Can a Brain without Neurons do a Pee? Well, let’s just see.
“From the viewpoint of racism, there is no exterior, there are no people on the outside. There are only people who should be like us and whose crime it is not to be. (..) Racism never detects the particles of the other; it propagates waves of sameness – until those who resist identification have been wiped out. ” Deleuze & Guattari, 1000 Plateaus, p. 178 (my emphasis).
The idea of racism is that there should be a blank canvas. That we should get back to our innocent starting point. That there is no singularity. It is no coincidence that the language of physics creeps in. Classical physics is racist. If it posits particles, it posits them as being essentially identical. If it posits waves, it posits them as equalizers. God is an equalizer as before him we are all the same.
Ableism, as a strong desire everybody should be healthy, is an equalizer. It wants to bring all of us back to a state of health. A state where we have all of our capabilities. What can we learn from physics here? That experiment renders reduction to determinism absurd. Every phenomenon is a singularity. Both particle and wave. Irreversibly generating what was neither started by nor attracted to God.
Let’s follow Deleuze & Guattari from the white canvas to
the a black hole. And, liberated from the the, let’s follow it to a plurality of black holes. In this case concretely to autism, ADHD and Tourette’s.
“What chooses the faces is not a subject (..); it is faces that choose their subjects.”, p. 180.
The first thing to get rid of is the idea of a deep or true self. It is a racist idea because it is not admitting anything on the exterior. What you truly are lies deep inside you. You have to unmask yourself by finding your true face. But this gets it exactly backwards, faces are first. There is nothing to unmask. The only thing you can do is to re-mask by breaking the faces that are already there and creatively constructing a new face. In autism a popular myth is that we have ‘to take the mask off’ as wearing the face others want us to wear is too much of a burden. Whilst the latter may well be true, what is the former supposed to mean? That we all should wear our true autistic mask? But then we are just ‘subjected’ to yet another face that chooses us! No, the burden autistics feel is that existing faces do not fit them. That wearing them makes something crack: either themselves or the face. Crack that face!, is what autistics should do. Not to create one new authentic face, hidden deep inside us, but to authentically create a new face along there own individual line of flight. A cracked face maybe, but at least always a face showing resistance to all of us wearing
a the same stable, healthy face where all burden is wiped of from. Before a face can crack, though, it first has to have been genuinely been worn; one can’t flee without first having been captured; there can be no difference without there first having been repetition.
“More generally, linguistics can tolerate no polyvocality or rhizome traits: a child who runs around, plays, dances, and draws cannot concentrate attention on language and writing, and will never be a good subject.”, p. 180.
First forget about linguistics and focus on the child that resists being subjected. A restless hyper-active child whose otherness does not permit being faced with sameness. We slap its impulsivity with Attention Deficit Disorder but there is not deficit there. Only disorder in the sense of cracking whatever is by not being able – being disabled – to letting the clay of a mask dry, whatever the mask. Without hyperactivity there would be no play, no new language but just a brave new world with a fixed grammar that doesn’t allow difference. None of us should be 100% good subjects but also none of us can be 0% good subjects and the latter is what a1000Pees gets wrong: it reduces linguistics to the Rhizome order word, as if clarity of expression is in contradiction to creativity (as if difference is expressible in a world without repetition). If hyperactive children would never sit still they would also not be able to flee sitting still. The truth is that language itself is hyperactive: every word creates new meaning. Language lives and therefore cannot sit still but still it sometimes, albeit uncomfortably, sits as otherwise it would not allow listening to anyone.
“The white wall/black hole system is constructed, or rather the abstract machine is triggered that must allow and ensure the almightiness of the signifier as well as the autonomy of the subject.”, p. 181.
But the white wall/black hole is not constructed. Construction presupposes something or somebody that does the constructing. The abstract machine or the Body without Organs is always a bit of a deus ex machina. There is a residue of Hume’s Intelligent Design here, a view where, as with Whitehead, the future is seen as the origin. It is a remnant of desires to ground creativity in something pre-existing whether trans-human, post-human or pre-human. Language is the white wall/black hole system. It needs neither a ground, nor an attractor. It is creativity that is not even constrained by creativity. Duality is that without which nothing can be and language is that duality becoming self-aware of its duality in it trying, and inevitably failing, to surpass that duality. The duality between the rhizomatic and the arborescent, or in other words:
“There is no signifiance that does not harbor seeds of subjectivity; there is no subjectification that does not drag with it the remnants of the signifier.”, p. 182.
We always run into Bohrian dualities that are mutually exclusive but jointly sufficient. A face is always forced upon us and, never fitting, it is always cracked open by somebody. A Brain without Neurons doesn’t fall into Humean traps of conservatism nor in Deleuzian traps of the nomadic war-like overly progressive. The signifier not only leads to a subject, it also requires the subject to break it open and create a new signifier. There is racism in the progressive too. A racism of the ‘dull’, the typical or the normal, as if hyperactivity is never burdened by its activity and never eased by meeting the cool who cool it off so that its activity might sometimes take a shape instead of always shifting. We need to embrace the duality as it creates a progression that neither has us locked in the Signifier nor in the Subject but has us, as Brains without Neurons, shifting off each other, never identical but at the same time never altogether different. They know it themselves, see:
“First, although the white wall, the broad cheeks, is the substantial element of the signifier, and the black hole is the reflexive element of subjectivity, they always go together. (..) There is no wall without black holes, and no black hole without a wall.” p. 184.
How can black holes trust each other without a wall connecting them? They can’t. Trust is basic. It is what connects Brains without Neurons as communicating singularities. How do they connect? Precisely via a wall of intersubjectivity, a word that plagues philosophy precisely because it defies disconnecting black holes while simultaneously presupposing them. The situation is entirely the way Bohr analyzed it in physics (and classical physics is, remember, racist):
- analysis in terms of the waves of sameness (walls) is always a possibility abstracting away from individual phenomena,
- analysis in terms of particles of “otherness” (black holes) is also always a possibility abstracting away from relational phenomena, but,
- considering a concrete individual always requires combining both analyses, leaving room for an indeterminate line of flight, a cracking of existing faces.
The first two bullets are those of correspondence. The third is that of complementarity. A question then is whether, as Whitehead had it, electrons also have feelings? The answer, basically, is: no! Why? Because that would again resurrect the continuity of the wall via a naturalistic fallacy that denies the black holes that are brains. If we are black holes, then it is clear that we cannot, however much we want, find a white wall of physics. If we are indeterminate there is no chance of finding physics to be determined. And not the other way around as we always start from what’s real and what’s real is also always related. It is not just a bunch of neurons. In short, we are Brains without Neurons ;-).
Which brings us – unseamlessly as need be – to Tourette’s:
“What is a tic? It is precisely the continuously refought battle between a faciality trait that tries to escape the sovereign organization of the face and the face itself, which clamps back down on the trait, takes hold of it again, blocks its line of flight, and reimposes its organization upon it. (There is a medical distinction between the clonic or convulsive tic and the tonic or spasmodic tic; perhaps we can say that in the first case the faciality trait that is trying to escape has the upper hand, whereas in the second case the facial organization that is trying to clamp back down or immobilize itself has the upper hand).” p. 188.
What is a tic? It’s a crack in the face where a Brain without Neurons is trying to escape. It is something that is ‘out there’ like a whisper, barely audible unless to the sensitive some. Their neurons pick it up and amplify it until it is LOUD AS FUCK in their heads. It wants, it needs to escape. The face wants to hold it in because ‘why was it whispered?’, because it was something that was censored as a thing NOT to be done; a word NOT to be spoken. Until it chose the poor sensitive, amplifying brain that feels its face cracking under such urgent, urging pressure. The face blinks under the pressure, blows a raspberry, whatever to keep it from cracking. The Brain without Neurons on the inside of which the sensitive, amplifying neurons lie knows it should not let out the whisper that becomes a SHOUT. It knows it because it knows, like all other whispering faces who keep it under their breath, that it is NOT to be done, NOT to be spoken. That knowledge just like the crack is not just theirs it is the knowledge that is shared between Brains without Neurons. And then it is there: FUCK (literal or not) because the blinking and blowing just goes that far to release the pressure. A new face is born. It is beautiful. We should be ashamed to censor it, what we censor is ourselves. a Brain without Neurons has Tourette’s but as sensitive it is to the whispers it is as well to censoring so it censors itself bordering on the obsessive. A mini-nuclear fusion plant is what it becomes, creating a jazz of elements if only we listen with charity; if only we are sensitive enough to pick up its radiant novelties of wit and whim. Yes, duality is in our flesh. We just have to let it be. Both in its coming out (difference) as in its being inhibited (repetition).
“It is not a question of ‘returning’ to the presignifying and presubjective semiotics of primitive peoples.”, p. 188.
Yes but hold on a minute (now the crack in my face has widened to the point of risking to speak in tongues that invite deciphering): neither is it a question moving on in a hurry to postsignifying or posthuman peoples. It is not a question of either but rather a riddle that returns us to me and me to them instead of turning us against them. It’s neither attracted nor repelled, neither centrifugal nor centripetal. It might look like either from afar but in close-up it is just a matter of charity and trust: an invitation to understand without being able to fully explain, yet always explaining without ever fully understanding. It is a black hole connected to other black holes via the white wall of communication (being-with). In a word it is intersubjectivity.
The final word is for these two Brains without Neurons:
“We can’t turn back. (..) Only in the black hole of subjective consciousness do you discover the transformed, heated, captured particles you must relaunch for a nonsubjective, living love in which each party connects with unknown tracts in the other without entering or conquering them, in which the lines composed are broken lines.”, p. 189.