Monday, August 06, 2007

Lamb Screens

I feel a need to make a reconnection between what is emerging here with the important points which were originally made regarding multiplicity as it related to understanding “desiring one’s own repression.”

The key idea I originally wanted to develop (or is the word explore or is it refute or is it create, I don’t know,) was that the monism of will-to-power as conceived by Nietzsche is crucial to the formation of a kind of pluralism which is meaty, tough, and powerful—a pluralism which may open out a few politically pragmatic options within the peculiarly insipid and simultaneously disastrous phantasm-thoughts with which we as a species and a society confront our peculiarly insipid and simultaneously disastrous reality. In other words, I wanted to develop the specific monism of Nietzsche’s will-to-power as the only monism which makes Deleuze-Guattari’s famous and yet utterly bosh MONISM=PLURALISM formula from A Thousand Plateaus something more than the short circuit of everything else they say in that book.

In order to understand the concept I think MONISM=PLURALISM indicates in the way I want it understood, we CANNOT think that there are innocent and placid little lambs cavorting in a pasture, enjoying in “sedate contentment” (as Orla put it,) something we’d be accurate to call LIFE, however unfortunately threatened by some other creature we’d call a predatory animal, an evil species which threatened this happiness of the lambs. We must understand that the predatory animals and the lambs are both embodiments of will-to-power – giving the lamb and the predatory animal this sharing of will-to-power doesn’t reduce the lamb and the predatory animal to the same, however…This is actually the pre-condition for understanding their difference and beginning to conceive different strategies for their deadlock.

I’m going to limit myself in this post to just making this reminder.

Maybe as a kind of aside I can reinforce this reminder by noting that several years ago we had the heinous murder of approximately 3,500 US citizens followed by a righteous crusade for freedom and democracy and human rights which has succeeded in murdering a million or more foreign citizens; even though I cannot argue that this murder of a million or more foreign citizens has not cast some kind of shadow upon the innocence of the intentions of the lambs who have mounted the righteous crusade, I can say that it doesn’t deter them and whatever shadow is cast literally does not in their eyes stain that golden fleece they collectively wear, nor can it, and that this wearing of an indelible golden fleece is not incidental to the situation, nor is it mere illusion for them…The lambs do rape, poison, set fires, knife the back…Their “ideals” serving to make all of that strangely timorous at the same time it is starkly horrendous.

3 Comments:

Blogger Orla Schantz said...

First of all, many thanks Yusef for sharing your very productive and creative thought-processes with the rest of us. These are extremely stimulating posts on weighty matters that we need to develop to the best of our abilities.

Since I have not been very attentive during the last many weeks (I still managed to read you, though) I cannot comment in detail. Instead I'll try to look at the bigger picture, as it were. I hope this will be of some use.

It seems to me you have all along operated within a Nietzschean universe, beginning with the lamb - bird of prey dyad and them moved onto their attributes in the form of bravery/boldness versus cowardice/"The Last Man" syndrome. However productive this can be, it also represents a confinement in the creation of concepts or can be seen as a form of aborescent thought in the Deleuzean sense. When Nietzsche's vocabulary is employed like this it also carries with it a historicity of (say) aristocracy versus peasantry, in other words: feudalism to which Nietzsche was in some sense attracted. Another danger, it seems to me, is that it becomes personalized which is not usually very helpful.

Maybe one way of moving forward from this (I'm groping my way, here) would be to get a clearer understanding of Nietzsche's will-to-power principle. Life is constituted by a common and inexhaustible striving for power. Human life, with all its norms, judgements, and social truths, is merely a form through which life passes. This Nietzschean philosophy presupposes a plurality of forces acting upon and being affected by each other in a constant stream of creation striving for some kind of power.

As you know, Deleuze developed his concepts of planes of immanence from this inspiration from Nietzsche. When Deleuze introduced the idea of multiplicities I interpret this as a modification (maybe even rejection) of the will-to-power. Multiplicities are not parts of a greater whole that have been fragmented, and they cannot be considered manifold expressions of a single concept or transcendent unity. For these reasons, Deleuze opposes the dyad One/Many in all its form with multiplicity.

I agree with you that D&G's Monism=Pluralism frivolity from ATP is just that: frivolous. But their general thrust towards opening up all our thinking to a rhyzomic (un)totality is attractive. In this regard Nietzsche's approach seems a contraction.

When you write, Yusef;

We wanted boldness, and so we said, "Sapere aude," but of course we all understood something nice and tidy and civilized would be inherent in the boldness we wanted, or we'd put what we wanted (our "pleasant" touches) into or over all conceptions of boldness we'd choose to toy with, just as we'd sling a slip cover over any ugly couch...We'd put nicety in the form of an "academic" treatment over boldness even if every real indication we perceived ruled against just such nicety and tideity and civility in any real boldness we might find until any boldness we touched wouldn't be boldness and wouldn't even resemble boldness much after our work was done.

- you are locked in the prison of the vocabulary of Nietzsche and (almost) on the road to explaining "desiring one's own repression".

But your comment,

The LAST MAN is definitely not a bold man. But is the LAST MAN truly to be reckoned the most contemptible thing? Is not a rapist, an arson, a poisoner, or a Jack-the-Ripper, or a Mack-the-Knife, not obviously much more contemptible? The LAST MAN is obviously a bore, but is he contemptible? Just how sad is it to be a bore, and in what possible sense is to be boring the worst?

- is opening up to a multiplicity of not only differences, but also moralities. I think this is productive and the avenue to follow. "Sapere aude" should be about liberation not only from tyranny, cowardice, laziness, but also from mental imprisonment and moralistic condemnation.

Keep posting,

All the best,

Orla

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Yusef said...

Thanks for the comment, Orla. I look forward to you posting again soon.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Yusef said...

"When Nietzsche's vocabulary is employed like this it also carries with it a historicity of (say) aristocracy versus peasantry, in other words: feudalism to which Nietzsche was in some sense attracted. Another danger, it seems to me, is that it becomes personalized which is not usually very helpful.

Maybe one way of moving forward from this (I'm groping my way, here) would be to get a clearer understanding of Nietzsche's will-to-power principle. Life is constituted by a common and inexhaustible striving for power. Human life, with all its norms, judgements, and social truths, is merely a form through which life passes. This Nietzschean philosophy presupposes a plurality of forces acting upon and being affected by each other in a constant stream of creation striving for some kind of power."

The latter part of this, ( the last paragraph) is exactly the point I'm trying to make. I want to show how the Nietzschean monism of will-to-power is related to the pluralism you indicate. I may need help to know where what I am saying is so weak that this meaning doesn't get through.

9:11 PM  

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