Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Visual Theater of Creulty; Anti-Oedipus, Part 7

All eyes on deck. There's a judgment brewin'

Before we get to the elaborated theory of Schizoanalysis that is present to us in the last chapter of Anti-Oedipus, there are more than a couple themes along the way that will give a more direct sense to the later theory. One will be the structure and gap that happens in-between Barbarian civilization and capitalism (Feudalism) and the phenomena of desire in the cultural happening. This will be addressed in the next post. This post though will deal with savage formation which D&G separate from Barbarian civilization and capitalism. More specifically, this post will deal with the beginnings of the categorical structure of social-being in its savage state. We will see parallels between any form of socius and one that others would like to think operated in some purity against later formations of socius that are easily criticized today (Every socius is easily critiqued when protected under "1st amendment" laws). D&G being thorough analysts/ethnologists won't aggressively attack modern forms of structural government over and against contemporary modes government in a Rousseauian fashion that contemporary critics find so easy to do. D&G for better have maturity on their side when writing a theoretical account of political and psychological structures; I.E. they approach the subject as rigorous Ethnologists. We will see in the post that savage formations were graphic, oral, and visual. The visual character of the savage serves as the mediation between the graphic and oral gestures of savage-being. And when I say that they serve as a mediation, I mean to say that they are a certain and very different mode of operation in the world from the word and it's graphme. We will see just how large of a complex is created in being when the visual category manifests. What this entails we will go into next.

"Savage formations are oral, are vocal, but not because they lack a graphic system: a dance on the earth, a drawing on a wall, a mark on the body are a graphic system, a geo-graphism, a geography. These formations are oral precisely because they possess a graphic system that's independent of the voice, a system that is not aligned on the voices and not subordiante to it, but connected to it, co-ordinated 'in an organization as it were,' and multidimensional." The first key to this statement is the insistence that vocal culture and graphic culture aren't separated. There isn't speech at one time that is separated from a graphic system. But when D&G include "a dance on earth" they mean to expand the concept of inscription to a character far more expansive than the physical writing. The graphic system and inscription are analogous. Not only is the graphic system (inscription) a "drawing of a wall" or a "mark on a body," but a "dance on the earth." Basically, anything that happens to the naked earth (the body without organs) by being is a writing (inscription) on this body without organs. D&G are very aware of making their concepts clear no matter how difficult they seem to be on first glance. Right after they mention these inscriptions, they connotate these inscriptions by calling them a "ge0-graphism," eluding to our point of anything happening to the earth (body without organs) as being an "inscription" to it; and addition to it (or negation. Addition and negation are philosophical concepts that can be applied to these types of phenomena depending on the context of the writing). They spell out clearly that it's a "geography" being good materialists that they are (consistent, which is the most we can ask for from something nominalized as "philosophy"). These modes of being are "oral because they contain a graphic system independent of the voice," showing how the oral isn't necessarily condemned to the mouth. They are connected with the voice instead. There is not the word and then writing. There is already the word and inscription. If we were to look at this metaphysically, we understand that there is already expression and input to the earth. Expression is the writing to the body with organs. The dance that happens spontaneously is a inscription the earth as much as it's an oral expression "on it's own." "On it's own" gets quoted here because it's tied to inscription. Oral expression is inscription. It's already a writing (inscription) to the earth, to the body without organs. Inscription isn't subordinated to the voice, the word, it's the coordination with it that at one and the same time expressed and inscribes, an affectation that effects. No correlation is place between affectation and effect. Instead, they are coordinated in the same space a-temporally. They form their own organization that isn't seen as being vertical but horizontal since they are not correlative, but rise together and inscription and expression. To be brief, something happens to the body without organs by a being that does things. Understanding this abstractly as possible goes far to disengage a correlationist order between the two. But in the inscription and the voice, there exists a third element. There is not only the "dance on the earth" and it's inscription onto something that was never danced on before. There is the eye that perceives everything that's happening. There is the eye as the third party that is neither a "pure" affectation by oral-being, nor a "pure" inscription brought to earth along with the expression of affectation. There is the eye that sees all this happening, and not just the eye physiologically, but the eye as a third form of being that completes the complex of being. "Isn't it necessary to add a third element of the sign: eye-pain, in addition to voice-audition and hand-graphics? In the rituals of affliction the patient does not speak, but receives the spoken word. He does not act, but is passive under the graphic action: he receives the stamp of the sign. And what is his pain if not a pleasure for the eye that regards it, the collective or divine eye that is not motivated by any idea of revenge but is alone capable of grasping the subtle relationship between the sign engraved in the body and the voice issuing from a face - between the mark and the mask. Between these two elements of the code, pain is like the surplus value that the eye extracts taking hold of the effect of active speech on the body, but also of the reaction of the body insofar as it is acted upon." The nuance of this statement is incredible. We will see why as we move through this incredible passage that surmises an ethological description. The voice speaks and inscribes. Inscription is an inscriptive voice. But within this phenomena, there is the phenomena of the eye, the visual aspect that Merleau-Ponty calls the sense, the sense that experiences in the most intense way. D&G go right at the eye as eye-pain, as the eye that sees pain, as the eye that supplements experience by adding pain to it which will form the creditor-debtor relationship described by Nietzsche in his Genealogy of Morals. What does the eye do that sees the coordination of inscription and the voice? In the savage rituals of affliction (E.G. a part of the body being held to fire in order to "absolve" oneself from from an injunction. From this we see how the credit-debit/guilt phenomena starts to manifest), there is a third. Not only a third person, but a third person who has eyes. The "patient" (or in this case, the savage trying to absolve themselves from an injunction by experience of an immediate affliction) does not speak, but receives the spoken word. The "patient" has already spoken, and not they will receive the spoken work for haven spoken. The "patient" stands (or sits there) while being graphicized (think of a cow being brandished). This patient receives a sign that may stay with them forever, and that's the point. The mark of the world, the inscription of the world as expression, inscribes itself to the body without organs through being. But what is the pain of the patient? We don't know the "pain" of the patient without the third party, without the eye. The eye watches in horror at the ostensible cruelty being applied to the "patient." But is this horror really being experienced as cruelty? Or is there a subtle pleasure in the "pain" administered to the patient. As I stated in a post on, "If you’re around someone who noticeably enjoys themselves when you are (pridefully) talking about your shortcomings, you can be sure they are just as prideful as you talking about your shortcomings," I.E. pain is experienced as pleasure, by the eye. Who sees this "ritual of affliction?" The collective and divine eye. We can interpret this as the people in a savage group who circle the event of the ritual, and watch with their eyes at the spectacle. It would be easy for us to say here that the third-person eye gains pleasure out of this event of a sense of vengeance and/or a sense of this ritual not happening to them. But it's not so simple for D&G much to there appreciation of a complex event. The eye grasps "the subtle relationship between the sign engraved in the body and the voice issuing from a face - between the mark and the mask." The eye isn't Oedipalized in savage-being. It doesn't have a sense that "nothing goes right for me" or that the "world is against me." The eye in savage-being is in "the real," to whatever extent we can conceptualize "the real." But yet, in this "real," the eye extracts a surplus-value of pleasure from the ritual event. It doesn't extract pleasure from the fact that someone else is being tortured or that someone else is being afflicted and not them. Rather, the eye is acting on it's own when establishing the relationship between inscription and the voice, between the body and the inscription. In "the real" an affliction is applied to the body which the eye sees, and then the eye sees the reaction of the body coming from the face (simply put, we can think of a scream or some sort of vocal squirm). The eye sees inscription and it's reaction my the word. And what happens with the eye when it sees this? It extract pleasure not from the above stated examples that apply to a relative oedipalized modernity, but from a pure reaction of the eye in the real. The inscription happens in "the real," the word-reaction happens in "the real," and the perceptive-eye happens in "the real," which extracts more out of the previous two "reals" than was happening in them alone. This "pure extraction" as a surplus to the event is a pleasure. The eye sees what's happening between the mark and the mask and something comes out of the eye, an unconscious interpretation of sorts. "These are the three sides of a savage triangle forming a territory of resonance and retention, a theater of cruelty that implies the triple independence of the articulated voice, the graphic hand, and the appreciative eye." What happens in this event, this spectacle, is resonance and retention. The hand (inscription) applied to the body (the voice) where an eye watches this application resonates with the eye and is retained by the eye. The eye retains what happens. It sees the bodies reaction. It sees the squirms. It realizes the relationship between the hand that applies the "afflictive ritual" to the body and the body that receives this affliction. Not only does this event resonate for the third party eye, but the intensity of the event creates a memory for the eye. The eye remembers intensity (as we understand perfectly from Nietzsche in that man forms memory for himself by afflicting himself with intense pain). History is born out of intensity. History is born out of subjective pain. History is born out of a set of important wars whose importance depends not just on the quantity of dead lives, but the quality in which these deaths took place. Memory and (H)istory is formed from intensity to the subject. It's not just the intensity though. It's the tripartite matrix of inscription, the voice, and the eye; where the eye perceives whatever is happening as intensity. It perceives for the first time the theater of cruelty in savage-being and the relationship between the other two characters in the matrix.

The eye in a strong sense is the gap between save-being and barbarian-being which we will elaborate on in the next post. The eye serves as the memory of what an intensity is. It sees and remembers. When it remembers, the event "made an impression" on it. When this impression is made, a memory is made. This memory has an intensity at its disposal, a disposal it may not want to partake in. While D&G have given a commendable analysis of this phenomena by characterizing the event as a relationship between the tripartite matrix that enveloped the phenomena in, it's also easy to understand that this intensity that the eye perceives becomes much more than a relationship. It becomes fear literally in the eye of the beholder. In other words, it becomes oedipalized. The flow of the event is no longer the flow of the event. The event is memorized as something to fear. The fear of intensity. Of course, D&G understand this when they affirm that the eye extracts a surplus-value out of the event but we should be more specific now. This surplus-value that is extracted out of the event we can call "fear." This "fear" though is not to be understood as something that the eye purposely tries to avoid, on the contrary; the eye is enamored with the fear it sees in the event (Why else could you explain why "scary movies" are so popular?). But there are two different ways in which the eye sees the event for us and D&G. For now, we see the event through the eyes of savage-being as a set of relationships. After, in oedipalization, we see the event through the eyes of a surplus-socius, as a desire to see "fear" as something not happening to oneself (as an outside spectator). This personality (or cult, or fetish) of fear is limited to ones own understanding of the relationship of primordial acts. When the memory has become so ingrained (by memories), the question of the relationship between component parts doesn't happen at first, but becomes historicized as an auto-response to an event. This auto-response is oedipus. It knows to fear. It likes to fear. But this knowing and liking never formed the relationship that constituted the event of savage-being that would eventually go on to establish oedipus-man.

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