Deleuze 18 德勒茲

Deleuze 18 德勒茲 千高台

Translated by Springhero 雄伯


Memories of a Spinozist, I



Substantial forms have been critiqued in many different ways. Spinoza’s approach is radical: Arrive at elements that no longer have either form or function, that are abstract in this sense even though they are perfectly real. They are distinguished solely by movement and rest, slowness and speed. They are not atoms, in other words, finite elements still endowed with form. Nor are they indefinitely divisible. They are infinitely small, ultimate parts of an actual infinity, laid out on the same plane of consistency or composition.




They are not defined by their number since they always come in infinities. However, depending on their degree of speed or the relation of movement and rest into which they enter, they belong to a given Individual, which may itself be part of another Individual governed by another, more complex, relation into which their parts enter. Thus each individual is an infinite multiplicity, and the whole of Nature is a multiplicity of perfectly individuated multiplicities.




The plane of consistency of Nature is like an immense Abstract Machine, abstract yet real and individual; its pieces are the various assemblages and individuals, each of which groups together an infinity of particles entering into an infinity of more or less interconnected relations. There is therefore a unity to the plane of nature, which applies equally to the inanimate and the animate, the artificial and the natural.  This plane has nothing to do with a form or a figure, nor with a design or function.




Its unity has nothing to do with a ground buried deep within things, nor with an end or a project in the mind of God. Instead, it is a plane upon which everything is laid out, and which is like the intersection of all forms, the machine of all functions; its dimensions, however, increase with those of the multiplicities of individualities it cuts across. It is a fixed plane, upon which things are distinguished from one another only by speed and slowness.




A plane of immanence or univocality opposed to analogy . The One is said with a single meaning of all the multiple. Being expresses in a single meaning all that differs. What we are talking about is not the unity of substance but the infinity of the modifications that are part of one another on this unique plane of life.




The never-ending debate between Cuvier and Geoffroy Hilaire: both agree at least in denouncing resemblances, or imaginary, sensible analogies, but in Cuvier, scientific definition concerns the relations between organs, and between organs and functions. Cuvier thus takes analogy to the scientific stage, making it an analogy of proportionality. The unity of the plane, according to him, can only be a unity of analogy, therefore a transcendent unity that cannot be realized without fragmenting into distinct branches, according to irreducible, uncrossable, heterogeneous compositions. Baer would later add; according to noncommunicating types of development and differentiation. The plane is a hidden plane of organization, a structure or genesis. Geoffroy has an entirely different point of view because he goes beyond organs and functions to abstract elements he terms “ anatomical,” even to particles, pure materials that enter into various combinations, forming a given organ  and assuming a given function depending on their degree of speed or slowness.




Speed and slowness, movement and rest, tardiness and rapidity subordinate not only the forms of structure but also the types of development. This approach later reappears in an evolutionist framework., with Perrier”s tachygenesis and differential rates of growth in allometry, species as kinematic entities that are either precocious or retarded. ( Even the question of fertility is less one of form and function than speed; do the paternal chromosomes arrive early enough to be incorporated into the nuclei?)

In any case, there is a pure plane of immanence, univocality, composition, upon which everything is given, upon which unformed elements and materials dance that enter into this or that individuated assemblage depending on their connections, their relations of movement.




A fixed plane of life upon which everything stirs, slows down or accelerates. A single abstract Animal for all the assemblages that effectuate it. A unique plane of consistency or composition for the cephalopod and the vertebrate; for the vertebrate to become an octopus or Cuttlefish, all it would have to do is fold itself in two fast enough to fuse the elements of the halves of its back together, then bring its pelvis up to the nape of its neck and gather its limbs together, into one of its extremities, like “ a clown who throws his head and shoulders back and walks on his head and hands.” Plication.




It is no longer a question of organs and functions, and of a transcendent Plane that can preside over their organization only by means of analogical relations and types of divergent development. It is a question not of organization but of composition; not of development or differentiation but of movement and rest, speed and slowness. It is a question of elements and particles, which do or do not arrive fast enough to effect a passage, a becoming or jump on the same plane of pure immanence . And if there are in fact, rifts between assemblages, it is not by virtue of their essential irreducibility but rather because there are always elements that do not arrive on time, or arrive after everything is over; thus it is necessary to pass through fog, to cross voids, to have lead times and delays, which are themselves part of the plane of immanence. Even the failures are part of the plane. We must try to conceive of this world in which a single fixed plane—which we shall call a plane of absolute immobility or absolute movement—in traversed by nonformal elements of relative speed that enter this or that individuated assemblage depending on their degrees of speed and slowness. A plane of consistency peopled by anonymous matter, by infinite bits of impalpable matter entering into varying connection.




Children are Spinozists. When Little Hans talks about a “ peepee-maker,” he is referring not an organ or an organic function but basically to a material, in other words, to an aggregate whose elements vary according to its connections, its relations of movement and rest, the different individuated assemblages it enters. Does a girl have a peepee-maker? The boy says yes, and not by analogy, nor ion order to conjure away  a fear of castration. It is obvious that girls have a peepee-maker because they effectively pee: a machinic functioning rather than an organic function. Quite simply, the same material has different connections, different relations of movement and rest, enters different assemblages in the case of the boy and the girl ( a girl does not pee standing or into the distance).




Does a locomotive have a peepee-maker? Yes, in yet another machinic assemblage. Chairs don’t have them: but that is because the elements of the chair were not able to integrate this material into their relations, or decomposed the relation with that material to the point that it yielded something else, a rung, for example. It has been noted that for children an organ has “ a thousand vicissitudes,” that it is “ difficult to localize, difficult to identify, it is in turn a bone, an engine, excrement, the baby, a hand, daddy’s heart…” This is not at all because the organ is experienced as a part-object.




It is because the organ is exactly what its elements make it according to their relation of movement or rest, and the way in which this relation combines with or splits off from that of neighboring elements. This is not an animism, any more than it is mechanism; rather, it is universal machinism: a plane of consistency occupied by an immense abstract machine comprising an infinite number of assemblages. Children’s questions are poorly understood if they are not seen as question-machines; that is why indefinite articles play so important a rule in these questions( a belly, a child, a horse, a chair, “ how is a person made?” Spinozism is the becoming-child of the philosopher. We call the longitude of a body the particle aggregates belonging to that body in a given relation; these aggregates are part of each other depending on the composition of the relation that defines the individuated assemblage of the body.



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