Cited as the most spatial philosophers, Gilles Deleuze emphasized on the concept of space throughout his writings by mixing philosophers’ concepts of space, such as Kant and Bergson, with artistic concepts of space, Francis Bacon and Paul Klee just to name a few. Architect and architectural theorists took somehow into consideration Deleuze’s view on space. However the plethora of the concepts of space that Deleuze crafted are more to be understood not only as vital but also as socio-political ways and ideas. Therefore, it is crucial to define space.
A space is the dimensions of height, depth, and width within which all things exist and move. It is as well the distance between one item and another. It is the frame or the contour of any deployed action. In other words, space and action are related. This is the reason why space in general is a wide concept, from vital space to infinite space, from quantum space to geographical barriers, from musical silence to perspectives in painting and so on; these are action related spaces, each depending on a specific field of studies. To Gilles Deleuze, all these spaces are folding and overlapping each other’s; they all exist together at the same time. Without delving into each concept, the focus here will be on the vital and the socio-political concepts of space.
How do they coexist nowadays? Is there a dilemma between them? What can Deleuze tell us more about the world today: should humanity fear an absence of space?
To answer these questions and to understand the real battle of the world, please read the full version of this post by clicking the link below:
Gilles Deleuze’s analysis on politics is very accurate today. The reference of all actions and thoughts occurring in the daily reality are a product of desire. How does he define desire so that desire is responsible to fold and unfold reality?
Desire is not a void seeking satisfaction and pleasure. It is, according to Gilles Deleuze (who took it after Spinoza), energy, existing in all beings. As energy it can’t be contained and it will express itself in thoughts, ideas and actions.
In What is Philosophy? Deleuze and Guattari define philosophy and talk about the conceptual personage which has humanistic traits and produces concepts and philosophical systems. The conceptual personage is the Idiot. The word Idiot here is to be understood upon the Greek etymology, Idiotes, meaning the singular, the peculiar and the unique. Idiot doesn’t mean stupid. Therefore, every personage, every system is unique: The Cogito of Descartes, the Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, Dostoevsky’s Idiot etc., are all unique moments in life, events that pushed philosophy into becomings. Without them, philosophy would have remained the same.
On the other hand, the same deleuzian idiotic element is to be found in politics. According to Deleuze and Guattari, the world does not have much to offer to us since all its macro political systems failed to make humankind happy, safe and prosperous. Therefore, what is required now is to be Idiots, as in to be sensitive to all the movements of the desire, to be able to read the virtual (or the desire, again) about to actualize itself in a new event, creating some becomings in the political scene. Brexit is an idiot in a deleuzian sense (regardless the consequences of this decision); so is the Black lives matter. Revolutions, the emerging of new political parties and others are all changing phenomenons pushing politics into a new scene.
What’s left for us to do in a world that is being progressively more hostile?
The answer is the desire, to be the Idiot, the peculiar individual who cracks the big political and ideological system with desire’s line of flights.
What’s currently happening in the US happened in other big cities in the world in 2019. From Beirut to Tehran, to Paris and Alger, to Catalonia and Latin America and so on, protesters screamed the same words:
All lives matter and dignity to people!
Better known as the Global Protest Wave of 2019 that continued through 2020, the US riots are a mirror of the world: same claims, same suffering, same hunger, same poverty, same injustice. Above all, governments are not trustworthy anymore. Most of world leaders are the 20th century product and mentality and we are in the 21st century, with different struggles and problems. The change needs to take place.
Economical injustice, poverty, weaken medical system (shown since the outbreak Covid19), climate change, corruption, cybernetics and the endless politicization of races and religions. Don’t expect the same leaders and traditional political parties to bring solutions. They are the ones responsible of the state of the world today.
Systems don’t last forever. Even the biggest empires in history ended up dismantled. Riots are, as the french philosopher Gilles Deleuze call it, “lines of flight” cracking the system’s wall from the inside. The reason behind it is that energy can’t be contained for too long. It will turn to anger and violence. Instead of facing the problems, most leaders are in denial, explaining these movements with interpretations and conspiracy theories showing their paranoid personality.
Despite unfortunate events in 2020 and thousands of deaths, maybe 2020 is the year to wake up and act. Maybe it is the year where we must know that we are all in this and that we need to back each others up. Maybe it is the year where we must see racial, gender and cultural differences as party outfits and deep inside we are all the same, humans. Maybe it is the year we must consider humanism and respect as the biggest values.
Fear leads to racism and fanaticism.
Fanaticism and racism lead to violence.
Violence leads to tragedy.
Maybe 2020 is the year to break this hateful cycle.
In the Preface of The Critique of Pure Reason, Kant asks three questions that gave the fourth one. His project is an enquiry undertaken by Pure Reason to search out the limits of Pure Reason. The questions are the following:
What can I know?
What ought I to do?
What may I hope for?
What is man?
I will start with the last one just to figure out how we can answer these questions today.
What is man? Or what am I?
I was told by reading Kant and other philosophers that I am a rational being, capable of speaking (Aristotle), living through dialectics so that the Universal Reason can establish itself in the world (Hegel), among other definitions. How did it serve me today?
Since the 20th century, rationality is technical or technological and we are submitted to machines and algorithms. All other fields and walks of life evolve and revolve around infotech and biotech with a progressive absence of critical thinking. I love the Kantian project and I believe Kant is one of the biggest philosophers ever, but we are more emotional and practical beings than highly rational. How can the critical thinking “function” with the massive amount of news and fake news by the minute?
What can I know?
Everything and nothing thanks to social media. It all depends on how we use this tool to our full potential. Potential can differ from one person to another; however technology can be a wonderful tool to learn new skills and to be updated.
What ought I to do?
Other than surviving on all levels, I think ethics are the name of the game for the present and the future. It lies on freedom and courage to step forward and be responsible for the whole world.
What may I hope for?
That’s the most difficult question especially today when the world is stuck between the pandemics and the economy crisis. I think by willing to be flexible and accepting that change is inevitable, by willing to work differently and having a new perspective on life, can we hope for a better future.
Happy labour day! It is a controversial title especially for jobless people out there and for grateful workers who still have a job in spite of the lockdown. In fact, digging deeper to the concept of labour, one can tell that the alteration of labour in our understanding had led to an alteration in the concept of freedom. How did we become modern slaves?
The word freedom comes from libertas. In Ancient Rome, a liber meant a free man who is not a slave. So, back then, slavery and freedom were legal statuses. Fast forward many centuries later, with the outcome of the Industrial Revolution (19th century), labour became a social, legal, political and philosophical theme. Therefore, labour is a recent concept, born with the evolution of society. Since then, with the progressive abolition of slavery and monarchies in Europe, everybody was working. Freedom as a concept was understood as financial independence.
Alongside the new concepts of both labour and freedom, capitalism (especially in its industrial form) encouraged ambition conceived as wealth which was not a bad thing. The bad thing happened later, when capitalism turned to become consumerism and a financial capitalism. Simply put, loans and massive production turned the world population into forever indebted to banks and states. Freedom as a concept both in its old and new understanding, became an illusion. Adding to this, the new virtual surveillance of online work.
Charles Bukowski said it better:
How in the hell, could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 am by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where you essentially made lots of money for somebody else and asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?
No one likes stillness; it is unnatural, taking into consideration that movement defines us. Stillness is socially abnormal since we are constantly asked to move, to be social, to commute, to be active. Consciously or not, stillness has not a great reputation socially speaking.
Why do we fear stillness? Does it remind us of death in a way? And what is the link with containment?
Yes it reminds us of death. Life is noise and action. Stillness is the anti-life.
However, the power of stillness occurs when there is a shift in perception. Take for an example the picture above, or any picture you have; it is an action or a moment that stood still in time. Without this stillness made possible by the camera, the moment refered to wouldn’t have been immortal. We wouldn’t have seen details, often blurred by movements. Worse, we wouldn’t have concrete memories.
Whoever tried a Yin yoga class knows what I am talking about. Yin yoga is a slow paced yoga where a pose can be held up to 3 minutes. It’s a test for the body and for the mind that can go crazy. Before almost crying, a shift in the mind can happen, a call for discipline and focus. Benefits will be felt at that moment of mind shifting.
Containment is a sort of spacial stillness, a self-imprisonment. Normally speaking, imprisonment is a punishment. Ironically, it has become the only way to save ourselves and the world! Just like in Yin yoga where the body and the mind feel in captivity, containment is quite the same painful experience. Only a mind shift can turn containment into something positive.
Then what is exactly this mind shift?
Simply put, it is focusing on ourselves, on our inner growth. On our intellectual developement by reading that book that we once bought and we never read. On our connection with the loved ones. On our inner child who wants to play and creates. On our plants. On everything that makes home the place we love to be in. But also, on our body by optimizing it and taking care of it. Last but not least, we need to focus on our mind, on our mental health. If you focus on all these daily, time will fly quickly.
Boredom is a state of mind. Anxiety is a state of mind too. Both are not needed. In time of crisis, positivity and reasonability can save us.
The country is shut down due to the corona tsunami and people remain home. For me, it was a new experience as i am teaching online. I hate corona but i am loving this online job experience. However, being locked down, I couldn’t help but wonder about the year 2020.
For those who follow my blog, they know that starting october 2019, we have been on a long revolution against corruption and injustice. So on a shaky land we entered 2020 that hit us with more turmoils and with corona. Horrible as it is, we must look at the bigger picture. 2020 is the year of battles and change; which logically leads to the desire of change or to resistance because of fear. I feel it is a turning point: there is before and after 2020. The decade sounds revolutionary on all levels.
Corona, floods, earthquakes, protests, climate change and more demand responsibility and collective consciousness. It demands awareness and redifinition of oneself, of social structures, of relationships, of politics, of economics. Basically it demands form each one of us a choice and a role. Speaking of Corona: movies, tedtalks, conferences predicted the outbreak of a similar virus. We listened but we didn’t get ready for it. Now that the outbreak is here, what am I going to do? How to deal with others? Who am I and what are my deepest desires? The natural incidents I mentioned indicate the redifinition of the earth itself.
2020 is the year of big lessons in life. Incidents will force us to retrieve into ourselves and connect on a deeper level with our fears and desires. It is the year that must teach us to let go of the past and start fresh new, both on individual and collective levels.
So yes there is fear and loneliness. There is a resistance to change. But do we have a choice other than love and flexibility? I don’t think we do.