philosophy as not philosophy: para-ontology, hauntology, schizoanalysis

"Articulating the past historically does not mean recognizing it ‘the way it really was’. It means appropriating a memory as it flashes up in a moment of danger. Historical materialism wishes to hold fast that image of the past which unexpectedly appears to the historical subject in a moment of danger. The danger threatens both the content of the tradition and those who inherit it. For both, it is one and the same thing: the danger of becoming a tool of the ruling classes. Every age must strive anew to wrest tradition away from the conformism that is working to overpower it. The Messiah comes not only as the redeemer; he comes as the victor over the Antichrist. The only historian capable of fanning the spark of hope in the past is the one who is firmly convinced that even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he is victorious. And this enemy has never ceased to be victorious."
- Walter Benjamin, Thesis VI

"The materialist doctrine concerning the changing of circumstances and upbringing forgets that circumstances are changed by men and that it is essential to educate the educator himself. This doctrine must, therefore, divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society. The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-changing can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary practice."
- Karl Marx, Thesis III

Sunday, March 25, 2007

What is Planomenology?

I pose the question only provisionally, as I hope to continue approaching it throughout my life, but it is perhaps an appropriate way to begin. The obvious cue is to phenomenology (as well as phantasmatology, a word Foucault coined to describe Deleuze's early metaphysics). Yet whereas Husserl intended phenomenology as methodological, I do not mean this to denote a method per se; rather, an approach to or prerogative on the ontological. Short of being systematic and exact, it should be anexact yet rigorous.

'Planomenon' is another word for the plane of consistency, perhaps the key concept in Deleuze and Guattari's later collaborations. The Planomenon is the Real as such, the ultimate 'object' of ontology, as the univocal Being of difference itself. It is the field of immanent difference, in which immanence is not ascribed to or said of any transcendent Identity or Actuality: immanence is immanent to immanence alone. Difference is no longer caught between the field of immanence and that to which it is immanent, thereby inscribed in the 'concept in general'. Rather, immanence differs from itself, in itself, by and for itself. This plane describes a field of pure differences or disparities, in which every term is a singularity - unique, unusual, problematic. It is on this plane that every singularity is consistent with every other, precisely as problems, as instances of a problematic field drawn in the course of questioning.

This kind of consistency is prior to and more profound than logical consistency, as contradiction has no meaning or relevance. Rather, it has a properly machinic consistency, that of the Mechanosphere: everything subsists in interconnected lines of flows and breaks, composed of a univocal flow of matter/sense (mening), a pure becoming. As such, it attains absolute deterritorialization, it is the real attaining this absolute limit. This occurs when the question, "What can this body do?", "Of what is this body capable?", is posed with its maximum force and efficacy, drawing a field that implicates and encompasses the entirety of the real. Every connection (of different to different, singularity to singularity) is raised to the height, the limit of its intensity. All of reality is constellated in a becoming-other of Being in which everything takes flight.

The machinic consistency of the Planomenon is thereby drawn not through a logical relation of terms without contradiction, but through a problematic relation of terms without limit, or whose only limit is the absolute of universal bifurcation in which everything is only as yet to come. The real becomes self-consistent in relation to what it can do, what might be coming. Therefore, planomenology will regard the real with an attention to such consistency, following the abstract lines drawn by absolute deterritorialization. Everything transcendent, every actuality, will come up against a force, a cruelty, so intense that it will attain its absolute limit, its vertigo, falling back on the plane of immanence. It is in this sense that Deleuze speaks of the 'transcendent exercise' of the faculties, in which they attain the pure immanence of a thought without image. Nothing can escape, or rather, nothing can avoid escaping, nothing can remain grounded on a substratum, as everything is carried off in a incessant and ruthless ungrounding.

'Planomenon' is literally defined as 'all free-living organisms; those organisms not rooted or attached to a substratum.' Its Greek root has the sense of 'drifting' or 'roaming', and it is related to 'planomania', meaning 'a compulsion to wander', or 'an intense desire to live free from social restraints or obligations'. It is when the question (of what are we capable?) is posed with sufficient force, that is, when there is an intense enough desire driving it, that absolute deterritorialization is attained, and the abstract line carries us off with an infinite speed. Discovering these lines and feeding them into the questioning, and thereby composing problematic machines with increasingly intense forced movements fueling them, is the aim and passion of planomenology. The object of planomenology is, therefore, the abstract line that clandestinely wanders through all of the real, connecting everything back to the univocal Being of difference, absolute Deterritorialization.

2 comments:

Ryan/Aless said...

Very interesting. I see the Deleuzian influence, but why make it sound like Husserl's phenomenology? You say it's not a method, so is that just coincidence? I.e. you have every intention to separate yourself from phenomenology (whose originality, esp. with the twist given to it by Heidegger, I think, is comparable with Deleuze's philosophy of difference.)

Reid Kotlas said...

The name really comes from poetic coincidence. It's been bouncing around my mind for a while now, so I decided to put it to use. I don't have any strong commitment to Husserl, though I do count Heidegger as an influence (I agree about his originality, by the way). It's intended as more of a play on the term 'phenomenology' than a direct allusion to it.