The Other(s) in/of the Otherness

Otherness is not static. It is important to understand how the other emerges from as dynamic and multiple flows of otherness. The other is an emergent property of the unstable otherness. This unstable otherness reaches some level of unstable stability in the shape of being other. The ontic other that we experience irrupts from an ontological dynamic volcano. It is from the depth of otherness that  its other emerges which then in relations to its dynamic ‘out bursting’ otherness leads to a new level wherein another other bursts on the scene and the process  marches on as the multiple possibilities open the dynamic otherness that reaches a kind of unstable closure. The logocentric underpinnings of our thought comfortably essentialize sameness and privilege it against difference. Unfortunately, this difference is constructed in the horizon of sameness. Hence, in this context I find that Deleuzian rendering of sameness sand difference in a dynamic mould of repetition can untie these knots and allows the dynamics of sameness and otherness shine to its full potential. Hence, it is important to understand how both difference and repetition rises from a dynamic interiority which operates only in the multiple and determines multiplicities. Hence, the other of otherness is a effect or a product of mobile relations.

We cannot black box sameness and difference in a static mould and then relate them mathematically so to say.  There is no stable sameness or difference. There is only a dynamic repetition and differentiating difference.  Sameness is not a subtraction of otherness. We need to step into the dynamic dance of intensive flows and multiple energies that low repetition and difference to burst on the scene. It is in this dance that always spreads from a decentred centre and displaced periphery that we can trace the zone of the other in the otherness.  To enter this dynamic terrain, we take a walk into the ecology of thought of Deleuze and Guattarri. They offer a new thought that strives to offer a new materialism that does not begin from an imposition of human values, meaning and culture upon material processes. They explore the role of material processes in the emergence of three ecologies: the environment, society and subjectivity.We shall first study the material processes and discern the relation between repetitions, resemblance and equivalence. Then we deepen our study through a scrutiny of Immanence. Next we strive to deal with three ecological registers: the environment, society and subjectivity. Finally we shall try to discuss the dynamic flows of our Indian society in a rhizomatic way.

Repetition, Resemblance and Equivalence

There is irreducibility in repetitions. Repetitions are not resemblances.  There is a radical difference between the two. The equation of repetitions to resemblance is a subtraction of difference. It is based on the calculus of exchange or substitution. This apparent exchange or substitution is possible only if one views repetition though a static and generic terms.  Often resemblance and difference is thought in a cyclic mode of thought. Although, it brings dynamism to resemblance but it exterminate difference, its other. Hence, the logocentic thinking of identities and their relations to alterities has to be deconstructed.

Repeating the Unrepeatable

Repetitions are concerned with relations that are non-exchangeables or non-substitutable. There is a paradox inrepitition in as much as it seeks to repeat the unrepeatable. This is why repetitions are non mathematical, economy of exchange. Repetitions are different in kind. Psychoanalytically repetition is born out of insatiability and a sense of incompleteness. Even a simple human act cannot fully reduplicate itself. That is, there is somehow a counterfeit dimension in all repetitions. In other  words repetition is repeating the unrepeatable.  That is why resemblance does not belong to nature  but  is a second nature. It is a habit of our thinking and speaking and hence acquired at the cost of the murder of dynamism of being.Therefore, we need to put metaphysic in motion. Movement is repetition. Repetition cannot be represented. In repetition we experience pure forces, dynamic lines in space act in a manner we cannot really describe. It acts without intermediary. It is like language which speaks before words or gestures which develop before organized bodies, or masks before faces, sceptres and phantoms before characters. Repetitions produce movements or leaps. This means it escapes fixation. David Hume had already shown that repeated series such as AB,AB, AB….themselves produce something new, namely a habit and expectation. Hence he says when A appears we habitually expect B.[1]

Repetition as singular

Repetition cannot be replaced. It is singular. Delezue uses the metaphor of a gift or theft to draw the singularity of the repetition. Repetition is about unexchangeable andunsubstitutable singularities. For instance, one cannot exchange one’s soul.Exchange is the criterion of resemblance and equivalence. Hence, there is economic difference between repetition and resemblance and singular[2]. Deleuze states that to repeat is to behave in a certain manner but in relation to something unique and singular which has no equal nor equivalent.[3]Thus, festivals do not add the first time to the second time to the first but carry the first time to the nth power. Therefore it is on 15th August that commemorates the Independence of our country. But it is the independence that repeats and celebrates on every 15th August.  There are two types of languages. The language of science is dominated by the symbol of equality and hence each term may be exchanged by another while in a lyrical language every term is irreplaceable and can only be repeated.[4]. The law belongs to the order of resemblance while transgression of the law belongs to the order of repetition. It puts all law, including the law of nature into question.  It denounces its nominal and general character in favour of more profound and more artistic reality.[5]Delueze succinctly  teaches this when he  says, ‘expecting repetition from the law of nature is the ‘Stoic’ error.’

Differential fields the ground of Repetition

Differential fields are  structures that are conditions of genesis of creative transformation of things.  The differential fields are inhabited by multiple flows and intensities that produce mutual re/de territorialisation. The differential fields are constituted of multiplicities. Multiplicities give rise to thresholds that lead to the emergence of singularities. Thus, for instance, in a game of football it is differential relations of the ground,  sphere, players and rules that lets the a sphere emerge as a football or the players as footballers and field of  play as a football ground. It is the differential relations and intensities that open the virtual (possible) to become actual as the players move, advance and retreat in the course of the game. These relations can be seen as strewn singularities that led the ball move from players to players across the football field. But football is just one actualization of the differential relations. Change the rules slightly and you have hand ball or rugby etc. Thus, it is the distribution of the flows and intensities in the differential fields that becomes the ground  of difference as well as unrepeatable repetition. The unrepeatable difference is (un)substitutable. Thus, my reflection in the mirror is a repetition of me but cannot substitute me. My friends will not relate to my reflection but would need me.   Repetitions express persistence of difference  that can be viewed as immanent variability or cadence.  The harmonious musical composition (cadence) is a result of differential fields of  intensities of  the  dance of notes that makes it possible.

Thinking Immanence

Deleuze reads philosophers like Spinoza and Bergerson through the lens of immanence. Immanence is a complex notion and is at play at several levels in Deluzian thought. It is an ontological notion that forms the basis of Deluezian thought. It becomes the horizon from where thinking takes place. It constitutes the internal condition of thinking. Thinking produces concepts which Deleuze calls intensive events where thought crystallizes intoa specific formulation responding to specific problem at stake for a thinker .  All thinking emerges from what he calls the plane of immanence.

Plane of Immanence and Thinking 

Deleuze teaches that the main task of the philosophers is the generation of concepts. He notes that concepts are always composite and multiple. Thus, for instance Cogito is composed of a certain idea of thinking, being and the self. Concepts not only attempt to provide us solutions to specific problems, they become tools rendering possible the elaboration of the problem in question. Precisely because they have to be created and are not found, they require a milieu out of which   they can be created. Deleuze calls it the plane of immanence. The relation between the concept and the plane of immanence is one of mutuality.  No concept can be generated without the plane of immanence which grounds them, yet, the plane of immanence cannot be thought without the concept that inhabits it.  That is why the plane of immanence is often thought as pre-philosophical, not in terms of something pre-existing philosophy but as that which constitutes the unspoken, the unthought internal conditions of thinking itself. Each plane of immanence is outlined in such and such a way depending on the nature of question. Being pre-philosophical, it cannot be thought as such yet it constitutes thought.Deleuze terms it as an image of thought

The Plane of Immanence, Thought and Chaos 

Though emerges within the plane of immanence that provides consistency to it.  The counterpoint of the plane of immanence is not transcendence but chaos.  The plane of immanence makes consistency possiblewhile chaos is that which has no consistency and is that which constitutes a continuous dissolution of consistency. Chaos is perpetually chaotizing where nothing has yet taken form neither as thought or nature and in the same way threatens to dissolve all that is formulated and wrought into form. Thus, chaos is not static, inert or in stationary state. It is in a constant mode of chaotizing. While still being immersed into the chaos that thought begins by precisely instituting the plane of immanence which is nothing but a section of chaos.  This means what we call thinking occurs as tensive relation between chaos and immanence where chaos ungrounds thought and immanence makes it possible to ground it and yet maintains chaotic speed.  By letting thought be formulated as a continuous tension relation to chaos we have an essential groundlessness of the thought or philosophy itself. This means there are no fixed points and no given questions, concepts or problems for thought.  The very absence of givenness, of world, subject, consciousness or God constitutes the horizon of thought. The plane of immanence enables the creation of meaning against the background of chaotic non-meaning that underlines all life.

Plane of immanence, territorialisation and deterritorialization

Territory is an ethological sense is viewed as an environment of the group that cannot be objectively located but is constituted by the patterns of interaction which enables the group to acquire a certain stability and location. Hence, a territorial process is continuously going on everywhere.  The Plane of immanence continuously becomes the earth or deterritorialization on which it creates its concepts. The plane of immanence provides us two sides: extension and thought. It means it provides us the power of being and powers of thinking. Hence, the plane of immanence is in a continuous process of deterritorialization. It is phase space of system. The plane of immanence has multiple layers that sometimes knit together and sometimesseparate. The plane is never given as such but it is given only in through what it gives. This means it can only be inferred in what it gives. What it gives is differential actualizations that come from the world of virtual tendencies (phase space).  The virtual constitutes a domain that is much larger and is teeming with potentials. This means that plane of immanence is never given and is never present.  The differential calculus formalizes the virtual into the actual. That is, the plane of immanence is a ground of morphogenesis. It is on the plane of immanence under which intensities that tend to cancel each other are brought into actuality. It has the power to organize infinitely. This infinitely complex process brings the locking of intensities (intesitisties may be viewed as pints of attractors, bifurcators, zone of sensitivity that based the theory of selforganizability)   into system of resonance and redundancy. Always there is a loss of something in the process of actualization (deterritorializations).

The Ecology of the Environment

Matter and form do not exist in isolation but are intimately intertwined. They express themselves by stratifying themselves. Every strata expresses without signifying anything because it is based in to the power to organize infinitely. We attempt to primarily listen to the dance of Differentiation. (difffrenciation in the Heideggarian sense)

Differentiation  and Differenciation

In Difference and repetition and the logic of sense, Deleuze argued that the virtual is self-differentiating or difference in itself. The virtual realm is not undifferentiated chaos but is a realm of regional ontologies laying out the multiple possibilities for ‘a’ society, ‘a’ language and ‘an’ animal, and so forth can exist. Deleuze calls triggering of a bifurcator as an Event that unleashes an ‘emission of Singularities’.[6] It means a bifurcator provides for the new set of attractors or patterns of behaviour. This process is named as differentiation by Deleuze  in contrast to diffrenciation which names the process of actualization.[7] Actualization is a process of becoming of exclusive disjunctions which involves the selection of a series of singularities whose actualization precludes (prevent from happening) the simultaneous actualization of others. These would then have the status of ‘road not taken’.[8] Within this train of thought, we are challenged to view phase space as dynamic and virtual as creative or productive. Scholars like Stuart Kaufmann of Santa Fe Institute positions a ‘mutual bootstrap’ effect between the ‘landscape’ of a particular phase space and specific trajectories inhabiting it.[9]  In this way the actual agents serve to transforms the virtual field creating new singularities , ‘fitness peaks’ or attractors that will let diffrenciationreach a new level of emergence.[10] Hence, the virtual is not static but a differentiating chaotizing.

Selective Accumulation

The intensive flows at the level differentiation are permeated with unstable, unformed,  open and nomadic singularities. Thus, for instance  at the scale of geological stratification, it consists of process that inhabits territorialisation, sedimentation and fixation of intensities and singularities- through which structures ( or stable forms) emerge and molar assemblages ( Substances) take place. At the level of sedimentation, cyclical sediments are laid whose homogeneity is a result of ‘sorting out mechanism’ through which a highly improbable distribution is achieved. Within this  complex mechanism of sedimentation, we can understand the role of rivers , which bring rocky materials from the mountains to the ocean. During this process of transit, pebbles of different weight, size and shape are variouslyaffected water that transport them. It is these effects in the context of moving water that sorts them out with the smaller pebbles reaching the ocean faster than the larger ones. Ones this laying out of the pebbles takes place, a second process sets in and transforms the loose pebbles into sedimentary rocks. This process is carried out by soluble substances like silica that penetrate the sediments through the pores in the pebbles.  This process steadily lets the pebbles emerge as more or less permanent architectonic structure that evolves into a new entity, the sedimentary rocks. [11]

Isolative Consolidation

Besides the phenomenon of accumulation, coagulation and sedimentation, we  have to draw our attention to a process of isolative consolidation. To understand this important process, let us take the example of morphogenesis of genes.  Neo-Darwinists teach that a species is formed by gradual accumulation and selection of genes. Genes are not distributed or deposited at random but are sorted out by variety of selection pressures like climate change , the action of predators, parasites and effects of male and female mating choices. Thus like the geological stratification the genetic accumulation also goes through the process of consolidation. The genetic consolidation occurs as a result of reproductive isolation. Reproductive isolation is a process that leads to the closure of a gene pool, when a given subset of population becomes incapable of mating and reproducing along with the rest. It is through the dual process of selective accumulation and isolative consolidation, a population of an individual organism emerges as a species. It is within what we have called the plane of immanence that where  alluvions, sedimentations, coagulations, foldings and  recoilings that lead to the emergence of an organism.[12]

 Ecology of Society

From the Freudian point of view society, desire and sexuality revolve around the oedipal event.  This Freudian oedipal triangle is questioned by many thinkers today. The social codes come along with its base desire in what is prohibited or something that is lacking. For the boy  it is the mother that is prohibited so he would seek substitutes for her and for the girl what is lacking is the Phallus and she would seek those who may give her one. Desire here is a desire for the forbidden fruit. Deleuze and Guattari turn desire on its head.  They develop the notion of desire that does not freed from its representation in terms of an object that we want or something the subject lacks.  Deleuze teaches that one never simply desire a person or an object.  What one desires is an entire scenario, landscape, mode of existence or episode expressed in the person or the object. Desire is productive and  has connective abilities.

Unconscious as a Site of Production of Desire 

Deleuze and Guattari abandon the Freudian notion of unconscious as a site of repression of oedipal desires. They present the unconscious as rhizomatic rather than arborescent .It operates as networks or fields of operation rather than as a site that is seeped in repressed desires that are created after the resolution of the Oedipus Complex. The new notion of unconscious allows us to open the possibilities for a multiplicity of desires that may be oedipal, non-oedipal and beyond oedipal.   This brings us to the possibilityof living beyond the law of the father.  Beyond the oedipal and oedipalized territories (Family, Church, School, Nation, Party ) , particularly the territoriality of individual, and the new notion of unconscious evoke deterritorialized flows of desire, the flows that have not been reduced to the oedipal codes and the neuroticized territorialities and as such can escape these codes through lines of escape that lead elsewhere. Desire as productive connects desire(desiring machine) an object to some other object giving us the possibility to discern desire in everything and everywhere.

The Desiring Machine

Deleuze  andGuattari use the term desiring machines not in its literal sense  but in a metaphorical sense.  They are not discussing machine as configuration of pre-existing parts nor do they think of them in a mechanistic sense. Machines to them are some things that connect that do not necessarily belong together, things that were not necessarily designed for each other. Thus, for instance, the pianist uses his hands to connect the keys of the piano and uses his feet on the pedals to produce music.  The flow of music is produced by a music machine that consists of hands, feet, pedals, and the sheet of  music that is being read.  The desiring machine do not  operate linearly and does not have specific task or time line.  Desire connects objects to other objects ( the pianists to piano, writer to books and paper, and writing tools) and is not limited to Oedipus complex and can break away from the oedipal triangle. Desire leads us to become body without organs by shunning away the organized, hierarchized  and pre-given pre-existing body. Desire rides an attempt to become-molecular (not molar which presupposes a pre-given  identity). Becoming molecular  is not unified and cannot be identified because it has no identity and isrhizomatic.

Desire and Schizophrenic

Deleuze and Guattari teach that schizophrenia reveals the profound nature of desire.  While developing a positive and immanent of desire, they found a blueprint in Spinoza and were compelled to engage with the dominant discourse on desire. In their work, Anti-Oedipus, they attempt to render, desire or unconscious immanent. They suggest that unconscious is the faculty of desire and venture into an immanent critique of its powers and uses and establish philosophy as Schizoanalysis. They teach that the faculty of desire does not relate to its own object through correspondence, conformity or what phenomenology calls intentionality but through a relation of causality. This means they hold that the representation of the object is the cause of that object. Therefore, they argue that desire cannot be said to be missing anything or lacking in anyway.  Besides,  they do not link desire with pleasure or satisfaction. They view desire as productive, what can we do and the extent to which we can express through action, thought and creation. It is the infinite power of substance in Spinozian sense. Hence, unconscious becomes a site of production and not representation. Desire does not express anything in linguistic-semantic sense (it is not a signifier). It does not express in myths, tragedies and dreams which has to be carved out through interpretation. Desire is an engine that drives history. It is not wrapped and hidden in the Interest of class. It is not limited to oedipal triangle but is social and even cosmic.  Desire is schizophrenic. It movesto become body without organs. Body without organs is the site that records the production of desire. It is on the body without organs that everything glides where connective and disjunctive energies collideresulting into a production or emergence of higher intensities and singularities.


The Body Without Organs and Indian Society 

The body without organs is a field of immanence of desire. It is the plane where differentiation sets in the process of dynamic actualization the social sphere of our country. This brings us to the dynamism and fluidity of morphogenesis of everything that makes India.  The India that we are living in is in the making. This process of actualization has not and will not follow a readymade path but is a product of spontaneous organization of several contingent factors that led the process of territorialisation, de-territorialisation and re-territorialisation.

The Rhizomatic flow of Indian Civilization 

The evolution and development of Indian civilization can be viewed as rizomatic flow. Our civilization did not developed merely in a linear hierarchical fashionas some ultra-nationalists. India is has emerged on a rhizomatic lines of flights. There is no point on a rhizome but only lines. Rhizome ceaselessly establishes connections between semiotic chains, organizations of power etc., which forms assemblages that form plateaus. Deleuze and Guattari call plateau any multiplicity connected to other multiplicities by superficial underground stems so as to form or extend a rhizome.  The ultiple points of intersections, overlaps, convergences, twistingsand  infinite folds have collectively produced our society. Hence, rhizomatic flows take us into horizontal overflows and not in a vertical hierarchical mode of social formation. The interweaving of our civilization has not occurred in isolation as the essentialist modes of thought makes us to  believe but in a Rhizo –India way in connection with its various flows both  from within and from outside.  The  Rhizo-India mode,  makes us to accept the geological flows, the formation of the Himalayas and the formation of Indian peninsula  coupled with the human habitation resulting in the deforestation, the great Indus valley civilization, the migration of the Aryans and Vedic tradition, the rise of Sanghas leading to the birth of Magadha, the tribals and their cultures , the religious movements like Jainism, Buddhism in conflict with Brahminism, the invasion of Alexander, the great, the rise of the Mauryas, Asoka and the spread of Buddhism , the Gupta age, Harshavardhana, Rajputs and the Afghan-Turkish Sultans, Mughals, Marathas and  the kingdoms of the south like the Pandyas, the Vktakas,  Ikshvakus , the Kadambas, Chalukyas, Rashtrkutas, the Pallavas, the Bhamani Kingdom and the Vijaynagara has their share in the making of our country.  Besides, the colonizers from the west: the Portuguese, the British and the French, the freedom movement, the cultural churning of RSS, and reformers of Hinduism, the two nation theory and the Hindu-Muslim conflict, the partition of Indian, the democratic rule, the birth of Bangladesh, along with the caste, religions, languages,  sacred and secular literature and art forms, economic and political ideologies  led to the formation of plural and vibrant India.[13]all this have to be seem in a emergentrizomatic way.  Thus, for instance, if  colonization was not to take place we out not have Hinduism

The Death Drive and Indian Society

Body without organs has the death drive. It is a castrated body. Deleuze and Guattari teach that body without organs is a synonymous with Freud’s death instinct.  Body without organs is what desire desires not as an object but as a state of being. It is the direction and the way in which desire moves. Indeed, the body without organs come into being as an effect of desiring. Hence, it does not pre-exists desire.  It is a desire to be in a state of organless body. The desire is governed by the unconscious and hence the body without organs  is also a product of the unconscious. It can be best thought of as Being Degree Zero: that which stubbornly remains resisting all negation even when positive quality has taken way. It is neither an integral whole nor emptiness but rather remains an undifferentiated fluidity. I t produces nothing but has to be reinserted in the production. Within this scheme of things, we can understand the logic of body without organs at play in the making and unmaking of Indian society. It becomes the ‘socius’, the full body of social production. In our country the ‘socius’ is the plural ethos that sustains the life and breath of our society.  Upon this plural ethos that plurality and multiplicity in our country evolves and produces our social life. But there is the reverse movement that occludes the vibrant plural ethos of our country which homogenizes, essentializes part of it and leads us into the illusion of being nationalistic and more Indian than others. Thus, body without organs becomes a surface on which both the forces and agents of plural affirmation as well as negation are at play. The forces of negation of the plural ethos of our country become a clear expression of the death drive that can eventually destroy the vibrant plural   ethos of our country. Thus, the champions of Hindutva and Hindu Rashatra become the visible portrayal of desire that is attempting to convert India into a body without organs. But there are secular forces that constantly de-territorialize and check the death drive injected by the Hindutva forces.

The Schizophrenic Desire and Indian Society   

Deleuze and Guattari  place desire in the social formation of production and production in the unconscious psychological realm of  desire. This form of desire has no subject that causes production but it is production that causes further production. Such production results in the production of     collective subjectivity of us Indians.  Indian subject is an enduring self but is constantly changing and forming connections with the collective subjectivity. This means self of Indians are psychically and socially continuously de-territorialised. Thus, in several ways, we are schizophrenics. Some of us  are Christians , Goans, and Indians all at the same time. This is the case of every Indian. Schizophernia is seen as a line of escape completely free from the constrains of social representation and based entirely on experience. We can see how some cultural police are trying to impose what they selectively deem as Indian culture and position it as noble and national.  These powers are erecting the law of the father to all of us.  Those who do not accept their version of culture and nationalism are orphaned and denationalized. But a schizo has the strength to disown all of it. He is an anti-Oedipus and has refuses to be disowned by the several laws of fathers erected in our society.  In fact a Indian  is challenged to disown the ‘father’ and continuously invent his /her Self.  This means we  Indians are challenged to become anti-Oedipus and save the plural ethos of our country.  we  have to resist  the voices and forces that force us to oedipalize. This is the way the minorities in particular can liquidate  and de-territorialize the powers that attempt to orphanize and de-nationalize them.


The dynamic metaphysic of difference of Deleuze and Guttari   leads us away from linear, vertical and hierarchical  and leads us to a non-logocentric, horizontal and rihzomatic way. We are enabled to view an Rihzo-India  that can liberate us from intolerance, hate and violence.

[1] accessed on 30th Sept. 2015.

[2] Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, Trans. Paul Patton ( New York: Columbia University, 1994),  p. 1

[3] Ibid.

[4]Ibid., p. 2.

[5]Ibid ., p . 3.

[6] accessed on 28th Oct. 2015.

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid

[11] Miguel de Beistegui,  Immanence : Deleuze and Philosophy  (Endinburg: Endinburg University. 2010), pp. 55-57.

[12] Ibid p. 58-59.

[13] See RoshenDalal ,The Puffin, History of India, Vol. 1  ( Gurgoan: Puffin Books, 2014).

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao