---- by Tamsin Lorraine
  In The Logic of Sense, Deleuze characterises the distinction made by the Stoics between mixtures of bodies or states of affairs and incorporeal entities that 'frolic' on the surface of occurrences (D 1990: 5). According to Deleuze, this distinction refers to two planes of being, one of which concerns the tensions, physical qualities, actions and passions of bodies; and the other of which concerns 'incorporeal' entities or events that do not exist, but rather 'subsist or inhere' in states of affairs. Although incorporeal entities can never be actually present, they are the effect of mixtures of bodies and can enter into quasi-causal relations with other incorporeals.
  The clearest example of the incorporeal is an event of sense. A proposition like 'The sun is shining' expresses a sense that 'inheres' in the proposition, but is never reducible to the state of affairs of either one specific or even an endless series of specific instances of a shining sun (D 1990: cf. 19). Deleuze claims that while states of affairs have the temporality of the living present, the incorporeal events of sense are infinitives (to shine, to be the sun) that constitute pure becomings with the temporality of aion - a form of time independent of matter that always eludes the present. Thus, no matter how many times the state of affairs of a shining sun is actualised, the sense of 'The sun is shining' is not exhausted. It is this 'frontier of sense' between what words express and the attributes of bodies that allows language to be distinguished from physical bodies. If the actions and passions of bodies make sense, it is because that sense is not itself either an action or a passion, but is rather an incorporeal effect of a state of affairs that enters into relations of quasi-causality with other incorporeal events of sense. The virtual relations of the events of sense constitute the condition of any given speech-act. Deleuze refers to the work of Lewis Carroll as a revealing example of how these quasi-causal relations can form a 'nonsense' that subsists in 'common sense' language.
  In A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari characterise a social field in terms of a 'machinic assemblage' and a 'collective assemblage of enunciation' (D&G 1987: 88). In addition to bodies and the actions and passions affecting those bodies (the 'machinic assemblage', for example, the body of the accused or the body of the prison), there is a set of incorporeal transformations current in a given society that are attributed to the bodies of that society (for example, the transformation of the accused into a convict by the judge's sentence) (D&G 1987: cf. 81). We can view the incorporeal effects of states of affairs in terms of either the 'order-words' that designate fixed relations between statements and the incorporeal transformations they express, or the deterritorialising play of Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (1865). In The Logic of Sense, Deleuze describes the actor or Stoic sage as someone able to evoke an instant with a taut intensity expressive of an unlimited future and past, and thereby embody the incorporeal effects of a state of affairs rather than merely its spatio-temporal actualisation (D 1990: 147). Such actors do more than merely portray a character's hopes or regrets; they attempt to 'represent' a pure instant at the point at which it divides into future and past, thus embodying in their performance an intimation of virtual relations beyond those actualised in the situation portrayed. If one wills to be just in the manner of a Stoic sage, one wills not the repetition of past acts of justice, but a justice that has always been and has yet to be - the incorporeal effect of justice that is never made fully manifest in any concrete situation. When the incorporeal effects of sense are reduced to order-words, we ignore the pure becomings of sense and territorialise the infinite variability of meaning into stale repetitions of the past. When we allow the variables of corporeal bodies and events of sense to be placed into constant variation, even order-words become a passage to the limit. The movement of new connections among these variables pushes language to its limits and bodies to a metamorphic becoming-other (D&G 1987: 108).
   § becoming

The Deleuze dictionary. . 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

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