Saturday, April 7, 2012

From: A Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze and Guattari

Excerpts from 1730: Becoming-Intense, Becoming-Animal, Becoming-Imperceptible (Memories of a Sorcerer II & III):

(Memories of a Sorcerer II) 
The contradiction between two themes, contagion through the animal as pack, and pact with the anomalous as exceptional being, is progressively fading... Alliance or the pact is the form of expression for an infection or epidemic constituting the form of content. In sorcery, blood is of the order of contagion and alliance. It can be said that becoming-animal is an affair of sorcery because (1) it implies an initial relation of alliance with a demon; (2) the demon functions as the borderline of an animal pack, into which the human being passes or in which his or her becoming takes place, by contagion; (3) this becoming implies a second alliance, with another human group; (4) tis new borderline between the two groups guides the contagion of animal and human being within the pack. There is an entire politics of becomings-animal, as well as a politics of sorcery, which is elaborated in assemblages that are neither those of the family or of religion nor of the State. Instead, they express minoritarian groups, or groups that are oppressed, prohibited, in revolt, or always on the fringe of recognized institutions, groups all the more secret for being extrinsic, in other words, anomic. If becoming-animal takes the formof a Temptation, and of monsters aroused in the imagination by the demon, it is because it is accompanied, at is origin as in its undertaking, by a rupture with the central institutions that have established themselves or seek to becoming established.
Let us cite pell-mell, not as mixes to be made, but as different cases to be studied: becomings-animal in the war machine, wildmen of all kinds (the war machine indeed comes from without, it is extrinsic to the State, which treats the warrior as an anomalous power); becomings-animal in crime societies, leapard men, crocadile-men (when the State prohibits tribal and local wars); becomings-animal in riot groups (which the Church and State are faced with peasant movements containing a sorcery component, which they repress by setting up a whole trial and legal system designed to expose pacts with the Devil)...

The politics of becomings-animal remains, of course, extremely ambiguous. For societies, even primitive societies, have always appropriated these becomings in order to break them, reduce them to relations of totemic or symbolic correspondence. The Church has always burned sorcerers, or reintegrated anchorites into the toned-down image of a series of saints whose only remaining relation to animals is strangely familiar, domestic. Families have always warded off the demonic Alliance gnawing at them, in order to regulated alliances among themselves as they see fit. We have seen sorcerers serve as leaders, rally to the cause of despotism, create the counter-sorcery of exorcism, pass over to the side of the family and descent. But this spells the death of the sorcerer, and also the death of becoming...
(Memories of a Sorcerer III) 
Exclusive importance should not be attached to becomings-animal. Rather, they are segments occupying a median region. On the near side, we encounter becomings-woman, becomings-child (becoming-woman, more than any other becoming, possesses a special introductory power; it is not so much that women are witches, but that sorcery proceeds by way of this becoming-woman). On the far side we find becomings-elementary, -cellular, -molecular, and even becoming-imperceptible... The properly musical content of music is plied by becomings-woman, becomings-child, becomings-animal; however, it tends, under all sorts of infleunces, having to do also with the instruments, to become progressively more molecular in a kind of cosmic lapping through which the inaudible makes itself heard and the imperceptible appears as such: no longer the songbird, but the sound molecule.
If the experimentation with drugs has left its mark on everyone, even nonusers, it is because it changed the perceptive coordinates of space-time and introduced us to a universe of microperceptions in which becomings-molecular take over where becomings-animal leave off... A man totters from one door to the next and disappears into thin air: “All I can tell you is that we are fluid, luminous beings made of fibers.” All so-called initiatory journeys include these thresholds and doors where becoming itself becomes, where one changes becoming depending on the “hour” of the world, the circles of hell, or the stages of a journey that sets scales, forms and cries in variation. From the howling of animals to the wailing of elements and particles.

Thus packs, or multiplicities, continually transform themselves into each other, cross over into each other. Werewolves become vampires when they die. This is not surprising, since becoming and multiplicity are the same thing. A multiplicity is not defined by its elements, nor by a center of unification or comprehension. It is defined by the number of dimensions it has; it is not divisible, it cannot lose or gain a dimension without changing its nature. Since its variations and dimensions are immanent to it, it amounts to the same thing to say that each multiplicity is already composed of heterogeneous terms in symbiosis, and that each multiplicity is continually transforming into a string of other multiplicities, according to its threshold and doors. For example, the Wolf-Man's pack of wolves also becomes a swarm of bees... If we imagined the position of a fascinated Self, it was because the multiplicity toward which it leans, stretching to the breaking point, is the continuation of another multiplicity that works it and strains it from the inside. In fact, the self is only a threshold, a door, a becoming between two multiplicities. Each multiplicity is defined by a borderline functioning as Anomalous, but there is a string of borderlines, a continuous line of borderlines (fiber) following which the multiplicity emerges. At each threshold or door, a new pact? A fiber stretches from a human to an animal, from a human or an animal to molecules, from molecules to particles, and so on to the imperceptible. Every fiber is a Universe fiber. A fiber strung across borderlines that constitutes a line of flight or of deterritorialization. It is evident that the Anomalous, the Outsider, has several functions: not only does it border each multiplicity, of which it determines temporary or local stability (with the highest number of dimensions possible under the circumstances), not only is it the precondition for the alliance necessary to becoming, but it also carries the transformations of becoming or crossing of multiplicities always farther down the line of flight...

The error we must guard against is to believe that there is a kind of logical order to this string. (Italix mine.)
- A Thousand Plateaus, 241-251

EDIT:

“What is the ultimate goal of your magick?” They asked us.
To which we replied, with wit and perhaps too much humor, “to walk through walls!”
“You didn't mention merging with the Godhead!” They cried, in alarm.
We are already a part of the universe. That is only one possible becoming in an endless chain of things-to-come.” We said, trying to be patient.
“But...” They trailed off, and then cried again: “But! But! But! That goal is absurd!”
“Linear time is a type of wall, a bordering...” We trailed off. “And we wish to walk forward with eyes peering from the back of our head into what came before.”
“I don't understand,” they sighed.
“That's okay.” We replied, politely and with a smile.

1 comment:

Lance Foster said...

In my tribe we had lots of stories of animals becoming human and vice versa, and it could be bad or good.

Yeah, we are already part of the One. I guess the point of some magic is realizing and accepting it, seeing it, knowing and accessing it.

As for me, walking through walls or being invisible was the kind of thing I was interested in, from childhood. I remember being shown how to really fly physically in a dream once as a teen. The biggest part was believing it was possible (and you didn't jump off a roof, you just believed and got a shiver down the spine and LIFT OFF from where you were standing).

I saw one old guy do a gesture once and light his stove from sitting 20 feet away. While it could have been a trick, it might not have been either, and it was a trip to see. I just accepted it either way as something cool, and smiled.