Thursday, March 22, 2007

Effort and resistance from a fixed point

I hear a number of my fellow colleagues in the humanities complain about how students can’t read, how unreflective they are, how poor their critical skills are, etc., all with the implicit suggestion that perhaps they’re stupid. I think this sort analysis fails to take into account the field of individuation in which students have emerged, glossing over how cognitive development now occurs in a mediatized space and is structured in terms of these technologies.
Levi, this is a really interesting and I believe correct observation about the new forms of individuation and cognition we are seeing in these waning days of the Guttenberg galaxy, as it were. The paradigm is shifting. In Deleuze’s “Pourparlez 1973-1990” he describes his own attempts (often failed) at creating and treating text as a stream, and not as a code. In other words: reading and creating are exercises in intensities. As he writes in “Spokesmen”, taking his analogy from the world of sports (Olympian and Greek) which was characterized by effort and resistance from a fixed point, as in running, discus and javelin throwing, shot putting the new forms of sports today like surfing, paragliding and windsurfing are about riding on an already existing wave.
The fundamental thing now is how to be incorporated into the movement which is performed by a wave or an ascending stream of air – whereby you “enter” a movement rather than being the starting point of an effort. The same goes for philosophy today which still returns to the “fixed” values and to the concept of the intellectual as the guardian of eternal values. As soon as philosophy finds itself in a vacant period it takes refuge in the reflection “on” something like the eternal or the historical. If it can not create movement or ride it philosophy starts impotently reflecting. Orla Schantz said this on March 21st, 2007 at 7:43 pm

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