“What does it mean to love somebody? It is always to seize that person in a mass, extract him or her from a group, however small, in which he or she participates, whether it be through the family only or through something else; then to find that person’s own packs, the multiplicities he or she enclosed within himself or herself which may be of an entirely different nature. To join them to mine, to make them penetrate mine, and for me to penetrate the other person’s. Heavenly nuptials, multiplicities of multiplicities. Every love is an exercise in depersonalisation on a body without organs yet to be formed, and it is at the highest point of this depersonalisation that someone can be named, receives his or her family name or first name, acquires the most intense discernibility in the instantaneous apprehension of the multiplicities belonging to him or her, and to which he or she belongs.”
— Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari // A Thousand Plateaus
I’ve been constantly brooding about the issue of love especially within the realm of political affects. My several previous posts dealt with the possibility of love as nothing more but a phantasmatic proliferation of individuated desire that was constantly re-doubling back to its existential or narcissistic tendencies of the subject. I can’t help but look back and think that that’s an incredibly stupid and reductive conception of love. At that time I even believed I knew well enough to offer Operator some love advice; caveat: next time I give anyone advice, punch me in the throat.
What is an assemblage? To use a beautiful example that’s not mine, when I’m walking down the street at five a.m, I am the cold winter air, I am the still wind brushing down on my cheeks, I am the five o’clock near-absence of the sun, I belong to the yellow hues of the lamp-posts melding with the salty ground, I am that familiar, narrow, empty street. I am never always a full identity, I do not constantly present everything in terms of how I want to be represented, not every action is a loud declaration of my vacuous made up existence, I am never constantly a body of consistency that refuses any change, even if that change is a change that sustains the similar.
There was once an old man who was an asshole to everyone in his life, everyone around him despised him until one day, the day that he got news – he had cancer: few months left to live. He went home, dazed, uncertain. Everyone no longer despised him, they were actually nice, warm to him, that is, until a month later when the old man found out he no longer had cancer. He became a douchebag and everyone hated him again. What’s important here is that at that very point of death, he was depersonalized, that any form of identity could no longer have any hold on him. It is not that he represented himself as a man of cancer to milk all the sympathy he can get, it was not merely a switching of another identity. He became depersonalized, and at that point, he became beyond good and evil. That’s what a singularity is, a line where one is beyond the subject, that the subject is not inscripted as an identity, nor a personalization. Each new “attribute” of this singularity changes the entire whole – one then is continually a becoming, a becoming not of being another person or of adopting another identity, but just of a becoming. If it’s now seven in the morning and the sun has risen, people starting to wake up, streets starting to get filled, I am no longer the same person I was. Each new line conjugates with others to perform, create something new. The subject must then be depersonalized, a singularity, one that is a subject without being a subject.
What does it mean to love somebody? To love someone is to enjoin our multiplicities. I think that through this lens, love is a flicker, a spark that arises through the momentary caressing, no, friction-induced-in-the-positive-sense, the correspondence of two worlds that are separated from one another but meet momentarily, causing this spark in which our worlds unfold upon each other within that very instance. This unfolding of world is not a merging, but rather a glimpse into the particular unfolded world of the other at the very moment both your worlds cross. Think about the last time you spontaneously thought, or said, “I love you” to another person, which you meant in the most genuine of senses. It must have been through an event, an event where both you and the other person have created a moment, a new world. By creation of a new world, I do not mean that specific experiences that you and the other have made up a new world where you both now stay, no no no, instead, creation is a change, that is, your world has changed through a creation of a new way of perceiving something, or of being affected by a thing. If you went on a dinner date with someone and in the midst of conversation they accidentally let out a fart, and in order not to embarrass him/her, you let out a fart too at that same moment, okay that’s very disgusting, but at that time you both laugh and make jokes about it. In this sense, there is a creation occurring, a creation of a moment that if it is all the more original, all the more does it belong to the both of you, where both of your worlds have simultaneously changed in subsuming this experience and both of you change entirely about what you think of farts. This is the stupidest example in the world to illustrate such a magnificent concept, but the alcohol store next to my apartment is having a fire sale and let’s just say they’re calling out for the fireman (me).
Anyway, what this means is that multiplicities – the continually shifting whole of the subject, in our case, that shifts from each new creation, each new attribute that is not a shift in identity, not a shift in simply being someone else. Love is precisely the creation of original concepts that both parties are simultaneously depersonalized, or to think of it in another way, love is continually the spark, the moment, the event when something is created between you and the other person and you feel a rush and your knees buckle as you spontaneously proclaim that you love this person. Both of you acquire a new capacity of being affected in a specific way, which is how references work – that both of you have already been affected in a particular way that you can both recognize this unique gesture amongst yourselves. This has been a long awaited, for me, reply to Guy, which is why I’m using amongst.
Where is the capacity for change? This whole website since our inception is teeming with questions like that – how do we change, what do we do? Everything seems to be an enclosed totality that precedes our every action – as if our actions were always already mediated prior beforehand in order to sustain any system that we were attempting to counter. According to D&G, I think this capacity is steeped in love. Of course, it isn’t so simple, people well versed in D&G I would super appreciate your responses, but the very capacity of creation, of creativity that outruns, exceeds mere binary responses that continually seem to be boggled down within any praxis – love as a way of approaching, of seeing something entirely differently, of creating new affects, perceptions that allow us to approach questions in an entirely unexpected way.
One problem with this issue of love usually comes from thinking of love in the mature way, and another is of dead love. This instance of love presented seems very much to be one that is within the initial stages of one’s relationship where these unfoldings, and foldings occur the easiest. After the initial moments of whirlwind love, things are said to die down, and if love is sustained, mature love would have to do the trick, everyone says. I think this concept of love that I have presented is, as I have repeatedly mentioned, recognized in terms of events, that moments of events must arise spontaneously even if an event is planned. It’s that spark, the flight, glimpse into the unfolding of another’s world, and the creating (folding) of your own through the new original affects created. Mature love still has its own forms of creation, one that is qualitatively different from a younger kind, but the affect of love that one gets when one knows one is with the other is already love itself. Dead love, a relationship without any new forms of creation, that each partner has their own territorializations, one’s specific routine that does not include the other in their entirety, by cutting them out altogether and absolutely – this is why love is a momentary glance, an instantaneous event of love and not one of absolute grasping of the other, there is no love in the latter. Love is a depersonalization, a reterritorialization with the other that allows for the creativity to be abound. If you’ve ever loved your pet, think about it in those terms, where each moment of interaction is an event of singularity, not of a need of personalizations, you do not represent your identity to pets, but a genuine singularity is abound in order to love.