CAPITAL CAPITAL CAPITAL

a short series up to christmas

a small colourful bundle

	arrived yesterday

We must trade offline



first inclination

	to propose it, in this form

Must be kind



“the mystery you would be

	I would unfold, pausing at the mystery

Be careful



“of unfolding, trembling fingers

	following soft bifurcations...

We must move



moments laid bare, a trail

	"unwound wonder wounds"

To a new form of life



of fragmentary insights, like

	garments, or threads

We must change now



teasing or warning? to propose

	to time, unlike anything in

Now each of us recognises



the original bundle,

	here, its skin

In the other the same need



and every moment of its skin

	unwound, veins and neurons

In a nutshell, I want to say a skull,



minute, fractions of Horror

	and Love,

We are bound



a colourful bundle

	arrived yesterday

We must not break down.







21 . 12  . 2021

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sixty-seventh part, called “on movement LXVII,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

on movement

The distinction we would make is not that between illusion and reality, or, as Deleuze does, between the virtual-intelligible and the actual-sensible which proceeds from it. And we are in no place to impugn artificiality, the artificiality of symbols, say, and praise the naturalness of stones. But here is the difference: the myth of the stones is charming and remarkable; the myth of symbols is always at our expense. So we would distinguish the artifice, art, illusion, the nothingness of thought and the public or private virtue, from that artifice, art, illusion, appearance of the sensible, and actual public, private and subjective powers which use the myth to maintain their power, their power and our subjection.

The power has to be doubted that needs to enlist myth in its support. And this is the strategic task we are engaged in here; not to distinguish good myth from bad: perhaps, more adequately, good theatre from bad, although the formula rests on a moral distinction. We should ask how symbolic myth makes us indebted, how it takes away from our enjoyment of life, social and individual, if this question were not already substantially answered by Marx: it does so through the medium of capital.

The change I think which has occurred from Marxist analysis is that the mobilisation of capital has led to the mobility of the medium itself. It has metastasised. From it come the metastases of the manmade, that is, the symbolic form as a subject of synthesis. This is what we have talked about in terms of synthesis contracting or synthesising symbolic entities, but we can perhaps see it more clearly in the metastases of for example plastics in the environment: the synthesis which is of plastic particles in living flesh.

Plastic—not a symbol, you will say: yes, but a commodity: the commodity form is the symbol-thing and, converting one into the other, makes them completely reversible. The non-fungible token is so through the fungibility of thing-person-signature-sign-and-symbol as an economic unit. We can’t attack mobility directly, however, and will have recourse to the symbolic reference, not in the thing, person, author, artist, meaningful sign referred to, but in the myth.

Movement changes the subject, moves it from where it has been fixed by an established power. Establishing power are what we had as three subjective powers. These have their use to power and are its founding principles, for as long as they are animated by another world, since they are at once mythic principles.

Symbols turn to face them, and we gain from these the sense of our own desire being animate, autonomous and automatic: our own desire is animated, given autonomy, becomes automatic by virtue of subjective powers made founding principles, establishing and emblazoning their power, maintaining subjection as that that we have chosen for, the three myths. They are, of a structural economy, identity, and just causation. The latter we had formerly identified, specifically because of its symbolic character, with a poor excuse.

How are these founding myths? To take the second, identity: it describes the personalisation of desire. If we consider ourselves compartmentalised, this part human, this other part too, that one sexual human, then over here, a human consciousness, a social unconscious that is human, then, in part deriding all the parts, and ruling over them regardless, no, not the limbic system, but desire, the system of desires distributing the parts, accounting for them: why am I like this? because of desire.

It was instilled in me. And, therefore, like a genetic inheritance, it is what I must choose. But is this the choice in which we found for a kind of freedom?

No. The movement here is all inside. A full inside. A bound inside, bound to oneself, and, in this way, what one is bound to do.

If Oedipus has any part in power, it is here. What we have in the myth of desire being a governing principle is not it was always like this but I am a fraud. And with all the more avidity, I will bind myself up in a destiny, not the brave destiny of Oedipus, but one of auto-oedipalisation. What else can I do?

I am bound to do nothing other than choose the soft-furnishings over the hard. And shift them around the deck, like private prostheses publicly displayed. Making myself comfortable, or, practicing austerity, faced with the inevitable.

The law of desire is binding inasmuch as it cleaves to the stage and is obedient to it. However, due to the mobility of the surface, auto-oedipalised immobility, in stasis, follows the mob—traversing desire at once in every direction. We should listen to that ‘at once’ because it is a clue to there being a static time, a time of war, of drama and movement. We don’t tend to hear it, or listen to it without hearing it. As if we don’t want to hear its judgement.

Instead the misapprehensions of the crowd, travelling in every direction, as we have said, at once, go to the individual. And the self is groundless. Or these are bits of the self demanding synthesis, demanding its contraction, of which it is no longer capable. They go to the self inside it. We have also claimed theatre to be a good way of addressing the inside.

The mobile swarm of public opinion, symbolically expressed, with the mobility of signs, across the void, out onto which, sooner and later, an individual steps, fill the space. We might consider space here to signify a time, and this temporality to occupy a pure spatium. But what do we do with all these signs, gestures, symbolic of the mythic constructions of others?

We attempt their synthesis. Hence the pulling apart of the self, its fragmentation occurs according to a time, on the timeline traced along the surface: to live each day. To endure the at times unendurable passage of the hours. Cleaving to the stage, its surface escaping us, leaving signs the only mark of passage. Down to minutes, seconds, microseconds, nanoseconds, a metastatic time: this time corresponds to the mobility of the surface, a temporality where the movement of subjects in which every bit of time is synthesised is indiscernible and there is only speed: a temporality of the metastases of synthesis. And no longer audible is the clicking of tongues, but a human hum.

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sixty-sixth part, called “on movement LXVI,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

on movement

Clarification might be needed. Clarification is always needed, not necessarily to avoid confusion. And not necessarily to avoid the confusion of what we have called misapprehensions around symbolic connectivity. Clarification is not needed in the way of a clearing made and for there to be communication. Clarification is always needed to let in a little air. …Although, the question of air is immediately perilous: how polluted is it?

First, it seems, we must clear the air. We must clear the air of what we have done to it. But look at us.

We have this pretense we speak the same language. We come to the same point on the page, presupposing we’re on the same page. A sentence runs out of breath.

And, with an intake of air, we start again. At least, we try to. What for?

What for, if not to be understood, to have clearly before us… and to ask for clarification… of the subject…? Or should it be, simply to connect? Yes, to connect fills me with apprehension. Does it you?

I mean, as if clarification were necessary, I am filled with apprehension about the task at hand, or would be, were it, if it is, for the sake of connection. Those office minds who say, You can’t write a book that noone will read! It’s like they’re infected with business.

You can’t eschew connection. Unless you at once admit—and commit to it—that you have a pathology; that you have concurrently undergone. We all feel a little that way sometimes.

How much?! How much is it just about breathing? And here clarification would mean a little life. Not such a big demand. Life seeking to expend its energies… as Nietzsche writes.

Alphonso Lingis, Al. Are you there? In a beautiful passage you are standing at a supermarket checkout counter. You are in a country where you don’t understand the language—just like us?—and you have gone there in the vacation, in a break from academic life.

You have bought the plane ticket you could afford. Your criteria were preferably a country where I neither speak, nor understand the language, and price. You don’t mind spending your whole pay, to be somewhere where you have never been before. Perhaps it’s Mongolia.

In front of you in the checkout queue is a woman. I think she has a coat on, and right now you wished you’d worn something warmer. She doesn’t look to see what’s in your basket. She doesn’t look you up and down, assessing what you’re wearing, or say You’re not from around here are you. She looks you in the face and in her eyes you see a spark of recognition. Before saying a word, that anyway you wouldn’t understand, not giving you a chance to shrug apologetically in incomprehension, you both break out laughing.

What sort of connection is that? It is one of mutual recognition but recognition of a minimal intent: you and she both intend to go on breathing, are both in this climate, which isn’t exactly hot. You’ll each need to eat at some point, and take a drink. Isn’t that why you came to the supermarket? And now you’re both standing in this checkout queue, seeing each other for the first time and recognising in each other the minimal elements, the minimal requirements of life.

It’s not a need or a desire you recognise. It’s an imperative you each see in the other, and recognise. Like a spark that each in the other you would shelter with your hands. And so you burst out laughing.

If I should seek to clarify this, it’s in that spirit: what is it at stake in the symbolic? And why ‘symbolic’? Wouldn’t a better word be semiotic? seeing as how Guattari writes about the present phase of capitalism being a semiotisation, and this semiotisation permeating social life, suffocating it?

What I have in mind is that the signs semiotics studies have a gestural part, a working part, which Guattari also calls asignifying. He is theorising a semiotics of the asignifying that for us is caught up in, is the gesture. You recall it: that gesture of which the smallest is a world.

Having a gestural part the signs, produced, reproduced through, as Guattari writes, semiotisation as the current form of capital, can be taken to be symbolic gestures, gestures with a symbolic, mythic quality, invested gestures. What Guattari calls the asignifying part, the gesture, puts the sign to work in a way that is symbolic, mythic. Causing it, the gesture-sign-symbol, to be invested, is what is at stake in the symbolic. That is, desire.

The question of the symbolic is: what then are the myths animating desire, in the current era of its semiotisation? It is in service of these myths that there is and will be symbolic production and reproduction. We know the prompting, eliciting of desire to serve production, through something which is called consumption, but that through its semiotisation has become significant, has become sign and is sign-production, or straightforward production. The asignifying and the signifying work together, in the symbol.

Yet there has to be a will to desire. For it is required a myth of the personal. For it the myth is the personal, where we can ask such questions as, Should we abandon desire? As if it is ours to be taken on its word or to be given away.

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sixty-first part, called “on movement LXI,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

on movement

Our irony is not reserved to that which dismisses the body, to the pretension to spirituality, spirit, spiritualism or art, but to an automatism that is that of the general economy and of the cognitive-behaviourist brain. Boys, don’t they? tend to add to their toys an active component. Girls, I’ve seen, tend to add to them a social component.

Imagine the appeal of the toy that had both! The social economy is such a readymade—the readymade of social stereotypes and of their mobilisation in institutional codes. (And, of course, the readymade of gender stereotypes, social performativity, and the fluidity of roles: that whole theatre, where transitions of scenes are transitions of subjects, meaning, their production.)

The problem with a generally mobilised social economy is not that it exists. It’s not even that it’s a product such as engenders the commodification of social identities, stereotyping from the given material by a supplemental material, which, if we are sticking with the theatre metaphor, we can call symbolic. (Or phallic.) Its problem is that of already having been activated and socialised. That is, what’s a boy to do? What’s a girl to? Here is the repertoire—again, the theatrical metaphor—you are the supplement. Yet: you do not get to add the active component; and you do not get to add the social component. In other words, You’re it.

I seem to be speaking indirectly about social media. Not entirely the case: by general or a generally mobilised social economy I am referring to the mobilisation in the social of the economy, the socialising of economic drivers, capital as data, and, data as capital, to the rendering of the economy as social. It goes both ways.

Yes, we can see the boys excited on the floors of the stock exchange. And the girls rising through the managerial ranks by virtue of their social intelligence. (Or emotional intelligence.) But they are such for having been reciprocally produced by the economic supplanting the social and the social supplanting general political economy.

When we ask what is to be done we can see we are doing everything we can: flowing in all directions. This is what the code allows, which Deleuze and Guattari in Anti-Oedipus call the axiom of capital: a double parasitism or double ventriloquism. Am I speaking for myself here?

Do I really believe it? Well, yes, of course: what other cause could there be for giving rise to so many misunderstandings? All I want to be is clear about this: and immediately disown every word I have written.

How to eke out our little bit of world? our little patch of earth, as Deleuze and Guattari also write, when across its surface there is this general semiotic dispersal? We should note in this word, semiotic, both seeds and atoms; and note a change in register, or atmosphere. If there are still enough of the primary elements, if there are still enough atoms making them up, still enough air to breathe, the right amount of warmth, enough water, and sufficient soil, the seeds are subjects: that is, they contract these elements. Their coming-to-life is not so important as this.

Some time ago, we stated that there seem to be two principles. We were not concerned with their mediation but by the contracting power of what contracts them, which we have identified to be a subjective power. A subjective power is at work contracting elements of social economy, just as a subjective power is at work in the misunderstanding synthesising the meaning of these words. Such is the bad habit of being human: to focus on the mediation as the moving part.

note: source references available on request–these will be part of the book, if it should come to pass.

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fifty-ninth part, called “on movement LIX,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

on movement

The static: civil war: it elicits a … breach, that runs through society. It breaches, then runs in all directions at once. But this is to say that it surfaces. It surfaces as the mobile displacement of every certainty. It has that other meaning of static, white noise, and causes a superfluidity of motion, like the sea. Passes like a wave over the world, without resolving, so, also cloud-like. Vaporous. And intoxicating.

Static, it is the music that doesn’t allow you to hear. Only in the last instance will it resolve into melody, in Bergson’s terms, time. Yet at that instant, along comes a tragic figure, limping. And we should note that for Bergson there are no instants: we are always in the cloud, caught in the wave of time as duration, for as long as we can. So he supports this confusion: is it like the thought severed from itself? or severed from potency? No, Oedipus chooses for just this type of displacement, just this type of mobility.

We must ask how things differ for us when everything is in this shifting cloud of abstraction which is more like a screaming hurricane or jet engine. The difference is that we are immobilised. In those beautiful lines from La mort en direct, Eveything is of interest. Yet nothing matters. Enormous effort is expended on trying to make it matter again. This is unlike any will to power we have ever seen before. It is, as Houellebecq writes in the novel of the same name, atomised.

Each harbouring her little cut. Yes, I recognise it as a sexual image. And each his.

It will be a great relief to be able to use words again as they were intended: to enable movement. A similar relief was found, you recall, when we were talking of theatre people, about how, after the show, after the evisceration of it, happy or unhappy, about how great it was to have imposed on one the most ferocious violence of language, about how being called a cunt and a cock doubled for those organs one, happily or unhappily, had left or spilt on the stage. And this is in fact the way we have been using the language of theatre, without malevolence. To speak for movement, not on behalf of bodies, but to offer them some relief.

Another film: My Dinner with Andre. Wallace Shawn is speaking with Andre Gregory. He asks why the other gave up theatre. Gregory answers, Everybody got so good at acting in their everyday lives. Gregory, a theatre director, having given up theatre had initiated a new project he called a hive. Really just a dinnerparty where everybody turns up and we just see what happens.

With everybody so good at acting all the time, performing, as well as being their own (atomic) impressarios, entrepreneurs of the self, we experience humanity as an endless mobility. But not an open-ended one. Since each one is the end point. A stop.

And this is the word one cannot say. At least, it brings no relief to say it. Saying it is like plunging into the punctuation point at the end of a sentence.

Mobilities are of those old things, gender, race and class: the working class is on the move like never before and so has been the main victim of the various state-imposed lockdowns. Gender fluidity has been called by some performance, while those little words, the linguistic shifters, have become intransigent like never before, and we are asked to have our pronouns permanently assigned. Like smiles. Race and gender have most exercised the middleclasses even in the middle, exactly in the middle, of their crisis in values. When, perhaps, it gives relief from being squeezed. And when that class is empty, will the mobilities remain?

Yes, we are in the cloud of our own carbon emissions. Stumbling around and trying not to acknowledge how we falter. Seeking therapy not to make that acknowledgement. Or plastering over the cuts. When along comes Oedipus, not that old one we can thank for doing so much harm in the century before the last one. And not that Anti-One Deleuze and Guattari take out for a schizo stroll. This one solves the Sphinx’s riddle. By choosing to walk with a faltering step, he (or she, or both, let’s see) is two-legged, three-legged, and four-legged.

note: source references available on request–these will be part of the book, if it should come to pass.

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fifty-fifth part, called “subject matter LV,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

subject matter

It appears that two principles are necessary: comedy and tragedy. Mobility and transcendence. Two types of drives: one conservative, the other expensive, or expansive. Two states of matter, or material subject: one bearing value; one exercising value; one bouncing off the other’s steady offer. Yet we have seen this not to be the case since each is at war with itself, the comedian with her tragic nature and the tragedian who removes his mask at the end of that scene where he says, This is going to hurt you more than it hurts me.

We create from the war we wage with ourselves, don’t we? It is a creative tension, and one we carry from birth, since it produced us and we are its issue. And, possibly, we will reproduce it in others, or in works. Pieces of work, in which others find resolved tension from the forces set in motion or from which they take relief.

The comedian refuses analysis because she doesn’t want to look into her desperation, to find its source is only that, as we said earlier: it is the engine of the little peace of mind she gains upon a successful performance … of pain. Without it, she’s just not that funny. Then, like Hannah Gadsby, she finds a way to bring her pain into the performance and dares the audience to laugh. And notes their discomfort, and, with that recognition, they do.

All things head to entropy, heat loss. Entropy seems to have been a lot on people’s minds recently, since physicists seem to have found its opposite principle, in the time crystal. It is a system of, for, perpetual motion, and loses none of the energy it expends. The quantum parts of the time crystal simply bounce, in a state of movement which is also static, a stasis built on the quantum law of complementarity, of there being no love lost between us.

What time then does it occupy? since it would seem that a time crystal takes up no time. Or, rather, we have to do away with the spatial metaphors, and ask, Of what time is it the creation? The simple answer would be that it is the creation of a time of entropy, of heat loss.

Then is it no more complex than a reflection? than an image? since it allows us to see another universe, one to which we are opposed. A world of possibility: imagine this perpetual motion machine being the engine of a quantum computer. Its endless thought internal to its endless love of calculation. At no point does it say, I don’t have the energy to fight anymore. I’m tired.

Isn’t entropy exactly its infinite exhaustion? coupled with limitless creativity? On display: the most wonderful waste of time. No, stasis is not as we have thought, the lowest point of depression. A state approaching death. And it’s not as if one type of drive has won, over another. Neither is it the bearer of value winning out over the exerciser, in symbolic exchange, say; nor is it the complementarity of legal principles. It is, as Agamben writes, civil war.

note: source references available on request–these will be part of the book, if it should come to pass.

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fifty-fourth part, called “subject matter LIV,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

subject matter

The role of political management over the last two years of pandemic, or, to be histrionic, plague, has looked to be a direct use of biopolitics. Control of populations has been control of bodies, control of movement. And there looks to have been something sacrificed.

Biopolitical policing of populations, infected populations, has seemed to bring about a concession of the kind, since it is on a global scale, not seen since the mass mobilisations at the time of the globalisation of warfare, in the first and second world wars. Apparently it turns on matters of economy, this concession, where it is both disincentive to ‘growth’ and incentive to a type of specialised ‘wartime’ economy, to which the first makes its concession. Or sacrifice. But the sacrifice the political apparatus makes to biopolitics is of itself.

I think we can see this in a small change made in the vocabulary of New Zealand government representatives. As if by policy, for political reasons, the change has been from speaking of the vaccination metric in terms of the ‘protection’ of populations to speaking of it as immunisation. From a medical, scientific standpoint, this change seems unmotivated.

In consideration of climate change could or would we similarly replace environmental protection with environmental immunisation at stake might be human affairs in their entirety. The environment would need to be immunised against every human action. Can we imagine what this immunity might look like?

It has been said that it is capitalism, the capitalist plunder of resources, from which we must protect the environment. OK, why not immunise it? The thought is also there that we might do so by introjecting the problem—of capitalist plunder of resources—into the economic form of capitalism. The carbon market to trade in pollutant emissions seems exemplary in this respect. And the thought is there too, and to the contrary, that pandemics are natural forms of defenses: that is, the nonhuman environment’s immunity system.

We can, however, lay human affairs in their entirety at the door of politics. Or should that be at its feet? Then, I would have thought, since the forms of social organisation of politics are sacrifice, it is at its feet that they already lie. And herein the concession: biopolitics in fact looks like an abrogation of politics and a reduction in its political means such that it has no power. Or, it is immune to the charge making it responsible. Is immune to being asked to take responsibility: for what? human affairs in their entirety; every human action.

Politics no longer answerable, the forms of social organisation of politics sacrifice, the immunisation of populations as a political project: well, what meaning does this have other than the auto-immunity of political systems? That is, it’s no longer about the suppression of symptoms symptomatic to power but of political immunisation against those powers. They slide off, like the skins of images. So that the most obviously biopolitical plays into the freedom of politics from tragic necessity, from the tragic necessity of responsibility, plays as, slipping up on its own skin, comedy.

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#TrueCost

https://www.adbusters.org/full-articles/truecost

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forty-fourth part, called “subjective powers XLIV,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

subjective powers

The digital surface is socially invested, given the power to produce subjects. The subjects we ought to want to be: that is, according to the narrative. It is a narrative of progress, yet it precedes the subjects of, shall we say, speculation, in a speculative data economy.

Those subjects who we ought to want to be and become are the trading pieces. And therefore, trade in pieces, pieces of a psycho-graphology or psycho-grammatology, like parts of speech, the swapmeet we earlier mentioned, where we don’t feel a thing, feel nothing like the insertion of the psyche, or the psychic body, the human one, into the social story, because these parts, and here the paranoia, are inserted into us. Or, better said, into the psyche. So there has been a previous paring down of it, the body-psyche, or body’s mind, if you like, a breaking down and a building up again, from borrowed parts. This is why changing the narrative is the same business: because it is in the same business.

The paranoia breaks out when we feel a part of us take over the role we had hitherto supposed to be ours. As in drunk-texting, the words escape; and with certain drugs, we notice, senses deranged, that they are serial, the senses, from their being put out of order, out of, that is, the social order. We might just as well say, the narrative order. The essence of tragedy: personally to feel so ordered, by, what we can further call, social destiny or narrative necessity. Of course, it’s a comedy to everybody.

In classic tragedy, madness ensues. And we see this fairly regularly, the patch-up jobs, the motley of the general social roles, see, it is comical! Called in by friends, we assist in changing the narrative, so that you or I can get back up again, face the void.

Why void? Well, isn’t that the feeling? The feeling of starting again, and the fear. Like having nothing inside.

We return to a beginning actor, but in taking back possession of ourselves, normally proceed like the selfish one. We fall back on, often disingenuously, sometimes with real terror, what we know. The strangest thing can occur when we are the donors of our own body-parts. They become the opposite of ghost limbs. We become the ghosts.

It is said to be perfectly normal for our psychic well-being to view the space below the stage, the surface, as already full of the lives we are in fact living. But that is the past. We have reversed the order. It is not as full bodies we step out on to the void; it is as voids we step out on to the fullness of who we were.

What help is it to be considering subjective powers in the nightmare or mania we are living of living as introjected subject matter, part-consumables, grammatical egos? For a start, of the latter we can say we see the attraction, since to be part of digital discourse is reassuring, gratifying even, to think we have symbolic entity; this is what analysis does: as symbols of ourselves we can carry on… but it is only by granting such symbols as being outside us that we can do this.

That is, enter the void: the stage direction given not by the void but to the void. Here it comes now, extending its surface under us, at a point we can choose. It is a point in the now.

What is happening is the choice of the minima we go on with: What does a risking actor do? Joaquin Phoenix for some reason comes to mind, perhaps as an example because we can see the results on the plane of their registration, as compositional elements of the screen. He twitches. Or his grimace is nonsensical, out of place, and that’s how we can tell it’s part of the character. From the smallest gesture, we have said, with Kirkkopelto, a world.

Or it is in an angle of his body we see it flash blade-like. A light comes out of his eyes and illuminates the planes of his face. And it is a compulsion, from an inner compulsion, that he acts so in small bits and pieces, the minima of subjectivities; yet we cannot go so far as to call it inner or inward because pure expression, outside, a part of speech that makes absolutely no sense, but here is the pain in the yelp of a dog, a cur, that signifies a world, a world where such a yelp, scream, can be made. Such a world is not produced, not the product of the scream, but suffuses the surface: is the event we have noted, then the impersonal affect, then… the whole subject in its subjective duration, in its subjective duration so whole: a subjective power we have reserved for the indeterminate duration of the reported on, on, not a surface of registration, but receptive centre, the centre of a hearing of indeterminate duration.

The pruning off of perception, selection, all the way to active election, choosing what happens as it does; undoing it, giving it a power that is internal to a receptive centre, is not the expression that reaches out, of a metaphysical impression, but the expression of a psychic minimum in which the subject subsists, comes about or revolves; the revolution itself, of a past pressing up against the present, producing affects without antecedents: all the surface’s roles. The stage’s. This revolution is the saying, the telling, we need to be hearing, is not the story, the warning, the moral lesson, the past, but pushes, has the means to, against the future. Opens it, a crack.

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fortieth part, called “subjective powers XL,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

subjective powers

We have a tendency to view election, selection, as of the heights or to the heights, to look to the heights and raise up to them the good, the worthy, the right, electing-selecting for what rightfully belongs, and working to pull down what does not. But isn’t there a counter-tendency, from the depths? Isn’t there, while that belonging to the heights is democratically or communally distributed, as strong an impulse, an impulse we usually assign individually, to look, with Nietzsche, into the abyss, into the depths? Into the body, the guts and bowels? that we might call a cloacal tendency?

Once we recognise that our tendency is to look for leadership, at times even accepting our enslavement, and that the other, coming from my body, is one of survival because it sees death and for health because it sees sickness and against enslavement because it sees liberty, isn’t the struggle for a balance between the two, which has its end in justice? Doesn’t the impulse to be ruled and to … well, we can easily see what the counter impulse is: it’s to have extended to me a hand, to be in reach of the ruler’s eyes, and to be recognised by her. Once the impulse and its counter are recognised, don’t we want to work to balance them? don’t we work and work for their balance, for the justice to come that is their balance and balances them?

Or it is the staging of a bodily insurrection we struggle for, which is the meaning commonly attributed to political activity, activism and political action: the political demand for the low to be recognised; whether it’s the lower or working classes or those cut out of the system of the distribution of wealth. The workers have their bodily association to labour, the lower classes to dirt and squalor; the deprived and those of reduced means, the poor, relate to a swarm, a herd, a statistic, like you would apply to animals, either counting them in farms, or making a count to calculate the days of their extinction. There is the closest relation to death here down below. Not because it is an experiential reality but because it is a bodily one.

A state of bodily subjection; death a state to which the body is subject: and dying, when taken to be the condition of life, the condition imposed by its generation, because what fucks dies, that is, death when it is raised up, as we might do on a stage, is defanged. All that remains is the body. It does not go through a minimisation on stage. Neither is it the artificiality of what dies onstage not actually dying that effects this new condition we could call death’s embodiment; nor is it by being exaggerated, in the famous death-throes, the one last spasm and death-rattle given all you’ve got: it is not all that dancing leading us from death to the body. And this is not a return trip: we don’t cop out by going back to the body from death. We don’t cheat death from the onstage death. The termination of life when it is enacted in what we have already claimed to be the indeterminate duration of the time of being reported on is undone. Complete, it is opened out to the operations of the surface.

So if we do a show about the poor, is it like showing poor animals onstage, good enough to undo either the states of animals or of, let’s say, minorities? Does representation alter their condition? the condition of their embodiment? No. Whence the staging of a bodily insurrection.

If we look to the erotic minorities of the LGBTIQ+ we see clear bodily connection and with it the link to the profound, the base, even, on which all experience is contingent. So, yes, political recognition is necessary. Yet, then the counter-impulse gives up to the first impulse all that is in it base and low, and, bodily based, basic. It looks to the heights for, if not redemption, recognition, the flash of recognition as the carriage passes by we catch in the leader’s eye: she has seen us. And by standing on this platform of our queerness, the good thing, the truth, the proper and the right, has seen us as we really are. Because that is how we are so staged.

The spread of Covid-19 has become a similar political principle so that it has entirely left the dying and sickening bodies behind. Both dying and sickening bodies alike. Neither can appear on this platform except through what represents them because what occupies this platform is the good, the proper, the truth and the right. And there has been no inversion of levels, of the sub- for the super-structure. The issue being made one of infrastructure is simple obfuscation: a question of management, managing the numbers, governing the nations, ruling the populations, while economies roll on…

How can I possibly say that? Isn’t it exactly political recognition of the sickening and dying that has led to an unprecedented roll-out of politically waged methods to stop more getting sick and decrease the numbers dying? Isn’t this exactly the expression of political will? And can’t this be seen by the sacrifices economies have made, by political imposition? And can’t it in the massive debts governments have taken on to pay for that exercise of political will to stop the sickening and the dying?

Then the struggle goes on to hear from the sick, from the dying. And it too stages a bodily insurrection, is a struggle from the depths. Is a true counter-tendency to the truth. Because it must not be thought it is the truth that is fighting to be heard, true stories and individual testimonies. No it is another sort of intimacy being fought for, beyond that human intimacy of communication: it is always animal, its pain is yelps. Or the screams said to be heard from trees through a certain specialised technical apparatus of listening, and hearing.

note: source references available on request–these will be part of the book, if it should come to pass.

If you would like to receive these posts, as they are written, as letters addressed to you, please send me your email address.

If you would like to support the work I’m doing here, so that I can continue to do it, please become a patron, here.

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