Archive for November, 2008


November 29, 2008

Deleaze 21 德勒茲:千高台

Translated by Springhero 雄伯


Of the Refrain



A child in the dark, gripped with fear, comforts himself by singing under his breath. He walks and halts to his song. Lost, he takes shelter, or orients himself with his little song as best he can. The song is like a rough sketch of a calming and stabilizing, calm and stable, center in the heart of chaos. Perhaps the child skips as he sings, hastens or slows his pace. But the song itself is already a skip: it jumps from chaos to the beginnings of order in chaos and is in danger of breaking apart at any moment. There is always sonority in Ariadne’s thread. Or the song of Orpheus.




Now we are at home. But home does not preexist: it was necessary to draw a circle around that uncertain and fragile center, to organize a limited space. Many, very diverse, components have a part in this, landmarks and marks of all kinds. This was already true of the previous case. But now the components are used for organizing a space, not for the momentary determination of a center. The forces of chaos are kept outside as much as possible, and the interior space protects the germinal forces of a task to fulfill or a deed to do. This involves an activity of selection, elimination and extraction, in order to prevent the interior forces of the earth from being submerged, to enable them to resist, or even to take something from chaos across the filter or sieve of the space that has been drawn.




Sonorous or vocal components are very important: a wall of sound, or at least a wall with some sonic bricks in it. A child hums to summon the strength for the schoolwork she has to hand in. A housewife sings to herself, or listens to the radio, as she marshals the anti-chaos forces of her work. Radios and television sets are like sound walls around every household and mark territories ( the neighbor complains when it gets too loud). For sublime deeds like the foundation of a city or the fabrication of a golem, one draws a circle, or better yet walks in a circle as in children’s dance, combining rhythmic vowels and consonants that correspond to the interior forces of creation as to the differentiated parts of an organism. A mistake in speed, rhythm, or harmony would be catastrophic because it would bring back the forces of chaos, destroying both creator and creation.




Finally, one opens the circle a crack, opens it all the way, lets someone in, calls someone, or else goes out oneself, launches forth. One opens the circle not on the side where the old forces of chaos press against it but in another region, one created by the circle itself. As though the circle tended another region, one created by the circle itself. As though the circle tended on its own to open onto a future, as a function of the working forces it shelters. This time, it is in order to join with the forces of the future, cosmic forces. One launches forth, hazards an improvisation.
But to improvise is to join with the World, or meld with it. One ventures from home on the thread of a tune. A long sonorous, gestural, motor lines that mark the customary path of a child and graft themselves onto  or begin to bud “ line of drift” with different loops, knots, speeds, movements, gestures and sonorities.




There are not three successive movements in an evolution. They are three aspects of a single thing, the Refrain. They are found in tales ( both horror stories and fairy tales), and in lieder as well. The refrain has all three aspects, it makes them simultaneous or mixes them; sometimes, sometimes, sometimes. Sometimes chaos is an immense black hole in which one endeavors to fix a fragile point as a center. Sometimes one organizes around that point a calm and stable “ pace” ( rather than a form): the black hole has become a home. Sometimes one grafts onto that pace a breakaway from the black hole. Paul Klee presented these three aspects, and their interlinkage, in a most profound way. He calls the black hole a “ gray point” for pictorial reasons. The gray point starts out as non-localizable, non-dimensional chaos, the force of chaos, a tangled bundle of aberrant lines. Then the point “ jumps over itself: and radiates a dimensional space with horizontal layers, vertical cross sections, unwritten customary lines, a whole terrestrial interior force ( this force also appears, at a more relaxed pace, in the atmosphere and in water). The gray point ( black hole) has thus jumped from one state to another, and no longer represents chaos but the abode or home. Finally, the point launches out of itself, compelled by wandering centrifugal forces that fan out to the sphere of the cosmos: one “ tries convulsively to fly from the earth, but at the following level one actually rises above it…powered by centrifugal forces that triumph over gravity.”





Zizek 01

November 29, 2008

Organ without bodies by Zizek 紀傑克:沒有身體的器官

Translated by Springhero 雄伯譯


Science: cognitivism with Freud



“ Autopoiesis”



The central problem of Deleuze, that of the emergence of the New, is deeply Kantian-Hegelian. It is related to the question “ How is a free act possible within the causal network of material interdependences?”, because something really New can emerge only if the determinative power of the linear causal chain is not complete. Here is Mario Bunge’s concise critical formulation of a “ world running on a strictly causal pattern.::




    If the joint action of several causes is always an external juxtaposition, a superposition, and in no case a synthesis having traits of its own, and if the hypothetical patients on which the causal agents act are passive things incapable of spontaneity or self-activity—incapable, in short, of adding something of their own to the causal bond—then it follows that, in a sense, effects preexist in their causes. According to this extreme but consistent doctrine on the nature of causation, only old things come out of change; processes can give rise to objects new in number or new in some quantitative aspects, not however new in kind, or, again, no new qualities can emerge.





This bring us to Deleuze’s fundamental paradox: the implication of his absolute immanentism, of his rejection of any transcendence, is precisely that an effect can transcend its cause, or—another aspect of the same problematic—that relations are external to the objects that relate to each other ( recall Deleuze’s reading of Hitchcock!). This externality of relations is grounded in the fact, in a set of elements, the number of subsets we can form is larger than the number of the elements themselves. And the most succinct definition of the excessive element, the “ dark precursor,” is precisely that of a pseudo element that, within the multitude of elements, holds the place of relations: Say, according to Fredric Jameson’s reading of Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff is not one among the novel’s characters but a kind of zero-element, a purely structural function of the “ vanishing mediator,” a mechanism for mediating the two series, that of the old organic-patriarchal social relations and that of the modern capitalist relations, a point of passage between the two:





  Heathcliff can no longer be considered the hero or the protagonist in any sense of the word. He is rather, from the very beginning, …something like a mediator or a catalyst, designed to restore the fortunes and to rejuvenate the anemic temperament of the two families.




The Deleuzian excess of relations is thus the space of freedom as that of reflexive relations, of relating to relations—the excess over the linear network of causal relations, the way the subject relates to its conditions and causes ( assuming or rejecting them). Already in Kant I am determined by causes, but I retroactively determine which causes will determine me. In short, does not Deleuze implicitly rely here on what is usually referred to as the Kantian “ incorporation thesis”? We subjects are passively affected by pathological objects and motivations: but, in a reflexive way, we ourselves have the minimal power to accept ( or to reject) being affected in this way. Or, to risk a Deleuze-Hegelian formulation, the subject is a fold of reflexivity by means of which I retroactively determine the causes allowed to determine me, or, at least, the mode of this linear determination, “ Freedom” is thus inherently retroactive. At its mot elementary, it is not simply a free act that, out of nowhere, starts a new causal link, but rather a retroactive act of endorsing which link/sequence of necessities will determine me. Here, one should add a Helgelian twist to Spinoza: freedom is not simply “ recognized/known necessity” but recognized/ assumed necessity, the necessity constituted/ actualized through this recognition. This excess of the effect over its causes thus also means that the effect is retroactively the cause of its cause—this temporal loop is the minimal structure of life ( on this point, see the work of Francisco Varela). Recall as well Borges’s precise formation of the relationship between Kafka and the multitude of his precursors, from old Chinese authors to Robert Browning:




  Kafka’s idiosyncrasy; in greater or lesser degree, is present in each of these writings, but if Kafka had not written we would not perceive it; that is to say, it would not exist…Each writer creates his precursors. His work modifies our conception of the past, as it will modify the future.





The properly dialectical solution of the dilemma of “ Is it really there, in the source, or did we only read it into the source?” is thus that it is there, but we can only perceive and state this retroactively, from today’s perspective, and this retroactive causality, exerted by the effect itself upon its causes, is the minimal sine qua non of freedom. Is it not that, without this freedom, the effects would, in a way, not only preexist in their causes but also directly preexist their causes? That is to say, without the excess/gap between cause and effect, the effect would preexist its cause in the sense that it would already be given in advance of its cause, regulating the deployment of the causal link as its hidden telos—teleology is the truth of linear mechanical causality ( as Hegel put it). Going even a step further, one should paradoxically claim that this assertion of the excess of the effect over its cause, of the possibility of freedom is the fundamental assertion of Deleuze’s materialism. That is to say, the point is not jut that there is an immaterial excess over the material reality of multiple bodies but that this excess is immanent to the level of the bodies themselves. If we subtract this immaterial excess, we do not get “ pure reductionist materialism” but instead get a covert idealism. No wonder that Descartes, the first to formulate the tenets of modern scientific materialism, was also the first to formulate the basic modern idealist principle of subjectivity: “ There is a fully constituted material reality of bodies and nothing else” is effectively an idealist position.




November 25, 2008

























November 23, 2008







November 19, 2008






November 18, 2008











November 15, 2008



原先是在網路上訂閱the New York Times,卻誤按到International Living。幾乎每幾天就主動給我e-mail一篇信件、文章、或現場的證詞,其中遣詞用字及修飾說服都是上乘。我忍不住觀看了幾篇,很想把它們改編成英作文的範本,但終於還是捨棄,因為那畢竟就是推銷海外地區房地產及投資致富的廣告。








November 13, 2008



舊俄小說家杜斯妥也夫斯基在「卡拉馬助夫兄弟們」,對於當時傳統的宗教信仰的解體有句憂心忡忡的名言:「假如上帝不存在,則一切可為。」 換言之,在倫理道德及良心以信仰上帝作為依據的社會,信仰一但瓦解,善惡的分際便會流入各自表述,也就是混亂的時代的開始。


後現代哲學家吉傑克Zizek 倒轉這句名言為「假如上帝存在,則一切可為。」指基本教義派的激進份子,以信仰為名,奮不顧身地替天行道,或替自己弱勢的族群爭取生存的尊嚴跟權利,悍然不顧法律與世俗道德的規範,而被稱為「恐怖份子」terrorists




November 12, 2008





阿扁雙手銬著進大牢的畫面令人震撼。我雖然對於他後來的政治表現甚有惡感,但對於檢察官的舉措也大不以為然。王子犯法固然與民同罪,但是對於具有政治指標意義的人物的處理,如此的自以為正義凜然的濫權,而忽略了台灣族群對於領袖人物象徵民族自尊心的集體潛意識,及漠視法律對於卸任總統的禮遇。結果非但不能顯現司法正義的效果,反而導致對於司法人員是否充當政治打手鷹犬的質疑。自以為是而自行執法 taking the law in your own hand,本是草莽時代正義各自表述的行徑,檢察官卻作了最不良的示範。自以為是理性正義的執行者,卻是導致台灣進入道德正義成為無政府主義的始作俑者。老子道德經上說:「善復為妖」,心態偏執的酷吏乃正義之妖孽乎?




November 10, 2008