Disemboweling the Metropolis (complete)

This post contained an draft version of a dissertation section. A more recent version is now available on the works page.

Bergson’s Critique of Crude Materialism


All questions concerning the mode of the survival of the past will dismiss from the outset any psychological theory trying to locate recollections within the cerebral matter of the brain.To say, with Bergson, that the brain is a mere “central telephonic switchboard” transmitting movements is also “to say [that] it is in vain to attribute to the cerebral substance the property of engendering representations” (ibid.). In fact the final conclusions of Matter and Memory run as follows:“Questions relating to subject and object, to their distinction and their union, must be put in terms of time rather than of space” (ibid., 74/71, emphasis in original). As Frédéric Worms insightfully points out, we are here witnessing a crucial reversal of the relationship between the body and memory.Whereas from a practical point of view, the body is occupying the foreground in the theory of perception, it gets relegated to the background in the theory of memory. Similarly, while memory remains secondary from a practical point of view, it returns as primary with the reintroduction of time, which is to say, of becoming.Worms writes,“At bottom, the stakes are the following: the body, whose existence had been posed as an absolute in the first chapter, now depends on memory for its conservation in time!”26 This is the key to the Virtual informing the Bergsonian unconscious.

Valentine Moulard-Leonard, Transcendental Experience and the Thought of the Virtual, 31


Empire & The Grid

Yesterday, Matt asked a wonderful question about my theory of subjection in Empire and its relevance to Massumi’s use of “the grid” in the introduction to Parables For the Virtual.

Let me first preface this by saying that I believe Empire has already overcome the problem of the grid. It’s now just a problem for cultural studies and other disciplines that linger on old models of social analysis. In contrast to Empire, subjection in The Social State is absolutely indicative of a grid-type model of power, as are parts of the Modern State. ***Therefore: struggles against hierarchy and binary exclusion may benefit Empire rather than confront it.***

At the beginning Parables, Massumi claims that most cultural studies uses a social model premised on structural positions (“feminine,” “black,” etc). This is an application of an argument he inherits from Anti-Oedipus, where Deleuze and Guattari develop an elaborate critique of certain Fruedo-Lacanian psychoanalytic models that use a grid. They spare Lacan himself (Guattari was once the heir-apparent to Lacan’s ecole freudienne and remained under analysis even after the publication of AO), but are not so kind to his more dogmatic followers, such as Serge Leclaire.

Continue reading “Empire & The Grid”

death to “flat ontology”

Too much peddling in ‘flat ontology’ when it should really be process ontology.

(not to even mention the impossibly pernicious ‘paracite‘ of D&G that claims ‘ontology first’ when it’s really ‘politics first’ –> “For politics precedes being. Practice does not come after the emplacement of the terms and their relations, but actively participates in the drawing of the lines […]” ATP, 203).

To put the false Deluezism of ‘flat ontology’ to rest, I present to you a wonderfully strong philosophical reading of the rapport between the molar/molecular in ATP. Note, this does away with any lingering base/superstructure that may have tinged Anti-Oedipus. Rather, it’s the ‘telescopic’ doubling also called reflexive clearly articulated through Hjemselv, but found in other places like Luhmann, and expanded into the general D&G metaphysics, but missed by DeLanda… Continue reading “death to “flat ontology””