Sunday, April 6, 2014

Becoming & Beyond

In terms of Deleuze and Guattari, I felt that we may have belabored the a-dialectical point a little in an effort to get somewhere beyond it that we didn’t really reach. So where were we trying to go with this?

For one thing, I think the question of dialectics helps us understand the linguistic delirium that marks D&G’s collaborative writing. I think of their approach to language as a reversal of Wittgenstein’s concept of language as the “vehicle of thought.” This conjures the image of a vehicle transporting ideational signifiers from one person to another along a route of communication.

D&G’s writing style seems an effort to schizophrenize this dialectical, representative approach to language to break its linguistic restraint on thought—to think beyond language. So we start with Wittgenstein’s little Monopoly car (This seems fitting because Wittgenstein writes of “language games”) moving from Point A to Point B. And then the car falls into a Lyotardian “differend,” the abyss between the signified and signifier, perhaps also between speaker and listener (“Arrive-t-il?” he asks). And then I think that we get D&G just exploding the little car in an eruption fireworks or something else along the lines of an 80’s-era “car falling off a cliff” action scene.

Moreover, D&G suggest a connection between capitalism and the “theater of representation” implicit in Oedipus. Yet… instead of suggesting that the proletariat will advance to a dictatorship (that seems suspiciously similar to that of the bourgeoisie), there is a sense of movement in the opposite direction—an idea of becoming-minor.

Like D&G, Negri attempts to articulate something that Marx might have said himself. Negri posits antagonism as a relationship different from dialectics. This seems to differ from the Hegelian dialectic only in that it fails to synthesize. The emphasis on transition seems to resonate with D&G, and the emphasis on work calls to mind Bataille. I don't have any finished thoughts or conclusions for you as yet-- just starting to position Negri in terms of a few other Marxist writers at this point... 

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