day 38

Who wins from the complete re-orientation to data as standard of value for the global economy? who, in the completion of this process I wrote about in the previous post?

As is perfectly expectable but quite unbelievable for a philosopher not a pulp fiction writer–but perhaps he himself would contest contesting or policing the distinction–Žižek’s COVID-19 book is out. I remember Welcome to the Desert of the Real, after the 2001 attacks, taking up Baudrillard, who had taken up Deleuze and Guattari’s formula, what would be called a meme today, writing 9/11 never happened. (D & G: ’68 never happened.) “But Pandemic!: Covid-19 Shakes the World is thin on humour. ” writes Yohann Koshy for the Guardian. And thin on this kind of scalpel-sharp kind of humour, this oyster-shucking humour–the kind that flipping back and forth, puts the oyster back in isolation, violently extracts it. Puts it back in.

It is left to something or someone called Medium (Julio Vincent Gambuto) syndicating to the Milwaukee Independent to say it never did: “A carless Los Angeles has clear blue skies as pollution has simply stopped. In a quiet New York, you can hear the birds chirp in the middle of Madison Avenue. Coyotes have been spotted on the Golden Gate Bridge.” Welcome to the deserted real of post-Chernobyl-like re-wilding.

J. walking on the northern ridges above the Hauraki Gulf, looking down on the bays, saw the seas begin to boil, saw flights of birds a thousand, two thousand of them, descend from the hills and skies. Black shadows had corralled kingfish and kahawai as effectively as a net. The orca ringfenced the bigger fish and schools of smaller fish they were and continued to poach on. The boiling seas extended from bay to bay.

She crossed to the southern side of the island, again patches of calm water began to agitate. A guy chucked in a line, lost his hook. Tried again. Lost the hook again. The fish too big. A third time, he pulled in kahawai 2 foot long.

Žižek’s book says wait for the recession. It repeats Adbusters, who call it 1929 come again. They call for Occupy 2 in response. And for those able to give to foodbanks. They end, Let the bosses know, if they fuck us, we multiply.

Who wins from the migration of media–of total human cultural media, of what we might call the apex predators of human cultural mediation–online?

luz es tiempo
National Scandal

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days 21, 22: or an institution is defined by its freedoms

Now when it comes to community do we not normally consider it to be ours?

When we think of it are we not drawn to think of community as this one in particular of which we are a part, to which we belong?

And then when the association is invoked, of other communities having a claim to our attention, is it not normal to think of them being like ours, composed of men and women, of rainbows and children? That is to say LGBTIQ communities now want to be thought of as communities just like any other, just like ours, because we are them. So it is not facetious to talk about the rainbow community, of community as being inclusive, universal and… possibly absolute?

The communities that suffer suffer through causes external. They do not suffer through any inequality but that it is imposed from some outside cause.

We think of our community and we award it qualities we wish to see replicated in others, or we wish in our communities for those qualities to be replicated we see in others.

And when one says others one means communities of others not other’s: when community comes up it has normally the meaning that it is not other, not other than our own. It is meant to reduce differences. To equalise–opportunities to prosper, the opportunities to live and prosper of all those, all of us, who belong.

Spinoza writes that to any person nothing is more useful than another person. Because if their natures are in agreement together they are twice as powerful; and if they are to find a third whose nature agrees with theirs, thrice as powerful; and a fourth and fifth, and so on, and eventually a whole community as powerful as the sum of the number of members who belong to it. Or is it to the power of the number of members?

Spinoza doesn’t say. But it would make sense that a community’s power to be, which is how Spinoza understands power, as also its power to act is the sum of the differences it includes to the power of the number of individuals belonging to it. The rider would be that of the equalisation of differences, that we can put our differences aside in belonging and caring for community. But our differences still count here. We simply understand them as equivalences. Just as their community is like or is the same as ours, your differences are like or are the same as mine.

I am different in so many ways from you, and my friendship with you is not despite our differences, but sums them up in a greater unity with a greater power to be and act, a greater essence, that is to the power of us two.

So community is not the extension of relations necessary for the perpetuation of a race, people, class or genetic line but extends the advantage of friendship to a larger group of individuals.

So community includes friends as well: it includes the differences friends set aside for the enjoyment of the friendship, which is that of a greater power to be, to exist, as Spinoza says.

Now we understand community also from an evolutionary perspective. We think of it as a survival tactic, increasing our power to survive. We agree we need to unite in our community against a common foe; we agree to agree. And this before any need is our genetic advantage.

Humans form organisations taking in numbers of individuals of both genders impossible for other primates which makes human communities capable of defending themselves against apex predators. Other primate species are not so gifted at this: sexual competition for gene continuation leads to internal competition impossible to reconcile, to the internal predation of males on males. Experiments with chimpanzees in captivity have shown that their communities do not have the human capacity for setting aside the claims of sexual competition. Disagreements over who has a claim over whom have led to the devastation of their communities in human captivity. On the other hand, humans can unite into a single organism. Claims are not neutralised but one’s claim to the preservation of one’s genetic line can be seen to be the equivalent of an other’s; and at the ultimate this equivalence is a right to life, since it serves to the preservation of life.

And it serves to a right to life beyond the individual.

Now by individual, do we not normally mean the one who says I, who can say of herself I am, who can speak of himself in what grammarians call the first person?

Human individuality has a special status. Is it perhaps derived from the human propensity to communal organisation? and the attendant evolutionary advantages?

It is not like the individuality of blade of grass or grain of sand or mountain, river or blue whale. Rather than equivalent, these are interchangeable. One blue whale is worth another, down to the last few. One blade of grass is able to be substituted for another without the first being too much missed–unless it was the first, or most perfect, or ideal blade of grass. But every human individual is the first, most perfect and ideal example of human individuality. It is absolute.

We do not pit individuals against communities. We do not set the differences individuals can claim to absolutise them against the communities which make those differences equivalent in absolutising themselves, communities in fact which amplify those differences to the power of the number of their members; communities which are, like the individuals belonging to them, regardless of their number or their differences, in their absolute-ness absolutely equivalent.

I am like you, I am as they say because you are; we are like (plural) you, we are because (inclusive) we are.

But is to consider oneself an individual to consider one’s qualities as like an other’s? One is an individual inasmuch as one’s qualities are thought to be unique. They have arisen out of internal causes in which we can count our communities. These are our good qualities; our bad qualities however are said to have arisen from external causes–in which we cannot count our communities.

I wrote here of those who cast their problems at society that they do so out of inadequate understanding of their causes. That we can try to understand but that it would be unlikely for us to be given credit, or for us to win their credence, for us to be thanked, or for them to be grateful for our understanding on their behalf.

But this is the presumption which exists in that of the equivalence of our differences, whether differences between communities, or among individuals, where differences are not interchangeable: human individuality seems to be an absolute of a different order than human community. It might seem to have been hasty to have suggested community is or could be absolute.

If it was hasty to suggest human community is absolute, does this also obtain for the evolutionary advantage of forming a community?

What possible evolutionary advantage can be maintained for human individuality?

What stake do we set on it now?

Do we consider it to be an evolutionary liability?

Or is the idea of absolute individuality equally at fault?

Now I wrote at the end of this post that society is defined by the problems attributed to it.

Neither is it impugned by the problems attributed to it, nor, as Thatcher said, does it cease to exist.

We are more likely to attribute the problems we face in our communities to society than we are to attribute to it the problems we face as individuals. They are not one the same.

Problems faced by communities that are cast at society have a general equivalence. They could so easily be faced by our community, by mine or yours.

But problems faced by individuals do not. My problem is not interchangeable with yours.

Individual problems are in this way effaced by community problems.

Your problem is not and you cannot let it be exchanged with an other’s or lumped in with those of a community. With the absolute identity of a community. A community is never a community of others but a community of consent. In this consists its absolutism.

Now society is defined by the problems we have. Not together. We have never been together. Noone should ask us to be together. We should not unite.

To each granted what is common to all; from all excluded what is unique to each.

This law of exclusion is society’s. But it is in a deeper sense community’s law, its rule being there has never been a community of others but that it has been assumed to be the same.

I have been troubled by the convenience of the term biopolitics for the political emergence, emergency, we seem to be living through in the current state of exception, emergency. And what is troubling seems to be tied to a social emergence. But one that is buried. Was in fact buried approximately 35 years ago. Because it was relayed to the infrasocial emergence of communities of difference from the extrasocial politics producing difference. That is it was diverted. Was a diverted social passion, as Lordon calls politics.

Arthur Kroker, from a recent post to <<empyre>> here, seems to have provided a more adequate term in biofascism–on which we can catch the faint scent of community and communicability, and transmission, as being the problem.

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enjoy your resurrection, day 17, into day 18

Once resurrected then what?

And what bits will be and which won’t?

What will society lose? the weakest and most vulnerable?

…or the sense that they are… having lost the sense of their welfare being our responsibility and of our meaning society.

There may never have been any society in general. But it is just as true to say there may never have been any body in general.

Of course there is the external society.

Of course there is the external body.

But neither the body nor society are relations to true externalities–until they include the experience of a society-of-others and a body-as-other.

Just this, or that which Lingis calls in his eponymous work the community of those who have nothing in common, is what is meant by bearing responsibility for the weakest and most vulnerable. And we might say making accountable the strongest and most powerful.

When do we experience the otherness of the body? When we are deprived of the touch of the other. Our own limbs start to feel eerily bereft as if they have lost touch with the sense they made before. Why did I have this hand if not to caress? Was it always meant to tap tap tap at the keyboard, to turn the pages, to work the remote, to slice and dice, to be endlessly scrubbed?

When do we experience the otherness of the body? When part of it is infected. Or afflicted. It is the opposite of a phantom limb. A dead limb. An arm in a cast. A dismembered member. A face, even, swollen and strange, only the eyes recognisable as our own.

When do we experience the otherness of society? When every other person we meet might be the potential carrier of a disease.

When part of it is infected. Or afflicted. …Perhaps even when part of society is afflicted with being weak, or poor, or vulnerable, we experience its otherness.

When we feel power over a part of society we are haunted by the feeling that we are the same as them. We want to deny it. Sometimes we can. Sometimes we cannot.

Levinas writes that this is the response to the address the other makes, the imperative she places on us to respond, and as Lingis takes on this thought, it is the stranger, the diseased one in the street, who reaches out his hand to us… making us responsible. Sometimes we can deny it. We might turn around to make sure we are not being seen turning away. Sometimes we cannot. We are haunted by that sick face… haunted by our own powerlessness to help. But what really were we being called on to do?

All we are being asked to do in order to get through the absence of treatment for COVID-19 is to treat society as infected.

We are not asked to deny those parts of society infected exist.

We are asked to cut them off.

resurrected, what will that do?

Fisher wrote that we are haunted by futures, our futures sometimes imagined glorious, sometimes perfidious, the possibility of which actually occurring is absent.

They are the phantom limbs of our current society, of our current social organisation. And they itch. And we scratch. A literary scratch there. A cinematic one here. Utopian here. Dystopian there.

At least we can take refuge in the thought we were not responsible and are not accountable for the not-coming-to-pass of futures, global, environmental or social.

We can take refuge in the thought we are responsible and accountable only for our individual ones. That we did not put away savings for a son or daughter; that we did not buy health insurance… that our private dream was never realised …

But this presence of those present who are cut off because infected…

can we take refuge in the thought we were forced to

cut them off?

(Thank you Gloria Chan-Sook Kim whose phrase ‘phantom touch’ in a post to the <<empyre>> listserv gave occasion to think these thoughts.)

National Scandal
thigein & conatus

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we must in a world we cannot, days 10, 11 & 12, 13

I have moved some of my comments onto the <<empyre>> listserv this past several days, named a soft_skinned_space by Melinda Rackham its founder, in Melbourne, 2002, now based at Cornell.

I was moved to pass on Levi Bryant’s article “A World is Ending,” and to point to what I had already written into and out of squarewhiteworld.

Bryant wrote a beautiful book on Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition, with the best explanation of the three syntheses of time.

“A World is Ending,” rather than a philosophical response, is the response of an academic professorial chair to COVID 19, a chair the pandemic, in its impact on Bryant, had made so spikily uncomfortable, “A World is Ending” talks of a before and an after, much as there was a before and after to history, according to Fukuyama, to which the attacks on New York’s Twin Towers come after.

“A World is Ending” does talk philosophy. Kant’s shadow falls heavily over the whole thing. And it is because of him, his transcendental framework, and Heidegger’s world worlding, that we can get anywhere close to one ending.

The carpentry of the world is coming apart. The unity and continuity on which we can support objects has gone skew-whiff, like a set of shelves, or, the heart of the girl in Lloyd Cole’s song, like crazy paving, upside down and back to front.

And not least the things at the market have taken on some alarming characteristics: each one is morbidly fascinating, as it steps up to threaten us, in its own right addressing itself to us with the demands of its potential toxicity. It has become unfamiliar and alien.

Rather than transcendental it is now in Levinas’s terms transcendent. A world is ending when common things transcend our ability to comprehend them.

This is not to say I don’t love the reading of the super market in fragmentation. But it is the case in exactly a transcendental sense. At least this is what I think Deleuze describes with his failure of time’s third synthesis, the synthesis of the future, which would ground the first two syntheses of time, and orientate the world to the continuity of the future, to it being continuous with past and present, a time making sense of our life’s journeys retroactively–but it can’t, it can’t make this kind of sense, if anything new is to come out of something as big as a world ending, or even for a window to open a crack, letting in a little fresh air.

The super market. The wiping of hands. The wringing of hands. And the breath restricted to recirculation in our masks. Our masks.

An empyre contributor, Gary, came back with this paragraph from Merleau-Ponty, in a letter to Sartre, 1953:

I have in no way renounced writing on politics… What I have decided to do since the Korean War is a very different thing. I have decided to refrain from writing on events as they are unfolding. This has to do with reasons that belonged to that period, and also with reasons that are permanent. … I have suggested a number of times that what the journal [Les Temps Modernes] should be doing is not take hasty positions, but rather propose lengthy studies. … What I had in mind was to act as writers, a type of action that consists in a back and forth between the event and the general line, and which does not simply consist in confronting every event (in imaginary fashion) as though it was decisive, unique and irreparable. This method is much closer to politics than your method of ‘engagement continue’ [continuous engagement] (in the Cartesian sense). Indeed, precisely in that sense, it is more philosophical, because the distance it creates between the event and the judgement one passes on it defuses the trap of the event…

And they are clearly right, Merleau-Ponty and Gary. This advice is something Sartre would never follow.

But I was moved to ask Gary through the door opened by Bryant’s world ending, his chair against the door, whether the notion of politics when applied to today’s conduct of politics by governments might not, like the before and after, and like Fukuyama’s history’s end, be an exaggeration? An emplaced exaggeration, and I would say for that reason a theatrical exaggeration?

(But this is to follow on in a groove I have spared you from, writing in my other writing.)

Time has intervened, synthesised, opened out again, chairs have moved on the decks, deckchairs, dreck has shifted. To one side. And we’re offbalance again.

We watched Funny Games. If you recall, the action ramps up quite rapidly.

It’s eggs. Eggs dropping from whitegloved hands. Sound familiar?

Communications cut off for our hero family unit. George the son. The failure of the pater familias to read the writing on the wall….

It should remind you to retrace, retroactively making sense of, the course of events: Is the significant lapsus the father’s to pick up on the signals the mother is sending?

Is this what launches the entire family unit into tragedy?

Very quickly, in Anouilh’s definition of tragedy, the spring that is wound up tight uncoils. Fate becomes ineluctable. Delivered as if by a clockwork mechanism.

The philosophically inclined will see here the cosmos in its clockwork continuity. Chairs rotating. Musical chairs. Before … the playing of dice with the universe. Indeterminacy. Or uncertainty. Bohr or Heisenberg.

But it should remind us to take care.

Or should it?

This is not Heidegger’s care.

It is the crayfish noticing the water growing warmer.

The mother getting some kind of formal organic inkling that things, that oceans ought not be warming, that this big stainless steel pot of self isolation and social distancing, in which we have let ourselves be immersed, ought not be getting awful hot…

What I had to say on <<empyre>> to Gary, and Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, Heidegger, Kant was that there is a representative layer, a gestural level, to this whole boiling water thing going on underneath.

There are signs of it in the apologetic tone struck by our own PM: government departing from the script, economies fragmenting: between the economies of the many and economies of social atomies.

But more than this more than this when is it clear we have to get out … ?

And quite apart from the moralising imperatives of the We must kind, who say, after this We must save the planet… We must…love each other well… We must…act like it’s after and not before, like history has not ever ended before and re-started. We must see finally see neoliberal we-musts for the ideological interpellations they always already were. (Even Trump says this.) We have seen the global economy get stopped. We must acknowledge that… We can make it stop. This endless despoliation of the globe. This endless devastation of the social sphere. This pointless endless pointlessness.

We also watched Paolo Sorrentino’s The New Pope.

It is in every way sublime.

Not the Kantian sublime.

But care, take care, the forces are heating the water, despite themselves, good governments and bad governments, are apologising… lost moral compass… all those moral values we have been asked to call in to Crisis Line… when they are all middle class values.

Can we live in a world, I don’t know if I can, in which politics does not concern itself with the tragedy unfolding, says it cannot, cannot, while all around the critics and the commentators, less the media these days, but, well, that’s sad, another sadness to have to bear, all of them, tell politics what we must do and that we must do it … and that current events have shown we must.

With the blood heating or the blood cooling, the atmosphere, not even the atmosphere, is keeping pace with the global political climate: which is a climate, since 1946, scared of its own possibility, and the failure, and the prevarication, are as nothing compared to … the escalation, the mechanism wound up tight, ready for the spring to release, the water to heat…

Have you heard the screaming of the crayfish?

White gloves.

luz es tiempo
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day 8 or the impossible – goes into day 9 or CANNOT

Dear reader,

As you will by now already be aware, approximately 2 billion of earth’s human inhabitants have found themselves under voluntary or enforced, and everything along the continuum, home arrest, otherwise called ‘self isolation.’ These have also had foisted upon them a physical noncontact zone called ‘social distancing.’ As Prof. Chomsky has pointed out, see previous posts, social distancing is the normal state of affairs when everyone’s on a cellphone, locked, as Dr Leonard Cohen sings, into their ‘hopeless little screens.’

We have made, on this blog, two points:

1) the continuity of ‘cognitive bubbles’ with the now enforced or voluntary–and everything inbetween–bubbles we are expected to inhabit now, or those we have imposed by force on us, and everything inbetween (called foam or surf);

2) this is not life during wartime. It cannot be. In the same sense there has been no war since WWII.

How do states raise funds for war?

How do sovereign states raise the funds necessary to conduct war on other sovereign states? How do these sovereign states afford to mobilise themselves in defense?

On this the whole question would turn.


Meaning: what cannot be done and what is impossible to do.

A state mobilised in its own defense, or in order to conduct war on another, can: rely on banks, issue its own government bonds, accrue debt, burdening future generations; depend on its people to support the cause, since they are what it represents, imposing higher taxes; control subsequent and consequent inflation by increasing the money supply–called today quantitative easing, and applied under an ongoing state of exception which makes peacetime states, under international fiscal directives, enact wartime austerities.

We know austerity to entail the privatisation of expensive public services and the selling of publicly owned state assets, fixed, like hospitals and schools, energy infrastructures and telecommunications networks, and working, circulating in labour markets, made to circulate, undercut and degraded and underpaid, but not only for profit. For in fact states to unburden themselves, and to incapacitate themselves, so as to be fleet, agile and adaptive; so as to move to a more managerial stance; and to the increase of economic capacity.

In the eventuality of war or of a mobilisation being called for to fight the scourges of drugs, terrorism or contagious disease, do we imagine states reburdening themselves with heavy responsibility? Or do we imagine a managerial stance to continue and a chain unfolding, like a Jacob’s Ladder, down through the level of service provision, through supervisors, branch managers to the frontline staff, where each divests unto the next above?

The Bluebridge frontline staffmember, with the magenta hair, told us in Picton, despite the extenuating circumstance of having been required to be present at 6am, on a Saturday, with others suffering the same circumstance, when, on a Saturday, there is no ferry sailing, that she could only go on what her supervisor had told her. The list for standbys would be made up at 11am. And not before. Our presence was required to be resumed if we hoped to go on the list.

To ask different of her, to be angry, is simply untoward. She cannot do any different than she has, and she cannot have done.

This was the time, contemplating the Cook Strait separating South from North Islands of our small Pacific nation, we felt like immigrants in wartime. Watching perhaps the last sailing.

The situation was of course complicated by the other service provider–Bluebridge does not have a monopoly–which, when approached, informed us of a limit of 200 per sailing. On boats with over a thousand capacity.

We retain the nomenclature ‘essential industry.’ But in truth, in modern wartime as in modern peacetime, can there be any requisitioning of such industry?

Would this not be the ideological crime called out by the current US President, the Orange Thing (not to speak of the other South American Thing [a Coisa]), as being a Chavez-ism?

And we are reminded of all those times there has been an absence of recourse, the Jacob’s Ladder having pursued its downwards trajectory which somehow looks to be upwards, from the underpaid, underinformed, almost mostly unformed frontline staff, when they told us this or that rationally available course of action was foreclosed. And not only that but as a line of rational inquiry, or one of argument, it was censurable.

At stake in the impossible of the it cannot be done is then the virtual category of capacity. It is not that the state is incapable in its current mobilisation. There is no capability at all.

Dear reader,

There is no capability at all left in its institutions.

National Scandal
thigein & conatus

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Day 6 & 7

Mike sent me this from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Thanks!


…at least it’s…

AIDS / HIV is said to have claimed 25 – 35 million victims since 1981

no recent pandemic compares, except the Spanish flu

the giant remains the bubonic plague

but there’s something quick, nasty and disingenuous in comparing death tolls

better to consider the management of diseases afflicting populations:

Not forgetting the Plague of Fascism, COVID 19 the sideshow:

Nuclear war – global warming – death of democracy – and the interconnectedness of it all:

“2 billion are at home” … “if they are lucky enough to have a home” … “what does this discourse about war tell us?” with COVID 19 as an “enemy”

Chomsky: to manage the crisis we have to move to something like wartime mobilisation…

…Chomsky in part blames the collapse of institutional structures for the severity of what we are experiencing now with, from COVID 19…

and he gives voice to the options being “highly authoritarian borderless states to radical reconstruction” and transformation to the question: How do we want to live?

Of course this question is not so much about natural life or lifespan or individual health as it is about social or public life: but since Thatcher and Co. killed it, what weight or importance does the question of society carry?

since the health of the nation is pegged on economic health: 2 trillion Federal Reserve dollars are not for medical but financial aid.

…then there is the 1971 interview in which Foucault and Chomsky face off:

Foucault concedes that he allows very little to individual creativity.

It will be a matter of epistemic change. And we cannot know the factors beforehand which will drive it.

As Deleuze might say, we need to keep a look out.

Restraining the discussion of COVID 19 to that about the unity of a National Subject–as its transcendental condition and at the same time naturalising historic Nationalism to procure immunity–when that immunity is from the dissensus of individual dissent as from consensus, because it cannot be a crisis of the social order, and its acts will not be claimed by government: whose acts are more in line with a kind of autoimmunity to its own authoritarian moves (insisting on voluntarism in self isolation and social distancing)–or restraining the discussion to one about how we effectively mobilise, well these of course are not about creative dimensions pointing towards anything but more of the same.

And it may be a good long time of counting the death toll before we tend to count the toll taken on the social or the public realm. Politics have long since ceased to be representative of this realm.

That is public passions run contrary to politics as they are currently practiced.

the question will not be what to do?

but how to do it together, as Srećko Horvat points out

then how to free doing it together from the communicative realm, which also no longer coincides with the social or with social passions, as even Chomsky can see

social distancing is a fact of social media

self isolation is a fact of communicative networks

What to look out for then are breaks in the continuities

the major continuities of our generally backward-looking ways of talking about what’s going on, our memorial approaches,

what to look out for then are changes of habit, cracks that tend to deepen

and jump from one area of public discourse to another


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Deleuze|Guattari studies conference Tokyo 2019


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from David Berman to Wallfacers

In a very abstract frame today, I tried continuing with my writing and realised I would rather be talking to you. Whoever you are … wherever you are …

I have a lot of tabs (1, 2, 3 …) open I’ve been meaning to close once I wrote something about David Berman, David Cloud Berman I read in one of them. It was to be an RIP piece. Beside me I have the notes from when I heard he had suicided. They go like this:

this is coming

I’ll explain how

we’re all going to get through it

and “rebuild” society

Video after the jump

The last is from one of the links.

Then there is the line with the typo: The meaning of the world lies outside thw world. It’s from a Silver Jews album, the song ‘People.’

“Video after the jump” links to Berman’s blog, mentholmountains: arc of a boulder, which doesn’t link anywhere, but has links to writers, Thomas Bernhard, for example, and Robert Walser, and pictures and videos. It is not too dissimilar from squarewhiteworld.

An arrow directs on the kokuyo paper from the line “Video after the jump” to a reference to Cixin Liu’s Three-Body Problem. It reads:

Become a Wallfacer.

Humanity faces extermination, the extermination of a species of bug, coming from the stars, from the planet Trisolaris. It will take four light years to arrive. Meanwhile every human effort is directed towards defending itself, not the earth, but doing whatever it takes to defend itself.

400 years would seem to be sufficient time to prepare, however, the Trisolarans have sent an expeditionary force ahead to spy on human efforts and to limit them to what can be achieved from a current understanding of the fundamental laws of physics. The technology of Trisolaris far exceeds this limit, since the expeditionary force itself comprises AI supercomputers shrunk down to the size of subatomic particles, protons, quantumcomputers called Sophons. (The word for proton 质子 (zhì zǐ) is the same as the word for Sophon .) The lockdown on scientific research imposed by the Sophons is something that I was writing about in view of the comparable lockdown or limitation on paradigm shift, on fundamental advance, in the sciences–and more generally, in political economy–that is self-imposed in neoliberal institutional systems of governance where the pursuit of science is becoming the performance of science through representative means. (This source, considering the science of Three-Body misses the potential for critical diagnosis Liu’s fiction contains: note it contains info you might want to avoid if you intend to read the novels: it has the strangely phenomenological name, Exposing the structure of how we got our answers: Poetry in Physics.) (The diagnostic criticism implicit in Liu of the Sophonic lockdown as science fiction is explained by Philip Mirowski as the neoliberal fact of Open Science, ironically, at 56’57” in Hell is Truth Seen Too Late.) (I recommend reading Three-Body for its clinical diagnostic potential–and equally I recommend watching Mirowski, even if just for the part about Open Science.)

The Wallfacer project is undertaken by a humanity under threat of annihilation because of the lockdown on science imposed by the Sophons–which is described as being their ability to falsify experimental results from research in fundamental physics (note the Popperian line on falsification). The Trisolarans have a vulnerability: they communicate with each other through thought-reading, thought-hearing, thought-speaking. But they can’t read the thoughts of humans. Neither Sophons nor Trisolarans can see what is going on inside human minds. The notion of lying, of misrepresenting one’s true thoughts, of misrepresentation through speech and language is alien to these aliens–as is the notion therefore of representation. The Wallfacer project is to take advantage of this vulnerability. Wallfacers are selected to help save humanity through indirection and misdirection–through not representing their intentions. Besides the mental freedom to dream up plans and projects the use of which they need neither justify nor defend–in fact the Wallfacer project depends on their doing neither–they have all the world’s resources at their disposal to carry out their plans and projects.

They would be artists, poets, revolutionaries, for not having to answer to anyone for their freedoms, but for the fact that they are so and unquestioningly so resourced. Perhaps this is the link I wanted to make to David Berman: Become a Wallfacer.

The diagnostic import of the Wallfacer project can be seen when placed in relation to the lockdown on science. If, as I tend to think, neoliberal systems of institutional governance entail of the sciences a comparable lockdown–and we can see evidence of this in the shutting down of labs in the ‘hard’ sciences (those without direct application in technology and commercialisable IP) and see it also in the decrease in institutional support for intellectual labour, whether in fundamental theory in the sciences or in philosophy–then the Wallfacer project serves as critique of the view that it is to science, to scientists and to scientific research we must turn to find solutions to the problems facing life, to overcome the threat from earth.

Earth has this vulnerability: it doesn’t know we make it in our own image.

To overcome the threat from the earth, first undo the image we have made of it. The meaning of the world lies outside the world

[R.I.P. David C. Berman, 4 January 1967 – 7 August 2019]


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for Raymond Boyce, 19 May 1928 – 1 August 2019, presented at the tribute held 10 August 2019, Hannah Playhouse, Wellington, NZ


some links:

“this building”

“is a masterpiece”

“of theatre” “design”

see also,

under the lefthand margin heading


which is of course


luz es tiempo
National Scandal
point to point
thigein & conatus

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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 most 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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