Brainlet Corner 1: What is Philosophy: Intro & Ch. 1

Brainlet Corner is my attempt to actually read books in their entirety in an intensive way. Please don’t own me. Hopefully it will be a series.


There is already an incredible amount of work on D&G’s notion of the concept andalongside and in tandem, the conceptual persona or friend. The concept answers the question “what is philosophy?” quickly: philosophy is an act of creation—”forming, inventing, and fabricating concepts”. Only philosophy can create concepts, not science, art, and especially not design (which only produces simulacra), which have robbed the concept of its initial meaning and degraded it.

The answer was already known and had not changed, they say, but the conceptual poetics has been modified. Asking what is philosophy requires knowledge of the temporospatial and personal circumstances in which the question is being asked—which Hegel would identify as “the Figures of its creation and the Moments of its self-positing). This creation is dependent on the conceptual personae that are engaged with throughout the process of its fabrication, the spectre of the friend.

The friend, as far as I can tell, is rooted in a greek urbanity—the philosophy of the forum/agora. Creation of concepts is a social act, an amphisbetesis or striving/competition between the philosopher and the “friend, lover, claimant, and rival” which constantly must be worked through and inhabited. It is this relation that defines the philosopher in relation to the concept, which seems to me to be a stepping outside of oneself in order to fabricate and extirpate the concept from within (as an act of friendly creation that involutes into sodomy (or just masturbation)).

D&G follow Marx in making completely clear that philosophy is not a passive act, not performing examinations or contemplation. The identification of philosophy as motion, uncertainty, procedure seems to remove all useful distinction between theory and praxis as altogether irrelevant; theory or conceptual production is in fact practical production (of aerolites).

D&G quote Neitzsche in saying concepts are not gifts, but they must be made and created (or more accurately, self-created, allopoetic), which is to say, backed up and fortified (which I take to be gathering an accretive disk around the bright ordinal of the conceptual components, a cosmogenesis). In this sense, creation is “always a singularity”, albeit one that occurs along multiple valences and collects them into an internally objective and externally subjective epigenetic haeccetic unity, a “whole but a fragmentary whole”, a totalization of its components (which may themselves be concepts), constantly haunted by the “mental chaos” that’s hunting it. (Side note: how is this different from Hegel’s dialectics (as I understand them through Lenin, the contradictions of an object constantly lie benthic within the object and threaten to overwhelm it). Maybe the relation is that to D&G the chaos that forces the concept to embody a shattered unity is anterior to the concept itself?)

The concept does not stand alone. As I mentioned earlier, it is contingent on the Figure and the Moment; or, as D&G describe it, as a landscape they call the plane of immanence, the “field”. “Here concepts link up with each other, support one another, coordinate their contours…” A massively codependent landscape populated by ordinals that are “distinct, heterogeneous, and yet not separable”. They blur into each other and co-associate in what D&G call a “zone of neighborhood, or a threshold of indiscernability” where traffic occurs between adjacent (like) concepts, leaving the ordinals (“intensive features”, all of this is a question of intensities above all, a vast topos) as hard points, condensations (guess the disk of accretion image from earlier was kinda accurate). This landscape is traversed at infinite speed by the point of omniscient survol. The image that occurs to me is a song in the round: a layering of constantly returning complexity (or as the text says, a “refrain”) that allows the singular point of the listener to experience all the processes of the song at once as intensity goes negentropic). The concept is absolute internally and in relation to its problem but relative to the distributed plane-system in which it lies, freely associating with other concepts along thresholds and bridges. It is “real without being actual, actual without being abstract”—possessed of both its pedagogy in the former and ontology in the latter.

Language w/r/t a defined philosophical grammar is important here—best I can tell is D&G are trying to move away from the idea that concepts are their extension rather than their intension or that a concept is analogous to its friend/associated conceptual persona(e) and the language used to define it. When they address the Cartesian cogito it is in the interest of ripping it out of language and turning it into a diagram by identifying the components that compose the intensity.

D&G take care to mention that though the use the image of the landscape as a cartography of concepts (conceptopography I guess), there is nothing here to track space or time. The point of survol is the god eye, everywhere at once. Not even energy (which is just a corporealization of intensities) exists here. “The concept is defined by the inseperability of a finite number of heterogeneous components traversed by a point of absolute survey at infinite speedthe specific infinity of the concept.” So a concept, and the plane in which they appear, is modifiably infinite (w/r/t the concept) and probed by an equally infinite (or maybe transfinite) eye. To D&G, survey is speed. Thought is speed.




“There is no dialectic between social and technical relations, but only a machinism that dissolves society into the machines whilst deterritorializing the machines across the ruins of society, whose ‘general theory … is a generalized theory of flux’…”

Which is to say, cybernetics.

Chronotopic mapping is, above all, the recognition of a need of system aesthetics. In fact, the word map is no longer helpful where we’re going. We must ask Bateson’s question: “What is it in the territory that gets on to the map?” The answer should, of course, be nearly nothing. Reducing the map, as chronotopos does, to an empty container rather than the totality of available information is a fundamental deletion of importance. The necessity of representation dissolves like a bad dream. The fetish of recording is revealed as a sad joke taken too far.

The ecstasy of recuperation ends as the indigestible is fatally consumed…the intestines erupt in bleeding ulcers and become the place of feverish, hallucinogenic degrees of decomposition and calcification. Welcome to Interzone…the haemorrhage of the Global Village.

Welcome to Interzone. Welcome to the urbicide of the planet. Methodologies turn to ash. Cartography flips back into fascism as we remember, finally, it was initially developed to survey property, consolidate territory, and direct the movements of armies…the hydra-head of Black Capital consumes the head of the state…augury and excrement of the war machine. In supplication to absolute deterritorialization the notion of territory itself boils and drains into the past, leaving vast turgidity which we will nonetheless inhabit. “Tell me, why are you here already, in this endless sea, with no land to hop on, or air to croak with, it makes no sense to me at all!”

In the scylla-charybidean chiral pinch we find ourselves, identity is stripped down to nothing. Persons are reducible to 2 opposite tendencies: vectors, distance/time functions that take off from space; and more importantly, a nearly-infinite capacity to move at fiber optic speeds.  Recognizing this removes the concept of personhood. They are not wholes. They are not even swarms. They are euclidean amoebae—and here, it is important to note, the nucleus is diminished in relation to cytoplasmic extensibility.

What chronotopos does that time-geography does not is recognizes this as fundamental and seeks to apply an aesthetics without incarcerating the amoebic, interring it once again within flesh. Space is necessarily annihilated by time and by technē both, disintegrating utterly and forever under the magnificent onslaught. When the amoeba-I communicate it is no longer with messages, it is with participation in supra-planetary marketspace. Buying is speaking, murmuring intonations into the thousand ears of Black Capital. My voice is heard in far-flung distribution centers, logged on secure servers in places my physical nucleus could never access, shooting through wires, aggregated and flattened to nothing. Materialism cracks and rots. Amoeba-I walks through walls.


CHRONOTOPOS/The body in capitalism pt. 1

Chronotopos is in many ways coterminal with time-geography, or the cracking open of the static plane of territory and subsequent invasion by temporality. The body in capitalism is not a body at all, but rather the recognition that the age of corporeality is over. Both phrases look inside physical reality and find a cavity of utter entropy and pure dissolution. The thesis is this: space and the body (or identity) have both been annihilated by time.


Practically, chronotopos is simple enough. Instead of treating the map as the site of infinity, treat it y=0, and plot time on the y axis, taking off from surface structuration.

t-s aquarium

Cartographic friction is annihilated by the speed and surgical efficacy of the line. At the same time, chronotopos is a visualization of qwernomics in spatial practice, upending the Rosen-Roback model of classical economics to reveal a secret sigilization just out of focus of quotidian geography, and the dromological time-space compression of the landscape undertaken by individualized spatial practice.


PC Adams’ A Reconsideration of Personal Boundaries in Space Time sees a near-total reformatting of Torsten Hagerstand’s initial time-space aquaria to reflect the even greater practical abstraction of the human body in the advent of digital communications. Adams borrows McLuhan’s description of the body in media as tentacular and dendritic, and in fact poses the need for body and person to be separated into dialectic pairs. The body remains in space—this is Hagerstrand’s finite line, moving across the laminar surface of the map—while the body expands, contracts, shifts, diffuses.

Social Media Connections map

While agreeing overall with his central thesis—that a user’s communication via digital media to another user, be they miles, countries, or worlds away, is tantamount to being there—the image of tentacular extension is, in my opinion, too placid. What is happening here is not a reaching out and the receipt of haptic feedback; rather, it is a swallowing or a twinning. The body may remain an euclidean nucleus, but the person branches, swarms, becomes cybernetic.

ext dia



Of course, time and space are perhaps most succinctly joined in the formulation for velocity: distance divided by time. Thus, chronotopos is, in the first instance, about speed, and in particular, its representation.


Sadie Plant writes that to enter the digital is to be invaded. Adams obviously agrees: his map of “personal extensibility” as seen above, is a map of a user. Digital and material coexist and smear into each other. Fundamentally, Adams-mapping, a subset of chronotopic mapping, is to recognize that the body is nothing, your person is you—and your person isn’t even fully perceivable or even terrestrial. You exist on servers, in fiber optic cables, pinging off satellites. This becomes more and more true as more data comes online: habits, purchases, path-dependencies become starkly illuminated. And as such, there is a mutual invasion, a systemic incursion in which participating in the digital is not really the novel finding, but the extent to which the digital is participating in you.