---- by Bruce Baugh
  Death is many things: a state of affairs, when a body's parts, through external causes, enter into a relation that is incompatible with that body's continued existence; an impersonal event of dying, expressed through an infinitive verb (mourir, to die); the experience of zero 'intensity' that is implicit in a body's feeling or experience of an increase or decrease in its force of existence; a 'model' of immobility and of energy that is not organised and put to work; and finally, the 'death instinct', capitalism's destruction of surplus value through war, unemployment, famine and disease.
  A body exists when its parts compose a relation that expresses the singular force of existence or 'essence' of that body, and ceases to be when its parts are determined by outside causes to enter into a relation that is incompatible with its own. Death in this sense always comes from outside and as such is both fortuitous and inevitable: it is the necessary and determined result of a body's chance encounters with other bodies, governed by purely mechanical laws of cause and effect. Since every body interacts with other bodies, it is inevitable that at some point it will encounter bodies that 'decompose' the vital relation of its parts, and cause those parts to enter into new relations, characteristic of other bodies.
  Death, as the decomposition of a body's characteristic relation, forms the basis of the personal and present death of the Self or ego.To this death, as founded in the personal self and the body, Deleuze contrasts the 'event' of dying, which is impersonal and incorporeal, expressed in the infinitive verb 'to die' and in the predicate mortal. Dying is not a process that takes place in things, nor is 'mortal' a quality that inheres in things or subjects. Rather, the verb and the predicate express meanings that extend over the past and future, but which are never physically present in bodies and things, even though the death of a body effectuates or actualises this dying. In impersonal dying, 'one' dies, but one never ceases or finishes dying. The death of the Self or 'I' is when it ceases to die and is actually dead: when its vital relations are decomposed, and its essence or power of existence is reduced to zero intensity. Yet, at this very instant, impersonal dying makes death lose itself in itself, as the decomposition of one living body is simultaneously the composition of a new singular life, the subsumption of the dead body's parts under a new relation.
  During its existence, bodies experience increases or diminutions of their power or force of existing. Other bodies can combine with a body either in a way that agrees with the body's constitutive relation, that results in an increase in the body's power felt as joy, or in a way that is incompatible with that relation, resulting in a diminution of power felt as sadness. Power is physical energy, a degree of intensity, so that every increase or decrease in power is an increase or decrease in intensity. When the body dies, and the Self or the ego with it, they are returned to the zero intensity from which existence emerges. Every transition from a greater to a lesser intensity, or from a lesser to a greater, involves and envelops the zero intensity with respect to which it experiences its power as increasing or decreasing. Death is thus felt in every feeling, experienced 'in life and for life'.
  It is in that sense that the life instincts and appetites arise from the emptiness or zero intensity of death. The 'model' of zero intensity is thus the Body without Organs (BwO), the body that is not organised into organs with specific functions performing specific tasks, the energy of which is not put to work, but is available for investment, what Deleuze calls death in its speculative form (taking 'speculative' in the sense of financial speculation). Since the BwO does not perform any labour, it is immobile and catatonic. In The Logic of Sense, the catatonic BwO arises from within the depths of the instincts, as a death instinct, an emptiness disguised by every appetite. In Anti-Oedipus, Deleuze retains his definition of the death instinct as desexualised energy available for investment, and as the source of the destructiveness of drives and instincts, but argues that rather than a principle, the death instinct is a product of the socially determined relations of production in the capitalist system. Death becomes an instinct, a diffused and immanent function of the capitalist system - specifically, capitalism's absorption of the surplus value it produces through antiproduction or the production of lack, such as war, unemployment, and the selection of certain populations for starvation and disease. The death instinct is thus historical and political, not natural.
   § body

The Deleuze dictionary. . 2010.


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