Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Viva Las Concept

How do we conceptualize? Or do we? Why would we want to do so? How is conceptualization different than, say, innovation? What is distinctive about those mental acts which are designated conceptualization? Is conceptualization a specifically mental act? Does giving conceptualization a new kind of primacy lead those who do so into a new instantiation of psychologism within philosophy? Why would conceptualization not be a subjectivity? ( In that old-fashioned sense of the word Is there anything about conceptualization which would free conceptualization from being yet another form of organization, and therefore repression? Is there any particular reason to believe that when we desire to conceptualize we are not desiring, not a form of resistance, but yet another form of our own repression?

I want to approach these questions while continuing on in trying to explain why I think that Deleuze and Guattari’s strategy of resistance requires a saturation of the social field by concept creation.

I have to try, very briefly, to indicate Deleuze and Guattari’s understanding that the social field in which our resistance is to be enacted is almost entirely unlike the one in the nineteenth century in which Marx theorized resistance:

“In comparison to the capitalist State, the socialist States are children—but children who learned something from their father concerning the axiomatizing role of the State. But the socialist States have more trouble stopping unexpected flow leakage except by direct violence. What on the contrary can be called the co-opting power of capitalism can be explained by the fact that its axiomatic is not more flexible, but wider and more englobing. In such a system no one escapes participation in the activity of antiproduction that drives the entire productive system. ‘ But it is not only those who man and supply the military machine who are engaged in an anti-human enterprise. The same can be said in varying degrees of many millions of other workers who produce, and create wants for, goods and services which no one needs. And so interdependent are the various sectors and branches of the economy that nearly everyone is involved in one way or another in these anti-human activities: the farmer supplying food to troops fighting in Vietnam, the tool and die makers turning out the intricate machinery needed for a new automobile model, the manufacturers of paper and ink and TV sets whose products are used to control the minds of the people, and so on and so on.’( Baran and Sweezy, Monopoly Capital, page 344.) […] The definition of surplus value must be modified in terms of the machinic surplus value of constant capital, which distinguishes itself from the human surplus value of variable capital and from the nonmeasurable nature of this aggregate of surplus value of flux.”– Anti-Oedipus, pages 236,237.

This fantastic hallucinatory and horrifying admixture of production and anti-production leads Deleuze and Guattari to pose these questions:

“So what is the solution? Which is the revolutionary path? Psychoanalysis is of little help, entertaining as it does the most intimate of relations with money, and recording – while refusing to recognize it—an entire system of economic-monetary dependences at the heart of the desire of every subject it treats. Psychoanalysis constitutes for its part a gigantic enterprise of absorption of surplus value. But which is the revolutionary path? Is there one ? –To withdraw from the one world market, as Samir Amin advises Third World countries to do, in a curious revival of the fascist ‘economic solution’? Or might it be to go in the opposite direction? To go still further, that is, in the movement of the market, of decoding and deterritorialization? For perhaps the flows are not yet deterritorialized enough, not decoded enough, from the viewpoint of a theory and practice of a highly schizophrenic character. Not to withdraw from the process, but to go further, to ‘accelerate the process,’ as Nietzsche put it: in this matter, the truth is that we haven’t seen anything yet.” Anti-Oedipus, pages 239-240.

I am pushing toward a direct linking of the ideas of concept creation and what it means to “ go still further, in the movement of the market, of decoding and deterritorialization” to accelerate these processes…

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Yusef,

Let me be pedantic, at least about your Spanish. It IS:

Viva el concepto

You write, after your quotes:

I am pushing toward a direct linking of the ideas of concept creation and what it means to “ go still further, in the movement of the market, of decoding and deterritorialization” to accelerate these processes…

"Anti-Oedipus" is from 1972 in the heyday of Marxist anti-capitalism student protests with Deleuze teaching at the University of Paris VIII at Vincennes/St. Denis, an experimental school organized to implement educational reform where he taught until his retirement in 1987.

If you want to decode and deterritorialize capitalism 34 years later after the paradigm shift of 1989 in Europe, rapid globalization, the inclusion of India and China into world economics, pervasive "movement of the market", you need to get outside the historic concept creation paradigm of Deleuze, anno 1972, and move on to constructive concept creation in the 21st century.

Fortunately for us he is urging us forward.

All the best - and thanks for your stimulating posts,

Orla Schantz

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Yusef said...

Thanks for the correction on the Spanish, Orla.

I had no idea.

"Viva Las Concept" was meant to be a take on " Viva Las Vegas," one of my favorite Elvis hits.

Give me a little time to work into the 21st century. I'm trying to establish some sort of progression here.

Best wishes to you.

You are helping me out here.

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Yusef said...

"If you want to decode and deterritorialize capitalism 34 years later after the paradigm shift of 1989 in Europe, rapid globalization, the inclusion of India and China into world economics, pervasive "movement of the market", you need to get outside the historic concept creation paradigm of Deleuze, anno 1972, and move on to constructive concept creation in the 21st century."- Orla Schantz

I will need your further assistance to do this, Orla, because I am not aware of what kinds of constructive concept creation is contemporary which does not flow from the work of Deleuze, Guattari, and some of the other French philosophers of the latter twentieth century.

Later, I wanted to show that Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri have picked up on the strain of Deleuze and Guattari that I am starting to outline in my posts.

In some way, I am trying to answer the call of Hardt and Negri in their recent books - not by expanding their theory or offering further theoretical support to them, but by actually working to start making these fluid matrices they see as the basis of both a contemporary resistance to "Empire" and the creation of democratic alternatives to it.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course to innovate means to confabulate thoughts never conceived previously, whereas conceptualization enforces no such restriction... unless of course one specifies that the concept be an entirely "new" one.... and therefore an "innovative" concept.

What is money? Labor (Adam Smith). What creates surplus value? The division of labor into smaller and smaller "specialized" pieces, each requiring a smaller and smaller set of ever more "specialized" labor skills, most of which eventually make labor "dull" since it requires no "innovation" to perform... making it "unfullfilling" and "repetitive" labor. Some processes requires years of expensive training to acquire (ie. surgeon). Others simply require a strong back or a repetitive motion.

But please, feel free to excoriate the farmer for growing the food required to feed the people (since the army always TAKES 1st fruits). By all means... excoriate him so that he produces less and then let ALL the people starve.

Or better yet, join the forces of "globalization" and push the globe to its' Maltheusian limits. For we all know that food production proceeds at a linear rate, and population expands at an exponential one.

I suggest we return to a very old system of economics... of the type expounded by Xenophon. But then again, it would be very difficult to keep a "set of ledgers" if one needed to offset his "friends" by his "enemies". For having a mendicant as a "friend" hardly offsets the xpense of having a king for an "enemy".

-anon.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Yusef said...

In saying that the farmer is being excoriated, is the idea behind this that the farmer or farming are thought to be excluded from the processes of innovation ( or concept creation)?

Nothing could be further from the truth.

7:10 PM  

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