Category Archives: event

Wolves in Derrida and Deleuze and Guattari

Derrida begins his brilliant last seminars entitled The Beast and the Sovereign, which have been recently translated by Geoffrey Bennington, with some comments concerning the wolf. Derrida writes, “Why would one say of such a seminar that it moves stealthy as a wolf? This is, however, what I’m saying? Stealthy as a wolf. I’m saying it with reference to the [French] proverbial expression a pas de loup, which in general signifies a sort of introduction, a discreet intrusion or even an unobtrusive effraction, without show, all but secret, clandestine, an entrance that does it all it can to go unnoticed and especially not to be stopped, intercepted, or interrupted. To move a pas de loup is to walk without making a noise, to arrive without warning, to proceed discretely, silently, invisibly, almost inaudibly and imperceptibly, as though to surprise a prey, to take it by surprising what is in sight but does not see coming the one that is already seeing it, already getting to take it by surprise, to grasp it by surprise” (Derrida 2).

Deleuze and Guattari write in the A Thousand Plateaus chapter, “One or Several Wolves,” “Lines of flight or of deterritorialization, becoming-wolf, becoming-inhuman, deterritorialized intensities: that is what multiplicity is. To become wolf or to become hole is to deterritorialize oneself following distinct but entangled lines. To become a hole is no more negative than a wolf. Castration, lack, substitution: a tale told by an overconscious idiot who has no understanding of multiplicities as the formation of unconscious. A wolf is a hole, they are both particles of the unconscious, nothing but particles, productions of particles, particulate paths, as elements of molecular multiplicities. It is not even sufficient to say that intense and moving particles pass through holes; a hole is just as much a particle as what passes through it. Physicists say that holes are not the absence of particles but particles travelling faster than the speed of light” (Deleuze and Guattari 36).

Why are these profound, French philosophers obsessed with wolves, out of all the possible animals that they could have chosen to convey their points? I think this is a question that should be explored, possibly from a viewpoint of Jungian archetypes and figures. For Derrida, the wolf or rather the movement of the wolf functions as an analogy for the introduction or coming of the seminar. A seminar comes quickly, stealthily, unnoticed and captures the audience by surprise and in a way gets captured by surprise by the one that might already be seeing it. So, I think there is a dual relationship here between the audience acting on the seminar to create something new and potentially unexpected and the seminar acting on the audience. In other words, the seminar that comes a pas de loup is an event, in the Deleuzian sense of the term. It is interesting here that this event is once again associated with movement, speed, tempo in both the Derrida and D&G passages above. I will not go into the full explanations of the stealth aspect here but I will encourage my followers to follow the works of my friend Sean Smith on Tumblr atNonsense Lab who has done some excellent work on being a spy in the past. I will say, however, that the surprise, the unexpected, the simultaneous arrival and departure, rings of the philosophical aspects of lines of flight, becoming, event, the uncanny, etc and that this theme will be discussed in greater depth in my dissertation.

Deleuze and Guattari write about the wolf in similar but distinct ways (just as to become wolf or to become hole is to deterritorialize oneself in distinct but entangled ways). They are writing about the wolf in relation to Freud’s wolf-man. They fight against Freud’s explanation of the wolf as the Singular Father and the representative of the castration complex. There argument is that the wolf(pack) is representative of the multiplicity that is the unconscious. Wolves are always already singular but several. They are a multiplicity. A distinction I find interesting here is that they compare the wolf to a hole, which in Freudian (and one could argue Lacanian psychoanalysis) is a negative entity, a sign of lack, something missing, something to be desired. They then argue that the hole, the wolf, is full of positivity. They make a delightful comparison here for me and my interests between animals (in this case, wolves) – holes – speed – physics. In physics, a hole is something that is not a lack but a positive entity, full of particles moving faster than the speed of light (life, as we know it, limited by our perception) – interesting because these particles were recently found in experiments at CERN. The argument by many physicists that dark energy and dark matter might be critical to the formation of our universe and that black holes might be remnants of prior universes that our universe was formed from. What should one take from this? I take from this that there is something positive to be found in psychoanalysis’ “traditional conception of the lack” and that this positivity is essential to becoming multiple, to becoming-schizophrenic, to living life as desiring-machines. It is this multiplicity and the relationality it entails that will be critical to a new ethics sneaking up and taking hold of us. Ethics-animality-physics-eventive thought-multiplicity…and +1…and…and…and…infinity….

What is in a Name?

This post asks several questions concerning the notion of a name: what importance does a name have; what does a name signify; and does a name signify a particular meaning or can a name be performative and have an affect on the world and the discursive and material structures it encounters? More importantly, this post will shed some insight into why I chose my company to name Eventive Thought.

Many famous philosophers, communication scholars, linguistic scholars, and other disciplinary fields have debated, theorized, and asked these questions about names for a long time. I will not go through this long tradition of scholarship in this post but I encourage readers of this blog to contemplate the questions above and comment below, dialoguing with each other to learn, teach, collaborate, and innovate – theory as praxis and praxis as theory in discussion format.

My short reflections on the notion of the name will address how these questions influenced by decision to name my company Eventive Thought. Finding the correct name for my organization was incredibly important to me but it wasn’t decided on immediately. I thought about what value I wanted my company to create, the reason I wanted to found my own company, what service I wanted to provide to my clients, how I wanted to contribute to my community, what guiding principles my company would live by, and the discursive and material conditions I would create and leave my community and world with. As I used these questions to create my business plan and began to get a feeling of what my company would become, which is by no far set in stone yet or ever will be – my company will evolve along with the people that support it and the discursive and material situations surrounding it, the philosophical notion of the “Event” came to mind. I knew I wanted to do something new, something that changed the conditions of the world we live in, and to give something back to the world. Yes, creating products and making a living off my organization are important to me but I truly want to create an organization that is an experiment in Eventive Thought.

The long historical tradition of the Event is storied and most recently revolutionized by thinkers such as Alain Badiou, Slavoj Zizek, and Jacques Derrida. The most relevant principle that I have taken from these thinkers is that an event is not just an occurrence in a specific experience of time but an idea that takes a principle as its driving force and uses that force to change the coordinates of status quo ideology. So a name does signify a particular thing but it also has a performative affect. What is implicit in these theories though is an understanding of the event has a form of thought; this form of thought holds onto a particular value to change the current discursive and material structures of the status quo. Thus, I named my company Eventive Thought. Eventive Thought will engage in all its endeavors, whether consulting, product development and design, research, educational initiatives, or community involvement with this notion of the eventive thinking in mind. Eventive Thought will collaborate with its supporters, clients, investors, educators, and community members to use eventive thinking to change the coordinates of status quo material and discursive practices to innovate, collaborate, and engage in educational discussion forums to develop products, consult clients, create incubators, and create educational forums that utilize the deconstructive power of current technological advances to enable all users of social enterprise technology to become eventive thinkers and change their world.

That is at least what is in the name of Eventive Thought, at least in its current form and discursive existence.