Commonplacing (X through XIV)


It is difficult to give up an idea of one's life when one has lived one's life according to that idea. We learn not only that consciousness of unhappiness is achieved but also how such consciousness puts us in touch with the world; allowing a world to pierce a seal, what I call the happiness seal. So much inequality is preserved through the appeal of happiness, the appeal to happiness. It is as if the response to power and violence is or should be simply to adjust or modify how we feel; for instance, by transforming a social relation of exploitation into a personal feeling of empowerment.

Feminism: how we break through a happiness seal.

Sara Ahmed
Living a Feminist Life (2017)



. . . to perceive texture is to know or hypothesize whether a thing will be easy or hard, safe or dangerous to grasp, to stack, to fold, to shred, to climb on, to stretch, to slide, to soak. Even more immediately than other perceptual systems, it seems, the sense of touch makes nonsense out of any dualistic understanding of agency and passivity; to touch is always already to reach out, to fondle, to heft, to tap, or to enfold, and always also to understand other people or natural forces as having effectually done so before oneself, if only in the making of the textured object.

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity (2003)


There is a double reading of Spinoza: on the one hand, a systematic reading in pursuit of the general idea and the unity of the parts, but on the other hand and at the same time, the affective reading, without an idea of the whole, where one is carried along or set down, put in motion or at rest, shaken or calmed according to the velocity of this or that part. Who is a Spinozist? Sometimes, certainly, the individual who works "one" Spinoza, on Spinoza's concepts, provided this is done with enough gratitude and admiration. But also the individual who, without being a philosopher, receives from Spinoza an affect, a set of affects, a kinetic determination, an impulse, and makes Spinoza an encounter, a passion.

Gilles Deleuze
Spinoza: Practical Philosophy (1970, 1981, trans. 1988)


Here we arrive at something of a crisis point for what one might call the romantic left. This current wants a totalizing critique of technology more than of capital, that would ground its rejection of techno-modernity on a claim to something prior to or outside of it: on being, on nature, on poetry, not the body, on the human, or on communism as event or leap. But the problem is that the attendant closing of thought to science and technology now plays into the hands of climate denial. That the Carbon Liberation Front is changing the climate is a knowledge that can only be created via a techno-scientific apparatus so extensive that it is now an entire planetary infrastructure. To reject techno-science altogether is to reject the means of knowing about metabolic rift. We are cyborg, making a cyborg planet with cyborg weather, a crazed, unstable disingression, whose information and energy systems are out of joint. It's a de-natured nature without ecology.

McKenzie Wark
Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene (2015)

Slow Reading (1.35): Deleuze's DR (pp. 35-36)

Deleuze and Spinoza on Ignorance, Learning, and the Body