Archive for August, 2008


D & G’s Anti-Oedipus

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari
Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia
Area: Rhetorical and Critical Theory
Notes from reading group

• Schizo remains shaky no matter the disjunctions
• Desire the very thing that dominated and exploits us
• How could the masses be made to desire their own repression
• Deterritorialized flows of desire
• The fabrication of docile and obedient subjects
• No revolutionary actions where the groups are relations of exclusion
• Machine
• Synthesize
• Three Machines:
o Technology of desire
• Body without organs—disjunctive
o Synthesis
o Desire machines—connected by synthesis
• Connecting/separating: Freud/Marx
o Expanding
• Casualty, primary
• Oedpalization
• Parataxis
• Homo/hetero: product of Opedipalization
• Trans: mole
• Homo: personal
• Hetero: bodies with organs
• That was this: reflection formation
• Intensity: force: desire
• Schizoanalysis
• Wall, break through, failure of this break through
• Schizo: model of ontology
From Deleuze and Feminist Theory
• Molecular women’s politics: mobile, active, and ceaseless challenge of becoming
• Woolf: writing woman—identity through flow of speech
• Deleuzian reading: looking at what the text creates
o Inhabitation, not interpretation
• Locating oneself within the ordered body just to dis-organize it
• Active/affirmative thought: realizes itself as the formation of concepts
• Reactive thought: adherence or repetition of some prior truth or meaning
• Thought must reactivate its concepts—see concepts in terms of effects
• Speaking: collective utterance; thinking: an assemblage
• Third wave feminist identity—constituted not given, multiple, not simple
• Productive becomings; geology—creations of new terrains
• Doing away with the subject—woman—the thought becomes nomadic
• Woman short circuits the self-evident identity of man
• If we don’t know what woman is, how can we know what she will be come?
Some critical moments early in the text
Xii: “Informed by the seemingly abstract notions of multiplicities, flows, arrangements, and connections, the analysis of the relationship of desire to reality and to the capitalist ‘machine’ yields answers to concrete questions.”
5: “Putting an end to the process or prolonging it indefinitely—which, strictly speaking, is tantamount to ending it abruptly and prematurely—is what creates the artificial schizophrenic found in mental institutions: a limp rag forced into autistic behavior, produced as an entirely separate and independent entity.”
11: “The body without organs, the unproductive, the unconsumable, serves as a surface for the recording of the entire process of production of desire so that desiring-machines seem to emanate from it in the apparent objective movement that establishes a relationship between the machines and the body without organs.”
20: “This subject itself is not at the center, which is occupied by the machine, but on the periphery, with no fixed identity, forever decentered, defined by the states through which it passes.”
23: “There are those who will maintain that the schizo is incapable of uttering the word I, and that we must restore his ability to pronounce this hallowed word.”
26: “Desire does not lack anything; it does not lack its object. It is, rather, the subject that is missing in desire, or desire that lacks a fixed subject; there is no fixed subject unless there is repression.”
28: “Lack is created, planned, and organized through social production. It is counterproduced as a result of the pressure of antiproduction.
43: “there are gaps even between things that are contiguous, gaps that are affirmations, pieces of a puzzle belonging not to any one puzzle but to many, pieces assembled by forcing them into a certain place where they may or may not belong, their unmatched edges violently bent out of shape, forcibly made to fit together, to interlock with a number of pieces always left over. It is a schizoid par excellence.”


Kochhar-Lindgren’s TechnoLogics

Gray Kochhar-Lindgren
TechnoLogics: Ghosts, the Incalculable, and the Suspension of Animation.“Temps: Time, Work, and the Delay.”
Area: Digital Media
Critical moments from the text

171: “’There is a now of the untimely; there is a singularity which is that of this disjunction of the present’”
174: “’Deployment of techno-science or tele-technology…whose movement and speed prohibit us more than ever from opposing presence to its representation, ‘real time’ to ‘deferred time,’ effectivity to its simulacrum, the living to the non-living, in short, the living to the living-dead of its ghosts.’”
180: “The digitialization of the world makes the entirety of the past, insofar as it has left traces, available in a blinding flash of the present, even a the usage of the pas-present-future lineage is also spinning vertiginously.”
184: “If there were no delay, no relay systems that along their line of servers act to mediate Dasein’s (self)-consciousness, then there could be no phenomenon called ‘haunting’ in which the other returns.”
From annotated bib:
Claiming that “the ‘now’ and its others must be thought of differently than as the presence of the present,” Kochlar-Lindgaren confronts the linear movement of time (175). He examines a postmodern dismissal of waiting, delay, and desire arguing that, “the desire of technologies […] is to obliterate the delay” (185). Thus, the ‘desires of technologies’ is a desire that “should be satisfied before I am aware that I am desiring” (185). I will utilize this chapter in two ways: firstly, I will examine how technology promotes a non-linear movement of time by claiming that our suspended selves can be present in multiple places and have recurring presents. Secondly, how sexual enhancement drugs erase the desire to become sexually “active”—the pills create the space for sexual arousal, something that cannot happen (as easily) without the drug; therefore, the user no longer wishes to be “active” as one can be whenever one chooses.


Stiegler’s Technics and Time

Bernard Stiegler
Technics and Time, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus
Area: Rhetorical and Critical Theory
Notes from class:

•    Arranging human and machinic
•    Not humanization of nature, but naturalization of the human
•    Humans are more natural through technology
o    Control societies
•    Biopower is operating system of capitalism
o    Spontaneity is not problem for system
•    Beller: not just watching
o    “selling” product
•    Something is provided for all so none will escape
o    Adorno and Horkheimer
•    Nealon: Because everyone must provide something, no one will escape
•    All subjectivity is up for grabs: everyone must be someone
•    Demographic DNA
o    Broad version of the social
o    Giant picture from Heidegger
•    Useful finality
•    Virno: virtuosity—no end product
o    Goodness is not enough
•    Steigler’s response to no future
o    Cybernetics
•    Before with technology: death
o    Now, technology leads to life
•    Blanchot: wiped out
•    What one does with life
o    The impact to cause life
o    Change
•    Leroi-Gourhan/Steigler: Posthuman as a concept
o    Machinic heterogenetic: Guatarri
o    Bodies without organs
•    Desires for the fake
o    John Lovelock: guya theory
•    Benjamin: inorganic
•    Love of articifiality
•    Paradise of the artificial
o    Hatred of natural
•    Episteme v. techne
•    What’s the who, what’s the what
o    Actors of history
•    Anthropology: feet, hands, face
•    Technogenesis: mobility, change
•    Promethesis/Meno: no origin, no future
•    Contra Heidegger: Only a god can save us no
o    Techne or time
o    No going back
•    Q: What takes the place of philosophy now? A: Cybernetics
Critical moments in the text
2: “Lodged between [mechanics and biology], technical beings are nothing but a hybrid, enjoying no more ontological status than they did in ancient philosophy.”
6: “[Dasien]’s death is what it cannot know, and to this extent, death gives to ‘mine-ness’ its excess.  Death is not an event within existence because it is the very possibility of existence, a possibility that is at the same time essentially and interminably deferred.  This originary deferral is also what gives Dasein its difference to another.”
23: “Today, machines are the tool bearers, and the human is no longer a technical individual; the human becomes either the machine’s servant or its assembler.”
50: “The problem arising here is that the evolution of this essentially technical being that the human is exceeds the biological, although this dimension is an essential part of the technical phenomenon itself, something like its enigma.  The evolution of the ‘prosthesis,’ not itself living, by which the human is nonetheless defined as a living being, constitutes the reality of the human’s evolution, as if, with it, the history of life were to continue by means other than life: this is the paradox of a living being characterized in its forms of life by the nonliving—or by the traces that its life leaves in the nonliving.”
66: “To know the essence of the machine, and thereby understanding the sense of technics in general, is also to know the place of the human in technical ensembles.”
70: external memory
95: “If technics can be given its own finality, this means that its thinking in terms of ends and means is no longer sufficiently radical.”
114: “Denaturalization will be self-exteriorization, the becoming self-dependent, self-alienation, the alienation of the originary, the authentic, in the factical, the technical, the artificial death constitutive of the mediacy of a social and differentiated world of objects, and hence of subjects, for, from this points on, it is only though its objects, (the objects it has) that the self can define and thus is no longer itself.”
131: “Love is an interested and particular passion, which risks bringing ‘destruction to the human race,’ making possible the opposite of that for which if seems to exist: ‘a terrible passion that braves danger, surmounts all obstacles, and in its transports seems calculated to bring destruction on the human race which it is really destined to preserve.”
Think: Derrida Gift of Death; Edelman: No Future
148: “With the advent of exteriorization, the body of the living individual is no longer only a body: it can only function with its tools.”
177: “The individual develops three memories: genetic memory; memory of the central nervous system (epigenetic); and techno-logical memory (language and technics are here amalgamated in the process of exteriorization)
202: “Promethia is the anticipation of the future, that is, of danger, foresight, prudence, and an essential disquiet: somebody who is promethes is someone who is worried in advance.”
207: “’In its factial being, any Dasein is as it walready was, and it is ‘what’ is already was.  It is its past, whether explicitly or not.”
(Re-read: Disengagement of the What→memory)


Galloway’s Protocol

Alexander Galloway
Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization
Area: Digital Media
Critical moments in the text

Xiii: “The concept of ‘protocol’ is thus meant to demonstrate the nonmetaphorical quality of networks. Or, put another way, the concept of protocol shows the predilection for general discussion of networks in terms of general tropes. […] A code is process-based: it is parsed, compiled, procedural or object-orientated, and defined by ontology standards”
Xxii: ‘The ‘wet’ biological body has not simply been superceded by ‘dry’ computer code, just as the wet body no longer accounts for the virtual body.”
10: From McLuhan: “the content of every new protocol is always another protocol.”
13: Foucault writes, “that biopolitics ‘tends to treat the ‘population’ as a mass of living and coexisting beings who present particular biological and pathological traits and who thus come under specific knowledge and technologies.”
25: “H & N specifically address new media in Empire, writing that, within the internet, ‘an intermediate and potentially unlimited number of interconnected nodes communicate with no central point of control.’ In their opinion this ‘decentralized’ architecture is ‘what makes control of the network so difficult.”
30: Hierarchy v. distribution
34: Rhizome
35: “If one route is blocked, another will do just as well.”
49: ‘Like this, the process starts at the most general point, then follows the chain of delegated authority until the end of the line is reached and the numerical address may be obtained. This is the protocol of a decentralized network.”
55: “It is precisely the tension between these two Machinic technologies—one deterritorializing and one reterritorializing—that creates the protocological system and allows it to be so powerful.”
59: “A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.”
61: “On the one hand, the Web is structured around rigid protocols that govern the transfer and representation of texts and images—so the Web isn’t ‘an acentered, nonhierarchical, nonsignifying system’ as is D & G’s rhizome. But on the other hand, the Web seems to mirror several of the key characteristics of the rhizome: the ability of any node to be connected to any other node, the rule of multiplicity, the ability to splinter off or graft on at any point, the rejection of a ‘deep structure,’ and so forth.”
73: Kittler: “Looking at the ‘moment’ of 1900, he writes that ‘the ability to record sense data technologically,’ using such instruments as the phonograph and the typewriter, ‘shifted the entire discourse network circa 1900. For the first time in history, writing ceased to be synonymous with the serial storage of data. The technological recording of the real entered into competition with the symbolic registration of the Symbolic.”
75: “The internet is a delicate dance between control and freedom.”
82: Recap of protocol so far
142: “The generative contradiction that lies at the very heart of protocol is that in order to be potentially progressive, protocol must be partially reactionary. To put it another way, in order for protocol to enable radically distributed communications between autonomous entities, it must employ a strategy of universalization, and of homogeneity.”
164: Code
213: “Computer crashes, technical glitches, corrupted code, and otherwise degraded aesthetics are the key to this disengagement. They are the ‘tactical’ qualities of internet art’s deep-seated desire to become specific to its own medium, for they are the moments when the medium itself shines through and becomes important.”
Fave line:
57: “Fear of handling shit is a luxury a sewerman cannot necessarily afford.”
From Untimely Mediations:
While I found the entirety of Galloway’s Protocol pleasurable, I found my interest most peaked in one of the final chapters on hacking and viruses. Even more specifically, when Galloway discusses the ethics of hacking and relates the upsurge of computer viruses to the AIDS epidemic, I was intrigued because I had never read anything like that (sure, my knowledge of hacking is a bit slim and that could account for the oversight). For this week’s post, then, I want to discuss how ethics, control, and biopower are interrelated.
After reading Jill’s post, I, too, am impressed that Galloway spends significant time laying out the why/how intricacies of the internet as we know it today. Impressively, he wrote for an audience like myself (some techy knowledge under my belt), and also those with extreme fluency in the matter. Before Protocol, I didn’t know there was a “hackers code of ethics.” Following a lengthy discussion of code of ethics, Galloway mentions that, “hackers don’t care about rules, feelings, or opinions. They care about what is true and what is possible. And in the logical world of computers, if it is possible then it is real. Can you break into a computer, not should you” (168). While hacking could be seen as a point of non-resistance, from a Foucauldian standpoint, I’d have to agree with Galloway that we’re simply seeing a different/another form of control. However, what is most interesting about hacking and control is that the hackers seem to relinquish their bodily control to the machine. Even though they write the code that wreaks havoc, it is the transference of power from the individual (hacker) to the machine (i.e. damaging code replicating itself in other computers) in which we clearly see the moment of control being illustrated. Further, rather than trying to push through the control of the protocol, “hackers are created by protocol […] hackers are protocological actors par excellence” (158). Hacking cannot and would not exist without protocol.
AIDS/Computer Viruses:
“Computer viruses appeared in a moment in history where the integrity and security of bodies, both human and technological, was considered extremely important. Social anxieties surrounding both AIDS and the war on drugs testify to this” (179).
This quote suggests that bodies and computers are certainly interconnected through disease, subject to the same type of collapse. (Again, I had never seen these connections before, so I might sound n00b-ish.) During the AIDS epidemic and confusion, no one had [much] knowledge on its origins, treatment, or prevention, and we can see the same parallels to computer viruses. At the time, hacking hadn’t “hit it big” yet, and just like AIDS, the population that it infected was unaware of its powers. That is what’s most fascinating to me about this moment is that both the technological and the biological were experiencing the same sorts of attacks on their “bodies.” Further, “bodies,” and ultimately biopower, has become even misconstrued (i.e. selling bodies on eBay).


Virno’s A Grammar of the Multitude

Paolo Virno
A Grammar of the Multitude
Area: Rhetorical and Critical Theory
From the text

7: “Virno’s essay examines the increased mobility and versatility of the new labor force whose work-time now virtually extends to their entire life.”
7: “Operaismo (workerism) has a paradoxical relation to traditional Marxism and to the official labor movement because it refuses to consider work as the defining factor of human life.  Marxist analysis assumes that what makes work alienating is capitalist exploitation, but oepraists realized that it is rather the reduction of life to work.  Paradoxically, ‘workerists’ are against work, against the socialist ethics that used to exalt its dignity.  They don’t want to re-appropriate work, but reduce it.”
8: knowledge→machines=dead labor
11: Workers are a class for themselves before being a class against capital.  Actually, it is always capital that ‘seeks to use the worker’s antagonistic will-to-struggle as a motor for its own development.’  Empire develops the same argument: capitalism can only be reactive since the proletariat that ‘actually invents the social and productive forms that capital will be forced to adopt in the future.’”
12: The multitude is a force defined less by what it actually produces than by its virtuality, its potential to produce and produce itself.
16: “Empire involves an original kind of class struggle: a struggle looking for a class.  For Virno it would be just the reverse: a class looking for a struggle.”
23: “The multitude, according to Hobbes, shuns political unity, resists authority, does not enter into lasting agreements, never attains the status of juridical person because it never transfers its own natural rights to the sovereign. […]  If there are people, there is no multitude; if there is a multitude, there are no people.”
24: “private signifies, above all, deprived of: deprived of a voice, deprived of a public presence.”
32: Two forms of dread: fear and anguish: “fear situates itself inside the community, inside its forms of life and communication.  Anguish, on tehother hand, makes its appearance when it distances itself from the community to which it belongs, from its shared habits, from its well-known ‘linguistic games,’ and then penetrates into the vast world.”
37: “The life of the mind’ is the One which lies beneath the mode of being of the multitude.”
40: Public sphere/general intellect

Other helpful summaries


Kent Sprague’s The Older Sophists

A concise summary of, well, summaries/biographies.


Detienne’s The Masters of Truth in Archaic Greece

Marcel Detienne
The Masters of Truth in Archaic Greece
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
Critical moments in the text

15-16: “In archaic Greece, three figures—the diviner, the bard, and the king of justice—share the privilege of dispensing truth purely by virtue of their characteristic qualities.  The poet, the seer, and the king also share a similar type of speech.  Through the religious power of Memory, Mnemosyne, both poet and diviner have direct access to the Beyond; they can see what is invisible and declare ‘what has been, what is, and what will be.’”
17: logos: knowing reality and social relation
24-5: “While hermeneutics may successfully explore the double register of Hesiodic speech, it refuses to understand memory and oblivion in their ethnographic and religious contexts. […]  Mnemosyne, or Memory, a divine power married to Zeus as were first Metis, then Themis, and finally Hera, dissolves into a platitude, a most ridiculous outcome.  She becomes simply ‘good memory,’ because ‘we must remember what has already been said about perceiving Aletheia.’”
35: “Truth is defined at two levels: conformity with logical principles and conformity with reality.  Accordingly, truth is inseparable from concepts of demonstration, verification, and experimentation.”
39: Poet invoking Muse whose task it is to make past events known; Muse and memory are complementary concepts.
41: “Sung speech is also inseparable from memory.  In the Hesiodic tradition, the Muses are the daughters of Mnemosyne.  In Chios they were called the ‘rembrances’ (mneiai) since they made the poet ‘remember.’  What is the meaning of memory, and how is it related to sung speech?  First, the religious status of memory, its cult in bardic circles, and its importance in poetic thought can only be understood if one remembers that Greek civilization from the twelfth to the ninth centuries B.C. was based not on written, but on oral traditions: ‘in those days men had to have a memory for many things.  […]  Memory is essential in an oral civilization, and specific mnemonic techniques must be perfected.
43: “For the poet, remembrance came through a personal vision that ensured direct access to the events his memory evoked.  His privilege was to enter into contact with the other world, and his memory granted him the power to ‘decipher the invisible.’  Thus, memory was not simply the material basis for sung speech or the psychological function on which the formulary technique depended.  It was also, and above all, a religious power that gave poetic pronouncements their status of magicoreligious speech.”
46-7: “A warrior’s worth was decided by the masters of praise, the servants of the Muses.  They granted or denied him ‘memory.’”
48: “A poet bestows through his praise a ‘memory’ on a man, who is not naturally endowed with it.”
50: “Truth is explicitly defined as a ‘nonforgetfulness’ of the poet’s precepts.”
63: “Soon after, he was taken to the oracle.  Before entering, however, he paused at two neighboring springs, called Lethe and Mnemosyne after the two religious powers that dominated the inspired poets’ system of thought.  The water from the first spring obliterated the memory of human life, while the water from the second allowed the individual to remember everything he saw and heard in the otherworld.”
73: “The speech of the diviner and of oracular powers, like a poetic pronouncement, defines a particular level of reality: when Apollo prophesies, he ‘realizes.’ Oracular speech does not reflect an event that has already occurred; it is apart of its realization.”
74: “Magicoreligious speech is pronounces in the absolute present, with no before or after, a present that, like memory, incorporates ‘that which has been, that which is, and that which will be.’  This kind of speech eludes temporality because it is at one with forces beyond human ones, forces that are completely autonomous and lay claim to an absolute power.”
83: “[Pittheus] is the inventor of ‘rhetoric,’ the art of persuasion and of using ‘lying words that resemble reality.’”
86: “Master of truth is also a master of deception.”
87: “This second power of speech is dangerous, since it may produce an illusion of reality.”
110: “By turning memory into a positive technique and considering time as the framework for secular activity, Simonides dissociated himself form the entire religious tradition, the tradition of both the inspired poets as well as the sects and philosophicoreligious circles.”
119: “For the Sophists, memory is simply a secularized function whose development is essential to the kind of intelligence at work in both sophistry and politics.”
122: “At this level of thought, memory Is not simply a gift of second sight that allows one to grasp the totality of past, present, and future; even more important, it is the terminus of the chain of reincarnations.  Memory’s powers are twofold.  As a religious power, it is the water of life, which marks the end of the cycle of ‘metensomatoses’; as an intellectual faculty, it constitutes the discipline of salvation that results in victory over time ad death and makes it possible to acquire the most complete kind of knowledge.”
128: “Memory is not simply a gift of second sight, a ‘decoding’ of the invisible that constantly interacts with the visible.  Instead, it becomes a means of transcending time and separating the soul from the body, hence a method of acceding to something radically different from the visible world.”
From Untimely Mediations Response
•    What is a sophist?
Interdisciplinary is indeed a tidy way of describing the sophists, but I not completely convinced this definition is ultimately fitting.  Certainly, we can describe their knowledge as widespread, and some might even say scattered, but I do not believe that our pedagogical approaches/education as a whole are much different.  We do not need skilled memory in order to know the “body, geometry, and epistemology.” Biological memory is no longer necessary for interdisciplinary studies, since I have a computer and a collection of books to assist me.  Detienne clarifies this distinction (albeit in a round-about way) when he states, “Memory is essential in an oral civilization, and specific mnemonic techniques must be perfected” (42).  However, contrary to Detienne, memory is non-essential for today’s digital orality, and only fluency in and knowledge of specific computer applications will allow one to study interdisciplinary-ly.  I guess, then, we can see a resurfacing of ‘sophists’ in today’s culture—sophists are, then, people who have moderately advanced knowledge about many topics because they know where /how to find and apply it.
•    What is sophistic rhetoric?
I have always thought “sophistic rhetoric” to be a redundant term.  If we are dazzling someone with our rhetoric, are we not ‘tricking’ him or her into something they did not previously believe?  In a way, we can look to last week’s New Hampshire primary and Clinton’s tears as a decent example (or her laugh, too, but the ‘teary’ results seem more immediate).  By crying, Clinton convinced voters of her humanness, her elect-ability.  By crying, Clinton displayed not Presidential qualities (presumably what one should vote on), but rather that she cries for America, too.  Sophistic rhetoric is like campaigning—we are (likely) voting for part of the candidate’s beliefs not simply because they align with ours, but because we are tricked into believing that the other issues are either great or don’t matter.
•    How are the sophists and their work related to earlier Greek traditions?
Detienne insists on choice—“Man no longer lived in an ambivalent world in which ‘contraries’ were complementary and oppositions were ambiguous.  He was now cast into a dualist world with clear-cut oppositions.  Choice became an urgent matter” (125-6).  To me, I see the sophists characterized by “distinction”—one is not x, but z. Not a, not b, but rather c.  One is distinct from something else, although not necessarily opposite from them.  All is related, but one needs to choose what something is not in order to determine its being.

August 2008
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