made her way through the small towns, stopping at onsen. Today, in the rain, she says, an onsen in the woods would be perfect. She is, tomorrow, presenting in London—but will gain a day inflight. In fact, many of the conferees are going straight to London.

I wonder at this moving group of people conducting their business all over the world—taking this world with them, insulated by it; as one is, traveling by car, J. and I later decide, insulated, not reliant on the confusion of finding one’s way along with locals and other visitors, in the confusion, for example of rail, and how it opens one up to by forcing types of exchange which would be missing in the car-bubble. Then there is traveling as a couple also—and this trip we have both traveled alone and together: how couples become a world, infacing.

I introduce myself to Ken, who has come in early, is consulting his laptop. He seems to recall our meeting in Stockholm, but is probably being polite.

Al, preferring the front, we move ringside. He does his round of the table, finding out who is there, what they do, with his great receptive smile.

“Becoming Gender” the session is called. Dale calls it something of a misnomer.

Ken’s preamble is to say that he has to wait until his retirement from Duke University—where he is professor emeritus—and after decades of teaching, to finally present on becoming gender. He has a Union Jack T-shirt, distinctive whiskers, an orotund delivery. …becoming is intrinsically tied to the category of the minor. To which Coleman’s the minor failed, the minor is no longer a possibility… has no salience.

Becoming-animal … part of a constellation, being analytically rather than arithmetically in the minor.

Everyone has to become woman, even women.

Everyone has to become animal, even animals.

Deleuze and Guattari—what is new, remarkable, interesting—“the actual is not what we are but what we become.”

“we become animal so that the animal also becomes something else.”

a zone of interchange

of passage between human an nonhuman

Gregor Samsa fails (to escape Oedipal coding in authoritarian family). Already I want to ask if every such becoming is a failure.

The Wolf Man – Freud’s – his position is in a territoire sauvage, the steppes, between forest and farmland—he is a pack animal.

Eugene Thacker—there are prejudices we have to overcome.

The life of the group forms a plane of consistency. The aggregate comes to have a life

– of packs herds swarms.

Donna Haraway loves dogs.

…it becomes a political question, to set up a steppe, a plane, a pathology … a plan/e of escape.

Wolf Man’s depression: bourgeois interiority.

Schizoid element: outside.

There can be molar collectivities, e.g. kolkhozi, collective farms, set up under a regime of collectivisation—and one might say the open office as well.

In molar collectivities there is also group belonging.

I think about this question:

Is Deleuze-Guattari studies a molar collectivity or does it set up a molecular plane of consistency?

In the molar, negation is used to determine difference in contrast to same. A question of either internal determinations of a concept or external determinations of molar or static nomination, accusation.

What marks one as part of a molar aggregate?

One is only ever sufficiently English Brazilian… but this sufficiency is still not affirmative. It conceals “desire, convention, contrivance.”

Deleuze and Guattari’s first move requires us to work on what I and you do or do not have in common. They do not require an identification, one drawn from abjection. There is a tautology in the racist: the one who claims to be the only one who is French or American; the one who claims to be the only one who has this essence and can have it. This one is inevitably the one who is. (But is it still drawing on abjection, on what we may call ontological abjection, to talk about being sufficiently British? British enough to wear the T-shirt? Deleuzian enough and Guattarian enough to wear the T-shirt?)

Rather than the ontological abjection of identification, we might enter a becoming, as a passage through a zone of indiscernability.

(I am put in mind of the letter in which Kafka writes, I’m going home to China.)

Rebecca Hill speaks next, she is “conceiving immanent desire with Irigaray and Deleuze and Guattari.”

Irigigaray offers a diagnosis of phallocentrism. Rather than her criticism of Deleuze and Guattari’s becoming-woman Hill traces the “generative commonalities and divergences” amongst these thinkers.

In a 1973 seminar, “Dualism, monism and multiplicities,” Taoist immanent desire is contrasted to Cartesian dualism. From the latter, every statement splits, cuts the subject—dividing thinking from desiring. From the former, there is no need for a split in the subject: thinking and desiring “is a pure process.”

Thought is monist multiplicity outside the status of number.

To become is to escape capital and man. (In a “pure process”?)

Immanent thinking is not feminist and is not colonialist.

The 1973 seminar acknowledges a “phallocratic imperial” background to all thought.

Hill offers that she gives a “highly motivated reading” of Irigaray.

The transcendence of Irigaray’s view of sexual difference—

“Volume without Contour,” “When our lips speak together,” in Speculum of the Other Woman: these concern immanent thought.

Western metaphysics uses woman as its “ground and resource” (all through this I am thinking of the Derridean chora).

Woman overflows and unravels the systematisation of reason and order.

What is stated is an “immanent feminist topology” of thought.

The feminine is the locus of chaos and terror.

The Oresteia trilogy is cited: Clytemnestra kills Agamemnon for killing her daughter Iphigenia.

Orestes—the titular—kills Clytemnestra and is put on trial.

Mother and daughter, Clytemnestra and Iphigenia, become unspeakable.

A feminine topology of immanence, from “Volume without Content,” sets up an impersonal and unlimited field of immanence.

In “When our lips speak together,” lips are a figure of multiplicity: against the representative interpretation.

A w/hole that is never totalised—lips are a multiplicity.

The place of woman is mentioned in relation to Taoism.

The phrase is used “absolute self-survey,” but not in reference to Ruyer.

It comes to questions: That was, I say, between “sufficiency” and “purity.” This is a question for both—but perhaps Rebecca will be able to correct the statement—Irigaray writes somewhere, Perhaps (it is only) a (true) (understanding) (of) sexual difference that will save us?

I don’t think it was “true,” says Rebecca Hill. It was of course taken from Heidegger’s phrase.

Of course, I say. (Only a god can save us now, I think.)

And, Hill continues, it is in her later work. I have not dealt with her later work here…

…there seems to be some kind of zone of indiscernability in Kenneth’s phrase, an immanent feminist topology invoked…except polarised…

What do you mean by polarised?

Well, more rigidly constructed.

I would not use the word rigid. I mean, in her later work, Irigaray talks about a zone of something like indiscernability, where a becoming that is dual is possible, of both man and woman, of man with woman… But, I don’t work with her later writing, where she says sexual difference is real. … And she actually says, for which she has been heavily criticised by the trans community, There are only men and women. …

I see I backed away from a proposition rather than having to state it: I might have said polarised over gender—on the basis Irigaray, that it is in her later work notwithstanding, says very much this. But what I was asking had nothing to do with inclusion or exclusion in becoming gender, or becoming animal. It had to do with what the human might be; however, we can never excuse or avoid or refuse addressing sexual politics.

This question of what the human might be, I raised it because Coleman was in the room: in an algorithmic becoming there is no possibility of being saved—or saving us—let alone by understanding sexual difference.

But is this really the case? Isn’t algorithmic becoming something for which men and women can or should take responsibility? Even as it is nonhuman becoming, belonging to a technosemiosis which is not human or gendered. Still, isn’t this letting it go, this question? And I am reminded of Coleman’s As a feminist, I can’t possibly answer that question. Perhaps the algorithmic becoming—well we know that in its use, like reason, it is—uses women and men unequally, makes use of them, where it encounters them differently?

This would not be a question of what the human (contested in its internal differences) can do, it would not be a question of what whatever we is ought to do—therefore it would not be a question of morality—but it would be a question of what the human, we, can be, of what we is, exactly contested in sexual difference. Isn’t this the ethical question of only (an understanding of) sexual difference can save us (now)?

Another question: Ken answers with the long list of becomings which Deleuze and Guattari give. Getting to becoming mineral, he says, this is one I have never really understood. I suppose you could speak of the mineral as that which is used for jewelery, or in computers… is in watches, gemstones and precious metals…

Strangely there is some sage nodding of heads. It doesn’t seem to occur to anyone that minerals are mobile elements. They pass through sedimentary layers of strata. What might be at stake in a mineralisation, or becoming mineral, is gaining this fine grain level of mobility—and a granular point of view or perspective. (That of the mineral subject, I might now say.)

Ken pronounces haeccitas “hex-itas.”

The next keynote is again presented in the wooden hall underground with the hinged chairs and the technical difficulties. It is Alex Taek-Gwang Lee: “Deleuze/Guattari and the Third World: Rethinking Political Philosophy After May 68.” He is perhaps the third speaker Koichiro-san has introduced as his best friend.

Foucault said political philosophy is a theory of government. Yet Deleuze and Guattari call their own work political philosophy. It does not so much address governmentality as a people who are missing. This is what makes it political philosophy.

The Third World constitutes the historicisation and the politicisation of a people who are missing. (Note: it is not the singular people of a Volk, not a People who is missing.)

In Cinema 2 political cinema is to think about people who are missing—the Third World.

This consideration comes in light of the cinema being an art of the masses. Stalinism. Nazism. Americanism. It is an art of the the mass subject.

Once America was the land of deterritorialised peoples. Now its concerns are its its own ends and interests.

The aim of political cinema is to invent and not to represent people who are missing. “The missing people are a becoming.”

This future politics in my terms is planetary communism.

Why do the people of liberty not accede to a liberation of others? So that A Thousand Plateaus speaks of “exploitation of the Third World; the arming of dictatorships, and the pollution of the atmosphere.”

Imperialism provides a counter-history of liberalism.

Ultimate aim of Deleuzian politics, according to Mbembe, is

  1. a founding violence
  2. imposition of law
  3. a system designed to sustain colonialism and to replicate it.

But there is then a boomerang effect, from the colonised peoples: Auschwitz has its origins in colonialism—implanted back in the imperium. This is Mbembe’s necro-politics.

Commodification of labour—subjugation of labour force—in colonial countries, flows back—an authoritarian politics—flowing back to Europe and to the West in general.

The fascism and biopolitics in nation-building in the Third World rebound on the West.

Manjiko—as it is called here—Manchuria, shows how fascism grows up in the mechanism of capitalism. Capitalism incubates and bears forth fascism—leading to the mobilisation of the newly imperialised Third World in Total War.

Fascism is the counter-current in imperialism.

Nationalism in the 1930s in Japan became Empire—and failed.

The Japanese designed Manjiko as a nation-state in answer to this failure.

Emancipation and development are the goals of the game: an anti-imperialist nationalism.

The Third World movement shows colonialism does not work out unilaterally. Colonial territory is established on the exclusion of native peoples.

The colonial regime in Manjiko failed because of the division of the colonists and the colonised.

In a Land War, the colonised is a “wild beast” to hunt down.

Foucault writes that in the 17th century the form of power changed from disciplinary power to biopower: people became population.

From Malthus, for whom it is population that matters, while liberalism relies on people and on a cancellation of the population, to Hobbes’s liberal Leviathan, it is an easy step to biopower—to people as data.

Liberalism in Malthus concerns population. The people who are missing concerns a geophilosophy: taking up the conflict for settlement, colonialism, and therefore also imperialism, between land and sea, that between the Behemoth and the Leviathan.

In Schmidt, sea threatens earth-born nature. The Leviathan has no hierarchy. It threatens the Ship of State.

For Deleuze, humans cannot live in security unless they assume the struggle of and land and sea is over.

The Third World is an “island,” the missing people a “desert.”

Inhabitation does not end a desert island.

The island as a field of struggle of ocean and land precedes Robinson Crusoe.

It is prior to the opposition of Crusoe the coloniser and Friday the colonised. In Tournier, the island changes Crusoe.

Crusoe cannot perpetuate our world because he cannot reproduce: he is asexual.

He is a pervert.

There occurs the internal subjectivation of the island as such.

Planetary communism goes from the island as subject. Becoming-island is a politic of the desert island.

The Third World means this kind of island.

Danilo asks about the link between fascism and imperialism.

The French and English empires survived because they underwent development and modernisation.

Nationalism in Japan occurred for the purposes of the modernisation of Japan, resulting in imperialism.

Adam Smith is anti-imperialist. Imperialism in the UK is a product of the nation-state. There is a time lag between empire and nation-state: an attempt to return to empire.

Christoph asks why we should leave our food and our shelter, those of the developed world, and become Third World.

The Third World is an abstract world: it is not a question of refusal but of working against exclusion.

Greg asks after the coherence of a homogeneous concept of the nation-state when the state as we know it is heterogeneous, made of many peoples.

To become Third World you must invent the Third World. A territory.

Leviathan reminds us and recalls us to the nation-state we must be part of.

Greg: First Worlds coexist with Third World, in Mexico, the US, in China.

Craig Lundy: Is Third World a new earth?

In Third World, we are inventing an earth in common: that means communism.

(There are the now commonplace technical difficulties with the mics.)

I read in the programme that Philip Martin, from Macquarie University, Sydney, is presenting on the Kyoto School: something I have been missing is the connection between Deleuze and Guattari and Japanese philosophy.

The Kyoto School’s must well-known representative is Kitaro Nishida.

Working in the tradition today are Shizateru Ueda and Ryosuke Ohashi.

Jun Tohsaka (1900-1945) coined the name Kyoto School.

Martin goes about formulating a connection: the suprasensible in the sensible is how Deleuze frames Kant’s project.

Deleuze’s criticism—of having done with judgement—comes from a criticism of a total form of history—in real historical institutions.

There is another model of the sensible and the suprasensible in Deleuze: this is art.

From Law and Judgement, to, in Deleuze, Art.

Kitaro Nishida’s logic of basho—which a simplified translation might give as place—entails an expressive and transformative relation to the world and to history.

Logic and Life (1936) proposes the reciprocal determination of individuals and their actions and the world as a whole. It is a monadology.

The continuous history of change and transformation between consciousness and the world means we are caught in continuous transformations with the world (as a whole).

Art, ethics and religious experience is a knowing of itself to be transformative.

Miki—is another figure, Martin has not the time to present.

Nishida: the world of historical reality … is the subject of his 1936 work.

Jun Tohsaka: What is the Technological Spirit (1937/2018). This work informed by scientific Marxism links art to life to science. The technological spirit is social production in and of history, working on the level of a technology of self as a creative procedure, and creating thereby, rather than taking it as a given, a common sense—in the production of a society or social and cultural sense.

Antonio Catalano: his theme Deleuze as political thinker, through the work of Italian political philosopher, Toni Negri.

Deleuze does not isolate politics as a way of thinking. The real issue is the relation between ontology and politics.

Marxism follows two lines of descent: a theological-political direction which is that of Benjamin, Schmidt; a biopolitical direction, that of Foucault, Deleuze, Guattari.

Negri: At the Origins of Biopolitics (1997).

Negri with Guattari: Communists Like Us.

Our time is one of the saturation of discussion between society and economics.

Capitalism builds a real plane of immanence.

Every singularity is pure energy.

Hegel—dialectics, negativity, history

Deleuze—philosophy of nature, affirmation, becoming-woman

Negri needed from Deleuze and Guattari an ontology of the spontaneous production of beings to transform Marxism.

Living singularities will always exceed the structures of domination.

From Deleuze issues a biopolitics creative of subjectivities, biopolitics as a constituting power and one not simply constitutive or given power in a given set of power relations.

Spinoza engages first philosophy of ontology, materialist immanence: “matter that produces is expression.”

From an ontology of absolute immanence is it possible to derive a politics?

There is no purely theoretical level which must be translated into action—theory and action enter a zone of indistinction where politics equals ontology.

It is in the ideal hegemony of the “inside,” of ontological interiority, that the political is determined.”

Absolute ontological: the ontological inside—the plane of immanence equals an ontological inside.

What relation to singularities does the plane of immanence have? What relation to subjectivities?

Communism is to subjectivities what the plane of immanence is to singularities.

Communism—space for free and autonomous development of singularities: the part is not subordinated to the whole, but a plane of immanence and singularities; work becomes creative process.

Jean-Sébastien Laberge states his theme as a dissensual meta-modelling of ecosophical democracy.

The metamodel is an external apparatus of synthesis.

A few months after joining the Greens, in 1985, Guattari first uses the term dissensus.

Guattari took the Greens in the direction of Rainbow Network, which was an experiment in creative dissensus, agreement in respect of difference—in which dissent is not denied.

With a network of 5,000 each individual or collective cannot claim to the exclusive representation of its membership.

This way of working reverses theme and variations. It starts from variations.

It works in parallel with the priority of the social over the political. It is a movement in social world (not necessarily first a political movement, and not one imposed on or to be imposed on a social world).

Ecosophical democracy is fabulating, not the acceptance of difference but fully assuming it.

Guattari died in August 1992.

Before questions commence, Antonio Catalano leaps to his feet to profess to his shame at speaking before the great Anne Sauvagnargues–in French–had he known, he would not have dared, which Jean-Sébastien Laberge responds to in an equal torrent of French, while Anne makes a little joke, almost concurring with the first speaker, then explaining she is only joking.

In the questions, which again followed after all three presentations, Anne criticised Martin for the use of suprasensible, which, it seems, she heard as super-sensible, therefore in ethical breach of her polemical insistence on immanence without transcendence.

Martin replied that the suprasensible maintains contact with immanence.

Laberge remarks on dissensus that it is used by Guattari and then becomes common in Negri (and also in other Italian political philosophers, like Esposito).

The issue is: new ways to put different points of view together in the social.

It must have been yesterday, in the coffeebreak, that Wren Nishina, or Nishina Wren-san, who was the interpreter for the artists exhibiting at Chiyoda Arts Centre as well as for Uno Kuniichi-sensei, was wearing his dovegrey pleated shirt, and I said to him, Ah, Issey Miyake’s Pleats Please.

Yes, it was the Saturday, because Wren said to me, I thought, since I was presenting, I ought to make an effort. His paper had been “Spatiality according to Deleuze and Shinobu Orikuchi”—taking up on the idea they share of the frontier or boundary not being a ‘geometric fiction sandwiched between two blocs of land’ but a ‘world,’ or—if one were to co-opt computer speak—a partition, that is an horizon on which a world dataset takes place.

It really was a beautiful shirt. Wren is an MA student at Tohuku University. His English-speaking voice is Oxonian. He said, You are a Japanese expert.

No, an amateur.

You seem to know more about Japanese culture than anyone else here.

This impression must have come from simply knowing a little of Uno Kuniichi’s background with Butoh, and Hijikata.

…and then he said something even more flattering, after I’d said I was a late doctorate currently looking for a position—and that if he knew of where I might be welcomed, I would willingly go there. He said, You have such amazing curiosity. If only we all had such curiosity.

What the cure is for that, as Dorothy Parker wrote, noone knows.

Joff Bradley presents the final keynote, in the woody hall, with the technical problems, and the little chairs, that, when Kenneth arrived, he called built for midgets. He had a chair brought into the hall from the foyer, and positioned himself in the aisle.

Joff Bradley’s presentation is called “On deadly spirals of ipseity.” I had gained no real insight into Joff’s area of interest, despite his having convened the session at which I presented, despite having had, albeit cursory, encounters with him, through R.’s intercession, her introduction.

If Chiba Masaya-san had been, as I wrote, the first revelation of the Deleuze|Guattari Camp, with his disconnective Deleuze, Joff was a, if not the, revelation of the conference, his contribution entirely unexpected—in its suggestiveness.

Wilhelm Reich is the figure who presides over the presentation: Nick Land’s dark Deleuze is invoked, as is Masaya Chiba’s disconnective Deleuze. A negative Deleuze, an affirmative Deleuze, but what about a joyful Deleuze? A Reichian orgasmic Deleuze—and Guattari.

He cites a discussion between Žižek and Schutzer—Deleuze and pleasure.

He is dealing with the avoidance of stating the real importance of that crackpot Reich to both Deleuze and Guattari—all through Anti-Oedipus, which even quotes some of his fruitier, whackier theories, commentaries. … “the embarrassment with Deleuze and Guattari for celebrating the anti-fascism of Reich.”

But Reich was Freud’s favourite disciple.

What Joff’s real theme is is the hikikomori—the locked-in-the-parental-home of those too, in fact, embarrassed by themselves. The socially withdrawn.

Of the hikikomori Reich would say it is the worm in man.

But Joff makes the alignment of hikikomori with autism—withdrawn-ness, isolation—not depression, which to me is in this relation to autism.

The (biological) tapeworm spreads cancer—is active in spreading cancer around the body.

Rudolf Steiner might be a blue (as opposed to a red) kind of fascism. (This is a reference to a session in the conference called “Red and Black Deleuze: Planetary Communism and Open Marxism,” which was a panel discussion, taking place at the same time as the session I was attending on Bergson, Space-Time, Deleuze, with Craig Lundy, yesterday.)

With the worm in man the organism can be dammed up petrified and cannot pulse. Reich says fascism of the worm in the life force that does not wiggle but goosestep.

There is a double capture of worm and hikikomori.

Reich holds that orgone energy kills cancer. Resignation shrinks.

Joff speaks to the death in life of the hikikomori: the orgasm frees energy, for Reich.

Reich’s guide to a joyful life is to have as many orgasms as possible.

So as not to be Nietzsche’s lonesomest one.

The lonely withdrawing ones, says Nietzsche—from this comes the possibility of the Overman.

(Once again, it is worthwhile comparing this with Simondon holding up Zarathustra as epitome of transindividual—withdrawing from the crowd, being left to bury the friend, the dwarf, the highwire artist, returning to the cave, and transindividuation.)

The serpent hanging out of the mouth of Zarathustra is none other than the Reichian worm in man.

Armoury is, for Reich, in this contactlessness and affective blockage; an autophagy—in connection with the little machines supposed to provide contact in the hikikomori’s room, or those Reich is left with, in the end, his orgone machines, autophagy belongs to the body without organs: it turns cancerous.

The Id in Reich communicates cosmic orgone energy.

But then in armoured seclusion, waves of desire—undulations of the worm—freeze into segments.

Ipseity is the singularity of the self.

The hikikomori nestles down deeper into the self—in deadly spirals of ipseity.

The face does not open the self to the other, opening to the self—as in Levinas. (Joff states his singular move, not just in this presentation, but in a pragmatics, is not to make recourse to Levinas.) Ipseity is hostage to itself.

Spirals of ipseity occur in detached auto-immunity of the self.

The sovereignty of the self turns to itself—possibly through micromachines—or—spirals into itself.

It concerns the centrifugal rings as the worm recedes into itself. It becomes a malignant subjectivity.

Lingis is the source for the title of the presentation, his phrase “engendering spirals of ipseity,” which describes orgasm. So, here, for Joff, these become deadly.

It concerns, says Joff, not the fascism of the rhizomatic potato but that of the couch potato.

Ryu Murakami, a very different writer from Haruki, (one I have been reading as soon as English translations become available) writes after Fukushima—which Joff states as decisive, a threshold for the increase in the numbers of hikikomori—of the “movement of sorrow of the past to the loneliness of the present.”

– Murakami Ryu’s The Symbiotic Worm

For Stiegler, there has to be a pharmacological coexistence with the worm in man. (Joff does not reject the use of pharmaceuticals—neither, in fact, did Guattari.)

No one can withdraw from withdrawal – spit out the black serpent – the worm in man – “we are all hikikomori.”

As I write this out, back in New Zealand, it resonates with me more; at the time I took as a gesture. I took it to be gestural, and to theatricalise the moment Joff was intending to mark. But now it has something of Coleman’s hopelessness of humanity’s current algorithmic becoming—and of course it has to do with isolation, which is that of the individual who, forced to watch, withdraws, who cannot withdraw from her withdrawal, or who deadens himself.

This enervation is not the same as the numbing to mediated atrocity we are said to suffer as a result of our saturation with images of violence and abjection. No, it is much more personal and has to do with personal shame, libidinal or perhaps orgasmic shame—with which, in adolescents, Joff will identify it.

So perhaps it were better said than forced to watch, watched—forced to be watched—even to the self-consciousness of knowing she is and the autoveillance as an amplification—in a deadly spiral of ipseity—of his being watched: the little machines, who, in that lyric of Mercury Rev, have telephones for eyes.

Ryu Murakami says that Japanese youth may be a new possibility of the human.

I think, Why the interest in the strange pleasures of failure? Is it that fascination Izidor Barši spoke about in his presentation of the intellectual—and by extension the intellect—with violence?

Why the stupid embrace of “vacuoles of noncommunication” (Deleuze’s phrase for what we need in societies of control—in the “postscript” with that title)?

Joff’s big Reichian joke came after his rhetorical gesture: “we are all hikikomori.” He was finished, made a movement to leave the lectern (behind him some of the slides I snapped above), and applause burst out.

But then he returned—held his arms up to quell the applause, saying, “Sorry! Sorry! I finished too soon!”

And he went on:

Where there is processual schizophrenia in schizoanalysis, in hikikomori the question is one of disarming the rings enveloping the body of the hikikomori—getting the worms to stream (in Reich’s term—here problematic considering the streaming media that is a relentless fact of life for hikikomori, as Joff acknowledges).

Narcissism, self-hatred, orgasm-anxiety, forms the basis of the general hatred of life.

Nonfascism, there produced in Anti-Oedipus by processual schizophrenia of schizoanalysis, here is in Nick Land’s cry:



Anne asks about the social production of autism. Are they (hikikomori) too connected? Or too unconnected?

I am thinking about Josh Cohen’s book Not Working: Why We Have to Stop. His word for the propensity that is innate in humans to stop, to give up, withdraw, lie down, is ataraxia. Cohen gives four case studies for the four types of the ataraxic: for the burnout, Andy Warhol; for the slob, Orson Welles; for the recluse, Emily Dickinson; for the slacker, David Foster Wallace. Note that all four suffer from hyperproductivity at the same time—effecting a remarkable dynamic between creativity and enervation, or the sort of exhaustion which precedes and doesn’t follow from productivity, between work and stopping.

Danilo asks: how does gender apply?

Joff answers there are more male hikikomori.

Danilo asks around the notion of armoury, coined in the sense it is used by Joff, by Theweleit in writing about character-armour against the flood of women and Jews.

There is a question also about the outbursts of deadly violence from otherwise reclusive and alienated hikikomori types: Joff makes the brilliant point that this a question of the drives and not of desire—it is not because, as Stiegler puts it, of a crisis in desire, but is a deadly expression of the drives, the Triebe—sometimes translated as instincts. Desire does not find its destination and the drives now burst out.

Joff gives the numbers of hikikomori as around 1.2 million in Japan. Asked how these figures can be stated, he answers that they come from diagnosed cases, since, often, concerned parents will take their hikikomori children to doctors—for advice and for treatment.

Hikikomori is not limited to Japan: in the US and the UK numbers of such cases appear to be on the rise.

Perhaps it is when answering Danilo’s question, Joff becomes overcome with emotion and says, I am just sick of losing students. One month they are in your class. Then they just disappear.

He also talks about using Pokemon Go in a research project to get hikikomori outside, about which he wrote a very long paper. His conclusion, he says, was not very hopeful: he doesn’t hold out a lot of hope for this type of approach.

Koichiro makes the final address. He says that he has been restrained by his official role from making any kind personal statement, but that now he would like to take this opportunity to make a personal statement: a slide comes up—my book is coming out soon, published by Edinburgh Press, and I would like you all to buy a copy. Buy one for friends too.

He invites a representative from the next Deleuze/Studies Asia Conference to come forward: it will be held in Nanjing. She begins, as Koichiro did, days ago, that Ian Buchanan approached her and said that there should be a Deleuze/Guattari Conference Asia, this time, in China.

I try to find Dan W. Smith to say buy and share my contact details. He must have left. I find Greg Flaxman. He says it’s been great meeting and that all my questions were right on point. I invite him to come to New Zealand. He says he has no doubt our paths will cross some time in the future.

I say goodbye to Al Lingis. It’s been great meeting—I am hopeful of seeing him again—perhaps next month, when he is visiting Christchurch for a conference?

This didn’t happen sadly, the event in Christchurch having already taken place at the time of writing.

My final notes, before leaving on the direct return route to Akasaka and Hotel Felice, concern my own project:

…the joints of opponents as Ronaldo dodges or tackles them… …the letters and articulations of the words and sentences I now write… are so many subjective events, determining the field of a subtractive sensible interest.

In other words, the system of objects on the outside becomes determinate only in actual (becoming) the spontaneous perception of consciousness.

Neither is it determinate in the pattern lying in wait to be found, nor is it animated—in the strongest sense of inspirited, of the simulacrum brought to life, to lifelikeness, by the sculptor: it is rather the thought in action, that is consciousness.

That night, J. and I go out to Tokyo Station to find Ramen Street. It turns out this is underground. We join the queue, and when we reach the machine, we punch in our choices, going by the photos, for our ramen and our drinks, pay entering the coins and notes, and receive tickets which we take to our table, in the middle of a crowded ramen bar.

on tour
point to point

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22 June 2019: Akasaka – Komaba Campus Tokyo University #tokyodeleuze day 2 Deleuze|Guattari Studies Conference

I had come the wrong way in the morning so I had no choice but to go the wrong way at night.

I left Komaba Campus by the main gate, the one close to the local line, if I had been, as if I had been, intending to catch it—to Shibuya, transferring there … But I wasn’t and didn’t. I followed its route, however, towards the southerly end of Yoyogi Park. Once again, like the time I left National Noh Theatre, I was caught in the spatiotemporal vortex that surrounds Harujuku. Because I could not cross back over the line, I was channeled into central Shibuya, to the very same streets I had traversed on my first day of taking the route, having all day to do so, from the little ryokhan where I’d spent my first night, to Yoyogi Memorial Youth Olympic Hostel. I descended the same hill. It was dark this time but lit up for the thousands thronging the streets. A black guy leading an American tour party shouted at me as he passed in the opposite direction, Hey! Watch where you’re going! I came to the crossroads, famous, at Shibuya Station. It was more crowded at night than during the day—the crowds out looking for nightlife, and so becoming it. This time I took a left up a more northerly directed avenue and soon the crowds thinned out, whether a good or bad sign, I had no idea. There were only busstops, no metro lines—a bad sign.

I persevered. I came to a Yoyogi Sports Arena. Now there was noone on the streets. I found I had, since leaving Shibuya Station Square, climbed a hill. I took a left at the arena. A few commuters passed, some visitors—ones who knew where they were going. I knew the right to take me back to Harujuku, at least, not more.

I went down the hill, the hill I had no memory of either climbing or descending. I reached a crossroads by what appeared to be parklands, with pruned pines, a stone retaining wall. This was finally the vicinity. Perhaps 15 minutes later I reached Yoyogi-Koen Station. I took the Chiyoda line to Akasaka, Hotel Felice, J., happy home.

That night, last night, we made a new plan: take the No.2 exit from Yoyogi-Koen. Start on Enokachira-dori Av. Turn right out of the station. It’s a big street. Turn right again. This is Inokashira-dori Av. Be prepared for the absence of streetsigns and signposts. Turn left onto Yamate-dori—you achieve this feat by taking the first on left under a pedestrian overbridge, it veers away from the big street at an acute angle—not a right angle!

As it happens, and it was so far clear, this route took me back over another hill, one I had climbed the night before last, and recognised. An embassy area on the left of this narrow residential road was guarded at every egress by police. I reach Yamate-dori. The chimneys appear, for the underground. Here it is, right, into the back entrance of Komaba Campus, past the familiar vege plot, under the trees with crow warning signs. The weedfilled plots on closer inspection are planted with a variety of grasses—an ecosystem of grasses. Today, all day, we are in Komcee West.

Morning snacks are laid out on the third floor—the numbering starts with 1 at groundlevel. I am early. It has taken me barely 20 minutes, including the metro. I take a marmalade bun, square, like a brioche, but chewy, and a coffee.

I find my spot for Session 13, chosen because Izidor Bařsi, who had whiskey our first night at Yoyogi Hostel, is presenting. He has been writing this paper while here, beginning at the Camp, finding it gave him no time, having to skip some events—that and the night drinking and the jetlag…

Violence is the title for the session.

William Hebblewhite begins in rhythmic prose. He speaks on the unpresentability of violence—on that curious phenomenon in which, when shown the before shot, in sequence with the after, an audience will attest to having seen the gruesome act of a nail being driven through someone’s ankle and recall the blood, the blunt impact, the piercing of the skin, and so on, which they did not see and were not shown.

Violence occurs in the cut: an example Deleuze uses—the face of horror in Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin produces a world in which the unseen violence has occurred, is, in fact, occurring, is always with us.

Rancière’s framework of representation enters the paper being delivered. This, I feel, is a backwards move.

Violence is an impropriety. But then what is the relation between horror and the violence of the state?

State violence is a violence that seeks to mediate what is presentable and what is therefore conceivable. (Does this entail that it may exclude and occlude its own violence?) “The ends melt away and the means become substance.” The state determines the thinkable. The power of representation is taken on as the right to represent. This appropriation of violence—aesthetic violence—constitutes, for Deleuze and Guattari the state’s violence.

The war machine is outside—outsides—as the violence there where the state does not allow its perceivability or thinkability. It is a contrary, “what else could be possible,” and competes with an interior logic of the state.

The state here is constrained to, limited, constraining and limiting an interior against the horrific outside of frame of the war machine, having been deemed by the state unrepresentable. The state is not here productive—as it is in Foucault and in Deleuze and Guattari.

Anubha Sinha’s presentation emphasises the singularisation of fear—gives that it is studied and represented through the individual, through the individual’s fear. It is in the anticipation of being subjected to violence, either physical or verbal.

What about the group? What about collective anticipation of either verbal or physical violence? What about the fear of the group?

“Fear is anticipatory … in view of a threatening future.” It is fear of humiliation, of being cornered—is it then there affect? free-floating and impersonal? Doesn’t this disembody it?

Sinha has been working with a central Indian village, where she is ’embedded,’ that is, living, working, practicing theory. Her engagement is with domestic violence. She asks how alcohol can be causative with regard to violence.

Her subject is a low-income agricultural village where the inhabitants must work long hours. They drink for recreation, the local brew, mahoua (?).

Bulima (?) is vulnerable for not having given the family where she is living—her husband’s family, of which he is the eldest son—children.

… the body was resisting the environment of the terrified woman undergoing abuse and anticipating violence in the present … she makes her way along the wall staring at her feet, but she cannot walk.

Women’s small talk, gossip and bitching are “horizons of becoming” for Deleuze and Guattari, taking molar events down to the micro level, sharing them over a multiplicity, involving a group subject in a becoming-woman, deterritorialising it from molar gender.

Friendship—telling stories as skin, in kin, kinship—a contact with blood and tradition—to heal a wound.

Izidor Barši, presenting next, cites Balibar’s view of intellectuals’ fascination with violence.

Stupidity – communication – goodwill – agreement: enemies of violence. The thought of violence is related to the violence of thought.

Gewalt—a word encompassing power and force and violence.

Cruelty is a residuum of violence, its “inconvertible remainder,” in the dialectic of power Balibar calls “cruelty.” It is pre-Oedipal.

Benjamin’s “Zur Kritik der Gewalt” makes “violence crowned by fate” the “origin of law.”

Desiring formations are social formations, that are based in production.

Voice-sign-eye: theatre of cruelty and Nietzsche’s genealogy are “blows” that “ward off the state … which relies on an accumulation of blows which it can turn into capital.”

In the primitive economy blow is exchanged for blow—the final blow begins a new series, a new exchange, putting off indefinitely the absolutely final blow.

The Urstaat begins with the final blow.

What is produced in modern man at this stage is latency.

“Where has the violence gone?”

Anti-Oedipus, written in the context of the Vietnam War, describes the orgasms from having tortured so well of the “bloody good boys” and “bloody good killers.”

The well-behaved good boy who kills and rapes is the working of cynicism as a desiring formation of violence. The good boy’s killing is under sanction of the state.

“Society becomes a battlefield but a battlefield in which one has to smile.”

Foucault therefore in his foreword calls Anti-Oedipus a book in which we can confront the fascism in all of us.

Izidor: I would say it is a book in which we can confront the violence in all of us.

A question—now that the three presentations are complete—concerns the role of the death drive in violence.

The problem is that it seems too easy to let Deleuze and Guattari get away with a violence that is not one.

Anne Sauvagnargues delivers her keynote in the hall underground, a beautiful woody space: Semiotechnics: On Political Ecology. Deleuze and Guattari’s Theory of Encounter.

In view of encounter, it is worth noting that in these posts I limit myself to the use of the last name to refer to those whom I did not individually encounter. (Hence: Anne—although I merely got to say to her that I loved her book Art Machines, encountering her on her way to deliver this keynote, I think, which she said was like a shot of coffee or as good as one. But, also, hence: Buchanan, Coleman, Sinha—whom I didn’t individually encounter.)

Anne: My main point will be to move from a symbolic reading of culture, to a metabolic one.

The sign is always given in relationship with the body.

Sign and sense poses the question of the body and intelligibility, related with the problem of immanence.

It is hard to overestimate Spinoza as a conceptual persona in Deleuze’s work.

On what level is immanence achieved?

Spinoza objects to meaning in transcendence, where signs are severed from what they expose, which is affect-body relations.

To change the economy of signs we’re caught in—this defines a politics, of going beyond affectology.

How is it possible to say as Deleuze claims in Expressionism and Spinoza—his 1967 complementary thesis—there are no signs only expressions?

Cut: two positions—signs / expression; interpretation / experimentation.

Deleuze in Expressionism struggles with equivocity. The book takes a precise problem as its field.

This is a political project.

It engages a theory of meaning, ideational meaning and body of signs, without it being a co-production of spiritual substance. (That is how to think signs and bodies non-equivocally.)

Spinoza does not have a correspondence between noetic content and the body of the sign.

Eminence, equivocity, analogy are objects of struggle for Spinoza. In order to maintain God in his eminent position you require equivocity, and analogy.

You need a separate and dominant interior—a place of eminent origin, obscure, requiring help in its understanding, in understanding God’s meaning, from priests, experts, interpreters, exegetes.

The primacy of God’s sense requires the incapacity to reduce meaning to literalness. (If its sense were given there in the saying, not only would the whole interpretative power apparatus not be necessary, but this sense would not be over and above; it would not be transcendent.)

Eminence and equivocity are entailed in a system of analogy.

The system of analogy implies eminence and equivocity.

God does not reveal himself equivocally in the Bible. But that the Bible is a social and political understanding of God, this is Spinoza’s treatise, The Political-Theological Treatise.

The social-political understanding is one of transcendence sustaining the sociology of experts, priests.

Spinoza confronts the domain of the sign—always ambiguous—from the domain of expression—which is always univocal. This is his struggle with equivocity.

We have to choose between immanence as a political front that is pragmatically consistent (that is, consistent with a pragmatic context to which it is not transcendent, about which it is neither in a relation of equivocity or analogy) in which victory is not so important as the struggle.

Or—immanence (remains) an abstraction for metaphysicians. (Here there can perhaps be victory, and consensus.)

There are two figures of immanence: transcendent abstraction and practical social-political struggle.

Spinoza’s expressionist semiotics produce a rupture with regard to allegorical substitution.

Spinoza cannot conduct this struggle without

natural signs—indices, indexes

moral instituted signs—those of society

– the revelation of supernatural signs.

These three types of signs are taken up in Spinoza’s struggle.

The natural sign is of perception: a horseshoe in the mind of a soldier, is in the mud, in the mind of a blacksmith, is in the fire, on the anvil, under the hammer.

The institutional sign is of language or discourse: homo is the Latin word for man.

In the sign of revelation, however: God is a fire. Spinoza says, no, but for Moses he is a fire. There is no transcendent relationship: “Neither memory nor imagination have resemblance to their object.”

A horseshoe for a soldier in the mud equates with war; for a peasant it equates with work in the fields. The relationship is bodily and affective.

This 1967 book of Deleuze maekes it almost impossible to make sense of God’s movement from expression to signification. While A Thousand Plateaus is a sociopolitical treatise.

The status of law in the 1967 book: “It is when we believe when understanding is to stand under the Word of God.” It is a figure of social domination.

There is a critique of social domination through signs, in a dispositif where the Sign requires interpreters to relay true meaning.

But for Spinoza, signs shall be taken as exposing a real relationship. Not: What they claim they mean. But: What they do.

The split is political—signs and expressions. Sense is produced and not given. The morality of duty (to authority) is distinguished from the ethics of relationship, practice, in an ethology.

God expresses himself directly, says Spinoza.

Ontology means you can judge. So it remains tied to dualism:

– active / passive

– transformation / obedience

– relationship / transcendence

We have therefore to move from a symbolic to a metabolic understanding of signs.

Signs are indicators of our real relationships.

Signs have to be taken at the level of their real domination—at the affective level—to be metabolic, affecting bodies, and the affects of bodies.

Signs—as affective encounters and not as given signification.

There is a question to Anne from Koichiro-san—where perhaps I have been hearing all along “signs” he has been hearing “science.” But who is mishearing?

Soul is the situation of the body. Anne cites Experience and Eternity, written in the 1990s on Spinoza.

There are three genres de connaissance …

I lose the thread. Common notion is entailed, which has a body-like relationship in community of real shared experience.

Extension and thought—the substantial and semiotic—are univocal.

For Spinoza, the more relationship, the more joy; the less relationship—all the way to immanence—the more sadness.

It is lunch, chicken katsu bentos. I sit with Al and Izidor and a young Chinese American. We talk about how the planes were already in the air when Trump called them back.

The next session calls itself a panel: “The Perception of Space-Time in Deleuze and Bergson.”

It starts with Craig Lundy speaking on Deleuze’s Bergsonism and leads on to his essay dealing with the Other-structure (in French Other is here Autrui and not to be confused with other, as in big or little other—for example, woman as other.)

A world with others produces a “complete margin” or field of potentialities and virtualities; or, a virtual image, in Bergsonism.

Matter and Memory: through the projection of the image around the bend we are given sufficient reason of the thing. (That is, although we might not see around the curve of the bend, others, we assume, can, so we are given—under the assumption of others—the thing in dimensions we may not see.) The curve extends beyond the “meat” of the thing.

The other is a structure without which the field could not function.

The Other-structure stands in contrast with the concrete-other.

The Other-structure conditions the whole field rendering perception possible.

The virtual whole provides the transcendental conditions for real experience.

The structure of the ‘possible’ is not the possible of what exists: “The time without the other is only in the past.” The category of the possible is the past. It provides me with the face of the fear I do not yet feel: it is in the past, the past of my future.

The past is ontological, not psychological.

The second effect of the other concerns time.

Without others we are without past to our futures. We come to lose the very structure of reality.

In Tournier’s novel, Robinson and the island become one. “Everywhere I am not, total darkness reigns.”

An eternal present and total surface—the former belongs to time, the latter to space: necessity replaces possibility in a world without others.

For Bergson,humans are unique for being able to follow the curve around the bend.

“In humanity, the actual becomes adequate to the virtual.” – Deleuze

Indetermination: a world without others takes away the possibilities and virtualities of the Other-structure—the a priori structuring of the perceptual field. (I ask a question regarding this point at the end, because it seems to reduce the Other-structure to organising the perceptual field along instrumental lines, that is, along the lines of Heidegger’s instrumental field. Lundy responds that the perceptual field of the Other-structure and the Heideggerian instrumental field are one and the same.)

Bergson: Humanity has a superior zone of indetermination. (That is the virtual image, or complete margin.)

There is no perception not full of memories. (Others’ memories as well as one’s own—the past that is yet to come is my future; in this proposition can also be felt the meaning of matter being memory in its most contracted state—the matter that extends around the curve of the bend.)

There is a strange Spinozism in Robinson, Deleuze writes, because there is a complete zone of determinism, and a complete necessity, which is that of a world without others. Robinson is the island, Esperanza.

Is Mr Kurtz also a Robinson?

Kokubun Koichiro-san presents the following:

Depth – the part of the world I don’t see I posit as visible to others.

What is the relation between the Other-structure and Transindividual? Is there one? (I ask this question, I put it to Anne at the last, knowing her to be a Simondon scholar. She acknowledges I have asked it, but does not answer it.)

Those with autism lose the margins of the world, see without depth.

The world looks to them like a two-dimensional theatre set, having no depth. (Is this really an image either for a world without others? Or for autism? Or is either adequate to the other?)

People with autism have great difficulty finding others. (Because a degree of similarity has to exist for you to be my other as well as a degree of difference.)

For one with autism, each flower is perceived in the singular: she could not perceive the flowergarden.

These singularities invaded her. Maybe generality is something with which we defend ourselves. (I take up this formulation in my questioning at the end. It seems to belong to Hemingway’s iceberg theory: it leaves most of what it says unsaid.)

In a technical book, all of the terms are rigidly defined. But autistic people have difficulty with the vagueness of everyday language.

Autistic ones are said to lack imagination.

(Koichiro-san’s pronunciation makes perceptive field sound like prosthetic field.)

Mlle X cannot recognise her own face. She recalls her face as a faceless monster. This case is presented by Mitue Shimizu in negative terms—she cannot … she does not … But it is not that she cannot recognise a face but that she recognises singularities, uniquely posited at the level of the individual: this angle between nose and eye, this haecceity … Singularities are the only events (that are perceptible to her).

“She does not recognise singularities that precede individuality.” (Cf. Preindividual—potentialities and virtualities—of Simondon.)

What about the practice and process of autism mapped onto Simondon?

(…as one would talk of the practice and process of schizophrenia mapped out by Deleuze and Guattari in terms of a schizoanalytics…)

What I am interested in is rapprochement with Simondon.

Jae-Yin Kim returns to speak of Baumgarten, of a return to Baumgarten’s view of aesthetics.

Violence is distinguished between representational violence of war and violent encounters of thought. (This is useful in parsing the sense of Deleuze’s notion of there being an intrinsic link between thought and violence and trespass. Cf. Izidor Barša earlier in this post.)

Question time comes on.

For Leibniz, the subject is secondary to POV. (Is this so? … it would concern the monad, and be of interest to my work on the subjective encounter.)

Anne makes the terminological point parenthesised above: autrui is used in the human sphere, so Other-structure Englishes “structure pour autrui”—this is an enormously important point. Not only is this phrase not hyphenated, autrui is explicitly distinct from l’autre or autres.

De Ligny asked by his frustrated staff what they ought to do when the autistic children in their care ‘left the script’ of care, of what care ought to be about, which is a kind of control, informed them they could not intervene or constrain, but should draw maps of the behaviours and the movements, singularising them in diagrammes, choreographies, and so dealing with their frustration.

An equation is made between the likeness of the other and the changeability of the other.

The perceptual case of Ronaldo is adduced whereby sensors were attached to map what in the soccer field he was looking at when he was tackling or evading being tackled by another player. These found that he ‘saw’ joints, elbows, knees, ankles, hips, that is the points of articulation for their movements but not the other players themselves. This case deals nicely with idea of singularities of perception in the perceptual field.

I ask this question: What if we turn this image inside out?

Ronaldo is not making decisions based on his various singular loci of attention within the perceptual field. Rather these constitute subjective singularities, points of view, deciding for him: making sense for him. There are no general subjects, but such subjective events.

I also make the point about the perceptual field noted above, that it does not precede the points of view, whether of others, autrui, or of elbows or knees. It is not a field until intention is granted its place, as if that ought to be the case, in which instance it becomes an instrumental field.

It is better thought of, perhaps, as a multiplicity in movement, by its relationships making the maximum joy, and so constituting what is wrongly called a field in its singularity—that may rightly be called a soccer field, or a field of flowers.

The occupation with the single flower—this then is the relationship with which the moving multiplicity is engaged. And more than this, the single flower, in its singularity, that is in its internal difference, becomes the subject of that movement.

I refer to the writer who is autistic who has been translated into English—at least two of his books, whose name I do not recall (it is Naoki Higashida, translated by the novelist David Mitchell and his wife, K.A. Yoshida), the two books being The Reason I Jump and Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8. Koichiro-san seems to know who I mean. For this writer autism comes with a great deal of self-consciousness about the neuro-atypical nature of autistic perception—such that the field is experienced as a world with neuro-typical others but not a neuro-atypical world.

For Higashida Naoki, autism resembles more a locked-in scenario, where the subject’s apperception precedes its perception and the constitution of a perceptual field and does not because it is instrumentally incapable of constituting it—or of organising it. Rather there is a lucidity and highly developed subjective voice that suffers from no cognitive disorder, disability or impairment but a communicative one. A distance that is itself communicable, given the language tools, and itself constitutive of self-awareness, even without them, imposes itself between perception, the perceptual field, and the subject’s experience. The mismatch, the dissensus, is between inner experience and outer, regardless of self-experience. But what is important in light of Bergson and phenomenological as well as cognitive and neurocognitive theories of mind and memory is that this writer with autism can say that he not only cannot control his own body and bodily relations with the world, he can neither control his own mind, nor what it tells him to do or gives him to understand to do, as necessary to do, from a datum given in perception or without that stimulus of a distinct, singular perception—beyond the distinction between singular datum and complete margin of the world with others, that has here, erroneously, I believe, been identified with the perceptual field: he cannot lay claim to his mind as his own, know it as his own, neither can he, voluntarily, make associations based on memory. My feeling is that this complicates greatly the picture of autism we are being shown here. (Perhaps we are closer to Koichiro-san’s prosthetic field here, with a prosthetic subjectivity, and language and the tools of communication as features of an unreachable outside.)

A long break intervenes. Of course, I got only to dot in the points above and not to connect them in anything like a meaningful or even comprehensible pattern. But over coffee I meet James Dutton, from University of New South Wales, working out of the English department, and we are suprisingly in agreement about many of these points, as well as one developing in my head, from which my paper took its impetus, about the affirmation of the problem in Deleuze, and internal contradiction, in his works, or between them, as a secondary consideration, not even so important, paltry. What an unsuccessful encounter, I say to him, Not the slightest bit of dissensus!

He is presenting in the next series of sessions, unfortunately not in the one I am heading for, to support Ruth Irwin, one called “EcoEnviroPolitics.” James’s one’s called “Psychoanalysis, the Clinic, and Overwriting the Subject”—and I wish I’d gone.

Several things may be added out of order to the foregoing.

Firstly, the singularity must be defended from the singular just as much as the multiplicity must be defended from the multiple. The single flower in its singularity, in view of the multiple flowers in the field or flowergarden in their multiplicity, is not recognisable as a singularity, just as the field or garden full flowers does not form a multiplicity.

The flower or singular or unique feature of the face, of the autistic subject, is not a singularity, even one in regard to the generality of the concept we use, as Koichiro-san put it, to defend ourselves. However, if generality is the ground, then the singular detaches itself from that ground, overcoming the defenses of good proportion.

This is the second point. A single drop of water can seem to Higashida Naoki to be a tsunami, and is as threatening as one, as frightening. The difficulty this writer with autism has in making associations with memories is in finding good and not terrifying memories. It would seem this too is a question of proportion. Distortions in the perceived sense—of scale or importance, of what is remarkable, or what is terrifying—are played out in Alice in Wonderland. Tears form a lake. Alice grows to big for the house. The sense of the cards in Through the Looking-Glass has something of this in it as well: it has always worried me as too literal a fantasy, the cards animation, or the chessboard world; but this is clearly the point—it is literal.

The third thing to add would have to do with the tools of language referred to earlier, in relation to autism being less a cognitive than a communicative disability. Tools are meant in the pragmatic sense of the letter-board Higashida Naoki learnt to use to communicate and to write. By no means is a word, a grammar, a linguistic construction a tool. Proportion might be thought of in relation to autism in terms of the figurative and figuration. The figure bears a relation to other figures as well as to the background, from which it jumps forward, or is set off, or invades—overcoming the defenses of generality. This is the sense Kuniichi-sensei gave it in his presentation which I recorded several days ago when he said, The figure causes damage.

Autistic people we might assume have language but it is not necessarily any more in their grasp than their own memorial associations, their bodies, or their mental impulses. Language tools do not include those of language but are those enabling the communication of linguistic signs. Is there a technosemiotic element here?

The idea of schizophrenia being a practice or method, or both, concerns the rupture in the thinkable, a violence in encounter and trespass. But the idea of autism being a practice or method, and, as Koichiro-san has said, a particularly 21st century one, concerns an entirely different problematic, as different as Habermas—and the ideal transparent sphere of communication—and Sloterdijk—and the incontinent froth of cognitive bubbles, or as Habermas and Deleuze. Deleuze clearly has a part to play for his claims on disabling communication to allow a little fresh air to come in, into the vacuoles and foyers, but this air, this window opening a fraction, is in aid of the possibility of thinking, of making thought again possible, as Foucault puts it. Deleuze has clearly a part to play in affirming autistic practices but he does so also in affirming depressive practices—in exhaustion: and as I would contrive to relate the two, in the case of the latter, you cannot escape the self; in the case of the latter, you cannot return to the self—but then one would have to add: as to the self is conventionally ascribed a kind of expressive faculty in being able to communicate and represent itself. If representation and self-representation are attributes of the self, then the autistic one does not lack but finds this faculty impaired and has no facility with it. Again, the notion of representation goes to the givenness of the perceptual field, since it operates within representation and in so far as it is represented. So, might we say that autism is representationally impaired? And neither exhaust the subject nor defend ourselves through generalities.

There is some doubt, but David Toohey is present. He begins his presentation. He teaches in Japan, but the area he chooses to exemplify an eco-enviro-politic is in northern Mexico. (I have in these journal posts before now referred to the concept of indigenism from the first philosopher of Mexicanness, Emilio Uranga. I will have cause to revisit this concept of a kind of Rousseauean regard and nostalgia for an indigenous thought that did not exist many times throughout this session.)

Guattari says, What to do with “the archaic”? The radically new does not exclude it. And it survives in the traditional colonial—as, what shall we say?—a perceptual prosthetic.

The question worth asking is, What does the land want?

on those countries that no longer exist… like the old East Germany of Ostalgie or the whole so-called Eastern Bloc … or the precolonial lands of Indians, although they are not Indian, or of Maori, although they were not Maori…

Ruth Irwin begins her presentation with the gentle provocation that she perhaps unfashionably still works with Heidegger—but along with others, other thinkers and philosophers. In fact, she says, the other day, Simon said to me, Why are you wasting your time reading Heidegger?

I could either disappear through the floor or nod in stupid agreement. I nodded and grinned like an idiot.

Slides came up. Hone Tuwhare, the poet, as Hölderlin for Heidegger. What does this mean? Dame Whina Cooper’s picture came up, and then the lines Tuwhare wrote for her “move over, your tipuna walk beside you”—leading the hikoi—Bastion Point. Ruth remarks that she is an important activist.

Perhaps it was before this the slide for Heidegger came up, showing Heidegger, and Ruth said, This is Heidegger, and the room erupted in laughter.

Did I ever say to her she was wasting her time reading Heidegger? I think I said that her project, as she had outlined it, was deeply Deleuzian. But one should be cautious around the representation and its … dark precursor… which it seldom resembles, let alone represents.

Ruth repeated the diagramme on the whiteboard Anne had used at the Camp to show the cut between signified and signifier—the famous Saussurean diagramme. It had been used to show that below or inside the cut there is nothing, no interiority. However here it was to show the earth, the Heideggerian earth, as Ruth put it, thrusting up, and thrusting up, an upswelling she depicted on the whiteboard with a phallic shape that I show in the snaps above—perhaps it is unclear. But it was no less grotesque in its real depiction than it is in its, here, written one: Heidegger, thrusting up.

Elin Kanhov followed this display with a presentation on John Luther Adams’s—not to be confused with the minimalist, then neoromantic composer, John Adams—work “Inuskuit.”

These lines came to me from Rilke, in reaction, it seemed to the previous presentation: O sage Dichter was Du tuest,… Ich rühme Ich rühme Ich rühme.

Elin is from Stockholm. I’d talked with her about the Baltic, the slow movement of the earth rising, the solidity, and the documentary Into Eternity.

She played excerpts from John Luther Adams, saying, “It’s the only recording we’ve got so we’ve got to go with it.”

Hierarchical structure of the composition, resembling a cairn. “In nature as in music we find totally heterogeneous durations.” She referred to the essay Deleuze wrote from Boulez’s notion of pulsed and nonpulsed time. I realised I’d got it wrong in my paper, in a note to my paper, that talked of counted time, when of course it is pulsed and nonpulsed time. It is a distinction which recalls Stravinsky’s ideas, about rhythmic invention.

Alphonso Lingis delivered the final keynote presentation of the day on “The Work of Reconciliation.” I have included snaps of his slides.

Since World War II 103 countries have experienced civil war.

Nomadic war machines outside the state, coexistent with the state, transnational mining and industrial corporations, religions, Christianity, Islam, prophetic movements, there are still many collectives outside the state firing and re-firing civil wars.

Speaking organises, orders, directs and commands.

Deleuze and Guattari emphasise that the mounting emotions should be studied leading to war. So should those emotions leading to peace, in the undoing of civil wars.

After the Cold War stability was chosen over uncertainty.

For Deleuze and Guattari social change is driven by the production of desire.

Deleuze and Guattari would have reservations about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report being about truth. Rather, they would say, there are different ways of mapping, allowing lines of flight.

Throughout Al’s presentation there is the embarrassment of the tech: the soundtrack he has requested be kept at levels under his voice on mic keeps overtaking it; in front of me, there was a young woman who had been put in charge of jockeying the levels. For some reason, she simply left, then Koichiro-san took over—and some parlaying back and forth from the wings took place. The levels are displayed on an ipad app, like a graphic equaliser. From where I sat, I could see it was a matter of guesswork as to where the levels sat. At times, the flute and or voices overtakes Al’s voice entirely, at others it is inaudible. Noone gets it right.

Al mentions the retraumatisation caused by truth and reconciliation processes.

After WWII, there were war crimes tribunals in both Nuremberg and Tokyo.

In 1998 a permanent international court was set up. It tries perpetrators from small and weak countries. Individual perpetrators are tried, creating a distorted perception. It is artificial to try only top commanders. Only the top 24 Nazis were tried, the 5 top, in Cambodia. Nothing is done to restore the legal and civic dignity of the victims. Respect for judicial process is impugned by its unequal application—torturers go free and thieves are charged. Fundamental inequalities are not addressed in processes of restorative justice.

133000 Rwandans were imprisoned for genocide.

Reconciliation that prevents return to civil war is the most important political task of our time.

Anne comments in the time allocated for questions that while it may be fine in the US to say civil war in Europe it’s much harder to say.

The question comes: is reconciliation possible?

Al: with structural imbalances and injustices in economic and political terms, individuals are tried, not systems or structures.

Does reconciliation open up the opportunity for investment and capture by economic and political interests?

Those who engage in civil war, those nations that return to civil war, could be hurting themselves in the economic world order: this is the primary incentive at present for surcease.

Al cites the 52 year-old civil war in Colombia, the FARC.


luz es tiempo
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end of dreaming

I don’t want to be the one who lives here
     but the alien
I want to visit your beautiful country

I don’t want to speak this tongue
     but the alien
I want to hear your beautiful language

I don’t want to share the words used
     to be the one who understands
     but the alien

I don’t want to be able to explain
     who we are
     what is said
     how we do things here

I don’t want to be the one who asks what you think
     of our beautiful country
     but the alien
I want to understand nothing but your laughter

I don’t want to be the one who knows
     who we are
     and who they are
     but the alien

I don’t want to be the one who knows
     what we are
     and what they are

I don’t want to give them the words
     to take out the words they use
     to share the words in their mouths

I want to share in your beautiful laughter
     and to understand in your smiles
     your good will to strangers

I don’t want to be the one with dreams of leaving
     but the alien

I don’t want to be the one who hears
     from your beautiful mouth
     you are leaving
     but the alien
who leaves who just leaves who lies down
     and leaves

I don’t want to feel this grief on anyone’s behalf
I don’t want to feel this shame on anyone’s behalf

but I want this grief
but I want this shame

     and the shame of grief
     and the shame of shame



[written on the occasion of the shooting

Christchurch 15 March 2019]

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Shoshana Zuboff defines:

Sur-veil-lance Cap-i-tal-ism, n.

  1. A new economic order that claims human experience as free raw material for hidden commercial practices of extraction, prediction, and sales; 2. A parasitic economic logic in which the production of goods and services is subordinated to a new global architecture of behavioral modification; 3. A rogue mutation of capitalism marked by concentrations of wealth, knowledge, and power unprecedented in human history; 4. The foundational framework of a surveillance economy; 5. As significant a threat to human nature in the twenty-first century as industrial capitalism was to the natural world in the nineteenth and twentieth; 6. The origin of a new instrumentarian power that asserts dominance over society and presents startling challenges to market democracy; 7. A movement that aims to impose a new collective order based on total certainty; 8. An expropriation of critical human rights that is best understood as a coup from above: an overthrow of the people’s sovereignty.

see also: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jan/20/shoshana-zuboff-age-of-surveillance-capitalism-google-facebook

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highly unlikely

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NEOLIBERALISM – a dialogue UK & ST, Jan – Feb 2019


UK: So what is neoliberalism, if not a radical incarnation of cultural hegemony—in that it intrinsically misrepresents (via a delusively benignant reframing) all modes of civilizing engagement and every mode of civilizing effect? The strange descendant of Aynian objectivism and Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism, neoliberalism is a creature that has shifted its unseemly shape beyond radical economic ultra-orthodoxy, seeping into, until permeating, the entire cultural landscape and the whole of society. In essence, this radical incarnation seeks a hegemony founded on deculturization, in that it implicitly negates all true forms of culture that are not commensurate with its paradigms of individualist supremacy and such supremacy’s necessarily incidental cultural adornments.

ST: that neoliberalism reframes “all modes of civilizing engagement and every mode of civilizing effect”;

that its “its paradigms [are] of individualist supremacy”.

Do neoliberals delude themselves that their efforts are towards civil society? Or more bluntly that they are benign?

The question concerns how neoliberals view themselves and what is the point of view of neoliberalism. We can agree that this point of view reframes civilization, as process and form of life. But it does not do so by misrepresenting civilization. Neoliberalism, first of all, is not a doctrine, and less an ideology; even less a political one, and not at all a framing or reframing of whatever is supposed to pre-exist it. It is a strategy of representation, not misrepresentation; and it is not self-deluding, or delusive. It acts strategically, speaks strategy, deals in the real world strategically, through eschewing the kind of Grand Narratives on which our modernism relied, including that one about the supremacy of the individual. In this neoliberalism has going for it a kind of slippery postmodernism, and a decidedly anti-representationalist slant. However, it is strategically deployed.


UK: The self-imagery of neoliberalism is an endemic artfulness that is belied by its extreme simplisticness and its intrinsic incapacity relative to all paradox. This includes its incapacity relative to the paradox of so-called civilization or the civilizing impulse that is perpetually indicated or perceived as “progress.” To the extent that the manifestation of whatever has been dubbed civilization has been accounted “successful”, it has always been predicated upon hegemony, rationalism and doubt (or the ambiguous certainties heralded as “progress” itself).

Paradoxically—without effacing hegemony, rationalism and doubt—much of civilization-making activity has really been rooted in verifiable humanizing processes and outcomes, in respect of the creation and promotion of civic spaces and institutions, education, the arts and so forth;

ST: that civilization is based on “hegemony, rationalism and doubt” as well as “humanizing processes” we might call civic, including civic (civilizing) spaces and institutions.

This triad of hegemony, rationalism and doubt appeals to the Cartesian cogito. I find myself asking as readily what civilization is? as what is neoliberalism? Isthis the right duality? Has not civilization, in the face of human guilt and shame in the Shoah, got a bad name? (Let alone representation (after Adorno).) Let us remember that the founding event of neoliberalism is in 1947, Hayek’s convening of the Mont Pelerin Society, still very active—still very active in New Zealand, both in political and business circles. That is directly after the war, a new dawn dawned. Red-faced, not at all. Red-handed and red-fingered, perhaps.


UK: As with traditional (but ambiguous) civilization-makers, neoliberals, too, harbor a quasi-religious (if passionately de-collectivizing) conviction around a notion of “progress.” But in contrast to the paradox of so-called civilization’s efforts at humanization combined with hegemony, neoliberalism, is—by the nature of its very contempt for all human nuance in which felicity is perforce inextricable from vulnerability—an active, summary negation of all verifiable humanizing processes, even those processes which have been obligated to coexist with forms of hegemony.

What is unique about neoliberalism—and where neoliberalism goes arguably further than the most wretched of collectivized totalitarian ideologies—is that (unlike fascism and bolshevism) it proactively anathematizes community, and therefore society, and therefore humanity itself. Neoliberalism militantly glorifies the market; above all, it glorifies virile economic autonomy and self-exalting individualism as the ostensible uttermost expressions of human existence. And it is inherently contemptuous of all expressions of human life and community that do not fulfill this paradigm;

ST: that neoliberalism “proactively anathematizes community, and therefore society, and therefore humanity itself. It militantly glorifies the market and, above all, it glorifies virile economic autonomy and self-exalting individualism as the ostensible uttermost expressions of human existence. And it is inherently contemptuous of all expressions of human life and community that do not fulfill this paradigm”.

We can agree here but not on the existence of a paradigm—and not on the issue of virility. We can agree on the contempt in which Hayek and his followers hold humanity—as they have colonised every level of human undertaking. Again, it is not the expressions of human life and community with which neoliberal strategies concern themselves. Rather it is with expressing these and producing in them images drawn from a new brain. This new brain belongs to the markets; and, like the mind imagines the brain, the delusion is at this level: that there is a brain, that there exist a market, is a work of the mind and of the men and women who deal in markets and their creation, their representation at the political level.


UK: To neoliberal eyes, humanity, alas, really does exist, and does so in its unfulfilled guise: quotidian, dependent, plodding, seemingly oblivious to the expansively independent and dynamically self-assured opportunities and obligations of its agency. And of course, in the neoliberal mind, there are all too many institutions that embody and perpetuate this selfsame disgraceful, inert mediocrity.

Hence, what neoliberals conceive as being incumbent upon themselves is a sustained effort or visionary crusade to confront and undermine and resolve the embarrassment that is humanity itself. The confrontation thus pursued is the righteous animation of its virtuous contempt. The expression of that contempt is the intrinsically fanciful empowerment of citizens in every context through a unique form of infantalization that presumes to treat human beings as dependent, misguided and undisciplined children—and in the same breath compulsively wean them off every expectation of a nurturing or protective environment, or even one based on that most unruly and suspect of all human frailties: solidarity (as opposed to narcistic co-admiration or the self-satisfied collusion of the powerful with likeminded agents).

ST: that “what neoliberals conceive as being incumbent upon themselves is a sustained effort or visionary crusade to confront and undermine and resolve the embarrassment that is humanity itself.”

We do agree but the counter-image must also be given its place, of a source of and strategy for the redemption of a shamed, a very guilty, and a no doubt embarrassed humanity. It imagines a humanity embarrassed to resolve that embarrassment by means not found in humanity—or in civilization. These means can broadly be termed artificial intelligence or the automated—and automations of the—marketplace.


UK: It is the intention of neoliberal philosophy to treat all who labor in organizations of any kind, public or private, and all of those members of society who are dependent in any form, as the suboptimal specimens that they appear to be, by dint of their non-incarnation of virtuously prodigious invulnerable independence. Since there is no real hope that the vast majority will improve on these virtuous terms—or ever seriously fulfill the righteous prescription of neo-liberal sensibility—the majority must, at the very least, for its own sake, be informed by an unsparing program of applied disillusionment, in which the consequences of non-improvement are in its face perpetually and, if necessary, forever. It is, after all, not the fault of those who know better, that the majority choose to remain as children, oblivious to, or resistant of, virtuously self-surpassing ambition.

ST: that neoliberalism prescribes ceaseless self-improvement, ceaseless because in vain.

Here we are dealing with human affects. But these too are not to be thought through and decided upon by human agents. Self-improvement of course summons up the idea of the subject who is an entrepreneur of the self, on social media, say. Social media are already a kind of automatic, automated marketplace in which social affects and human affects can be decided.

Self-improvement is not prescribed by neoliberals, because, we agree, the human cannot be improved upon, except by the nonhuman. Humanity enters a self-improvement loop because nonhuman values prevail; and perhaps if I am better, affirm better, do better, think better and smarter, I will get a better deal out of an automatic, automated world.


UK: Exalting in the vanity of power as idealized human autonomy, neoliberals are unique in extolling their warped notion of freedom. There is, upon this earth, and in human history altogether, potentially no expression of base authoritarianism more insidious—or insipid!—in its hypocrisy than hegemonic pseudo-libertarianism; the latter being perhaps the crux of what neoliberalism is altogether.

As an inherently loveless creed, neoliberalism is also an inherently empty one. Situated, seated, unconsciously in that blithe emptiness is pervasive existential dread. In neoliberal sensibility, the flight from dread is perused through the morbid festivity of presumptive aspiration in which the individual is pretentiously immortalized, while the collective is ceremoniously penalized and punished;

ST: that the crux of neoliberalism may be a “pseudo-liberatarianism”, in which the individual is offered freedom at the expense of the collective.

Yes, this was Hayek’s theme. The crux, however, is still to outsource those mechanisms by which such freedom is secured for the individual—to the marketplace and the economic instruments of a neoliberal political economy.


UK: Sartre said that the people must be brought into the temple of enlightenment through the lavatory. The neoliberal take on this is that the people must be brought into the temple of enlightenment through the over-exerted order-fulfillment mass warehouse of bewilderment.

In neoliberal praxis the inducement of bewilderment in all guises, situations, and sites of controlled interaction is a creative strategy for in seeking the correction or redemption of the embarrassment that is humanity itself. What neoliberals require is a milieu compulsorily festive bewilderment as a vindication of their own superior effacement of the void.

This pseudo-heroism seeks the acquirement of all others through the allegiance induced by purposive bewilderment. Thus neoliberalism appears among humanity in the guise of an elemental expression of pervasive lechery. Those who are lecherous and powerful believe that anything desired may be acquired as a matter of course and inherent right. What neoliberalism desires is all humanity and yet neoliberalism is contemptuous of humanity itself. The latter is not paradox but the inherent self-contradiction of power that is most base.

ST: that neoliberalism “in seeking the correction or redemption of the embarrassment that is humanity itself” bewilders, desiring humanity, contemptuous of humanity.

That it bewilders even the best minds is bewildering. It may have to do with a strategic deployment of agendas and no unified theory or code, with doing what is necessary when it is necessary, for the good of that which will secure for the individual the greatest freedom. Hence—the paradoxes, around populism and militarism, Bolsonaro, May and Trump, Trudeau and Ardern.


UK: The praxis that effaces neoliberalism is one that is inherent to a domain of wisdom that has always contested hegemonic egoism, ever resisted its claims, and ever insisted upon the prior authority of a truth-process that is visibly grounded in authentic, verifiable human priorities. Though urgently requiring of pervasively assertive (but inherently non-aggressive) transmission in the localized and globalized spheres of society, that wisdom is not itself a political program, but a protean domain of esoteric elements that appear in every context or province of culture. Ever in a state of defiant and paradoxical co-existence with every form of cultural egoity, those elements make up a great tradition or complex (but unitary) foundation of integral praxis, or non-exploitable, non-exploiting, integrality-focused, intrinsically full-humanizing practice and process.

ST: that neoliberalism is effaced in a “a protean domain of esoteric elements that appear in every context or province of culture.”

Culture was the first place neoliberals gathered with anything like decisive force in NZ. Murray Edmund talks of the “man from Treasury” and his forecast for a fully monetized cultural politic and economy. That is, culture was the first place after Treasury to come under neoliberal influence, as a trial-ground, a field of experiment for its strategies.


UK: As with all forms of totalitarianism, the praxis of neoliberalism entails insistent, invasive, propagandized modes of delusive benignity: simulating cheer and hope, appropriating everything that is potentially useful under the guise of a pretentiously engaged pseudo-magnanimity, and, of course, acting out the smiling assassin routine in neutralizing any threat.

Hence neoliberalism is a highly methodical system but the ethos of that system is one of inexorable vacuity. Unlike collectivized forms of totalitarianism, neoliberalism is strikingly impoverished in its myth-making capacity or its ability to tell clear and plausible stories. Deprived of inspirational myth, neoliberalism relies on the obfuscation of narratives through the infantalization of them. Hence, any agent or any group that tells clear or plausible stories is a threat. Any authentic narrative provides an affirmation of self-existing human truths that, by their very nature, cannot be appropriated by any system or program of ideologized dehumanization.

ST: that neoliberalism is a praxis of “appropriating everything that is potentially useful” and of “neutralizing any threat”, and, as such “methodical”.

Also: “neoliberalism is strikingly impoverished in its myth-making capacity or its ability to tell clear and plausible stories.”

What are the stories but the most plausible ones? The mythmaking ones? Yes, and the icon-making ones? They are the famous “stories in our own words”.

Except that they are not stories in our own words, ever, are they.

Methodical? Methodological perhaps. Again, it is a question of capturing the representation in the act of its preparation and production. Methodology is presumed by method; and, once more, it is a nonunifiable and only strategically existent discourse and discourses of method which is attributable to neoliberals, many of whom do not even identify themselves being such. This is some more meat for the idea that neoliberalism is presumed by representation—in culture and in the processes of humanising and civilization.


UK: It is the case that any true cultural process that is manifestly artful in its submission to human need, whether artistically defined, whether politically emphasized, whether grounded in what is called the sacred, whether founded upon any integrity at all of any means and character and insight, is, by virtue of its very underlying nature, impervious to the neoliberal ethos altogether.

It is not that such means entail resistance; much less do they stoop to benevolent mitigation. Rather, it is the case that such processes, such means, entail the radical exclusion of neoliberalism and its paradigms via the propagation of full-humanness, or the transmission of hope in the verifiable language of full-humanness itself: a language that neoliberalism can never appropriate.

ST: that there may be imperviousness to the neoliberal ethos by way of its “radical exclusion” in a language.

We agree here in the specific cases of institutional cultures and their ability to represent their own claims as states of exception. These claims are ontological as much as political. They invoke logics of noncapture, insofar as they are produced independently of the claims of a neoliberal political economy—and do not secede to it, or believe it is possible strategy-wise to outsmart it.

The example always springing to mind is the financialisation of ecological claims by the Greens in Germany, 1980s. This finds its continuation in the carbon markets endorsed by the Greens in NZ, 2000s.


UK: All authentic cultural processes contain the impulse of full-humanization; as such, all such processes repudiate, and do not reward, the submission to what is base, or the embracement of whatever is mediocrely conformist. Unlike neoliberalism however, the confrontation with mediocrity entailed by such processes is dynamically sensitive to human development and relentlessly supportive of the conditions of real human flourishing. As such, all verifiably truth-bearing processes specifically repudiate the fallacy of productive docility and the vacuous exaltation of elites upon which neoliberal sensibility depends.

It is the case that the latter radicalizes everything through a delusive benignity that turns out to be perpetual emptiness and dread. By contrast, all true cultural praxis is tending to radicalize everything in the “opposite direction”: with open eyes, infusing every context with homely truths, and extending the possibilities of human agency in meaningfully co-supportive, truth-bearing terms. As such, all true cultural praxis proactively sublimes the vicious vulgarity that the neoliberal creed can never escape.

As such, all true cultural praxis has nothing whatsoever to do with benevolent mitigation of the dominant pseudo-narrative that is neoliberalism itself. It is, rather, the assertion of a perpetual originality, and the radically heart-sympathetic and explicitly life-sustaining effacement of mediocrity in any context. Its narratives cannot be acquired, for those narratives are intelligible only to those who are like-hearted.

ST: that neoliberalism is against something true: “with open eyes, infusing every context with homely truths, and extending the possibilities of human agency in meaningfully co-supportive, truth-bearing terms.”

Neoliberalism’s strategic attitude to truth, to what is true, need only be cited here—where the representative notion is of all opinion being untrue and fake news until submitted to the collectivisation of the media and means of representation in the marketplace—which has come to stand for the media. (One might say that such collectivisation of mass opinion amounts to a claim against any notional supremacy of (the) individual, as being anywhere near the basis and ground of neoliberal hegemony. This collective voice amounts, one might say, to populism as such. So is unbewildering.)


UK: The inexorable vacuity and intrinsic lovelessness of the neoliberal creed is its one true liability. The recognition of that liability, and the militant effacement of it, is integral to a needful conscious program, to be embraced by every individual and collective of good will, in respect of a localized and globalized process that manifests real civilization.

The only recourse now is one whereby protean full-humanizing cultural processes are in conscious, networked collusion in a relentless civilization-making and perpetually civilization-affirming global movement: one that overcomes the characteristic ambiguities of organized human society that incorporate or necessarily ground themselves in hegemony, rationalism and doubt (or the ambiguous certainties heralded as “progress.”)

Such a movement is one to be founded on sacred reason instead of presumptive rationality. Yet it is not necessarily reflective of a singular sensibility or pragmatic impulse. Such a movement is implacably egalitarian, and yet is paradoxically elitist in its reliance upon the integrity and virtuosity of unique agents. As such, a global movement can flourish, trans-ideologically, in the guise of constructively or creatively polarized sensibilities, as reflected in the esoteric egalitarianism of Rudolf Steiner that was contemporaneous with the esoteric elitism of Stefan George. In this illustrative example, the twain does not meet and is not even required to do so. Inevitably, Steiner and George deliberated in their own way, feeling from their respective points of view toward a paradigm of civilization that was grounded in visionary but essentially pragmatic full-humanness.

ST: that neoliberalism is against real civilization.

Civilization had run its course, as Heiner Müller recognised, at least in Europe, by 1945. Adorno too: hereafter barbarism. But Hayek, and Popper too, and I would guess Rudolf Steiner, with his esotoricism of flowers and the genitals we are, belong to the same tradition—of real civilization. The fact that it is a tradition, even when not civilization, or real or false in any meaningful understanding of the terms, points forward and back too, back to Nietzsche, forward to the French who rediscovered in him the genealogist par excellence of the European condition. (I reach here for a Japanese beer in a beautiful blue glass.) Destroy: the timeline back to its founding event, which is the founding event of its point of view, of its subjectivity—and of the opinion which henceforth will not be submitted to the vagaries and vicissitudes of the marketplace but be submitting every other opinion, point of view and subjective position to them, to it. Destroy: knowing what has been made can be unmade, what is done is able to be undone. We have to find out how it was done. This goes for the delusiveness of the Left’s benignancy as for the new Hayekian liberal agenda’s delusiveness about its own. Then affirm, praise, celebrate and exalt what you create—as your own creation and as the production of what you would have desired.

The age of the supremacy of the individual has passed; we have entered into the age of its freely given and voluntary denial: we avow collective will, above the self, as it is represented in the automatic brain of the marketplace and its political economy. It does not matter if politics of power has been displaced by that of personal survival and the bottom line.

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brand “curatorial journalism”: this year more than ever before we are fighting the power (of speech)

Seth Abramson writes in the Guardian:

“In 2018, there are actually more reliable news reports than ever before, as there are now more responsible media outlets online and in print than there ever have been – a fact that often gets lost in debates over “fake news”. The digital age has also internationalized hard news reportage, meaning that readers have access to high-quality reports from around the world with an ease that was impossible before the advent of the internet.

“But this sudden expansion in focused, reliable news coverage has coincided with some of the largest and most prestigious media outlets cutting resources for investigative reporting. The upshot of all this is that reporters have less time or ability than ever before to review the growing archive of prior reporting before they publish what they’ve uncovered.”

He goes on to advocate (advertise) curatorial journalism. It’s like journalism but smarter. It’s all about context–that other dream of the net: hyperlinks as hypereferences and the interweb interweaving texts and documents and statements, online discourse in short, in multidimensional networks so that any one thread, quote, citation, reference might be followed back to its earliest online expression; or connected horizontally, and so on. But this is not the system we have.

We are therefore once again living in that exceptional present which would have been the future if it hadn’t already arrived, that exception that is always made for this year having more reliable news reports than ever before as well as more unreliable news sources than ever before as well as more words expended on, well, just about anything–taking into consideration the rise of text over speech in daily communication–than ever before.

The answer might have been, had Seth Abramson been so inclined, journalism with a scalpel. And we might well have been saying about our exceptional present moment, as well we might, that the time for journalistic balance has passed. The idea of a report being neutral, and of it presenting both sides of an issue, or curating the multiple facets of a complex ‘story’, belongs to the past. We might so have been saying. But what is of our devising, as the present is supposed to be, in the Anthropocene, is smarter than us–is supposed to be: so we are in the predicament of making sense, sense for an audience in the case of journalism, of a situation, a situatedness, of a realtime-base for issues, we have carelessly, hopelessly and unconscionably complexificated.

Journalism with a scalpel would offer a different diagnosis: maybe cut first ask questions later–maybe, but with the surgeon-reporter being held accountable. And perhaps more than events and issues becoming more complex, more deeply intricated and extensively imbricated, than ever before, issues and events have become more integrated, more deeply intimated and extensively implicated–in the social, for sure, but, as surely, in the personal.

Having an opinion is a public liability. Have a stupid opinion! Say “to be honest” a lot, honestly. Or imho, modestly. Have a stupid, make a stupid tweet, and the world is cheeping with you.

Imagine the informed writing to the level of the educated. Imagine no more–because in fact more informed journalists are writing to a better educated public than ever before this year. Of course this year stupidity has been normalised as populism too.

I find myself–more honestly, I lose myself–walking in a library modestly wondering what it is for, since it doesn’t itself seem to know. And the ones who work here give the others who don’t, who used to be members and who now are customers, or patrons, the resentful eye, while adverting to the latest electronic offering, whether it is wifi, or the latest pulp fiction or pulp nonfiction (pulp fact? fat nonfict?) available via the app. Like Seth Abramson, in the Guardian, I have been an advocate (advertiser? advertisement?) for curation: librarianship, isn’t it a matter of leading the social animal to the cultural water? Making better animals to make a better social? (Dot says, But you can’t make it think.)

These GOSPIS (Grand Old Signs one Participates In Society), like the Grand Old Deity itself, in whom, and in which, more people put their faith and believe, with honesty and modesty, than ever before–even to being pridefully jealous of the competition (this year more nationalistic than ever before)–have lost their tongues. Journalism must–you can’t fight it!–progress by borrowing ways of talking about itself and its essential tasks from, where? the operating theatre? or the art gallery?

Then the idea of information has lost its teeth. Open mouth, ah. Closed mouth, mm. We know there is more information than ever before, this year, and that’s why it’s called Big D. Journalists are among the data miners. But there isn’t the time and there isn’t the return, and this is the latter. Who wants to live forever? No, that’s not the question: Who wants to pay for information?

And libraries, going forward–resistance is futile!–, borrow ways of talking about themselves and their essential tasks from? They don’t borrow. They’re told how to speak for themselves by those who, usually those which, since they tend to be annexed to institutions, of which they once were the jewels in the crown, fund them. They are told how to speak for themselves so as not to try the patience of the daleks. Who or which will cease to fund them if they were suddenly to speak for themselves, since they would be asking for it, for extermination.

Yes, good journalism once it too was something to show off, now it’s tackling the big issues, scoring the big anchors, more than ever before this year. Just like a university was the institutional encrustation of a library. It was the paste and setting for the cultural riches collected over time, protected over the bad times, saved to adorn the good, through careful, assiduous, committed and (need it be said?) professional librarianship. But middle management detests decoration, for which there will be more martyrs than ever before, this year, mouthing silently the words written on the wallpaper, God Save Us & Oscar Wilde… and for the journalists we will add, George Orwell…

National Scandal
network critical

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untitled 1: including an in memoriam for Douglas Wright, 14 October 1956 – 14 November 2018

The great Spanish writer—not an opinion, a fact, my friend

He would or he might begin with something suitably self-deprecating—

a reference to another writer, an artist who, perhaps, was more far-sighted,

in not worrying so much about his place in things, worrying at her hems,

edges and scabs, at the places where the body—of work, obviously—comes

undone, as it inevitably does, Douglas Wright died this week, I say this

not to be topical, but in respect of an image and its necessary resonance, or,

let us say, vibration with another—necessary, because the only reason ever

for an image, to initiate one, is to set it up in such a way that it ping

off another, calling everyone, at this overflowing table, to attention with the edge

of a knife, how sharp we will never know, tap against an empty glass—a

game of golf, Douglas in a liminal state induced by drugs of a medical nature,

purportedly, hearing the news, on the radio, a voice: it says, this

this will really really put New Zealand at last put New Zealand New Zealand

on the world the world on the world stage; and voices from a stand of

macrocarpa, adjacent to the golf course, echoing up over the balcony, in

through an open window, to where Douglas lies, on a couch, in a state

between waking and dreaming, hearing the voices commingle, those

from the stand of macrocarpa, adjacent to the golf course, where golf

balls often end up being hit by accident, voices of the searchers for the lost

golf balls, calling out, WHERE IS IT? HERE and IT’S OVER HERE,

WHERE? I FOUND IT! and that voice

on the radio, so that … but here I become confused, because the next

image enters, not prematurely, I hope, but soon enough that it sets off

the former image, so that we almost trip over it—HERE

New Zealand on the world stage IT’S OVER HERE

at last—and I would like to champion, at this point, Ghost Dance, the source

of this former image, having its source in its author, Douglas Wright, who

is also, sadly, former, as the greatest artistic autobiography ever written by

a by by a by a New Zealander by a New Zealander … OVER HERE … Lost …

from the world stage, forever. Vila-Matas was the famous Spanish author.

The next image is—can it in all truth be called an image? when it is

a matter of voices?—and Douglas’s voice, I hear his cadences, pronouncing

on the, what was it we had lost? the sense of the strength of movement

coming from the pelvis, that we had lost, in our young dancers—the next

a voice says please

return to your seat

it sweeps the aisle

clear at the same

time David Byrne

is singing another

voice and another

close, Stay in your


You are being

You are out

of control, Sonny

or is it Girlie?

I have the strange

unwonted accompanying sensations,

not entirely unpleasant, of arms, not entirely unpleasant, only

unwonted, of arms holding me and the hands attempting

to take hold

of the left arm in the classic armlock we know from films, and twist it

behind my back, movies about forced removal

of potentially disruptive and violent—and again

the fit of the words is false, without falsifying, since this is

indeed what we do with miscreants: the bodyguard, no, he is

a security guard, with a beautiful word emblazoned—the most

exaggerated form of embroidery or printing—emblazoned on his back, VENUE

SECURITY all one word, like a gang patch.

Douglas Wright and David Byrne. Douglas was just 62. What is

an age, when you do not grow old?


David Byrne David David Byrne amazing fantastic and beautifully

deconstructed in the concert version of American Utopia two


venuesecurity at the Spark telco arena, although this makes it sound like

they built it, they did not—do brands maintain their psychosexual overtone?

of having been inflicted in a hot moment of contact—let us say, “the lie

of the land

she meant yes

she meant yes”


It was a white and middleclass and quite fat night on the metaphorical bleachers

at the David Byrne concert tonight,

the second encore ended with a rollcall of names of murdered

African-Americans (two words?)

whose killings in racially charged circumstances have elevated them into the hall of martyrs” says Variety

There is an insupportable irony in the fact that my assailants were all brown

because I wanted to dance



is it a health and safety issue that so few serious modern composers who

are accepted as such

commit themselves to music to dance to?



I cannot imagine Douglas Wright dying

luz es tiempo
National Scandal
thigein & conatus

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rolling out neoliberalism in New Zealand

While the opposition party engages in spectacular self-immolation, the governing Labour Party, under Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern, despite a stated commitment to rolling back the worst of neoliberal measures towards privatisation, decentralisation, marketisation and financialisation, continues to roll out policy consistent with the neoliberal agenda of the Mont Pelerin Thought Collective. The latest is a “new independent infrastructure body” steered by corporate interests, independent, as far as possible, from government and public oversight.

Submissions have been called for in a gesture towards public consultation. But the move has been given little publicity. The media are part of the problem. Having become a part of the market they are supposed to critique, they eat their own young.

Please go here: https://treasury.govt.nz/information-and-services/nz-economy/infrastructure/new-independent-infrastructure-body/consultation

Please go here: https://treasury.govt.nz/information-and-services/nz-economy/infrastructure/new-independent-infrastructure-body/consultation

And this what it says here: https://treasury.govt.nz/publications/media-statement/have-your-say-new-independent-infrastructure-body:

“Until 26 October the Treasury is seeking public and sector feedback on what a new independent infrastructure body might look like, Secretary to the Treasury Gabriel Makhlouf announced today.

“In August, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones announced the creation of a new independent infrastructure body, to ensure New Zealand gets the quality of infrastructure investment it needs to improve long-term economic performance and social wellbeing.

“A consultation document released today outlines proposed functions and features for the new body.

“Treasury Deputy Secretary Jon Grayson said that over the next three weeks the Treasury, working in partnership with the National Infrastructure Advisory Board, will meet representatives from the sector to discuss the proposals.  There will also be an online survey and the opportunity to make written statements, to ensure a wide range of views are canvassed, said Mr Grayson.

““I know the sector will welcome the chance to be directly involved in the detail of how this new body will work. The market, wider construction industry and local government all agree with the Government’s view that we need far greater visibility over our long-term infrastructure needs.

““The sector needs certainty about where and when investment will occur, so it can organise to meet demand. The new body will help provide that certainty while also ensuring Ministers get better advice to improve our long-term planning and investment.

““This is really important for New Zealand’s future and I strongly encourage the sector and the wider public to share their views with us by 26 October.”

“Mr Grayson said a panel of private and public sector experts would guide the Treasury in shaping advice on key issues, and support the Treasury in the delivery of the project.

“The new body will be up and running by mid-late 2019.  In advance of that date, an interim Infrastructure Transactions Unit will be established within Treasury from 1 November 2018, to provide support to agencies in planning and delivering major infrastructure projects

“Media contact: all media enquiries should be directed to media@treasury.govt.nz

“Notes to editors:

“The consultation document can be found at Consultation on a new independent infrastructure body, along with details on how to make submissions, and background papers. Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones’ August media release announcing the creation of a new independent infrastructure body can be found here.

“The panel members are:  Simon Allen (Chair, Crown Infrastructure Partners), Jim Betts (Chief Executive, Infrastructure New South Wales), Jenny Chetwynd (Strategy, Policy and Planning General Manager, NZ Transport Agency), Fiona Mules (Member, National Infrastructure Advisory Board), John Rae (Chair, National Infrastructure Advisory Board) and Sarah Sinclair (Partner, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts Lawyers and Board Member, Infrastructure New Zealand) Biographical information on the panel can be found at Experts supporting and guiding establishment of the new body).”

National Scandal

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what began as neoliberalism ends in fascism {or: FAKE NEWS=TWO TRUTHS}

once there are two truths, established by Friedrich Hayek in 1954, then the way is clear: all the ingroup has to do is maintain control over economic policy–and the outgroup, even to the whole of Brazil, can be told this is freedom, Bolsonaro’s fascism is fake news.

see here

National Scandal

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