Wednesday, April 25, 2007

‘What can a body do?’ is one of Spinoza’s fundamental question

Spinoza Today BOOK III, PROP. VII. The endeavour, wherewith everything endeavours to persist in its own being, is nothing else but the actual essence of the thing in question.
~ by larvalsubjects on April 23, 2007. One Response to “Spinoza Today”
Here is a great Spinoza quote. I am emale has recently been poring over Spivak’s reading of Deleuze and Guattari. Her critique of their work stems from a ideology of US intellectual culture which appropriates and organises the whole body of their work into “totalising” conceptions of “desire” and “power,” further perpetuating an ongoing, globalising hegemony, inaugurating a sovereign Subject. The “-ings” have it.
To ecko Mr Nietzsche from the Gay Science, “often I have asked myself whether taking a large view, philosophy has not been merely an interpretation of the body and a misunderstanding of the body.”
Deleuze also quotes this line in Spinoza: Practical Philosophy. ‘What can a body do?’ is one of Spinoza’s fundamental question. Becoming: an infinitive present participle. “Becoming is a verb with a consistency all its own; it does not reduce to, or lead back to, ‘appearing,’ ‘being,’ ‘equaling,’ or ‘producing.’” A becoming could be mistaken for an imitation of the state of affairs instead of a double involvement, an involution, falling back upon a body without organs. Experimentation injected with caution.
It seems the US professors (preferring essays and interviews like the fanzines of ‘pop stars’) Spivak is implicitly critiquing by way of Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, fail to consider the body of their works in a line of becoming, a striving in the history of an endeavour (Lucretius, Spinoza, Bergson etc) to give art and becoming to a critical experience of the cogito.
The US professors and their students are public intellectuals for the most part I am emale suspects, as opposed to the private thinker. A rigorous reading of Spinoza (which is not as easy as reading interviews – this is an economic issue, not of ideology, the question of the supplement and the main body of work) might alleviate the dangers Spivak raises in relation to the body of work by Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari.
The quote you posted would be a good starting place. ecko4inc said this on April 23rd, 2007 at 10:32 pm

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