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.
Although the concept of “selfish gene” has been all but scientifically abandoned, the basic concept of “survival” underlying it remains firmly entrenched in naturalistic narratives. This is a problem for this simple reason: it blocks us from increasing our understanding of (our) nature.
Part of the myth of survival is the myth that it is an inescapable consequence of going for a naturalistic narrative in the first place. That it is not is something Deleuze tells us based on a thorough reading of Hume (in his Empiricism and Subjectivity) where he says: “And, above all, Hume centers his critique on the theory of egoism.” The myth of survival is, of course, also the myth that, when push literally comes to shove, we choose based on self-interest. Hume was not Hobbes.
The other part of the myth of survival is that we need a unifying concept of life to which all else can be reduced. Survival seems to be the only concept that survives the struggle for narrating nature and culture alike. But, as Deleuze says, this falsifies both as: “Nature and culture form a complex. Hume refuses theories that reduce everything to nature (..) just like those reducing everything to nurture. The first, in forgetting culture, give a false impression of nature; the others, in forgetting nature, deform culture.”
The question then is: do we need the concept of survival at all? And if we do, what needs to be put alongside it such that we get a naturalism doing justice to all the facts (included those related to notions like solidarity, friendship, love, and self-sacrifice)?
“In this general position the philosophy of organism seems to approximate more to some strains of Indian, or Chinese, thought than to Western Asiatic, or European, thought. One side makes process ultimate, the other side makes fact ultimate.” A.N. Whitehead, Process & Reality (Corrected Edition), p. 7.
In a world flooded by ‘fact’ the appeal of process offers a natural line of flight. One wants, no: needs, to escape this looking into the particular in order to explain the whole. But the thing is that in a world flooded by ‘process’ appeal to fact offers the natural line of flight. One wants, no: needs, to escape this understanding of the whole in order to appreciate a particular. But what happens when the world gets flooded by lines of flight?
“This is how it should be done. Lodge yourself on a stratum, experiment with the opportunities it offers, find an advantageous place on it, find potential movements of deterritorialization, possible lines of flight, experience them, produce flow conjunctions here and there, try out continua of intensities segment by segment, have a small plot of new land at all times. It is through a meticulous relation with the strata that one succeeds in freeing lines of flight, causing conjugated flows to pass & escape bringing forth continuous intensities for a Body without Organs.” Deleuze & Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p. 161.
Maybe there is only so much difference one’s brain can endure before losing its capacity for repetition. The response from a brain without neurons to the body without organs is contained in this picture which it henceforth explains:
Contemplate that word.
Contemptible word, that word.
Plan. Plan. Bang.
It could have been Christmas, a family event anyway. His father slid the gift to him. They liked sliding, the somewhat slippery floor was one of the main fun factors of their family house. Wrapped in the colors of the American flag the package stopped dead between his lionesque slippers gifted on another such occasion to be worn on occasions like this, one of the first times they were out (and so he felt as well). Looking down at the package – he had raised in anticipation – he felt like he had a choice. It was weird. The screaming colors flashed silently. The environment of all smiles faded away. He felt: this was between him and the package. The package stared him defiantly in the eyes. ‘O-Pin Me.’, it shouted without raising its voice and with a mispronunciation so slight it had to be intentional. It was terrifying. He felt pinned to the ground.
At only sixteen years of age, he knew this was it. Choice. The. Sounded like the name of a band. Continue reading