Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Aphorisms about the Idea of Becomings

While I was particularly inspired by Deleuze, Nietzsche and Derrida in my thinking here, I wish to talk of these ideas more in the first-person-singular.

Perhaps there is no other way to write other than first-person-singular.

Becomings I - Nature and the Alive

I wish to talk of Becomings rather than change.

I wish to talk of Becomings as moving toward the Alive, moving toward beauty, hope, connection and other gifts of life.

I wish to talk of Becomings as connected to the becomings of nature.

I wish to see our human worlds as indistinct from nature.

I wish to see our Becomings as sharing much in common with the constant Becomings emerging within the grass, the rivers, the trees, amidst the lives of birds, fish, insects.

We know, of course, that the language of nature can itself invite separations – nature/culture; natural/artificial; natural/human -- distinctions that can set the stage for regimes of violations and violences. Yet, we still wish to talk of nature. We still wish to see ourselves connected to those vast plateaus wherein all life moves.

Becomings II - Community & Difference

The relationship between Becoming Community and Becoming Bodies is a complicated one.

I put forward that community is built upon difference, yet it is often imagened as built upon unity. It seems to me that unity can never Become at all -- it is an illusion of Becoming. The creation of unity takes something like force and power, submission and subjugation -- such attributes are antithetical to Community and to Becomings. Force and power are able to create impossible-to-realize hopes and dreams of unity, they can create an image of something that may appear like unity, but they cannot create unity, and they cannot create community.

Only difference can truly Become in these social worlds -- and the Becoming of community is built upon such difference. We can approach each other to understand, to differ, to be surprised, but we can never approach each other for the purpose of unification. Life, joy, love -- all such communal treasures, only come into life because of the differences which inevitable emerge, and because of the response we offer to such differences -- not through any illusion of sameness.

Time to discard the intensity of the alliance between difference and conflict. While the two can certainly be found together, difference also pairs up with curiosity, admiration, attraction, desire, love, humour, and on and on... The very biological notion of sexuality is built upon the necessity of difference.

Becomings III - Negations & Affirmations

These Becomings which we experience do not emerge from negation processes.

The ideas of negation and affirmation are meaningless unless connected to something of importance. Negation does not stand on its own -- we connect it to the idea of the Alve. Negation means a great deal when it is seen as the negation of things living. The same with affirmation. Affirmation on its own could stand for many things -- it could even stand for the affirmation of destruction. However, we are referring to it as the affirmation of the Alive. Affirmations of the movements of life.

Now, clearly, negations surround us. Out of force of habit, we repeatedly participate in them. Negations are ingrained in our thought. They seem integral to the ways of our institutions.

We are taught that change emerges because we face up to negations. We are to learn what is wrong with us, we acknowledge what is wrong with us, and then we change based on such learnings.

However, in life, and in my work with people, I see very little of this. Negations are far more likely to create further reactive negations in response -- negations triggering more and more rounds of negations. Also they are likely to create a depressive paralysis, an immobility that breeds further depressive negations.

There seems to be a powerful tie between those experiences we see as depression and worlds dominated by processes of negations. Reactive and negative forces tend to glorify depression. These forces inform us that it is good to bear the burdens of one's errors, to acknowledge the depths of one's sins – this is often thought of as being responsible.

This is the age–old tradition of sin/redemption. In this tradition our relations to the natural world swarming around us are condemned. Such connections were historically considered "pagan," and therefore undesirable. In the same way we are now informed of our sinfulness, of our transgressions against, not imminent forces surrounding us in nature, but forces transcendent to nature, forces informed by higher powers. We are also informed of the requisite transcendent mechanisms which are able to redeem us. People are thereby pulled away from nature, and from the forces of life, and become dependent upon the transcendent worlds of redemption inherent within our human institutions.

Thought becomes one of the tools of transcendence. Thought, in this manner, must not emerge from relation to nature, or relation to the lives of people, rather thought comes to bear upon us as an authority which must be accepted, as a statement of truth, from a separate and transcendent plane, which directs and forms our thinking. All of this, outside of our relations to life with nature and people.

Thought is not just used this way by religious authorities, it is used by most institutional authorities, including education, the workplaces, government, the media, special interest groups, etc. It is a tradition handed down to modern institutions from our religious roots. In this view, thought is owned, it is a possession of an established order, it is not something which comes from and returns to our living engagements.

Yet, inspite of such influences, thought, as it is connected to a living and responsive world, is very much alive. It is clearly evident in much of our everyday relations and interactions. If we look, it is there in abundance.

Becomings IV - Never Fixed... Always Flowing

We can dare to put aside such influences of negation. We can enter with the grass and the trees, the grasshopper and the crow, those unmanaged and joyful possibilities of Becoming.

We can think of Becomings rather than identity. For we are not an identity, some thing, some finality that can be boxed and wrapped up. We are many Becomings at any possible time, constantly in the midst of various flows. Nothing ever fixed.

Becomings flow through us on the backs of the gifts and goods which move through our worlds. For example, we don't have love, we don't own it, hold it as a thing. Rather, we flow up and toward love, we respond to loves, and we constantly are called to respond again and again. Loves always move. And loves always diverge and multiply.

Becomings are always the result of many hands. But the many hands never create just one thing, and there is never just one perspective, and there is always, always difference. Community is the very recognition of such differences, and it is the connections which come forth from amongst those differences. Becomings always happen in numbers beyond one, and even beyond two.

Becomings are never manipulated through self-help or through the cult of the therapeutic. Becomings are always in some form of friendship with chaos. They flow through us as we immerse ourselves in the chaotic abundance of our communal realms, as we participate in the varied becomings of others.

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