Monday, April 11, 2011

On Becomings

Deleuze, following Nietzsche, talks of becomings. I wish to continue in that flow.

I wish to talk of becomings rather than change. I wish to talk of becomings rather than established truths or determined states.

No beginnings, no endings -- just flows, perpetual movements.

No beginnings, no endings -- always in the middle of things.

In the middle -- between times more than at a point in time; never concerned with providing firm resolution to difference; never in a central and fixed location.

We do not have any surety of where becomings will lead us, but we can, from within our rhizome connections, create imaginations regarding how these becomings might be transforming us and others. Such imaginations are powerful creative forces (though not concerned with accuracy or predictability) and must never be trivialized.

Becomings – Nature and People

Becomings are not about a person/organism manipulating life and surroundings for the purpose of ensuring a determined outcome.

No, instead it is more likely we find ourselves carried by, even living out the desires of... becomings.

Particular becomings.

Becomings are best understood not as abstract generalities (i.e. becoming generous, becoming strong, becoming responsible) but as becoming a specificity, an image, a name (becoming animal, becoming woman, becoming river, becoming sea, becoming child, becoming eagle, becoming Buddha, becoming Christ, becoming godless, becoming... ).

I wish to talk of the becomings we are connected to as intimately associated with 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 we give to nature often invites separations – nature/culture; natural/artificial; natural/human -- dualisms that can set the stage for numerous violations and violences.

Yet, we still wish to talk of nature. We wish to see ourselves connected to those vast becomings wherein all life moves.

Rhizome Becomings

Becomings are always rhizome events, can be nothing but communal.

Individuals never determine and construct their own becomings. While we can easily delude ourselves with language, we can never truly be separate from the diversities of life.

As individual organisms we can give creative energy to our becomings, but that which is created is never simply the product of our own actions, it is never something over which we can individually claim ownership.

The initiation of becomings is also never an act of individual powers. Life initiates incessant becomings; they can go unnoticed, they can be purposely ignored, but they also can grasp us, even sweep us off our feet.

Becomings connect us to new worlds. They create repeated innovations, including new and renewed rhizome community.

Becomings and Negation

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

Now, clearly, negations surround us. Out of force of habit, we repeatedly participate in them. Negations are all too often engrained in our thought. They appear integral to the very structure of our lives.

We are led to believe that change only emerge by means of bravely coming face-to-face with negations. We are told that if we discover what is wrong with us, if we acknowledge what is wrong with us and if we then make changes based on such learnings we will accomplish our required redemption.

However, in life I see very little of this. Negations are far more likely to create reactive negations in response -- negations triggering further rounds of negations. Or they are likely to create a depressive paralysis, an immobility that breeds further depressive negations, that leads toward a sense of falling-backwards.

There seems to be a significant tie between those experiences we see as depression and worlds dominated by varied and incessant negations. Reactive and negative forces tend to glorify depression. These forces inform us that it is necessary to bear the burdens of one's errors, to repeatedly be reminded of the pain of one's sins – this is often thought of as a requisite for the journey towards a healed life.

Negation is part of the age–old tradition of sin/redemption. In this tradition our connections to the natural world swarming around us are condemned. Such connections were historically considered "pagan" and undesirable. In the dominions of fall/redemption we are informed of our sinfulness, of our transgressions against, not imminent forces around us in our lived world, but forces transcendent to life, forces far beyond everything that is nature. We are also informed of the requisite transcendent mechanisms which are able to redeem us. People are thereby pulled away from nature, from the forces of life, and become dependent upon the transcendent worlds of redemption. Such ideas of transcendent redemption become firmly established and ordained within modern religious and secular institutions.

A further note on the idea of redemption: as Deleuze aptly suggested, we must learn to live life and not save it.

Entering the Becomings

While we as individuals are not the architects of our own becomings there are actions that we can engage in.

However, as tempting as it might be, I refrain from detailing here such responses. Detailed suggestions coming from outside the specificity of the flows of a rhizome life are likely to fall somewhere between useless and damaging.

We all bring to life creative powers in abundance. Responses will appear to all of us who:

· affirm the creativity that life has bestowed upon us;

· resist the influences of negation which repeatedly attempt to keep us from creativity and action;

· appreciate and affirm the rhizome relations in which our lives are embedded.

The challenge for us is to learn how to determine which response to give, not to determine if there is a response.

What can we do, beyond providing detailed instruction?

· We can dare to put aside the influences of negation.

· We can affirm and respond to life, immanent life; affirm and respond to life as it moves amongst bodies (human and otherwise); respond to the endless complexities that life produces.

· We can create things, with others, with nature as a partner and leader.

· We can create rhizome words that engender relations with many and diverse bodies and, therein, many powerful becomings.

· We can enter with the grass and the trees, the grasshopper and the crow, those unmanaged and joyful realms of becoming.

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