To believe in the world again : thought becoming imperceptible
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This thesis draws upon the work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari to, firstly, diagnose some of the restrictions contemporary life places upon a Deleuzian “thought without an image,” and secondly, to offer some means through which we might enter this more creative, life enhancing thought. As such, the thesis comprises a project of Nietzschean ethics, to the extent that it mounts a critique of today’s dominant thought forms, but exercises this critique as a preparatory move before turning to thought as a more active and affirmative force of/for life. The thesis argues that the dominant images of thought operating in our current milieu are of two primary modes: representation and information. Limitative representational thought structures, such as identity, resemblance and opposition, have, according to Deleuze and Guattari, defined what it means to think since classical times, prevailing through philosophy’s Platonic, Cartesian and Kantian phases, and into the present day. Proceeding by way of a series of actual examples, the thesis examines the contemporary functioning of this image of thought, focusing on such representational axes as individualism, science, gender/ sexuality and race.In addition to this classical mode, though, the thesis also problematises our current informational milieu, proposing that it is, in fact, engendering a supplementary image of thought, one that also regulates what thought can do. This image includes the mediatisation of thought, its channelling through networks of control, and its confinement by the requirements of the digital. Cutting across both the representational and informational images, however, is the potent axiomatic of capital, which further and perhaps most powerfully delimits how thought today can function.In resistance to these restrictions, the thesis proposes a thought without an image, whereby thought is nothing less than creation: the bringing into the world of the radically new, of difference-in-itself. This thought is materially embedded, traverses such spheres as philosophy, nonphilosophy, politics, micropolitics and aesthetics, and is interlinked with Bergsonian duration, Spinozian affects, and, above all, with the Deleuze-Guattarian virtual—the full reality of all that can be. Again by way of a range of actual examples relevant during the writing of this thesis, its second part maps this more potentialising thought along three lines of flight: though “ordinary” affects and the concepts and events to which they relate, through the strange sensations that art makes perceptible, and through the creation of change that Guattari’s aesthetic approach to the “post-media” era enables. Through each of these realms the thesis conceives of life in machinic, ethological terms, expressing an ontology of becoming that bespeaks the interrelatedness of all aspects of the cosmos. In this approach, no one element is privileged (including the human), and thought is conceptualised as an intensive, connective force that produces and affirms unconstrained, unregulated difference.
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