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A short essay on the difference between Collective and Community

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If I follow myself correctly now, we go from multiplicity to individual, and back to multiplicity again. That means the next stage would be back to individual again. please see NGE: End of Evangelion for more details of what that might look like.

That long dead scion of saintliness, Soren Kierkegaard, long ago pondered this paradox: if an individual is part of a collective, then how, at times, must the rights of the individual be necessarily be valued higher than those of the collective? And if we are indeed all individuals, then how exactly does the collective then emerge from us?

There is a view of life which holds that where the crowd is, the truth is also, that it is a need in truth itself, that it must have the crowd on its side.There is another view of life; which holds that wherever the crowd is, there is untruth, so that, for a moment to carry the matter out to its farthest conclusion, even if every individual possessed the truth in private, yet if they came together into a crowd (so that “the crowd” received any decisive, voting, noisy, audible importance), untruth would at once be let in.

For “the crowd” is untruth.

Where the crowd is..a decisive importance is attached to the fact that there is a crowd, there no one is working, living, and striving for the highest end, but only for this or that earthly end; since the eternal, the decisive, can only be worked for where there is one; and to become this by oneself, which all can do, is to will to allow God to help you – “the crowd” is untruth.

A crowd – not this or that, one now living or long dead, a crowd of the lowly or of nobles, of rich or poor, etc., but in its very concept – is untruth, since a crowd either renders the single individual wholly unrepentant and irresponsible, or weakens his responsibility by making it a fraction of his decision. Observe, there was not a single soldier who dared lay a hand on Caius Marius; this was the truth. But given three or four women with the consciousness or idea of being a crowd, with a certain hope in the possibility that no one could definitely say who it was or who started it: then they had the courage for it; what untruth! The untruth is first that it is “the crowd,” which does either what only the single individual in the crowd does, or in every case what each single individual does.

For a crowd is an abstraction, which does not have hands; each single individual, on the other hand, normally has two hands, and when he, as a single individual, lays his two hands on Caius Marius, then it is the two hands of this single individual, not after all his neighbor’s, even less – the crowd’s, which has no hands.

This line of logic is important because it clears-up my confusion on the structural differences betwen Communism and Facsism. They’re both supposed to be carrying out the will of the people for the people, right? What? huh?  So what constitutes this will, anyway?  To answer, I extrapolate Soren’s line of logic further: if the individual is both himself *and* part of the collective, then it must be that the the individual emerges *from* the collective but is still embedded within its environment, like the Swamp Thing rising out of a sludge, a single material muxed temporally into two superimposed functions. Thus the individual risks disintegrating back into the goop if his individual will (freedom) cannot be maintained. That’s why I (and others) often claim that fascism is the end point of liberalism – it isn’t the only path that can lead there, of course, but inevitably *will* lead there – as its obsession with the individual for his own sake leads to crippling isolation and alienation from the world. (and I ain’t talking bout the world of plants and dirt here). And what is the power of one mere individual against these mashed up masses…? Nothing! Like that horse from the never-ending story, yer gonna get sucked back into that goop-soup faster than sand sinking into quicksand and no amount of tears will stop your fall, for “you” no longer exists… only by banding together in mutual respect, in a sort of self-supporting net, can we maintain our integrity!  Such is the dramatic importantance of community in a free society!


And so, on the structural makeup of Fascism:
As a drone is to a colony of ants, so is a person just a facet of the One Unified Organic State. The leader of a fascist state is thus no mere dictator who controls the fate and the fat of the State by the strength of his own hands. No, Dear Leader is a living, breathing conduit for power – one *through* whom is channeled the collective will of the people, in the same spirit and in the same spontaneous reality that a rope is a conduit through which is channeled the collective judgment of a lynch-mob. He is One with the State. There is no such thing as an individual, self-determined will, and subsequently no such thing as individual rights or freedoms. A spirit of Might-Makes-Right replaces morality, and culture is purposed towards a cohesive rather than expressive goal. Dear Leader is thus the one most fit to embody these values.

Now, both Communism and Fascism are related in that both are reactions against extreme individualism, both recognizing that the concept of an Ayn Rand Individual is a ridiculous myth within the context of an individual living within a culture. While a person may think of their ethics, desires, and will as being completely their own, all these things develop from, and will always continue to be influenced by, the ethics, desires, and will of other people. Fascism and Socialism are in essence opposite perspectives on the teleology of how the individual should develop within society.

And thus, on the difference between the leadership of Communism and Fascism that defines them both:
Communism is the effort towards the “full realization of human freedom” – for society to be a community rather than a collective. The difference is that a community does not suppress the individual, but is instead *made up* of individuals. It works, ecstatically, to enable the individual to emerge, triumphant and free, *from* the base collective as a conscious participant in the community! So, I guess Deleuze would say that in the same pithy way that Communism is Democracy, rather than Totalitarianism, developed by and channeled through mass movements.

And there ya have it, the difference between Fascist and Communist Leadership is equal to the difference between Collective and Community.


Written by meowywowy

November 30, 2010 at 9:47 am

Documentary on IDF’s offensive mouseholing strategy in Palestine

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Just remembered this epic article on D&G’s influence on Israeli Military Theory:

Naveh, a retired Brigadier-General, directs the Operational Theory Research Institute, which trains staff officers from the IDF and other militaries in ‘operational theory’ – defined in military jargon as somewhere between strategy and tactics. He summed up the mission of his institute, which was founded in 1996: ‘We are like the Jesuit Order. We attempt to teach and train soldiers to think. […] We read Christopher Alexander, can you imagine?; we read John Forester, and other architects. We are reading Gregory Bateson; we are reading Clifford Geertz. Not myself, but our soldiers, our generals are reflecting on these kinds of materials. We have established a school and developed a curriculum that trains “operational architects”.’4 In a lecture Naveh showed a diagram resembling a ‘square of opposition’ that plots a set of logical relationships between certain propositions referring to military and guerrilla operations. Labelled with phrases such as ‘Difference and Repetition – The Dialectics of Structuring and Structure’, ‘Formless Rival Entities’, ‘Fractal Manoeuvre’, ‘Velocity vs. Rhythms’, ‘The Wahabi War Machine’, ‘Postmodern Anarchists’ and ‘Nomadic Terrorists’, they often reference the work of Deleuze and Guattari. War machines, according to the philosophers, are polymorphous; diffuse organizations characterized by their capacity for metamorphosis, made up of small groups that split up or merge with one another, depending on contingency and circumstances. (Deleuze and Guattari were aware that the state can willingly transform itself into a war machine. Similarly, in their discussion of ‘smooth space’ it is implied that this conception may lead to domination.)

I asked Naveh why Deleuze and Guattari were so popular with the Israeli military. He replied that ‘several of the concepts in A Thousand Plateaux became instrumental for us […] allowing us to explain contemporary situations in a way that we could not have otherwise. It problematized our own paradigms. Most important was the distinction they have pointed out between the concepts of “smooth” and “striated” space [which accordingly reflect] the organizational concepts of the “war machine” and the “state apparatus”. In the IDF we now often use the term “to smooth out space” when we want to refer to operation in a space as if it had no borders. […] Palestinian areas could indeed be thought of as “striated” in the sense that they are enclosed by fences, walls, ditches, roads blocks and so on.’ When I asked him if moving through walls was part of it, he explained that, ‘In Nablus the IDF understood urban fighting as a spatial problem. […] Travelling through walls is a simple mechanical solution that connects theory and practice.’

Here, you can see an example of the policy in action:

Written by meowywowy

August 10, 2010 at 4:08 pm