Lines of Life

We cling to things and persons from our birth. We can see how babies cling to toys and to the caregivers especially. We are indeed clingers. We cling to each other or things for security. We also cling to persons to express love and care. Our clinging is at the basis of our sociality. What happens when we cling to people or things? Tim Ingold, an English anthropologist, tells us that we intertwine lines. Every being is a buddle of lines, and these lines entangle with other lines of other beings. Here, we are trying to open the lines of thinking that will open us to the lines that rule our life. There is a line of life in every being. Besides, our sociality puts out lines that entangle us to things and people. When we change the lines that we ride, we initiate change in our society.

Gilles Deleuze teaches us that whether we are individuals or groups, we are made of lines lines. These lines both territorialize as well as deterritorialize. Deleuze and Gautarri identify three kinds of lines. They christen them as molar, molecular, and flight. Molar lines have starting points and ending points, boundaries, and hierarchies. A molar line is a fascist line. We can trace that fundamentalists, conservatives, and traditionalists put this line of their life. The molecular line is different from the molar line. The molar line can be imaged by a tree that grows upwards. Molecular lines spread and grow up and down. It frees itself, breaks and twists. It can be imaged by a rhizome. Like a rhizome, molecular lines spread, rupture and turn and move. Deleuze and Gauttari are more interested in the final kind of line. The line of escape/flight that frees away from molar lines. Molar lines are territorializing lines, while lines of flight are deterritorailizing lines. They break and rupture molar lines. This means the line of flights enables an endless openness in becoming without being confined to state regimes, scientific schema, and societal pressure.

We have to ask ourselves which lines are we treading. Some of us may be territorializing on the molar line. Others may be taking up the dynamic molecular lines. The best is the challenge of the line of flight. Maybe we need to an example. Colonialism imposed linearity on the non-linearity of our people. It is an imposition of one kind of line on our people. It puts boundaries on the line on which the people lived before the arrival of the colonizers. Colonizers then joined those enclosed communities, each confined to one spot, into a vertically integrated community. We see it clearly in Goa. The island of Goa was first linked to Salcete and Bardez, and later, what was then Goa (old conquest) became linked to the new conquest, and we have Goa of today. We can identify the same lines joining over 500 princely states into what we call India. Besides geographical lines, the colonisers joined educational dots, administrative dots, religious dots, and several other dots. We did not accept several of these lines and began to ride lines of flight.
We can see how lines change the world. The colonizer changed our consciousness by joining the dots. We no longer have what was Goa or India before the colonizer joined the dots. We are entangled in various ways with the colonial past of our country and ride lines of flight to move away from them.

We can, therefore, discern the lines that cross us as well as the lines that we put across. We exist as entangled in lines. This is why we may say that to exist to us is to be entangled in lines. We are riding lines, and some of us ride the molar lines and become traditionalist, conservative, and even fascists. Other ride molecular lines that dynamically go up and down. Those who ride the molecular life commune and integrate themselves with the dynamic life of their society but stop short of challenging its received boundaries. Those who ride the lines of escape/ flight are those that usher in change, ride rebellion, and revolution by transgressing boundaries. The escape/flight lines can bring new life, new lines of life, and transform our society. We have the challenge to come to discern the lines that entangle us and choose the emancipative lines of escape/ flight.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao