free indirect speech-acts

“Pasolini had a profound insight about modern cinema when he characterized it by a sliding of ground, breaking the uniformity of the internal monologue to replace it by the diversity, the deformity, the otherness of a free indirect discourse” (Cinema 2, 183-184)

“If the filmmaker assimilates himself to his character and, through him, tells a story, or represents the world, he cannot have recourse to that formidable instrument of differentiation which is language. His operation cannot be linguistic, but stylistic…The fundamental characteristic of the “free indirect subjective” is therefore not of a linguistic nature, but of a stylistic one.” (Pasolini, “The Cinema of Poetry”)

That the question of “who speaks” in film remains irreducible to linguistic models of identification makes transpositions of “free indirect discourse” onto the cinematic particularly awkward. In its literary incarnation, free indirect discourse hinges predominantly on the idiosyncracies of personalized speech, staging the slippage between distinct voices by performing one from the vantage point of an other. Particularly effective as an admixture of commentary and description, free indirect discourse represents another’s idiom just enough to conjure a position outside it: think, perhaps, of the several times the Austenian narrator dips momentarily into Mr. Woodhouse’s consciousness to poke fun at his dietary eccentricities or inefficacy as a patriarch. Ventriloquy here shows its own hand: we are not meant to take the reported thought for its actual enunciation, but to recognize the oscillation between the thought itself and its representation, reproduction, or parody. The indirectness of free indirect discourse—“representation of thought rather than an expression of it” Frances Ferguson writes—references the misalignment of speaker and utterance, carving out a zone of indistinction from which the narratorial voice briefly dons the perspectival coordinates of another subjectivity.

Central to analysis of FID, then, is an ear for the multiplicity of voices in a single enunciation, the ability to register in this enunciation one voice (or several voices) too many. The absence of discriminating markers for enunciatory personalities in cinema seems to complicate such recognition: to the extent that linguistic indices of specific (and distinct) subjectivities remain unavailable, the challenge of cinematic FID becomes that of inserting the subjective, the notion of distinct subjectivities, at all, of alerting viewers to the presence of an intervening consciousness or intercessor. Because premodern(?) takes the interchangeability of author and character for granted (what Deleuze refers to as the “unity of the author, the characters and the world guaranteed by the internal monologue”), making the question of who is speaking (or, more accurately, whose consciousness images are filtered through) apprehensible as a question at all becomes the first hurdle. How and when does the subjective, as rupture in the author-character-world continuum Deleuze locates under the regime of the internal monologue, enter without being conveyed discursively?

Pasolini’s answer, it seems, bears little attachment to the discursive. Having established the filmmaker’s lack of recourse to that “formidable instrument of differentiation which is language” (7), he effectively substitutes for free indirect discourse what he terms “free indirect subjectivity”—FID minus the discourse. Stylistic rather than linguistic, free indirect subjectivity is FID without recourse to codified sign systems, FID in a more inchoate, and thus stylistically flexible, form. Ultimately, this turn from the linguistic to the stylistic enables a reading of free indirect subjectivity that folds back into internal monologue, capitalizing on an indiscernability between author and the alternate subject position she has taken up in order subsume the latter under the former. If free indirect discourse in Ann Banfield’s formulation (Unspeakable Sentences) refers specifically to utterances that are neither communicative nor expressive (neither addressed to a “you” nor tethered to a speaking “I”), the techniques cultivating “free indirect subjectivity” ultimately become in Pasolini radically expressive. Free indirect subjectivity affords the author “poetic liberty”—the author avails herself of characterological perspectivalism/the free indirect subjective in order to take this “stylistic exercise as inspiration.” For Pasolini, the emergence of an intervening or alien consciousness becomes mere “pretext,” “enabling the author to speak indirectly — through some narrative alibi — in the first person.”

But the free indirect remains a lurking potentiality in Deleuze—defamiliarization, or rather, subjectivization, can infiltrate any moment of seeming internal monologue, such that instances of direct style preserve kernels of an “indirect origin and does not allow itself to be fixed with the first person” (Cinema 2, 248) For Deleuze, the coherence of internal monologue is not recovered in free indirect discourse’s cinematic analogue, but “shatters into anonymous debris.” “Stereotypes, clichés, ready-made visions and formulas took away the outside world and the interiority of characters in the same decomposition.” (Cinema 2, 187) Whereas Pasolini collapses free indirect subjectivity back into a first person that subsumes all under authorial, Deleuze maintains the irreducibility of incompossible subject positions—the interstice at the heart of FID. “The author takes a step towards his characters, but the characters take a step towards the author: double becoming” The disassociative force of free indirect discourse no longer begs the question how one voice will be reconciled the other, but the disjuncture between utterance and the position from which it is uttered.

In fact, preservation of the disjuncture seems in keeping with a larger set of concerns in the last chapters of Cinema 2: the problem of accounting for non-totalizing relation, of contact without the assurance of organic totality or integration into a whole that is always elsewhere, out-of-field. “The Whole is outside.” What is banished with the break in the sensory-motor link is not just a correspondence between images seen and read/heard, but the very enterprise of linkage–of rendering visible interaction between components belonging to a single set. The speech-act moves, with the collapse of continuity between action/reaction, from the realm of sensory-motor links into the “regime of free-indirect.”

If, for Pasolini, the possibility of relinkage remains, and free indirect subjectivity can ultimately be repurposed to bolster the first person—such that the organizing consciousness escapes into another only to fold this back into an elasticized but ultimately all-encompassing version of self-sovereignty (alterity thus framed as “inspiration” rather than shock or forced thought), Deleuze’s account of free indirect discourse stages an expropriation of voice that echoes expropriation of thought—the “theft of thought of which thought is a constant agent and victim.” Insofar as represented internal monologue becomes internal monologue suddenly encountered from outside, dispossessed of thought also becomes thought turned inside out to reveal the unthought immanent in thought. FID is never coincident with represented thought, but it is also remarkable for how close it is: it does not simply offer dispassionate, clinically detached reportage, but, as Anne Lise Francois writes in Open Secrets, “makes available experiences that may entirely elude their subjects.”

Whereas the first person of internal monologue, the alignment of speaker and utterance that allows “I” to be spoken, posits a consummate and ultimately self-identical whole—“open” and evolving precisely because its incorporative power links together what is only seemingly discontinuous— FID posits the fractured I. Though the irreconcilable heterogeneity that surfaces in FID is framed as the crowding out of the first person through the insertion of a third party—“either the author expresses himself though the intercession of an autonomous, independent character other than the author or any role fixed by the author, or the character acts and speaks himself as if his own gestures and his own words were already reported by a third party”—it features, more importantly, as internal fissure within the first person. FID, in precluding total identification, becomes not so much the imposition of an external POV on thought as the excavation of noncoincidence from within. Deleuze’s insistence on free indirect discourse (choice, perhaps, to foreground Pasolini’s conception of FID rather than that of free indirect subjectivity) mines the potentiality of FID speech-act—as an act of storytelling, of resistance—to enact splitting. The notion of FID as speech-act refocuses on what is created, generated at moment of impossible enunciation—the performative possibilities of inhabiting both the multiple (proliferation of mutually exclusive and incompossible positions) and the double-bind (the evacuation of possibility, the no-place or impasse).

The sense in which one can speak in an language that does not belong to one, and, inversely, that an idiom can be spoken by one that does not belong to it, makes FID particularly useful in Deleuze’s discussion of the colonized’s relation to language. That speaker and utterance do not belong to one another, but remain suspended in mutual disarticulation, puts FID’s theoretical impossibility to political use. (Important that it features as speech-act: “Daney observed that African cinema (but this applies to the whole third world) is not, as the West would like, a cinema which dances, but a cinema which talks, a cinema of the speech-act.” (229)

In Deleuze’s conception of “minorness,” the refrain the “whole is outside” takes on new valence when placed alongside “the people are missing”: insofar as FID is inevitably collective (or non-individualistic/nonsingular) in its enunciation, this collectivity remains far from resolved or consolidated in the speaking subject. The minor will always be speaking on behalf, or as representative, but in a tongue not their own—even as there is a sense that to speak/write is to be dispossessed in some way, one is driven by the necessity of speaking. As response to the refrain of the “the people are missing,” free indirect discourse performs both proliferation and impasse. The question of who is speaking becomes particularly charged, even as it remains undeterminable. FID’s impossibility as utterance is here twofold: (1) speaking requires a position that doesn’t exist yet—the people are missing; the free indiscursive mode is merely a prefiguration (2) the position that does exist is compromised—utterance and speaker do not belong to one another; dispossession becomes the very condition of speaking, because one can only ever speak in another’s voice.

A Shell without a Yolk

255px-Humpty_Dumpty_1_-_WW_Denslow_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_18546Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty-Dumpty together again

Humpty’s body was fractured by a great fall that multiplied his lovely ovoid wholeness into a field of fragments interspersed with intervals of non-shell, non-Humpty, earth. The movement of gravity, extending from the revolving motion of the earth’s body, transmitted through Humpty’s body, and the Humpty-gravity-body then encountered the body of the earth’s surface at 9.8 m/s2, becoming the shattered Humpty-earth multiplicity that baffled both the king’s men and horses alike. They never read Deleuze, because if they had they never would have bothered reassembling a body that was never whole, a body that was always already an assemblage. They assumed Humpty was once unified and thus distressed enough at the sight of his evident dissolution to invest hoof and hand in cross-species camaraderie toward his impossible repair, never ‘seeing’ that it is not the amalgamated shell fragments but what lies in between and outside them that is the whole (outside). On the one hand, continuing the thread of my last journal entry, the “I” of Humpty Dumpty was already fragmented (I would argue fractal) at least, according to Kant, by the subject’s “Fall” from edenic wholeness, when the perceiving “I” recognized also the object that is a desiring “I,” an external subject longing for an external object, an in-itself and a for-itself. Eve shattered before she touched the apple of wisdom, when it was only the generator of a virtual other “I” that desired and, in so doing, dissected the “I.” Deleuze, of course, sees the postlapsarian Eve less as a divided entity than as a shattered subject, like Humpty-Dumpty, distributed along the plane of immanence in discrete but connectible shards of conceptual “I’s” that couldn’t possibly be ‘put together again.’ The king’s men and horses glimpsed only the visibilities of a unified whole emergent from a plane of immanence that shares contours with a sovereign individual king, a monotheistic deity, and a cartesian cogito. They did not see a multiplicitous body, nor the field and fragments folding into a body without organs (or yolk), because this was neither visible nor articulable to them. We see the “we” in Humpty-Dumpty, and this journal entry will consider the art of seeing the Deleuzian-Humpty-Dumpty fractal “I” and body, and the politics entailed therein.

How and why did Humpty-Dumpty fall? Was it accident or eggicide? Revealingly, there is no indexical sign pointing to a cause. All we know is that he fell and fractured, arbitrarily. Who or what was Humpty-Dumpty? Historians have speculated he was not necessarily an egg: in the 17th century he could have been a caricature of the hunchbacked King Richard II; or a “tortoise siege” machine mobilized in the siege of Gloucester in 1643; or a military cannon used in the same civil war; or as a 20th century topological illustration of the second law of thermodynamics, entropy, which theorizes the multiplicity of assemblages that a given system can unfold. He is an egg, a tank, a cannon, a king, and entropy, or rather, a body without organs that is deterritorialized and reterritorialized across space-time, things, humans, animals and concepts. He is a metaphor and a metamorphosis. For our purposes, Deleuze pushed the proverbial Humpty-Dumpty in his campaign to ‘break up’ the body by “opening up” words, things and the chaosmos-filled interval between perception and action. Humpty-Dumpty as a multiplicity of avatars and shards is essential if eggcentric: he/they demonstrate that bodies are matter, “the matter of force,” and have thus made visible the movement from sovereign power to disciplinary power, from body politic of the state to bio-politics of subjected bodies, from a King (Richard) to an egg/machine emblem of systemic disorder (entropy).

For Deleuze, while power has become ever more embodied and capillary, it has at the same time colonized a territory that is always in flux, always potentially deterritorializing itself through the virtual vicissitudes emerging in the gap-between bodies, perception and action, the visible and the articulable. As we will revisit, it is a shock or an intensity that we encounter through our bodies’ sensorium that induces thought. Art, shocking affective and particularly cinematic art, we can infer, can do just this. Again, Humpty-Dumpty reveals the radical possibilities of shock and art. After citing Klee’s axiom that “the people are missing in art,” Deleuze suggests that third world cinema aspires to “constitute an assemblage which brings real parties together in order to make them produce collective utterances as the prefiguration of the people who are missing” (TI 224). The ‘shock’ of a deconstructed Humpty-Dumpty ‘induces’ an assemblage of humans and horses, masters and subjects, to work collectively in the futile art of collectively putting Humpty-Dumpty back together again. Though they inevitably fail to synthesize the already multiplicitous Humpty-Dumpty, their human-equine assembled agency prefigures yet new and possibly more unpredictable assemblages of actors in future encounters. Is this contingent strata of both the body as a sensing machine and a body of actors as an always unfolding assemblage that resists the powers of biopolitics what Deleuze means by “life”? How does the body mediate thought, life, art and resistance in the many conceptual shards that Deleuze has strewn over his oeuvre’s theoretical plane of immanence? Rather than put the pieces back together again into a Humpty-Dumpty-whole of a coherent underlying unity in Deleuze’s thoughts on the body, what possible relations and combinations can we contemplate about the body from his conceptual field?

Movement is always rendered visible through relations amongst bodies, as Deleuze demonstrates with the concepts of anamorphosis, metamorphosis, metaphor and montage. Anamorphosis is a distorted representation that relies upon an external object or position to disambiguate it. Deleuze argues that dream images are anamorphoses that mediate irrational but relational connections amongst perception and recollection images, and thus along the movement from virtual to actual images. Deleuze provides the example of a dream image sequence that connects a recollection image of a green field studded with wildflowers once perceived, with a billiards table also a recollection of what was once perceived. This is not a metaphor, we are told. A metaphor refers to the “harmonics of the image” (TI 160), that unites two scenes with entirely different bodies enacting a ‘harmonically’ similar scenario or movement, the non-human counterpart implying a symbolically iconic relation to the human scenario. When the movement of one body is transmuted into the movements of another body, or when a single movement courses through two different and possibly ontologically distinct bodies, the movement undergoes metamorphoses. Deleuze observes that in cinema, “depersonalized and pronominalized movements, with their slow motion or rushing, with their inversions, pass just as much through nature as through artifice and the manufactured object” (TI 60). Dancing, in cinematic musicals, often entails this viral movement. The cadence of Gene Kelly’s dance in Singing in the Rain, for instance, transmutes the unevenness of the pavement into a rhythm of movements in the dancer’s body. Deleuze also describes this process of metamorphoses from the “personal motivity” of a “dancer’s individual genius, his subjectivity” into “a supra-personal element” as a “movement of world that the dance will outline” (TI 61).  In fact, Metaphor, anamorphosis, and metamorphosis all describe variations of “movements of world,” where movements are “depersonalized and pronominalized” across image types, formal affinities, symbolic resonances, transmuted motions. The movement of world, in effect, captures the transference of movement between worlds, the world of one object or subject to another, that “breaks” the sensory-motor links between perceptions extending into actions, entailing instead “circuits” of “pure optical and sound situations” that fold upon themselves and transmit into other circuits. Deleuze claims that the exaggerated sounds and gestures Jerry Lewis initiate a movement of world that “travels from one world to another, in a pulverizing of colours, a metamorphosis of forms and a mutation of sounds” (TI 65). Bodies, gestures, sounds, forms and colors effectively lose their definition and become “deterritorialized” instances along a more resonant and circuitous movement.

Deleuze and Guattari provide an image of a deterritorialized body in their concept of “a body without organs.” A body implies a territory in that it suggests discrete and stable boundaries, a skin, and all compartmentalization within, or its organs and their organ-ization. A body without organs is immediately contradictory if we imagine it as such an actual body rather than a virtual one of constantly flowing potentialities. Discrete as the material corpus of a paving stone and a dancer’s tendons are, they transmit a virtual current of movement that transcends all formal and material boundaries. Bodies within the movement, or rather organs within the virtual body of a movement of world — a seamless movement from one world to another — no longer exist, they have been bypassed in the movement’s circuit or, in Deleuze and Guattari’s terms, they have been “de-organ-ized.”  A body without organs “is continually dismantling the organism, causing asignifying particles or pure intensities to pass or circulate, and attributing to itself subjects that it leaves with nothing more than a name as the trace of an intensity” (TP 4). A body, an entity or an organism is but a visibility of an underlying fluid body without organs, much like a perceived image is but a refracted flash of a luminous plane of immanence that bursts in seemingly discrete visible flashes that are merely “traces” of a circulating intensity. We glimpse the shadow of a body without organs in processes of metaphor, metamorphosis and anamorphosis, or movements of worlds, that, like the cinematographic shot within a montage, reveal changes of a whole.

For Foucault a diagram captures this evolving relational movement of forces that constitute power, and for Deleuze the diagram is a map, not of a territory but of a deterritorialization, not of a geographic body but a topological body without organs. Deleuze and Guattari provide a mapping of the deterritorialization and reterritorialization of an orchid and a wasp as an example of a rhizome, an illustration reminiscent of Deleuze’s illustration of a fluctuating whole iced tea that is always ‘dismantling’ its discrete organs and ‘transmitting intensities’ across its constituent elements.

The orchid deterritorializes by forming an image, a tracing of a wasp; but the wasp reterritorializes on that image. The wasp is nevertheless deterritorialized, becoming a piece in the orchid’s reproductive apparatus. But it reterritorializes the orchid by transporting its pollen. Wasp and orchid, as heterogeneous elements, form a rhizome. (TP 10)

Two seemingly discrete bodies are folded into each other through a shared movement of world expressed in the ongoing and interchanging process of deterritorialization and reterritorialization upon a previous deterritorialization, and so on. The rhizome formed between the wasp and orchid is a map, a diagram of relations, that “fosters connections between fields, the removal of blockages of bodies without organs, the maximum opening of bodies without organs onto a plane of consistency” (TP 12). Jerry Lewis’s body and the set are a rhizome; Gene Kelly’s gait and the pavement’s character form a rhizome; the egg, king, machine Humpty Dumpty that is a shattered body fallen from a wall or a shattered wall felled by Humpty-Dumpty’s body is a rhizome. Each forms a map with the other in their respective rhizome, removing organs from the body of a movement of world.

If bodies are at once ‘worlds’ of receptivity and visibility but, as such, necessarily organ-ic, reductive and obstructive compared to bodies without organs, how can Deleuze claim that “what is certain is that believing is no longer believing in another world, or in a transformed world. It is only, it is simply believing in the body” (TI 172)? The concept of the “body without organs” and the rhizome configure the contemplation of a body-with-organs, the body we are asked now to believe in, as a limited actualization or a node of a much greater dynamic field flowing across worlds. Despairingly, Deleuze believes that “the link between man and the world is broken,” and yet metamorphosis, anamorphosis, metaphor, movement of world, rhizomes, wholes, montage all suggest the complete opposite. Is this the despair of the king’s men and horses, who see in the entropy of Humpty-Dumpty’s demise the shattering of not only a whole world-body, but also its connection with the whole world? Yes, the terror of the shattered link and the shattered whole is that of the king’s men and horses, but not of Humpty-Dumpty and Deleuze, both of whom lept from the wall and shattered the imago of a whole body to see the shell shards and earthy rhizome, the (literal) deterritorialization of the body and reterritorialization of the world within it — a mapping of the relations of force between bodies and worlds that would restore this belief through the fractal body. As for the hapless horses and humans, the fall was an intensity, and as we can recall from Difference and Repetition, “it is true that on the path which leads to that which is to be thought, all begins with sensibility. Between the intensive and thought, it is always by means of an intensity that thought comes to us” (DR 144). Bodies without organs transmit intensities, and this intensity was transmitted across the bodies of Humpty Dumpty, its many human and non human avatars, the earth and the assemblage of humans and horses forced to contemplate the body as multiplicity. “Contemplating is creating, the mystery of passive creation, sensation” (WIP 212), and sensation takes place in the body Deleuze asks us to believe in, the body that senses shocks and intensities, pushing our faculties to the limit, and thereby precipitating thought. “When the diagram of power abandons the model of sovereignty in favour of a disciplinary model, when it becomes the ‘bio-power’ or ‘bio-poitics’ of populations, controlling and administering life,” Deleuze tells us in his reading of Foucault, “it is in man himself that we must liberate life, since man himself is a form of imprisonment for man” (F 92). WIth one final return to our well-whipped egg parable, the only thinking subjects of the Humpty-Dumpty tale are the frustrated inter-species fellowship of man and horse, contemplating the shock of a shattered body without organs or yolk in which they believe, just as Deleuze and Humpty-Dumpty would have them do.

More Power, Virtuality, Thought

So I’ve been spending some time with the Power (Strategies or the Non-stratified) chapter of Foucault, and I keep going back and forth between feeling like the debate that we got embroiled in last class (or at least my persistence in it) was super helpful, and thinking it might have been more off-base. On the one hand, I think we touched on some questions that seem exceptionally important, at least to me—in particular some of the nitty-gritty of the relationship of power to knowledge and power’s virtuality/actuality axis. On the other hand, the question of primacy seems relatively secondary, and there are several points at which Deleuze seems almost tempted to back off of it. There’s even a remarkable passage in which he might be ditching it all together, in his discussion of the way in which Foucault’s dualism (in this case between the visible and the articulable) is in fact a “preliminary distribution operating at the heart of a pluralism (83).” Either way, I think part of why our debate was paradoxically useful is because it did an excellent job articulating why it felt so uncomfortable to have primacy and an even heuristic dualism within Deleuze’s thought! Square peg in a round hole indeed!

Anyhow, I do want to discuss a bit more of virtuality and power, because in my reread I think there’s a lot of nuance but also a great amount of detail in Deleuze’s discussion of power and its forces, relations, and affects. There are two bits that come early in the chapter that I want to look at and start to unpack a bit. The first is the relation of power to function, and the second is power’s relationship to the state. “the power to affect is like a function of force.” writes Deleuze, “But it is a pure function, that is to say a non-formalized function, independent of the concrete forms it assumes, the aims it serves, and the means it employs.” Further down the page, discussing the Panopticon, he writes “No account is taken either of the forms which give the function ends and means…or of the formed substances acted upon by the function.”

This seems crucial to understanding the role of power in Deleuze’s work. A few pages earlier, Deleuze says that “power is not a form.” So when power becomes pure function, it is already akin to the Panopticon (and for the record, to the diagram) in the sense that it exists as a structure without particular effects, that is, as Foucault has it, ‘detached from any specific use’ and ‘specified substance. So when power exists in the form of a pure function, it has already begun to pull away from virtuality – it has begun to assume shape, in the abstract terms of the diagram, or the abstract machine itself. It would seem that power does exist without the structure the diagram or pure function gives it, but it is only through the diagram that it can begin to affect.

On the other hand, it is not as though power has become fully actualized. It still remains within the realm of the diagram. Within the diagram “power relations…simultaneously local, unstable, and diffuse, do not emanate form a central point or unique locus of sovereignty, but at each moment move ‘from one point to another’ in a field of forces…they evade all stable forms of the visible and articulable (73).” Later in this same paragraph, Deleuze indicates that these characteristics of power are due to its reference to ‘microphysics,’ cautioning that this means a wholly different dimension or realm, “irreducible to knowledge (74).”

Power, then, is a funny beast. It shares the domain of its existence with concepts like Deleuze’s expanded definition of the Image—both potentially virtual and partially actualized, power is like the two halves of the symbol: one half dipped in the virtual, the other flowing, unstable, into the actual. Finally, like the image, power is always constituted relationally. Power lacks form or essence of it own, but is instead defined by the forces or situations through which it flows.

This relationality is brought out a bit more clearly in Deleuze’s analysis of how power can become integrated, in particular by institutions. For Delueze, relations of force remain without their full power unless they are “carried out” by forms of knowledge. These forms of knowledge participate in a process of integration: “an operation which consists of tracing a ‘line of general force,’ linking, aligning, and homogenizing particular features (75).” This process of integration involved not only forms of knowledge, but institutions, such as the State, the Family, Art and Morality, who are the “agents of stratification.” However, what’s so crucial about these integrating factors is that they are not sources or essences—they are only the networks that “fix” power, not the structures from which power issues. “There is no State, only state power,” writes Deleuze; power is presupposed by the state, and power exceeds it and all institutions.

If we’re going to talk about primacy here, then we can at least say that power has primacy over the institutions that fix it, as power runs through all institutions and, just as importantly, also bubbles up beneath them. Although without institutions of any kind and without forms of knowledge and knowledge relations, power would remain “embryonic,” it is this very lack of structure that gives it the ability to power structures themselves. As Deleuze has it, power is blind and deaf, but robbed of sight and hearing, it is the only thing that can make us see and hear. The power of power, then, comes from its nature to exceed the structures it requires to become influence and actualization, to always flow back out, against, and through the inflexibility of specific structures like the Panopticon or the State.

To give this a little concreteness, there are a lot of analogies that occur to me here, but actually the first one that comes to mind is maybe a little lame, but also kind of satisfying. In the Harry Potter series, Voldemort spends much of his time in an ethereal, bodiless form. He is pure power, that is to say, continually weak, until he finds a structure (actually a few structures) that can give him shape. These structures have varying levels of ability to affect, until Voldemort reaches his final form sometime in the last few books, in which his ethereal form finds a structure that can handle/fix quite a bit of power flowing through it. Structures, institutions and forms of knowledge in the world can fix varying sets of forces and capacities to affect—in large historical terms, Religion is perhaps a structure that has a waning capacity to affect, whereas capitalism has only an ever-increasing influence.

Finally, this links up with the one thing we didn’t end up talking about much in class, which is the Outside. Personally, I was so overwhelmed by the first half of the chapter that I didn’t read the second half near closely enough before our class discussion. But on my re-read, it struck me as perhaps some of the most radical material we’ve seen from Deleuze so far. It reminds me quite a bit of the section on Artuad from Cinema 2, i.e. section 2 of chapter 7, where Deleuze articulates the power of being powerless to think. I don’t have a ton of space left in this journal to gloss the section, but I think the crucial point is that the Outside, like, in a way, the virtual, is the dimension from which mutation and change emerge.

The diagram “stems from the outside,” but is not coextensive with it. Nor does the diagram structurally maintain a connection with the Outside. Instead, it is the forces that traverse the diagram that maintain a connection with the outside. The outside is the realm of Force, and all forces that traverse the diagram maintain a connection with the outside, an irreducible realm in which all forces share. Because the outside lacks stable definition, it appears to be always in flux, and the forces that emerge from it, the composing forces that make up other structures or articulations, are what shift within structures. Structures, according to Deleuze, do not themselves shift, but their composing forces, retaining a connection to the Outside, rearrange, recompose, and reorganize themselves, which in turns alters the composition of the structures. As Deleuze has it: “Emergence, change and mutation affect composing forces, not composed forms.” The “death of Man” occurs because the forces that composed the historical structure of “Man,” have begun to rearrange, giving the forces previously contained by the structure the freedom to find a new arrangement.

This radical potentiality, this freedom of the Outside, is what I find most exciting about this chapter. In particular, the way in which Deleuze defines the Outside in relation to thought is, frankly incredible: “Thinking does not depend on a beautiful interiority that would reunite the visible and the articulable elements, but is carried under the intrusion of an outside that eats into the interval and forces or dismembers the internal.” This seems to me to be the most radical yet detailed and clear conception of the power of Thought that we’ve come across so far. Thought, true thought, the difficult thinking, thought-without-image, etc. is a form of contact with an outside that is uncontained, irreducible, limitless and eternal, and therefore a dimension of radical potentiality, difference and newness. Thought’s power is its contact with that which can reconfigure structures, can reorganize the compositions of forces that are the State or the Panopticon. Thought is contact with a dimension that is unbounded—forms of knowledge or institutions may constitute power and force’s actualization, but the Outside touches thought to the possibility of remaking all that has ever been actualized.