Clues, Signs, Traces, Imperatives II: Seekers, Research Time, 23/01/2018

After the last near-rant,* I actually don’t have much more to say. A list of conditions and ideas. In a way, I think that’s for the best.

* Who am I kidding? That was a rant.

One of the most important aspects of Gilles Deleuze’s conceptions of political revolution is what he never said. He described in great detail – in political and ontological contexts – what it means to transform radically.

In a human context, it means transforming your character completely. He and Guattari described that process, but never an end product. Even in their most political works, they never gave a prescription for what kind of person they thought would be the best to emerge.

I always enjoyed the character of the Doctor when s/he was being
something of a detective. Exploring some complex sci-fi setting,
the relationships among characters, their interests and conflicts. To
discover the mystery of what horrible event is happening.
Of course, that defeats the whole structure of what they were doing – an ontological description of how a process can only move freely when it moves without adopting a plan from some other source, when it acts, thinks, and plans immanently.

To give orders and expect them to be followed is overcoding – that’s what despotic societies do. So if you’re going to live by your convictions, you won’t give a prescription for what kind of person you want to emerge from the revolution.

At most, you can say what that revolution would have to satisfy to repair or escape what caused the metamorphosis in the first place. Conditions for success, but whatever you do to meet them is your business.

You don’t even know what the revolution will be anyway. In the 1970s of Paris, when Deleuze and Guattari were composing A Thousand Plateaus, you’d be pretty perceptive for thinking a new communist revolution was brewing.** By the 2010s, I could write a book about what conditions an ecological revolution in thought would have to satisfy.

** Whatever its prospects for immediate success. I’ve read interpretations of Paris’ May 1968 revolution as having lost the battle and the war, but won the culture. You want to call that victory? I’m not sure if I do.

Then you have to leave it up to people to figure their own way there. You live in your world, with your concerns. You can’t just give people a generation or two away, in a world that could be totally different from your own a set of direct orders and expect them to apply. We all have to work out the details as the world changes.

It may not be religious – per se – but I think the myths of human
cultures in the 21st century are the most narratively advanced
they've ever been. We're able to record them and watch exactly
the same story over and over again – so we can search through
it and discover more of what's happening. That's how we can
make myths that critique and take apart themselves.
I’ll put it to you this way. Someone who died in 2010 would have considered Donald Trump nothing but a billionaire asshole game show host.

So on your way to become a revolutionary new person, you have two main concerns. 1) Take the process as far as you can to leave as little of your old, shitty self and world behind. 2) Don’t mess up and become a disastrous failure who aimed for more than you could reach and broke apart.

Yeah, those two don’t exactly fit. Revolutionize your ass! But watch yourself!

Being serious again. What would make the detective a fitting persona for a revolutionary? A combination of care, attention to detail, commitment to ideals, understanding causes and conditions.

Obviously, I’m not talking about real police detectives. I’m talking about the cultural image of the detective, the detective ideal that we see on television – the myth.

I’m going to spell out those detective myths tomorrow. Here’s one last concept I’m developing about myth. It’s only in note form right now.

Semiotics made us mistake our myths for symbols – we now understand the images and narratives that materially function as myths, as if they were symbols. All the detectives in our televisions, movies, games, and books are different iterations of a myth. A narrative icon of a cultural ideal.

So the detective.

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