Energy as Divine

4 October 2007 at 7:45 pm Leave a comment

Though I never intended to, I have started to read Deleuze and Guattari’s The Anti-Oedipus. After my previous post (see “A Philosophy of [Energy] Flows”), I picked it up and read the following:

If what we term libido is the connective ‘labor’ of desiring-production, it should be said that a part of this energy is transformed into the energy of disjunctive inscription (Numen). A transformation of energy. But why call this new form of energy divine, why label it Numen, in view of all the ambiguities caused by a problem of the unconscious that is only apparently religious? The body without organs is not God, quite the contrary. But the energy that sweeps through it is divine, when it attracts to itself the entire process of production and serves as its miraculate, enchanted surface, inscribing it in each and every one of its disjunctions. Hence the strange relationship that Schreber has with God. To anyone who asks: ‘Do you believe in God?’ we should reply in strictly Kantian or Schreberian terms: ‘Of course, but only as the master of the disjunctive syllogism, or as its a priori principle (God defined as *Omnitudo realitatis*, from which all secondary realities are derived by a process of division).’

Now of course that’s a mouthful/headful, and I couldn’t begin to tell you what is meant here by “miraculate” and “disjunctive inscription.” However, with reading like this I latch onto the pieces that I can grasp and hold on for dear life. They follow this passage with the following: “Hence the sole thing that is divine is the nature of an energy of disjunctions” (13).

It never occurred to me when I began this process of investigating energy flow that I would end up returning to my philosopher(s)-of-choice (kind of like a “drug of choice”). Before I finish with this passage, I have to mention the part of Manuel Delanda’s A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History which makes the concept of the BwO (“Body without Organs”) as clear as I’ve ever understood it to be, tying it in as he does to these notions of (energy) flow:

Since what truly defines the real world (according to this way of viewing things) are neither uniform strata nor variable meshworks but the unformed and unstructured flows from which these two derive, it will also be useful to have a label to refer to this special state of matter-energy information, to this flowing reality animated from within by self-organizing processes constituting a veritable *nonorganic life*: the Body without Organs (BwO). . . . The label itself is, of course, immaterial and insignificant. We could as well refer to this cauldron of nonorganic life by a different name. (Elsewhere, for instance, we called it the ‘machinic phylum.’) Unlike the name, however, the referent of the label is of extreme importance, since the flows of lava, biomass, genes, memes, norms, money (and other ‘stuff’) are the source of just about every stable structure that we cherish and value (or, on the contrary, that oppresses or enslaves us). (260-61)

In fact, a little bit later Delanda summarizes his book, more or less, as an attempt “to describe Western history in the last one thousand years as a series of processes occurring in the BwO. . . .” (262).


Entry filed under: delanda, Deleuze, energonomics, memes, philosophy, science.

A Philosophy of (Energy) Flows The Energonomics of the Brain

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