Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Dynamics of Interruption, Part IV

I would like to linger (and ponder) on the simile of waveology and thinking. Not to be dragged down but to catch the wave and see where it leads us. This is, humbly, in the spirit of Nietzsche’s idea of thinking as ”shooting an arrow and imagining it reaches someone” or (more apt in this imagery) in Adorno’s ”hope of leaving behind a message in a bottle amidst the rising tide of barbarism.” (from Minima Moralia)

In other words, I’m not trying to ”arrive”, to generalize or define, but rather to experiment, play, and intuit. As Yusef has often stated, definitions limit and block creation. A text should be read as a stream instead of as a code to be deciphered.

Yusef writes,

You know as well as anyone the underlying ploy in using wave images to evoke what thinking is--we conventionally use wave images, sea images, romantically, poetically, as images of the unconscious seen as the effortless and natural and basically the thoughtless in thought.

Yes, of course, that’s the conventional interpretation of water. And ”thinking” would then be ”solid ground” beneath our feet? Stasis versus fluidity? Stability and ”truth” versus randomness and frivolity? Really?

Yusef further writes,

I am not persuaded your "wave" concept is not a generalization. You are taking one case of a propagation of force and then using it as the general case.

I take it you are using ”propagation” in the sense of physics as ”The act or process of propagating, especially the process by which a disturbance, such as the motion of electromagnetic or sound waves, is transmitted through a medium such as air or water.”

Isn’t this exactly what thinking should be: A Disturbance? Of conventionally used images. The Dynamics of Creative Interruption.

Or to continue this hypertext of texts (or waves creating waves) with a Deleuzian quote, ”The logic of a thinking is like a wind that pushes us in our backs, a series of gusts and tremors. As Leibniz says, you think you have safely arrived in harbor, but discovers that you are still on the open seas”.

And isn’t this what open, generous blogging should be: Tender gusts, irritating head winds, warm breezes, deadly twisters, and inviting waves? Curves instead of angles.

Speaking of waves (- again):

If things aren’t going too well in contemporary thought, it’s because there is a return under the name of ”modernism” to abstractions, back to the problem of origin, all that sort of thing … Any analysis in terms of movements, vectors, is blocked. We are in a very weak phase , a operiod of reaction. Yet philosophy thought it had done with the problem of origins. It was no longer a question of starting or finishing. The question was rather what happens ”in between”? And the same applies to physical movements.

The kind of movements you find in sports and habits are changing. We got by for a long time with an energetic conception of motion, where there is a point of contact, or we are the source of movement. Running, putting the shot, and so on: effort, resistance, with a starting point, a lever. But nowadays we see movement defined less and less in relation to a point of leverage.

All the new sports – surfing, windsurfing, hang-gliding – take the form of entering into an existing wave. There is no longer an origin as starting point, but a sort of putting-into-orbit. The key thing is how to get taken up in the motion of a big wave, a column of rising air, to ”flow into something”, instead of being the origin of an effort.

And yet in philosophy we are coming back to eternal values, to the idea of the intellectual as the custodian of eternal values.

(from interview with Gilles Deleuze by Antoine Dulaure and Claire Parnet in L’Autre Journal, October 1985, published in Pourparlers 1972-1990)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your use of waves is entirely conventional and does indeed invoke the tiresome binarisms of stasis versus dynamism, etc. What appears to be the case is that by taking the side of dynamism, etc. you so excite yourself as to believe you've left the binarisms behind.

Deleuze makes an observation about a change in attitude toward sport--I think the observation is interesting and the conclusion he draws about origins,efforts, and insertions is at least partially true. However, just because Deleuze spoke of waves and surfing doesn't mean what you are saying about waves and surfing makes much sense or addresses what you want to address.


9:22 PM  
Blogger Christoffer said...

So what comes from all this wave-surfing? And in what way does it encourage us to give up on the use of 'fixed concepts'? I recall this was one of the central points of mr. Schantz critique. I dont recall many philosophers not using concepts in their investigations. Perhaps with the exception of Nietzche. So maybe there is a way after all without concepts? However I do not see this path revealed in any of mr. Schantz writings.

Some concepts are binary in the way they make reference (to each other), but many others are not. Fx. an investigation into enlightenment man could show that this man was civilised because he was historical, and that his history was one of progress because he was rational, thus his past was nolonger circular and mythical, it had a forward momentum. All this constituted enlightenment man as a free being, and this made possible the ethical man who by free choice chose that which corresponded to his duty. Where does totality fit into all of this, and how does it correspond to modern man and the kind of rationality in the heartland of european science, art and culture that gave birth to Hitler?

11:42 AM  

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