Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge

Philosophy as a Concept Synthesiser

Can Batukan



FB: Francis Bacon: Logique de la sensation
N: Nietzsche et la philosophie
P: Le pli. Leibniz et le baroque
QP: Qu’est-ce que la philosophie?
SPP: Spinoza. Philosophie pratique

Without a doubt, there is a heavy literature on what philosophy is and what it must be. All philosophers had defined a system but none of them managed completely to resolve this zone of fundamental ambiguity. Some of them affirmed, respected or accepted ambiguity; some of them came down on it and attacked, willing to destroy it; while some preferred to appear unsystematic in order to distance themselves from it. Yet only a few philosophers managed to transgress the field of philosophy while defining it. In addition to this, only a few of them think that this transgression overflowing is something good and necessary. Deleuze was one of them. He did not project a philosophy only inside philosophy, in a predefined place belonging purely to philosophy. With regard to this, he was able to travel fearlessly across the limits of literature, art, music and science, and produce concepts.

On January 24, 1978, in his lecture on Spinoza, Deleuze says:

A philosophy is a kind of concept synthetiser. Creating a concept is not ideology at all. A concept is a beast.

Une philosophie, c’est une espèce de synthétiseur de concepts, créer un concept ce n’est pas du tout de l’idéologie. Un concept, c’est une bête.

Philosophy or a philosophy; concepts and their synthetisation or synthesising. Is philosophy here, being defined as a unity of concepts and their synthesis? Can thinking not turn on itself without a mediation? A clue that takes us to the “image of thought”… Deleuze and Guattari did not explain their understanding of philosophy and how they actualise the production of concepts until 1991, thirteen years after this lecture. For them, philosophy has no beginning, and it is not clear that it must have a beginning. (QP, p. 15) Therefore, we cannot argue that even the first concept of philosophy derives from a single root. The root must be in the form of multiplicity; in the form of rhizome as this is the most adequate way for the logic of thinking: instead of a single root, thinking must derive from innumerable, random rhizomes inside the human mind. Just as it is in the structure of the Universe… Therefore, (1) there are no simple concepts, (2) each concept has concept components and is defined by them. (QP, p. 15) This is neither a complete cosmos, nor a complete chaos. This is Chaosmos; that is to say, a fragmented unity. To the extent that the order of the Universe is Chaosmos, the order of the mind and thought also must be Chaosmos. In such thinking, concepts and their components have a value of vibration, just like notes and chord progressions in a musical composition. When expressed, these values of vibration get in relationship with or resonate with each other; producing relations of tonality.

There is both a plan and coincidence (since it is a composed work, a mathematical structure according to a certain notation system) in a musical piece. There are two types of coincidence and two types of plans: first, there is the birth of novelty (in an intuitive sense) during the writing of the work, an occurance that the composer cannot control; secondly, there is the rise or fall of novelties during the performance, depending on the instrument, performer and/or atmosphere (in terms of error or improvisation). When one thinks of philosophy as a concept synthesiser, then the philosopher should have been the inventor and performer of this synthesiser. But also, he/she must have been the discoverer or creator of the composition that is most appropriate for the synthesiser. In this sense, the philosopher of Deleuze and Guattari is an artist. He/she must not desire to rule the concept without coincidence since it is both absolute and relative: as a whole it is absolute, but insofar as it is fragmentary it is relative. (QP, p. 21) On the contrary, the philosopher must desire the concept to use the forces of chaos and cosmos, harmony and disharmony, tonality and atonality and therefore desire the genesis of infinite possibilities inside the synthesiser, which might have been being modified constantly.

Why is creating a concept not an ideology? One may think that the usual biased approach of philosophers towards concepts is what lies behind these words of Deleuze. We can say that Deleuze and Guattari also had a biased approach to certain concepts, for example those of Hegel, phenomenology or Descartes. Similarly, we can argue that they were siding with Bergson, Spinoza, Nietzsche and Leibniz. Yet in essence, what one defends or opposes at this point is not the concept itself but the ideological load of the philosopher who is working on the concept. In this context, Deleuze, who considers himself as a historian of philosophy, does not have any problems with any philosopher or their concepts. Perhaps the problem lies in the rejection of existence of the heterogenesis which will lead philosophy to a survol in infinite speed, according to Chaosmos. Thus we must proceed to every minorisation - outside dominant powers in all fields, therefore to deterritorialisation – which will help us loosen ourselves of this rejection. To be able to do this, one must take concepts according to their own nature and observe their permanently changing historicity without disruption.  

The concept is therefore both absolute and relative: it is relative to its own components, to other concepts, to the plane on which it is defined, and to the problems it is supposed to resolve; but it is absolute through the condensation it carries out, the site it occupies on the plane, and the conditions it assigns to the problem. As whole it is absolute, but insofar as it is fragmentary it is relative. It is infinite through its surveyor its speed but finite through its movement that traces the contour of its components. (What is Philosophy?, p. 21)

Le concept est donc à la fois absolu et relatif : relatif à ses propres composantes, aux autres concepts, au plan sur lequel il se délimite, aux problèmes qu’il est censé de résoudre, mais absolu par la condensation qu’il opère, par le lieu qu’il occupe sur le plan, par les conditions qu’il assigne au problème. Il est absolu comme tout, mais relatif en tant que fragmentaire. Il est infini par son survol ou sa vitesse, mais fini par son mouvement qui trace le contour des composantes. (QP, p. 26)

So for Deleuze and Guattari, a philosopher must necessarily modify his/her concepts. Furthermore, he/she must constantly modify the concepts of other philosophers on whom he/she works, towards the past and future. We can think of this musically as having respect to his/her own instrument, maintain, repair and calibrate to keep it ready for any performance. So, all the keys of the synthesiser must work properly, they must give the right notes when needed, the buttons, knobs and connectors must not lose their capacity to transform sounds efficiently. Any oxidation or dust must be avoided; fuses must be periodically checked. Naturally, sometimes a synthesiser may get out of control and produce some undesired or uncontrolled sounds: a mutation. In such case, we will get a brand new ordination; we move to a brand new way of philosophising. And yet, unless this happens, the synthesiser will continue producing sounds according to its present configuration.

Figure 1: the study room of the philosopher.
Figure 1: the study room of the philosopher.

The concept is not discursive, and philosophy is not a discursive formation. (QP, p. 22) Because philosophising cannot be reduced to linguistics, to logic or to science. Philosophy is not a logic of propositions. Philosophy is, so to speak, the sum of the relations of resonance, oscillation and distortion between concepts. It is thus, a kind of “concept physics”: a “concept crafting” similar to the “sound crafting” in Hindemith.

Concepts are centers of vibrations, each in itself and every one in relation to all the others. This is why they all resonate rather than cohere or correspond with each other. (What is Philosophy?, p. 23)

Les concepts sont des centres de vibrations, chacun en lui-même et les uns par rapport aux autres. C’est pourquoi tout résonne, au lieu de se suivre ou de se correspondre. (QP, p. 28)

The philosopher records or writes the notes coming out of his/her synthesiser. Here, we must see that the producer of the melody and the song is not solely the philosopher or the composer. Each synthesiser joins the act of creation in respect to their modulations, their ability of tone and transformation, at the mesure of their contributed perceptive and sensitive world and intuitivity to the composer. Therefore, when processing concepts, creating new pairings and relations out of their fragmented unity, the philosopher works with the percepts and affects of art as well as the functives and prospects of science and logic. He/she moves towards the ability to reveal an unheard note or melody, an unnoticed rhythm or sound mass. Everything coming out of the room (sound or principle of sound) is a philosophical creation. Some of them will be recorded, some will not; while some will be erased after being recorded and will be re-recorded, re-arranged or trashed.

The object of science is not concepts but rather functions that are presented as propositions in discursive systems. The elements of functions are called functions. A scientific notion is defined not by concepts but by functions or propositions. (What is Philosophy?, p. 117)

La science n’a pas pour objet des concepts, mais des fonctions qui se présentent comme des proportions dans des systèmes discursifs. Les éléments des fonctions s’appellent des fonctifs. Une notion scientifique est déterminée non par des concepts, mais par fonctions ou propositions. (QP, p. 111)

Thus, a scientific notion is not determined in accordance with concepts. In that sense, science does not need philosophy but philosophy needs the functives of science. Here, by saving philosophy from the burden of holding the high ground over science, art and history, being their constant determinant and regulator, Deleuze and Guattari introduce science, art, literature, sociology, etc. inside philosophy. Science does not need philosophy for the production of a scientific notion but philosophy needs all of these zones in the production of concept and in fact, it is present in each of these zones. Consequently, instead of being contracted towards logic and linguistics, the zone of philosophising now expands towards the whole of logos as long as the definition of concept production allows it. The philosopher does not make science but he/she may investigate an ungiven concept (that is out of the subject) inside a function which is structured by science. The philosopher does not make art but he/she may discover new concepts inside the zone of perception and sensation produced by an artist. As science opposes to chaos, as it tries to get purified from it, philosophy does not. Because chaos here “is defined not so much by its disorder as by the infinite speed with which every for taking shape in it vanishes.” (QP, p. 118) It is highly fertile as an indecidibility and ambiguity zone. In terms of accommodating the virtual, and that which is not giving itself away, chaos is needed for the philosopher as well as the man of letter. If we are talking about a “concept physics”, the philosopher tries to understand the harmony and disharmony, significance and coincidence that unites chaos and cosmos, just as in the theory of relativity, experiments of quantum physics, modellings on the Universe (big bang, expanding Universe, shrinking Universe, Multiverse, etc.).

Why is a concept an animal (bête)? Because each concept, in Deleuzian terms, constantly moves and changes, like the wandering of an animal inside its territory (territoire). The way of expressing this change occurs primarily in perception and sensation. Therefore, when the power of being able to possess different percepts and affects gets united by their means, with the power of surpassing the syntax(es) that exist inside the image, sound and language (rather in all senses and their languages,) new concepts are born.

For Deleuze and Guattari, logic is only interesting when it is silent. (QP, p. 140) In this “concept physics” where the concept does not belong to any discursive system, logic is problematic as long as it keeps the desire of being a substitute for philosophy. Because, when philosophy goes in that direction, philosophy itself – and therefore the production of concepts – is reduced to logic and linguistics; whereas the world of concepts is much more entertaining, colourful and musical than this. For Deleuze and Guattari, the concepts seem to be alive. They are born and they die; then they are reborn again. Concepts are monsters (monstre) that are born out of their ruins. (QP, p. 140) In that sense, concepts are like Frankenstein: they are like man made living deads or mutants being born out of a mistake. Without a doubt, many philosophers and scientist will oppose to such definition. However, the indecidability and ambiguity of the concept; its possible defeat, destruction and non-discursiveness is indispensable for Deleuze and Guattari. (QP, p. 122) Therefore the concepts also are on the plane of immanence. This is a plane of immanence that also paradoxically has transcendence. Here, concepts, just like living beings and even machines, computers or androids, as everything actual and virtual, have a certain way of having life.

A plane in a geometrical sense (plane of immanence) is a diagram. (SPP, p. 164) The body inside the infinity of particles has the power of affecting and being affected by other bodies. And it has life to the extent that it has this power. Life is infinite both in wider plan (among species) and in terms of depth (in individuals among species):A complex relation between differential velocities, between deceleration and acceleration of particles. [Un rapport complexe entre vitesses différentielles, entre ralentissement et accélération de particules. (SPP, p. 165)] The unity of the harmony in the big picture and the infinite depth in details show us that even the simplest of affects has this complexity and accidentality within their possibilities of perception and sensation. Here, affection (or tonality) is identical with the whole of the speed and slowness, change of rhythms, mixtures of styles, differences in tones and vibrations of sound particles in a musical composition.

This identicalness takes us to build a link between the composer and the philosopher, between music and philosophy; it spreads the rise of vital energy to the whole of Nature, to the whole of the Universe. Why identical? Because we are talking about two things that are both matter and wave but closer to the wave (just like light); the inseparability of matter and form, body and soul. Therefore, we must understand an existence which is realised by each body in measure of its capacities, as multiplicity. Yet, how can we define this multiplicity as a “fragmented whole”?

One Nature for all bodies, one Nature for all individuals, a Nature that is itself an individual varying in an infinite number of ways. (Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, p. 122)

Une seule nature pour tous les corps, une seule Nature pour tous les individus, une Nature qui est elle-même un individu variant d’une infinite de façons. (SPP, p. 164)

In “Spinoza and Us,” the last chapter of Spinoza Philosophie Pratique, after reciting the first five principles (“a single substance for every attribute”) Deleuze says: not the affirmation of a unique substance but of a plane of common immanence in which all the bodies, all souls, all individuals are. This is a plane in geometrical sense; a diagram. This is a suggestion of a new ontology and a new way of life deriving from Spinoza. In the hands of Deleuze, the Ethica of Spinoza is turning into an ethology:   

Spinoza’s Ethics has nothing to do with a morality; he conceives it as an ethology, that is, as a composition of fast and slow speeds, of capacities for affecting and being affected on this plane of immanence. That is why Spinoza calls out to us in the way he does: you do not know beforehand what good or bad you are capable of; you do not know beforehand what a body or a soul can do, in a given encounter, a given arrangement [agencement], a given combination. (Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, p. 125)

L’Ethique de Spinoza n’a rien à voir avec une morale, il la conçoit comme une éthologie, c’est-à-dire comme une composition des vitesses et des lenteurs, des pouvoirs d’affecter et d’être affecté sur ce plan d’immanence. Voilà pourquoi Spinoza lance de véritables cris : vous ne savez pas ce dont vous êtes capables en bon et en mauvais, vous ne savez pas d’avance ce que peut un corps ou une âme, dans telle rencontre, dans tel agencement, dans telle combinaison. (SPP, p. 168)

In the plane of immanence of Deleuze, the artificial is also inside Nature, it is completely a part of it. (SPP, p. 167) A plant, an animal or rain, a stone, a DNA molecule, an automaton, a novel-hero cyborg, artificial intelligence or Beckett: they are all parts of the plane of immanence as they are all determined by ordinations of movements and affections they penetrate. As a result says Deleuze, we can never separate them from their relationship with the world. (SPP, p. 168) This means that each part is a producer of meaning, each has the potential of being “world forming”. Right at this point, Deleuze’s leap from Spinoza to Uexküll is crucial. He defines Spinoza as an ethologist who lived three centuries before Uexküll and introduces Uexküll as a biologist who lived about three centuries after Spinoza, proving the power of affecting and being affected in animals with a special treatise on a tiny animal: the tick. The depth of the world of the tick with only three affects teaches us that we can never underestimate a being. Through the production of meaning, which starts at perception and sensation, each being (whether it be artificial or alive, because even if artificial beings do not have the power of being affected, they have the power to affect) creates multiple worlds inside the Universe, these are called Umwelt by Uexküll.  The world of each living being is like a bubble (large or small) surrounding itself. This is the limit of the world that it may perceive and give meaning. Each bubble can be one over another, side by side or one inside the other. Yet, the smallness of a world will not make it poorer than the other as no matter how small it is, it may possess unlimited and proper depths of meaning.  This bubble says Uexküll, both determines the limits of the living being and prevents our observation of it. Therefore, it will not be easy for us to measure the limits of sensitivity possessed by other creatures.  

The thing that does not unveil itself or the work of art is a bulk of senses; a unity of percepts and affects. (QP, p. 154) This is also what Uexküll explains in his book, A Stroll Through the Worlds of Animals and Men. Uexküll starts his work with the proper worlds of perception in different species he observes: The movement inside the inner world of the subject begins with the treatment of objects (hermeneutics) by the receptors of the perceptive organs. Here, tasks for each living being in different processes and forms, turns into an act.

Figure 2: Functional cycle of the living being.
Figure 2: Functional cycle of the living being.

This process or cycle will be simple for a simple living being and complex for a complex living being. Here, the level of perception may earn depth and intensity according to the faculties of the organs possessed by each creature. In this sense, each living species becomes unique in its structure developed to survive and exist. So why do we argue that there is an identicalness of tonality or affection between the soul and music? Because for all living beings, the production of meaning (that starts with perception and sensation) is in permanent communication with each other in their journey towards subjectivity and individuation. This communication is infinitely complicated and subjective. A language or symbolism possessed by a certain living being may not have a translation for another living being. Nonetheless, the relation between our bodies and the sounds created by them cannot be prevented; their musical notation and melodic structure or tonalities traveling within our affectivity through a “silent language”. Just like the inspiration that Uexküll acquired during his observations on ticks, every living being has a relation of meaning with everything that it interacts on the plane of immanence. That is why, music or sound clusters have the power of grasping us as a “silent language” and unite us with other living or artificial beings. In this sense, we can think of the plane of Nature as a plane of musical composition in its totality.

A plane of musical composition, a plane of Nature, insofar as the latter is the fullest and most intense Individual, with parts that vary in an infinity of ways. Uexküll, one of the main founders of ethology, is a Spinozist when first he defines the melodic lines or contrapuntal relations that correspond to each thing, and then describes a symphony as an immanent higher unity that takes on a breadth and fullness (“natural composition”). (Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, p. 126)

Plan de composition musicale, plan de la Nature, en tant que celle-ci est l’Individu les plus intense et le plus ample dont les parties varient d’une infinité de façons. Uexküll, un des principaux fondateurs de l’éthologie, est spinoziste lorsqu’il définit d’abord les lignes mélodiques ou les rapports contrapuntiques qui correspondent à chaque chose, puis quand il décrit une symphonie comme unité supérieure immanente qui prend de l’ampleur (« composition naturelle »). (SPP, p. 170)

In the same way, Deleuze says that this musical composition is present in Spinoza’s Ethica as a whole. (SPP, p. 170) A single and total musical piece or a fundamental harmony, a fundamental tonality or affection establishes the corpus as a single and same Individual whose relations of speed and slowness do not cease to variate consecutively and simultaneously. (SPP, p. 170) This musical composition which is the unity of the forces of Nature is its Logos: the language of the voiceless or silence. This language gives “the power of perceiving the connections of the highest possible number of thoughts in a single move”. (SPP, s. 170) Therefore if we are Spinozists, says Deleuze, we must not define something with its form, organs and its functions, neither with its substance nor as a subject. We must define it exactly inside this musical piece with its latitude and longitude: The sum of affects filling the body at each second, the sum that unites the body from the point of view of motion and inertia relations and the speed and slowness of the particles. (SPP, p. 171)

When we define the Universe as a musical composition, we need a philosopher who will grasp and perform a Chaosmos with its harmony and disharmony, order and disorder, plannedness and coincidence (sumbebekos). This philosopher is at the same time a musician. With his/her concept synthesiser, he/she composes melodies that are immanent to Nature; he sometimes distorts them, sometimes transposes them, sometimes reverberates, echoes and delays, sometimes oscillates (by changing its wavelength) and resonates it by processing with other sounds. In conclusion, his aim is to uncover a shared tonality for the artificial and living, by even forcing the infinite possibilities of concepts in performing the composition of Nature. This is not exactly a symphony. When we give an ear from a distance far away, we may hear it as a single note, as a whole. Yet from closer, we will hear that it includes atonality as well. In this sense, “the One and the Multiple” in Deleuze and Guattari is explained. Fragmented parts, incomplete recordings, errors, coincidence, tape distortions, variations or improvisations which occur during a live recording (in the fluxus of time) are all inside this “One”. There are an infinite number of worlds with infinite depth and intensity.  

We do not argue that there are no links in Deleuze and Guattari between the painter and the philosopher, the writer and the philosopher, the film director and the philosopher. In creation, these are all one. Yet, there is something more in music, an element that reflects the vital importance of perception and sensation (in order to understand life and soul): the “Rhythm” which is already a musical term. When a vital rhythm is introduced inside the visual and sonorous sensation, the birth of concepts will also be possible.

The painter would thus make visible a kind of original unity of the senses, and would make a multisensible Figure appear visually.
But this operation is possible only if the sensation of a particular domain (here, the visual sensation) is in direct contact with a vital power that exceeds every domain and traverses them all. This power is Rhythm, which is more profound than vision, hearing, etc. (Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, p. 42)

Il appartiendrait donc au peintre de faire voir une sorte d’unité originelle des sens, et de faire apparaître visuellement une Figure multisensible. Mais cette opération n’est possible que si la sensation de tel ou tel domaine (ici la sensation visuelle) est directement en prise sur une puissance vitale qui déborde tous les domaines et les traverse. Cette puissance, c’est le Rhythme, plus profond que la vision, l’audition, etc. (FB, p. 46)

Back to Uexküll, in each one of the tactile, sonorous and visual zones, the living being is busy with building a world of its own. This world can be also built by way of poverty: for example the lack of visual senses of the tick gives him an utterly different perception and sensation. It can only sense the tones of light an act accordingly. Similarly, the antenna of an insect, the poli-optical organ of a mosquito consisted of thousands of tiny eyes, or the sonar typed organ of the bat generating a “vision” according to the reflecting sound waves on surfaces, create unique perceptive worlds. Adding the perceptive time, form and the perceptive character formed in motion to the aforementioned, we may see that there is a proper world for each living being. These worlds are also infinitely artistic. Because each of them possess a totally different point(s) of view for grasping things. This is why; cinema is a brand new eye for the human being: kino-eye of Vertov. The different features of cameras, films and their montage bring whole new grounds for new points of view. We can add to this: art-eye, science-eye, literature-eye and philosophy-eye… The example given by Uexküll for the science-eye is hidded in the description of the astronomer’s world: a telescope headed towards the depths of the Universe (yet closes its eyes to this world).

Figure 3: the astronomer’s world.
Figure 3: the astronomer’s world.

The world of the great Russian savant and philosopher Tsiolkovsky is a good example: a mind that closed its eyes to what was happening in the World, and searching and observing the worlds (meaning) deep in space, inventing devices that will make space travelling possible (he is the founder of rocketry). The “power of having logos” seen as the superiority of the Human, is not superiority but difference in Deleuze. This difference gives him the property of being able to perceive the upper and lower worlds (by expanding the limits of its own bubble and exploring the quiddity of other bubbles). Thus, maybe it is the duty of the human being: trying to perceive these worlds, to notice their existence and uniqueness. Hence, by a horizontal investigation on the worlds of living beings instead of the vertical study of Darwin, Uexküll unlocked the possibility of an ethology, projecting a surfaceology. In this sense, different species, with their perceptive image (Merkbild) and actual image (Wirkbild) have the power of being able to head towards coincidence and even impossible (or visible) inside the Nature plan. Each living being possesses a life zone or territory. It builds its existence on this territory: as in Beckett, it has the little “daily round”.

Its immanence is a melody. Yet the language (Logos) of Nature is shared. This community in difference makes it different from the human logos. On the other hand, these tunnels, tracks or lanes which mean brand new meanings for different living beings, open up new doors for the world of meaning of the human. The power of affecting and being affected for every being (living or artificial) is adequate as a total to make each of them a subject. Therefore, we must look at the World and Universe that we are in, from the perspective of polisubjectivity. An antidote against anthropocentrism but at the same time, an adequate view in order to explain the structure of the Universe in the light of today’s theoretical Physics (General Relativity and Quantum theory). If we can look at the Tree of Life as Uexküll did, we may see it.

With their own devices, percepts and affects, the perceptive image or the image-perception and image-action in Deleuzian terms, every creature is a mode of creation or creation itself. Possessing these faculties (also out of their privations), every living being has its own image-prospection and prospective tonality. Therefore, in a certain measure it has the power of projecting that which is coming and of shaping its world accordingly. Inside this possession, what unites the creatures as parts of Nature is the existence of a mutual and shared tonality. This mutual tonality makes them be as “One and Multiple”. Again, this mutual tonality is the power of creation inside the everydayness. The human being has this power through poetry, art and literature, through science and philosophy; yet all other living and non-living beings that have the power of affecting the human being will have the same. Furthermore, other living beings have this power of creation through their affectivity, even if they do not have reason or have it in a limited way.

Each musical composition is a totality of sound waves. Sound waves produced by one or multiple sources interact between themselves and with the environment that they are in. But they also interact with living bodies; as they travel distances they transmit energy and create an “atmosphere”. They get inside our bodies and souls. Their vibrations are capable of bonding different body/souls and worlds. This happens with the relations of tonality in music. As well as being the sum of melodic and harmonic relations, tonality also is the total of the relations of percepts, affects and concepts possessed by souls. In this sense, tonality or affection is the expression of the quiddity of body/soul. Some philosopher used the term to interpret the soul or substance. For instance, Heidegger explained the attunement of Dasein to its world with a musical concept: Grundstimmung (fundamental tonality); Spinoza and Descartes contemplated abundantly on music and its concepts. Both rejected the Phythagorian and Neo-Platonic musical cosmology and located sound to the centre of their work. In this manner, they were able to use music especially in their conception on the body/soul unity or duality.

The coupling of the word tonality with affection is not a coincidence. Enlightenment which concentrated its attention on the human body and soul had a strong desire to define the entity called “Human”. First, they tried to separate the human being from other beings, especially from the closest one: animal. Centuries of writing and thought concluded that the human rationality and mind is the only form of consciousness and therefore must be sublimed. Thus, everything related to affections was abandoned or neglected. They were often seen as the inferior qualities of the soul and attributed to the animal. The thinking of Deleuze projects a process that will reverse this undestanding. Starting from their perception and sensation, the possibility of having different worlds of every living or artificial being is included in his thinking. Therefore, starting from perception and sensation a Copernican Revolution takes place, and continues on the definition of subjectivity and in thinking that is the production of concepts itself. The human perception and sensation cease to be the only reference. Consequently, the human logos is no longer a single logos. Moreover, the human being will be deprived of the chance of thinking (advancing) at infinite speed if he cannot arrange human thinking according to the structure of Nature (of the Universe). Deleuze separates himself from Kant by the necessities of Maimonides: the genetic conditions of real experience and the principle of difference. As a result, “transcendental empiricism” begins and through the reversal of Kant via Nietzsche, this prepares the “affirmation” of multiplicity and virtuality. As the genetic conditions of real experience become actual, the virtual becomes completely real. On the other hand, the principle of difference reshapes thinking and the creation of concepts. As long as concepts are immanent, they become a synthesis of theory and practice, of historicity and potentialities. This changes ontology as well.

The Leibniz of Deleuze praises coincidence, multiplicity and polisubjectivity to the extent that it gets away from the true Leibniz. Daniel Smith and John Protevi explain this in three clauses: First, God is no longer a Being who compares compossible worlds and chooses the best of them. He turns hereafter, into a process that affirms the imcompossibility as well. Second, the world is no longer a permanent world predetermined by its given harmony (harmonie préétablie). Now, even the possibilities moving towards different directions that may not coexist are united in the Universe. This is a universe consisting of divergent series where harmony and disharmony, tonality and atonality coexist; Chaosmos. Finally, the subject is no more a closed box like a monad. The subject ceases to be a monad and becomes nomad. Two kinds of force, two kinds of folds – masses and organisms – are strictly coextensive. [Deux sortes de forces, les deux sortes de plis, les masses et les organismes sont strictement coextensifs. (P, p. 14)] Thus, it does not matter for Deleuze whether it is living or artificial, organic or inorganic. What matters is that each of them is force. And each force or fold derives from another force or fold. (P, p. 16) The point of view for every subject is the body. (P, p. 16)

Let us turn back to the third question: why is a concept, an animal (bête)? Because a concept is also a nomad; it travels constantly. It does not have a home or it is the total of the zones he travelled. In this sense, a concept never belongs to a single philosopher. The concept and its component concepts, connections realise its becoming by moving in time as well as in space. Coincidence, multiplicity and polisubjectivity: these are in fact, three main properties that take both the concept and the human being to becoming-animal (devenir-animal). Whether it be inside the system of Spinoza, Leibniz, Nietzsche or Bergson; in any of these cases Deleuze rules that difference and repetition always exists by producing coincidence and multiplicity, affirming polisubjectivity. The inseparability of the body and soul depends on this. Now, the necessity for affection (or tonality) to be more decisive than reason is clear. Since here, everything that thinking folds on (including thinking itself) belongs to affection. As Althusser have said, when the human subjects according to Spinoza, place themselves to the origin of every perception and action, every object and meaning, they may not grasp the web of causality determining perception, actions and the production of meaning. That is exactly what Deleuze pointed out. The human being never possessed all perception and sensation of the Universe. Probably, he will never be able to possess it since even if his point of view can be multiple, this number will not attain the total number of point of views; which is infinite. Technology and machine may enhance this view; with science, literature, arts and philosophy, we have the possibility to have multiple points of view. However, the human being will never be able to put himself in the place of a “tick”. In other worlds, he will never possess the subjectivity of the “tick”. And he will never grasp the ambiguous and accidental structure of the Universe until he will switch from thinking with the methods of reduction, from the understanding of Cosmos to Chaosmos.

For Deleuze, becoming (devenir) is the major concept that explains that life and the Universe does not advance only according to a set of rules and order. Life and the Universe advance through coincidence as well. In every move, which seems to be a repetition, difference is being created. This fundamental structure of the Universe is present in every field of experience. This structure is not only Cosmos but Chaosmos. Therefore, it may be argued that the quadruple folding of Being in Aristotle is being completed with this theory by unveiling the importance of coincidence (sumbebekos). Life is pure desire. And this desire is free in Nature. If the Universe is in permanent flux and if it is a becoming in every single moment, then the human existence must also be inseparable from it. “Becoming-animal” gives back its freedom to desire. Becoming-animal is freeing animality inside us, as well as becoming an animal soul. Affection must be reaffirmed; each living being has the possibility of having an infinitely deep and rich world according to its own point of view. As a result, each tonality of a soul can be infinitely meaningful in variations, deformations and repetition. Just as the vibration of two souls being in same tone or being in different tones as they are receiving a musical piece. This creates levels of harmony and disharmony, of tonality and atonality. The human logos will not be immanent as long as it becomes attuned with Nature. In this sense, subjectivity in Deleuze is connected to the order of becoming and Chaosmos. The relationship between coincidence and the variations of the soul is therefore explained through musical terminology (melody, vibration, oscillation, transposition) and the clarification of animality inside affection.  

Each one of these concepts explains three fields: physics (cosmology), metaphysics, vitality. Being affirms itself only by its becomings. (N, p. 15) Life and thinking advances as a flux. All human made systems including Capitalism advance by ruptures. As a result, the affirmation of life cannot be actualised. Yet, to the extent that the human being frees affection (so, to make becoming-animal possible), to the extent that he/she frees his mind according ro Chaosmos, he/she will reaffirm life. In this sense, tonality or affection is his his/her becoming-non-human; becoming-animal. Deviations and difference is the source of creation in Nature. What is lacking in absolute systems is this fractal, folded and accidental structure. Therefore, their creativity is limited. Philosophy is a creation of concepts since concepts advance in time by rising and falling in historical and textual coordinates. Philosophy is a concept synthesiser; therefore the philosopher must be the producer, the mechanic, the owner and the composer of it: he/she who composes and performs the sounds, melodies, relations of tonality and atonality that will elucidate the meaning of Nature.

Figure 4: the world of the philosopher.
Figure 4: the world of the philosopher.


Deleuze, Gilles. Empirisme et subjectivité, Paris: P.U.F., 1953.

—. Différence et Répétition, Paris : P.U.F., 1968.

—. Francis Bacon: Logique de la sensation, Paris: Seuil, 2002.; Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, trans. Daniel W. Smith, NY : Continuum, 2004.

—. Le Pli. Leibniz et le Baroque, Paris: Minuit, 1988.

—. Nietzsche et la philosophie, Paris: P.U.F., 1962.

—. Spinoza et le problème de l’expression, Paris: Minuit, 1969.

—. Spinoza Philosophie Pratique, Paris: Minuit, 1981; Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, trans. R. Hurley, San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1988.

—. Spinoza Üzerine Onbir Ders, trans. Ulus Baker, Istanbul: Kabalcı, 2008 (Cours de Gilles Deleuze sur Spinoza, 1978-1981, inédit, webdeleuze.com).

—, and Félix Guattari. Mille Plateaux, Paris: Minuit, 1980.

—, and Félix Guattari. Qu’est-ce que la philosophie?, Paris: Minuit, 1991; What is Philosophy?, trans. H. Tomlinson, G. Burchell, NY : Columbia University Press, 1994.

Uexküll, Jacob von. “A Stroll Through the Worlds of Animal and Man: A Picture Book of Invisible Worlds” (Streifzüge durch die Umwelten von Tieren und Menschen), Instinctive Behavior: The Development of a Modern Concept, ed. and trans. Schiller C., New York: International Universities Press, Inc. 1957.

—. Mondes animaux et monde humain, trans. Philippe Muller, Paris: Denoël, 1965 ; Milieu animal et milieu humain, trans. Charles Martin-Fréville, Paris : Rivages, 2010.


  1. Gilles Deleuze, Cours sur Spinoza (24/01/1978), http://www.webdeleuze.com.
  2. For this, Deleuze refers to Nietzsche, his constant reediting of his own ideas to find brand new ones, his tossing aside during moments of trauma, of previously achieved results and the ocean of Leibniz (“Je croyais entrer dans le port, mais… je fus rejeté en pleine mer”). (QP, p. 26)
  3. He even suggests that logic kills concepts. (QP, p. 132)
  4. Such as Nosferatu or Cesare of Dr. Caligari.
  5. In addition, here time is not flowing as Chronos but as Aiôn and Chronos. Therefore, everything existing in the past and future are also continuing in a way, to live (to be included in the production of meaning).
  6. Merkwelt (perceptive world), Merkorgan (perceptive organ), Wirkwelt (actual world) Wirkorgan (actual organ), Receptor (receptor), Merkmal-Träger (perceptual cue bearer), Gegengefüge (environment), Wirkmal-Träger (functional cue bearer), Effektor (effector). Jacob von Uexküll (1956) Streifzüge durch die Umwelten von Tieren und Menschen, Hamburg: Rowohlt.
  7. Ibid. p. 27.
  8. For instance, until recently, we did not know that whales have a language.
  9. Such as the photograph of the Earth as a blue dot taken out of the Solar system.
  10. Or the world of a nuclear physicist, the world of an underwater scientist (like Captain Cousteau) or the world of a chemist. In fact, this shows us that a single human being may have multiple worlds and different human beings may have different worlds (what Simondon called “individuation”). In this sense, it would be more appropriate to call it “human worlds” than “the human world”. (see the last chapter in Uexküll, “A Stroll Through the Worlds of Animal and Man: A Picture Book of Invisible Worlds”)
  11. Ibid. p. 100.
  12. For example, the love of a bird to its keeper.
  13. “Tour quotidien”.
  14. The Uncertainty Principle, Zeno’s Paradoxes, Complementarity of Bohr, the notion of aether, the Quantum field theory… Generally, in order to reflect this paradigm shift into philosophy, one must fully evaluate these topics in the basis of Deleuze and Guattari’s thought. On this, see also Zafer Aracagök, Atopological Trilogy: Deleuze and Guattari, New York: Punctum Books, 2015.
  15. The relation of these concepts to the image-time (image-temps) and image-movement (image-mouvement) in Deleuze’s cinema lectures is subject to another article.
  16. These are directly the concepts of Uexküll.
  17. The orchid blossom is a creation.
  18. On this, see Amy Cimini, “The Secret History of the Musical Spinozism” in Spinoza Beyond Philosophy, ed. Beth Lord, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 87-108.
  19. Daniel Smith, John Protevi, “Deleuze” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2012. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/deleuze/
  20. Ibid.
  21. Cimini in Spinoza Beyond Philosophy, p. 98.
  22. We require just a little order to protect us from chaos… [from] ideas that fly off, that disappear hardly formed, already eroded by forgetfulness or precipitated into others… These are infinite variabilities, the appearing and disappearing of which coincide… Philosophy, science, and art want us to tear open the firmament and plunge into the chaos: A complex chaos, Chaosmos gets established. Chaoids are sciences, arts and philosophies; and the junction point is the brain… That is why the brain-subject is here called soul or force, since only the soul preserves by contracting that which matter dissipates, or radiates, furthers, reflects, refracts, or converts… Of course, plants and rocks do not possess a nervous system. But, if nerve connections and cerebral integrations presuppose a brainforce as faculty of feeling coexistent with the tissues, it is reasonable to suppose also a faculty of feeling that coexists with embryonic tissues and that appears in the Species as a collective brain; or with the vegetal tissues in the “small species”… Not every organism has a brain, and not all life is organic but everywhere there are forces that constitute microbrains, or an inorganic life of things… There are not so much cerebral centers as points, concentrated in one area and disseminated in another, and “oscillators”, oscillating molecules that pass from one point to another… Philosophy needs a nonphilosophy that comprehends it; it needs a nonphilosophical comprehension just as art needs nonart and science needs nonscience. (What is Philosophy?, pp. 200-218; conclusion)

    Du chaos au cerveau : Nous demandons seulement un peu d’ordre pour nous protéger du chaos. (…) qu’une pensée qui s’échappe à elle-même, des idées qui fuient, qui disparaissent à peine ébauchées (…) Ce sont des variabilités infinies dont la disparition et l’apparition coïncident. (…) La philosophie, la science et l’art veulent que nous déchirions le firmament et que nous plongions dans le chaos : un chaos complexe, le Chaosmos s’établit. Les Chaoïdes sont des sciences, arts et philosophies ; et le point de jonction, c’est le cerveau. (…) C’est pourquoi, le cerveau-sujet ici est dit âme ou force, puisque seule l’âme conserve en contractant ce que la matière dissipe, ou rayonne, fait avancer, réfléchit, réfracte ou convertit. (…) Les rochers et les plantes n’ont certes pas de système nerveux. Mais si les connexions nerveuses et les intégrations cérébrales supposent une force-cerveau comme faculté de sentir coexistente aux tissus, il est vraisemblable de supposer aussi une faculté de sentir qui coexiste avec les tissus embryonnaires, et qui se présente dans l’Espèce comme cerveau collectif ; ou avec les tissus végétaux dans les « petites espèces ». (…) Tout organisme n’est pas cérébré et toute vie n’est pas organique, mais il y a partout des forces qui constituent des micro-cerveaux, ou une vie inorganique des choses. (…) Il y a moins de centres cérébraux que des points, concentrés dans une aire, disséminés dans une autre ; et des « oscillateurs », des molécules oscillantes qui passent d’un point à un autre. (…) La philosophie a besoin d’une non-philosophie qui la comprend ; là où le plan affronte le chaos : la philosophie du Chaosmos. (QP, pp. 189-206; conclusion)

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