Umwelt, Woolf, Guattari and language

1. In order to form a territory, an Umwelt, you need, it seems, a homogeneous language. There needs to be a fluid sign circulation between different zones of the world you want to inhabit as a privileged species. Territorialising is translating the disparity of the Creal into one discourse, a text written in the same language. A metaphor perhaps would be to compare each new letter or symbol from the territorialising language with an omnivorous insect (all of the same species).

2. An excerpt of Woolf’s To the Lighthouse:

All had streamed away. . . . From her hand, ice cold, held deep in the sea, there spurted up a fountain of joy at the change, at the escape, at the adventure (that she should be alive, that she should be there). And the drops falling from this sudden and unthinking fountain of joy fell here and there on the dark, the slumberous shapes in her mind; shapes of a world not realized but turning in their darkness, catching here and there, a spark of light; Greece, Rome, Constantinople. Small as it was, and shaped something like a leaf stood on its end with the gold-sprinkled waters owing in and about it, it had, she supposed, a place in the universe—even that little island?

3. An extract from The Machinic Unconscious, Félix Guattari’s book:

The hypothesis of an abstract machinic phylum traversing language, representation, and the diverse actual and virtual levels of reality presents the incentive to corrode the linguistic edifice from the inside, to render it porous without destroying it as such. In particular, it should allow us to avoid two types of dangers: – a pure and simple falling back of linguistic machines onto social structures, like Marr’s linguistic dogmatism or certain new psycho-linguistic trends; – a structuralist or generativist formalization that separates the production of statements from collective assemblages of enunciation. In some way, it is necessary to admit that in order for discursive chains to be in touch with reality they must be disengaged from the constraints of language considered as a closed system. How do we escape from linguistic structures without losing their specificity as such?

4. How do 1, 2 and 3 start to form a same territory? Realisation of a world. Empire or island building. Machine versus animal or animal-machine. Collective versus individual territory. It is not that discursive chains need to be in touch with reality, it is about the equivalence of discursive secretions with reality.

5. This is the notion produced by the encounter of my paragraph with Woolf and Guattari: secretion. Reality as a secretion, an idea that I leave here suspended like a spider’s web until I come back to it, soon.





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