No Nonsense: Living Next Door to Carroll

I was going to continue on this in the previous essay but then I thought that it’d be better to do a split instead. So, I’m picking up where I left off, examining the English translation of Gilles Deleuze’s book ‘Logique du sens’, ‘The Logic of Sense’. Why? Because, well, in the absence of meaning, I’d like to make sense of things. That’s why.

In this book Deleuze wonders how it is that one come to make sense of anything, really, and how is it that language works in all this. He (12-22) starts with a proposition that has four dimensions: denotation or indication (indexing), manifestation (enunciation), signification (implication, conditions) and sense (expressed, incorporeal complex). Now, this already assumes that you are familiar with the concept of event, but we’ll get to that eventually in the text.

Right, so starting with the first dimension, the denotation or indication, what Deleuze (12) calls “the relation of the proposition to an external state of affairs” which “is individuated”, including “particular bodies, mixtures of bodies, qualities, quantities, and relations.” It functions to represent these state of affairs. With this something either is or isn’t. Simple as that. He (13) warns that these are not universal and should not be treated as such. Instead they are particulars or singulars. Their function is to designate, to index, to “alone form properly material singularities”. He (13) lists these: “this, that, it, here, there, yesterday, now, etc.” These are either true or false. Either this is this or it isn’t. Either it’s here or it isn’t. Yesterday was yesterday, otherwise it wasn’t.

The second dimension, what Deleuze (13) calls the manifestation has to do with the enunciation, who speaks and expresses oneself. He (13) explains that it is “therefore … presented as a statement of desires and beliefs which correspond to the proposition” and the desires are “the internal causality of an image with respect to the existence of the object or the corresponding state of affairs.” He (13) adds that beliefs are “the anticipation of this object or state of affairs insofar as its existence must be produced by an external causality.” At this stage he (13) gives primacy to manifestation, to who speaks, over denotation or indication, as it is, as already discussed a number of times, always the ‘I’ who speaks or writes. So, yes, something like ‘yesterday’ already necessitates that someone says or writes ‘yesterday’. It makes it all possible, as noted by him (13). He (13-14) clarifies that in this case it’s not about true or false, as it is with denotation or indication, but about veracity and illusion. If you struggle with this, it’s because it’s not the easiest to of topics. He (14) exemplifies this via Descartes:

“In his celebrated analysis of the piece of wax, for example, Descartes is not at all looking for that which was dwelling in the wax – this problem is not even formulated in this text; rather, he shows how the I, manifest in the Cogito, grounds the judgment of denotation by which the wax is identified.”

Now, if you’ve read my essay on judgment or, alternatively, the texts covered in it, this is fairly easy to grasp. In short, this is how one ends up skipping the bit on how it is always the ‘I’ who expresses something, be it in speech or writing, or any other mode of expression. This is the doctrine of judgment, that ignores the constitution of the subject by presupposing it, thus grounding everything else as secondary to it, even though it’s actually the other way around. It is the subject that is secondary.

The third dimension is signification. Deleuze (14) characterizes it as “a question of the relation of the word universal or general concepts, and of syntactic connections to the implication of the concept.” He he (14) explains, from this standpoint, “we always consider the elements of the proposition as ‘signifying’ conceptual implications capable of referring to other propositions, which serve as premises of the first.” Note, the word ‘premises’ here. In other words, words come to relate to other words. If you are familiar with the chain of signification, this is not at all new to you. If you are not familiar with it, think of a word and look it up in a dictionary. You’ll find that the word you were looking for is explained by others words. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the other words, so you have to look them up as well in order to make sense of the word you were looking for in the dictionary in the first place. It may also be that the words used to explain the words used to explain what you were looking for are unfamiliar to you and so on. It will go on and on and on and on, hence it’s pointless to ask what something means. It also makes no difference to attempt to triangulate, to ask others what this or that means, because it ends up on the same chain of signification, deferring meaning infinitely. There is no true or false condition here, as noted by Deleuze (14). Instead, as already pointed out in other words, he (14) states that signification has to do with premises and conclusions based on those premises.

Deleuze (14) uses the word ‘implies’, as in implication, and ‘therefore’, as in conclusion, to explain how this dimension functions. Implication is the relation between what is implied in what’s stated and what is then concluded or asserted on its basis. In his (14) words:

“‘Implication’ is the sign which defines the relation between premises and conclusion; ‘therefore’ is the sign of assertion, which defines the possibility of affirming the conclusion itself as the outcome of implications.”

He (14) states that signification is an indirect process, whereas denotation or indication is a direct process. Importantly, what results from this is that, as I pointed out already, it’s not a matter of true and false, either or, yes or no, but a matter of conditions, whether something is true inasmuch as the premises hold for us to assert something as such. It would be tempting to call the failure to do so as false. However, Deleuze (14-15) stresses that this is not the case, as in signification truth “is not opposed to the false but to the absurd”. We are not qualifying something as true or false, but whether it makes sense or whether it is absurd. If you fail to grasp this, open your word processor or take a piece of paper and write some sentences, followed by a concluding sentence that starts with ‘therefore’. Conversely, don’t write the premises, only the conclusion, starting with ‘therefore’. You’ll notice how your ‘therefore’ sentence is fine as it is. It’s not false. The assertion is just absurd in the absence of the premises. Write in the premises and voila, it’s no longer absurd.

Deleuze (15) turns his attention to primacy again. It was established already established that manifestation, the ‘I’, appears to hold primacy over denotation or indication. Now he (15) re-examines this notion as signification is brought into the picture. He (15) does this in two parts:

“In the order of speech [parole], it is the I which begins, and begins absolutely. In this order, therefore, the I is primary, not only in relation to all possible denotations which are founded upon it, but also in relation to the significations which it envelops.”

So, yes, it would appear that the ‘I’ is primary. However, he (15) then further addresses this:

“But precisely from this standpoint, conceptual significations are neither valid nor deployed for themselves: they are only implied (thought not expressed) by the I, presenting itself as having signification which is immediately understood and identical to its own manifestation.”

Here we come back to the earlier point made about Descartes, which I then spoiled for you. He (15) explains:

“This is why Descartes could contrast the definition of man as a rational animal with his determination as Cogito: for the former demands an explicit development of the signified concepts (what is animal? what is rational?), whereas the latter is supposed to be understood as soon as it is said.”

So, as I pointed out, in the Cartesian formulation the self is always self-evident, the premise to everything else. It is always the ‘I’ that says ‘I’. What about outside speech (parole) then? He (15) notes that in the domain of language (langue), signification is always primary, the subject and the objects being secondary, thus manifestation is secondary. He (16) then addresses the primacy of signification over denotation, which he finds problematic. He (16) finds signification problematic because, as already discussed with regards to the chain of signification, for something to hold, to be concluded, to be posited as true, the premises must themselves hold, to be posited as true. See, now, for those to hold, we need to qualify them as well. Once that’s done, we have each premise for a conclusion turned into a conclusion, which rely on certain other premises, which now also need to be qualified. It will go on to infinity. We can, of course, swap premises with other premises, but that only tells us that we can explain this or that heterogeneously, as explained by Deleuze (16).

Together these three, as explained so far, form what Deleuze (16-17) calls “the circle of proposition.” In recap, thus far, we have three dimensions with the manifestation seeming to have primacy over the other two dimensions, yet, it being called into question as it only seems to be the case in speech, not in language itself. He (17) wonders whether his formulation is sufficient and whether making sense can be localized in one of the dimensions. He (17) rejects denotation as grounds for making sense because it all about true or false:

“Sense, evidently, can not consists of that which renders proposition true or false, nor of the dimension in which these values are realized. Moreover, denotation would be able to support the weight of the proposition only to the extent that one would be able to show a correspondence between words and denoted things or states of affairs.”

In other words, it would indeed be quite limiting. Sense would be limited to correspondence between words and things or states of affairs. Anyway it just doesn’t work that we make sense by mere indexicality. Therefore Deleuze (17) posits this the other way around, denotation presupposes sense, otherwise denoting wouldn’t work.

So, okay, denotation is not where sense is localized. What about manifestation? Deleuze (17) is more positive on this one, considering that it was already established that the ‘I’ holds primacy in speech, albeit not language in general. He (17) exemplifies this by noting that if you never started to speak, that is to say you would only speak when spoken to, there’d be no speech. Then again, he (17-18) goes on to point out that the desires and beliefs of the self, the ‘I’, rely on signification and, at least in the case of Descartes, are grounded upon “the permanence of certain signifieds”, namely God, and, I guess, more contemporarily, pure reason. Simply put, Deleuze (17) isn’t content on identifying sense with manifestation either as it is in part reliant on signification.

What about signification then? He (17) points out the issue of circularity, how something always needs to be grounded on something else in signification. He (17) then notes that the issue with signification is how we come to define it as the condition of truth, which then gives it “a characteristic it shares with sense, and which is already a characteristic of sense.” In other words, we come to mix up signification with sense. He (17) locates the issue in raising “ourselves above the true and the false” when discussing the conditions of truth. So, in other words, as he (17) clarifies, we end up starting “from the conditioned to the condition, in order to think of the condition as the simple possibility of the conditioned.” This is perpetual, as he (18) points out, hence the circularity. He (18) identifies this as a defect:

“For the condition of truth to avoid this defect, it ought to have an element of its own, distinct from the form of the conditioned. It ought to have something unconditioned capable of assuring a real genesis of denotation and of the other dimensions of the proposition.”

What would result from this, were it the case that is, not as it is defectively in signification, he (18) clarifies as “defined no longer as the form of conceptual possibility, but rather as ideational material or ‘stratum,’ that is to say, no longer as signification, but rather as sense.”

This is why Deleuze, alongside Félix Guattari (67) state in ‘A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia’ that, once we get around this, it about the double pincers of stratification: “We are never signifier or signified. We are stratified.” Anyway, as it is evident that the three dimensions fail to qualify where sense is localized, it must be its own dimension.

To explain what sense is, Deleuze (19) states that it was what “[t]he Stoics discovered … along with the event” as “the expressed of the proposition”, as “an incorporeal, complex, and irreducible entity, at the surface of things, a pure even which inheres or subsists in the proposition.” I’m skipping the bits here where he notes that it was rediscovered a couple of times, lost in between in order for it to be rediscovered, and they surfaced at certain times in opposition to other logics. To be clear, what it is, the logic of sense, is “a reversal of Platonism”, as noted by Deleuze (19). Unless you don’t know who Plato is, the ramifications of this are obviously massive. If you’ve ever wondered why it is that what I write, or rather write on, in my essays or in my articles, is hard to understand, if not incomprehensible, it’s because I subscribe to a different line of thinking, what Deleuze calls an image of thought in ‘Difference and Repetition’. It is a reversal of Platonism. If you fail to get what I’m after, it’s very likely because you subscribe to a Platonist image of thought. Now, I realize that you might disagree with me on this, that you don’t subscribe to anything, but that’s exactly the point I’m making. It’s very hard to even think that there are different lines of thinking, different images of thought, if you’ve been immersed in a world characterized by Platonism ever since, well, since Plato, which makes it a tradition of about nearly two and half thousand years old. It is by no accident that Alfred North Whitehead (39) pointed out in ‘Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology’ that:

“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”

While it goes without saying that his successors haven’t simply copied him and that not everyone was or is a Platonist, Plato and Platonism are, nonetheless, highly influential, as noted by Whitehead (39). It would be very hard to argue against that, which makes it even more impressive. Actually, calling it highly influential makes it seem like it’s just highly influential, which is quite the understatement. A man dead over two thousand years and everything else is, more or less, a footnote to his thinking. It makes one’s articles look a bit … shit really. While obviously flattering to Plato, it’s not exactly flattering to be a mere footnote to him, which you are, almost inevitably, at least if your image of thought is that of Platonism.

Now, where was I? Right, Deleuze (19) asks:

“[I]s there something, aliquid, which merges neither with the proposition or with the terms of the proposition, nor with the object or with the state of affairs which the proposition denotes, neither with the ‘lived,’ or representation or the mental activity of the person who expresses herself in the proposition, nor with the concepts or even signified essences?”

Whoa, what a long question! So, he is asking whether sense is something that isn’t the proposition itself or a part of it, or any of the three dimensions or a part of them, one way or another, alone or in any combination with one another. In reverse, if there is such, sense, it will be irreducible to the proposition or the three dimensions already discussed. The problem is, as acknowledged by Deleuze (18-19), that as its irreducible, it’s not possible to explain it as that would entail reduction. He (19) realizes that it’s not going to satisfy everyone:

“It is difficult to respond to those who wish to be satisfied with words, things, images, and ideas. For we may not even say that sense exists either in things or in the mind; it has neither physical nor mental existence.”

Simply put, as he (19) clarifies, sense can only be inferred, after going through the hurdles, attempting to understand how language works, going in circles. He (19-20) likens the process of inferring, making sense, the fourth dimension, to unfolding and untwisting a circle, as with the Möbius strip.

He (20) then moves on to address how Edmund Husserl approaches this dimension, the expression. He (20) characterizes Husserl’s sense as “an impassive and incorporeal entity, without physical or mental existence, neither acting nor being acted upon – a pure result or pure ‘appearance.’” In his (20-21) parlance, Husserl’s appearance is a surface effect and the perceptual noema or sense of perception is the event. He (20) exemplifies the appearance or surface effect, by how, for example, with the color green, in the sense that it is a sensible color or a quality, whereas to green, as in, for example, ‘the tree greens’, is the noematic color or the attribute. Pay attention to how the former is an attribute, “a quality, a mixture of things, a mixture of tree and air where chlorophyll coexists with all the parts of the leaf”, whereas the latter is an event, a verb, a happening, “an attribute which is said of the thing”, as explained by Deleuze (20).

After explaining sense in Husserlian terms, Deleuze (21-22) reiterates that “sense does not exist outside the proposition” and defines it as “both the expressible or the expressed of the proposition, and the attribute of the state of affairs.” So, as he (22) explains, it has two sides, one that has to do with things, the state of affairs, and another one that has to do with propositions, the expressions, but it does not merge with either. In other words, he (22) indicates it as an in-between the two, hovering at “the boundary of propositions and things” or, should we say, words and things. He (22) then states that sense is actually an event, but only on the condition that is not reduced into a mere attribute of it, into “its spatio-temporal realization in a state of affairs.” So, as he (22) puts it, there is no point asking “what is the sense of the event” as “the event is sense itself.” This is why I didn’t explain the event earlier on. Of course, as he points out, one shouldn’t reduce sense, the event, into mere realization as that would relegate into just that, how things are arranged at a specific point in time and space. Instead, it keeps going. Why?

It keeps on going because “[t]he event belongs essentially to language; it has an essential relationship with language”, as expressed by Deleuze (22). However, you can’t simply relegate the event to language either. It has to do things because “language is what is said of things”, as clarified by him (22).

Because it’s only relevant to where I’m getting at with this, especially with the wording ‘words and things’, I’ll make note of this bit by Deleuze (22):

“Jean Gatt[é]gno has indeed noted the difference between [Lewis] Carroll’s stories and classical fairy tales: in Carroll’s work, everything that takes place occurs in and by means of language; ‘it is not a story which he tells us, it is a discourse which he addresses to us, a discourse in several pieces. …’”

Ah, yes, discourse. Perhaps words and things now ring a bell. Anyway, what I just covered, what sense is, not that I can ever explain it, really, may seem somewhat familiar to you if you have read ‘A Thousand Plateaus’. In that book, the event, which is here tied to the discussion of sense, is called an incorporeal transformation, as noted by Brian Massumi (148) in his book ‘A User’s Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Deviations from Deleuze and Guattari’. On the plateau on linguistics in ‘A Thousand Plateaus’, ‘November 20, 1923: Postulates of Linguistics’, Deleuze and Guattari (108) state:

“The incorporeal transformation is the expressed of order-words, but also the attribute of bodies.”

That concept occurs so many times in that plateau that I’m not going to go through all of the occurrences. Here we have the expressed and the attribute, the words that do something to bodies, not unlike in ‘The Logic of Sense’, but they are not the bodies themselves. They (86) explain this, first by elaborating corporeal transformations, bodies on bodies, or so to speak:

“When knife cuts flesh, when food or poison spreads through the body, when a drop of wine falls into water, there is an intermingling of bodies[.]”

That actually happens, with very obvious consequences, so, if you do, perhaps just try the last one, albeit, that’s probably a waste of wine. In contrast, with words, they (86) add:

“[B]ut the statements, ‘The knife is cutting the flesh,’ ‘I am eating,’ ‘The water is turning red,’ express incorporeal transformations of an entirely different nature (events).”

Those are the incoporeal transformations of corporeal bodies. They (86) further explain this:

“[I]ncorporeal transformations, incorporeal attributes, apply to bodies, and only to bodies. They are the expressed of statements but are attributed to bodies. The purpose is not to describe or represent bodies; bodies already have proper qualities, actions and passions, souls, in short forms, which are themselves bodies. Representations are bodies too!”

Oh, and in case you were wondering, they are using the word body in a very broad sense, as in, for example, a body of water, as is the case with mixing wine with water. Anyway, they (86) continue:

“If noncorporeal attributes apply to bodies, if there are good grounds for making a distinction between the incorporeal expressed ‘to become red’ and the corporal quality ‘red,’ etc., it has nothing to [do] with representation. We cannot even say that the body or state of things is the ‘referent’ of the sign. In expressing the noncorporeal attribute, and by token attributing it to the body, one is not representing or referring but intervening in a way; it is a speech act.”

In other words, words meddle with things, in ways that don’t actually physically change the things, beyond how we make sense of the things. I realize that the examples so far might not be convincing. Anyway, I’ll get to that shortly. They (81) also note that.

“The incorporeal transformation is recognizable by its instantaneousness, its immediacy, by the simultaneity of the statement expressing the transformation and the effect the transformation produces[.]”

To this, to get to examples, and to tie this with how in ‘The Logic of Sense’ it’s noted that words also have to do with things, not only words, I have to add that one does indeed also need the things to back up the words. They (81) offer a number of examples, one which is an airplane hijacking. I’m going to explain the same thing with armed bank robbery. So, an armed robber walks into a bank, brandishing an assault rifle, and yells ‘this is a robbery!’ Those in the bank are immediately turned into hostages. Nothing physically happens to them. Their bodies do not transform in the corporeal sense. That said, they are now, in effect, not bank customers but hostages. That’s an incorporeal transformation for you, backed up by the fact that it’s unlikely that the customers-turned-into-hostages are going to object to their transformation. Let’s walk through this one more time, but let’s remove the assault rifle from the bank robber. Yeah, that doesn’t really work now, does it? You do need that assault rifle, or whatever firearm that functions to back up that claim. On top of that, if the conditions are right, another body, the bank, a place of commerce, is transformed as it is turned into a prison.

Want a less dramatic example? Well, they (82) provide more, which I’m sure you can look up yourself (assuming the edition happens to be the same, I’m giving you the page, unlike most people in their articles, mind you). Among the less dramatic ones, they (82) note that the conditions have to be right to say ‘I love you’. Okay, fair enough, that can be quite dramatic, albeit not in the ‘I might get shot’ kind of a way. Anyway, the point with that being that if you say that to the right person at right time, it’ll lead to some good times, at least in the short term that is. State that to the wrong person or the right person but at the wrong time, for example too soon, then, yeah, that won’t work.

Going back a bit, to an earlier remark in ‘The Logic of Sense’, it was noted (22) that sense is an in-between, located at “the boundary of propositions and things”, turning on one side towards propositions and one the other side towards things. In ‘A Thousand Plateaus’, Deleuze and Guattari (88) speak of assemblages, which have two segments:

“[A]n assemblage comprises two segments, one of content, the other of expression. On the one hand it is a machinic assemblage of bodies, of actions and passions, an intermingling of bodies reacting to one another; on the other hand it is a collective assemblage of enunciation, of acts and statement, of incorporeal transformations attributed to bodies.”

Now this is a bit more complex than what is covered in ‘The Logic of Sense’. I’m not going to cover it here as I’ve covered ‘A Thousand Plateaus’ quite a bit before and I’m sure you can (and should) read it yourself (it’s even better to read the book, not my essays, but whatever works for you). Anyway, to get somewhere with this, this is why Deleuze and Guattari (22) state in the intro that:

“[A]ll we know are assemblages. And the only assemblages are machinic assemblages of desire and collective assemblages of enunciation. No signifiance, no subjectification: writing to the nth power (all individuated enunciation remains trapped withing the dominant significations, all signifying desire is associated with dominated subjects). An assemblage, in its multiplicity, necessarily acts on semiotic flows, material flows, and social flows simultaneously (independently of any recapitulation that may be made of it in a scientific or theoretical corpus).”

I realize that this involves coming to grips with not being the center of the universe, that you, the ‘I’, the self is no longer primary and everything else is secondary. I reckon it can even be painful, to the extent that you’ll just outright reject it. It entails shattering the image of yourself as an autonomous rational thinker, capable of just about everything, so yeah, you might just reject it, not necessarily consciously but unconsciously, just to protect yourself, your sanity. It may sound like I’m one-upping people, that I’m better than others, able to do exactly this and embrace a radically different image of thought, as if that was something that you can do overnight. No. No. No. It has taken me not only an attitude of can and will, above everything else, but also time, as well as caution. Deleuze and Guattari (160) are super clear on this:

“You don’t do it with a sledgehammer, you use a very fine file.”

So, gradually, slowly, leaning into it, not forcing yourself into it. They (160) also aptly note that:

“And how necessary caution is, the art of dosages, since overdose is a danger.”

Why is it that one has to be careful then? Why can or should you not just go for it, work your way through it with a sledgehammer, or so to speak? Well, it has to do with the mixed semiotic, the one relevant to our everyday life. It is a sticky mixture of signification and subjectification, what I’ve been explaining in this essay with regards to words and to who utters those words, the ‘I’. In their (160) words:

“Actually, dismantling the organism is no more difficult than dismantling the other two strata, signifiance and subjectification.”

Oh, okay, you may be saying or thinking something right now, but let’s let them (160) finish:

“Signifiance clings to the soul just as the organism clings to the body, and it is not easy to get rid of either. And how can we unhook ourselves from the points of subjectification that secure us, nail us down to a dominant reality?”

So, what to do? What are their pro tips on this? Well, they (160) suggest caution:

“Tearing the conscious away from the subject in order to make it a means of exploration, tearing the unconscious away from signifiance and interpretation in order to make it a veritable production: this is assuredly no more or less difficult than tearing the body away from the organism.”

Let’s not sugarcoat this. The problem is that if you don’t proceed with caution, and, to some extent even if you do, you may well lose your shit. You’ve been warned. That’s what a couple of thousand years of one-way thinking does to people, even if they only live less than a century themselves and are not even aware of any of this, which is, as pointed out already, pretty much what issue really is. You never opted in for such and opting out involves risking your sanity. Now this why I don’t blame people.

I don’t know about others, but no one ever proposed to me that I should think differently or that it’s even possible. No one. Ever. Nine years of compulsory education. Three years of high school on top of that. I actually did philosophy courses in high school but the curriculum included little non-Greek or non-Kantian and the Greeks are, of course, Plato and Aristotle. A Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree later, still nothing. Crickets. It was having to, no, getting to engage with literature outside my comfort zone, my ‘own’ discipline, that pushed me into this direction. Sure, I could have just ignored all the hoopla about something as obscure as philosophy, like many, no, most of my supposed peers do, some random ass people like Michel Foucault who kept cropping up in my reading on landscapes, but it just seemed a bit dishonest and rather naïve to not read what the people who I was reading had read.

Anyway, the point here is not about realizing this or that, but how it took about … close to thirty years in my life to end up reading anything that challenges, well, anything I’ve come to take for granted and that only because of a certain paranoia, a certain distrust of others who make use of the works of others, say, Foucault. So, yeah, I don’t think that I’m in a position to blame people, to judge them, if they can’t see that there are other images of thought, besides the one they ended up with, never opting in to it in the first place. I’m more concerned by how that is and how that keeps on being. I’m even more concerned with how that is the case with people who are supposed to be the crème de la crème, the supposedly brightest of minds in the academics.

This lands me to a point that I’m not criticized for, but that my supposed peers fail to recognize. This goes back to the earlier remark I made in the previous essay about the perceived lack of inclusivity of different viewpoints in my research, the so called emic perspectives. I dare to state that I’m fairly well versed when it comes to landscape research. Let’s not beat around the bush. I reckon “I know my shit” when it comes to all things landscape. I wouldn’t dare to assert that if I didn’t. The problem that I have with including the views of those who dwell in the landscape, those who work there, those who have any stake in it, really, is that it ignores how the world works. I’m not even talking about how landscape operates to create a certain kind of reality, which I’ll get to shortly, but more profoundly how the subject is not primary, but secondary. This is the point about subjectification, being subject to before being subject of. It’s the wrong way around, thinking that you, the subject, the self, the ‘I’, are the center of the universe, that you know it all, as much as anyone else, and what is outside is there for you is a given. This has everything to do with how we make sense of the world. What about me then? Well, assemblages are all I know.

I was actually explaining this, my gripes, the other day. I believe the issue is exactly that people who I deal with, let’s be honest here, probably everyone, not only my peers and supposed peers, presuppose the subject. They may get that I’m interested in how landscape and/or its particulars, the things, come to shape us, very discreetly. By doing so, I think that people posit themselves, the ‘I’, and then examine how they are in relation to the outside, all these particulars, these things that I tell them that I’m interested in. The issue is that this already presupposes the self, the ‘I’. What I’m interested is how the world and its particulars, both the animate and the inanimate, in engagement with one another, come to make who we are, at any given moment, not only after the ‘I’ has claimed primacy. Simply put, the world is primary, people are secondary and the world has already made you you before you come to realize it. This is exactly why I’m not interested in what someone has to say about this or that, because it’s only likely that they presuppose the autonomous rational self, the ‘I’, the Cartesian Cogito.

If you fail to make sense of this, how it is that we are assembled, along with everything else, I recommend Pierre Bourdieu’s book ‘The Logic of Practice’. If French works for you, consult the original ‘Le sense pratique’. In his formulation the issue is twofold. He (52) first elaborates what we deal with:

“Objectivism constitutes the social world as a spectacle offered to an observer who takes up a ‘point of view’ on the action and who, putting into the object the principles of his relation to the object, proceeds as if it were intended solely for knowledge and as if all the interactions within it were purely symbolic exchanges.”

And then how one ought to look at it to better understand it, in practice (52):

“The theory of practice as practice insists, contrary to positivist materialism, that the objects of knowledge are constructed, not passively recorded, and, contrary to intellectualist idealism, that the principle of this construction is the system of structured, structuring dispositions, the habitus, which is constituted in practice and is always oriented towards practical functions.”

In other words, as explained by Bourdieu (52), and taking some creative liberties here, one is always in the milieu, in the middle of it all, situated in activity, in practice, in relation to the world. The world is not just simply out there, waiting for you to inspect it and you to feed off from it. In his (52) words:

“[O]ne has to situate oneself within ‘real activity as such’, that is, in the practical relation to the world, the preoccupied, active presence in the world through which the world imposes its presence, with its urgencies, its things to be done and said, things made to be said, which directly govern words and deeds without ever unfolding as a spectacle.”

If you wonder why he uses the word spectacle. I reckon he uses to juxtapose how we are in the middle of it all, engaging with the world, consciously and unconsciously, rather than sovereigns, external to the world, as if looking at it from high ground, at a safe distance, gazing at what unfolds according to some preset plan, bearing little relevance to us. There’s this “oooh, would you look at that!” sense to it, as if you were that observant.

To complement this, the habitus, look up doxa, ancient Greek for opinion. Bourdieu (68) regards it as a state of the body, not a state of mind, nor an “arbitrary adherence to a set of instituted dogmas and doctrines”, i.e. beliefs. I reckon I agree, in the sense that I see no point in upholding some body/mind duality anyway. He (68) further clarifies it:

“Doxa is the relationship of immediate adherence that that is established in practice between a habitus and the field to which it is attuned, the pre-verbal taking-for-granted of the world that flows from practical sense.”

Conversely, he (68) rejects thinking that humans are veritable notepads, where he scribe down something and then it’s there, stored, for us to use. He (69) explains how it is that we come to take things for granted then:

“Practical sense, social necessity turned into nature, converted into motor schemes and body automatisms, is what causes practices, in and through what makes them obscure to the eyes of their producers, to be sensible, that is, informed by a common sense. It is because agents never know completely what they are doing that what they do has more sense than they know.”

Simply put, it’s very much bodily, ingrained, instilled, what is proper to be like, yet it’s not apparent to people themselves. To better understand doxa, one can also take a look at Bourdieu’s ‘Outline of a Theory of Practice’. In it, he (164) distinguished doxa from orthodoxy and heterodoxy:

“This experience we shall call doxa, so as to distinguish it from an orthodox or heterodox belief implying awareness and recognition of the possibility of different or antagonistic beliefs.”

Indeed, orthodoxy, the correct or the proper belief or opinion, implies that while it is, at least supposedly, the correct one, there are other beliefs or opinions. In a way, it admits heterodoxy, the plurality of beliefs or opinions, while laying claim to be the one true belief or opinion. Simply put, both orthodoxy and heterodoxy make it apparent that there are alternatives. As explained by Bourdieu (164), doxa obscures this, that one can think differently, setting the sense of limits, better known as the sense of reality, by producing a form of objectivity that adheres not to objectivity but to its own internal logic. In other words, as further elaborated by Bourdieu (164), it results in taking the world for granted, on an as is basis, with “a quasi-perfect correspondence between the objective order and the subjective principles of organization”.

Now, finally, I can address landscape. If there is something that my supposed peers fail to recognize, over anything else, it’s landscape. Landscape is tied to the mixed semiotic, the one we deal with, the one that is a mixture of signification and subjectification. It is a very special mechanism or complex tied to the face and faciality that not only does what it does but also reinforces what reinforces it, the mixed semiotic.

Before I get into this, as I pointed out, it is very hard to get outside the dogmatic image of thought, even for a moment, not to mention actually move from it to another image of thought. This only makes it harder. This is no longer only about how we make sense of things, about assemblages, but something more abstract.

To make this absolute clear, Deleuze and Guattari (71) state that assemblages and abstract machines are not the one and the same thing:

“[T]he abstract machine should not be confused with what we call a concrete machinic assemblage. … The machinic assemblage is something entirely different from the abstract machine, even though it is very closely connected with it. … [I]t is in touch with the plane of consistency because it necessarily effectuates the abstract machine on a particular stratum… In every respect, machinic assemblages effectuate the abstract machine insofar as it is developed on the plane of consistency or enveloped in a stratum.”

In other words, the machinic assemblages effectuate according to the parameters or program set by the abstract machines. This setting parameters or programming the assemblages is, of course, not limited to the machinic assemblages but extends to the collective assemblages of enunciation. For example, they criticize Noam Chomsky’s model, that of the tree, first noting that (7):

Collective assemblages of enunciation function directly within machinic assemblages.

You may remember that elsewhere in the book they (86) point out that when it comes to incorporeal transformations, language intervenes with bodies. Similarly, in ‘The Logic of Sense’, Deleuze (22) notes that “language is what is said of things”. Anyway, Deleuze and Guattari (7) criticize linguistic models, namely that of Chomsky’s because:

“[N]ot that they are too abstract but, on the contrary, that they are not abstract enough, that they do not reach the abstract machine that connects a language to the semantic and pragmatic contents of statements, to collective assemblages of enunciation, to a whole micropolitics of the social field.”

In their view (7):

“A semiotic chain is like a tuber agglomerating very diverse acts, not only linguistic, but also perceptive, mimetic, gestural, and cognitive: there is no language in itself, nor are there any linguistic universals, only a throng of dialects, patois, slangs, and specialized languages.”

This entails for them that (7):

“There is no ideal speaker-listener, any more than there is a homogeneous linguistic community. Language is, in Weinreich’s words, ‘an essentially heterogeneous reality.’ There is no mother tongue, only a power takeover by a dominant language within a political multiplicity.”

I’m stopping here for a moment. This may seem like I’m going against Deleuze and Guattari, but I take them to say that when there is no language in itself, they mean that there aren’t these monolithic entities, languages, such as Finnish or English. Instead, I’d say, there is only language or languaging, how we make sense of things. Now, in my research, I do recognize languages, such as Finnish or English, but not because I wish to reinforce the notion of languages as discreet entities, as some might be fooled to thinking, but because that’s how come to think of languages, that’s how we are taught to think, hence the part where they (7) note that it’s about “a power takeover by a dominant language within a political multiplicity.” They(7) further clarify this:

“Language stabilizes around a parish, a bishopric, a capital. It forms a bulb.”

You can clearly see that they (7) do acknowledge this, despite all the fuss about there being “no language in itself”. They (7) then reiterate the earlier point on dialects, patois, slangs and jargons:

“It evolves by subterranean stems and flows, along river valleys or train tracks; it spreads like a patch of oil.”

Only to further emphasize how it cannot be neatly contained (8):

“A language is never closed upon itself, except as a function of impotence.”

In other words, a language is strictly speaking never a language but just language, connected to other languages, or, well, rather uses of language. That does not, however, mean that they or I ignore that we’ve come to think in a way that takes languages to be discreet bounded entities. I’m well aware of all of this and I’d say rather radical in my views in terms of there only being language, not languages. Then again, it matters not what I think, that I think differently, that I subscribe to a different line of thinking, when others don’t. I believe that I have to make the necessary connections, to explain how the world works according to the dogmatic image of thought and what it entails to people before I can even hope that people come to understand the world the way I do. I cant’ go standing on a pedestal and tell people that there is no such thing as Finnish or English. It leads nowhere as to people there clearly is this and/or that language. I also can’t ignore the issues that are tied to the dogmatic image of thought, wish them away, if you will.

Now, where was I? Yes, abstract machines and collective assemblages of enunciation. On the plateau on linguistics, Deleuze and Guattari (91) state:

“For a true abstract machine pertains to an assemblage in its entirety: it is defined as the diagram of that assemblage. It is not language based but diagrammatic and superlinear. Content is not a signified nor expression a signifier; rather, both are variables of the assemblage. We get nowhere until the pragmatic, but also semantic, syntactical, and phonological determinations are directly linked to the assemblages of enunciation upon which they depend.”

What’s worth noting here, in relation to ‘The Logic of Sense’, is that content and expression are not signifiers and signifieds. They (91) add that:

“The abstract machine as it relates to the diagram of the assemblage is never purely a matter of language, except for lack of sufficient abstraction. It is language that depends on the abstract machine, not the reverse.”

So, as already pointed out, there’s no language in itself. They clarify their (100) position elsewhere:

“[T]he abstract machine of language is not universal, or even general, but singular; it is not actual, but virtual-real; it has, not invariable or obligatory rules, but optional rules that ceaselessly vary with the variation itself, as in a game in which each move changes the rules. That is why abstract machines and assemblages of enunciation are complementary, and present in each other.”

So, not language, but rather languaging, as also already pointed out. In addition, pay attention to the last sentence here in particular. So, in summary, what do abstract machines and assemblages do? Deleuze and Guattari (100) clarify:

“The abstract machine is like the diagram of an assemblage. It draws lines of continuous variation, while the concrete assemblage treats variables and organized their highly diverse relations as a function of those lines. The assemblage negotiates variables at this or that level of variation, according to this or that degree of deterritorialization, and determines which variables will enter into constant relations or obey obligatory rules and which will serve instead as a fluid matter for variation.”

I think I’ve established that that abstract machines should not be confused with assemblages, neither with the machinic assemblages nor with the collective assemblages of enunciation. In short, the assemblages function according to the parameters of the abstract machines. That said, they both need one another, as they (100) come to point out:

“The abstract machine does not exist independently of the assemblage, any more than the assemblage functions independently of the machine.”

The problem with this, how all I know is assemblages, is that this relegates the individual. Now, to me this is not a problem, but I can see how people may find it an issue because it threatens their image of themselves, their self, the ‘I’. However, it is what it is, or, as they (100) put it:

“The abstract machine is always singular … while the assemblage of enunciation is always collective … There is no primacy of the individual; there is instead an indissolubility of a singular Abstract and a collective Concrete.”

So, now that we are clear on the difference between the two, abstract machine and assemblage, it’s time to return to landscape. I have covered this before, so I’m not going to go through the whole plateau on this. Anyway, Deleuze and Guattari address landscape on the plateau on faciality, ‘Year Zero: Faciality’. As I summarized it already, faciality is part of the contemporary mixed semiotic, “a very special mechanism” situated at the intersection of signifiance and subjectification, as characterized by the two (167). They (168-169) identify faciality as an abstract machine that produces faces. It effectuates. As you might guess, it does pertain to the head. That said, it doesn’t stop there. As they (170) point out, faciality extends to the whole body, all the body parts and then beyond it. Once it’s done, they (170, 175) add, it facializes the non-human, including inanimate objects. More importantly, at least to my research, they (172) recognize that faciality as extending to the whole world:

“Now the face has a correlate of great importance: the landscape, which is not just a milieu but a deterritorialized world.”

If we are to designate landscape as an abstract machine, as the spin-off from the abstract machine of faciality, we must give it a proper name, that of a group or an individual, as noted by Deleuze and Guattari (100). We might call it the Alberti abstract machine, after Leon Battista Alberti, the Renaissance Man responsible for ‘De Pictura’ or ‘Della Picture’ (On Painting), the quintessential manual, the treatise on painting using linear perspective. We might also attribute it as the Brunelleschi abstract machine, after Filoppo Brunelleschi, or the Lorenzetti abstract machine, after Ambrogio Lorenzetti, as both were painters who utilized the linear perspective before Alberti wrote the manual on just how to do that. Deleuze and Guattari don’t do this, separate landscape from face. I did this here to elaborate the origins of landscape.

Those who are interested in how and why landscape is such an important concept should take a closer look at the rich literature in landscape research. I’m not going to reiterate everything that I’ve written in the past, so if you want my takes on them, on a select few, you’ll have to go through my texts. Summarizing Denis Cosgrove’s (51, 55) article ‘Prospect, Perspective and the Evolution of the Landscape Idea’, landscape gains much of its legitimacy from linear perspective as it’s taken to be an inherent property of space, backed up by the certainties of geometry. Simply put, we come to think of landscape as space, as reality itself. This is the side that appeals to signifiance side of the mixed semiotic. It also functions to promote the subject, the self, the ‘I’, by the way it posits the observer as in control and command of the world. In other words, it’s alluring because it reinforces the notion of primacy of the subject. This is the side that appeals to subjectification in the mixed semiotic. Add a sprinkle of aesthetics, as in judgment of beauty, to this and it’s no wonder it works so well.

Deleuze and Guattari (138) make note of how these two, signifiance and subjectification come to reinforce one another:

“Signifiance and interpretation are so thick-skinned, they form such a sticky mixture with subjectification, that it is easy to believe that you are outside them when you are in fact still secreting them.”

They address face, and by proxy landscape, in relation to the mixed semiotic. I have substituted the word face here with landscape (188):

“The organization of the [landscape] is a strong one. We could say that the [landscape] holds within its rectangle … a whole set of traits, [landscapity] traits, which it subsumes and places at the service of signifiance and subjectification.”

In other words, as noted earlier on by the two (181), while the mixed semiotic is needed to trigger the abstract machine, the face-landscape complex, it also comes to rely on that abstract machine. Simply put, as they (181) they make it clear, its purpose is to “allow and ensure the almightiness of the signifier as well as the autonomy of the subject.”

To really hammer this home for you, the reader, landscape is an abstract machine, one that makes the world appear to us in a certain way that is very hard to resist because it appears to be reality itself. Deleuze and Guattari (142) explain what an abstract machine is and does:

“[A]n abstract machine is neither an infrastructure that is determining in the last instance nor a transcendental Idea that is determining in the supreme instance. Rather, it plays a piloting role.”

In other words (142):

“The diagrammatic or abstract machine does not function to represent, even something real, but rather constructs a real that is yet to come, a new type of reality.”

As I said, as an abstract machine, one that pertains to the visual organization of space, it does not merely represent reality or function on top of it, as an added layer of some sort that you can simply peel off once you realize it’s there. Instead, it construct reality as it unfolds to you, as the world assembles right in front of your eyes. It doesn’t happen after you. It is tied to you only inasmuch as your self, the ‘I’, is assembled to make sure it happens, according to the parameters of the abstract machine. To combat against it, you must combat yourself. I think Brian Massumi (xvi) puts it well in the introduction of ‘A Shock to Thought: Expression after Deleuze and Guattari’:

“The subject does not express the system. It is an expression of the system.”

I was explaining this the other day to my brother, who, to be fair, probably couldn’t be bothered with it. As he knows a thing or two about computers, as do I, I started with reality as an operating system. Then I explained landscape, as an abstract machine or a diagram, as a rootkit, a piece of software that operates unbeknownst to you. Now, this is, of course, a bit off, because comparing it to a rootkit may make it seems that landscape is inherently malicious. That’s not the case as abstract machines are not inherently (im)moral, just code, or so to speak. As pointed out by Massumi (xvii), there’s nothing hidden that we need to uncover, something that is hiding. It’s all in plain sight. To express this in IT terms, the abstract machine is not a bug, a virus or a malicious rootkit, at all, but a feature. It functions as it is supposed to. It does what it does. Whether that’s good or bad for the individual, that’s another thing.

In summary, thus far, I find it hard to find any value in including so called emic viewpoints because of how in the dogmatic image thought, in the doxa, in mixed semiotic of signifiance and subjectification, the subject presupposes itself, thinks that it is in control of reality, when, it is a mere illusion of command, misrecognition of the sense of limits. Landscape plays a key role in this, yet, much of the research that I am suggested to cite, to follow, to take cues from, does not address landscape at all. If I were to include people and ask them, for example, to tell about the particulars in the landscape, would I not be pushing them to do the unthinkable, to go beyond their sense of reality? Would I not be seeing myself in them? Wouldn’t that invalidate their input as it’s actually my input masquerading as their input?

I realize that I haven’t divulged how it is that we make sense, beyond the general schema, if it’s not about meaning. The answer lies in series or serialization, as discussed in ‘The Logic of Sense’. The problem with signification, coming up with a meaning, is that it ends up on an indefinite regress, as already established. In other words, meaning is always deferred, like it is with dictionary definitions. Deleuze (36) suggests not treating a proposition as a series, that is as merely one series of words, but multiple simultaneous series, at least two at a time. Deleuze (37) reworks the terminology, what is signifier and signified stand for in two series:

“One represents the signifier, the other the signified. But … these two terms acquire a particular meaning. We call ‘signifier’ any sign which presents in itself an aspect of sense; we call ‘signified,’ on the contrary, that which serves as the correlative to this aspect of sense, that is, that which is defined in a duality relative to this aspect.”

He (37) warns not to confuse the signified with sense. He uses these terms in ‘The Logic of Sense’, only to abandon using them in his collaborations with Guattari. This is because, as you can see, it’s pretty clumsy, and, well, more importantly, stuck in signification, stuck in language itself. He sort of forces himself into rehashing the terms to explain what is after. With Guattari, starting with the ‘Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia’, they (241) replace signifier and signified with expression and content, which are in preciprocal presupposition. The terms are borrowed from Danish Linguist Louis Hjelmslev. This change also has to do with how they wanted to go beyond language, beyond linguistics, as stated by Guattari (201) in ‘Hjelmslev and Immanence’. I’ll substitute the Saussurean terms (signifier/signified) here with the Hjelmslevian terms (expression/content) from here on out. They may not technically work, but it makes this less clumsy.

Anyway, the point with the two series is that while we can treat language one series at a time, but that comes with a price, being stuck in language and the circularity that ensues from it. Deleuze (37-38) suggests that we should be doing is treating one series in relation to another series, not homogeneously, but heterogeneously, not in isolation but in contact with one another. In other words, one is addressed in relation to the other, one having the role of the expression, the other having the role of the content.

Deleuze (39-40) states that there are three characteristics to this movement, always working with a pair. Firstly, he (39) states they are in “perpetual relative displacement in relation” to one another and thus there is a lack of correspondence. They in fact need this lack of correspondence. The point is that the series are not identical. Why would you put two identical series with one another anyway? Anyway, as explained by him (39-40), as the series are displaced and lack correspondence with one another, one of the series becomes subordinated to the other, “one series sliding over or under the other”, resulting in “a perpetual disequilibrium” in relation to one another. Secondly, he (40) states that this results in one of the series, the expression, presenting “an excess over the other.” Thirdly, he (40) notes that the displacement and the excess are not to be found in the series themselves. It’s always about this doubling up. He (41) also warns not to treat one of the series as thus merely derivative and, conversely, the other the original. He (38) makes this point earlier on already, that it’s possible to reverse the roles, for example, if the point of view is changed.

What Deleuze is after is not about either series, by themselves, but what happens when the series are posited alongside one another. He (41) notes that it is a paradoxical entity, one that is never to be found, regardless of where we look. As he (41) points out, it’s what animates the series and ends up producing the excess in one of the series, as well as simultaneous the relative lack or emptiness in the other series. He (41) exemplifies this with the perpetual displacement in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Through the Looking-Glass’. Alice is in the Sheep’s Shop, confronted with an abundance of things on the shelves of the shop. She doesn’t know what to get, so she starts browsing. She takes a good look at a shelf, what’s on it, but it appears empty, while those near it seem crowded with things. She looks at another shelf, one above the previous shelf. The same thing. It appears empty, whereas the others near it appear crowded. She chooses to chase what she is after by going from the bottom to the top, only to stare at the ceiling.

As his example, or examples (there are others earlier on in the text) are rather literary (on purpose), I’ll try to provide everyday examples. Think of items that you might use in the kitchen, for example, to make a salad. A salad might include some leafy greens, lettuce or cabbage, and some vegetables, such as cucumber, tomatoes and onions. Add some dressing. Now I’ve listed a handful of items. By themselves they are just that, items, things. But, ah, we are making a salad. We have recipe that needs these. What is the recipe? It is the expression, the excess, that is produced in relation to the content, those things that I listed in series, one after another. Of course we can extend this to each item in the recipe. They are, themselves expressions, of certain content. My recipe might include, let’s say four tomatoes. My recipe doesn’t need all tomatoes, just a select few, in proportion for salad purposes. In other words, I need tomatoes in particular, not in general. And no, the excess is not about quantity, as you might already gather.

I was explaining this the other day with coffee cups, saucers, spoons and tables. We tend to drink coffee from ceramic cups. If you buy such, they may come with saucers, ones that have a corresponding design to keep the cup in place in the middle. Spoons are there for you to mix the milk with the coffee properly, if you use milk that is. That’s a set by itself. It’s more than the pieces put together. Place these sets on a table, corresponding with the placement of the chairs around the table. What we now have is a table with these coffee sets, but it’s also more than just some things on another thing. This is what we call a table setting. We can change the tableware, use different examples of things, and their arrangement, but they are still more than what they are in isolation of one another. There’s this sense of excess that you can’t really put your finger on, well, because there’s nothing actually physical about the excess.

Incidentally, this matches how Deleuze and Guattari (89) explain a knight in ‘A Thousand Plateaus’:

“[T]he body of the knight and the horse and their new relation to the stirrup; the weapons and tools assuring a symbiosis of bodies – a whole machinic assemblage.”

Now, of course, this is only the machinic side, as they do point out. With knights, you also have to take account, for example, chivalry, the collective assemblage of enunciation. Otherwise what we have is merely a horseman. Even in the case of a horseman there’s more to it than a horse and the person riding a horse, with or without the stirrup and the weapons and the tools. A horseman is more than horse+man. There’s that excess to it. We could also use select the horseman and other horsemen, understood as more than horse+man, and point out that together they are not mere horses+men, but cavalry. We could also then take the cavalry to be a military unit, functioning alongside, for example, infantry, in an army.

The seriality, as explained in ‘The Logic of Sense’, is not discussed in ‘A Thousand Plateaus’ using the same terminology, partially because it the change in the terminology from signifier/signified to expression/content in order to apply it outside linguistics. In ‘A Thousand Plateaus’ this is called double articulation. Deleuze and Guattari (40) explain the first articulation:

“[It] chooses or deducts, from unstable particle-flows, metastable molecular or quasi-molecular units (substances) upon which it imposes a statistical order of connections and successions (forms).”

Followed by an explanation of the second articulation (41):

“[It] establishes functional, compact, stable structures (forms), and constructs the molar compounds in which these structures are simultaneously actualized (substances).”

The example they (41) provide is that of sedimentation, how materials are end up deposited in certain places (first articulation), only to be transformed into sedimentary rock (second articulation). If you are familiar with how, for example, streams and rivers erode the banks (selects/deducts substances) and then carry and deposit the eroded material downstream (forms), followed by a transformation of the eroded material, such as granules of sand, (forms) to sedimentary rock that form strata (substances), then this shouldn’t be too hard to get. Now, obviously, you should think this as static, involving one cycle (which already implies that it’s cyclical), but as an ongoing process. This is noted in ‘The Logic of Sense’, by how one series can function as the expression and the other as the content, but also vice versa (38). Of course, this is on the simple end of how they use double articulation in the book. It gets quite a bit more complex with language. I’ve addressed double articulation before in two essays, so I won’t into much detail here, beyond what I think is necessary. Deleuze and Guattari (64) address double articulation in the context of language:

“[W]e find that the most general of movements, the one by which each of the distinct articulations is already double in its own right, carries over onto this level; certain formal elements of content play the role of expression in relation to content proper, and certain formal elements of expression play the role of content in relation to expression proper.”

If this seems familiar, it is because it is. Think of it in the light of what Deleuze explains in ‘The Logic of Sense’ on the two series, how they double up, and can work both ways, as I just pointed out. They (64) exemplify it with phonemes and monemes (morphemes):

“[P]honemes form a radiating content specific to the expression of monemes as linear significant segments[.]”

That just as an example. As I pointed out, I’ve written about the double articulation before, quite extensively, same with how Deleuze and Guattari approach language and linguistics in ‘A Thousand Plateaus’, so I’m not going to further elaborate such here.

I was not content on ignoring the issue of how we make sense of the world if there is no meaning, as explored in my previous essay. I hope to have explored it here, with a few tangents that tie it together with subjectification, signification, landscapes, abstract machines and assemblages, as these are all related to my own research to some extent. I also tried to address certain flak that I keep getting from others. What will I write on next? We’ll see.


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