Image and Capital


We desire illusions -- because we desire revelation. When we have faith, our energy inverts itself from within: the world is suddenly magically transformed, us along with it. Illusions! More like liaisons. Economy is the same way: a magic power grasps hold, a flow of energy spontaneously rearranging the underlying order of the universe. Capital is a specter and a spectacle: universal miracle machine, superego-substitute and hyper-sexual idol all-in-one. From images branded onto faces, tasks onto hands, and illusions onto gazes-- somehow money is produced. Capital is the illusion; for money-as-signifier is dead, dead since capitalism declared its global aim, to include all within its dream. Capital is a pure power retreated into its own image -- which has just as quickly plunged the earth right into the depths of the Virtual.

The image only is sovereign -- the sovereign is imaginary. Ideal for a complex bureaucracy -- where we are ruled by no one. The spectacle is again the most ancient epic, the many against the one, the story of power’s evolution: until finally machines have taken responsibility over our imagination! Once, timid and easily frightened away or turned back, now the Image has truly come into its own virtual domain. Spaces for interpretation of any kind are now entirely produced as images. There is no love but for a machine; all else is war, a war against the order of things... Hope is an image, fear a symbol; both are faces, branded onto images more deeply than their contents or design. Yet we know we can affect images -- because images affect us! Micropolitics is not just local subversion, but molecular involution: unfolding, reconvergence, diffusion.

Ideology is not a dream, nor can we abandon concepts for functions: for it is our very existence in question and on trial as a false image of life... Conscience demands that we must move beyond ontology towards a new dimension, on the other sides of images -- in sohrt, towards a material ethics of conviviality. Which is not to say of justice per se, but more explicitly of cohumanity, control and creativity. Never has it been clearer than in our time the essential disunity of human existence: that is, that necessity is not opposed to free will. We are not total by ourselves; our potential is only unlocked in the energy and power of a group. And as soon as a group has definite aims, a goal and an identity, it is already a war-machine. It seems we cannot escape answering some call or another; the lesson is not only that we ought to distinguish between imaginary ideals and real dreams, but even that the real image we follow has only virtual substance, one we are choosing and desiring to experience.

1 comment:

Cilverthorne said...

Images, spectacles, the specifics of the abstraction for a given socio-historical group--what about a discipline like Noology that D+G posit as the study of images of thought and their historicity. To delimit a true noology, we would need to be extremely explicit in understanding how Deleuze conceptualizes 'images of thought' in Logic of Sense, Difference and Repetition, and especially in A Thousand Plateaus where it becomes linked to the ways in which the State invests the full body of capital through the socius, corrupting and castrating self-legitimating images of thought in order to superimpose the overcoded image of the phallus that always ends in forming a false BwO.

Of course we are talking about two different things: images are not equivalent to Deleuze's image of thought, though maybe they are in two ways: first, in arguing that there is a reciprocal affectivity between images and us (or, to be specific, since in Bergsonian terms, our body-consciousness is nothing but another image in a dynamic network) due to nothing other than the innovation of thought. On the other hand, insofar as an overcoding image of thought resurrects a good and a common sense for the purposes of the state, the question of the prevalence of veritable images throughout the social field amounts to the same thing. The path to thought is blocked a priori, or the path to experience is never opened except ex post facto; we realize that the limits of thought were nothing but the surface obscuring the dimensions of another world, one that may be illegal according to the state of affairs. For whether we are dealing with a psychic repression of the creator or the social repression of the heretic is one and the same question.