Anglossic-Qabbalistic Explorations: The Geology of Morals (Part II)

god

[continued from here]

Through the Gates

To reiterate: “God is a lobster, or a double pincer, a double bind.”

GOD IS A LOBSTER = 263 = DEAD BUT DREAMING

LOBSTER GOD = 207 = THE OLD ONES = SILVER KEY

Between each of these equivalences (the latter admittedly being a vulgarization of Deleuze and Guattari’s initial point, but one whose resonant attributes relative to their work cannot be discounted ), it is the cosmic horror of Lovecraft that rises to the surface. Consider the first, 263, with its clicking through to “dead but dreaming”. “Dreaming but dreaming” is the description of Cthulhu in the sunken city of R’lyeh, communicating with his followers via terrestrial followers until the day that the city can rise and he can again awaken from his slumber (aided by the Necronomicon).

In the Lovecraftian mythos, Cthulhu is one of the ancient rulers of the earth, a member of a race of entities known as the Old Ones. Thus the uncanny relationship between “Lobster God” and “The Old Ones”, as indicated by AQ207. Yet here can be founded another Lovecraft connection, by way of the “silver key”: Lovecraft’s 1934 short story “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” describes the voyage of Randolph Carter into the outer edges of the universe itself. Carter’s journey reveals the entangling of all aspects of existence under the figure of Yog-Sothoth, the “All-in-One and One-in-All of limitless being and self – not merely a thing of one Space-Time continuum, but allied to the ultimate animating essence of existence’s whole unbound sweep…”

This description perfectly captures Deleuze and Guattari’s plane of consistency, the phase-space of unformed matter that gets captured by the double pincers and stratified – and it is this short story that is quoted at the end of “The Geology of Morals” to describe Professor Challenger’s own voyage of absolute deterritorialization, the schizophrenizing flight beyond stratification:

Challenger, or what remained of him, slowly hurried towards the plane of consistency, following a bizarre trajectory with nothing relative left about it. He tried to slip into an assemblage serving as a drum-gate, the particle Clock with its intensive clicking and conjugated rhythms hammering out the absolute: “The figure slumped oddly into a posture scarcely human, and began a curious, fascinated shuffle toward the coffin-shaped clock…. The figure had now reached the abnormal clock, and the watchers saw through the dense fumes a blurred black claw fumbling with the tall, hieroglyphed door. The fumbling made a queer, clicking sound. Then the figure entered the coffin-shaped case and pulled the door shut after it… the abnormal clicking went on, beating out the dark, cosmic rhythm which underlies all mystical gate openings” – the Mechanosphere, or rhizosphere.

There are further connections to be probed here that go beyond Deleuze and Guattari and towards the temporal digrammatics of the numogram. As Nick Land has pointed out, 207/Silver Key can be linked to the Time-Circuit or “rotating sector” of the numogram:

81 + 72 + 54 = 207

This corresponds to the three syzygies of the Rotating Sector:

  • 8:1, associated with the “dream serpent” MurMur, the “Syzygetic Chronodemon of the Deep Ones”
  • 7:2, associated with Oddubb, the “Syzgygetic Chronodemon of Swamp-Labyrinths (and blind-doubles)” [and thus the double-bind]
  • 5:4, associated with Katak, the “Syzygetic Chronodemon of Cataclysmic Convergence”

Screenshot from 2017-06-06 09-46-38
In this schema, 8:1/MurMur, 7:3/Oddubb, and 5:4/Katak correspond to the past, present, and future, respectively, with the past and future bending and locking into a cyclical movement via the process of ‘cataclysmic convergence’. [CONVERGENCE = 210 = INITIATION]

In keeping with the initiatory voyage of Randolph Carter into the transcendental ur-space of Yog-Sothoth and Deleuze and Guattari’s reworking of Lovecraft’s story into the tale of Professor Challenger’s absolute deterritorialization to the plane of consistency, the Silver Key would lead away from the cyclical nature of the Rotating Specter, something that would open the gate towards outer time (and thus correspond to Deleuze’s own interest in timeless time, or time/memory liberated from the constraints of coding and territorialization).

ADDENDUM

In their utilization of Lovecraft, Deleuze and Guattari describe the operations of the ‘mystical gate’ opening onto/into the Mechanosphere, or Rhizosphere. Elsewhere in A Thousand Plateaus, the Mechanosphere is invoked in relation to a particular historical age – namely, our current age, the ‘age of the Machine’ (see Era-Mapping as well as Killing Art). The processes described in the following passage bring us immediately back to the concerns in “The Geology of Morals” and the “Apparatus of Capture”:

The molecular material has become so deterritorialized that we can no longer even speak of matters of expression, as we did in romantic territoriality. Matters of expression are superseded by a material of capture. The forces to be captured are no longer those of the earth, which still constitute a great expressive Form, but the forces of an immaterial, nonformal, and energetic cosmos… When forces become necessarily cosmic, material becomes necessarily molecular, with enormous force operating in an infinitesimal space. The problem is no longer that of the beginning, any more than it is that of foundation-ground. It is now a problem of consistency, or consolidation: how to consolidate the material, make it consistent, so that it can harness unthinkable, invisible, nonsonorous forces… Let us recall Nietzsche’s idea of the eternal return as a little ditty, a refrain, but which captures the mute and unthinkable forces of the Cosmos. We thus leave behind the assemblages to enter the age of the Machine, the immense mechanosphere, the plane of cosmicization of forces to be harnessed. [emphasis in original]

Screenshot from 2017-06-06 10-47-25

It was perhaps that which certain cults have whispered of as YOG-SOTHOTH, and which has been a deity under other names; that which the crustaceans of Yoggoth worship as the Beyond-One, and which the vaporous brains of the spiral nebula know by an Untranslateable Sign – Lovecraft, “Through the Gates of the Silver Key”

Bateson Bits

Screenshot from 2017-06-06 00-44-15

-From “Toward a Theory of Schizophrenia”, in Steps to an Ecology of Mind, p. 211-212

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-From Percival’s Narrative: A Patient’s Account of His Psychosis, p. xiii-xiv

Screenshot from 2017-06-06 00-46-30

-From “The Logical Categories of Learning and Communication”, in Steps to an Ecology of Mind, p. 307

Anglossic-Qabbalistic Explorations: The Geology of Morals (Part I)

earth

Judgments of God, I

The first AQ equivalence appears almost right off the bat:

THE GEOLOGY OF MORALS = 380 = APPARATUS OF CAPTURE

We thus have a distinct and direct connection between Plateau 3 (10,000 BC: The Geology of Morals) and Plateau 13 (7,000 BC: Apparatus of Capture) . It goes without saying that elements throughout each plateau of Deleuze and Guattari’s book resonate with one another, connecting with one another and spiraling out fractally across its pages – yet if the AQ is to be taken as any sort of ‘guide’ (a debatable proposition in itself), there seems to be a particularly sharp resonance to be found here.

The “Apparatus of Capture” proceeds quite straightforwardly from the plateau previous to it, “1227: Treatise on Nomadology – The War Machine”. In this plateau, Deleuze and Guattari discuss wild and freely mobile intensities, swarms, packs, rhizomatic flows, etc. that blaze out on lines of flight – i.e., the model that is generalized as the titular war machine. The war machine is self-organizing and nomadic, bound up in becoming, making itself into a force capable of moving freely over and through space. At the same time, however, it constantly risks being captured and subverted by the apparatus of capture. Deleuze and Guattari follow this line through the operations of the state, which seizes that which is outside itself and codes and territorializes it.

“The Geology of Morals” is the great plateau of stratification (that is, the production of strata from the flux of the plane of consistency), making use of the theory-fictional figure of Professor Challenger to explore the double articulation of unformed matter that had been captured and processed by the ‘Abstract Machine’. This is, of course, precisely the same sorts of processes being analyzed at the socio-political and economic levels across the “Apparatus of Capture” plateau; furthermore, there exists a direct correspondence between the deployment of double articulation in “The Geology of Morals” (explicated by Challenger through the linguistics-derived framing of “content” and “expression”, as well as “form” and “substance”) and the act of coding (correlated to form) and territorialization (correlated to substance) – which itself sets into process the reciprocal movements of decoding/recoding and deterritorialization/reterritorialization.

Compare, also, the following from the “Geology of Morals”:

Territorialities… are shot through with lines of flight testifying to the presence within them of movements of deterritorialization and reterritorialization… In short, the epistrata and parastrata are continually moving, sliding, shifting, and changing on the Ecumenon or unity of composition of a stratum…

with the following from “Treatise on Nomadology”:

It is a vital concern of every State not only to vanquish nomadism but to control migrations and, more generally, to establish a zone of rights all over an entire “exterior”, over all of the flows traversing the ecumenon.

Judgments of God, II

“God is a lobster, or a double pincer, a double bind”, write Deleuze and Guattari in the third paragraph of “The Geology of Morals”. The next AQ equivalence, intimately connected to first, proceeds from here:

DOUBLE BIND = 178 = MEGAMACHINE

In the “Apparatus of Capture” plateau, Deleuze and Guattari draw upon Lewis Mumford’s hypothesis of the megamachine to describe the primordial apparatus of capture:

Following the Marxist description: a State apparatus is erected upon the primitive agricultural communities, which already have lineal-territorial codes; but it overcodes them, submitting them to the power of a despotic emperor… This is the paradigm of the bond, the knot. Such is the regime of the State: overcoding, or the Signifier. It is a system of machinic enslavement: the first “megamachine” in the strict sense, to use Mumford’s term. [Emphasis in original]

This same line was followed previously in Anti-Oedipus:

While the ground can be the productive elements and the result of appropriation, the Earth is the great ungendered stasis, the element superior to production that conditions the common appropriation and utilization of the ground. It is the surface in which the whole process of production is inscribed… the territorial machine is therefore the first form of the socius, the machine of primitive inscription, the “megamachine” that covers a social field… The social machine… has men for its parts, even if we view them with their machines, and integrate them, internalize them in an institutional model at every stage of action, transmission, and motorcity. Hence the social machine fashions a memory without which there would be no synergy of man and his (technical) machines.

There are striking parallels between this latter passage and “The Geology of Morals” (AO’s depiction of the earth as “the great ungendered stasis” and ATP’s description of it as “the Deterritorialized, the Glacial, the giant Molecule.. a body without organs.”), but what is of most interest here is precisely how the megamachine itself is the apparatus of capture, seizing the free flows moving across the smooth space and stamping them with the double articulation.

But what of the double bind?

In the “God is a lobster” sentence, Deleuze and Guattari explicitly connect the double pincer movement – the claws of the lobster, which form the abstract diagram of the apparatus of capture itself – to the double bind. A concept used by Gregory Batesont to describe states of negative homeostasis in familial communication systems, Deleuze and Guattari in Anti-Oedipus link the double bind to Oedipus itself:

Double bind is the term used by Gregory Bateson to describe simultaneous transmission of two kinds of messages, one of which contradicts the other… Bateson sees in this phenomenon a particularly schizophrenizing situation… It seems to us that the double bind, the double impasse, is instead a common situation, oedipalizing par excellence… the “double bind” is none other than the whole of Oedipus. It is in this sense that Oedipus should be presented as a series, or an oscillation between two poles: the neurotic identification, and the internalization that is said to be normative. On either side is Oedipus, the double impasse. [emphasis in original]

Oedipus, then, takes on form of the double pincer itself, which is confirmed elsewhere in Anti-Oedipus when Oedipus is described as being Janus-faced: Oedipus-as-crisis and Oedipus-as-structure, which together act as “a correlative double impasse… [a] double pincer action that crushes the unconscious caught in its exclusive disjunction.” It is here that the operations of the apparatus of capture, detailed in A Thousand Plateaus, begins to come together.

The schizoid descent to the Body without Organs – described by Bateson as a sort of initiatory voyage beyond the impasse of the double bind – was described by Antonin Artaud in his work “To Have Done with the Judgment of God”. Consider the following from the first paragraph of “The Geology of Morals”:

Strata are belts, layers. They consist in giving form to matters, of imprisoning intensities or locking singularities into systems of resonance and redundancy… Strata are acts of capture… They operate by coding and territorialization upon the earth; they proceed simultaneously by code and territory. The strata are judgments of God; stratification in general is the entire system of the judgment of God (but the earth, or the body without organs, constantly eludes that judgment, flees and becomes destratified, decoded, deterritorialized). [emphasis added]

Era Mapping

Norbert Wiener: “The thought of every age is reflected in its technique.”

Screenshot from 2017-05-30 11-19-43

[Note: the above periodization is approximate at best. None of these categories map onto one another perfectly, and thus should be treated as a general exploratory mechanism as opposed to a firm assessment]